The Andromeda Conundrum

I have played 157 hours (over 3 characters) in Mass Effect: Andromeda now – and after all that time and 2 major patch fixes (this is v 1.06), this game is still… weird. For instance – expressive slowdown whilst on the main ship, The Tempest. Everything on there slows down – whether or not it’s on high or low specs. I’ve had it racked it right up to High/Ultra to Med/High/Uta, to Med/High … and whilst it changes almost everything else, it will not change that.

Another issue isn’t just the graphics – the audio goes into stuttering slowdown along with it more often than not, which is, frankly, even more annoying. It also makes this awful crackling sond that gives me a headache. Given I’ve paid a rediculous amount for this rig and this game – not to mention the amount of hours I’ve invested in this game alone – it seems like I should be allowed to expect that this wouldn’t happen. But it does, and the annoying thing is I don’t know why it does it.

It’s actually quite strange..

Another thing is that is takes quite a long time to launch – but when you do get in, the loading screens are fairly quick (Skyrim on the Xbox 360 comes to mind there… they felt like each took a week!)

Every time this happens – as with Dragon Age: Inquisition – is some kind of memory cache or similar that has become problematic. Whenever I go to restart the machine after strange things like frame rate drops happen, there’s a ping during shutdown and a window appears for a second or two that includes a specific sting of numbers and saying there’s a problem. It’s been constant since an upgrade of Origins some time ago and the damn thing hasn’t stopped since.

This is the first Bioware game I’ve played at launch on just PC – the others have all been on console when they first came out. But even so, this one seems less… finished. Not effectively optimised – or it’s just so big and complicated, some things can’t be found to be fixed before tens or hundreds of thousands of people play it on different machines with a kelidoscope of v– hardware specs. The Witcher 3 suffered it. MMOs always suffer it. CoD and Battlefield have suffered it. With such differences in hardware these days, its impossible to replicate them all before release, so all you can do it do your best and see what comes up… and I don’t blame them for that. However, I do wish I could work out how to make this… stuttering… a little better on my ship. Oh, and it’s universal across all characters too, so it’s  not unique to a saved place, file location, or where I am in the game.

So very odd… But personally, I’m blaming the weird cache glitch thing that keeps happening behind the scenes.

 

   ANDROMEDA:

Other than all that, I’m quite enjoying the game. Despite what others have been saying, I love the little personal things with the characters, their personalities, the fact Liam is such a nice guy (almost to Kaiden’s bland standards… bless him!) that he wants to cheer everyone up with Movie Night – but as it goes with a diverse group of people, everyone has different ideas of what that means to them and how they want it to go (reminding me of an episode of Friends – The One with the Thanksgiving Dinner, where they all want different things and celebrate it in different ways, driving Monica to distraction and ultimately disaster).

Mass Effect Andromeda 04.03.2017 - 01.26.27.22It’s [original] Mass Effect via Dragon Age: Inquisition – and it both works and it doesn’t. I feel there should have been more pressure on the Pathfinder to get the Andromeda more and more ready for settling, like having something akin to the Galactic Readiness of Mass Effect 3. That it needed to be ready for all the people left in Cryo, because the pods would only last so long, or something like that. It feels too much like Elder Scrolls, where you are left to just wander about at your own pace, and if and when you complete the main mission, that’s great. But there’s nothing pushing you towards settling Andromeda or defeating the Archon. In a fairness, that’s also something I could throw out about Dragon Age: Inquisition, too,

I like the dynamic with the others, again very similar to Inquisition. You get to know them better, become real friends and get to know them as people, like in Mass Effect 2 but better (in my own opinion). I do miss the Paragon/Renegade function – it made life more fun to push towards Angel or Devil with what you did and how you did it. I also miss the other Milky Way species: Quarians, Drell, Elcor, Volus Hanar… but perhaps they’re arrrival is a good excuse to make Andromeda 2…?

The Andromeda Dream: Chasing The 4K Mastering Bug

New graphics card. New Game. New Challenge:

To get Mass Effect: Andromeda to run at 4K on reasonable graphics specs with just one little GTX 1060 6GB graphics card by NVIDIA, built and overclocked by ASUS:

~ PC ~ i7-4790K ~ 16GB RAM ~ GTX 1060 6GB OC ~ High/Ultra Specs ~ 4K graphics resolution~ Recorded at 3840 x 2160 ~ 4K Playback ~

You know what? It kinda does. I’ve pushed the card to crying point, but it kind of works, on High-Ultra settings.

