The Best Wireless Router To Buy in 2019

How we select the Best Wireless Routers

Most people say that slow internet is worse than no-internet. We are part of the many people who share that sentiment. No one wants to stream a show and spend half of the time staring at the screen as the video is buffering. No gamer out there would ever want their missions cut short by poor connectivity.

Picture this; you’ve finally invested on a really good internet package offering excellent speed, but then you find yourself still struggling to keep your gadgets online simply because your router is not up for the task. The funny thing is that this is a prevalent issue, and most people would struggle with poor internet connectivity for quite some time before they realize that the problem is actually coming from the router. If you’ve decided to go through the sweet trouble of investing in premium internet connectivity, it’s only fair that you get an equally great router for you to get the best out of your internet.

What’s a “great router” though? The answer here is not as easy as you may think. There are dozens and dozens of wireless routers out there coming from all corners of the world. We even came across some routers manufactured by companies we’ve never heard of before. This should give you a picture of just how difficult it is to get the right router. For any buyer with no tech knowledge, getting the perfect router here will be almost impossible. Even for the guys with some tech background, sieving through all the routers available can be quite a hefty task.

To make your work easy, we invested the time and effort to go through a few wireless routers available today to try and come up with a short list. A list that is small enough for you to review and make a choice between the top of the cream in the wireless routers universe.

Before we even go further in this review, we would like to highlight that not all wireless routers are meant for everyone, thanks to capitalism. What are we saying by that? Well, we did come across excellent routers with premium features, but the biggest drawback was the price tag. Most of these routers are limited to guys who are planning on using them for commercial purposes. But of course, if you have a substantial amount of cash to spend on a router then by no means should you settle for anything less.

In this review, we have tried to include wireless routers on different price points. This should make it easier for you to get one that is affordable to you.

Top 3 Wireless Routers

1.NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 Dual Band WiFi Router

NETGEAR is a renowned company with vast experience in the production of networking hardware. The company has dozens of wireless routers in the market, competing against each other and also against some of the best brands in the market.

The most interesting bit about this particular router is not the fact that it comes from an experienced company, but due to the sort of performance, it delivers while remaining affordable. For just $150, you will get premium features that were commonly found in other high-end routers.

First of all, the overall designing of this router is impressive. The stealth finishing and sleek corners more than earn it the name Nighthawk. It comes with three antennas that you can easily detach from the body.

Beyond its appearance, the router offers you speeds of up to 600mbps through the 2.4ghz band and 1,300 Mbps on the 5ghz band. As you can see, the speeds on both the two bands are really impressive. Match this router with an equally brilliant internet service provider and your online experience will never be the same again!

We also have to mention that we didn’t come across lots of issues in terms of slowdowns when testing and researching the gadget.

You’ll also love the AC900 for the simple fact that it supports OpenVPN. It also has a parental control feature.

While on the subject of controlling the router, it’s vital to point out that you can manage both the downstream and upstream of your connection through the Quality of Service feature found here.

The Nighthawk AC1900 can also be used with DD-WRT which allows it to run Linux-based third-party firmware.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • The 5 gigahertz band offers outstanding performance
  • Brilliantly designed

Cons

  • It feels a bit bulky
  • The 2.4 gigahertz band does not provide the best performance you can get

2. Google WiFi System 3-Pack Router

Calling the Google WiFi System, a router is a gross understatement. This unique system is nothing like what you see in the market every day. As the name suggests, this system comes in three identical units that are designed to deliver unparalleled performance.

The three units are shaped like small cylinders measuring 4.1 inches in diameter and 2.7 inches in height, and that’s it! Yes, there aren’t any long antennas or anything of the sort fitted to them. These measurements also show just how compact they are as compared to the bulky alternatives in the market. Google has gone further to give the units an elegant touch by finishing them with fresh white paint and a warm LED light that will bring exquisite ambiance into your home.

Installation of the system is a breeze. All you have to do is download a free Android app or iOS, connect your unit to the modem and power source, and scan the QR code on the unit. The app will then take you through the short process of finalizing the setup, i.e. setting up your network name and password and pairing it to the secondary unit. You can then label the secondary units in the app, and just like that, your system will be ready to use.

In the department of features, the Google WiFI system surpassed our expectations. The gadget comes with a 512MB RAM and a 710MHz quad-core processor, and the result of all this is an undefeated performance.

With the three units, the WIFI system is more than capable of serving an extra-large home of up to 3000-4500 square feet. If that doesn’t offer enough coverage, you can go ahead and purchase another unit that’ll expand it even further.

The unit has dual band WiFi of 5Ghz and 2.4GHz that is compatible with IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac standards. You can get speeds of more than 450mbps with the 5GHz band and 100mbps for the 2.4GHz band when you are within close proximity. When the whole system is running, you should be able to get even faster speeds with a bigger range. It also has Gigabit Ethernet ports, i.e. LAN and WAN. You can use both of these ports for LAN functions on the secondary unit.

Something else fascinating about this system is that you can control it using Google Home or Alexa voice commands.

Since it’s a Google product, you can expect seamless customization of the system. You can easily schedule the system on when it should be running and when your internet connection should be paused. You can also manage the smart lights and choose a particular device which can be prioritized to function at a certain bandwidth.

Here is the thing though, the Google WiFi system costs in excess of $250, which is beyond some people’s reach. This explains why we couldn’t rank it at the top as it seriously limits the number of people that can acquire it.

Pros

  • Excellent performance
  • Compact and modern finishing
  • You can control most of the functions through the free up

Cons

  • You must have a google account logged in to use the system

3. NETGEAR R6700 Nighthawk X10 AD7200 802.11ac/ad Quad-Stream WiFi Router

The NETGEAR R6700 is another insane router designed to offer the ultimate experience in terms of 4K streaming and VR gaming. No longer will your gaming experience be limited by Ethernet cables thanks to this beast.

This is what makes the R6700 router special:

It comes with three WIFI bands; 60GHz, 5.0GHz and 2.4Ghz. You will get additional 7 Gigabit Ethernet ports (1WAN 6 LAN) and 10 Gigabit SPF and LAN ports. You will also get MU-MIMO, i.e. Multi-User Multiple Input Multiple Output data streaming. Mobile devices should experience faster speeds thanks to the 160 MHz WiFi tech.

When it comes to performance very few routers can match the R6700. Actually, it’s hard to find one within its price point that could match the speeds of the various bands it offers, especially when in a same-room test. At 60GHz band, the speeds were up to 960mbps while the 5GHz and 2.4 GHz bands scored speeds of up to 550mbps and 100mbps respectively. You can also combine 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports to get up to 2Gbps!

With the 1.7Ghz quad-core processor, 4K streaming and online gaming feel so effortless; as it should!

In terms of design, the R6700 is not the most compact you can get. It features four antennas, and it’s also quite bulky.

Using the router has been made even easier by the NETGEAR genie application, which allows you to customize most of your home network functions remotely.

Sadly, the price of this router is on the higher end. At the moment, the NETGEAR R6700 is going for over $380. It’s quite a lot of money, but it’s definitely worth every dollar, especially if you are looking for a super-fast and reliable wireless router.

Pros

  • Installing and using the router is very simple
  • Impressive performance with insane speeds

Cons

  • It is costly
  • The signal cannot go through walls.

Final Thoughts

We can try and run away from the subject of price, but at the end of the day, the router you will get is only as good as the budget you have. To get a high-performance router that can penetrate through walls will require you to invest a considerable amount of cash. But then, you really don’t need a high-end router that will cost you a lot of money if your internet consumption is rather standard. With the above items, we believe that you can get an item that is within your price point. One that will offer you more than just the basic functions of a router.

The 3 Best VPN To Buy in 2019- Pro’s & Con’s

How to pick the Best VPN for your needs

So much stuff is happening online nowadays. The internet has become part and parcel of our day-to-day life. While this has significantly helped in making our life more convenient, it has also come with some serious concerns. Every time you go online, be it for some random research or just to stream some videos, you always leave traces of your activities. This may not seem like a big issue to you until you learn that this information can be used to monitor your online activities. It doesn’t matter whether you are checking out usual legal stuff or if you are doing some not-so-legal stuff, but no one wants to have people checking out their every step. This is where VPN or Virtual Private Network comes in.

VPN masks your identity whenever you go online. This gives you the freedom of conducting your online business with the privacy you deserve. How does this happen? Well, when you are using a VPN, your connection usually goes through many servers located in different parts of the world before your device is finally connected. Since your connection is bounced to various locations in the world, it becomes difficult for the government or anyone for that matter to pinpoint your location. This results in two key benefits; First, you are assured of privacy. Second, it gives you access to content that you could have otherwise been unable to access due to geo-restrictions.

Here is the thing though, if your gadget already has a malware leaking your data, then a VPN is in no position to shield you from online creeps. What you need is an antivirus to get rid of the malware for your VPN to theoretically guarantee your privacy.

