Pebble Time Round vs Apple Watch – design vs quality
The Pebble Time Round went on sale yesterday and the reviews are getting in. Pebble went all out on making their circular smart watch a utilitarian gadget that isn’t just there on your wrist for fashion, and made strides towards that goal, although they haven’t exactly reached it yet. Nonetheless, the company made a lot of progress with the wearable and turned it into a device that can be appealing to more people thanks to its design.
Although the build quality of the Pebble Time Round could use some improvement, the first circular Pebble still feels like a well-constructed wearable that can make a place for itself in the tech community. With a couple of new features and a streamlined user interface, the Pebble Time Round has a lot of potential. But how does it stack up to the Apple Watch?
The Pebble Time Round is designed with a different design aesthetic in mind than previous Pebble wearables, taking ease of use and comfort to another level. With a lightweight, thin and small plastic body, the Pebble Time Round redefines the company’s audience and it’s future as well. Although the chassis could have been a bit more solid and sturdy, the trade-off is worth it thanks to its maneuverability. Nonetheless the lack of waterproof certification is a noticeable drawback of the new model. The Pebble Time can be worn even in the shower, while the Pebble Time Round is only protected from small amounts of water like rain or when washing your hands.
The Apple Watch comes with a similar water resistance, so neither of these smart watches will do if you want to swim or shower with them on without having to worry about breaking them. The Apple Watch is a good deal bigger than the Pebble Time Round, even though its display is ultimately smaller. It’s a bit heavier and more cumbersome to fiddle with, compared to Pebble’s device. The Apple Watch is thicker and has a larger footprint, which makes the Pebble Time Round a much more comfortable wearable device. That being said, the size of the wearable did bring in some trade-offs.
They had to pull off that thin size by sacrificing the size of the battery within the watch. Although the Pebble Time Round battery life is still at around a day and a half or two, it’s not as good as the autonomy of its predecessors. However, it is on par with the Apple Watch battery life. The Apple Watch has the added Force Touch and wireless charging features which give it a bit of an advantage in the face of the circular wearable. Its design is also superior when it comes to build materials and quality and its price is closer to its value (for the Sport model, at least) than the Pebble Time Round price is.
Software and user experience
The Pebble Time Round has the advantage of its streamlined, easy to use and fluid operating system, which groups everything in a timeline through which you can scroll using the buttons on the device. You can’t do much else with it, but this simplicity is what most people will actually come to appreciate. With the Apple Watch, you can do a lot of things, like write texts, talk to people through heartbeats, measure your heartbeat, monitor your health, receive notifications, access apps and much more. With the Pebble Time Round, you can do some of these things, provided apps are going to be released – which is taking longer than usual.
The user interface of the Pebble Time Round is much smoother than WatchOS, in the sense that you can easily see everything you need to, without distractions and awkward searching on your wrist. The small display of the device isn’t the brightest, so it’s not going to be easy to see the info that it displays in bright light, but at least you’ll only have to spend a couple of seconds to get the information you’re looking for. When you scroll upwards in the timleine, Pebble Time Round will show you past events, notifications and tracking information while when you scroll downwards, it will show you future calendar appointments and events.
Compared to the Apple Watch’s WatchOS, the user interface of the Pebble Time Round is more familiar and easier to use. First-time wearable users will like this most, because it’s very easy to get the information you want from the watch in a glance, without having to interfere that much. Although the Pebble Time Round has a multitude of available apps, there are still missing features and apps that are necessary in order to make this smartwatch viable for everyone.
The Pebble Time Round doesn’t work as well with the iPhone or iOS as the Apple Watch does, and it’s actually quite difficult to use with Apple’s OS. That’s because you can’t filter notifications on iOS and they will ultimately clutter the timeline on the watch to a point where it can become very difficult to make sense of all the notifications. On Android, however, the experience is much smoother and customizable. The Pebble Time Round has the benefit of working with both platform, which we can’t say about the Apple Watch, which is restricted to iOS compatibility. Although you can make it work with Android, it wasn’t built for Android and they don’t work that well together.