It turns out the worst culprits are lighting and shadows – they’re the settings that slow it down. Otherwise the things to watch out for are the HBAO and AA sets – they can get heavy for systems too. 6GB of VRAM gives you a lot of power, though, and the GTX 1060 quite the little workhorse – kicking out way more and far above its weight than I expected it to.

I must admit it was running much better until NVIDIA updated their GeForce drivers [to v. 381.39] – now ME:A doesn’t appear on my GeForce dashboard along with the others, and it doesn’t work quite as well – there’s a lot more slowdown now on the same specs, which wasn’t there before.

The above video runs on the original driver, updated and optimized for it just before the game was released. It looks good and runs well decent specs.

Here is the very first time I turned it on – proving it was on the GeForce dashboard and what it was originally running on, and how character creation used to be – they tweaked it later on:

 

Then also how it looked like when it was first up and running – I started it down on Medium, so I knew it wouldn’t be overwhelmed the first time I played it. It looked good, even then, too:

*Videos will play in 4K on relevant screens

It infamously had lip-sync issues before the new patch later, but everything else goes really well. Since the driver upgrade, however, I seem to be experiencing problems regardless. Especially with the “alien” races, although some work better than others. Jaal is terrible sometimes, as are most of the Asari.

It doesn’t stop me loving it – I really do love this game. It’s just fun… a little like the very first Mass Effect. The first full playthrough is hard, unnatural, because you’re only just finding your bearings. The second, third and fourth playthroughs get better and better, as you become more familiar with the game, the systems, the characters, the missions, the story, and even the enemies.

It’s a really amazing chance to more make your own story, than just follow the main one – which feels like an interpretive re-hash of the Collector/Prothean/Reapers story all in one place. Andromeda is not all that different from the Milky Way, as it seems that “human nature” really is just “organic nature”, common to all cognitive species in the entire Universe. But what is different is the terrains of each planet,  the challenges of finding ways to explore, exist, co-habit with the natives, and survive this hostile environment where everyone (quite rightly) thinks you’re an alien.

There are 100,000 people from the Milky Way counting on you, Pathfinder Ryder, to give them a world to live, exist and thrive upon. Several were already killed whilst entering Andromeda when they hit the Scurge – including the Andromeda’s original Pioneer. The original human Pathfinder died to save you – as any father would – and the others have been scattered in their Arks, nowhere to be found.

Made Pathfinder without your knowledge or consent whilst you were in a coma, you wake up to find the existence and lives of 100,000 Milky Way people are thus now depending on you, the only known Pathfinder, to do what needs to be done to help them settle into a Galaxy who doesn’t really want any of you.

It’s not about just finding the root of evil in the Galaxy… it’s also simply just about getting people out of their cold little coffins,in Cryo Stasis, and onto a viable planet for them to live on.

And I have them all… here.  On my YouTube Gaming channel.

Or here, on my normal YouTube channel.

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Formatting Disk Managment

~ The Joy of Inability To Copy Over 4GB to USB ~

… And queue sarcasm radar to shatter into a thousand shards of agony…

 


Note To Self: 
 
Always re-format idiot FAT32 format drives of all and any kind.


 

Fancy having a system that can’t transfer over 4GB! What kind of world do we live in where companies still auto-format in this way?

Probably should have checked this first, but I really didn’t realise anyone was that daft anymore.

This is apparently how USB sticks are still formatted… apparently lost in some factory in a decade now far, far away… until it’s returned to now and sold on…

I checked my other one, and yes, it’s apparently FAT32 as well.

FAT32 doesn’t allow more than 4GB to be processed at any one time. Have as many files as USB_Reformatting_exFATyou like – but they must be all under the 4GB mark. From now on, I will be auto-formatting all my USB sticks to exFAT… Both exFAT and NTFS have unlimited data transfer per file – however it is best to keep in mind that exFat can be used across the board in Mac and Linux OS machines as well, where as NTFS is dedicated only to Windows.

In fairness, it’s probably always best to check the Disk Management system  with all new USB drives, as well as HDD/SDD ones for formatting, health, etc:

 

Run: diskmgmt.msc

That way you know everything’s good to go before you put your very precious data on it.

