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Best laptops for business: See where the MacBook Pro ranks on our list — 09/28/2018

Best laptops for business: See where the MacBook Pro ranks on our list

When it comes to business, working from home, and working on the go, a good laptop can make or break your work day. While you tend to get what you pay for when it comes to your laptop, that doesn’t mean that you should only look toward big-ticket computers (we see you, MacBook Pro). 

Here’s what you need: A machine that offers enough battery to get you through conference sessions and long meetings, a CPU that’ll deliver great performance even with a (couple) dozen tabs open, and something light enough to easily stash in a carry-on or tote. Everything else? That’s kinda up to your own personal preference. 

Here are a few things to keep in mind when looking for a new laptop: 

Consider the battery life

You don’t want a laptop that’ll give out halfway through a long flight while you’re finishing a report, delivering a presentation, or in the middle of a Zoom call. You need a reliable battery that’ll deliver. While there are still some laptops with a short battery life of around six hours or so, a little more money can sometimes get you up to 10 or more. Think about how and where you work, and find a machine with a battery life that aligns with your ideal needs. 

Opt for something lightweight

While you might be sitting at your desk with this laptop most of the time, it doesn’t mean that’s where you’ll stay. Look for a machine that isn’t packing too many pounds — you want to be able to throw it in a backpack, tote, or carry-on without it making your bag dig into your shoulders. 

Don’t get overwhelmed by sticker shock 

It’s one thing if your employer is springing for the tab, but if you’re self-funding this laptop, price can be an important consideration. (Remember to ask your accountant if you can write it off!) While top-of-the-line machines might run above $1,000, you can get great laptops under a grand too — and we’ve included a range of prices below. 

Now, read on for our favorite picks. 

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Image: dell

The Good

Really good build • Amazing and high quality display • Long battery life

The Bad

Expensive • Keyboard has a learning curve • No USB-A ports • The laptop runs loud and warm with heavier workloads

The Bottom Line

The Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 is a sexy and powerful laptop that just gets work done in a compact and thin presentation.

Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

Here’s the lowdown: The Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 is one of the best laptops for getting serious work done in a business and office environment.

  • Storage:
    512GB PCIe SSD
  • Memory:
    8GB/16GB
  • Features:
    four USB-C ports (two Thunderbolt 3, two USB-C), microSD slot, FHD 1920 x 1080 touch screen, Intel Core i5-8305G, Radeon RX Vega M GL Graphics with 4GB HMB2 Graphics Memory
Armed with the new Intel Kaby Lake G-series CPU, the Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 packs a punch when combined with the Radeon RX Vega M GL graphics card for serious computing power and stamina. However, while the laptop displays high performance starting with 8GB of RAM, the Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 is also a world class tablet running Windows 10, which is designed for both functions. Without a doubt, this machine is built for multi-tasking and app switching.
Applications load with ease, while the laptop’s display features sharp detail on its FHD 1920 x 1080 “Infinity Edge” touchscreen. It should last you through the day with a whopping 15-hour battery life in a sleek and impossibly thin presentation that gives you the best “bang for your buck” among business laptops. The hybrid is made from premium materials like aluminum and carbon fiber with Corning Gorilla Glass 4 that’s damage resistant and tough.
The laptop has an assortment of ports for expansion, including the new USB-C and microSD slot reader, though it’s lacking a USB-A port. The keyboard may take some getting used to and the laptop can run a bit loud (and warm) when it’s overworked, but its high quality display and excellent build — not to mention its flexibility as a tablet — more than makes up for that.
The Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 is priced at $1,499.99 from Walmart.

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Image:

The Good

Luxurious keyboard • Long battery life and fast charging • Brilliant display

The Bad

Tinny audio • Expensive • Webcam is so-so • Fingerprint magnet

The Bottom Line

With hardly any trade-offs in design, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is one of the best business laptops with strong performance and power with a whopping 15.5 hours of battery life. The laptop is a workhorse that will keep you busy and productive at the office or on the road.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

With hardly any trade-offs in design, the powerful Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon has a whopping 15.5 hours of battery.

  • Storage:
    256GB PCIe SSD
  • Memory:
    8GB/16GB
  • Features:
    two USB 3.0, two USB-C (Thunderbolt 3), HDMI port, microSD slot, 14-inch 2560 x 1440 pixels IPS anti-glare touchscreen display, Intel Core i5-8350U, Intel HD Graphics 620
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is a powerful workhorse that will get you through the work day with ease. The laptop features up to 15.5 hours of battery life, while it can quickly charge to up to 80% in just an hour. This means you can get a fast charge during your lunch break or during an airport layover — that’s a major win.
The laptop is made with  a four-layer carbon-fiber reinforced chassis and a magnesium alloy roll-cage, so it’s as tough as it is powerful, especially with its Intel Core i5-8250U Quad-core processor and Intel HD Graphics 620 graphics card. It has 8GB of memory and 1TB of solid state storage. The Lenovo also features a wide array of ports, such as USB 3.0 port, USB-C (Thunderbolt), microSD slot, and a full HDMI port, so hooking your laptop up to any display screens during a presentation should be a cinch.
While you experience the full power of this workhorse machine, you can also enjoy its luxurious 14-inch full HD IPS anti-glare touchscreen display at a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and its best-in-class keyboard for fast and comfortable typing.
Amazon customer Mukul Sawant writes:

“Sharp, comfortable, and portable. The display is much better than in the pictures. Has a fingerprint scanner, sharp display and comfortable keys. Body is really good ; made of carbon fiber! Looks very professional and handy to carry around because it’s the right size and weight. Battery is about 10 hours so i don’t need to worry about charging it often.”

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon retails for $1,299.99 on Amazon.

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Image: lenovo

The Good

Lightweight and ultra portable • Very inexpensive • Clever design, 2-in-1 laptop/tablet hybrid

The Bad

Underpowered Atom processor • Lack of traditional keyboard

The Bottom Line

The Lenovo Yoga Book experiences the best of both worlds as a laptop and tablet. Its unique and clever design allows you to quickly take notes or draw diagrams with ease because of the laptop’s special second screen used for sketching and annotations with a stylus and real pen and paper.

Lenovo Yoga Book

With its clever design and second screen, the Lenovo Yoga Book is useful and versatile machine at a very inexpensive price point.

  • Storage:
    64GB/128GB SSD
  • Memory:
    4GB
  • Features:
    one USB 2.0, one Micro USB, one Micro HDMI, 10.1-inch full HD IPS touchscreen display, Intel Atom x5-Z8550, Intel Atom
The Lenovo Yoga Book is an interesting 2-in-1 laptop. While it’s lightweight and compact for easy portability, the laptop has a special folding screen that makes it possible to use as a notebook or sheet of paper. No joke. The Lenovo Yoga Book is the best solution to quickly jotting down notes and messages in your own handwriting, but on a digital surface. This feature comes in handy when drawing up charts and diagrams on the fly, especially in a business and office setting like a meeting or presentation. The laptop even comes with a real pen and a real book pad with 15 pages that’s used in conjunction with the Lenovo Active Pen 2.
The hybrid laptop comes in two variants with different operating systems: either Android or Windows 10. While it would be great if both were available in one model, Windows 10 is the best option for business with its suite of productivity applications like Office 365. Since Windows 10 is built for tablets too, the Lenovo Yoga Book can be converted into a slate with its world-class hinge system that lets you arrange the hybrid in any position.
However, there are some downsides with the Yoga Book, namely it’s on-screen keyboard. The laptop doesn’t have a traditional keyboard, but rather its second screen turns into a virtual keyboard with a push of a button in laptop mode. While it has some haptic feedback and vibrations when you use it, there’s no substitute for the real thing. But for the laptop’s versatility and price point, the Lenovo Yoga Book is a great solution, especially if you’re looking for a combination laptop, tablet, and digital paper in one device. 

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Image: apple

The Good

Ease of use • Stylish and powerfully fast • True tone display

The Bad

Controversial keyboard design • Expensive • Give or take TouchBar • You have to buy a dongle for older expansion ports

The Bottom Line

If you’re an iPhone user, then the Apple MacBook Pro is the laptop for you. The machine perfectly integrates with MacOS and iOS, which makes for a seamless experience. With its 10-hour battery life, you’ll have juice and power for most of the day before you need to recharge. Make no mistake about it, the Apple MacBook Pro is still a workhorse and the gold standard.

Apple MacBook Pro

A stylish and sleek laptop that’s considered the gold standard for professionals and creatives alike.

  • Storage:
    128GB/256GB SSD
  • Memory:
    8GB
  • Features:
    two USB-C (Thunderbolt 3), 13.3-inch 2560 x 1600 LED-backlit display with IPS technology display, Intel Core i5 with Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz, Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640
Apple is considered the best at making high-end laptops that run their own powerful operating system. The new Apple MacBook Pro continues the tradition with a trusty laptop that just works for any type of work you can throw at it.
In a traditional 9-to-5? The Apple MacBook Pro can run the latest office applications from Microsoft and Google like Office 365 and Google Suite. Do you work in the arts? The laptop can run just about any application from the Adobe Creative Suite with ease. Do you edit video? The machine is powerful enough to render raw 4K video footage in minutes with Apple’s own Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere editing suite. This laptop is a beast, with its Intel Core i5 with Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz processor and Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 graphics card with 8GB of RAM, which might seem underpowered, but works brilliantly on this machine.
The laptop features Apple’s Touch Bar, a display meant to replace the upper function keys, which is configurable and personalized to whatever applications you need at a moment’s notice. The vivid, backlit Retina Display is clear and crisp across the 13-inch screen.
However, while the Apple MacBook Pro is considered one of the best of the best laptops out there, it does have some shortcoming that might turn people off, namely its lack of ports. The laptop comes with only two USB-C ports. This means you’ll need a dongle to use any of your older peripherals. It might not be a big deal to some people, but considering the high price, it would’ve been nice if Apple included one in the box. 
The Apple MacBook Pro is priced at $1,989.00 on Amazon.

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Image: huawei

The Good

Great design • Brilliant display • Comfortable keyboard • Amazing performance

The Bad

Unflattering webcam • No SD slot • Laptop fans can get loud

The Bottom Line

The Huawei MateBook X Pro is one of the best Windows 10 laptops out there. While it has some flaws with its webcam, the machine is a great alternative to the Apple MacBook Pro with its wonderful display and reliability when it comes to productivity and entertainment.

Huawei MateBook X Pro

A total MacBook Pro copycat, the Huawei MateBook X Pro has a sleek and sexy design that will turn heads, while also making it easy to get work done.

