GeChic On-Lap 1305H – The Perfect Portable Monitor?

Today, we are reviewing the GeChic On-Lap 1305H Portable Monitor.

Before we begin, let’s talk about how I came across the product. Upon getting the Nintendo NES Classic (and later the Nintendo SNES Classic,) I loved the item. It lets me play classic retro games I played in my childhood, and discover new ones I hadn’t played before. A crisp high definition resolution and nifty saving features make the game experience even better than the original.

However, I hadn’t played the mini-consoles much since I got them, because part of the concept just… didn’t make sense to me. A tiny, palm-sized console displaying 8-bit retro games didn’t beg to be played on my large-screen 4K TV. I already have several consoles and other devices taking up precious space in my home AV setup, as well. I’m the type of guy that tends to be much more willing to play games if they’re portable, rather than needing to be tied down to my TV to play them. So I decided, I wanted to play these portable consoles, well… portably. So the search for a suitable portable screen came up. After looking through several wonky and sub-par solutions on YouTube and Amazon, I have finally come across, undoubtedly, the best portable monitor available on the market.

Read on my for my detailed impressions and review.

Introduction

The GeChic 1305H is a 13.3-inch portable monitor designed to be taken anywhere. It is thin and light, with a spacious screen, and runs on mere USB power, meaning it can be powered by a portable battery bank, like the ones commonly used to charge phones and tablets on the go. The screen is a novelty in the market, being one of the only ones to boast full HD resolution, and FFS screen technology.

GeChic is an interesting company. Based in Taiwan, the company specializes in making portable monitors. When a company’s entire product lineup is composed of portable screens, you expect them to be of good quality. Thankfully, the screen did not disappoint. This review aims to cover all of the bases necessary for one to make an informed purchase decision.

Visual Appeal

First off, we need to discuss how good this thing will look when you’re using it on your desk. No one wants to use something that just sticks out like a sore thumb. With this screen, you’re in luck. The GeChic 1305H is sleek, thin, and light. The screen measures only 7mm thick, with bezels at 1.3cm, and weighs in at only 1.51 lbs (or 2.01 lbs with stand). With a matte screen texture, fairly-sized bezels, and a gunmetal gray finish, this screen fits right in to a modern room setup. When on the go, the screen doesn’t make you feel like the geek in the room, so to speak. You’ll feel comfortable taking this one to your local coffee shop for a meeting, and feel stylish doing it.

Product Features

This product is unique in the market, in that it is one of the few portable screens to actually feature a full 1080p resolution. Most other portable screens in this market segment, from the likes of Asus, GAEMS, and Hori, run at a meager 720p HD, barely passable in today’s market where 1080p is the standard and 4K the new king. So, with a sizable 13.3-inch screen, you expect 1080p. Here you get that and more.

In addition to a stellar true 1080p resolution, you also get a FFS display (no, not that FFS). If you’ve heard of IPS, you know it is the display of choice for non-HDR displays, because of its wide viewing angles and great color accuracy. FFS, being an improvement to IPS, takes things a step further, and improves the contrast of colors even more (1000:1), along with 178 degree viewing angles, so images look even more vivid and lifelike on the screen.

In terms of connectivity, the screen is stripped down from the company’s previous models, offering just two HDMI inputs (one for horizontal and one for vertical placements), and a headphone jack that supports optical audio and 5.1 surround sound. Neat.

The product does not offer built-in speakers, so the audio output jack is the only option for outputting sound from the screen. Bring those headphones if you need to listen to your content on the go.

In previous models, there would be separate ports for USB power and HDMI inputs. The 1305H does away with these and instead introduces proprietary ports which combine HDMI and USB into a single cable port going into the screen. It certainly helps keep the screen looking sleek, without too many cables getting in your way.

On the other end of the proprietary cable are a standard HDMI connection and USB-A connection for power. Also included in the box is a USB to AC adapter for plugging directly into a wall, if needed.

The screen features a detachable back cover that doubles as a kickstand, allowing you to adjust the angle of the screen. The kickstand uses a unique proprietary mechanism involving a magnet, which you can remove and reposition, then slide up and down to achieve the desired angle for the screen.

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All of the physical features are very well thought out, from the size of the screen, to the visual aesthetic of it, to the layout and design of the ports and included kickstand case. This design is testament to the company’s experience developing portable screens, culminating in a very evolved and well-thought out product design that is easy and intuitive to use.

Once using the screen, you will find standard TV options in the software menus, such as brightness, contrast, color saturation, color tint, and sharpness. Other nice options are also included, like color temperature and multiple viewing modes.

The viewing modes consist of options such as “Standard,” “Sports,” “Cinema, “Photo,” and “Game” modes.

Navigating the menus was not so fun. Have you ever lost a TV remote and had to use the buttons on the TV itself to navigate the menus? Remember how frustrating that was, and how much you missed having that remote? That’s exactly the experience GeChic opted for to control the menus on this screen. Once you learn how to navigate with the Settings, Volume, and Up and Down buttons, it’s fine, but you wish they would have included a remote or smartphone interface to control the screen settings. Luckily, if you’re like me, you will just set it and forget it, not needing to touch the settings again for a long time.

Overall, GeChic threw a lot into the package here, and it all works cohesively, which is not to be taken granted in the world of tech.

Performance

What good is a product if it doesn’t perform its intended functions well? Thankfully, this product not only does the job, but exceeded my expectations.

The screen’s buttons feel solid to touch, and are well placed. The detachable back cover works well, and is easy to attach and remove quickly. The movable locks are a great feature, making sure the screen doesn’t fall out when being moved. The kickstand’s design takes some getting used to, but once you’ve learned how to reposition it, it makes changing the screen angle a piece of cake. I do wish the tilt angle was more, given it only offers 40 degrees of variability, but it is sufficient for most cases.