 

Not Enough Disk Space

 

Goodbye [God-Awful] Wileyfox…

I loved my Wileyfox Storm. I really respected their stand against general mobile phone manufactures. But now they have clearly lost the plot – and in this instance a once-loyal customer too.

I literally got my Swift 2 Plus handset today (day of writing) and I can’t even get it to charge. Nor did it hold its charge either, that 50% it came with right out of the box. My PC thinks it’s malfunctioned and refuses to acknowledge it (both USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports), other USB ports don’t seem to charge it, and right now it’s on barely-there life-support – holding a meagre and un-moving 3% – plugged into my PS4. Attempts to contact customer services is like hitting head on a wall – and you get the same result… nothing but a headache.

I was looking forward to using this phone. I had my Wileyfox Storm – until the screen accidentally got written off completely and it was murdered via blunt-force-trauma – and I loved it. It was perfect. I thought nothing of going back to Wileyfox and getting one of the latest handsets. Big mistake.

I have been shocked by my inability to get this one to work at all, because the battery (or maybe charger, I can’t test it because I only have this one USB C charger, that came in the box – unlikely, but possible). One might expect some issues at some point, but not right out of the box.

I have had problems contacting their customer service department, and to be honest, they don’t seem to be particularly bothered about helping at all. If they ever answer you at all, they can barely contain their nonchelance. I was quite taken aback by their absolute lack of customer service quality.

I’ve seen a few like-for-like recommendations, so I shall have to try one of those instead, and leave Wileyfox behind now. Unfortunate, because it is (… was…) a British company with good intentions and ideas… in theory, at least.

Racist Address Page & Astounding Customer Service

When I was trying to purchase a new phone, I originally wanted their Swift 2 X – only currently available through their website. It was more than the Swift 2 Plus, but then you got more.

So off I went, chucking it in the basket, all ready and looking forward to getting it. But then… it refused to acknowledge my Welsh address! Three… or four times. I tried it again, and again, and again… Nothing. It literally didn’t accept the Welsh names or spelling. Amazingly, the website itself is actually racist!

The Customer “Service” people on the Chat option were clearly trained right out of the School of Basil Fawlty. In fact, he would have been better. And funnier. These people knew less than Manuel… about anything. My dog could have done a better job. Even Jack Dee would have done a more cheerful job…

And their response to the Welsh-language problem? Oh yeh, that’s probably it, then… Astounding. Unprecedentedly Astounding…! In every worst possible sense. There are just no words. They didn’t even try to rectify it, or over-ride the system… nothing. And that was the second person I spoke to. I disconnected the first Chat conversation because they were downright rude!

A £220 sale out of the window. Just like that. I just hope they’re so very pleased with themselves… as they’re clearly heading for the cleaners, if the fact I am in the majority of people here with such an experience…

Safe Mode RIP – Alt PC Emergency Recovery Breakdown Service…

This is what happened when a driver update killed my system and I needed to fix it. 

This was the moment I found out there was no longer an F8 Safe Mode in Windows 1o…

 

 

So, at this moment in time, it seems like there’s a good change I may have broken my computer.

Well, actually… not me. NVIDIA, actually. To be presice, it was their GeForce Driver update [375.70]. It showed an error message then it stopped working properly. Then it stopped working at all.

It won’t boot properly. It starts, goes through the BIOS, gets to the Windows 10 blue squares, then… nothing. Doesn’t keep on booting after that. It took a while but I finally managed to get it into Safe Mode  – and boy did that take some time and doing too.

Windows 10 – SAFE MODE:

No more is there an F8 … and MS can F-***

Apparently the trick is to get to fail to boot 3 times – at this point the system finally clocks onto the fact it’s not working properly.

This is when you are given actual Troubleshooting options – the RE(covery Environment): SELECT: Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > Startup Settings > Restart > Select option 4 [Safe Mode] with Curser / Function Keys.

The Scouts didn’t have it wrong when they said always be prepared.

Without a Recovery Point from System Restore, or a Recovery Disk [USB], I am very limited with what I can do. So I have put whatever is portant on the OS SSD onto a USB backup drive – just in case it really does need to be reformatted – and uninstalled the NVIDIA Drivers that caused the issue.

Now… It’s Reboot Time.

Restarting now…..

OMG I’m IN!

