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20 hours ago

Behold the first footage and new features of Order & Chaos Online 2

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Last month, Gameloft announced that Order & Chaos Online 2 would be coming to all mobile platforms this year. The prospect of a huge and fully featured massively multiplayer online RPG certainly got this gamer excited, even if we didn't have any screens or footage to show what it would be like.

At last we have some concrete information to go by! Gameloft has just released footage and details describing some of Order & Chaos Online 2's features. Two big changes are the additions of 'Instant Quests' and Solo Dungeons. We got an early glimpse of both modes, and now I'm here to tell you all about them. Read on for details and our gameplay video with commentary!

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21 hours ago

Galaxy Note 5 versus Nexus 6

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Galaxy Note 5 versus Nexus 6

Though the Nexus 6 is almost a year old, it holds its own against the new Galaxy Note 5.

The Galaxy Note 5 may be the hot new big phone right now, but the last huge phone on everyone's mind — the Nexus 6 — is still around and very much a fresh device. Though the Note 5 is merely weeks old at this point and the Nexus 6 has been on shelves for about 10 months, these are both high-end devices that directly compete for attention and space in your pocket.

For those reasons, we're going to compare the Note 5 and Nexus 6 — read on.

Read now: Galaxy Note 5 versus Nexus 6

Hardware, specs and features

Galaxy Note 5 versus Nexus 6

You can't get around it, these are both big phones. But Samsung and Motorola tackled these phone designs in different ways, and there actually isn't much shared in terms of looks between the phones. Both incorporate a metal frame that wraps around the phone, slimming on the sides and getting a bit wider on the top and bottom, and while the exact location of ports and buttons differs a bit both phones are pretty traditional in their layouts.

These are both big phones, and they each approach design differently.

And that's where the visual similarities end. The Note 5 has gone with a full glass back that curves sharply on the sides but is flat in the middle, while the Nexus 6 instead has a gently-curved plastic back. Looking at the front of the phones the first thing that stands out is just how small the bezels are on the Note 5, as well as how much crisper and brighter its display is (though it's the same resolution as the Nexus) — reinforcing in your mind how dominant Samsung is in phone displays.

You get a fingerprint sensor in the home button under the Note 5's display, but the Nexus 6 instead has more versatile on-screen buttons as well as front-facing speakers that are much louder than the Note. Both phones are pretty easy to hold onto, for their size, but with the Note 5's slightly smaller screen and tiny bezels it comes out on top in terms of one-handed usability. Anyone who has held a Nexus 6 knows it basically can't be used with one hand, and while both phones are pretty nice looking (of course there's some personal preference involved here) you can't argue the Note 5 is easier to handle overall.

Of course there's also a straight-up spec comparison to be made, for those who like to see all of the numbers together. Considering the Nexus 6's age it actually stacks up pretty well against the Note 5, with the exceptions being it has a last-generation processor, a lower megapixel camera, 1GB less RAM, and lacks the fingerprint and heart rate sensors of Samsung's latest.

Category Galaxy Note 5 Nexus 6 Operating System Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, TouchWiz Android 5.1.1 Lollipop Display 5.7-inch QHD (2560x1440, 518 ppi) Super AMOLED
Gorilla Glass 4 5.96-inch QHD (2560x1440, 493 ppi)) AMOLED
Gorilla Glass 3 Processor Exynos 7420 octa-core (2.1GHz quad + 1.5GHz quad)
64bit, 14nm Snapdragon 805 quad-core 2.7GHz Storage 32 or 64GB, UFS 2.0
Non-expandable 32 or 64GB
Non-expandable RAM 4GB (LPDDR4) 3GB Rear Camera 16MP, f/1.9, OIS, phase detection auto focus
4K video, slow motion video 13MP, f/2.0, OIS, Dual LED ring flash
4K video capture at 30fps Front Camera 5MP, f/1.9 2MP Network LTE cat.9
(network bands vary by market) LTE Connectivity 802.11ac Wifi, 2.4/5GHz, MIMO (2x2), 620Mbps
Bluetooth v4.2 LE, ANT+
NFC, Location (GPS, Glonass, Beidou) 802.11ac Wifi, 2.4/5GHz
Bluetooth 4.1
NFC, Location (GPS, Glonass) Sensors Accelerometer, Proximity, RGB Light, Geo-magnetic, Gyro, Fingerprint, Barometer, Hall, HRM GPS, Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Magnetometer, Ambient light sensor, Barometer Charging Micro USB 2.0, Adaptive Fast Charging
Qi wireless, Powermat wireless, fast wireless charging Micro USB 2.0, Quick Charge
Qi wireless Battery 3000 mAh
Non-removable 3220 mAh
Non-removable Dimensions 153.2 x 76.1 x 7.6mm 159.26 x 82.98 x 10.06mm Weight 171g 184g Colors black sapphire, white pearl, gold platinum
(colors will vary by market) Midnight blue, Cloud white