Using the cover stand with the screen in vertical mode works, but not as well as in the horizontal mode. Taking the screen out and putting it back into the case vertically makes it stick out, which not only looks a bit awkward, but doesn’t offer the same stability as in the horizontal mode either. Most people don’t need to use a screen vertically, but for those that do, this may be a letdown, as the included kickstand only works horizontally. At least, the cover stand case can hold the screen vertically if you remove and replace it vertically, but I think the company could have done more and incorporated a second kickstand that works vertically into the design.

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Image courtesy of GeChic

Once the product is set up properly, powering up is quick and simple. A press of the power button boots up the screen and displays whatever HDMI signal is being fed to it. If there is no signal, the screen will automatically turn it’s display off after a few seconds, but the screen will remain powered on. Turning the screen on for the first time was pretty awesome. The screen was actually exceedingly bright, so once I turned the brightness to my ideal level, all the settings were perfect from the get-go. The color settings were already perfect as they were, so after messing with other settings, I found I didn’t need to change any other settings.

I tested all of the settings on the Nintendo Switch, and found the only picture mode options that looked accurate were the “Standard” and “Game” modes. The other options, surprisingly, left color tints that were too saturated, or made the image look too blue or orange. However, testing on the SNES Classic, other screen modes actually looked better. Likewise, your preferred screen mode may depend on the input source.

Adjusting the other settings also yielded unsatisfactory results – not because the options didn’t work, but actually, because the screen was already most accurate with the default settings.

This is a testament to the quality of the product, in my opinion, as it appears the screen’s colors are already most accurate (and perhaps calibrated) out of the box. The only setting I had to change, then, was Brightness. Once I adjusted the brightness to my ideal level (around 40 for me, down from the default of 50,) I was set and the screen was ready to go.

Once the screen was set up, the viewing experience was great. Coming from a high-end 4K HDR TV, the black levels don’t get as deep, meaning you can still slightly notice the backlight in dark scenes. However, the black levels are still better than most laptop screens I have seen, minus exceptional screens such as Microsoft’s Surface line.

The colors were very natural and vivid, and actually made me enjoy playing my Nintendo Switch more than I ever have before in such a short period of time. What was initially meant to be a short testing session turned into a few hours of me playing Breath of the Wild on my Switch, and then watching a few episodes of TV on Hulu. It may be that the native 1080p presentation of the Nintendo Switch with no upscaling makes the Switch content look better, or maybe the smaller screen size, but even without adding any sharpness to the screen, the Switch looked better than it ever had on my high-end TV. That’s saying a lot.

The viewing angles were also great, as promised. I could look all the way to the side of the screen, and the image was still highly visible. The anti-reflective screen texture also helped, as even with my bright studio lights, there was only a small reflection.

Testing the headphone jack yielded decent audio quality. Not as good as my dedicated headphone DAC/amp combo, but just fine if you’re used to standard headphone jacks in any other product. The headphone jack also doubles as an optical audio jack output, which is very nice if you have some compatible audio hardware to use it with.

Input lag on the device seemed minimal, even with the HDMI input going through two adapters and several short cables. The stated response time (different from input lag) is 12.5ms, so that is better than the average screen, and very snappy. Once I was playing my games, everything seemed very snappy and playable. This screen gets a solid A in the input lag department, so pro gamers or anyone sensitive to input lag/latency on screens should rest assured the screen feels very responsive.

Price

All of these features come at a cost, however. The screen is currently sold for a retail price of $299.99 as of this writing. Is it worth it? To me, you’re getting the best portable monitor on the market, so I believe the price is well justified. For those on a tighter budget, however, it may be worth checking out the company’s cheaper options.

Final Thoughts

Overall, GeChic has put together a very compelling product here. The possibilities with owning a portable screen are endless. Portable screens offer a wide array of use cases, whether it be for portable photo or video monitoring, using them as second computer screens, presentation screens, or for portable video or gaming uses.

Once you see the need for having a portable screen to complement your devices, you need one that’s the best quality. After using the screen extensively, I can safely state that the GeChic 1305H is the best portable screen on the market. With great functionality, an attractive design, and excellent image quality, this screen not only matched my initial expectations, but exceeded them. I can’t imagine myself needing another portable screen again, as it pretty much ticks all of my boxes in terms of functionality and image quality. If you’re in the market for a portable screen, look no further than the GeChic 1305H.

Link to purchase:

GeChic 1305H at Amazon

Other Recommendations

If you need a cheaper option, with a similar screen size, GeChic is still selling the previous model of its 13-inch screen, the On-Lap 1303H.

Alternatively, if you need a touch screen option for making the screen a Windows or Android tablet, GeChic sells the On-Lap 1303i.

If you need a larger or smaller screen option, GeChic sells 11-inch and 15-inch versions of their screens.

Keep in mind, if buying another of the company’s screens, you will be getting a standard IPS display over the 1305H’s slightly superior display. However, if the 1305H does not fit your needs, the other options still offer very good quality on their own.

Did you find this review helpful? Consider subscribing to our blog for more content like this, as well as news and discussion in the world of gaming.

-Noah Sanchez, Gamer Splash

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Goodbye Surface, Hello Pixelbook: How I Finally Settled on the Best Long-Term Portable

Ah , Windows. The operating system everyone knows, and many love. I grew up in a family who used Windows as their daily drivers. As early as I can remember, maybe 10 years old, I remember my dad had a huge white computer tower. It was there that I’d forge some of my first memories of using a computer. Besides in school, of course. After I’d learned computer basics in elementary school like using Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel (ehh…), I came home and began using the internet. I discovered fun online games like RuneScape and AdventureQuest (though they ran pretty slow on that budget PC for the time). And always a musical one, it was where I made my first foray into music production by trying out programs like VirtualDJ to make my first remixes and mashups of my favorite artists. Ever since then, I’ve always been interested in PC’s, their applications, and how tech can be used to push them forward. I’ve come a long way since then, and so has technology.