***

Well, I can tell you the first thing I’ve done is create a restore point…

I’m going to be brave now and try that driver again. Yes. Call me an idiot. But I have to try. And I’ve tried something called a Clean Installation. I don’t know if that will help or not, though.

***

Wow… All done. Took just a few minutes… Nothing’s exploded yet so I’ll take that as a good thing.

I didn’t get that same window popup again, so I maybe in luck that I made the right choice with that Clean Installation thing (it was under Custom Installation settings).

I’ve run an extra Restart to test. All good – I got back in. However, there’s been a strange side-effect to Safe Mode: The One Drive folder is no longer recognised – although it’s still there (on a 2nd HDD). I’ve re-set it up and pointed it back to the folder it’s already inhabiting, and all I can say is it better not duplicate anything…  I think it’s just re-synching itself, though.

 

And now for the ultimate tester – playing Dragon Age: Inquisition on it … which it crashed and burned before dying on me…

Unfortunately, this isn’t kicking back in first time. I’m obviously concerned about corruption to the saved games, and I’ve requested a Repair via the Origins desktop  client. For some reason it still had difficulty actually booting, just a black screen with the little green Rift icon flashing away in the corner relentlessly.

Still naught. It looks like I may have to reinstall it. It’s possible the corruption got into it … No, actually, strangely enough I go back to shut it down, but start up the ASUS GPU Tweak II desktop client instead – and suddenly the damn thing comes to life after a good 5 minutes of just spinning on its heels. The thing is it’s taken another 5 minutes to get into the Save file, so now I’m getting quite concerned…

And it’s only taken until 2:20am to accomplish this so far … Thank you, NVIDIA.

 

 

The TW64S Next Gen Sports Wristband Pairing Nightmare

… in a nutshell.

A Nightmare of brainwork – and finally, an answer.

 

tw64-smart-watch

SPORTS ACTIVITY BRACELET WITH HEART RATE MONITORING TW64S

 

This little sports wristband, purchased from Wowcher, via Somemore.co.uk has been most troublesome to use – thanks to conflicting information and the incorrect app being suggested for it:

The biggest FYI here is that the appropriate app is not the “MovNow Plus” or “MovNow Q2”. Just in case you’re being told that too.

Nope. It’s not that one at all – and you’ll just keep getting a “Connection Failed” response if you attempt to pair it with this one.

 

The TW64S Sports Activity Bracelet

img_0853This is the newer next gen edition of the TW64, mainly identified by the Interface button being placed on the right instead of the left. The UI (User Interface – i.e. the LED display, in this case) is also a little different from the original first gen as well.

If you happen to get this item from Wowcher… I strongly suggest you find the little official instruction book that was in the box with it (not with the packaging) and read that instead.

The information – and most importantly, the app, is very different.

 

The app you need is this:

 

mistep-app-for-tw64

Mistep App (Google Play Logo)

 

Mistep is the compatible app for this product – available for iOS and Android devices (see app details for specifications on devices/OS versions).

 

The Mistep app can be located by simply scanning the QR Code in the User Manual. This User Manual should be in the box – do not use the badly-printed paper that comes in the envelope, the “MovNow Plus”/”MovNow Q2” apps:

img_0863

The QR Codes on the Official User’s Manual

 

With this app, it connects pretty flawlessly, once you have set up your iOS or Android app: img_0852

  1. Download Mistep app from relevant app store (the iPhone app will work fine with iPad [tested]) >> The app should be available by scanning the relevant QR Code on the official enclosed User Manual
  2. Turn on phone/tablet Bluetooth
  3. Go to list of Bluetooth devices available and connect the TW64 (the bluetooth device name can be found by long-pressing the side button on the right)
  4. Open the Mistep app
  5. Register your new account (or log in, if you have one) and enter the app (NB: I had a little difficulty registering a new account on the Android app – but this may not be a universal problem. When I did register a new account via iOS app, the login after was flawless)

 

 

Now you’re in the device, the pairing/binding should be pretty straightforward:

  • FYI: Your TW64S Bluetooth (referenced as “BT” in the User Manual) is constantly on, so there’s no need to concern yourself about the Smart Watch Device.
  1. Turn on the Bluetooth of your phone/tablet
  2. Enter into the “Find devices” section of the relevant Bluetooth Menu and pair the TW64S with it
  3. Return to the app and go to Menu>Device (see below)
  4. In Device, use either Search for Bracelet (if already paired) or Search Equipment if this is the first time pairing (or “binding”, as it’s also referenced in regards to this process)
  5. The Bluetooth Icon will appear in the top left corner of the bracelet’s display when the device pairing is successful: This is when the app will be able to recognise the device to “bind” itself to it.