  • Storage:
    512GB SSD
  • Memory:
    8GB/16GB
  • Features:
    one USB 3.0, one USB-C (Thunderbolt 3), one USB-C 3.1, HDMI port, VGA port, 13.9-inch 3K 3,000 x 2,000 LED with touch panel display, Intel Core i7-8550U, Intel UHD Graphics 620, Nvidia GeForce MX150 graphics
We are really impressed with the Huawei MateBook X Pro. Yes, it’s an Apple MacBook Pro clone (it even comes in Space Gray), but the laptop is one of the best Windows 10 machines for business and personal use. In fact, it runs Windows 10’s Signature Edition, which means there’s no free trial software or bloatware that you will never use and will only bog down the laptop. It delivers the best and cleanest Windows experience inside of a sleek and sexy design that might actually make you convert from Mac to PC. 
The laptop is one of the most powerful around with its Intel Core i7-8550U processor and Intel UHD Graphics 620 and Nvidia GeForce MX150 graphics card working together to give you the best performance to get work done (or watch some Netflix to unwind). The machine features an immersive 13.9-inch 3K touchscreen with a resolution of 3,000 x 2,000 in an almost bezel-less display. Moreover, Huawei achieves this 91% screen-to-body ratio with a clever design choice that removes the laptop’s webcam from the top of the display to inside a pop-out in its keyboard. While it’s very astute, it makes for odd viewing angles when in use. It’s a minor flaw, but something that should be pointed out if you are always in video meetings and conference calls.
Overall, the Huawei MateBook X Pro is one of the best laptops for business with its compact and lightweight design at just under three pounds. The laptop also features many ports, including one USB 3.0 port, one USB-C (Thunderbolt 3) port, one USB-C 3.1 port, an HDMI port, and VGA port for presentations. Although it’s battery life is on the average side with up to eight hours of usage time, the laptop is still recommended for travel thanks to its design and durability. The machine  looks really good and will have random people coming up to you to ask “Is that a MacBook Pro running Windows?,” which is not a bad icebreaker or conversation starter for networking and professional mixers.
The Huawei MateBook X Pro starts at $1,169.99 on Amazon.

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Image: dell

The Good

Lightweight and compact • Powerful performance • Great keyboard and touchpad

The Bad

Webcam placement • Touchscreen is not standard

The Bottom Line

With different configurations, the Dell XPS 13 is built for business in mind, whether you work from home, the office, or on the road. The laptop is refined for ease of use, durability, and outstanding performance.

Dell XPS 13

A stellar laptop that’s designed for business with its ultraportable build and powerful performance with Windows 10 Pro.

  • Storage:
    256GB PCIe SSD
  • Memory:
    8GB/16GB
  • Features:
    two USB-C (Thunderbolt 3), one USB-C 3.1, microSD slot, 13.3-inch, Ultra HD 3,840 x 2,160 UltraSharp InfinityEdge display, Intel Core i5-8250U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
The Dell XPS 13 is a powerful laptop that’s designed for business thanks to its ultraportable build and powerful performance with Windows 10 Pro as its operating system. The computer company designed the laptop for people who want to remain productive with its nearly 22 hour battery life (!!!) and suite of productivity applications like Microsoft Office 365 built-in. Rest assured that every app running on the laptop will look great on the Dell XPS 13’s Ultra HD and UltraSharp InfinityEdge at a 3840 x 2160 resolution with an option to go full 4K.
Although Dell placed the laptop’s webcam at the bottom of the display — seriously, why do computer companies keep doing this — at elast it’s centered, rather than off to the side like past models. 
The ultraportable computer is considered the benchmark for business due to its assortment of ports, brilliant display, and performance power with its Intel Core i5-8250U processor and Intel UHD Graphics 620 graphic card working together to deliver a top-notch experience.
Amazon customer Alfa_Q writes:

“I am a programmer and a student. I typically almost always select dark or silver. Black laptops, dark phone cases, dark tablet case, dark modes across all my software, … you get the idea. But this time, I decided to try something new by going with the Rose Gold XPS. If you are debating between the XPS Silver and the XPS Rose Gold, I ultimately recommend the XPS Rose Gold. I have tried both of the variations and I believe that the Rose Gold primarily wins due to the keyboard material which is infinitely better than the XPS Silver for cleaning! It’s awesome design also stands out quite a bit more compared to the XPS Silver due to it’s white keyboard and bezels. Regardless of which variation you select, the New 2018 XPS 13 performs well, small/portable, lightweight. It’s pretty much the ideal student laptop.”

The Dell XPS 13 starts at $1,519.99.

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Image: microsoft

The Good

Great design • Excellent performance • Feels wonderful to type • Very good battery life

The Bad

Limited ports • Windows 10 S is limiting • Small trackpad

The Bottom Line

The Surface Laptop is a powerful machine that features a single USB port and a mini DisplayPort for conference room presentations. Its slim body and premium build will turn heads, while the laptop’s nearly 15-hour battery life will get you through the workday with ease.

Microsoft Surface Laptop

The Microsoft Surface Laptop is a reliable machine that will keep you focus-oriented and productive during your workday.

  • Storage:
    256GB
  • Memory:
    8GB/16GB
  • Features:
    one USB 3.0, mini DisplayPort, 13.5-inch 2256 x 1504 PixelSense display, Intel Core i5, Intel HD Graphics 620
The Microsoft Surface Laptop seems intentionally limited to keep you focused and productive. While this might seem like a bad thing for users who want to use their laptops for everything, this is a very good option for others who just want to get work done with no distractions.
First up, the Surface Laptop is not a touchscreen device like other Microsoft devices, so it will feel like a very traditional experience when you’re doing work. This is a good thing though because the keyboard and trackpad, however small, are a joy to use with accurate navigation and precision keystrokes. 
The laptop is powered with the Intel Core i5 processor with 8GB of RAM out of the box. Microsoft included a sharp 13.5-inch PixelSense display with a resolution of 2256 x 1504. This machine just screams reliability and focus with the Window 10 S operating system, which only allows users to download apps from the Windows Store. If there’s a piece of software you need that’s not available, then you’d have to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro. However, this laptop is still recommended for its design, portability and travel, and impressive battery life of a productive 14.5 hours.
Amazon customer Herman M. writes:

“I am an intense user and the Surface Laptop is the best laptop I owned so far. Upgraded it to Win 10 Pro since I need a wide variety of software on the machine for professional use (Image processing, CAD, etc.). The upgrade was free and easy. The keyboard is very precise and comfortable, allowing for fast typing. Mouse and touch screen very accurate. The display is crisp with natural colors. Processor and SSD performance is ample. Beautiful detail solutions like the power supply plug and the additional USB charging port in the power supply add to the appeal. And the design is clean, minimalist, beautiful. I hope I will have this laptop for a very long time!”

The Microsoft Surface Laptop starts at $715.00 on Amazon.

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Image: dell

The Good

It’s very durable • Very good battery life • Bright display • Comfy keyboard

The Bad

Touchpad needs to work better with Windows 10 • Expensive • Bulky and heavy

The Bottom Line

The Dell Latitude 7212 is a reliable workhorse that’s battle tested for extreme jobs and the worst conditions on the planet. While the laptop is pricey and thick, it’s a powerful machine that runs Windows 10 Pro for all your work needs.

Dell Latitude 7212

The Dell Latitude 7212 is built for rugged environments and extreme durability on the job. While you might not be able to take it to the boardroom, the laptop is capable of completing tasks at a construction site, the dock, and in the field.

  • Storage:
    128GB/256GB SSD
  • Memory:
    8GB/16GB
  • Features:
    two USB 3.0, one USB-C, microSD slot, 11.6-inch, 1920 x 1080 Full HD LCD WLED touchscreen display, Intel Core i5-7300U, Intel HD Graphics 620
The Dell Latitude 7212 is built for rugged environments and extreme durability on the job. While it might be too big and bulky for the boardroom, the laptop is more than capable of completing tasks at a construction site, the dock, and in the field — no matter the rough conditions. Dell designed the laptop to withstand essentially any weather condition, like miserable rain, extreme heat or ice cold, and unforgiving sandstorms, while making the Dell Latitude 7212 tough enough to survive a four-foot drop at any angle.
The waterproof laptop features an 11.6-inch full HD touch display with a resolution at 1920 x 1080 that can even be used if you’re wearing thick gloves or in the rain, while its Intel Core i5-7300U processor is powerful enough to help you complete your daily tasks and provide you with up-to-the-minute information while you’re in the field. The five-pound laptop works with a durable keyboard and tough cover, along with Dell’s Active Stylus Pen (sold separately). 
The Dell Latitude 7212 is a great choice for businesses that aren’t exclusively based in an office setting. If you’re an architect at a construction site, a police officer on the beat, or an Army  soldier on the frontlines, then this is a dependable and tough laptop that you can take in any rough condition to get work done. 
The Dell Latitude 7212 Rugged Extreme is priced at $1,993.73 at Walmart.
7 of the best robot vacuums for pet hair — 09/27/2018

7 of the best robot vacuums for pet hair

BEST ROBOT VACUUM DEALS:


Pets can be mediocre roommates. 

Sure, they’re adorable and have a preternatural ability to cuddle. But pets are also messy — and unlike in a passive-aggressive roommate group chat, you can’t tell a pet to clean up after itself. 

They pay no mind as to where they shed or track dirt. You’re forced to constantly clean up after them which, frankly, we find pretty rude. Fortunately, robot vacuums are here to save the day. Or, at the very least, help cut down on your housework. These devices live for picking up stray bits of food, litter, and hair, ensuring your home doesn’t turn into a den of debris. Of course, before you rush over to Amazon or (gasp!) an actual store, you’ll want find out which robot vacuum might be best for you.  

What makes a robot vacuum good for pet hair?

Like most gadgets, there are a handful of factors to consider before you purchase a robot vacuum. Chief among them are the type of floors in your home. Virtually all robots can master hardwood floors (as well as laminate, tile, and vinyl). A living space that contains a variety of flooring and/or carpeting will prove to be a little more challenging for a robot. In that case, you’ll definitely want to choose a model that has strong suction power. Additionally, as a pet owner, you will need a vacuum equipped with brushes designed to pick up hair without getting it tangled.

Another important aspect for people with pets? The filtration system. Vacuuming is bound to kick up dander, dust, and pollen. A good filter captures all of that and makes sure it gets into the vacuum’s dust bin. We should note that some robot models contain HEPA filters that can catch even smaller particles, leading to cleaner air and a cleaner floor. This is particularly advantageous if you live with an allergy sufferer. 

You’ll also want to consider noise level, especially since your pets might be sensitive. Some robot vacuums can be as loud as more traditional vacuums whereas others sound more like a fan. If you’re worried that you’ll find the noise irritating or distracting, there are models that allow you to program the vacuum to run at specific times — when you’re at work for example. Impressively, some of the newer and fancier options even have companion apps so you can control the vacuum from afar. You may schedule a cleaning, check on the robot’s progress, and even receive maintenance reminders all via your phone.  

Battery life and charging time should be taken into account as well. Some robot vacuums run for 60 minutes before they die. Others can go for over two hours. Similarly, it can take anywhere from roughly two to five hours for your robot to recharge, depending on the model. It’s good to think about the timing in context to the size of your home. If you live in a studio apartment, a vacuum that only runs for an hour should meet your needs. A larger home may necessitate a longer battery life. The robot’s mapping function (i.e. method/route in which it cleans the floor) might also affect your decision. Cheaper models tend to pursue a random “bump and run” pattern, making them less efficient and thorough. More expensive robots often clean in an orderly, linear fashion. Hence, they don’t usually over clean or entirely miss certain areas. And they typically complete the task more quickly. A handful even retain where they’ve cleaned so if they need to be recharged mid-task, they can easily resume their work and avoid unnecessary repeat cleanings.

Additionally, as a pet owner, you might want to invest in a robot that has a virtual wall. This is a magnetic strip that stops the vacuum from coming close to items that may trip it up or that it might otherwise disturb. For example, the virtual wall will help prevent your robot from knocking over your dog’s food bowls. We’re confident you, your dog, and your vacuum will all appreciate this feature.  

Finally, price is likely to be a deciding factor. You can find robot vacuums that work with many budgets; options range from under $200 to well over $900. While cheaper vacuums certainly won’t offer all the bells and whistles of fancier models, rest assured that most will meet your needs. (It’s also worth waiting until Prime Day or Black Friday to shop for a new robot vacuum, as we typically see great sales on these devices during those times.) 