That was in the late 2000’s. Skip to 2017, and the landscape for personal computing is totally different today. Now we have smartphones, devices we can now realistically do everything on (though not so conveniently), and tablets thrown into the equation. PC’s and laptops have, in proportion, begun to plateau and now decline in terms of sales, as more buy tablets and attach a keyboard to it, effectively making it their main PC. Still, though, many buy a laptop or PC to have a roomier experience – you get a more comfortable full-size screen and keyboard. And there are still certain applications one can only use best on a PC – niche audio or programming applications, serious video editing, hardcore gaming, etc. But the key word there is that it’s a niche – as much as you may like your use cases for a powerful PC or laptop, the general public doesn’t need it for more than general web-browsing, social media, video-streaming, and word-processing.

Chrome OS was introduced by Google just a few years ago in 2011. And it has surprisingly already taken over Macbooks in terms of laptop sales. At the same time, Android tablet sales have gone down, and so has the motivation to create them by manufacturers. The fact is, lkess people are using tablets now, unless they get an iPad. Even then, they probably also have Macbook and a phone. And maybe even a desktop PC. That’s a lot of devices.

Since the late 2000’s, I have had my own PC’s, and upgraded every few years. Each time has given me a good upgrade in power, allowing me to get more from my desktop programs, for music, video-editing, and just browsing the web. My first PC was a cheap eMachines Intel Celeron-based PC. Even then, it was apparent it was a budget PC. But it was what my family gave me, and it worked for me. Later on, I upgraded to my first laptop, an HP Windows 7 machine. It was a true upgrade. It had a dual-core processor. Later on, about half-way through high school, I was involved in the school’s broadcasting club. I needed more horsepower, as a one-hour long video with multiple camera angles and video effects took nearly an entire week to render. So I got a new laptop. Yet another upgrade, yet still budget. At this point, laptops worked for me and seemed more logical than a desktop. I’m getting a power increase every time I upgrade, and why have a desktop if a laptop is more portable and cohesive, right? My last laptop had an Intel Core i3 and a 17-inch screen. Yep. I think the premium we paid for it was for the screen. I used this until my first year of college, until it wasn’t enough for my uses (and when one of my professors asked me why I got such a big screen.)

So I got something new, this time for college. I got a Microsoft Surface Pro 3. Seeing all of the flashy commercials and rave reviews got me excited for the device. I was excited about the portability, the pixel-dense screen, the pen, and the ability to use it as a tablet. As well as Microsoft promising it would make my student life easier. I shelled out over $1K on the device, as it was the first time I was truly investing in a PC for myself. The difference in speed was great. A video that took a few days to render on my old HP laptop took no more than a few hours on the new Surface Pro i5. I loved the Surface for the same reasons everyone else did: its color-calibrated display, its portability and transportability, and its upgrade in power ver other similar devices. The Surface served me well for 2 years. Last year, needing more power once again, and seeing the improved screen, I got the Surface Pro 4. It was the Surface I knew, but even better. The i7 version I got was even faster for video and music production, and I got good use out of it for a couple more semesters.

Alas, that brings us to today. I sold my Surface. I came to realize I bought the new version mainly for the upgrade in power once again. But at this point, I realized that portable power just wouldn’t cut it for me anymore. So I spent about three entire weeks researching what best to do about my situation, and I came out of the other end – happily. I built a gaming desktop. Being the creator of this website, it is obvious I love gaming. I had always dreamed of having a nice gaming rig, and now that 4K is in its primetime, and I have a nice 4K TV as my display, it made perfect sense to build a gaming PC for 4K, but also to finally have the power to edit video and produce music that even my Surface Pro 4 had begun limiting me to do. I thought about getting the new Surface Pro (5?) but I knew the upgrade would be incremental again, and that is why I decided to finally come back to where I started – in the desktop form factor. Only this time, the reason I built a desktop was to get the best power I could reasonably get, and be able to upgrade later on. Buying a killer laptop not only would have been more expensive (due to its portability, form factor, and engineering), but also because nearly all gaming laptops today cannot be easily upgraded. So when it’s time to upgrade, you need to buy a whole new expensive system (and the upgrade won’t be superb in terms of power, either.) So that is why the desktop PC was the best option for me to invest into for my main computer – maximum power, and the option for easier and more cost-effective upgradability. The PC was definitely a big investment,  but it’s good to know I have all the power I need now, and when it’s time to upgrade again, it will cost much less than buying a whole new system (like I did in the past with my laptops).

So since then, I kept my Surface, but wondered why I needed such a powerful laptop anymore with my killer desktop now. For this reason, I sold the Surface and invested in something I’ve needed for a long time – accurate headphones for doing audio mixing on (I ended up getting an HD600 and O2 + ODAC combo, by the way.) I used my extra cash to shell out on a cheap $200 Lenovo Y580 laptop. I ended up not liking it, as it was way too heavy, and I had gotten used to the Surface’s small, but beautiful and sharp screen. The 2012 Y580 was so much of a downgrade (the screen’s backlight grotesquely changes as you move the screen up and down, and the color balance is washed-out) that I immediately said, “Oh no.” The screen seemed too big too, even though just a few years ago, I thought I couldn’t go smaller than a 17-inch! At this moment, I realized that the size of the screen really doesn’t matter. It matters how close you are to it. This is why we can reasonably look at both a 65-inch TV, and a 5-inch phone screen – we just sit further away from the TV and put the phone screen much closer to our face (it’s also why 1080p or higher is equally as important on a phone as on a TV – we are seeing the same amount of pixels for the distances we’re viewing the screens at.)

I was enticed to my “new” used laptop because it had Nvidia graphics and a bigger screen. But it was heavy as hell (6 lbs in 2017!) and therefore not portable at all. I need to take it to school along with other things I carry in my backpack (a Nintendo Switch, battery pack, headphones, cables, notebooks, pens and pencils, snacks, etc.) so adding this laptop makes it too heavy for me and renders it useless. I simply won’t use my laptop at home, since I have my desktop PC there. So the quest was on to find a new laptop.