Performance and price
The Pebble Time Round is so far on par with its predecessors when it comes to performance. The device will occasionally stutter because of the apps that aren’t optimized, but otherwise, the user interface and software work rather well with most smartphones. Performance could be improved in the future, but it’s still at a decent level that won’t annoy users. With the always-on screen, the Pebble Time Round saves wearable users a bit of time,while the Apple Watch leaves them fiddling a lot more to get to the information they are looking for.
The Apple Watch price starts at $350 and the Pebble Time Round costs $250. The Apple Watch offers a lot of features, when it comes to hardware and software just the same, but the Pebble Time Round offers a much more comfortable and familiar design that is truly reminiscent of classic timepieces and their ease of use. That being said, the poor choice of materials and the limited features of the Pebble Time Round might not be worth the asking price.
Pebble could have done better on the Pebble Time Round if they had thought a bit more about durability and premium design. However, the purpose of this wearable is not to look and feel premium, rather its main aim is to show people that wearables can be easy to use. Although Android Wear and WatchOS are pretty simple interfaces, they still have a learning curve some might not appreciate. The Pebble Time Round doesn’t need much fiddling and customizing, and it will show you only the basic things you actually want to know when looking at your wrist. Getting through all the information delivered by the wearable is much easier with its timeline view than it is on Android Wear and WatchOS, which is why the Pebble Time Round is still an admirable release, despite its drawbacks.
Compared to the Apple Watch, Pebble Time Round might not be the best choice for iOS users, but it might be a better choice for Android users. With a trendy design that still manages to be unique in its own way, the wearable is anticipated to impress many people out there. Made with an easy to use experience in mind, it is the better option if you’re going for your first wearable. However, if you want something professional for sports or health tracking, with advanced features and long battery life, the Pebble Time Round is not for you. The Apple Watch might be, though, as long as you’re not thinking of swimming. The Pebble Time Round will be available for purchase starting November 8 in stores, when shipping of pre-orders is also supposed to begin. You can check out the dedicated page to place your order if you’re more of an online shopping kind of person.
4 Most Interesting Crossovers in Gaming
Gaming crossovers are a great way to bring in new people and drive up interest in a title. With that being said, crossovers aren’t as rare as they once were. More and more gaming companies are now embracing crossovers, to the point that some may say that it has lost its appeal. And while this is true to some degree, there are still crossovers that are really effective when it comes to adding a whole new dimension to a game. To prove our point, we’ve put together a list of five of the most interesting crossovers.
Forza Horizon 4: Halo
Forza Horizon 4 is the eleventh installment in the Forza series. The Forza series is known for its ability to emulate realistic racing conditions and offer accurate representations of real-world cars. And while they’ve partnered with car manufacturers before, Forza Horizon 4 features one of the most interesting collaborations in the entire series.
For a series that prides itself on realistic racing, Forza also knows when to cut loose and have a little fun. Nothing exemplifies this more than the Halo crossover that features Master Chief and the iconic Warthog.
Fortnite: Travis Scott
Fortnite is no stranger to crossovers. But if we had to pick one as the most interesting it would have to be the Travis Scott concert. Not only did this crossover include custom skins and emotes but it also paved the way for one of the most unique digital experiences of 2020.
The Verge’s article on the Travis Scott crossover details that the crossover included an interactive digital concert that turned the Fortnite island into a music stage. What’s great about this crossover is that it hints towards a future wherein music and video games will be working hand in hand to deliver immersive musical experiences to millions of people from all over the world.
Merge Dragons: Rick and Morty
When you think of the popular TV show Rick and Morty, a fantasy puzzle game isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. This is what makes this Rick and Morty crossover so interesting. The sheer absurdity of this crossover shows what gaming collaborations can achieve when one thinks outside the box. The game features original dialogue spoken by the characters that matches their characteristics from the show. It is a fun addition to the puzzle game.