The good news if you are shopping for a VPN is that you are not limited in terms of options. There are so many VPNs out there each one of them claiming to be better than the rest. Needless to say that a significant majority of them are just terrible. It’s also in the public domain that VPN is available both for free and at a price.

So, why would anyone spend their hard-earned cash on a VPN when there’s an alternative that comes at no cost at all? Here is my question to you; where do you think the companies offering free VPN get their financing from? There are so many issues attached to free VPN service providers that should never be ignored. Some of these providers rely on adverts to stay in business. We can all agree that ads are very annoying, and some of us are even forced to pay for services that can make our online experience ad-free. Secondly, some free VPN providers are believed to stay afloat by selling users data. Are you sure you still want to source your protection from free-VPN providers? There are a few companies that are known to deliver decent free VPN services with no strings attached. These are great, but unfortunately, they usually cap your limit to maybe 500mb, 2gb or 5gb per month. Also, they may limit your online experience as some of them do not support various streaming services, and they may also block torrenting. All in all, I’d always prefer going for a paid VPN where privacy is almost 100% assured. After all, that’s the whole purpose of getting a VPN in the first place.

Top 3 VPN

1. NordVPN

NordVPN comes at the top of our list for good reasons. To begin with, NordVPN, which is based in Panama, has over 5300 servers located in more than 60 countries across the world. In our research, we could barely come across any other VPN that had more servers than NordVPN. The vast number of servers does not just boost privacy and options to you as a user, but it also helps you to get around geo-restrictions. To lift geographical limitations, NordVPN also comes with a SmartPlay feature. This should help you access all types of content from across the world. You can also do some torrenting with NordVPN. A good number of their servers also managed to unblock Netflix.

NordVPN is designed with 2048-bit encryption and strong DNS leak protection. The double encryption puts together two servers to come up with an ultra-secure connection. They also offer various kill switches that are system-wide and application-specific. These switches significantly reduce the risk of your data ending up with the wrong people. Speaking of data, it’s important to note that NordVPN does not maintain any logs from its users.

Using NordVPN is also quite easy. They have user-friendly applications that virtually anyone can navigate with ease. The company also offers proxy extensions for both Firefox browsers and Chrome.

With NordVPN, you can connect 6 devices simultaneously. The VPN also runs on different platforms, including iOS, Android, ChromeOS, Linux, Windows, Mac, and routers.

NordVPN has different subscription packages. You can get a one-month plan for $11.95 per month or a 1-year plan charged at $6.99 per month. The best deal you can get here is from their 3-year plan, which is charged at $2.99 per month. If you are a new user, you can take advantage of the 30-day money-back guarantee and try the VPN for a month to see whether it suits your needs. Payments can be made through PayPal, Credit Cards, or Bitcoin.

2. Express VPN

Express VPN is another incredible VPN service that offers excellent performance both in terms of speed and privacy. They have over 3000 servers located in more than 160 locations across 94 countries. They also boast of having over 30,000 IP addresses.

With Express VPN you’ll receive top of the line encryption (AES-256) and DNS/IPv6 leak protection, split tunneling and a kill switch to deliver ultimate privacy. The VPN also comes with various protocols, including IKEv2, IPSec, and OpenVPN. These allow the VPN to work with different platforms such as Android, iOS, Linux, Mac, Windows, and Android. The VPN also worked with Blackberry devices. It also has a custom firmware that allows it to work with routers.

Streaming via Express VPN is enhanced through the DNS content-unblocking feature that works well with smart TVs and other media streaming devices. You can easily access content from Netflix, Prime Video, HBO, Hulu, VUDU, BBC, Spotify, and many other media outlets.

One major downside with Express VPN is that it can only connect to 3 devices simultaneously.

On subscriptions, Express VPN charges $12.95 per month for their one-month plan, $9.99 per month for their 6-month plan and $6.67 per month for their annual plan. They also have a hassle-free 30-day money back guarantee that should help you get your money back should you find their services, not at par with your expectations. Payments can be made in various ways, including Bitcoin.

3. IPVanish

IPVanish has over 1200 servers across 60 countries in the world with over 40,000 shared IP addresses. They offer incredible protection supported by AES-256 encryption. You will also receive unlimited P2P traffic and OpenVPN, L2TP/EPsec, and IKEv2 protocols.

The VPN supports up to 10 simultaneous connections. It can be used with devices running on Windows, Android, iOS, and Mac. It can also be used with Fire TV. The IPVanish applications on these devices are also very user-friendly.

Another brilliant thing with IPVanish is their incredible unlocking abilities. The VPN can be used to unblock US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and many other streaming platforms. They also allow for anonymous torrenting.

A one-month plan is charged at $7.5 per month, which is really high as compared to other VPNs. You could also subscribe to their 3-month plan that costs $6.75. The first three months are charged as $20.24. They also have an annual plan that offers better value at just $4.87 per month. Their 7-day money-back guarantee is really short compared to the competitors that provide a cover of up to 30 days.

Unfortunately, IPVanish belongs to a US-based company. This means that they can be ordered to release user’s personal information, which could then be shared not just in the US but also in the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Also, there aren’t any kill switches on the mobile applications.

Factors to Consider when Buying a VPN

  1. How many connections can it support simultaneously – Most VPN providers will allow you to connect between 3 to 5 gadgets. The exact figure here will vary depending on the specific service provider involved. Typically, providers will charge you slightly more to have more gadgets connected. It should be noted that the ability to connect several devices simultaneous does not mean that a single VPN account can be used by different users. Sharing a VPN account can easily lead you to trouble.
  2. How many servers are available and how well are they spread out – The more the servers, the more the options for you as a user. However, having hundreds of servers does not necessarily translate to better performance. Also, when the servers are well-spread out to different regions in the world, you should be able to go beyond geographical limits and enjoy more shows and services across the globe.
  3. Does the service provider keep logs on your online activities – In the last couple of years, we’ve seen VPN service providers get into trouble due to retaining logs on users’ online activities. You need to read through Terms of Service of a provider to understand the policies regarding the logs collected by the provider. Ideally, the right VPN provider should collect as little logs as possible, and they should be disposed of as soon as possible, i.e. when you end your session.
  4. Price – Make sure that you are fully aware of the pricing policy of your provider. Don’t go for a company with a low initial cost after which they will charge you hefty fees that you weren’t aware of. Also, avoid extremely cheap providers because there’s always a catch.
  5. Ease of Use – The ideal VPN should give you a smooth experience. Get a VPN with user-friendly apps. Little things such as creating a fav list of servers will also come in very handy.

The Best Mechanical Keyboards To Buy in 2019

How we rate the Best Mechanical Keyboards

It’s very easy to assume that any keyboard is as good as any so long as you can still type and submit your reports or assignments on time. However, not all keyboards are the same. Yes, they may all get the letters to appear on your monitor, but the ultimate typing experience is more than just getting letters to the screen. Gamers will tell you that a single difference on the type of keyboard they use can be enough to stand between them and a championship.

This brings us to the rather popular type of keyboards known as a mechanical keyboard. What makes these keyboards so popular and are they really worth the extra few dollars you’ll spend on them?

Mechanical Keyboards Overview

If you spend a lot of time on a keyboard gaming, writing codes, reports, articles, or any other pieces, it’s vital that you invest on a proper keyboard. Mechanical keyboards pack a variety of features which may seem minor, but they contribute to a hassle-free typing experience.

For instance, mechanical keyboards usually accentuate the keys. This means that the keys are brought closer to your fingers, and this will benefit you in various ways. First, you’ll no longer have to bottom out the keys. A light touch will be enough to register the keystroke. Secondly, since the keys are closer and registering keystrokes is faster, your typing speed will increase significantly. Finally, accentuated keys don’t just bring the keys closer to the fingers, but it also helps to separate the keys. If your typing precision with the crowded dome-switch keyboards is already above average, then you can expect even better accuracy with mechanical keyboards. This will keep typos on the low, thus reducing your work significantly.

Another reason to love mechanical keyboards is their sturdy nature. These keyboards are made with durable materials that will remain functional for a very long time, regardless of how frequent they are used. This is one of the reasons why mechanical keyboards are also very popular in gaming because the rapid and constant pressing of keys makes sure that they do not die on the users prematurely.

Finally, most of us love mechanical keyboards for the simple, satisfying feeling that we get when using them. They don’t feel clumsy or mushy like the dome-switch keyboards. Pressing a mechanical keyboard has an authoritative vibe which can get very addictive, making it impossible for you to move back to other traditional keyboards and why would you ever want to go back anyway?

With that in mind, here are the best mechanical keyboards of 2019:

  1. Corsair K95 RGB Platinum Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

The Corsair K95 is designed to deliver the ultimate PC gaming experience. It features a sleek design which feels as brilliant as it looks. You will also get a wrist rest with a smooth finishing that will deliver the comfort you need desperately to dominate the Battlefield. You can also detach the wrist rest in case you feel like it is standing in your way or when you are using the keyboard for other regular duties.