I actually didn’t want to go back to the Surface. I didn’t really need all the extra power, I realized. What I really needed was a decent screen, keyboard, and I needed it to be light. The Surface Pro had a downside in that it tried to be a tablet and a laptop, but failed on the tablet side compared to any other tablet (unless you really wanted to play one of the two Windows-exclusive tablet games on Windows Store). In all fairness, in terms of its hardware, though a compromise, it executed the 2-in-1 concept very well. The detachable TypeCover allowed the laptop to be a pure tablet when you wanted it to, and by reattaching the TypeCover, it could be a laptop again. However, this design compromised the Surface Pro being a true laptop in order to make it a better tablet. For example, using it as a “laptop” was a worse experience than any other laptop with a traditonal laptop design. The thin TypeCover and kickstand combo could easily fall off of your lap, compared to a much more stable traditional laptop would on your lap. Additonally, the TypeCover chose thinness over comfort, with keyboard keys that just were a bit harder to type on and thinner than most laptop keyboards.

Microsoft recognized the problem and came out with the Surface Book – it had more power, and a true laptop bottom base that replaced the TypeCover. However, it became too heavy to carry in a typical student’s backpack, and the tablet still wasn’t very useful. In other words, the design was still a compromise. Jump to 2016, and Microsoft unveils its (final?) attempt at fixing the problem – they drop the tablet gimmick entirely, and make a traditonal laptop. Dubbed the Surface Laptop, Microsoft created a normal laptop design, with no compromises other than doing away with the tablet portion entirely. It retains the Surface line’s sense of elegance and beautiful pixel-dense screen, while doing away with pen support and tablet mode support. In earnest, I did enjoy the fact that the Surface Line had the Surface Pen, and all of its possible uses in being a student with it. But the problem is, I just never ended up using these features. And the Windows Store’s lack of compelling apps other than OneNote made the tablet portion useless too. Alas, Windows is still better as a traditional laptop than a tablet, and maybe it should stay this way.

I was thinking of just getting one of these Surface Laptops, then. But I then ran into the same problem that I had before. Why would I invest in this, when I now have a powerful PC? Well, it was light, thin, and fast. I thought, “It might as well be the perfect one to get now, right?” But it cost too much for what I needed it for. At this point, I just wanted a cheap computer that could do what I needed it to on the go (simple things like web-browsing and working on Word documents), but still be light, thin, and fast.

So I considered a Chromebook. I actually considered getting a Chromebook at the same time I got my Lenovo laptop. My priorities for the device were out of whack, then, as I valued graphics over portability. That was until reality hit, and I realized I wouldn’t really be making use of those graphics much, and I wouldn’t be using it at all, since it was too heavy. So I was back to considering the HP Stream laptops and Chromebooks. Before I could ponder too much, in came the Pixelbook.

The Pixelbook, announced at Google’s Made By Google event on October 4, has finally made me truly consider the Chrome OS, not only as my main laptop/tablet, but as the laptop and tablet of the future. Before the Pixelbook’s announcment, I thought of Chromebooks as cheap devices that could mostly just browse the web and use a few proprietary apps. That was true a few years ago, but now with the addition of Android tablet and phone apps, as well as the new 2-in-1 designs of the hardware, I believe the Chromebook can now be the best OS for most people in the future.

Now that I have my desktop PC to run any PC apps or games I want, the only thing I want out of my laptop is the ability to more easily work on documents while at school, browse the web, and be fast, portable, and light. A Surface laptop would solve all of these things, but it took away the ability to use it as a tablet, and I felt I wasn’t sure it was worth its monetary value to me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great Macbook competitor and its design is very high-quality, but it’s taking away the tablet portion of the Surface (not an objection to me, as I already said it wasn’t useful with WIndows 10 on it), with the exchange of a better design – the standard laptop design. But now that the Pixelbook can do all of that – having a premium, portable design and performing all of the tasks I now demand from my computer away from home, the Pixelbook has trumped the Surface Laptop, and every other Surface for me, as well.

The Pixelbook’s 2-in-1 design, the Pixelbook Pen that’s even more responsive than the Surface Pen and the Apple Pencil, and the addition of access to the full library of Google Play Store apps designed for phones and tablets, as well as the seamless companionship it makes with Google’s Pixel Phone, makes the Pixelbook the best laptop, and tablet, on the market now. Adding Google Play Store app support means that the Chromebook, a great web-browsing device with an otherwise similar app-availability problem as Windows Store, is now many times better, and a true competitor to the Surface, Macbook, and iPad line. With all of the apps we now use to do everything we want to on our phones, like social media, web-browsing, document editing, gaming, music production, and even video editing now accessible through the Google Play Store and the Chrome web browser, in addition to processing increasingly moving from the local device to the cloud, the Pixelbook is truly primed to be able to do everything you would want it to do, and makes it a true competitor to every other operating system you would shell out $1K for. Its advantage and beauty lies in the fact that we can now fulfill the perfect dream of transitioning between every phone and tablet app we now use to do most of our work on the go, upgraded to one device with a desktop-like experience –  a device that due in good part to its design, can truly be both your laptop, and your tablet.

The Google Pixelbook, with its beautiful screen, its powerful Intel Core processors, its advanced pen, its seamless 2-in-1 design, and its now-vibrant app-store, fulfills the concept of a 2-in-1 laptop/tablet, better that the Surface Pro ever could. By focusing on being a laptop first, and a tablet second, and adding access to an app store much more developed than Windows Store’s, the Pixelbook allows itself to be a fully-featured laptop and tablet without compromise, and thus knocks the Surface Pro out of the park. For more niche usage cases like advanced video-editing, programming, and hardcore gaming, Windows may still be desired. But for most people’s uses, or for those like me who already have a Windows desktop to do more of the grunt-work, the forward-thinking Chrome OS with Android apps, paired with truly useful 2-in-1 designs like the Pixelbook, is now the most useful portable one can have.

For further reading:

4 crazy Chromebook myths, debunked

Time to call it: The Chromebook is the new Android tablet

Nintendo Switch: The Tablet That Can Replace Your Console

The NX Is The Switch

The Nintendo NX was announced over a year and a half ago, in March 2015. Nintendo, ever-cryptic about the device, kept silent about it for 17 months, only saying the device was “a new concept different from Wii and Wii U.” Nintendo’s Wii U not doing so well, and intense interest in what Nintendo would do next, sparked endless rumor and speculation by journalists and fans alike. During the course of time, naturally, multiple “parties” formed, with one side arguing the NX would be a hybrid device, and another side claiming the NX would be a dedicated home console.