Is the Shark robot vacuum better than Roomba?

Both are good (which is why both brands make an appearance on our list), but your personal preferences will definitely come into play if you’re solely picking between the two. That’s assuming you’re deadset on getting a Shark or a Roomba.

When it comes to Shark robot vacuums, they excel at accurate sensing, protecting your furniture and walls from scuffs, easy controls, and budget-friendliness. However, most Roomba models tend to clean just a little bit better — they’re at their best when they’re sucking up buried debris in thick carpets. Roombas are also good at learning the layout of your home over time, and targeting specific areas that you tell it to. The downside to getting a Roomba is that you’ll probably be spending a lot more money on one than you would a Shark, and the older Roomba models don’t have all the bells and whistles one would expect at this point — including self-charging and self-emptying systems. 

What are the best robot vacuums for pet owners?

With all that said, we must admit that no robot vacuum is ever going to do as good a job as a standard upright vacuum. Sorry, but it’s true. But when taking everything above into account, there are some robot vacuums that stand out above the rest, especially when it comes to tackling pet hair.

Let’s get down to why you really clicked on this article — our list of best robot vacuums for pet hair.

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Image: irobot

The Good

Has enough power for a thorough carpet clean • Three-stage cleaning system lifts hair, dirt, and allergens • App connected

The Bad

Tends to get a little noisy on carpet boost mode • Long hair gets wrapped around brush roll

The Bottom Line

You’re guaranteed to get a good clean no matter your floor surface, especially with the high efficiency filter.

iRobot Roomba 960

With a powerful brush and suction, this vacuum tackles pet hair with ease.

  • Cleaning Time:
    120 minutes
  • WiFi Enabled:
    Yes
If you’re looking for a “Renaissance” robot, you will definitely want to consider this Roomba robotic vacuum — the 960. That’s because no matter what type of floors you have in your house, the 960 will quickly adjust. Of course, many consumers are drawn to this particular Roomba because it’s manufactured with boost technology, which provides 10 times the air power on carpets and rugs. This powerful suction is paired with a high-efficiency filter that captures 99 percent of particles, pollen and allergens floating around your home. Just as crucial for pet owners, it also has tangle-free extractors to prevent hair clogs. 
Importantly, the 960 offers WiFi capabilities as well as an iRobot Home App which lets you schedule and set cleaning preferences via your phone or tablet. You can also ask Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant to start, stop, or dock the robot (just don’t let all that power go to your head). Moreover, you can receive cleaning reports that show exactly where the robot cleaned and how long each area took.
And fear not; this Roomba won’t accidentally fling itself down stairs and come to a premature end. It has sensors to prevent it from tumbling over a drop-off as well as boundary markers to stop it from going into specific rooms or bumping into fragile objects. Best of all, the 960 will smartly return to its dock if it senses it needs to be recharged. Once the battery has regained life, the Roomba will resume cleaning until the work is complete.

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Image: shark

The Good

Self-emptying base • Self-cleaning brush roll • Recharge and resume function

The Bad

Doesn’t get as deep of a clean as other robot vacuums

The Bottom Line

The Shark IQ Robot Self-Empty XL allows you to do the least amount of work possible thanks to its self-emptying and -cleaning capabilities, so if you prefer to let your vacuum do its job and forget about it, this is the one you want.

Shark IQ Robot Self-Empty XL

The Shark IQ Robot Self-Empty XL makes the least amount of work possible for you with its self-emptying and -cleaning functions.

  • Cleaning Time:
    90 minutes
  • WiFi Enabled:
    Yes
The Shark IQ Robot Self-Empty XL lets you take your aversion to vacuuming to the next level by employing a self-emptying that keeps you from having to get your hands dirty (literally). The self-emptying base that comes with the device — which also doubles as the vacuum’s charging station — can hold up to 30 days of debris, basically eliminating the need for you to get near any dust bunnies for a whole month. 
The Shark also does a pretty good job when it comes to suction, effortlessly picking up crumbs, hair, and more from deep within carpets. It also has a self-cleaning brush roll, which keeps hair from getting wrapped around it and gumming up the works. More great features include smart home mapping over time, voice commands via smartphone or smart speaker, and a handy “recharge and resume” function. If you want to do the least amount of work possible, this might be the robot vacuum for you. 

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Image: Eufy

The Good

Long battery life • Large dustbin • Ability to schedule cleanings

The Bad

Not great at cleaning in corners • Not good at avoiding obstacles

The Bottom Line

Provides a solid clean without breaking the bank.

Eufy Robovac 11S

Provides a solid clean without breaking the bank.

  • Cleaning Time:
    100 minutes
  • WiFi Enabled:
    No
If you’re feeling frugal yet want to hop on the robot vacuum bandwagon, the Eufy Robovac 11S is a solid option. One of the better performing budget models, the Eufy features 11 infrared sensors, a drop sensor, central rolling brush as well as two side brushes and a swivel wheel — all of which help ensure that hair and debris will be picked up. However, we should note that the infrared sensors don’t work as well on dark floors or high carpets. It’s best for flat hardwood floors and low rugs.
While it doesn’t have any WiFi capability, the Eufy does work in conjunction with a remote control. The remote offers six different cleaning settings — single room, manual, max, spot, auto and edge. This variety of cleaning configuration proves to be pretty useful. The auto mode cleans based upon each room’s layout while edge mode primarily focuses on the edges (obviously). Spot mode seeks out spots of dirt and debris. If you’re cleaning a carpet, you’ll want to set the Eufy to max mode. Single room tells the robot to only vacuum the room it’s currently in, before gently returning to its charging station (though, admittedly, it doesn’t always make it back). Additionally, despite not having a fancy companion app, the remote does feature a button in which you can schedule future cleanings.  

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Image: ecovacs

The Good

Great mapping technology • App and voice command compatibility • Max power mode

The Bad

Random cleaning pattern • Only one cleaning mode is available to schedule • App requires access to personal information

The Bottom Line

This affordable vacuum offers a lot of the bells and whistles found in more expensive models.

Ecovacs Deebot 500

Great features at an affordable price.

  • Cleaning time:
    110 minutes
  • WiFi Enabled:
    Yes
A fantastic, mid-priced option, the Ecovacs Deebot 500 is equipped with some impressive technology. For starters, it has an exclusive laser navigation system that scans and maps your entire home (it’s simultaneously cool and creepy). This allows the robot to craft an optimized cleaning path, saving both time and battery power. It also has anti-drop and anti-collision sensors. And most importantly, it has a three-stage cleaning system that works on both carpets and hard floors and picks up all debris in its path.
Like most WiFi-enabled bots, the Deebot works with both Alexa and Google Home voice commands. In other words, you can kick back and enjoy some hands-free cleaning. There’s also an accompanying app which lets you both schedule and customize your cleanings. You can even use the app to construct virtual boundary lines — in case you have a secret room you don’t want your robot seeing.

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Image: Neato

The Good

Great filter • Long-lasting battery • Shape allows it to clean corners with ease

The Bad

Has a tendency to get stuck under low furniture • Some connectivity issues

The Bottom Line

Armed with a number of exciting features, it’s a powerful vacuum that delivers.

Neato Botvac D7

Its shape allows this vacuum to get into corners and the powerful suction leaves no debris behind.

  • Cleaning Time:
    120 minutes
  • WiFi Enabled:
    Yes
Simply put, the Neato Botvac D7 knows how to get the job done. Though the D-shaped design might not seem especially sleek, it actually allows the vacuum to hug walls as well as reach under corners and ledges. This ultimately leads to a more thorough cleaning. Additionally, the D7 features both a spiral combo brush along with side brushes to help ensure that all lingering dirt and hair is sucked up. That’s right — no unwanted particles escape the Neato. And speaking of particles, the vacuum has both an ultra-performance filter and a filter screen. These guarantee that debris stays in the bin. 
Importantly, the Botvac D7 is also a tech lover’s dream. After all, it’s WiFi-enabled and offers an accompanying app that’s compatible with both Android and iOS. It can also be controlled via Alexa, Apple Watch, Facebook Messenger, IFTTT, Google Home, and the Neato Chatbot. Hence, you can schedule and monitor cleanings when you’re not at home. You can even create virtual boundaries to make sure the robot avoids precarious situations and sensitive areas. As if that wasn’t enough, the vacuum is capable of mapping and memorizing the layout of your home (up to 5,000 square feet). Finally, just to make sure you’re fully impressed, the Neato D7 automatically returns to its to dock to recharge — after finishing its task of course!   

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Image: irobot

The Good

Excellent on all floor types • Smart navigation

The Bad

Easy to spill when detaching the dust bin

The Bottom Line

Though it’s a little noisy, the 890 definitely gives a good clean.

iRobot Roomba 890

The Roomba 890’s smart navigation and powerful suction will clear pet hair from your entire home.

  • Cleaning Time:
    90 minutes
  • WiFi Enabled:
    Yes
We completely understand why the Roomba 890 is popular with pet owners. First off, it’s made with tangle-free extractors so pet hair won’t cause any issues. And it features the Roomba’s patented high-efficiency AeroForce filter, which follows in the footsteps of HEPA filters. Of course, the 890 isn’t a robot that rests on its laurels. It also offers customers a three-stage cleaning system that expertly lifts, loosens, and sucks up dirt and debris. It even has advanced dirt detection sensors which tell the Roomba that it must work harder on certain areas. 
The 890 is also one heck of a smart robot. It can sense “cliffs” to prevent it from falling. It can expertly navigate around furniture and clutter. And, naturally, it will automatically dock and recharge. As you might have suspected (and also because we mentioned it above), it’s WiFi-enabled. Thus, you can control it with Alexa, Google Assistant or its companion app.   

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Image: ilife

The Good

Super affordable • Fits easily under furniture

The Bad

Can struggle to remove some debris • Filter needs cleaned frequently

The Bottom Line

Though it’s a little light on suction, it’s great at picking up pet hair.

iLife V3s

For less than $200, the only feature you’re giving up is WiFi connectivity.

  • Cleaning Time:
    120 minutes
  • WiFi-Enabled:
    No
The iLife V3s gives you the freedom of hands-free vacuuming without having to spend a small fortune. It’s less than $200, but doesn’t skimp out on any features. 
The vacuum contains a low-profile design making it ideal for getting under beds and sofas. While it’s not equipped with WiFi, it does come with a remote control. Moreover, it’s self-charging and allows you to program a cleaning schedule. The iLife V3 is also equipped with sensors to avoid bumping into or falling off objects or stairs. However, it does sometimes get tripped up when transitioning to different surfaces. And, lastly, the filter will need to be cleaned every time you run the bot. 
The best automatic cat feeders to keep your pet fed while you’re away — 09/18/2018

The best automatic cat feeders to keep your pet fed while you’re away

As our schedules become busier, having the option to automate daily chores, such as feeding the cat, can be a real time saver. Plus, it just feels good to know your feline bestie has a nice full belly. Pet product manufacturers have smartly recognized this need of pet parents everywhere, and there are now dozens of automatic cat feeders available across the market. 

What to consider for when buying an automatic cat feeder

Whether you’re looking for a no-frills, basic gravity feeder or a full-fledged product to program perfectly timed and portioned meals, we’ve got the best automatic cat feeder options to fit your—and your kitty’s—needs. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Wet or dry food: Which food type does your cat usually eat? Wet dispensers will require daily cleaning and more attention than dry food feeders.