 

 

 

 

 

Now, you can hopefully enjoy your pretty new shiny gadget without any further problems.

All relevant information regarding the use of the Smart Device is on that little official User Manual that came with it in the box.

Unfortunately, I can’t really help with you with actually using it – with the the running, the jogging, the hiking, the workouts, the aching muscles afterwards…. etc.

Sorry….. !!

 

 

Cyanogen 13.1.2 – A … Storm

Handset: Wileyfox Storm

OS: Cyanogen

Version: 13.1.2

I got this new handset not so long ago, when my poor little over-used BlackBerry Z10 was failing and I was priced out of the BlackBerry market.

Unable to afford a new BlackBerry (only the Priv & Passport were available at that time) I looked for something else that wasn’t quite mainline. I found Wileyfox, and saw what their Storm had to offer.

I’ve been so far very pleased with the handset… But I am not at all happy with the OS.

Not now.

Not now they’ve killed my SD card.

Dead.

 

My PNY 64GB micro SDHC card was doing really well until the very minute the Cyanogen 13.1.2 updated was set off. Then it went through 128 modules, and spent ages with the little green android wiggling its antennae on the screen. Once relaunched, the first thing I noticed was the “Corrupted SD card”… and my blood ran cold.
 

 
I attempted to reboot. when picked up the phone, I noticed it was extremely hot to the touch, both front and back, which wasnt a good sign. Unfortunately, this did not resolve it. There was only one conclusion…

The update had killed my SD card data.

It. Was. All. Gone.

Forever.
 

I double checked it in my old Z10. That couldn’t read it either. My PC doesn’t have a card reader, and I no longer have an SD adapter (that I remember). I rather stupidly don’t have a USB reader. But I think it was made pretty clear by the BlackBerry… which has always been reliable. There was only corrupted, unreadable data on the SD card now. The update had fried the data and turned it to gibberish.

I had to start everything all over again. At least pictures and videos were immediately transferred to several cloud services. Things like music…. They all had to be imported and playlists probably recreated. Some apps might have to be redownloaded. There could be a whole bunch of other things lost on there I don’t remember… This is not good at all.

 


 

So right now, I’m pretty mad because I have to erase and (re)format my card. Everything lost. Broken. Gone. I don’t even know why… Apart from the fact I made the mistake of updating the OS.

I’m obviously very unhappy about this. I couldn’t even do an emergency backup,  because just like that it was all gone. There was no warning, and I’ve never encountered such a problem before, so it’s both infuriating and baffling. 

When I’ve gathered myself enough to deal with the trauma of being able to pull the plug, I will reformat the card and start again.

And try not to cry. Or break something…


 

 

 

 

Again I Played… Again I Lost.

Again I Played… Again I Lost.

… To. A. Machine…

I really have to get better at arguing with inanimate objects…

 

<random.rant>

 

 

Ubuntu-LogoHaving an argument with Ubuntu again.

16.04 this time.

Remind me again why I do this…??

 

Already had argument with Kubuntu and lost.

 

… Whoever said computers don’t have their own minds is sorely mistaken. And an idiot.

 

 

 

</random.rant>

 

 

Decisons… Decisions…

Apple iPad Air 2 & Samsung Galaxy Tab 2:

Positive Vs Negatives

 

Apple Vs Samsung
Apple Positives Apple Negatives Samsung Positives Samsung Negatives
Apple Apple: Not quite the same company now Samsung It’s not Apple/ iOS
iOS Layout & GUI iOS: system is rather flawed New Android is good, GUI interesting It’s not iOS: things like iMessages missing
Apple Apps/ App Store Price Point: £529 for 64GB £449 – or £479 for max 163GB space Cannot download & read Max PC mag
Familiarity Unreliable future for excellence – empty – Inability to access Apple [Only] Apps
Excellent Quality Hardware Weight: 444g (vs. 392g) Extremely thin and light Untested & unfamilaiar ground
Simple Setup, Easy Migration of Data etc. by simply loggiing in Size: A2 slightly thicker – 6.1mm vs. 5.6mm – empty – Inability to transfer some data, apps, subscriptions, etc.
Immediate like-for-like setup, like having same iPad There has been very little innovation Something new and interesting in Android Change….
I do love iOS – empty – No problem in handling it Smaller size makes less easy to clutch
Ease, beauty & functionality of entire package A8X Tri-Core 64-bit, 2GB RAM (vs. Exynos eight-core, 3GB RAM) Octa-Core: 2x Quad Core procesors Not 64-bit hardware
Simplicity & simple elegance of iOS design & function Terrible glitches and problems and patches with each iteration Imaginitive functions & design of Lollipop & Marshmallow Android OSes Android has reputation of being chaotic, unstable & unreliable
Excellent specs & more than enough space (64GB, 2GB RAM) Fixed Space High specs, low weight Some games/apps iOS only