Strong evidence and logic showed that the NX would be a home console and a portable, separately. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata was even quoted as saying he “wasn’t sure if the form factor would be integrated or not,” and Shigeru Miyamoto was quoted as being very interested in developing and playing the same games on multiple devices, making its concept similar to Android or iOS. Nintendo even went as far as to mention a future console and a future portable, as mentioned in our previous articles.

This led many, such as YouTubers like SuperMetalDave64, to lead the charge for one side, with convincing arguments stating that the NX would be more of a traditional console and handheld combo as we’ve always seen from Nintendo, backed up by industry knowledge and speculation on Nintendo’s own words in the past.

Then there was the other camp, the one led by Emily Rogers, a prominent Nintendo leaker (being correct on many things, most recently announcing Paper Mario: Color Splash before Nintendo themselves), as well as respected gaming outlet Eurogamer, saying Nintendo was in fact creating a hybrid sort of device, instead. Many corroborated the story giving her more credit, especially the day before the reveal trailer.

There was also Gamer Splash itself, which published a series of intriguing interviews from a longtime independent Nintendo developer developing for the NX, that revealed a lot about the system, and told us what to expect before its inevitable reveal. Our source’s info matched up with Eurogamer’s story, although he said their articles “left important details out”. Well, it turns out that more or less, the latter team has won out, and, our source was correct.

The Nintendo Switch, revealed in a short trailer this past Thursday at 7AM PT, was a surprise to nearly all, in one way or another. That morning, Nintendo showed us a 3.5 minute clip of what the future of Nintendo gaming will look like. And in the words of Ubisoft boss Yves Guillemot, “it is something great, something really new for Nintendo”. And it really is.

The Nintendo Switch takes the idea of a home gaming console, but liberates it, allowing you to take your home games on the go, and play them in fun ways outside of the home, anywhere you want. Not only that, but it also appears that people can link up multiple Switch devices and play together, as one can on Nintendo 3DS systems.

Overall, it’s a very novel concept, and judging by the video’s viewcount on YouTube, it is generating a lot of waves, whether people’s opinions are positive or negative.

The Concept

The concept for the Switch is not something entirely new for gaming, but is definitely new for Nintendo. And that is where the benefit is.

Although devices such as the Morphus X300 and Razer Edge Pro tablet have been made in the past with a similar concept, they had clear limitations to what you could do on them. Game libraries weren’t huge, and the systems weren’t as portable as they could be. Additionally, the quality of the games would suffer a bit, especially when not designed to take advantage of systems like it. The Morphus X300 is only capable of playing Android games, after all, and the Shield wasn’t as comfortable as other systems and did not have great battery life.

I personally believe the handheld/console hybrid is a great concept, but I can see why it hasn’t sold well before in the market place. It hasn’t been implemented perfectly yet, and without enough big games to support the system, the system could never be expected to take off with the general public anyways. A nice concept for tech enthusiasts, but not something your mom would buy. And it’s not the concept that isn’t attractive to consumers, but rather the lack of killer apps for it, major support from developers in the form of content and games, and its concept being used intuitively enough. Many will remember tablets and even smartphones being around for years before they were popular. The devices weren’t bad, and offered cool capabilities, but suffered from a lack of major software support, being intuitive for all instances, and battery life. Not to mention the marketing was not there, either. It took Apple introducing the iPhone and iPad, devices that while intelligently combining multiple devices (phones, computers, MP3 players), entirely killed some of these same markets (the MP3 player or iPod). While Apple was still making great revenue on these products, it decided to take a risk and combine them to form a new future for technology and for consumers – and it paid off in the billions.

With the Nintendo Switch, Nintendo is becoming like Apple. Is it a risky move to go in a new direction – to not release a home console and portable, but instead combine the two? Of course. But like Apple with its iPhone, by sacrificing the concept of being another powerful standalone tethered gaming machine like and Xbox or PlayStation (PC’s by today’s standards), Nintendo may redefine the concept of not only what it means to be a home console, but what it means to be a console in general.

In regards to the hybrid concept seen in previous devices, Nintendo seems to have taken the very concept but added its own unique flair to it, refining the design and making it more appealing to consumers. But more importantly, in the short trailer, it has clearly demonstrated how it works, and proven that the concept can be fun and unique, especially with the fun and charm of Nintendo games and hardcore games from third parties. Where other systems with similar concepts have not sold well in the marketplace, Nintendo taking the concept and improving it, making it appear fun and useful, and having a massive game library on it, with your favorite Nintendo games on it and all the major publishers supporting it, the Switch will be successful. Only one company could do the concept right, and that company is Nintendo.

Why The Switch Will Be Great

1. It’s a Console And a Handheld!

One of the best features of the Wii U was that the GamePad could be used to play full console games off-screen. But it could only be used when near the system itself. The 3DS would have to suffice for your on-the-go gaming needs. Unlike the Wii U, the Switch is a home console that can play full console games, but is for the first time, fully portable, letting you take the system anywhere you go. Some see it as a reversal of the Wii U, but I see it as a great evolution of its GamePad concept, that is finally fully realized.

Tack onto that 3DS-like features, such as local multiplayer with personal devices and the ability to play it anywhere, and you’ve got a great system! Finally, for the first time, one can have just one system to play all of their games on, and not need to have multiple consoles for multiple games.

2. Premiere Software Support

If you read our developer interview series, you would know that Nintendo had previously stated that they wanted to create a platform that supports one way of programming: no matter how many devices, it would have one platform/OS with software that runs across all devices, like Android or iOS. While the Switch didn’t turn out to be exactly this (it’s only one device), it did in fact keep that Nintendo’s development teams would only need to create one piece of software now.