Software, performance and battery life

Galaxy Note 5 versus Nexus 6

Though both the Note 5 and Nexus 6 run Android 5.1.1, there are pretty sharp visual and functional differences between them. Samsung has stuck with its heavy use of bright blue and green colors along with extra animations — and while the latest iteration of TouchWiz is edging gently over to Material Design ideas, it's nothing like what you get on a Nexus 6. The Android you get on the Nexus 6 is far simpler and a bit more intuitive, with less getting in your way and fewer superfluous features to turn off. Everything is a bit more muted (in a good way), and easier to understand.

Samsung has smoothed out TouchWiz, but it's still not the great experience you get on a Nexus.

Thankfully you can get a more Nexus-like experience on your Note 5 if you so desire, with the addition of apps like the Google Now Launcher and Google Keyboard, but we still have to give the nod to the Nexus 6 for how it does software. And that's before we mention how much faster you're bound to get updates (including security-related patches) on the Nexus 6, and with Marshmallow approaching fast that's a big deal for some. Of course the Nexus 6 lacks features like those supporting the S Pen and exclusive apps from Samsung, but it's hard to say those alone would be worth leaving the Nexus software experience for.

Samsung has clearly fine-tuned its software for the internal hardware of the Note 5 and has all but eliminated the slowdowns present in previous versions. But even though it has a faster processor and 1GB of extra RAM over the Nexus 6, there isn't really an appreciable difference in speed between these two phones. The Note 5 absolutely feels fast and smooth, but so does the Nexus 6 — and whether you're looking at anecdotal evidence or straight-up side-by-side comparisons, you can't find where one phone really excels ahead of the other in software performance.

On the battery front, the Note 5's 3000 mAh cell is smaller than the Nexus 6's 3250, but that doesn't make as big a difference as it would seem. The Note 5 consistently can make it through a day with double-digit battery percentage left, and interestingly the same can't always be said about the Nexus 6. Though it has the edge in capacity, the Nexus 6 is hardly a battery champion — and while it can easily make it through a full day, heavy use can take a big chunk out of your reserves if you're not careful. At least both phones support quick charging standards.

Cameras on completely different levels

Galaxy Note 5 versus Nexus 6

The on-paper specs for both of these cameras should put them in the same basic realm of one another — both have high megapixel counts, high apertures and OIS. But this is a situation where the numbers don't tell the whole story, as the Note 5 really kills the Nexus 6 in terms of camera performance.

This isn't even a contest, the Note 5 runs away with camera performance.

Everywhere else throughout the interface on these two phones you can't notice a difference in software performance, but as soon as you try to launch the camera, snap a few photos, edit one and share it out, the Note 5 comes out miles ahead. The Note 5 can launch its camera in about a second and take pictures as fast as you want without any hesitation, as well as switch modes and tweak settings with ease. The Nexus 6 takes several times as long to launch the camera, chugs along through its interface, and if you try to take HDR+ photos (which is the best way to get a good shot out of it) it captures and renders them at a glacial pace.

And while the Note 5 is much faster to capture photos, it also has superior image quality. It's really tough to get a bad shot with the Note 5, even in tough situations and in full automatic mode — but if you need manual controls, it has them, unlike the Nexus 6. Perhaps the Nexus could benefit from manual controls, but we're not sure how much — it can produce a great picture here and there, but the average snapshot just isn't up to par with leading phones of 2015 like the Note 5.

There are higher-level reasons — most of it comes down to licensing fees and restrictions — for why Nexuses always fall behind in the camera department, but the results are clear, and the Note 5 takes the cake when it comes to the camera.

Two big phones with different strengths

Galaxy Note 5 versus Nexus 6

Samsung's Galaxy Note line was instrumental in defining the large phone segment, so it isn't surprising that its Note 5 is an absolutely great large phone. At 5.7-inches it gives you tons of room to work, but feels quite a bit smaller than the Nexus 6 even though the screens are similarly sized.

Though with all of its advancements in performance, screen quality and camera, Samsung still can't match the simplicity and fluidity of the software on the Nexus 6. There's something about how well a Nexus works that makes you put up with some other shortcomings, and on the whole the Nexus 6 is still a great phone, for its size, almost a year after it was released.

Of course one point not mentioned earlier is price, where the Note 5 will set you back at least $700 and the Nexus 6 now retails a solid amount less at $499 (well, MSRP — there are deals everywhere). Being toward the middle of its life cycle the Nexus 6 is bound to drop again in price as well, perhaps putting it out of the league price-wise of the Note 5 anyway.