  • Your cat’s needs: While automatic feeders should never be a replacement for human interaction, consider your and your cat’s routine. Would the feeder be useful for days when you’re busy in meetings, or are you planning to go out of the house for a while? If the latter, your feline friend could develop separation anxiety so it’s important to pick one that best suits their needs (like one that allows you to leave voice recordings — yes, really).

  • Overall functionality: If you’ll be using the feeder often, look for dishwasher-safe containers or bowls so you aren’t stuck hand-washing each week. If you’re someone who often mixes up times, pick a programmable feeder that will remember for you. If your cat will continue to snack all day long, opt out of a gravity feeder and go for one that allots a specific amount of food.

So, which automatic cat feeder is best?

To help you figure out which option is right for you, we researched the internet’s favorite models and broke them down based on the features cat owners care about most.

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Image: chewy

The Good

Program up to 12 daily meals • Adjustable portion sizes • Slow feed mode

The Bad

Power supply sold separately

The Bottom Line

For pet parents who want to program multiple daily meals in set portions, the PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed Automatic Feeder is your best bet.

PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed Automatic Feeder

For pet parents who want to program multiple daily meals in set portions, the PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed Automatic Feeder is your best bet.

  • Capacity:
    24 cups
  • Meals:
    Up to 12
  • Power source:
    Battery/adapter
Perfect for single or multi-cat homes, the PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed allows pet parents to program up to 12 different daily meals, ranging in size from one-eighth of a cup to four cups. The large capacity hopper holds up to 24 cups of kibble at a time, which should last most felines quite a while before needing to be refilled. 
It can be used with both dry and semi-wet foods of varying kibble shapes and sizes. One standout feature that cat owners will love is the slow-feed option. This mode dispenses your cat’s food over a period of 15 minutes, which helps prevent your kitty from bingeing and then vomiting their meal. There’s also an immediate feed button that allows you to give your feline a little nibble in between their regularly scheduled mealtimes.
It comes with its own bowl and stand, which attaches to the feeder, but you can also use it with your kitty’s favorite dish. The pet-proof dispenser keeps prying paws out, and food fresh. The majority of the parts are dishwasher-safe on the top rack for added convenience when it comes time to wash the unit, and are made of BPA-free plastic and stainless steel. 
Amazon user Matthew Tracy writes: 

“We purchased this feeder for our two cats after reading many reviews of other feeders; it seemed that clever cats had a relatively easy time breaking into many of them. We were primarily buying the feeder for portion control while away from home (one of the cats is an over-eater), so any feeder we bought would need to stand firm against the onslaught of prying paws.

This feeder was definitely up to the task. Food is dispensed by gravity, but instead of an auger it uses a sort of conveyor-belt elevator, and the end of the elevator is guarded by a large plastic hood; the end result is that there is just no way for little paws to manipulate the mechanism, despite many vigorous attempts. The lid of our unit is now scratched to heck by the teeth and claws of greedy kittens; it wears these battle scars with pride, having safely defended the food within until mealtime.

Overall this feeder was worth the cost; it’s portioning is correct, its operation is reliable, and our cats have been yet unable to crack into this vault of a machine. So far, it’s earned my trust completely.”

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Image: Amazon

The Good

Voice recording feature • Infrared sensor • Ultra-low power consumption

The Bad

Battery operated

The Bottom Line

The WESTLINK 7L Automatic Pet Feeder Food Dispenser has all the bells and whistles cat owners want in an automatic feeder, and it’s super simple to program.

WESTLINK 7L Automatic Pet Feeder Food Dispenser

The WESTLINK 7L Automatic Pet Feeder Food Dispenser has all the bells and whistles cat owners want in an automatic feeder.

  • Capacity:
    25 cups
  • Meals:
    Up to 4
  • Power source:
    Battery/USB
Even Garfield would approve of this automatic cat feeder with its large capacity hopper (which holds a whopping 25 cups!) and precise portioning system—from 10 to 400+ grams per meal. It does have fewer meal options than our top choice, but programming this unit is much simpler. 
What makes the WESTLINK 7L really special is the ability for pet parents to record a special message of up to 10 seconds for their kitty. When meal time rolls around, the message plays as a signal to your feline that it’s time to eat—as if the food hitting the bowl wouldn’t be enough! That said, there’s also an infrared sensor on this feeder, which checks the bowl for food before dispensing. If it senses there’s still food in the bowl, it will skip your programmed mealtime. Kitty might be a bit hungrier once they finally do get around to eating, but this ensures that food is not wasted and stays as fresh as possible. 
It includes many pet-proof features to help prevent overeating, including a locking hopper lid and two-key programming. Another bonus: the bowl and hopper are removable for easy cleaning. 
Amazon user Jersey Jim writes: 

“By far the easiest feeder to program, fine tune, clean, fill, power, and travel with. I don’t think it’s listed in the description but the power cable is just a really long USB A to A cable, male connectors on both ends that has an included USB to AC receptacle like your phone charger. Unlike other automatic feeders, the square shape helps this device not only fit into a corner better but keeps the area “clean” since there’s less negative space like a dome-topped feeder creates allowing dust and hair to get behind it (providing you place this flush into a square corner). I think there’s battery backup; I haven’t tried it out… I could be wrong and it might be battery or AC rather than failing over to battery. I have not clogged this device but were it to clog, you can unsnap the storage top leaving the bottom timer/motor/feeding tray intact so that’s super-handy. My last feeder I had to pour all the food into a bag in order to remove the top and clean. I would say that dispensing 3 meals a day of setting #1 (about 1/8 Cup) of cat food, this holds at least a month and a half of food if not more. The settings for each of 4 programmable meals go up in about 1/8 Cup increments… but doesn’t stop at 1Cup or 2Cups…. you can keep that motor cranking and dispense a meal of about 9.5 cups (setting #38).”

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Image: chewy

The Good

RFID-controlled • Sealed lid prevents tampering

The Bad

Can’t feed multiple meals

The Bottom Line

If you have a multi-cat home where one feline requires a special diet or medication, the SureFeed Microchip Pet Feeder can give you peace of mind the right pet is consuming what they need.

SureFeed Microchip Pet Feeder

If you have a multi-cat home where one feline requires a special diet or medication, the SureFeed Microchip Pet Feeder can give you peace of mind the right pet is consuming what they need.

  • Capacity:
    2.5 cups
  • Meals:
    1
  • Power source:
    Battery
If you have an extra special kitty who requires a prescribed diet or is on a weight-management program, this automatic cat feeder is perfect. It’s super high-tech, and uses a RFID collar system to only dispense food to the correct kitty (especially important when you have more than one cat in the house). It is also compatible with any implanted microchip for added convenience. This way, Fluffy gets his or her special food, while any other pets are access-denied. Since the SureFeed Microchip Feeder can store up to 32 microchip identifications, there’s plenty of space to store all your cats. 
It’s also an excellent choice if your cat requires medications to be dispensed during the day. Because the lid is sealed, it keeps flies, ants, and other yuckies out of your cat’s food, and is ideal for serving up wet food without drying out. 
If you want to spruce up your cat’s mealtime further, there are optional accessories available including colored bowls and mats. The batteries should last for up to four months of daily use, and the low battery indicator will let you know when it’s time to change them. It can be used with both wet and dry foods, and the three-year warranty gives added peace of mind. 
Amazon user L.B. writes:

“My cat is not that smart and she’s a bit skittish but she quickly warmed up to this feeder and was using it within a day. It was easy to set up and took seconds to register her microchip. The training aid it has is a really nice feature, but she didn’t really need it.

I really like that you can adjust how quickly the feeder closes once the pet has walked away. I had it on the default setting and my other cat was able to sneak a quick bite in..but I sped it up and now it closes right away.

If I had any complaints it would be that it does not have a power adaptor or port to plug one in. This would be a nice option especially since I plan to make daily use out of this feeder.”

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Image: chewy

The Good

Sealed compartments • Dishwasher-safe • Budget-friendly

The Bad

Daily filling required • One compartment always available • Battery powered only

The Bottom Line

If you’re looking for an automatic cat feeder that won’t break the bank, the PetSafe 5-Meal Automatic Feeder is for you.

PetSafe 5-Meal Automatic Feeder

Pet parents can enjoy all the convenience of an automatic cat feeder, without the hefty price tag, thanks to this unit.

  • Capacity:
    1 cup/chamber (5 cups total)
  • Meals:
    Up to 5
  • Power source:
    Battery
Pet parents can enjoy all the convenience of an automatic cat feeder, without the hefty price tag, thanks to this unit. The PetSafe 5-Meal Automatic Feeder features five chambers which can hold up to one cup of food in each spot. Because of its covered, spinning design, it can be used with both wet and dry foods of varying shapes and sizes—there’s also nothing to get jammed, unlike with hopper-style feeders. 
The BPA-free, dishwasher-safe food tray makes for easier cleanup. Keep in mind that while there are five chambers, one will be available to your cat right away. The spinning system is nice, as you can check how much food your kitty has (or hasn’t) eaten at the end of the day. There’s also a two-meal version available if your pet doesn’t require as many meals. 
Because of its compact and lightweight design, this feeder is also a great pick for when you have to travel with your cat and want to keep them on their regularly scheduled meals. Even if you aren’t super tech-savvy, this feeder is easy to program, but if you have any troubles at all, their US-based customer support is available six days a week to help troubleshoot any issues. 
Amazon user Cattsburgh writes: 

“Our cat recently went into heart failure and had to start taking pills five times a day. We hide the pills inside soft treats and she inhales them without even noticing, which is great, but stopping what you’re doing every 2 to 4 hours to get the pills, pop them in treats, find her, and hand feed her was kind of insane. With this five compartment automatic feeder, she can self serve her pills after we pre-load the trays each morning. All we have to do now is make sure she’s taking the pills in a reasonable timeframe, and we’re good to go. I will say it took her a while to get used to this feeder because the tray moves automatically under the hood. I think at first she was nervous it would start moving before she could eat out of the tray, but after prolonged use, she seems to have gotten used to it just fine. For us this feeder has been a lifesaver. Very happy we found this product! This was very easy to program, even with our intense pill schedule. Great product.”

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Image: amazon

The Good

Timer programmable • Voice recorder

The Bad

Pricier than most

The Bottom Line

If keeping your home chic is as important to you as your cat is, this white design will look good while getting the job done.

WOPET Automatic Pet Feeder

Its sleek design will make dry cat food seem a bit more attractive.

  • Capacity:
    20 cups
This feeder does it all. It controls the portion size of each feeding (which can be scheduled to up to four times a day), lets you leave a voice recorded message for your pet, and looks good while doing it. 
The design of this WOPET dispenser is different from most. Its sleek white exterior won’t clash with your decor, and its narrow shape will fit just about anywhere. And don’t worry about the power going out while you’re away: This dispenser has a back-up battery system, though batteries aren’t included.
Customer Anthony writes:

“I researched automatic feeders for days and finally settled on this one. There are smart ones, connected ones, tall ones, short ones, etc. My main concerns were: multiple feed times per day, ability to set the amount per feeding, ability to dispense small and large kibble, locking food storage to keep out curious kitties and battery backup for peace of mind.