With the Wii U and 3DS, Nintendo wasn’t able to supply a steady stream of new software to both devices, due to having to create completely separate games for each system, unable to work on each other. This resulted in the 3DS getting more support while the Wii U lacked.

With one system, the Switch will now get double the games, as Nintendo will only need to make one version of the game, and it will work on the Switch whether it be played as a handheld or a console.

Additionally, the Switch will be receiving major third-party support. Besides having Skyrim and NBA 2K on it, third-parties from EA to Ubisoft to Square to Bethesda will be supporting the system. Nintendo consoles haven’t had this level of major third-party support with core games since the GameCube. If the Switch is successful, it will not only be a great Nintendo console, but a great, and even scary, competitor to Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

3. One Console for All Your Games

I can imagine the Switch possibly even replacing the 3DS, as long as it gets Nintendo’s traditional handheld-first games (like Pokemon), as well. And based on our source’s information, as well as other strong rumors, it will get these, as well as Nintendo’s own smartphone games.

Nintendo has stated that the Switch is the successor to the Wii U, not the 3DS, as it is marketing the system as a home console first. However, having so many portability aspects, one may have to wonder the necessity of having another portable system at all! Regardless, Nintendo did state that a 3DS successor would come “much later”.

I imagine that down the line we could see a Switch portable, running the same games, or only traditional handheld and mobile games, a smaller form factor able to fit in your pocket, and a cheaper price tag. This could be where the “multiple devices on one OS” concept could come to fruition.

For now, though, it appears the Switch may be able to become many people’s one device to game on, which could have massive effects for the gaming industry as a whole.

Similar to Microsoft’s Surface slogan, “the tablet that can replace your laptop,” the Switch could be the tablet to replace your console. And your handheld, too.

The Tablet That Can Replace Your Console

While there’s a lot we still don’t know about the Switch, concerns and excitement aside, one thing is for certain – The Nintendo Switch will switch up how we play. Gone will be the days where we can only play home console games at home, and also gone will be the need to have separate devices for separate games. Instead of competing on power, Nintendo is competing on a concept, and analyzing the concept of a traditional home console versus the Switch, the Switch wins out, offering more ways and places to play than ever before, in line with the modern person’s fast-moving lifestyle.

If the Nintendo Switch is successful, it may revolutionize the way the interactive entertainment industry works. And it should make its competitors very nervous.

Watch the reveal trailer for Nintendo Switch below:

 

What do you think of the Switch? Leave us a comment below.

-Noah Sanchez, Gamer Splash

Why I’m Switching To iPhone

Hey all!

As you may know, I’ve always had a bit of a love affair with Windows and Android. However, for one of these two partners, it’s time to break up.

I love Windows, as it’s what I grew up with, it has the biggest app library ever made, and gives users vastly more options. Additionally, the most innovative PC’s, the Surface line, also struck a chord with me for their amazing design, as well as their great hardware-software integration. Apple lost the PC race, and in terms of software library at least, it still hasn’t regained it. I still can’t see myself switching to Mac OS any time soon, if ever.

On the other hand, I’ve always loved Android. I was never a fan of Apple and how they locked down their hardware, and was under the illusion that because Android phones had higher specs, they would always be better.

While I continue to love Windows, I’ve had a bit of a falling out with Android as of late, and  I’m finally going to say what I never thought I’d say before:

I’m switching to iPhone.

My Love Affair with Android

I’ve always loved Android, because I disagreed with some of Apple’s early policies on their tightly controlled and hardly customizable OS, the lack of a back button (near the home button), and the difficulty of using it to transfer media from your Windows PC.

While I admit Apple did have some great OS features Android lacked, Android began adding in many of these in later updates, including the latest update.

Additionally, I coveted Android’s Windows-like experience, where you could purchase bigger screen sizes and more powerful components to go along with your phone.
But, as I later realized, Android, like Windows PC’s, have their drawbacks. My first Android phone was a cheap Red Samsung Android phone. The screen was 3.5″, and there was hardly any internal storage, but I was upgrading from a flip phone. This was heaven. Eventually, I got fed up with the lack of storage space, the small screen, and subpar camera and performance of the phone. It was time for an upgrade.

Then came along the Moto X. The Moto X was, under new owner ownership of Google, Motorola’s great attempt at changing the way Android could look. It combined a near-stock Android experience with great, useful additions that anyone would love, and good hardware (not top of the line, but good enough for most). The result was a fantastic Android phone that was more affordable than the Galaxy S’ of the day, and arguably better.

Eventually, Lenovo bought Motorola, and changed the Moto X. We got the last great Moto X phone, the Moto X (3rd gen, my current phone). After two years of having my original Moto X, it was a fantastic upgrade. Bigger 5.7″ screen, stereo speakers, faster processor, better camera, better battery, etc. I’m still enjoying these features, especially the stereo speakers (as I’m kind of an audiophile), and camera (the best video quality Gamer Splash has gotten so far). It came with Android Lollipop installed, stock. It worked great and the phone was as snappy as can be. However, I’m also a software aficionado, and love upgrading to get the latest software features. I upgraded to the latest Android, Marshmallow, and was in for a surprise.

My Falling Out with Android

Sure, I appreciated the new features and battery modes. What I wasn’t prepared for were the drawbacks. After upgrading, my once snappy phone instantly became more sluggish. It was instantly recognizable, as the animations on the home screen seemed more sluggish and apps like Snapchat and Instagram took longer to open than before. It was still a big improvement over my original Moto X, but the latest update made the whole phone slower. Apparently, the new version of Android used more system resources, or the new version wasn’t optimized for the phone as much as it could have been. This wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the battery problems.

Ever since the first Moto X, Motorola has always advertised an “all day” battery for the handset. This was true to some extent, but in my experience, it never lasted all day. The original Moto X, like the Moto X (3rd Gen), had the same issues after upgrading to the latest version of Android (Kit Kat for that one). Kit Kat and Marshmallow offered improvements to system efficiency, more OS features like a built-in flashlight, and an improved battery saver. However, after updating my handset to the latest version, the system tended to become more sluggish and run out of battery quicker. Not faster, as was promised. Frequently, now my battery will be dead before the end of the day. Especially if I’m doing something important like using GPS and looking at other apps while out and about. In other words, using my phone.