The 100% Cherry MC key switches make it possible to perform quick functions or fast typing without missing even single keystroke. The 1.2mm actuation has also improved typing speeds dramatically.

With the Corsair K95, you’ll never have to worry about killing the keys due to intensive gaming and typing. That’s because the gold switches are incredibly durable, making sure that you get full value for your money before you are forced to go back into the market in search for another keyboard. Durability is supported further by an anodized aluminum frame.

The Corsair K95 features backlit keys with a wide variety of vibrant colors to choose from. Apart from choosing the color for each key, you can also adjust how bright they illuminate. They also provide interesting animations that will keep your keyboard attractive.

Corsair K95 comes with two USB 2.0 ports and 8mb profile storage. You also get hardware macro and lighting playbacks. The 6 programmable G-keys can be configured to deliver complex multi-key combos or a single keystroke.

Drawbacks

The keyboard is quite bulky.

2. Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2

Razer is a very popular producer of gaming accessories, and the Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2 is one of their best gaming keyboards today. The keyboard features “Green” mechanical switches that produce an audible click whenever the keystroke is registered. This, together with the tactile bumps, makes it easier for gamers and typists to know when a keystroke is registered. In case you feel like the click is too much for you due to too much typing or for any other reason, then you can switch up for the silent “Orange” and “Yellow” switches which deliver the tactile feeling without the sometimes nagging click.

The overall designing of the keyboard was done with comfort and durability in mind. The mechanical switches are strong enough to deliver 80 million keystrokes. The keyboard also features an ergonomic detachable wrist rest for enhanced comfort to sustain you through long gaming marathons before fatigue sets in.

The Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2 also comes with five dedicated macro keys with an audio & USB pass-through port. You also get a microphone input and audio output ports. The keys can be programmed using the Synapse desktop software.

The keys are individually lit and can be customized into 16.8 million different color options! This is more than enough to personalize the keyboard and keep it looking fresh with new colors every once in a while.

You will also get 10 key anti-ghosting which allows you to execute 10 commands simultaneously. This will come in very handy, especially among professional gamers.

Drawbacks

The BlackWidow Chroma V2 does not have any media keys. This is not a deal breaker as such, but for a $145 mechanical keyboard, we expected the media keys to be included.

3. Corsair K70 RGB MK.2 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

The Corsair K70 RGB Mk.2 is a brilliant gaming keyboard that’s designed to elevate your typing skills. Not only is this keyboard one of the best in terms of features offered and ergonomics, but it is also a very good-looking one. Plug this keyboard in, take a step back, and you will watch the gorgeous RGB backlighting bring the keys to life. The keys can be customized into multiple colors with unlimited options to choose from. All you have to do is use the iCUE software to configure the backlighting to fit your preferences. The same software will also help you do some macro programming and synchronize the lighting of the keyboard with other Corsair devices, including fans, coolers, etc. 

The Cherry MX switches used here make sure that nothing is taken away from your experience. A single switch can sustain up to 50 million keystrokes! These switches rest on an anodized aluminum frame which is more than capable of handling intensive typing. You’ll also love the fact that the K70 comes in different switches ranging from Blue, Brown, Red, Speed to Silent. Everyone should be in a position to get the feel and experience that aligns with their preferences.

The keyboard is also engineered with 100% anti-ghosting which ensure that your gaming or typing speed is not hampered. You will never have to miss out or press a single key twice because every press will be registered.

You’ll also get a USB pass-through port to hook your mouse or headset and 8MB of inbuilt profile storage. Volume wheel and media controls are also included.

Drawbacks

The keyboard can only be connected through a cable. This may pose flexibility challenges.

The Best Gaming Laptops Under $1000

How do we rate the Best Gaming Laptops Under $1000?

It’s difficult to imagine anything going for less than $1000 being termed as cheap but believe or not the $1,000 price point is perhaps as affordable as it gets as far as gaming laptops are concerned. PC gaming is very expensive, and we can even mention a couple of expensive gaming laptops that go for over $3,000 which is crazy, but it’s the price you have to pay to get the best graphics, refresh rates and so on that you require to run the best of games. Sadly, not all of us can afford to spare more than $3000 to get the very best gaming laptops, and this is where you have to get smart. This means compromising a bit to get a laptop that is within your price range without sacrificing so much in terms of specs and overall performance. The good news is that at $1000, you can still get decent gaming laptops as we are going to see in a short while.

But before all that, what are some of the key factors that you must consider even when you are struggling to stay within your budget?

Factors to Consider when Buying a Budget Gaming Laptop

Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)

You can compromise on so many things when looking for an affordable gaming laptop, but the GPU isn’t one of them. This is the component that processes the graphics of games you’ll be playing. It helps to process the images, animations, and everything else you see and interact with a game. Any serious gamer has to play some graphically-intensive games once in a while. With a poor GPU, your entire gaming experience will be ruined.  You may find yourself downgrading the quality and specs of a game just so you can get it to run in your laptop. Even worse, you might find yourself incapable of playing certain games simply because your system is not up for the task.

Therefore, to future-proof your gaming system and get the most immersive gaming experience, you have to make sure that you are getting if not the best, then an above average GPU. Unfortunately, GPUs go hand in hand with pricing. For instance, laptops with Nvidia’s GeForce GPUs are likely to cost a lot more (for obvious reasons) as compared to systems using other GPUs.

RAM

RAM is just as vital as the GPU. Remember that your game loads onto the RAM, which means that the speed and size of your RAM will directly determine how well the game runs and the overall performance of your laptop. It’s for this reason that we encourage all gamers to get the best RAM they can get their hands on. For instance, with 16GB of RAM, you can expect even the most intensive of games to run smoothly in your system. An 8GB RAM will also perform reasonably well plus it’ll save you quite a lot of cash, but it may get overwhelmed considering how “heavy” games are becoming nowadays.

CPU

Of course, it would be nice to get Intel Core i7, but we understand that not everyone would be in a position to get GeForce GPU, 16GB of RAM and Intel Core i7 within a single unit. If that’s the case, then you can sacrifice a bit and go for the Core i5 which will still get the job done despite the fact that it won’t perform as brilliantly as its bigger brother.

SSD

A slow SSD results in longer load times and dents the overall gaming experience. Ideally, you should have a hybrid drive or a fast SSD for the files used frequently and a slower but larger hard drive for all the other files and are used less frequently. This enhances the entire experience making sure that everything is running smoothly.

If budget is an issue, we’d recommend you to go for a faster SSD which you can then upgrade in the future and even get an external drive later on. This makes sure that your current experience is not compromised, but instead, you get to enjoy your games as you save up for a better experience with upcoming games.

Other factors that you should also consider include:

  • Battery life
  • IPS display
  • Portability (if you’re planning on carrying the laptop around)

1. Acer Aspire 7 Casual Gaming Laptop

Why Should You Buy it? Mention anything it is you need in a gaming laptop, and the Acer Aspire 7 Casual probably has it. Talk of powerful GPU, CPU, Display, and anything else. Acer has brought all these items into a single unit, and the best part is that they won’t milk you dry since the laptop costs just $920. It’s also the perfect choice for anyone who’s looking for an incredible gaming laptop that can perform equally well in other daily functions. To that end, Acer made sure that the laptop has a slim body for easy portability.

The Acer Aspire 7 is fitted with the 8th Generation Intel Core i7 processor. This works side by side with the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti GPU. Even though the graphics card is not the best you can get, it stills performs very well facilitating the smooth running of all the best graphic-intensive games such as Battlefield V and Assassins Creed Odyssey. We have to put it out there that since the 1050 Ti is not the most powerful card, there is a possibility that it might not run newer upcoming games. As of right now, though, there is perhaps nothing this little beast cannot run.

The laptop comes with an 8GB RAM, which is really the best you can get at this price point. The laptop’s performance also gets a significant boost from the included 128Gb SSD. There is an additional 1TB HDD of your other storage needs. If you find the HDD too small for your needs, you can swap it with a bigger hard drive through the easy-to-access door to the HDD compartment.

Acer has also thrown a few extras to improve the overall performance and use of the laptop. For instance, logging into the laptop is as simple as scanning your fingerprint. The screen is a 15.6” Full HD IPS display (1920 by 1080). While the sound output features engineering genius from Dolby Audio premium and Acer’s TrueHarmony.

Other Features

  • Dual digital microphones for crystal clear audios
  • USB 3.1 Type-C delivers up to 5Gbps data transfer speeds
  • 2*2 MIMO wireless tech boosts data processing
  • 4GB GDDR5 VRAM
  • 7-hours battery life

2. Lenovo Legion Y520 15.6” FHD Gaming Laptop

Why Should You Buy It? The Lenovo Legion Y520 is another incredible gaming laptop that can have you exploring the open world of Days Gone for the most part of the night and wake up the following day to use the same laptop in preparing a report for your professor. What makes it stand out, even more, is how it features some of the best features any average gamer would ever need while still keeping the laptop at a very reasonable price.