This model does all of that! You can set up to four different feeding sessions per day and you can set each one to dispense a different amount of food. If you want, you can record a message for your little buddy that it will play while dispensing. There is also a manual button for one-time feedings. I purchased two of these, one for an older cat and one for two young cats. These feeders come with two dispensing plates (or gears) I used the smaller one for the older cats food which is tiny Science Diet kibble. For the younger cats, I used the larger plate which accommodated their large triangle shaped Science Diet kibble.

The only issue I have had is with the older cat eating the food out of the tray. The tray on this feeder is slick – as it should be – to allow the food to slide forward after dispensing. BUT, my older cat has trouble eating his tiny kibble on the slick plate as it slides around very easy. This is not an issue with the feeder, more of getting the animal used to the tray.”

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Image: amazon

The Good

Voice recorder • Timer programmable

The Bad

Only holds 3 lbs of food • Needs to be plugged in

The Bottom Line

If your small friend doesn’t eat too much, this small feeder has everything it needs.

Iseebiz Automatic Cat Feeder

Reviewers say this voice-recorder-included pet feeder is “indestructible.”

  • Capacity:
    6 cups
We swear, we didn’t choose this feeder because of the adorable kitten in the picture. Well, maybe a little…but there’s a lot more to it. 
This robot-shaped Iseebiz feeder is perfect for smaller cats who don’t need too much food per meal. After all, there’s no need to pay for what you don’t need. 
It’s rather fairly priced for having all the perks of other, more expensive, feeders. Plus, a good amount of reviewers claim that it is indestructible and its shape helps in preventing their cat from breaking in to it. It also has a voice recorder so you can talk to your cat.
Customer Tahao Yang writes:

“Good price and great feeder! Love it. This product went beyond my expectations! I wasn’t sure what we’d be getting because the pricier automatic feeders seemed to come with exactly what we wanted, but the prices were high. I came across this product and gave it a shot because it was decently priced and seemed to do what we needed it to do.
Highly recommended it.”

The best video editing laptops for aspiring filmmakers and YouTubers —

The best video editing laptops for aspiring filmmakers and YouTubers

You know how people say that you have the same amount of computing power in your smartphone that NASA had in the computers that were used to go to the moon? The same thing is happening with video editing. A task that once required a full edit bay with high-powered computers and multiple monitors has been simplified, improved, and shrunk. 

Now the software to make Hollywood quality films is readily available and the machinery required to run it has made its way into portable, more affordable machines. And the use for these tools in on the rise, too, as the creator economy grows

Want to make a feature-length film? How about just a YouTube video or TikTok that might catch someone’s eye or go viral? You’re going to need to know your way around some video editing tools. 

The best way to get started with video editing is by getting yourself a laptop that is capable of running video editing software. But what makes for a good laptop for video editing, and which one should you choose? 

Can I do professional video editing on a laptop?

In a word? Yes. Professional-level video editing software and equipment has become more accessible than ever, and the fact that powerful processors continue to shrink without losing capabilities have made it possible to do high-level video editing on a laptop. 

Most high-end laptops, often marketed as gaming laptops, are now capable of running powerful video editing software like Final Cut Pro X, Adobe Premier, After Effects, and others. These apps are essential for professional-grade editing, capable of doing everything from cutting, performing color correction, and doing exports of high-resolution footage.

What kind of processor is best for video editing?

One of the most important parts of your laptop when it comes to handling the resource-intensive process of video editing is your processor. The processor (or CPU) is what enables your computer to perform all of the tasks that you throw at it, including running specific software. 

There are indicators about the processor that are worth looking at when picking out a laptop for video editing — though specs don’t always tell the full story.

One good indicator is how many cores your processor has. Cores allow your computer to multitask. The more cores your CPU has, the better equipped it will be to take on different tasks, like running multiple applications at the same time. An 8-core processor should do the trick for video editing, but there are certainly more powerful processors out there. In some cases, a 4-core processor capable of multithreading can make more use of fewer cores.

Another good indicator of a processor’s capabilities is clock speed. This is typically measured in gigahertz, or GHz. When you see a processor that has a clock speed of 3GHz, that means that its internal clock beats 3 billion times per second — and each beat is an opportunity for the processor to manipulate and process data. A clock speed of 3.0GHz is a good baseline to look for in a processor for your video editing laptop.

How much RAM is needed for video editing?

Much like your computer’s processor, RAM (Random Access Memory) is an important component in handling video editing tasks. Think of RAM as your machine’s short-term memory. This is for handling tasks that are active or have been active recently — basically anything that is running on your device. This makes it important for running programs needed for video editing.

16GB of RAM is a good place to start when determining how much RAM you need — though you can do with less. Some laptops have a graphics card that can handle more intensive tasks like video processing, meaning that you can get by with less RAM. A machine with less RAM but a powerful graphics card or processor should still be more than capable of handling video editing software.

Can a laptop handle 4K video editing?

4K video is super-high quality footage. For video editors, having a machine that can handle this type of footage is essential. Most laptops with a powerful processor and sufficient RAM can do this task — but not all of them will be able to display the footage at full resolution. If being able to see 4K video footage at the quality intended is important to you, you’re going to want to pick a laptop with a screen capable of displaying 4K resolution.

Mac or PC?

Surely you remember the old Mac vs. PC commercials. PCs were often portrayed as boring, buttoned-up machines for professionals and boring tasks while Macs were marketed for creatives. The debate has quieted down a bit in recent years because both operating systems are more than capable of handling video editing software. Popular products from Adobe and Sony run on both Mac and PC. However, Apple’s popular video editing tool Final Cut Pro X is only available for macOS. If you’re used to the Apple ecosystem or prefer Final Cut to alternatives like Premier or Vegas, this is something that may weigh heavy on your decision.

What are the best laptops for video editing?

Now that you have a better idea of what to look for in a laptop for video editing, you can start narrowing down your potential options. We’ve made the process even easier by picking some of our favorites.

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Image: BRENDA STOLYAR / MASHABLE

The Good

Powerhouse M1 chip • Great performance and minimal lag • Lightweight, portable design • Impressive battery life

The Bad

Lacks ports • No 4K display

The Bottom Line

Since the introduction of Apple’s M1 chip, the MacBook Pro has become a powerhouse laptop that can handle anything that you throw at it.

MacBook Pro

With Apple’s new and powerful M1 chip, the latest MacBook Pro is a powerful machine that’s truly tough to beat.

  • CPU:
    Apple M1 chip with 8‑core CPU
  • Graphics:
    Integrated 8-core Apple GPU
  • RAM:
    8-16GB
  • Storage:
    256GB-2TB SSD
  • Screen size:
    13.3 inches
  • Display:
    Retina with TrueTone (2880×1800)
  • Battery life:
    Up to 20 hours
The MacBook Pro has always been Apple’s powerhouse laptop, but it’s gone to a new level with the introduction of the company’s M1 chip — an 8-core CPU with four high-performance cores and four high-efficiency cores. What does that mean, exactly? It means that this laptop can handle just about anything, including resource-intensive tasks like video editing. There’s a reason our reviewer called the MacBook Pro “baby’s first content creation machine.” Great battery life and Apple’s standard slick design makes this a no-brainer top choice.
Read our full review of the 13-inch MacBook Pro.

  

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Image: dell

The Good

Extremely powerful • Slim and lightweight • 4K display • InfinityEdge display is amazing

The Bad

Odd webcam placement

The Bottom Line

If you find yourself editing a lot of video in 4K, you’ll need a laptop that can keep up. The Dell XPS 15’s 4K display and internal horsepower will do the job like no other.

Dell XPS 15 Touch

With the Dell XPS’s stunning 4K touch display and powerful processor, editing 4K videos on this thing is a treat.

  • CPU:
    Intell Core i7
  • RAM:
    32GB-64GB
  • Storage:
    1TB-2TB SSD
  • Graphics:
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050
  • Screen size:
    15.6 inches
  • Display:
    4K UHD+ (3840 x 2400)
  • Battery life:
    Up to 25 hours
The XPS 15 Touch is a powerhouse of a laptop. With a beautiful 4K screen, you’re getting better screen resolution than the MacBook Pro and you’ll also be able to export 4K videos fast thanks to the powerful Intel Core i7 and RAM. If you plan to frequently edit 4K videos, the Dell XPS 15 is definitely a good choice. Plus, it’s just beautiful to look at, especially with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650Ti graphics card. You definitely pay for it with the steep price, but it’s worth it if you need the power.

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Image: microsoft

The Good

Powerful • Multiple ports • Doubles as a tablet • Good battery life

The Bad

Pricey

The Bottom Line

Though it is pricey, its excellent battery life, detachable keyboard and multiple ports make it a good option for anyone editing on the move.

Microsoft Surface Book 3

The Microsoft Surface Book 2 is definitely a force to be reckoned with and unmatched as far as power for 2-in-1 laptops. Its multiple ports and impressive battery life make it a good option for editing on the go.

  • CPU:
    Intel Core i7
  • RAM:
    up to 16GB-32GB
  • Storage:
    256GB-1TB
  • Graphics:
    NVIDIA GeForce 1060 GTX
  • Screen:
    15 inches
  • Display:
    3240×2160
  • Battery life:
    Up to 17.5 hours
While video editing typically lends itself to desktops or laptops, there are some noteworthy perks to this Microsoft combo that make it a great editing choice. For one, it comes with an Intel Core i7 CPU with up to 32 GB of RAM and an NVIDIA GeForce 1060 GTX discrete graphics card. There’s also a wide variety of ports: two USB 3.1s, full-size SD card slot, and a USB-C port. The tablet mode might not be a major selling point for professional editors, but it’s a great on-the-go option. 

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Image: Dell

The Good

Solid performance at price point • Built for high-intensive programs • Surprisingly long battery life

The Bad

Underpowered compared to other options

The Bottom Line

Made for gamers but perfect for video editors, it’ll give you the processing power you need at an affordable price.

Dell G5 15 SE Gaming Laptop

It’s not going to blow you away, but if you’re looking to get a capable machine without spending over $1,000, the Dell G5 15 SE will do the trick.

  • CPU:
    AMD Ryzen 5
  • RAM:
    8GB
  • Graphics:
    AMD Radeon RX 5600M
  • Screen size:
    15.6 inches
  • Display:
    FHD (1920×1080)
  • Storage:
    256GB SSD
  • Battery life:
    Up to 10 hours
The Dell G5 15 SE is marketed as a gaming laptop, but that’s just shorthand to indicate it has a powerful processor and graphics card. This machine leans on AMD’s hardware, and it is rewarded for that. With a powerful processor and capable graphics card, it will be able to handle anything you throw at it, including 4K video footage. It’s designed for high-intensive tasks like gaming, so it’ll have no problem keeping up with video editing and the battery can withstand extended sessions with resource-heavy programs.

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Image: Apple

The Good

Supports editing tools like Final Cut Pro X • Ridiculously powerful M1 chip • Great battery life • Finally has a Retina display

The Bad

Seriously lacking ports

The Bottom Line

Apple’s MacBook Air with the M1 chip is one of the best bang-for-your-buck laptops out there, especially if you’re used to the Apple ecosystem.

MacBook Air

Another beneficiary of Apple’s M1 chip, the MacBook Air has improved from a simple machine to one that is capable of doing more creative tasks like video editing.