Read how my day with my phone ended up in my previous blog post:

My Trip to GameStop Expo! [And News + Reviews]

Now I don’t mean to say Google was lying when they advertised these new features. I’m sure on the reference phones Google tested, Android did perform better in all these areas. However, as for Motorola’s optimization, on old hardware, the results don’t fare so well.

Sure, the new features of Android were great to have, but these came at the cost of decreased performance and battery life. At first, I thought, “Oh, I prefer the new features”. But at this point, I’ve realized that in reality and practice, it’s more important to have better performance and battery life than extra features, and I didn’t end up using the new features so much anyways.

This is the Windows drawback I was talking about earlier. While I prefer Windows and Android for their openness of the OS (and because I’m used to them), they come with notable drawbacks, as well:

The Open Platform Drawback

The first drawback:

The licensed platform. Android, like Windows, is able to be used on any machine, provided the hardware has the proper interface to use the OS. This means you can build a powerful beast of a system, and have it run without bounds, but what this also means is that you can build a very weak system, and have the OS run very sluggishly. On a cheap build, an Android phone or Windows PC will indeed run, but not very well at that. Games  may just be playable, but have low framerates and bad graphics. Apps like Snapchat will run, but may take 30 seconds to open. And you can bet they will crash and lag too. The Windows PC would have the same issues. The benefit of the open platform is that a company can build an expensive PC for the aficionado, and a cheap PC for the more economically-compromised. And you can build your own. However, this results in an experience for each user that varies vastly from person to person, with the worst being a terrible, unusable experience. And it’s not so fair to the person who buys a cheap computer or phone.

Second:

Optimization and efficiency. While Android and Windows are great operating systems with robust sets of features like their competitors, they simply can’t be optimized. Microsoft and Google make the operating systems, and allow them to scale between devices that have more or less power. This allows you to buy an Android or Windows device from any manufacturer you want. But no matter what device you buy, the experience won’t be optimized for it. Inevitably, the OS’ end up using more system resources from each system in order to run properly, and if you buy a cheap device, you’re stuck with poor performance and a bad user experience. Unless you buy a Microsoft Surface PC or a Google Nexus phone (the reference models for Windows and Android), you can be sure the OS you’re running on won’t be fully optimized for your device. Sure, throw enough powerful hardware at it, and it will do just fine. But don’t, and you’re stuck with a bad user experience.

Lastly:

There is the difference with regard to form factors. It’s no secret that some phone designs are better than others. And what may be good for you, may bad bad for someone else. Yet Android and Windows are still meant to be used on similar devices. Similar looking and similar performing. But the further a device strays from the expected specifications, the worse the OS will accommodate it. Furthermore, the OS can only be fully optimized for one device, and if you buy a device from any manufacturer other than Google or Microsoft, you can be sure that something may not fit quite right. No wonder Samsung modifies Android to work better for its handset (but at the cost of performance – leading them to put in bigger specs and batteries; we all know how that’s been going recently).

Now granted, the experience won’t vary too much between phones in this regard, because most phones are similar in form factor. But again, a cheap Android phone with a 3-inch screen, or an expensive phone with a mirrored-edge display pushes Android to limits it wasn’t absolutely designed for, sometimes taking a toll on performance, which leads to the need for bigger batteries and faster processors, whereas on a unified hardware-software system, this wouldn’t necessarily be a problem.

On iPhone, None of These Problems Exist

Why? Because of something called hardware-software integration. Put simply, Apple can avoid all these problems with sluggish performance, subpar battery life, and buggy/poor user experience by creating and molding its operating system specifically for its own hardware. Unlike Android and Windows, which can be used on nearly any degree of hardware from different manufacturers, only Apple makes the hardware for the iPhone. They then proceed to design the operating system specifically for the device’s exact specifications and form factor, resulting in a fully optimized experience.

This results in the user experience being faster, less buggy, and more fluid, because the system software is created specifically for the hardware. It’s built for the hardware not only in its specs, but to accommodate its physical design, as well.

Not only does this allow Apple to make the iPhone as fast as the hardware will let it, but also to design things in the user interface that will correspond 1:1 with the specific iPhone hardware (the taptic engine and home button with Touch ID are good examples of this).

Additionally, it allows Apple to eliminate anything that is unnecessary from the experience. Whereas Android must include all of the features in the OS in a one-size-fits-all approach to function on all devices, Apple can choose to only include features that the hardware will accommodate, resulting in the most fast and efficient operating system, perfectly tailored for the device it is running on. Due to this, you can be sure your iPhone will make the most out of the battery, the camera, and the processor it is equipped with.

The software is optimized for the hardware, and vice versa.

The Marriage of Hardware and Software

With a marriage of software and hardware, comes the user experience intended by the creator.

As with films and music, the experience will always be better if you watch the movie or listen to the album in its original format. If you listen to Coldplay on a portable speaker, it will sound good, but not as good as if you were in the studio the band recorded in. If you watch Star Wars on your iPod, it will still be a great movie, but it won’t be as good of an experience as if you were sitting in LucasArts’ studio on premiere day.

Getting an Android is like seeing Star Wars at a decent theater with possibly better popcorn, or listening to Coldplay on your own earbuds. It’s good and has some extra convenience or features, but the core experience isn’t as the director or band intended.

Getting an iPhone is like sitting next to George Lucas at the theater where the film was made, or like sitting next to Coldplay in the studio where they made the album. You will be getting the optimal experience, exactly as the director or band intended.

Sure, with the previous options, you can choose what theater has good popcorn, the speaker that has the most bass, or the phone that has the biggest camera. But with these choices, you lose part of the rest of the experience, because a film, an album, or an OS cannot be optimized for every medium or device. Thus, the experience will lack in other areas, such as lighting, sound quality, or phone performance. You get the extra convenience or features you want, but you never have an experience perfectly optimized for the medium at hand.