The Legion Y520 features 7th Gen Intel Core i5-7300 that delivers as much as 3.50 GHz. The processor is further enhanced by the 8GB Ram and the additional 128GB SSD while the primary storage is a 1TB hard drive.

The laptop is fitted with Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1050 Ti which is an old graphics card, but it still performs pretty well even with some of the latest games. You should expect the performance of this graphics card to drop slightly when playing more demanding games on ultra.

One of the repercussions of intensive gaming is overheating. To solve this issue, Lenovo has strategically placed the vents and fans to facilitate the continuous flow of air in and out of the laptop. The fans are also located closer to the processors and the graphics card to ensure that the performance of the laptop does not drop. If you require intensive cooling, you can activate the Extreme Cooling shortcut in the Lenovo Nerve Sense to keep the processors cool.

Since Lenovo made this laptop with versatility in mind, they were keen to design the laptop in a thin and lightweight nature to improve portability. That said, the laptop is just 25.8mm (1.01″) thick weighing only 2.5 kg (5.3lbs).

The major downside with the Lenovo Legion Y520 is that it offers between 3 to 4 hours max of run time.

Other Features

  • 15.6” FHD LED Lit Display (1920×1080)
  • Red backlit keyboard
  • Lenovo Nerve Sense allows you to customize the laptop and record your gaming
  • Two 2W Harman speakers are engineered with Dolby Audio Premium for an immersive gaming experience

3. ASUS TUF Thin & Light FX504 Gaming Laptop

Why Should You Buy It? If you are looking for a gorgeous gaming laptop that can double up for other official or entertainment purposes, then the ASUS TUF Gaming Laptop is a great option.

The laptop runs on 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8300 and 8GB of RAM. This delivers excellent performance for most of the standard games and an above-average performance when playing slightly demanding games. The 1TB Solid State Hybrid Drive does a decent job of boosting the speeds and performance of the laptops. However, you are likely to struggle when playing the most intensive games on ultra, and you’ll probably have to reduce the settings to get them running smoothly.

The Asus TUF uses the GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card. The card is good enough to keep most of your games interesting, but you won’t find the visuals as vivid and impressive as they are in other high-end gaming laptops with a better graphics card.

The laptop is also ergonomically designed to support its versatility. The keyboard, for instance, is perfectly designed for comfortable use whether you are gaming or working, and it is also strong enough (20-million keystrokes) to remain functional even after prolonged gaming. Its overall construction is also sleek and sturdy enough for durability. It can easily fit into your backpack just in case you have official duties calling or if you are going for some serious group gaming with your colleagues down the block.

On the flip side, Asus was very economical in terms of ports. The laptop comes with only 7 connections i.e., three USB ports, One HDMI, Power port, headphone jack, and one Ethernet port, all of which are located on one side of the laptop.

Other Features

  • 8GB DDR4 2666MHz RAM
  • 15.6” FHD IPS Display
  • Gigabit wave 2 Wi-Fi delivering up to 1.73Gbps
  • 256GB SSD M.2 SATA
  • 4-5 hours of running time

The 3 Best Gaming Headsets To Buy in 2019

How we rate the Best Gaming Headsets

Headphones are an integral part of every serious gamer. It doesn’t matter whether you are a professional gamer or just doing it for fun, but with a good set of headphones, your gaming experience gets a major boost. You see, it’s in the fine details that things are usually interesting. Whether you are trying to coordinate an attack in a single multi-player game or if you simply want to get more from your single-player Call of Duty missions, a top-tier set of headphones will make sure that nothing is taken away from your experience. High-quality headphones are also very exciting to have in those adventurous, open world games such as Days Gone. Personally, I cannot imagine having waited all this long for The Last of Us Part II and do injustice to the game by playing it through mediocre headsets! Proper headphones totally transom your surrounding immersing you into the game which allows you to hear every single detail from a flying leaf, a breaking twig to the deafening sounds of assault rifles. This, my friends, is what gaming is all about.

So, what are some of the best gaming headsets in the market? The good news is that there are so many options to choose from. The better news is that there is virtually something for everyone, whether you have a fat or tight budget. The sad news is that everything comes down to how much money you have to spare. This means that to get the best headsets that tick every possible box, you’ll have to spend a good amount of money. This will also allow you to get versatile headsets that you can also use for other purposes. With a tight budget, your options are a bit limited, but you still have a good number of affordable headsets to choose from.

Everything considered, here are the top 3 gaming headsets that are designed to deliver the ultimate gaming experience:

1. SteelSeries Arctis 7 Lossless Wireless Gaming Headsets (2019 Edition)

Why should you buy it? Well, the SteelSeries Arctis 7 2019 Edition is the best gaming headset in every possible way. It’s really as simple as that, and this is not just based on our tests but also on the vast user-reviews of all the gamers who use these headsets on a daily basis.

These wireless headphones are perfectly designed for both PS4 and PC gaming. The audio quality is excellent with zero interference and ultra-low latency. However, PC gamers are likely to get more from these headsets than their counterparts courtesy of the 360-degree DTS X v2.07.1 surround sound. The clarity here is unbeatable thanks to the S1 speaker drivers, and the best part is that it delivers even the finest of details which means that you are not just playing the game, but you are actually living it.

In case you are into trash talking your opponents on FIFA19 or any other game then the Discord-certified ClearCast Microphone will give you the perfect opportunity to do so. The microphone offers studio-quality clarity with optimal noise cancellation making sure that your conversations and surrounding is not inconveniencing your opponents.

In terms of designing and comfort, the SteelSeries Arctis 7 also performs very well. It features airweave ear cushions that are not just ideal for keeping your ears cool, but they also help to eliminate pressure points. The suspension band designing is also well thought-out to blend with a typical head’s contours. In summary, you can expect to wear these headphones for prolonged periods without experiencing any discomfort issues.

The headset comes with a rechargeable Li-ion battery that can last you through 24 hours.

Feature

  • Easy-to-use audio controls
  • On-headset ChatMix dial that you can use to adjust the chat and game volume
  • You can wire the headsets and use them with other non-USB audio devices
  • Vast personalization features
  • Can be used with various apps including Spotify and Discord

2. HyperX Cloud Alpha Gaming Headset

Why should you buy it? The Hyper Cloud Alpha Gaming headsets present high-quality audio clarity with all the essential features at a very reasonable price, making it an affordable yet decent option for everyone on a tight budget.

We also found the HyperX Cloud Alpha quite loud, but the good news is that the bass is perfectly balanced to make sure that overall clarity remains top notch.

We must also mention how comfortable these headsets feel. It features award-winning memory foam that is designed to readjust according to the shape of your ears. This makes sure that your ears are covered properly with sufficient pressure to block you from external noises without causing any discomforts. You can even go a whole day of The Division 2 without getting any aches in or around your ears.

HyperX Cloud Alpha is designed with an aluminum frame which doesn’t really feel very premium, but it gets the job done nonetheless. The frame is also very sturdy, and hence, you can expect the headsets to remain stable and functional for a very long time.

Something else really brilliant about these headsets is vast compatibility. While some gaming headsets-including our top pick above is limited to two or less gaming platforms, the HyperX Cloud Alpha headsets can be used with PC, PS4 Pro, PS4, Xbox One S, Xbox One X, Xbox One, Mobile and all other platforms fitted with a 3.5mm port. It can even be used with Nintendo Switch.

With the headset also comes a detachable microphone with excellent noise cancellation. Since it is detachable, you can unplug it and use the headset for your regular music needs.

Features

  • In-line audio controls
  • 65 ohms impedance
  • HyperX Dual Chamber Drivers
  • Multi-platform compatibility
  • Detachable braided cable
  • Signature HyperX comfort

3. HyperX Cloud Revolver S Gaming Headset

Why should you buy it? The HyperX Cloud Revolver S is a superb choice for everyone who is looking for the best-wired gaming headset in the market. It offers a premium feel with vast features while remaining easy to use and very comfortable to wear.

The HyperX Cloud Revolver has to be the best-wired gaming headset in the market for very good reasons. It offers three types of connections that include dual 3.5mm, 3.5mm, and a wired USB. With these three options, the headset can be connected and work perfectly with virtually every gadget out there. The best part? You won’t need to download any drivers or software to get it working. All you have to do is plug it in, sit back and get into some serious gaming.

While all the connection types have the excellent audio quality courtesy of the stereo mix, users of the USB connection are likely to get more from the headphones thanks to the control dongle and inbuilt sound card which comes with features such as EQ settings and Dolby 7.1 virtual surround sound.

The HyperX Cloud Revolver S has generous padding to eliminate pressure points. Combine this with the auto-fitting headband, and you will get to enjoy comfortable and prolonged gaming sessions. The overall designing is quite sturdy, and hence you can expect to use the headset for a long time before you’re forced back into the market for a replacement.

