Google Home

Seems like Amazon Echo has a competition.

Since the release of Google Home, it has grown a lot as a not so portable of ‘Siri’. It acts as a personal assistant of some sort. You can tell it to do things just like Siri. It can do a wide variety of things it can do like respond to what you or others say. It is has a voice recognition so it can learn how to respond to individuals which you can add through the app that controls it which can be found on iOS and Android devices. The Google Home can also play music through its speakers using Bluetooth

With the home, you can basically talk to it and get it to do things you normally would with a phone or computer like remind you of events, play the news, set and snooze an alarm and so on. The way that that happens is that it gets information from your Google account so Apple fans are going to have to make a Google account to use it. The Google Home seems to have a personality of some sort as it contains Easter Eggs that Google added such as saying “I am your father” which is a Star Wars reference. In order to have several users on the same Google Home, each user has to be added through the main user and has to install their own Google Home app. The Google Home voice recognition system can be easily fooled if you sound alike to a person that is registered to it so that is why Google have not used it to do things that is very personal such as payments and unlocking things.

Google Home can be activated by a phrase or something that you say a lot to it or by tapping the top of it. To stop audio, alarms, timers, and responses from playing, just tap the top of the Google Home once. To change the volume of the audio playing, just swipe on the Google Home clockwise to increase the volume and anticlockwise to lower it. Long press to activate it and pressing the mute button will deactivate it.

I personally feel that the Google Home is going to come very handy when we are in a rush or are short in time as it can allow us to do things without even taking our phone out from our pockets especially when it is made available at $114.

Photo courtesy of: https://thenextweb.com/google/2016/05/18/google-home-official-amazon-echo-worried/#.tnw_qfozAw9o

Google Pixel

 

With the massive recall of the Note 7 and the recent release of iPhone 7, Google made a timely release on their latest device, the Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL. Not only was the release of the Google Pixel at an opportune time, the device also have various outstanding perks.

One of its most outstanding feature would be its 12.3 megapixel camera. The camera is capable of focusing quickly and brings it does an excellent job at emphasising the contrast of colours. The camera also performs remarkably when taking objects that are far away due to it being able to sharpen the photos with ease. Another feature that it possesses would be its wide-angle camera lens which results in photo seeming like they were taken further away. Also, the camera’s flash is very natural and the light disperses very evenly, thus making its pictures look truly natural. Its front camera also performs well due to its wider angle, allowing its users to not stretch his or her arm too much. It can also take 4K videos and has a gyroscope which helps to steady your video shootings.

However, of course, the camera was not void of flaws. For example, even though its flash did a good job at brightening up the picture, it didn’t handle dim lighting as well. Also, it underperformed in taking portrait photos compared to its landscape pictures as it often is not able to identify the background fully. Also, the camera’s minimum focus distance isn’t extremely near and as such it is lacking in terms of close up shots.

 

Next, the device also has a decent voice search service. Its voice search service, Google Assistant, integrates with the Google search engine to dig up the results that you require. Some of its functions include searching on Google, scheduling events, playing music and finding pictures in your phone.

Though the Google Assistant doesn’t boasts many new functions, the voice search service works decently and its integration with Google search helps to make searching more convenient.

 

 

Google also implemented various tiny features in the Pixel. For example, you are now able to send GIFs using Google Keyboard. There is also a fingerprint reader for additional security when using services like Android Pay. Also, you can hold onto applications which allows you to access the additional menu options. It also runs on the new Android 7.1 Nougat, though developers have acknowledged that the newly released operating system still contain a few bugs.

 

The Google Pixel has a Snapdragon 821 processor which allows the Pixel to work smoothly. It is also able to handle high intensity mobile games without trouble.  It performed relatively well compared to other high end phones and were not inferior in terms of its specs.

 

Now, for some of the device’s drawbacks.

First of, it isn’t fully waterproof. Also, it had a very noticeable flaw in which it is challenging to view the screen in direct sunlight. Its battery is also average at most and there are various other phones which contain better ones.

All in all, the Google Pixel remains as an outstanding phone and a really good phone to consider. I would strongly recommend you to consider this phone as long as it is within your means.