  • CPU:
    Apple M1 chip with 8‑core CPU
  • RAM:
    8GB
  • Graphics:
    Integrated 8-core Apple GPU
  • Screen size:
    13.3 inches
  • Display:
    Retina True Tone (2560×1600)
  • Storage:
    256GB SSD
  • Battery life:
    Up to 18 hours
Apple has always marketed itself as the brand for creatives, but the MacBook Air has historically been underpowered for things like video editing. With the M1 chip, that is no longer the case. This thing has some real power now and can compete with much pricier competition despite its slim frame and lightweight design. With support for Apple’s professional editing tools like Final Cut Pro X, it’s a great choice for those who are used to Apple but aren’t ready to shell out the price for a MacBook Pro.

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Image: HP Pavillion

The Good

Solid processor and graphics card • Lots of RAM • Affordable price

The Bad

Not as strong performance as higher end options • Battery life could be better

The Bottom Line

The HP Pavilion doesn’t pack the power-specs of our top picks, but for those just getting their feet wet in the video editing world, it doesn’t need to. The Pavilion is a way to start dabbling in video editing without breaking the bank.

HP Pavilion Notebook

The HP Pavilion lacks the frills and power of the more expensive models, but for entry-level video editors it’s a good way to test the waters.

  • CPU:
    AMD Ryzen 3
  • RAM:
    32GB
  • Graphics:
    AMD Radeon Graphics
  • Screen size:
    15.6 Inches
  • Display:
    1366×768
  • Storage:
    256GB SSD
  • Battery life:
    Up to 7.5 hours
While it’s easy to say it’s worth it to drop top dollar on a video editing laptop, for those who are just starting out, that may not be the case. For those just getting their feet wet and learning the basics, the HP Pavilion is a decent entry-level model. For less than $900 bucks, it comes with a powerful AMD processor and 32GB of RAM, which brings solid speed and fluidity when editing. Sure, a better graphics card or more storage would be nice, but they shouldn’t be necessary for those just getting started. Consider this laptop an opportunity to get started with video editing, and consider higher-end machines if everything goes well.
The definitive breakdown of the best laptops out right now — 09/15/2018

The definitive breakdown of the best laptops out right now

Not all laptops are created equal, and if you’re in the market for a new one after a year of working from home, doing a solid bit of research is required before you put your hard-earned money down. After all, we pretty much live our lives around our computers, from work in the morning to Netflix and Skype calls with friends at night.

But, y’know, that’s why we’re here (our top picks are all below—you’re welcome!), there are a few basic things you’ll definitely want to consider before you look through our curated list. Of course, everyone’s got their own needs (gamers are going to be looking for a dazzling 4K display, for example), but it’s good for anyone to keep the following in mind: 

How do I go about shopping for a new laptop?

Choosing a laptop is mostly dependent on what you’ll be using it for. Beginner laptop owners need something user-friendly and straightforward, frequent travelers need something light with a long battery life, designers and gamers need top-notch 4K graphics and quick central processors, and everyone needs something that will last.Take stock of what you need and what you’d like your new computer to accomplish. Do you want to be able to zip between browser tabs at lightning speed? Do you want to able to run video games? Do you need to be able to switch from a laptop to a tablet at a moment’s notice? Answering these questions will help you narrow down exactly what type of laptop you need, and in turn, what brands you should be directing your attention to. 

What size laptop should I be looking for?

This will ultimately be decided by two factors: Personal preference and lifestyle. On the personal preference front, you really just need to figure out if you want a huge display, or something more portable that you can chuck into your backpack. Lifestyle is where practicality comes into play. If you travel often and usually have your computer on your person in some way, you’re going to want to go with something more light and compact. On the other hand, if you’re a huge movie buff or graphic designer who doesn’t normally take their laptop on the road with them, spring for a 15-inch (or bigger) screen.

Keep an eye out for battery life

The whole point of a laptop is that it’s meant to be portable, so having a battery that keeps you ticking along for several hours without needing a recharge is pretty much a must. And there’s more to it than that, too: In terms of the larger-picture battery life, you’ll want to look for a battery that’s meant to last for charge after charge and (hopefully) one that you can replace once it does give out. 

Be mindful of weight

The lighter, the better should be your motto when shopping for a laptop. If you have to carry your computer with you, whether it’s to summer classes or for travel, you don’t want something that’s going to make your back hurt by the end of the day. Luckily, laptops are lighter than ever these days, but it’s still worth keeping an eye on the ounces so you don’t wind up with a machine you have to lug around.

How much should I spend on a new laptop?

It’s really going to come down to your budget.

While we’d all like an unlimited budget for tech purchase, realistically speaking you probably have a general range in mind for what you want to spend on this. If you rely on the machine day in and day out — and it’s not something you only occasionally spend time on — then getting the computer that’ll get the job done and is built to last is super-important. And while yes, the cost of the latest MacBook Pro might make some people balk, there are plenty of other players in the game these days that bring great-quality machines at less hair-raising prices, like Huawei and Lenovo.

You should think hard about what you’re going to use your laptop for. If you need a device with lots of power under the hood and ample storage space, aim for something in the $800 and beyond range. If you’re only using your laptop to edit the occasional Google Doc or Excel spreadsheet, then you can probably get away with spending below the $500 mark. 

Is a cheaper laptop even worth it?

When it comes to tech in general, you really do get what you pay for. But, thanks to the bar-raising devices that have come out in the last few years, a cheap laptop can actually take you pretty far. It’s all about knowing which one to select — depending on what you use your laptop for the most, staying stingy might be your best option. (Here are our favorite budget-friendly laptop models under $500, and the best under $300, for reference.)

Luckily, this is the kind of stuff we enjoy researching, and we’ve put together a definitive guide to the best laptops on the market right now. We compare top brands that you probably have in mind like Apple, Dell, and Acer, as well as other huge players you may not have even seen coming like Huawei and Lenovo. Trust us, you’re in good hands.

Now, read on for our favorite picks. 

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Image: Huawei

The Good

Fingerprint reader • Dolby Atmos speakers • 3K screen • Glorious battery life

The Bad

Awkwardly-placed low-quality webcam • Smudges easily

The Bottom Line

A sleek MacBook copycat with powerful insides and movie theatre-like experience outside, yet still relatively affordable for all that it gives you.

Huawei MateBook X Pro

If you can ignore the webcam placement, this laptop’s 3K touchscreen and stellar speakers make it a powerhouse for work and play.

  • Storage:
    512 GB SSD
  • RAM:
    16GB
  • Battery life:
    15 hours
  • Features:
    USB-C ports, 3K touchscreen, second-generation Dolby Atmos speakers, Intel i7-8550U processor, one-touch power button with identity authentication, NVIDIA GeForce MX150 graphics card, no SD card slot
If you’ve done any other laptop research recently, this pick isn’t quite a shocker. The Huawei MateBook X Pro has been dubbed *the best* laptop right now by numerous media brands including PCMag, The Verge, and Tech Radar. Mashable did a video on it comparing it to the longstanding champ, the MacBook Pro, and guess who came out on top? Huawei. It’s a pretty obvious shameless copy of the MacBook Pro’s thin look with a fingerprint sensor, but has nicer specs packed into such a lightweight device — which is ideal for people who travel a lot or have an annoying commute to work. Plus, the battery is said to last up to 15 hours (unheard of for a laptop this size), which will make long days significantly more painless.
The 13.9-inch, 3K 3,000 x 2,080 touchscreen display is crystal clear and movie-theatre like, featuring ultra thin bezels and a Nvidia GeForce MX150 2GB GDDR5 graphics card. Rare Dolby Atmos speakers along the sides will also give your movie nights a boost. It’s also a powerhouse inside, with a quick Intel i7-8550U processor, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB SSD (which you’ll need, because you’ll probably download a ton of books, and there’s no SD card slot.) 
If you’re wondering where the camera fits in those thin bezels, we’ll let you know that the camera isn’t up there — it’s in a little pop-up button on the keyboard. This makes everything more compact, but gives an awkward up-the-nose angle. The camera isn’t HD either, but since the person on the other end will basically be looking directly into your nostrils, maybe low quality is better. That’ll be annoying if you’re Skyping with long-distance friends or having to do a video call for work, but don’t let that sway your choice too much.
Read Mashable’s review here and get the MateBook here.

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Image: lenovo

The Good

Ultra thin bezels • Sturdy metal build • Fingerprint reader • Awesome battery life

The Bad

Heavier than others of its size • Lacks connection ports • Mini directional keys

The Bottom Line

Lenovo’s upgrade of their already-great convertible laptop gives us more sturdiness, sleekness, and power.

Lenovo Yoga 920

Sitting at an impressively low price point, Lenovo’s most recent upgrade to their already amazing convertible offers speed and great battery life.

  • RAM:
    16GB
  • Storage:
    512GB
  • Battery life:
    10.8 houros
  • Features:
    3840 x 2160 display, 8th gen Intel Core i7-8550U processor, 1 USB 3.0 port, 2 USB-C ports, Intel UHD Graphics 620, fingerprint reader
In search of a convertible laptop that doesn’t feel like it’s going to snap in half at any second? The powerhouse that is Lenovo can give you one. The Lenovo Yoga 920 has everything people loved about its little brother, the Yoga 910, and fixes almost everything people hated. (It’s also the more expensive, upgraded version of the Yoga 720, if you were confused about that.) 
One of the best updates we see is the webcam being moved from the bottom of the screen to the top, which is (surprisingly) something a lot of other laptops can’t say. IDK what’s with manufacturers forcing that awkward angle on us, but we appreciate Lenovo getting rid of it. It doesn’t support facial recognition via Windows Hello yet, but there is a fingerprint reader, so logging in is still a breeze. It is slightly heavier than most competitors of the same size, but there’s no clunkiness to be found — the 920 is sleek, notably sturdy, and decked out in metal (but that also makes it vulnerable to fingerprints). Inside, the specs are just as good: The Core i7-8550U runs at a stellar 1.8Ghz and is especially quick when it comes to Photoshop and other editing software, giving the MacBook Pro a run for its money when it comes to speed.
The 13.9-inch touchscreen has a standard 1920 x 1080 display with the option to switch to 4K — just note that using 4K takes battery life from 15 hours to around 10. Colors and viewing angles are superb, giving the coveted movie theatre-like experience, especially in tent mode. (The speakers also face you in tent mode, so audio will be loud and crisp for Netflix and chill.) It does smudge a little more easily than we’d like, but snagging the Lenovo Active Pen 2 can solve that. This is ideal for professional creatives who want to sketch or doodle without lugging around physical paper or for college students taking notes. The downside: Storing the pen takes up one of the 920’s USB ports, which is annoying and looks awkward. Small inconvenience compared to the entire package, though.
Read PCMag’s full review here.

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Image: BRENDA STOLYAR / MASHABLE

The Good

Powerhouse M1 chip • Great performance and minimal lag • Lightweight, portable design • Impressive battery life

The Bad

Dongle hell • No 4K display

The Bottom Line

Since the introduction of Apple’s M1 chip, the MacBook Pro has become a powerhouse laptop that can handle photo editing like a dream.

MacBook Pro

With Apple’s new and powerful M1 chip, the latest MacBook Pro is a powerful machine that’s truly tough to beat.