With the iPhone, I may not be getting Moto Mods or a Galaxy S Pen, but I will be getting a software experience perfectly tailored to the hardware I buy. Apps will open instantly and run without a hitch. The battery will last longer than the same battery on an Android phone. And the processor and memory will do more than on an Android device. All due to the OS and apps being specifically optimized for the hardware at hand (no pun intended).

Because of this, I can be sure that if I buy an iPhone, I am buying the most tailored experience for a phone. If I buy the latest iPhone, I can be sure that I am receiving the user experience that Apple has intended, without compromise.

It’s no wonder Nintendo are now choosing to launch their software on iOS first, along with so many other brands. And it’s no wonder there are just 4 Moto Mods announced so far, while the iPhone has hundreds of attachable accessories tailor-made for it by different manufacturers. Companies don’t like making one-size-fits-all products. And in many cases, it’s impossible. Companies and individuals would rather make something custom-tailored, because, well it works better. It’s more natural. It’s like one-size-fits-all clothing. It fits okay, but it’s always better if you buy one in your size, or better yet, one made specifically for you.

The same applies to iPhones. As explained by Shigeru Miyamoto, Nintendo can better optimize Super Mario Run for iPhone, because every recent iPhone’s hardware and OS is the same. It’s coming to iPhone first, and later for Android, because it’s a lot easier to make it work on all iPhones (largely identical), rather than all Android phones (in which everyone’s is different). Additionally, the Android phones have issues with fragmentation – a problem where most of the user-base is split by the version of their software, making consumers unable to get the latest version of Android unless they have a phone made in the last year or two. This is another headache for developers, as they have to optimize apps for all different, and now obsolete versions of Android. The latest iOS goes further back, and everyone’s running similar hardware, so it’s not so much of an issue on iPhones.

And that brings me to another point. Since I don’t have the latest version of Android, I still can’t use, or even see, the latest emojis. Years later, I still can’t do it. You’d think a simple update to Google Keyboard would fix it, but no, absolutely not. You have to wait until the whole OS gets updated (in Moto X’s case, sometimes up to a year later). And unless you’ve got a recent device, you shouldn’t count on it.

So with the iPhone, I won’t be getting a device with extra features, but taking away from the experience elsewhere. I’ll be confident that the features I do get will be as good as they can be, without compromise. And I can be sure I’ll get my emojis. Emojis are not too surprisingly, another “Apple First” thing.

And that brings me to my last point.

Why Switch Now?

I’ve been (relatively) satisfied with Android phones for a few years. The main reasons I hadn’t switched to iPhone were because of the features iPhone didn’t have. One benefit of different manufacturers making their own Android phones is that they can choose to add cool hardware features like stereo speakers, AMOLED displays, and bigger screens. And the Android OS worked better with Windows. Until recent years, iPhones had 4-inch screens, a single speaker, a standard RGB display, and were not so easy to pair with Windows. I know I would have missed some of these features if I switched to iPhone earlier.

However, it’s now turned a near 180 degrees. My favorite phone, the Moto series, has changed its plans. The new Moto Z packs a more powerful processor and Moto Mods, but it loses something more important to me – stereo speakers. And as the possible successor to the Moto X, it isn’t so affordable anymore. The price, previously $400, has jumped to over double that, competing directly with the iPhone 7 and Galaxy S7 of today. And all for what?

The new Moto Z is beautiful, and the Moto Mods are really cool, but there’s what, like, 4 mods announced for it so far? Even when (if?) more are made, how many companies are going to support it? While the Moto Z has a few new expensive accessories, Apple’s iPhone has garnered hundreds of attachable accessories on its iPhone line. Motorola is trying to attack the iPhone with its Moto Mods this year, and while its ads are cleverly written, in reality, they forget the myriad of accessories Apple’s iPhones already have. They just attach to the lightning port instead of the back of the phone (sometimes better for that too).

iPhone 7 and 7 Plus have, on the other hand, finally added in all the features I enjoyed on an Android phone. The iPhone has slowly been checking off the list of features it missed from Android. The iPhone 7 finally has stereo speakers, an OIS image sensor (not to mention the best phone camera now, with tons of accessories already on the market), quad LED flash, and a bigger screen with wide color gamut. Some of the best things it didn’t have, it now has. And as Android manufacturers continue to try out new technologies, Apple will continue to incorporate the best of these technologies with each new iPhone, as well as introducing their own innovative features, as well.

For me, my favorite line of phones has taken a step back, removing the stereo speakers and increasing the price, while the phone I thought I’d never get has taken tremendous leaps forward, finally becoming the phone I’ve always wanted. And it’s going to continue to do that each and every year.

As a matter of fact, both phones remove the headphone jack. And if I’m going to buy a phone with that, I’ll at least take the better phone.

I’m Moving on From Android

No more home screen lag. No more apps responding poorly. No more battery problems “fixed” by a one-size-fits-all battery saver. No more updates making my phone slower. No more not seeing my friends’ emoticons. And no more being second priority.

No more subpar Star Wars with good popcorn. No more Coldplay on some old earbuds.

I’m switching to iPhone. And it’s for the best.

P.S.

Don’t get me wrong. I still think Android is very important. No company with a monopoly turns out well, so it is good that the iPhone has competition to help push it forward, as well. Both platforms are still great, and there is still other innovation on different Android hardware that you won’t find on an iPhone, simply due to the nature of there being so many different companies who make hardware for the OS. If you’re fine sacrificing a bit for some of those extra bells and whistles, that’s great. I was for several years – but I’m not anymore. If you, like me, want the best and most custom-tailored user experience for the hardware you buy, iPhone is where it’s at.

 

Did you like this blog? Do you agree? Have something amazing to say about Android to stop me from switching? If so, let me know in the comments.

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For Nintendo NX news, check out our articles:

Everything We Know About the Nintendo NX So Far

Why Nintendo NX Will Support Unreal Engine and ARM Architecture

Animal Crossing and Miitomo Successor Launch Titles for NX + More – Developer Interview

-Noah Sanchez, Gamer Splash