 

Photo courtesy of : https://www.google.com.sg/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&ved=0ahUKEwj6wdCBy-7RAhWELY8KHcbWAZsQjxwIAw&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.knowyourmobile.com%2Fmobile-phones%2Fsamsung-galaxy-s7-edge%2F23817%2Fgoogle-pixel-xl-vs-samsung-galaxy-s7-edge-specs-price-features-hardware-detailed&psig=AFQjCNEXYXtXUSv9VPGANO9pSBuRPMbY5A&ust=1486027775007193

 

AlphaGo

The Google DeepMind is a developer of the AI (Artificial Intelligence) AlphaGo  in playing games against humans. It first made history this year during January by beating a master of the ancient game of Go. Just in case you have not heard of Go, it is largely played in China, Korea and Japan, the ancient board game requires two players taking alternate turns to place black and white tiles on a grid, jockeying to occupy more of the board than their opponent.
DeepMind was founded by Demis Hassabis, Shane Legg and Mustafa Suleyman in 2010. However, Google announced that it had agreed to takeover DeepMind which was successful. Google then renamed it as Google DeepMind.
The AI, AlphaGo, beat the European Go champion in October 2015 which was the first time an AI defeated a professional player. Today, DeepMind is playing its second match of Go. AlphaGo was programmed to win at board games. AlphaGo’s 19×19 grid offers nearly uncountable variations of moves and branching outcomes, ruling out typical AI brute-force logic.
DeepMind claimed that AlphaGo was not pre-programmed and it learns from experience, using only raw pixels as data input.
Photo courtesy of: https://deepmind.com/css/images/opengraph/alphago-logo.png
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Huawei Nexus 6P

 

The Huawei Nexus 6P is basically the elder brother of LG Nexus 5X. The difference between Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P is the Nexus 6P is bigger in size(5.7-inch screen) compare to Nexus 5X(5.2-inch screen). For the display, Nexus 6P has a resolution of 2560 x 1440(515ppi) and the Nexus 6P has a AMOLED display.

Nexus 6P has a 12 megapixels and a 8 megapixels front-facing camera. The camera has a Face detection, Autofocus (Laser), Touch to focus and Geo tagging features. The phone features Qualcomm Snapdragon 810, Octa-core, 2GHz, ARM Cortex-A57 and ARM Cortex-A53, 64-bit, a Adreno 430 and 3 GB of RAM.

It has 128GB of built-in storage and a battery capacity of 3450 mAh. It has Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, USB Type-C for fast charging. It also features a fingerprint scanner at the back of the phone, which users usually prefer to use their index finger for the fingerprint.

I think that Huawei Nexus 6P is a great flagship phone for 2015 as it features pure google marshmallow and a strong aluminum body compare to LG Nexus 5x which is made out plastic. It has a good camera, a great display and great performance. Overall I would recommend this phone to friend who loves android and high-end phones.

 

Photo courtesy:http://images.fonearena.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Huawei-Nexus-6P-leak.jpg

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Google Nexus 5X

Priced at about S$530, the Google Nexus 5X has a light weight, thin and small in size. In fact, it’s so small that you would be able to  control the phone from one side of the screen to the other single – handedly. The Nexus 5X comes in the operating system of the Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

The device comes in both black and white. The white colour has a plastic rear and due to the plastic material, many users have pointed out that its design looks a little cheap compared to other phones on the market. On the other hand, the black colour version is made up of rubber, which probably is the reason why most of the consumers prefer the black one over the white version.

On the right edge of the phone, you would be able to find the volume and power buttons. The buttons are relatively shallow so that it suits the small design of the Nexus 5X. There are two visible speakers which sticks out at the front of the device. The 5X also has improved and sharper graphics compared to the Nexus 5. And the graphics isn’t the only thing that has improved, the new 5X has other functions too.