Features

  • Detachable mic with background noise reduction (Discord certified)
  • Comfortable memory foam
  • Closed ear cups to reduce external noises
  • Vocal equalizer modes allow you to switch from gaming audio setup to movies, music, and streaming
  • Clippable audio control box with backlit buttons for easy controls

Buying a Gaming Headset

In coming up with the above picks, we subjected a good number of gaming headsets to several tests to see how well they perform in terms of audio quality, comfort, and overall performance.

In audio quality, we used the headset with various games to see how well they captured the different game’s atmospheres. We tested the headsets with some of the best adventure, action, and shooting games, and the above three headphones came out on top. We also used the headsets to watch movies and listen to the music of different genres. This helps in knowing how reliable the headsets can be for other purposes.

Gaming is a fun experience, and it is very easy to get carried away and even find yourself spending the entire night in front of a monitor. This means that you need to take care of yourself to avoid experiencing discomforts; after all, gaming is supposed to be a fun experience. Well, not unless you find yourself 3-nil down barely 20 minutes into a FIFA19 match. There is no fun in that, and the easiest way out is to close the connection :-). Anyway, taking care of yourself means getting the most comfortable headsets possible. This means extra padding with the best memory foam. We also look into what the frames are made of and how well they fit with various head shapes.

While checking ear padding, it’s crucial that a headset tries to block as much noise as possible from the outside world. This helps in immersing you into the game with less distraction.

Microphones are also very important. The gaming headsets must have excellent microphones with noise blocking capabilities. They must also produce quality audio for better communication with your colleagues and opponents.

Finally, we go a step further to check the additional features that come with the headsets. For wireless headsets, we always check on battery life and range to see how convenient and practical they are. We also investigate the compatibility of the headsets with various gaming platforms. Ideally, you should get a headset that you can use with all the various consoles you can get your hands on plus a PC.

The Best Smartwatch To Buy in 2019

How we rate the best smartwatch

Remember when watches were all about telling time? Like the only reason that you would check your wrist watch is just to see whether it’s finally time to clock out of your 9-5? Those were days when things were simple until tech companies started to change everything we knew about watches.

The concept of a watch being able to do more than just telling time is very exciting. However, not everyone is fascinated by these developments. Some people still want that elegant but straightforward analog watch whose sole purpose is to read time and perhaps tell what day it is. The truth, however, is that the smartwatch universe has been getting really interesting, thus pulling in more and more people. Even the biggest corporates including Samsung, Apple, Huawei, and other companies are now committing serious resources and fighting each other on who can develop the best smartwatch.

For the buyers, this competition is good news. The simple reason for that is that in the end, there will be more options to choose from. But then this results in another unexpected challenge; how do you know which one is the best? Just because a gadget is coming from Apple or Samsung doesn’t mean that it is actually the best. In fact, there are some brilliant smartwatches out here that are not even made by popular brands. If you are less interested with the brand name and more interested in what the watch actually has to offer, then you would get down to the unique features of the smartwatches in question.

So, which are the best Smartwatches in the market at the moment?

Top 3 Smartwatches

Finding the best smartwatch can be very challenging. This has been made even more difficult by the significant variation in prices. Depending on how much you are willing to spend, you can get a rather basic smartwatch or an extremely sophisticated one with lots of apps and functions. In this review, we covered the best smartwatches in terms of performance and compatibility.

1. Samsung Gear S3 Frontier Smartwatch

It doesn’t come as much of a surprise that one of Samsung’s Gear series smartwatches is at the top of our list. Samsung has been making incredible smartwatches over the years, and Gear 3 is perhaps the best one yet. This watch combines years of expertise with modern technology to deliver fantastic performance that can barely be matched by any other smartwatch in the market.

Looking at the external design, you’ll realize that it is a premium device. It looks, feels, and definitely works as a premium watch. Sadly, the price tag is also premium, but it all makes sense given the sort of features that it packs. As at the time of this review, the watch was going for over $235. This is higher than most of the other smartwatches in the market today. However, when you unpack the watch and start using it, you will realize that it is really worth the price.

One concern most people had about this watch was the operating system. Most smartwatches in the market today operate on Android Wear. It’s a very common OS that everyone is familiar with, but most importantly, it offers vast applications and compatibility options. Unlike these smartwatches, the Gear S3 runs on Tizen, an Operating System from Samsung. While the system is not the hardest to work with, it is very challenging when it comes to the options you get in terms of apps. This is perhaps the biggest challenge about the Samsung Gear S3. The good news is that Samsung is constantly releasing upgrades which improve its functionality and compatibility with other devices. For instance, you can now create Spotify playlists and save them offline. You have a 4GB storage at your disposal for all of that.

Something else amazing about this smartwatch is the display. Samsung smartphones have a brilliant display, and so do their watches. The Gear S3 has amazing animated displays that you’ll find very pleasing to the eye. The interface is also very intuitive. I personally enjoyed interacting with this smartwatch, and there are very few alternatives that I can compare it to.

Pros

  • Excellent display
  • Premium build quality
  • Resistant to extreme temperatures, dust, and water
  • Features lots of activity trackers and sensors
  • You can use it with voice commands

Cons

  • The options when it comes to applications is minimal

In summary, if your budget for a smartwatch is between $230 to $250 and you are willing to compromise a bit on apps, then the Samsung Gear S3 is your best pick.

2. Samsung Galaxy Watch

The Samsung Galaxy Watch is arguably the best smartwatch in the market at the moment. This smartwatch packs everything right with the Gear Series, and then Samsung has gone a step further to increase the apps, battery life, and a dozen other features. The Galaxy watch is more than just a basic smartwatch. It is a statement.

The Galaxy Watch comes in two sizes of 46mm and 42mm. The 46 smartwatch is available in only one color (silver) while you can get the 42mm galaxy watch in midnight black or rose gold. The size and color, but one thing are consistent; build quality. The Galaxy watch retails at $350 (which is a lot), and the overall feel and appearance of the watch have a premium vibe to it.

The Galaxy watch also comes with interchangeable straps. You can easily change your overall appearance by merely switching one strap with another. 

The galaxy watch more than impressed us when we got down to the functions and features on offer. First of all, the smartwatch is compatible with both iOS and Android devices. This allows you to pair the watch with all the popular smartphones via Bluetooth. It can be paired with Android devices with Android 5.0 or higher (1.5Gb Ram and above) and iOS 9.0 and above (iPhone 5 and above).

One of the biggest selling points of the Galaxy Watch is its battery life. The bigger watch is fitted with a 472mAh battery while the other one is 270mAh. When the batteries are fully charged, both of these smartwatches should go for days before you are forced to recharge them. When the time for charging the smartwatches comes, you should be able to do so conveniently through WPC-based wireless charger.

The Galaxy Watch has an internal memory of 4GB and a 1.5Gb RAM.

Pros

  • Excellent battery life
  • Incredible display
  • Can be used with voice commands
  • Vast compatibility

Cons

  • Some people found the charger annoying
  • They could have done a better job with the Bixby

3. Apple Watch Series 4

If you are an iPhone user looking for a smartwatch, then the Apple Watch Series 4 is hands down your best pick! This Apple series features some of the best smartwatches from iPhone and their latest gadgets ticks every box.

With this watch, you get a bigger and better OLED screen. It’s insane how great this display is, but then again we are talking about Apple here so you shouldn’t expect anything less.

Another benefit of a bigger display is that viewing notifications and navigating through the various functions of the watch has become even easier. The watchOS 5 system perfectly completes the smartwatch. It’s highly intuitive and very easy to use. The overall performance of the watch has received a significant boost through the impressive S4 dual-core processor.

In the department of sensors and trackers, the Apple Watch Series doesn’t disappoint. You will have access to heart rate sensors and GPS. The heart rate tracker also has an ECG feature that monitors the risk for atrial fibrillation (abnormal heart rate). This should issue you with early warnings to help you seek medical assistance on time. The watch is also programmed with a fall detection feature that will prove very useful in case you take an impact.

To make your fitness life more fruitful, Apple has included several workout plans for the watch. You will also receive motivational notifications to boost your commitment towards your fitness goals.

The major issue with the Apple Watch Series 4 is the battery life. When compared to the Galaxy Watch, the battery here looks like a total joke. After a full charge, the Series 4 can only give you 18 hours of use! That’s really poor, and the only way you can extend the battery life is by turning on the power-saving mode which switches off all functions except the time.

Pros

  • It is very lightweight
  • It has a brilliant display
  • The screen is also quite large
  • Accepts voice commands

Cons

  • It’s expensive. At the time of this review, the smartwatch was going for over $400
  • It has a terrible battery life

Smartwatch Buyers Guide

Like we mentioned earlier on, price is a significant issue when shopping for a smartwatch. For instance, in our top three picks, the cheapest smartwatch goes for slightly over $230, which may seem affordable to you, but it could be beyond some else’s reach. So, how do you make sure everyone is catered for? Simple; what people need is a buyer’s guide highlighting the crucial factors or features that you need to look into when purchasing a smartwatch. This is vital for everyone including guys with a bigger budget because unless you know what to look for, you can easily end up spending a considerable amount of your money on something that’s well below the desired standards.