 

Battle Of The Brands: Apple vs. Samsung

I have a big decision to make.

One day soon, in the next few months, maybe by Christmas  (and depending on the launch of iOS 10), I will require a new tablet. But that’s not the whole story… the biggest decision is whether to stick with Apple and the iPad family or jump ship to  Samsung and Android.

To even consider breaking away from Apple, there is just one real first question… Can Samsung really compare?

There are also a couple more:

  • Is jumping ship a good thing?
  • Is transitioning easy?

So, given those questions – and unspoken other ones – I wonder just what kind of arguments each side could make:

 

The Competitors:

On the side of Apple, I give you the lovely iPad Air 2 (unless your job is a graphics designer or similar, there is no need to even think of considering iPad Pro):

 

16GB + 4G – 449.99
64GB + 4G – £529.00
  • A8X chip with 64-bit architecture (three cores clocked at 1.5 GHz)
  • M8 motion coprocessoriPad_Air_2
  • Depth: 6.1 mm (0.24 inches)
  •  Weight: 444 g
Available in: 16GB – 64GB (No external memory)
Camera: 8MP iSight camera
Video: 1080p HD video recording (30 fps)
Audio formats supported: AAC (8 to 320 Kbps), Protected AAC (from iTunes Store), HE-AAC, MP3 (8 to 320 Kbps), MP3 VBR, Audible (formats 2, 3, 4, Audible Enhanced Audio, AAX and AAX+), Apple Lossless, AIFF and WAV

Retina display:

  • 9.7-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit widescreen Multi-Touch display with IPS technology
  • 2048 x 1536 pixel resolution
  • 264 ppi

 

On the side of Samsung, I give you the Galaxy Tab S2, and at the lower end, the Galaxy Tab A:

Galaxy Tab S2 9.7″ 4G £449.99

– Samsung Exynos 5433 ProcessorSamsung_Galaxy_S2_
– Quad-core x 2 (“Octa-Core”)
– 1.9 GHz / 1.3 GHz
– 3GB RAM
– 32 GB eMMC (Memory)
– 8″ Super AMOLED Screen
– 2048 x 1536 (QXGA)
– microSD card (up to 128 GB)
– 8 MP camera
– 2.1 MP webcam
– MP3/WAV/eAAC+/WMA/Flac player
Depth: 5.6mm
Weight: 392g

Samsung_Galaxy_S2

Galaxy Tab A 9.7″ 4G£239.99

– 1.2GHz Quad-Core
– 1024 x 768 (XGA) resolution
– 2 GB RAM
– 16 GB memory (10.8GB available)
– MicroSD (Up to 128GB)
– Depth: 7.5mm
Weight: 456g

 

Like vs Like:

There is one key issue here that will be a very big deciding factor: Weight. I can no longer hold my iPad (4) Retina for more than fairly short periods – I have a condition that means I can no longer hold much weight – and therefore to really use and enjoy the product

The other key issue that is just as important is: Space: My strict 16GB (shrunk to 12GB thanks to the constantly inflating sizes of iOS) space is not even half as big as what I really require to make the most of my hefty investment.

Weight and Space might be Key- but functionality is also a must. Android and iOS are as night and day in how they do things, but they’re fairly neck-and-neck when it comes to what they do. Most apps are written and available for both platforms. Both have the ability to do a heck of a lot. There’s not a lot in it when it comes to what products are available.

However, when it comes to the functionality of the two operating systems there’s much to consider… Apple is talking about bringing out iOS 10 soon, as is Android about Marshmallow 6.0. Both offer more and better functions, in very different ways.