These are two philosophies about how to make a big phone, and with both having their strengths. The Note 5 seems to come out on top when you add up the individual victories, but for the price (and release date) that shouldn't be surprising. It all comes down to what experience you want, and how much you balance that out with its cost.

Samsung Galaxy Note 5

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Google Nexus 6

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22 hours ago

Save the date with Countdown Watch Face on Android Wear

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There is always something to be excited about, whether it's an upcoming holiday or the release of the next big Marvel movie. We've gotten used to seeing countdowns to that special something, and now you can wear one right on your wrist. Countdown Watch Face is available for your Android Wear device. It's got some nifty options to personalize how it looks and acts along with the important part — the countdown timer.

The Countdown Watch Face is a really versatile watch face that you should definitely check it. It's got a futuristic feel, along with tons of options, and a countdown timer right in the middle of the screen. The default screen is red and black, with a digital readout of the time and an analog face around the edge of the screen. On your smartwatch, there actually aren't any options. At all.

Your options are all available on your smartphone, and they're broken into multiple categories; Countdown, Watch, Weather, and Colors. There are two more categories, but neither have any options so we're just going to ignore them. In Countdown you can decide whether or not your timer will be visible, along with setting a date and time that you are counting down to, and text to show on your screen.

The watch screen gives you a ton of options that dictate how the watch face itself looks. There are alternatives for the minute and second hand, the option to show the face in ambient mode, and the option to hide AM/PM. All of your options come in the form of checkboxes which makes it especially easy to only grab the options you want to see. Even better, power sucking options like the sweeping seconds feature come with a warning, so you don't accidentally end up killing your battery.

There aren't many options for your weather updates, and it doesn't even show up on the default face. You can easily enable weather updates, choose a weather source, or get your weather in Celsius instead of Farenheit. If you decide to enable the weather icon for your smartwatch, it will appear at the top of your screen, out of the way but still quite easy to see.

Last but certainly not the least of your options is when it comes to the color of your watch face. Really you have two basic choices; pick from one of the tiles at the bottom of the screen, or go ahead and pick any color you can find on the color wheel. The latter definitely gives you tons of options, since there are two slider bars to help you pinpoint the precise color that you are looking for.

The Countdown Watch Face has a really nice look to it, and the app has an easily navigated UI. There are tons of options to tweak and play with to get precisely the look that you prefer. There aren't many watch faces that employ features like a countdown out there, and do it with the style you'll find with the Countdown Watch Face. Best of all it's available for free right now, which means there isn't any risk giving it a shot.

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22 hours ago

Samsung S-View Clear Flip Cover for Galaxy Note 5

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The S-View Clear Flip Cover grants an easy peek at the basics, but doesn't make anything else much easier.

Arguably one of the more popular cases from Samsung is this clear flip cover that's designed to present simple features such as time, incoming/missed calls, and preview notifications without having to flip it open. The Samsung ID chip embedded in the front cover is what makes the magic possible, however, its features are rather limited when compared to the likes of the HTC Dot View Case. Basically, you have to really like the style of this case to make it your day-to-day guardian for the Galaxy Note 5.

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23 hours ago

Republic Wireless answers questions about the status Android 5.1 and Stagefright updates

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Republic Wireless has provided additional details for its customers regarding the status of software updates for various phones. With customers still waiting for Android 5.1 and the patch for the Stagefright exploit, Repbulic Wireless wanted to provide some additional information.

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23 hours ago

I want a Samsung Gear S2 and I'm not sure how I feel about that

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Samsung Gear S2 Classic

The Gear S2 might be the first good smartwatch Samsung has made. And this is a company that's made a lot of smartwatches.

Samsung started off in wearables with the Galaxy Gear, which was pretty terrible, and followed it up with a series of Gear watches that showed steady, but marginal improvement. They'd never quite reached a point where I could tell somebody "No, you won't regret forking over your hard-earned cash for one of those." In fact, I'd actively discourage people from getting any of them, with the closest I could recommend being the still-pretty-bad Gear Live running Android Wear.

But now I'm conflicted. I spent a good 45 minutes with the Samsung Gear S2 ahead of Thursday's event, and I came away more impressed than I've ever been by any smartwatch, and I'm one of the weirdos that's owned a few (Pebble, Pebble Steel, Samsung Gear Live, Moto 360, and Apple Watch). Well, really anybody with a smartwatch is an outlier right now, but it's devices like the Gear S2 that will help to change that.

I had this same conflicted struggle with the Samsung Galaxy S6. I knew from the first instant that I picked one up that I wanted one, especially the edge model. It was a weird feeling. I've wanted, nay, lusted after gadgets before, even smartphones. I'm very familiar with the "I want this" feeling.