With that said, here are the crucial factors to consider when buying a smartwatch:

  1. Sensors and Fitness Trackers – The ideal smartwatch should have as many sensors and trackers as possible. It’s worth noting that to get the best and most sensors will probably require you to dig deeper into your pockets.
  2. Media Playback – This should bring entertainment closer to you.
  3. Voice Commands – It brings convenience to your life.
  4. Customization – The ability to customize a smartwatch in various ways is essential. You should be able to personalize a smartwatch with different faces from different developers.

The Best Earbuds To buy in 2019- Complete review-

How do we rate the Best Earbuds?

Earbuds offer an incredible opportunity to enjoy high-quality music from virtually anywhere in the world. Even though most earbuds don’t match the quality and overall performance of top-tier headphones, they still perform relatively well plus they are less bulky, more affordable and offer excellent flexibility. This shouldn’t be interpreted to mean that all headphones are better than earbuds. That’s not correct. There are quite a lot of earbuds that offer excellent sound quality that beats over half the headphones in the market. Take the Bose QuietComfort 20i Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones, for instance; the earbuds are designed to fit in your ears perfectly to block as many outside noises as possible. This provides the room for the high-res speakers to deliver unbeaten clarity into your ears. When placed side by side with some of the expensive headphones in the market today, these earbuds can comfortably put the headphones to shame. 

The earbuds industry is just like any other in that to get the very best you will have to part ways with a considerable amount of cash. Therefore, guys with a big budget will have more options to choose from. If you are operating on a tight budget, your options will be a bit limited, but the good news is that there’s still a couple of decent picks at your disposal.

We have tested and tried dozens of earbuds from different price points. We then picked the very best earbuds that come highly recommended for various reasons as you are going to see.

 1. Bose QuietComfort 20i Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones

Headphones have, for the longest time beat earbuds when it comes to noise canceling. A lot of earbuds have tried to improve on this department, but none of them could really do it as well as most headphones do. The Bose QuietComfort 20i has completely changed that. These buds are designed to rival the best full-sized headphones as far as noise reduction goes, and the best part is that they beat more than half of the headphones in the market at the moment. The buds utilize Bose’s ANC technology, which cancels all the unwanted noises coming from the outside world.

Of course, there are moments when you would want to be aware of what’s going on around you. It would be a significant inconvenience if you would have to remove the earbuds altogether for this purpose. It’s for this reason that Bose has also programmed an Aware Mode into the earbuds. This allows you to hear what’s going on around you without taking off the earbuds, and neither will you have to switch off your music completely.

Noise canceling is crucial but not as vital as audio quality is. I mean, of what use would an earbud be if they completely shielded you from outside noises just so they can bust your eardrums with scratchy and unclear sounds? Bose QuietComfort 20i features exclusive Bose technologies that produce warm sounds with excellent clarity. The Sound may feel a bit too digitized once in a while (depending on the audio format), but for the most part, the audio quality is usually superb.

The external designing of the buds is also well thought-out. They feature comfortable Stay Hear+ tips that secure the buds in place, allowing you to move and engage in other activities without worrying about the buds coming off. They are also very comfortable to wear even for prolonged periods.

The Bose QuietComfort 20i comes with a rechargeable Lithium-ion battery that offers 16 hours of use. The earbuds can be recharged using a USB cable which is also included in the package. Take note that its wired connectivity allows you to use the earbuds even when the battery runs out.

They also come with an inline remote that allows you to control your iPod, iPhone, or iPod more conveniently.

Verdict: For around $249, Bose QuietComfort 20i have arguably the best noise-canceling ability of any earbuds in the market at the moment. The sound quality is also excellent, and they are super comfortable to wear. It, therefore, goes without saying that the QuietComfort 20i is well worth it.

2. Jabra Elite Active 65t Alexa Enabled True Wireless Sports Earbuds

If you are looking for the best sounding and most comfortable true wireless earbuds, then the Jabra Elite Active 65T is one of your best picks. True wireless earbuds are slowly making their mark in the market. We’ve already seen numerous companies release various true wireless earbuds, including Apple’s AirPods. From all these choices, the Jabra Elite Active 65T comes out victorious not just due to the flexibility that comes with having no wires but also due to how remarkably they perform as far as comfort and audio quality goes.

The sound quality is simply incredible. The earbuds produce perfectly balanced Sound with a punchy bass response and equally great treble. The audio output has received a significant boost from the excellent noise cancellation.

On a single charge, the Jabra Elite Active 65t will give you up to 5 hours of use. This isn’t much, but the good news is that the earbuds come with a charging case that gives you an additional 10 hours. The best part? The charging case is a supercharge that can give you 2 hours of use after just 30 minutes of charging!

The earbuds are also fitted with motion sensors. These are very useful, especially among fitness enthusiasts who are looking for earbuds that offer more than just entertainment. With the three different ear tips, everyone should be able to get a good seal whether they are just listening to music while undertaking regular tasks or if they are engaged in workouts and other physical activities that require a firmer seal.

The Jabra Elite Active 65t earbuds support different smart assistants. You can interact with the Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, or Siri to access various settings of the earbuds and other gadgets. The Sound + app from Jabra also allows you to personalize the earbuds by customizing the equalizer.

Finally, we have to mention that the Elite Active 65T is IP56 rated. These protect the earbuds from dust and sweat. As a result, you can work out with the earbuds and use them under unfavorable weather conditions without worrying about their performance or durability.

Verdict: Jabra Elite Active 65T is made for everyone who’s looking for high-quality earbuds for both regular and active use. They’re water and dustproof, which helps to increase their durability significantly. They also produce dynamic treble and superb bass, yet the best part is that you can personalize the buds through the equalizer. Everything considered the Elite Active 65T is your best pick if you are looking for true wireless earbuds.

3. 1More Triple Driver In-Ear Earphones

The 1More Triple Driver In-Ear Earphones are the best choice for everyone in need of excellent earbuds within an affordable price range. For less than $80, you will get these little beasts which feature solid construction, ergonomic design and top-tier audio quality which left us wondering how exactly the Chinese based company, 1More, managed to pull this off.

1more partnered with a Grammy award-winning sound engineer, Luca Bignardi, to fine tune these earbuds for accurate and precise sounds. The earphones incorporate three drivers; a dynamic driver and two balanced armatures. These work together to deliver powerful bass and dynamic highs for the ultimate listening experience.

The ergonomic design of the earphones makes sure that nothing is taken away from your experience. First of all, you will get to choose between 9 different sets of ear tip sizes. This makes sure that everyone gets something that doesn’t just fit but one that is also very comfortable. With the size, you shouldn’t experience any issues of the earbuds falling off your ears and neither will you feel any discomforts.

With the earphones comes inline remote control that can be used to select songs and adjust the volume. You can also take calls through the control, and the MEMs microphone makes sure that the person on the other end of the call hears you clearly with no background static.

As an extra, 1More Triple Driver In-Ear Earphones will come with a beautiful magnetic clasping traveling case and an equally attractive storage case.

Verdict: The 1More Triple Driver earphones are hands down the best affordable earphones you can get in the market today.

The 3 Best Chromebooks To Buy in 2019

How to pick the Best Chromebook for your needs

The very best laptops in the market can cost you in excess of $1000. This is quite a lot of money, but if you really want that full windows or Mac experience while performing multiple functions, then you have no option but to dig deep and get the laptops. However, the truth is that not everyone is into performing multiple tasks onto their laptops. Some people barely do more than just web browsing on their laptops. There is also a group of people who are looking for a secondary laptop for basic web functions. A laptop that is portable enough to be taken into business meetings overseas without being overly bulky. For such individuals, spending more than $1000 on a laptop is not the wisest financial decision they can make. If you are in such a scenario, then what you need is a Chromebook.

Chromebooks have come a long way. Not only are they a portable and affordable alternative to laptops, but they are also trying to pack powerful CPUs and a myriad of other advanced features to enhance the user’s overall experience. For instance, the best Chromebooks – some of which we are going to review in a bit – come with IPS display for sharper images while others are designed with carbon-fiber chassis making them even lighter than some of the smartphones in the market. Some Chromebooks have taken the game to the next level by adding 128GB SSD, which has increased their capacity, speed, and overall performance.

Therefore, Chromebook shoppers are spoilt of choices with each Chromebook packing vast features. This brings us to a vital question:

What aspects should you consider when buying a Chromebook?

Processor

A processor is an integral part of any laptop. It determines how fast operations are executed and will also affect your ability to multi-task. Therefore, if you know that your work demands a lot of multi-tasking and that you don’t want your experience ruined by slow performance, then you need to invest on a Chromebook with a powerful processor. This means that you should look out for Core i3 or even i5 if they are using Intel Core CPUs. Bear in mind that a powerful processor translates to a higher price tag. 

