8th Generation Console War: WII-U VS PS4 VS XBOX ONE

image from, gamingbolt.com
image from, gamingbolt.com

Sometime around a year ago we made our first post on an eight generation console, The WII-U. We rightfully predicted and tagged the 8th Generation, “Power-War”, based on the then, incredible specifications the WII-U spotted. It wasn’t long after the WII-U’s release that rumours about “Project Durango” and “Project Orbis” dev kits test PC requirements started surfacing .

Sony officially fed our curiosity with the technical specifications of the PS4 at the PlayStation meeting on 20th February, 2013, and Microsoft unveiled the curtains on the XBOX 360’s successor, called XBOX ONE 2 days ago (21-05-13).

Which of these consoles is actually the most powerful and innovative of the three?

WII-U VS PS4 VS XBOX ONE:

image from, mashable.com
image from, mashable.com

PS4 VS XBOX ONE VS WII-U

Processing Power:

The WII-U, whose processing power was considerably greater than that of the Nintendo WII, was a little impressive containing the IBM manufactured PowerPC 750-based tri-core processor called “Espresso“, it was ok, given how better than WII it was, it also features an AMD Radeon HD GPU code-named Latte.

Relative Rating (processing power): 7/10.

Given the popularity and wide adoption of SOC, so much monstrous computing and processing power was bundled into technologies released from mid-2012. The Rumoured Orbis game was first to wow us.

The PS4, spots an AMD manufactured, Accelerated Processing Unit (APU), hence allowing the single APU chip to contain the CPU, GPU, memory controller etc. The CPU is an octa-core (8 core) processor, based on AMD’s Jaguar Processor and it is of the X64-86 family, an inevitable and welcomed switch from the power-pc or the “not-X64-86” architecture based CPUs. Its AMD Radeon GPU can produce up to 1.84TFLOPS.

Relative Rating (processing power): 10/10

The XBOX ONE, which was announced 2 days ago, features an 8-core processor based on the X64-86 architecture (customary of the XBOXs), with an AMD GPU capable of providing up to 1.23 TFLOPS.

Relative Rating (processing power): 9.8/10

MEMORY

The WII-U, consist of 4 512 MB DDR3 memories (4 GB), with 1 GB reserved for its powerful operating system. It also comes with an internal storage (flash memory) capacity of either 8 GB or 32 GB (based on purchased model) but upgradable via USB hard-drives up to 2 TB or via SD cards (memory cards) of up to 32 GB.

Relative Rating (Memory): 7/10

The PS4, comes with a whooping 8 GB DDR5, 1 GB will be reserved for the operating system, leaving 7 GB! for games, Specifics about internal storage capacity and supported extension slots are still blurry but it’s internal hard-drive memory is expected to be very high.

Relative Rating (Memory): 10/10

The XBOX ONE, comes equipped with an 8 GB DDR3 RAM where 3 GB would be reserved for the operating system and some system applications.

Relative Rating (Memory): 9.4/10

CONTROLLER: WII-U Gamepad VS DualShock 4 VS XBOX ONE’s controller

After the features of the controllers of the previous generation, I’m sure we found ourselves asking the question, “after accelerometers and gyroscopes, what is next”? Could there be any new and important and innovative feature that can be introduced?

WII-U Gamepad:

www.theverge.com
http://www.theverge.com

Features a built-in touch-screen, (not multi-touch though but it’s need was justified), which can either extend the game presently being shown on the screen or may be used as a display replica or copy of the screen/TV, hence allowing games to be played directly through it (handheld TV),  it’s features and future prospects are huge. It has an in-built camera for video calls, in-built microphone for clearer video calling conversations or multiplayer conversations,  NFC support and all other expected sensors(accelerometer and gyroscope).

Note: key innovation, “an in-built touch screen that can replace the TV”

Relative Rating (controller innovation): 9/10.

 PS4’s DualShock 4:

Dualshock 4
Dualshock 4

There’s a big difference in look between the DualShock 4 and its predecessor because of the attached clickable two-point capacitative touch pad on the front of the controller, These will play a vital within the O.S and gameplay. New to the series are

  • A 3.5 mm TRS  stereo headset connector, for easy communication during multiplayer games (probably, video calling).
  • A dedicated share button for instantaneously sharing videos from game-play (super PES and FIFA goal videos)
  • An extension port.
  • Presence of light bars for status display and easy detection/identification by the PlayStation eye or switching of split screen position when players switch pads or position (cool)
  • Mono speaker, “yes, a speaker”. The sole purpose of the speaker is to provide unique ambient sounds, like bullets whooshing past characters ears or the sound created from waving swords therefore placing the user right in the middle of the game-play :

It also features the micro-usb connector and usual motion sensing via a 3-axis accelerometer and gyroscope, which is now a common trend among controllers from the previous generation. The top of the analog has been modified to be concave, like that of the 360.