I admit I am a fan of the clean and smart layout of iOS. I like the way it functions – and it doesn’t hurt that it is what I have been using for the last 4+ years. I also admittedly do not have a soft spot for the Android layout, and it’s more like an average desktop with far more options for customisation… something most other people really like, but I’m not much of a fan of.

 

 

Apple Positive vs Negatives
Apple Positives Apple Negatives
Apple Apple – Not the same company now
iOS Layout & GUI iOS – system is now flawed
Apps Price Point
Familiarity Unreliable future for excellence
Excellent Quality Hardware Weight – S2 slightly lighter
Simpler Setup, Migration of Data etc. Size – S2 slightly thinner
Ease, beauty & functionality of entire package Processor – S2 has slightly faster speed, more cores & RAM
Excellent specs & more than enough space (64GB) Fixed Space

 

iPad_Air_2(2)Whilst thinking about this list, I came to realise that trying to process the negatives were difficult – it was actually hard to think of bad things against the iPad Air 2… apart from the price and memory options. The clear £79 difference between the two, along with the option of expanding the memory by an extra 128GB does swing a lot in the S2’s favour.

 If it weren’t for these contentions, I do not think I would hesitate or think of looking elsewhere. I love my iPad and I would prefer to make a like-for-like change… but the fact nevertheless  remains that Samsung is offering far more value for money. A 128GB micro SD card can be as little as £25 – add that to the 32GB of on-board memory that the S2 has and for as little as £474.98 you have a device with 163GB of on-board memory and 3GB of RAM with an eight-core processor. It is a difficult offer to pass up when Apple is not offering a product that’s not quite on that level for an extra £55.

 

 

Tablet Specs: Table 1
Product Price Processor Speed Memory Screen Res Depth Weight
iPad Air 2 £529.00 A8X 64-bit 1.5GHz x3 Cores 64GB 2048 x 1536 6.1mm 444g
iPad Pro 9.7″ £599.00 A9X 64-bit 2.16GHz – 2.26GHz 32GB 2048 x 1536 6.1mm 444g
Galaxy Tab S2 £449.99 Quad-Core x2 1.9GHz / 1.3Ghz 32GB 2048 x 1536 5.6mm 392g
Galaxy Tab A 9.7″ £239.99 Quad-Core 1.2GHz 16GB 1024 x 768 7.5mm 456g

 

Tablet Specs: Table 2
Specs iPad Air 2 iPad Pro 9.7″ Galaxy Tab S2 9.7″ Galaxy Tab A
Processor A8X 64-bit A9X 64-bit Quad-Core x 2 Quad-Core
Price £529.00 £599.00 £449.99 £239.00
Speed 1.5GHz x3 2.16GHz – 2.26GHz 1.9GHz / 1.3GHz 1.2GHz
Memory 64GB 32GB 32GB 16GB
Screen Res 2048 x 1536 Retina 2048 x 1536 Retina 2048 x 1536 S-AMOLED 1024 x 768 (XGA)
Depth 6.1mm 6.1mm 5.6mm 7.5mm
Weight 444g 444g 392g 456g

~ All prices are for the 4G (network) editions ~
 

It’s a difficult decision to make… with the fundamentals resting on whether Apple s offering enough to justify an extra £80 for less processor power, less memory [options], and more weight (even if it isn’t all that much).

I can’t really justify the iPad Pro – I do not require such power in a tablet. The iPad S2 certainly covers my needs quite easily…but put up against the Galaxy Tab S2, it seems lacking and wanting. One of those things where you are simply paying for the name. Samsung is the company trailblazing and experimenting with new tech, trying new ideas, bringing out the best things… everything Apple used to do. All Apple seems to be doing is bringing out yet another near-identical products with better processors, which are required for their new mighty and clumsy incarnations of iOS.

The swings and roundabouts will continue to move until a final decision is made… but to me it says a lot about how far Samsung has come – never before have I ever considered trading in my Apple for anything else. Or maybe it shows how the Apple has fallen. They are not the company they used to be. They used to trailblaze and try new things… and we haven’t seen anything genuinely new from them since the mighty Steve Jobs passed from us. His vision, passion, and constant search for something new is sorely missing, but it is Samsung who is taking inspiration, and they are the ones trying new things now. Will I be the one to try something new in Samsung?

I do not yet know.