  • RAM:
    8-16GB
  • Storage:
    256GB-2TB SSD
  • Battery life:
    Up to 20 hours
  • Features:
    Retina with TrueTone (2880×1800), 8-core CPU with four high-performance cores and four high-efficiency cores, Apple’s M1 chip,
The MacBook Pro has always been Apple’s powerhouse laptop, but it’s gone to a new level with the introduction of the company’s M1 chip — an 8-core CPU with four high-performance cores and four high-efficiency cores. What does that mean, exactly? It means that this laptop can handle just about anything, including resource-intensive tasks like video editing
Artsy folks, it’s your time to shine. There’s no question that Apple’s latest MacBook Pro is one of the very best laptops money can buy for photo and video editing, featuring unbeatable import and export speeds (even with those tough 4K videos), insanely fast handling of hardcore apps like Adobe and Final Cut Pro (which is only available on Macs), and a crisp 3,072 x 1,920 display. There’s a reason our reviewer called the MacBook Pro “baby’s first content creation machine.” Great battery life and Apple’s standard slick design makes this a no-brainer top choice.
While Apple hasn’t gone totally touchscreen yet, the OLED touch bar is such an Apple thing to do. Here, you can control brightness, sound, use touch ID, and do what you would with FN keys. (A lot of people question the point of this, though.) The keyboard has been revamped to solve the issues that came with previous versions’ butterfly-style one, plus it has a large trackpad, True Tone technology, and four USB-C ports — AKA the computer’s only connectors, requiring an adapter to do just about anything. The display’s True Tone technology automatically adjusts the yellow and blue tones in your screen to match your environment, making things easier on the eyes. 
Read our full review of the 13-inch MacBook Pro.

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Image: dell

The Good

Sleek aesthetics • Long battery life • Vivid 16:10 bluelight-reducing display with Adobe RGB color

The Bad

Not that many port options

The Bottom Line

One of the best looking — and top-performing — ultraportable laptops out there.

Dell XPS 15

One of the best looking — and top-performing — ultraportable laptops out there.

  • RAM:
    32 GB
  • Storage:
    1 TB
  • Battery life:
    Up to 17 hours
  • Features:
    3,840 x 2,400 UHD+ InfinityEdge Anti-reflective display, USB-C port and two Thunderbolt ports (USB-C compatible), SD card reader, headphone jack, 10th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-10750H, NVIDIA GeForce 1650Ti graphics
Graphic design? Product development? Photography? This is your new right-hand man. Dell’s traditional powerhouse laptop, the Dell XPS 15 Touch, continues to see improvements year over year, keeping it a top choice for masses of advanced users and artists alike. Beginners or casual laptop users may not mind a 13-inch screen, but hardcore laptop users who have their entire lives or career on their device will need something bigger. 
If Hercules was a laptop, he’d be this one. The exterior is decked out with Dell’s revamped InfinityEdge technology, which is a fancy term for extra-thin bezels and a wide-as-possible, gorgeous screen. The 15.6-inch ultra HD display is vivid and incredibly sharp, and the NVIDIA GeForce 1650Ti with 4GB GDDR6 offers graphics clear enough for even the pickiest gamers or designers. It’s also equipped with Dell Cinema, featuring the best color, sound, and up-to-the-second streaming that a video enthusiast could ask for. 
Inside sits an 10th-gen Intel Core i7 processor, memory options up to 64GB DDR4-2933MHz and storage options up to 2TB (AKA it can hold your entire life and then some). That amazing CPU helps keep battery life strong, but like any other high-end laptop, constant 4K+ use drains the battery. You’ll get eight and a half hours of streaming with it, which is still just fine—the FHD+ panel, meanwhile, can go almost 17 hours without a recharge. 
The big hangup people had about previous versions of this laptop was the webcam, and we’re pleased to say it’s now mounted up top where it belongs, rather than looking up your nostrils from below the display (as was the earlier case). Learn more and get the Dell XPS 15 here. (If you love these specs but want something smaller, check out the Dell XPS 13 and the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1.) If you need more clarity between the models, see PCMag’s XPS 13 review here.

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Image: razer

The Good

Outstanding battery life • Extremely thin for a gaming laptop • VR-ready graphics

The Bad

Loud fans • Pricey • Strange keyboard layout

The Bottom Line

An all-encompassing gaming laptop that’s *not* a hunk of plastic, complete with top notch graphics and no lagging to be found.

Razer Blade

The best overall (and most aesthetically pleasing) gaming laptop out there, the newest Razer Blade gives top notch graphics with no lag.

  • RAM:
    16 GB
  • Storage:
    1TB
  • Battery life:
    Up to 7.5 hours
  • Features:
    Up to 3,840 x 2,160 display, Intel Core i7-10875H 8-Core, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 graphics, three USB 3.1, one USB-C Thunderbolt 3, HDMI port, Mini DisplayPort 1.4, Kensington lock port, headphone jack
If there’s anyone more finicky over laptop specs than tech geeks, it’s gaming geeks. And I mean, they have a right to be — 4K gaming is no joke, and there’s nothing more frustrating than having your PUBG display be pixelated or having your Fortnite game lag just in time to get shot. Trying to pick the best gaming laptop is damn near impossible — — considering every tech website names completely different ones. What is the truth?
Despite the chaos, there is one laptop that makes it onto every single list we’ve seen: the Razer Blade—and the latest one builds on the crisp capabilities of its predecessors. While competitors may have a leg up in one super specific area, we think it’s safe to say that the Razer Blade is the best overall gaming laptop. Yeah, its loud, irritating fans could stand to pipe down a bit, but that’s just nitpicking. Aside from that and its rather steep price, this laptop is everything you could want in a go-to gaming device. 
Coming from a tried and true gaming brand, the Razer Blade is truly the ultimate luxury gaming laptop and honestly, the closest thing you’ll get to a desktop that you can actually carry around. Aside from being matte black, it’s a pretty obvious MacBook copycat, with specs—especially when it comes to storage—that can compete as well. It’s hard to find a hardcore gaming laptop that’s not an ugly, plastic-y clunker, but the Razer Blade is a real looker. Its up-to-4K display (3,840 x 2,160) brings your games to life, a NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 graphic card keeps them moving, and the screen reaches to 15.6 inches with crazily thin bezels. 
Luckily, using that gorgeous 4K doesn’t drain the battery too much — the battery life of competing gaming laptops pale in comparison to that of the Razer Blade, which can last up to 7 hours if you’re not using maximum brightness or 4K the entire time.
Read Mashable’s full review here and get the Razer Blade here.

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Image: samsung

The Good

Included S-Pen • HD webcam in normal place • Extremely portable • Excellent battery life

The Bad

13-inch has worse graphics • Display could be sharper

The Bottom Line

A travel-ready convertible with a glorious included stylus that can easily mold to all note taking and artistic needs.

Samsung Notebook 9 Pro

A travel-ready convertible with a glorious included stylus that can easily mold to all note taking and artistic needs.

  • RAM:
    8 GB
  • Storage:
    256 GB
  • Battery life:
    12 hours
  • Features:
    1920 x 1080 FHD display, Intel Core i7-7500U Up To 3.5GHz, two USB-C and two USB-3, HDMI port, micro SD slot, Radeon 540 graphics
For all things note taking and drawing, the teched-out Samsung Notebook 9 Pro is an extremely portable convertible laptop tailor made for college students. Unlike almost every other 2-in-1 out there, the Notebook Pro 9 doesn’t make you purchase an expensive stylus. Samsung’s iconic S pen is included in your purchase, making that broke college student life significantly less stressful. Whipping out this bad boy is the extra motivation you need to get your ass to class.
That snazzy pen makes the NoteBook Pro ideal for creative students, whether their major is something like drawing or design, or they simply enjoy doing these things as a hobby. Plus, we’re sure you’ve at least heard through the grapevine that taking notes via writing helps you retain information better than typing notes, and the S Pen makes that possible without lugging physical paper around. It features 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity, has an ultra-precise pencil-like tip, and, get this, never needs to be charged. Even Ray Wong, who is team Apple all the way, was blown away. Not many laptops offer this much versatility, y’all. Though a seemingly small addition, the S Pen being included raises the Notebook Pro 9’s creative possibilities infinitely, and IMO, makes the hefty investment worthwhile.

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Image: asus

The Good

Speedy WiFi connection and charging • Lightweight for traveling • Small yet gorgeous HD screen

The Bad

Cheap-feeling touchpad • No legacy desktop apps

The Bottom Line

A well-reviewed, sturdy 2-in-1 with stellar specs that you wouldn’t expect in this price range.

Asus Chromebook Flip

A well-reviewed, sturdy 2-in-1 with stellar specs that you wouldn’t expect in this price range.

  • RAM:
    4 GB
  • Storage:
    64 GB
  • Battery life:
    10 hours
  • Features:
    1920 x 1080 FHD display, 6th gen Intel Core m7 processor, two USB-C, micro SD slot, 100 GB free storage on Google Drive
Let us introduce you to our budget pick. You’re probably thinking “A budget pick that’s not a total piece of crap, please,” — don’t worry, we gotchu. The Asus Chromebook Flip C434 rolls in at just $485, which is less than half the price of some others on our list. You may be thinking that an unusually low price means that it’s shitty, but you’d be wrong. It’s physically sturdy, thin, and sleek like a MacBook, and has specs that can compete with the best of them. It features a 14-inch full HD touchscreen that can be flipped 360 degrees, and weighs just over three pounds, making it one of the best choices for frequent travelers or people who care about a heavy bag.
Inside is an Intel Core M3-8100Y processor, up to 4GB RAM, a fully backlit keyboard, and ultra fast loading speeds thanks to the 802.11 b/n/ac WiFi connection. In other words, the Chromebook Flip is pretty flippin’ powerful.  
Our point? Having a smaller budget will *not* limit you to a glorified children’s LeapPad that will break within the first few months. Asus has always been a dependable, affordable brand, and we love them for that. 

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Image: HP

The Good

Looks great on your desk • Long-lasting battery life • Excellent performance

The Bad

Can get warm to the touch • Only one USB-A port

The Bottom Line

One of HP’s best offerings, the convertible 2020 Spectre retains its title as one of HP’s best laptops ever — and does away with most of the quibbles we had with the previous model.

HP Spectre x360 15

One of HP’s best offerings, the convertible 2020 Spectre retains its title as one of HP’s best laptops ever.

  • RAM:
    16GB
  • Storage:
    1TB
  • Battery life:
    Up to 13 hours
  • Features:
    4K UHD 3,840 x 2,160 display, 10th-generation Intel i7- 10750H processor, two USB-C ports, micro SD slot, USB-A port
If you’re a PC loyalist, it doesn’t get much better than HP’s Spectre laptop. Its specs are solid, the build quality is outstanding, and it looks — and feels — sleek and powerful. It has glam metallic edges that hint at what a jewel of a machine it is: It’s built for all the gaming and multitasking you want to do, with 1 TB of storage, a radiant 3,840 x 2,160 display, and as many ports as you’d likely need in a day, from USB-A to micro SD. Did we mention it’s trimmer and lighter than the past generation, too? 
For people who like to stream Spotify while they work, the speakers won’t let you down: They’re made by audio geniuses Bang & Olufsen for seriously superior sound quality. 
If that doesn’t say luxury, we don’t know what does. And while its power and looks might be enough for some to justify the purchase, there’s no getting around the fact that it’s on the pricier side — and that’s before you start adding configurations. But if you want a Windows laptop built to last, this is a great option.
PureVPN review: Even limited Netflix access can’t save this buggy VPN — 09/06/2018

PureVPN review: Even limited Netflix access can’t save this buggy VPN

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PureVPN
$10.95/month-to-month plan, $3.33/mo (2-year plan), $0.99 per month (7-day trial with an option for a 1-year plan at $69.95.)
The Good

Friendly design for VPN newbies • Netflix works • sort of

The Bad

Connectivity issues • Inconsistent speeds • A no-log policy that may not be entirely true

The Bottom Line

PureVPN works, sometimes even with Netflix, but it has enough issues to keep the VPN from being your go-to choice for private internet access.