Relative Rating (controller innovation): 9/10 (should have been an 8 but the speaker is just so welcomed).

XBOX ONE Controller:

image from, mashable.com
image from, mashable.com

Very very similar to the previous controller, with notable changes in the D-PAD, which is now a four-way button, replacement of the start and back buttons. It’s most innovative introduction is the “Impulse Trigger”, meaning the trigger buttons will have it’s own rumble motors hence providing feedbacks (“Probably vibrates when a gun is being shot” :S).

Relative Rating (controller innovation): 8/10 (should have been a 7 but ideas regarding “Impulse triggers” have been flying around.).

 Summary:

Processing Power:  The XBOX ONE and PS4 are close in strength both vividly edging out the WII-U with their insane specifications. Overall the PS4 is slightly more powerful than the XBOX ONE in terms of graphic power, but little is still known about the clock-speeds of the processors.

TIE (PS4 and XBOX ONE).

Memory: All three system contains insane amount of RAMs, but the PS4 and XBOX ONE really outsmarts the WII-U in these department. But the PS4 aslo slightly defeats  the 360 based on available RAM for game and the usage of DDR5.

WINNER, PS4

Controllers: All three controllers are very cool, especially the WII-U gamepad and Dualshock 4, but the WII-U gamepad happens to be the most feature packed of the three.

TIE (WII-U gamepad and Dualshock 4).

Overall: PS4 wins both XBOX ONE and WII-U based on paper-specifications, but how this will pan out in the market and among game developers of video games, is presently unknown.

To know more about these consoles, read our articles on them by following the following links:

Available homebrew hacking puts a green light on PS Vita

PSPVita

The PS Vita is not as flexible as the older PSP by Sony. This is not an uncommon argument. Not-so-many yet expensive games and a custom memory card type are just some of the letdowns that comes with having a PS Vita. It does have it’s good sides though, but honestly, anyone with a PSP would have a bit more to do on the overall. It doesn’t take that much time for anyone to realize that the PS Vita does have the potential of playing older PSP games and those custom applications that made the PSP a one-of-a-kind love affair. Could it be possible to just have my old PSP games to run on the PS Vita?

For a variety of people who are having a PS Vita and you just cannot do much with it, you don’t have to get dissatisfied just yet as there are now a myriad of available hacks. The height of PS Vita hacking has already been here for a while and as you may have already guessed, you can actually run homebrew on your PS Vita.

Just in case this homebrew thing seems to be a new term to you when it comes to Sony’s handheld and gaming in general, here is a simple way to put it: video game homebrew is a term gamers use to describe the installation or fixing of any software on usually hardware restricted devices. In other words, it’s when someone installs a software that the hardware manufacturer didn’t, and probably wouldn’t put there. These consumer installed programs are usually used to perform user-desired tasks which includes playing user-developed games and software, and hacks that allow game dumping on memory cards like in the case of Sony’s PSP series. However, it is worthy to mention that although it is common practice, hacking your device is liable to void your warranty and could alter the normal functionality of your device. So please consider so before you embark on the great “adventure.”

PS-Vita-White

The PS Vita first was first hacked successfully using an exploit on Gameloft’s UNO. It was probably the greatest new year gift for anyone who had guessed that it was very possible to play your PSP games on the PS Vita. It is not a bad idea; many had been fed up with the big and bulky PSP-1000 of which most models came up with analog stick issues. The PSP-2000 and 3000 were much lighter than the 1000 but the analog issues still continued nevertheless even though on fewer models.

But the bad news is that Sony quickly reacted to this exploit hack by removing the game from the online store and patching up the kernel exploits with firmware 2.05. Hence, only those who did get a copy of UNO could use the exploit and hack their PS Vitas and till this day, although several hackers have posted possibilities of new exploits for Sony’s new firmware, nothing official has been released.

So, if you have a PS Vita with a firmware lower than 2.05 and you can get a hold of Gameloft’s UNO somehow, here is a good place for you to start if you are interested in hacking. Others would just have to wait however; and be sure that we would let you know as soon as any is released 🙂

Microsoft’s new Surface Pro remains on the surface!

microsoft-surface-pro-best-buy-front

Some dreams come true! With the release of the Microsoft Surface RT, I can bet a a good number of people wished for that tablet to run the revolutionary Windows 8. “Definitely charming!” wouldn’t it? Well, the Surface Pro from Microsoft has come and even with its chin itching price tags – $899 for the 64GB and $999 for the 128GB version, the Microsoft Surface truly makes a demanding statement – that from the looks of it, may be worth it.