If you are not going to use your Chromebook on any tasks beyond basic browsing with a maximum of two tabs open at any given time, then you can save a lot of cash by settling on Pentium or Celeron CPU. However, I’d advise you to go for a more powerful processor even though you may not need it now. This will prove very beneficial in the future as your needs grow.

Display

Currently, you can get Chromebook with screen sizes ranging from 10 to 15 inches. It’s all up to you to decide what size fits with your needs and preferences.

Like I pointed out earlier on, Chromebooks displays have been improving drastically. While most of them come with the standard 1080p (190 by 1080) display, you can get even better resolution if you can afford the high-end Chromebooks available out there. If you are on a tight budget, you can compromise a bit and go for a Chromebook with slightly lower resolution and save a few dollars while at it. After all, Chromebooks are basically designed for web browsing and other standard functions, so having the very best display may not be reasonable since you’re probably not going to spend so much time with them anyway.

Storage

The standard eMMC-based storage of 64GB or 32GB is usually enough for most on-device storage needs. You can store most of your other files in the cloud. If you need more in storage, you can look out for a Chromebook with an SD slot or buy the premium ones that come with bigger SSD. 

Connectivity

This is a very crucial factor, particularly to guys who are hoping to use their Chromebooks to do presentations. For such purposes, you need to look for a Chromebook with video output connections such as HDMI. You’ll also want to get other connectivity ports such as USB slots that you can use to plug in a mouse or other peripherals. A USB-C port is highly appreciated.

Battery Life

Of course, you want a Chromebook with the longest battery life possible to make your experience more convenient. The last thing you’d want is to start searching for a power outlet in the middle of your business or academic presentation.

Other factors to consider include:

  • Android app compatibility
  • Weight
  • Keyboard and trackpad
  • Touchscreen
  • 360-degree hinge
  • Price

Top 3 Chromebooks

ASUS C302CA-DHM4 Chromebook

The ASUS C302CA has been around for just over 2 years now yet it is still a top performer even when it is compared side by side with some of the latest Chromebooks. The trackpad features a sleek and compact body, weighing just 2.65lbs, making it highly portable.

Speaking of portability, you’re probably going to spend so much time on the road with this gadget and to make sure that it doesn’t get damaged in the process, Asus has made the external body with professional-grade aluminum.

The display is also the sturdy Corning Gorilla Glass illuminating images in 1080p. At 12.5” the display is also decent enough for your needs and the 360-degree hinge means that you can use the Chromebook in either laptop or tablet mode. Yes, it’s a touchscreen Chromebook.

The ASUS C302CA operates on the fast Intel Core processors. You will get 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage. The processor makes the Chromebook ideal not just for official duties, but you can also get some great entertainment from it.

The full-size keyboard on C302CA is backlit with minimal key float and just 1.4mm of key travel. This should make your typing experience very smooth. Also, the touchpad has been designed to differentiate palm contact while you’re typing from an actual fingertip. This eliminates the menace that is moving the cursor accidentally while typing.

The ASUS C302CA excels when it comes to connectivity. You’ll get a myriad of wireless connectivity options and ports including the fast 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, USB 3.1 Type-C, audio jack, and Micro SD slot.

Other Features

  • 10-hours battery life
  • Built-in antivirus
  • Anti-glare display panel
  • Light sensors
  • Touchscreen
  • Android apps compatibility

Google Pixelbook

If you have several hundreds of dollars to spare for a Chromebook, then your best pick is perhaps the Google Pixelbook. This Chromebook starts at around $800, which is quite a lot, but its performance should convince you that it is worth every penny.

The pixel book runs on Core i5, 8 gigs of RAM and 128GB SSD, meaning that it has one of the most powerful processors you’d find in any Chromebook. This also means that it performs a lot better compared to most of the other laptops in the market operating on Intel Core i5 and 4Gb of RAM. The craziest part is that you can decide to boost the processor further to Core i7 and 16GB of RAM! How many other Chromebooks in the market pack such figures?

Apart from the insane processor, the Google Pixelbook will also impress you with the versatile 12.3” display designed with Corning Gorilla Glass. It allows you to switch between different modes depending on what you are doing to enhance your experience. The different modes include a laptop, tent, tablet, and entertainment modes. Needless to say that it is a 360-degree touchscreen display.

The backlit keyboard makes it easy for you to perform your tasks in the dark. You will also get a “Pixelbook Pen,” which allows you to write and draw on the screen.

One of the most interesting features of Google Pixelbook is the Voice Commands. This is the first laptop to integrate the Google Assistant. With the assistant comes lots of convenience in your everyday tasks as she can get you answers and execute tasks through your voice commands.

Other Features

  • 10-hours battery life (15-minutes charge will give you 2-hours of use)
  • Built-in antivirus
  • Compatible with many apps
  • Two USB 3.0
  • 2.45lbs weight

Lenovo Chromebook C330

The Lenovo Chromebook C330 is a stylish and elegant Chromebook that packs more than just good looks. The 360-degree hinge allows you to use the Chromebook in a laptop or tablet mode. The screen is an 11.6″ HD IPS display. Sure, this is a smaller screen as compared to most other Chromebooks, but it also means that it is the most compact and portable Chromebook measuring just 11.5 x 0.77 x 8.48 inches and a mere 2.64lbs in weight.

The Lenovo C330 also performs well above average. It operates on MediaTek MT 8173C processor, 4GB LPDDR3 and 64GB eMMC. This ensures decent performance on standard daily tasks and also on some fairly intensive multi-tasking functions. The Lenovo Chromebook C330 also offers an extra 100GB of cloud storage.

The Chromebook provides various options as far connectivity is concerned. You will get full I/O support, USB-C, SD slot and USB 3.0.

Other Features

  • 1366 X 768 pixels display
  • 2.64lbs
  • 10-hours battery life
  • Touch display
  • Built-in antivirus

The 3 Best Free VPN To buy in 2019

How to pick the Best Free VPN for your needs

Virtual Private Network is an excellent way of masking your online activities. VPNs hide your IP address thus making it impossible, or rather hard, for hackers to pinpoint your location or see your activities when you are online. Another benefit of VPNs is that they help one to go around geo-restrictions. If you are in a region where you cannot access content such as US Netflix, BBC, and other media, you can easily bypass all the restrictions by using a VPN.

Here is the thing, though, to get the best VPN services, you’ll have to spend some money. I’m talking about VPNs that have thousands of servers spread across different regions in the world with tens of thousands of shared IP addresses. Even more important, paid VPNs are usually more reliable when you want some assurances that your logs won’t be retained by the provider. The problem is that not everyone can afford to pay for a VPN. There’s also a possibility that you are traveling to some region for some time and you’d like some privacy on your online activities and hence investing in a paid VPN doesn’t make financial sense. In such instances, you’re better off checking out a free VPN.

It doesn’t matter what the reason is for seeking a free VPN, but once you decide to go down this road, then you need to tread very carefully. That’s because free VPNs are notorious for selling users’ data, and this can leave you very vulnerable. It’s, therefore, paramount that you check on the reputation of the provider before committing yourself.

Top 3 Free VPN

1.Hotspot Shield

If I was to pick just one free VPN that I can trust and rely on, then it will be Hotspot Shield. The VPN is very secure and extremely fast. Hotspot Shield does not just market itself as having ‘military-grade encryptions’ for the sake of luring in customers, but it is actually a claim that is tested and proven. In our security and privacy tests, Hotspot Shield performed well above average. Their no-logs policy also means that you don’t have to worry about your data ending up in the wrong hands as there won’t be any data available, to begin with.

Its excellent speeds are guaranteed to give you a smooth online experience. With Free Hotspot shield, you will receive 500mb data every day. This may seem small, but you will find it very generous when you start comparing it to other alternatives in the market. 

Another reason to love Hotspot Shield is the fact that you can use it on up to 5 different gadgets. The best part is that it can run on various platforms such as iOS, Android, and Windows. There is also a version of it that can be used on Chrome. Whether you are planning on using them on your mobile devices or on your pc, you will find these applications very user-friendly.

Drawbacks of Hotspot Shield

Hotspot shield has to get generate revenue somehow to remain in business. For this purpose, the VPN relies on ads. Therefore, you can expect to see lots of advertisements while using Hotspot Shield. They can get really annoying at times.

Another issue with Hotspot shield is that they do not support streaming. If your sole purpose of getting a VPN is to stream US Netflix, BBC or any other shows, you’ll probably have to invest on a paid VPN for that. After all, 500mb is barely enough to get you through half an episode.

Finally, we have to discuss the data cap. At 500mb per day, Hotspot Shield is more useful when you’re doing some research on the web than it is in doing anything else. With such a low limit, it is difficult to imagine a scenario where you can have 5 devices connected simultaneously without receiving a notification that your daily data is exhausted.

2. Windscribe

At position two, we have another decent free VPN service known as Windscribe. The data cap here is set at 10Gb per month. This is lower than what Hotspot Shield are offering, but the good news is that you can get an extra 5GB by tweeting the company. Quite a clever way to market yourself, I must say.  You can also get an additional 1Gb every month by referring your friends. And it gets even better! If you were to refer a friend who then upgrades to Windscribe Pro, you would be rewarded with an unlimited plan that’ll bring more servers at your disposal!