However, this crossover shouldn’t be too surprising as Rick and Morty have appeared in other games, demonstrating how they have become pop culture icons. The comic nature of the duo makes them perfect for every type of genre, including slot games. Foxy Bingo’s pop cultured-themed slots include an official Rick and Morty game that features the iconic imagery and characters from the show. The show has also produced its own game in the form of the Pokémon-clone Pocket Mortys. One thing that all of these games have in common is that they maintain the show’s penchant for fun and wacky adventures. This is seen in Merge Dragons with the exclusive cow-dragon hybrid featured in the crossover event.
Mortal Kombat 11: Rambo
While crossovers in fighting games aren’t exactly new, Mortal Kombat has always had a knack for creating interesting crossovers for their iconic fighting game. One way that they’ve done this is with the inclusion of popular film characters. The franchise has had everyone from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to Jason of the Friday the 13th franchise appear in their games.
However, the latest iteration of the game may have topped all of the previous crossovers. This is because Mortal Kombat 11 features John Rambo of the legendary Rambo franchise as one of its available fighters. To add to this, CNet’s article on Mortal Kombat 11 details that Sylvester Stallone voiced the digital John Rambo. This is certainly a treat for fans of the popular action film franchise, as they can finally play as one of the most influential action heroes of all time.
Loot Crate vs. The Curiosity Box: A Beginner’s Guide to Subscription Mystery Boxes
With all the loot box shenanigans we’ve witnessed this year, you might have, while searching for more information, accidentally stumbled across something by the name of Loot Crate. Unlike the reviled loot boxes, Loot Crate isn’t a digital gambling scam. Instead, Loot Crate is a physical, subscription-based mystery box you receive in the mail that contains a bevy of geek-related material. Moreover, Loot Crate isn’t the only available service. Alongside the vanilla Loot Crate Classic, the Loot Crate company supplies geeks with anime-themed items with Loot Anime, gaming swag with Loot Gaming (Loot Crate also sells Halo, Minecraft, Fallout, Call of Duty, and Destiny 2 themed boxes), and film/TV merchandise with Harry Potter, Firefly, Marvel, and Star Trek themed boxes. Loot Crate also has a rival in the form of Geek Fuel, which is more expensive than Loot Crate Classic but contains more (and more expensive) merchandise. While I don’t have a Geek Fuel box to compare to a Loot Crate, I received a different subscription box for Christmas, The Curiosity Box. This mystery box is a joint venture between the company behind Geek Fuel and the YouTube Channel VSauce, which is admittedly cool. So, without further ado, let’s get into what sets apart a Loot Crate from a Curiosity Box and determine which is right for you.
WHAT’S THE SAME
On the surface, Loot Crate and The Curiosity Box seem similar. They arrive in big cardboard boxes and contain random items. Well, not precisely random; each box focuses on a different theme, and the items provided center around that theme. While a lot of geeks subscribe to these boxes for various bits of swag, perhaps the biggest draw is the exclusives. The companies behind these subscription services make deals with other firms to create unique pieces of merchandise that are literally impossible to find anywhere else, aftermarket/marked up eBay sales notwithstanding. Some of these exclusives are just color variants of readily available products, such as a glow in the dark Funko POP Groot figure and orange Quantum Mechanix Tribble.
Most exclusives, however, aren’t available elsewhere in any other form and include items like the The Walking Dead art print, the Yeti temporary tattoo, the tower of magnetic rings, and “collectible” pins.
Furthermore, while most exclusives are decorative, some are practical items, such as a pen shaped like the Sledge Saw from Dead Rising 3 and light-up beverage coasters with periodic symbols.
Finally, these subscription boxes have some of the most awesome, exclusive, geeky shirts this side of ThinkGeek or Hot Topic.
The exclusive items tend to be the best pieces of merchandise in each box and are usually worth the price of the subscription alone. Usually.
Let’s get this out of the way: the most obvious differences are the prices and subscription models. Loot Crate Classic is about $20 per box and comes once a month, while The Curiosity Box is well over $50 and arrives once every three months. More importantly, these boxes are designed for two completely different audiences. The Loot Crate (and likely by extension Geek Fuel) is aimed primarily at adults or older teenagers and provides geek-related decorations and practical items, such as the Dead Rising 3 pen, Star Wars and Deadpool fridge magnets, and a Mega Man car air freshener.