Samsung was the company I loved to hate.

But I'd never had that thought about a Samsung device before. I'd long regarded them with alternating waves of scorn and derision, mocking their penchant for badly copying designs of others, falling flat on their faces when trying their own design language. I'd laughed at their build quality, their software quality, and their marketing. Samsung was the company I loved to hate.

That started to turn when I picked up that Galaxy S6. It was finely crafted, it was beautiful, and it felt good in my hand. The performance was remarkable and the user interface tweaks they'd made didn't make me throw up in my mouth. It was a device that I wanted, and it had the Samsung name on it. It was an odd mental predicament in which I found myself.

So I bought the Galaxy S6 edge when it came out. I've been using it ever since, and while the "this thing is incredible" sheen has worn off, I'm still quite satisfied with it. I've toyed around with other Android phones (and still carry an iPhone in addition to the S6 on a daily basis), but I keep coming back to it. I'm used to it being a Samsung device and being something I want to use. The Note 5 is a quite nice device too, but Samsung still sucked at wearables.

Samsung Gear S2

And then the Gear S2 came along and knocked my preconceptions over again. Here I was, with the Gear S2 Classic strapped to my wrist, and I was seriously impressed by the physical and digital design of this smartwatch. It felt solid, it didn't seem overly weighty, the bezel dial had a satisfying click to it as I spun that matched each movement on the display, and it simply looked great.

Of course, "it looks great" and "it feels good" are totally subjective things. But there's nothing subjective about the performance I got to experience first hand — this thing was blazing fast, never stuttered, and had an interface that seemed smartly thought out and easily discoverable. That wasn't something you could say about Samsung's previous Tizen-powered smartwatches.

There's nothing subjective about the Gear S2's performance — this thing is blazing fast.

It blew the current crop of Android Wear watches out of the water. It made my Moto 360 feel slow and clunky. It made my Apple Watch seem overly complicated and brought back to mind its childish design (but then again, the BlackBerry and Treo crowds of 2007 decried the original iPhone as childishly-designed, and we all know how that turned out).

I strap the Gear S2 onto my wrist and I want one. Well, specifically the Classic edition. The standard sporty-style one with the rubber straps that flow into the sculpted metal body I could take or leave. But the shiny metal body and leather straps of the Gear S2 Classic call to me. It's a smartwatch I feel like I could get away with wearing not just around town, but out on the town too.

Samsung Gear S2 Classic

My younger sister got married last summer, and her husband-to-be was wearing an original Galaxy Gear on his wrist. At their wedding, I told him he had to take that thing with its awkward camera hump off: "Trust me, in 20 years you don't want to be looking back at photos and thinking 'I really wore that thing in my wedding'?" But the Gear S2 Classic, that you could get away with being photographed wearing. Apple Watch? Not so much.

The Gear S2 is a smartwatch you can get away with wearing not just around town, but out on the town.

It's bizarre how Samsung has managed to turn around its design, engineering, and marketing efforts almost in unison. Their designs are attractive and no longer overwrought with features that nobody wants, their software is more thought-out than its ever been, the hardware is more solid than I can recall it every being, and everything from their advertising to their press events have been retooled to be more appealing and less offensive.

There are still plenty of questions to be answered about the Gear S2, and I want those answers as much as you do. How do notifications work on it? How well does it integrate with Google Now, or does it at all? What price will be slapped onto it? Will Samsung be able to continue building on the impressive stable of third-party apps? Will the leather bands at release be better quality than the cheap and cracking leather they had on these units? And so on.

But none of those have taken the gloss off of my gadget lust. I want a Gear S2, and I think I'm okay that it's Samsung that's going to make it.

Samsung Gear S2

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We've already taken one quick look at the Huawei Mate S — the new 5.5-inch Android smartphone unveiled here at the IFA conference in Berlin. Now it's time for ye olde video walkthrough.

And one of the more impressive points of this phone (that, by the way, isn't headed to the U.S. anytime soon) is the fingerprint scanner. We can't say enough about it — and now's a really good time to check it out since we're (ahem) probably about to see a new Huawei Nexus in the coming weeks, fingerprints scanner in tow.

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Heads up on this week's podcast from Berlin!

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A quick heads up to all of y'all who enjoy our weekly podcast – it's coming today, live-to-tape from Berlin, Germany! But it's going to be a tad later than usual because of a few scheduling things here at the IFA conference. There's also a ton of stuff for us to recap, and you don't want to miss this one.

So look for this week's recording (again, no live show this week) a few hours later than usual tonight.

And to make sure you never miss an episode, we recommend subscribing to our feed! You can do so here. Thanks, and we hope you enjoy!

Click here to subscribe to the Android Central Podcast!

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