Preceding the new Surface Pro was a Surface RT which as at now seems to be more or less a preview to the good things to come. True, the design was something new and some of the hardware features were worth a good chat over a cup of tea; but so many things seemed absent and yes! The Surface Pro delivers all of those inner cravings you desired for it. Microsoft Windows fans and Windows 8 enthusiasts will certainly not mind putting down all more than a couple of bucks for it. The Surface Pro gives the complete Windows 8 experience which still is the most popular and most dynamic entry in the world of operating systems as of date. The Surface RT would pretty much be for those who would just prefer a windows like tablet experience without paying too much for things they would not probably use. Its not a bad idea if you look at it; after all, it comes along with the very excellent Office 2013.

surface_white_verge_super_wide

The new Surface Pro competes on par with its ultrabook rivals in a unique and most challenging manner. Compared to the earlier Surface RT, it is larger and to house some of its powerful hardware components, packs in a little more weight with a thicker form of its “VaporMg” magnesium composite casing. It comes with the basic expectations of a regular ultrabook: front and back 1.2 megapixel  cameras, a full size USB port, an intel Core i5 CPU, Intel HD Graphics, 4GB of RAM, solid state storage up to 128GB, expandable memory through a memory card reader, Bluetooth 4.0 technology and Wi-Fi 802.11a, b, g and n. It also comes with exciting features as a tablet such as a scratch resistant glass surface, 720p HD video recording with video calling abilities, accelerometer, gyroscope and compass sensors. Surface is indeed a delight to behold and touch.

Surface Pro Press 3-580-90

One issue people may have with the Surface Pro though is its kickstand, which only gives a single angular view. This does not tend to be a problem until you get into a place with heavy fluorescent lighting or worse, the sunny outdoors. You might spend some extra time adjusting to suit your convenient viewing. Furthermore, an honest truth is that it doesn’t do as well as the earlier Surface RT in terms of battery life but you should be able to get about 4 hours out of it or so. Nevertheless, Surface will do pretty well to impress newcomers and  even existing customers in the tablet purchase market.

Surface Pro comes along with a Wacom-made, pressure-sensitive stylus that is is a very welcome accompaniment. Surely you would enjoy touching around Windows 8 with it. It has a nice feel; especially when you are using applications such as Adobe Photoshop and the like. The touch and type covers remain as optional accessories and require a separate purchase to an already quite expensive pricing but of course, that completely depends on the customer in question.

In conclusion, the Microsoft Surface Pro is a stylish welcome addition to the world of portable and personal computing. There are a number of things to consider though but it works. It is fast, beautiful, the screen is gorgeous and… it runs Windows 8.

A laptop?… or a tablet? The Nigerian ordeal

Laptop-or-Tablet

Many of us reading this post are most likely to have asked, pondered and maybe dreamed about the question at least at one time or the other. Others were put on the spot with it and some lucky people didn’t really need to bother since someone else helped them out in making the silent, salient yet important choice between the two prevailing forms of mobile technology that has swept the whole world all too sudden.

Buying a Tablet or Laptop isn’t an easy choice. You need to be clear about your requirement in order to decide between them; except you have money to buy both which, from the Nigerian perspective, doesn’t seem to be a likely option in most cases. Surely there are extreme advantages of having both (I use both actually so I can tell) but nevertheless, it does make one wonder about the real decisions to make before you go ahead with either of the two. This post is aimed at helping even you to understand the main differences to consider as clearly as possible.

touchscreen-tablet-computer

Keyboard and input

The most obvious difference between a tablet and a laptop is the lack of a keyboard. Tablets rely solely on a touch interface on the screen for all input. This is fine when it involves mainly pointing, dragging or tapping to navigate around a program. It can also pass off to be a very savvy way of getting things done. Tablets give you full control of the screen, features and applications. By using your finger or a stylus, you can directly touch the screen to make gaming more interactive, and the hands-on approach provides a more tactile experience than a mouse for drawing and illustrating. The problems come in when you have to input text into a program when such as an email or document. Since they have no keyboard, users are required to type on virtual “touch” keyboards that have varying layouts and designs. Most people cannot type as quickly or as accurately on a virtual keyboard and this could pose as a really annoying experience. Users do have the option of adding an external Bluetooth keyboard to most tablets to make this more like a laptop but it adds costs and peripherals that must be taken with the tablet.