Also, Loot Crate tends to include non-exclusive products that are part of a series. Case in point, during my brief stint with Loot Crate, I received (among other things) a Kidrobot Glow in the Dark Ooze Action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle vinyl figure and a Funko ReAction Alien figure. I got Donatello and the titular Alien, respectively, but I easily could have found Leonardo or Ripley in my Loot Crate subscriptions instead. However, since The Curiosity Box is almost exclusively made up of exclusive items, there is no element of randomness and everyone receives the same merchandise.
While Loot Crate caters to the video game, movies, comics, television, and everything pop-culture side of geekdom, The Curiosity Box is more science oriented and is designed for the family. For example, parents who bought the Summer 2017 Curiosity Box got to enjoy a t-shirt, a set of periodic table beverage coasters, a magnetic ring tower, a t-shirt, and a Nikola Tesla (as a sloth) enamel pin, while children will have fun with a temporary tattoo, a unique embroidered sticker patch, a solar system wall decal and poster set, a mobile microscope, and a castle cross-sections book. Finally, the Summer 2017 Curiosity Box came with the Universe Sandbox 2 Steam game, which is fun for all ages.
Since each Loot Crate and Curiosity Box contains new themes and items, you might find the contents of one particular box more to your liking than another. For example, one Curiosity Box contained a “grow your own glow in the dark crystals” kit, while another included a plush of The Curiosity Box’s mascot, the orange octopus Inq. Meanwhile, past Loot Crates have contained a Batman mug, a Doom Marine Funko POP figure, and the One-Punch Man manga.
While I only have personal experience with Loot Crate and The Curiosity Box, they are not your only options for subscription boxes. Geek Fuel is another decent mystery box, and it has come with its fair share of good products, including a South Park: The Fractured But Whole shirt, a Loony Toons Kidrobot blind box vinyl figure, and an exclusive Legend of Zelda pixel sword power bank. While I cannot recommend the Loot Crate, Curiosity Box, or Geek Fuel (or other) subscription boxes enough, you should research each to know what you should expect from these services. Sure, you technically can’t know what to expect since each box is supposed to be a mystery, but look into each specific subscription and figure out which one is right for you. Which do you think tends to have the best exclusives? Which box caters to your interests? These questions are important and will severely impact your enjoyment. Of course, luck also plays a big role, but that’s also part of the fun.
Google Drive will Shut Down in 2018
It seems like yesterday when Google introduced Google Drive 5 years ago. Back then, people didn’t have a good grasp about what Cloud Storage did. Nowadays, there are many Cloud Storage services that it’s only a matter of preference to choose one for your file keeping needs. However, what struck me as an oddity was how Google Drive will pull their Google Drive service come 2018.
That’s right, Google Drive will completely shut down on March 12, 2018. With the software no longer being supported on December 11, 2017. People will have several warnings about this, for now, so they will have plenty of chance to switch to the new version of Drive, Backup and Sync.
This new program is basically a combination of the features between Google Drive and Photos. It’s readily available now for Windows and OSX systems and will be the new host for the Cloud storage. Alternatively, users can get a hold of Drive File Stream, which will become available on September 26, 2017.
The core differences between DFS and BaS come when you compare how they help customers. As shown in the image below:
A day without Google Drive.
It seems like users will have their first experience without Drive today though. Because as of this morning, the service was down for many users who constantly used the GSuit app. According to the independent site Downdetector, more than 7,000 users are experiencing issues with the service. This has been going on since 10:04 AM EDT, but the number of reports has been lowering afterward. You can check the stats here.
It’s a shame to see Google Drive go. To be frank, it was my preferred Cloud Storage option besides MEGA. However, it’s not a huge inconvenience considering they are not shutting down a Cloud Storage service altogether. So we at least have that.
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