Windscribe is also one of the few free VPN providers that allow you to choose a server location. Most free VPNs usually have numerous servers, but they automatically pick the server for you. With free windscribe, you can select one of the eight remote servers available.

Using Windscribe is also pretty easy. All you have to do is create an account by setting up a username and password. You can also choose to use your email address when creating your account. Using an email address is optional, and hence you can choose not to include it but adding it will come in very handy should you forget your password in future.

To give you peace of mind, Windscirbe VPN comes with top-tier encryption. Their no-logs policy should boost your confidence even further. You can also go through their privacy policy and check out the user data that they retain in case you still have some concerns.

If ads are a deal-breaker for you, then you are going to fall in love Windscirbe. The VPN comes with both malware and ad blocker that is accessible to both free and paid plans.

Windscribe is compatible with different operating systems, including iOS, Windows, and Linux. They also released an Android app recently. Therefore, you can use Windscribe in all the popular smartphones out there. It will also run on macOS, and they have a browser extension for both Firefox and Chrome.

All Windscribe apps are very easy to use. The applications also come with a live chat option and a simple setup guide that can help you get started.

Drawbacks of Windscirbe

The problem with Windscribe is that they tend to store some data when you are connected. This raises serious privacy concerns.

Another minor issue with Windscribe is the data cap. 10gb per month is less than what Hotspot Shield offers. The opportunity to push the limit by tweeting the VPN and referring friends is highly welcomed. However, for how long can you do this before you finally run out of friends or you just get tired of tweeting them? Also, there is a possibility that Windscribe might deactivate this option after they’ve hit a certain number of active users.

3. TunnelBear

TunnelBear is another decent free VPN with a user-friendly interface. You don’t have to go through tedious tasks to create an account or to switch on your VPN. This makes it very ideal for all the elderly people who are keen on their privacy but don’t want to spend hours trying to power on the VPN.

It features AES256 encryption, which is commonly used by most paid VPNs. TunnelBear also goes through independent auditing to make sure that there is no conflict of interests on the user’s privacy. They also have a very strict no-logs policy.

With TunnelBear, you’ll have over 22 servers at your disposal. These are located in different countries, and hence it should boost your access to geo-restricted content.

TunnelBear also performed relatively well in our speed tests. The VPN is also ad-free.

You can use TunnelBear on Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Firefox, Opera, and Chrome.

Drawbacks of TunnelBear

The major disadvantage of TunnelBear is the data cap, which is set at 500mb per month. That’s ridiculously low. While most other providers are giving you 500MB per day, TunnelBear can only spare you the same data for a whole month. This seriously limits your internet consumption. It’s for this reason that we believe TunnelBear is ideal for people who don’t do a lot of browsing or don’t use VPN so much.

TunnelBear also doesn’t support streaming of both music and TV. We can’t say much about this because after all, 500MB is not enough for any sort of streaming.

Also, the server network of TunnelBear is very limited.

Final Thoughts

The above three VPNs are quite good, but they cannot compare to paid VPNs. Premium VPNs have more to offer, including the ability to stream videos and music, unlimited data, and most importantly, they are more secured with thousands of servers to choose from. Therefore, you can try out the above VPNs, and if they are what you’d like in a VPN, then you can go ahead and upgrade for premium and unlimited services.

The Best Bluetooth Speakers to Buy in 2019

Introduction to the Best Bluetooth Speakers

Bluetooth speakers provide an undefeated opportunity where you can rest easy from virtually anywhere while enjoying your favorite songs. The ideal Bluetooth speaker should do more than just producing quality sounds. Obviously, you need a portable speaker. One that you can easily carry with you be it to the beach, pool, hiking sites, or any other place. However, if your intention of purchasing a Bluetooth speaker is to use it at home or office, then portability does not need to be a priority to you. Perhaps what’s more crucial for you is sound quality and how loud the speaker is.

You also need to consider build quality and the ability of the speaker to withstand harsh surroundings. Summer usually involves lots of pool and beach time, and this is where a Bluetooth speaker comes in very handy. Now, take a moment and imagine this; you’ve finally saved enough cash to get yourself an expensive speaker. A few weeks down the line, you can barely get quality sound from the speaker. And why is that? The random splashes of water on the speaker and its direct contact to sunlight have damaged it before you’re even halfway through your summer fun. To save yourself disappoints and make sure that you get full value for your money, you must be keen on the build quality of the speaker you’re eying. Make sure that you look beyond the flashy appearance and other aesthetic factors when making your decision. This is the point where you will need to look out for IP ratings such as IPX4 or IPX4, which means Splash proof, 1PX7 i.e., waterproof and IP67 which stands for water and dust proof. Finally, we have to discuss battery life. This is a very crucial factor because unless you have a Bluetooth speaker with long battery life, then the whole point of owning a Bluetooth speaker is defeated. Why? Well, what’s the point of having a portable speaker if it’ll barely work for more than 4 hours?

Other factors to consider when buying a Bluetooth speaker are:

  • Compatibility with other devices
  • Wireless range
  • Charging capability
  • Connectivity

To make your work even easier, we’ve come up with a list of the best Bluetooth speakers in the market today. Our picks are not just based on the features of the speakers but also on our firsthand experience with them. We also took into account the various user reviews online to come up with a more comprehensive picture of how reliable these speakers are and their overall performance.

Top 3 Bluetooth Speakers

1. Ultimate Ears MEGABOOM 3 Portable Bluetooth Wireless Speaker

The Ultimate Ears MEGABOOM 3 offers everything you’d ever need in a Bluetooth speaker. It is compact and elegantly designed weighing approximately 2 pounds and measuring about 8.9 by 3.4 inches. This doesn’t just boost portability, but it also makes sure that the speaker looks pleasing and presentable.

The UE Mega Boom 3 really impressed us in terms of sound production. The highs are impressive, and the lows are really satisfying too. The 360-degree sound system makes sure that everyone enjoys quality music from all angles. And it gets even better! With the party up mode, you can pair the UE MEGABOOM 3 with 8 Bluetooth enabled devices. This is one of the reasons that make the UE Mega Boom an all-around Bluetooth speaker as it will give you a great summer and still remain very useful when you start using it indoors.

UE MEGABOOM 3 is also IPX7 certified, which means that it is water and shockproof. It should be able to remain fully functional even after a fall or splashes.

In terms of battery life, you will get an incredible 20 hours of entertainment after a full charge!

2. Echo (2nd Generation) Smart Speaker

If you are all about the Smart life, then this 2nd Generation gadget of the Amazon Echo Smart Speaker is meant for you. The speaker utilizes the latest technology to spice up your entertainment life. The most exciting feature of the smart speaker has to be the voice commands capability! Yes, the Echo Smart Speaker is programmed with Alexa voice. Using the speaker should, therefore, be easy and engaging. Other than asking Alexa to select your playlist, you can also engage her in some random questions whenever you are bored. You could also ask her to read your emails and weather.

When it comes to designing, very few Bluetooth speakers can match the Echo smart speaker. That’s because it comes with a superb fabric design that looks and feels great. The best part? You can swap this skin with various others to get the ideal look that complements the speaker’s surrounding. You can choose from Charcoal, Sandstone, Heather Gray, Oak, Silver, and Walnut fabric finishing.

In the department of sound quality, the Echo Smart Speaker is as good as they come. The speaker is programmed with Dolby technology and 360-degrees audio that delivers crystal clear vocals and excellent bass. You can also customize the equalizer settings through voice commands. For stereo sound, you can pair the speaker with another 2nd Gen Echo.

3.Ultimate Ears Boom 2 Phantom Wireless Mobile Bluetooth Speaker

The UE Boom 2 offers arguably the best Bluetooth speaker experience for less than $100. The speaker is very compact weighing just 1.2 pounds.

You will also appreciate the speakers build quality, which is quite impressive for the price. The UE Boom 2 is shock resistant and stain resistant and fully waterproof. If you ever needed a high-quality wireless speaker that accommodates your wild outdoor life, then the UE Boom 2 is one of your best picks.

The battery life of the speaker is also decent. At full volume and when it is paired with other devices, the lithium-ion battery can go for up to 11 hours. If you are using the speaker at standard volume, the speaker can run for up to 15 hours before the battery is fully drained. The Boom 2 also comes with better and louder sound output as compared to its predecessor, the Boom. You can pair the Boom 2 with other UE speakers, and the 100-feet Bluetooth range should increase your reach significantly. However, we noted that obstructions affected the device’s range quite easily.

Final Thoughts

Everything said and done, there cannot be one particular speaker that is perfect for everyone. It all comes down to what your priorities are. Once you’ve identified the key factors that you need in a speaker and you know your budget, shopping should become a breeze. We hope that the above review leaves you in a better position where you’re capable of making an informed decision.