144045-dell-laptops-black-friday-sale

Design and battery

The design of all the laptops is almost the same, that is, they have a “clamshell” design. There may be various colors, back panels and textures that are available, but… the basic design remains the same; very much unlike tablets. Aside from some hefty price tags, you must take special precautions in the care of your tablet; not like this does not apply to the laptop itself but as a tablet may have a durable body, the touchscreen display is exposed. If the touchscreen is damaged, your device could become useless. You can buy a case to protect the screen, but these are not included with the product and require a separate purchase. Compared to laptop computers, tablets are small and smart. Most tablets offer anywhere from a 7-inch to a 10-inch display screen and weigh less than 1 pound. You can store all your music, capture photos or videos, video chat and even read books on their built-in eReaders. Truly ideal for the on the go, take around personality.

Tablets are designed for efficiency because of the low power requirements of their hardware components. In fact, the majority of the interior of a tablet is taken up by the battery. In comparison, laptops use more powerful hardware. The battery component of the laptop is a far smaller percentage of the laptops internal components. Thus, even with the higher capacity battery of laptops, they do not run as long as a tablet. Many of the tablets right now can run up to ten hours of web usage before require a charge. The average laptop would only run for roughly three to four hours with a few systems able to stretch it out to eight hours but that still less than a tablet. This means that tablets can achieve all day usage which few laptops can achieve.

Storage

In order to keep their size and costs down, tablets have had to rely on the new and pretty much more reliable solid state storage memory as a means to store programs and data. While these have the potential for faster access and low power usage, they have one major disadvantage in the amount of files they can store at the moment. Most tablets come with configurations that allow between 16 and 64 gigabytes of storage. By comparison, most laptops still use traditional but more fragile hard drives that hold far much more data. Extremely affordable netbooks still have 160 gigabytes of storage which allows for ten times the amount of data as the most affordable tablets. This won’t always be the case though as some laptops have moved to solid state drives as well and may have as little as 64GB of space. However, we can predict that solid state drives will be the future of storage computing which, if you ask me, could wipe off the ever exasperating hard disk problem laptops today face.

Power

Since most tablets are based on extremely low powered processors, they will generally fall behind a laptop when it comes to computing tasks. Of course, a lot of this will depend on how the tablet or laptop is being used. For tasks like email, web browsing, playing video or audio, both platforms will typically work just as well as neither requires much performance. Things get more complicated once you start doing more demanding tasks. For the most part, multitasking or graphics performance is typically better suited with a laptop but not in all cases.

Even though it is possible for a tablet version of a certain software to have similar functions as its desktop version, it is expected that the desktop version would have more capabilities. But again, while traveling, if you are having some sort of work to be done, then tablets are a decent choice as most tablets have sync properties that help us to access our files from anywhere across the world.

The software that runs on a laptop or tablet can be vastly different in terms of capabilities. Assume that a tablet is running Windows 7 for example.  It can theoretically run the same software as a laptop but will likely be slower or have less features of a sort of the other.  Major tablet platforms available right now are Android, iOS, Blackberry and the new Microsoft Windows 8 RT which require applications specific to their operating systems. There are tons of programs available for each of these and many will do most of the basic tasks that a laptop can do. The problem however, is the lack of the input devices and hardware performance limitations mean that some more advanced features supplied by corresponding laptop class programs may have to be dropped in order to fit into the tablet environment.

Lock background

Data Security

Concerning malware and other security threats, tablets are claimed to be safer when compared to laptops. This statement is very arguable. Most security threats are as a result of Windows operating System and not the form factor. Laptops that are loaded with Linux or Mac, are considerably secure and claimed to be free from malware attacks. On the other side, tablets are not so free from security threats as many assume. Currently, malware apps are uploaded on the Apple store and even Google Play Store. An example was the debated “Find & Call” app which was supposed to offer the service of  aggregating and simplifying contacts but simply harvested data from users’ address books and uploaded information to the developer’s server which was used to spam users with SMS messages. The number of security breaches for tablets have become a concern that are as horrid as that for desktop/laptop based operating systems; especially with the concept of “jailbreaking” devices which allow third party applications to be installed on tablets.

Surface-RT-storage-options

External Devices

Tablets these days, are coming with USB ports or OTG (On-The-Go) cables which means they are steadily rising to be on par with laptops as regards external storage devices. Many tablets even now have Bluetooth enabled joypads and accessories which allow a laptop like experience with your tablet. But the question is if you are willing to spend even more money for that after spending so much already acquiring the tablet.

If you’re trying to decide between a laptop and a tablet, it all depends upon you and your needs. If you are planning to carry your computer for extended periods of time, especially to do light based tasks such as watching movies, picture slides and listening to music, the lighter tablet may be ideal for you. Writing out what features you must have in your device is a very good approach to making the right investment. Compare and contrast different products to see which ones have the specifications you are looking for. Only by figuring out your needs will you discover which type of computing device you prefer.