At the rear of the phone below the camera, there is an imprint fingerprint scanner on a silver disc. It also serves as a disc which you can balance your phone using your index finger when you only have one hand available. Google has intelligently hidden their fingerprint scanner beneath this disc, therefore allowing it to serve various purposes at the same time. It also is placed really conveniently and would definitely be in the reach of your finger. Furthermore, it also acts as the phone’s power button, meaning that no swiping or touching on the screen is needed at all. This way, you can power up the device efficiently without needed to place your thumb in an awkward position by finding it at the bottom of the device. This feature seems really remarkable and definitely is one of the main attraction of the phone.

The phone also has a brand new Android feature called Google Now on Tap. It allows you to search on Google without interrupting your activity on the phone. After scrolling through information, all you have to do is hold down the home button and the device will automatically search for that particular information through Google. This feature is pretty refreshing and creative. It does make searching more convenient though manually opening your browser wouldn’t occupy that much of your time.

The rear camera of the Nexus 5X has 12.3 megapixels while its front camera has 5 megapixels. Interestingly, it has a sensor known as the Sony IMX377, which has relatively large pixels and therefore, let in more light so that pictures would have better lighting. The front camera though doesn’t have excellent images to boast about, but is actually quite sharp. However, it doesn’t cover that big of an angle thus taking fitting in a whole lot of people into the picture might prove as a problem.

The interface of the phone is also really smooth and seems to have little problems at handling games. Compared to the Galaxy S6, the speed of the Nexus 5X isn’t that far behind at all. The battery life of the phone though doesn’t really seem to be that impressive and lasts for only about 9 hours on an average, a result many high – end phones would be able to surpass easily.

Though the design of the phone isn’t the best you can get, I personally feel that the phone has lots to offer and its refreshingly convenient features are really attractive. It just feels absolutely convenient in every way possible. Does it have lots of mind – blowing specs and an unmatchable performance? I guess not. But all that isn’t the main attraction of the phone at all, its how all the features are so intelligently implemented in a way that you get a whole creative and unique device. I honestly feel that the phone is worth the price and has definitely gave me an excellent first impression.

 

Photo courtesy of : http://gadgets.ndtv.com/mobiles/features/xiaomi-mi-4-nexus-5-macbook-pro-lumia-1320-and-more-tech-deals-705550

The Ensign

The Ensign is the prequel to rope-playing text-based game A Dark Room. Awake. Head throbbing. Vision blurry. Come light the fire. A Dark Room was not really welcomed. It received many 1 out of 5 star rating when it first came out. Many people calling it a waste of money. At the price of USD$1.99 many people thought that it was a cheap game thus buying it. But after playing the game for a few minutes, they clearly were not impressed at all. But after a few minority of people completed the game, they were amazed by the storyline. This lead to the game A Dark Room becoming popular.

The main reason why A Dark Room is considered one of the best games in the app store, is because of it’s storyline. It starts out with nothing but a fire that you need to stoke to keep yourself warm, that slowly expands out in an unexpectedly large and depressing adventure.

The Ensign will give us a clue on the events that took place before A Dark Room. But The Ensign is a different game from A Dark Room in terms of it’s gameplay. In A Dark Room, you had to explore A Dusty Path and slowly expand your base of operation and explore the wasteland. You also had to do town management, you had to build huts with the materials you gathered and send workers to either chop wood or work in the mines. But whereas in The Ensign, it focuses much more on the exploration side of things. There will be new dungeons that won’t simply lead you in one direction, weapons will break if you are not careful and a new enemy will be stalking you all over the mad.

Another huge difference is that The Ensign will be extremely difficult. You will die alot. But the main purpose of it is for you to learn from your death and advance further each time you die. If your character dies it shows “Time Paradox” instead of “Game Over” then the game restarts from the beginning.

If you are looking for something that takes the mechanics of A Dark Room and builds on it this game has very less to offer to you. But if you are really interested in the games story and would play it again to fill in a little bit of details, or you would like to play a RPG game with much higher difficulty, you can spend your money guilt free.

So, overall I would give this game a rating of 7 out of 10, I really expected more from The Ensign. It had a great storyline but the gameplay could have been better. But because I am a A Dark Room fan, I would not mind spending a little bit of money to experience this game.

Photo Courtesy of: http://images.jayisgames.com/dora_theensign_2.jpg