⚡ Mashable Score
3.25
???? Cool Factor
4.0
????Learning Curve
3.0
????Performance
3.0
????Bang for the Buck
3.0

A virtual private network, or VPN, usually has its work cut out for it. A VPN needs to be accessible for a relatively large audience with a service that actually works. If a VPN does not deliver privacy or security, it fails. For some users, that failure can lead to some real-world consequences.

PureVPN delivers a smartly designed package that mostly succeeds in delivering security and privacy. Some features worked while others didn’t and you’re left with a good, not great, service that leaves you wanting more than a nice design.

We tested it again, a year later, and not much has changed. PureVPN fails to stand out from the crowded field of quality VPNs. There are just too many good services out there. Too inconsistent and too buggy remain the top complaints about this VPN. PureVPN does have some great pros — including passing a no-logging audit, lots of features, better access to geo-locked content, and split-tunneling to choose which services run through the VPN — that make it appealing, but there are a few drawbacks that prevent it from being among the best. All plans include a 31-day money-back guarantee.

Privacy by design

There’s a renewed interest in VPN services following a seemingly endless news cycle of new privacy concerns. Sure there are the high-profile ones, like everything that’s been going on at Facebook, but your security concerns start as soon as you decide to use the internet.

In order to access the web, you need an IP address. Your IP address is assigned to your computer by your Internet Service Provider (ISP). That means your ISP knows your address, personal information, and internet activity. You can see why that’s not a great situation to be in. ISPs may not be actively monitoring your activity and your data may not be readily accessible, but it’s out there. Regulatory rollbacks in the last year make it legal for ISPs to sell your data. These companies say they would never do that — have you ever known a company to lie?

If, for some odd reason, you don’t believe your ISP or want to ensure that you have some level of control, there are a few options. One of the most popular and direct solutions is to use a VPN service like PureVPN, which connects you to the internet through its servers and not your ISP’s. 

A membership lets you use PureVPN on mobile and desktop devices. 

PureVPN makes a good first impression. You’re greeted with a series of tiles based on different activities. There’s one for Stream, another for Internet Freedom, a third for Security/Privacy, and a fourth tile for File Sharing.

Modes for PureVPN

Modes for PureVPN

Selecting your purpose changes the options found in the third column of PureVPN’s home screen. By choosing Stream, I have a Channels section, whereas Internet Freedom lets me choose different Purposes.

PureVPN also suggests servers to use based on social-media usage, streaming preference, and VoIP usage. It’s all pretty handy and an intuitive approach to tailoring your VPN experience. Instead of configuring individual security features, you can choose the right activity for you.

Of course, you can further optimize your experience with additional security. You can select your encryption protocol, whether it’s the default UDP or the slower, but more secure TCP, or Split Tunneling if you want to select which apps will use PureVPN. 

Waiting for a connection

The Android app itself mostly performed well. I did experience connectivity issues from the default server on multiple occasions. Restarting the app didn’t help, and it took several tries before I was able to connect to the VPN. It was frustrating way to start, and there were no error messages before I was greeted with another green button imploring me to Connect. 

The initial PureVPN connection screen

The initial PureVPN connection screen

I restarted the app and tried again. Instead of choosing a U.S. server, I successfully connected to a server in the UK. That led to poor download speeds, which was pretty disappointing. I ran a speed test multiple times hoping to get download speeds above 10Mbps, but that never happened. Upload speeds fared better, around 20Mbps, but still disappointing. 

Unsatisfied with the U.K., I tried switching back to a U.S. server without any luck. I decided to chat with technical support. I explained my issue, and a gentleman named Lorenzo told me to try switching from UDP to TCP. It worked. The tradeoff was a near-40Mbps drop in download speed, while upload speeds were down a negligible amount in one test and down around 17 Mbps in another test. 

I explained that’s the reason why I didn’t want to use TCP and was noticing these slower speeds. I received a detailed answer regarding the different factors that affect speed. It’s informative but doesn’t help explain why I had no other options but to select the TCP protocol. Maybe chalk it up to a random bad day, but it was still a frustrating experience. The Android app is still prone to crashing, according to VPN Service. The app did receive an update and a redesign but still remains underpowered compared to its competitors, per TechRadar.

Now we're cooking.

Now we’re cooking.

I decided to use the Stream option to do a global channel surf to forget about the connectivity woes. I selected FranceTV to start, even though I wouldn’t understand what was going on. It worked fine. Switching over to the BBC, I was met with an error message. Even though my IP address was in Manchester, BBC detected I was using a VPN and blocked access. I got an error for Sony LIV, but I was able to connect to MatchTV, albeit with relatively long load times. 

PureVPN performed better on a Mac and as a Chrome extension. There are still tradeoffs, including inconsistent speeds, that hinder PureVPN’s performance.

Not so fast

After downloading PureVPN for my MacBook Air, I quickly connected to a server. However, speeds started to suffer once I traveled outside my default server. Leaving New York, I headed first to Atlanta. Upload speeds were down by 3Mbps, but download speeds were down over 30Mbps. I really started to notice slower speeds as I travelled further west to San Francisco. 

Speed from original ISP (no VPN)

Speed from original ISP (no VPN)

Speed from New York server

Speed from New York server

Speed from Atlanta server

Speed from Atlanta server

Speed from San Francisco server

Speed from San Francisco server

Speeds varied dramatically during my speed test. Sometimes the results would reveal a 15Mbps drop in download speeds while other tests had download speeds that couldn’t crack 10Mbps. Poor speeds plagued my experience in the UK with download speeds below 10Mbps and upload speeds in the teens. 

Netflix works (sort of)

Practically every VPN flaw could be forgiven if Netflix works on the service. The streaming service has ramped up its security protocols and that means most VPNs are shut out from Netflix. If you’re an American hoping to watch the best the U.K. offers on Netflix, you may be out of luck depending on what VPN service you use.

Netflix doesn't work most of the time with PureVPN, but you might have luck with the Chrome extension.

Netflix doesn’t work most of the time with PureVPN, but you might have luck with the Chrome extension.

Netflix was a firm no while using PureVPN for Android. It’s to be expected at this point that the streaming service will block access if it detects VPN or proxy usage. I struck out again on a Mac. However, Netflix did work when you use PureVPN as a Chrome extension. So you should skip the app and go straight to the extension if you want to bypass regional restrictions. Netflix worked in the latest tests for TechRadar, but was more inconsistent with VPN Service. 

Privacy concerns

Doing a quick search of PureVPN prior to this review revealed two initial concerns. While PureVPN states it doesn’t collect logs, that’s not entirely true.

It’s highly recommended to read the privacy policy of any VPN service. PureVPN collects the usual information required for setting up an account, like your email and credit card information, along with cookies for ad delivery and to track website performance.

Despite its claims as a “no logs” VPN service, PureVPN does keep connection logs. (Though, PureVPN also claims that it does not keep records of these logs.) Data in these logs include the day you connected to a VPN location and your ISP. PureVPN says it does not collect the specific time you connected to a VPN, your original IP address, or your IP address after connecting to a VPN. PureVPN also collects bandwidth usage data to ensure quality and prevent usage abuse, according to the service. 

PureVPN notes that the information it does collect can’t be used to personally identify you or your internet activity. However, there are several VPN services that offer a true “no log” experience and that’s something to consider if you’re choosing between PureVPN and its competitors.

Working in PureVPN’s favor is where the company is headquartered. Some countries have strict internet regulations or a history of data surveillance, which would be a huge concern for any seeking internet privacy. There are also more than a dozen countries, including the U.S., Canada, the UK, Germany, and France, that have intelligence gathering agreements. Initially known as the Five Eyes alliance, the number of member countries has grown to 14.

So you’ll want to carefully consider where a VPN service is headquartered because they could hand over your data if compelled by the local government. PureVPN’s parent company is headquartered in Hong Kong, which has favorable data laws, and isn’t part of the intelligence-gathering alliance.

DNS leaks were another concern. If an online DNS leak test reveals two servers, you’re experiencing a domain name system (DNS) leak. It seems PureVPN has patched up this problem and my tests revealed no leaks. 

There are some things that I really like about PureVPN, but there are also some serious drawbacks. Connectivity issues, inconsistent speeds, and a few features that don’t work well are just a few knocks against PureVPN. However, you can bypass Netflix’s security using PureVPN’s Chrome extension. Even with that benefit, there may be too many reasons to skip PureVPN and try a more trusted service.

UPDATE: June 7, 2021, 10:17 a.m. EDT This was updated to include the latest specs and updates.

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Private Internet Access (PIA) review: Just your basic VPN — 09/05/2018

Private Internet Access (PIA) review: Just your basic VPN

You know what? I enjoy rounded little Android-esque characters with my virtual private network (VPN) experience. Whether it’s in life or within an app, I think a bit of personality goes a long way.

I was also surprised by these mascots considering Private Internet Access (PIA) is the blandest name you could think of when creating a VPN. The name might be vanilla, but the service is pretty effective, with more than 33,000 servers in 78 countries. 

However, is that enough? In this day where privacy matters so much and every VPN service is competing for supremacy, is private internet access and little else enough to entice users?

A year after our original review, we retested this experience. Private Internet Access continues to be an effective VPN with several improvements. It’s a good, not great, VPN with a few drawbacks that keep it from the very top tier of security options. Pros include improved geo-blocking performance with better access to Netflix and Hulu. The cons include being headquartered in the United States. So far, PIA has not handed over data logs in two court cases and 12 subpoena requests. That’s definitely a good thing, but it could still be compelled to give up user data. 

Private Internet Access (PIA)
$2.69 a month (2-year plan) or $9.95 month-to-month
The Good

Lots of servers (more than 3 • 500) • No-log claims have held up in court

The Bad

No obfuscated servers • Basic design

The Bottom Line

Private Internet Access is a serviceable VPN, but the lack of obfuscated servers means many users may look elsewhere.

⚡ Mashable Score
3.0
???? Cool Factor
3.0
????Learning Curve
3.0
????Performance
3.0
????Bang for the Buck
3.0

A mixed bag of privacy features

If you want to access the internet, you need to have an IP address that’s assigned by your internet service provider (ISP). That’s a lot of trust to place in the hands of a giant company. Your ISP could, theoretically, sell your personal data, and it has access to your traffic activity. It may not be monitored or readily available, but chances are you don’t want to have to trust that a company will do the right thing when it comes to your personal data. That’s why you can use a VPN, obscure your IP address, and hide your activity from your ISP.

Private Internet Access (PIA) review: Just your basic VPN

Upon launching the VPN, I was greeted by a quick tutorial and joined PIA at the month-to-month rate of $9.95 (you get much better deals if you sign up for one or two years). I was given a randomized username and password and was ready to start using the service. You can always create a new, custom password by accessing your account.

The app itself is pretty basic. There’s a slider to toggle your connection and two sections where you can see your server’s location and current IP address. That’s it for the mobile app [it’s the same on the iPhone app], which is sort of disappointing since so many VPN services and apps go out of their way to create a full-featured user experience. However, that could be forgiven if PIA delivered with advanced security options. App performance and usability has improved since this review was first published. The interface has been updated, according to PCMag, and mobile apps have also received a nice update, per TechRadar.

There are a lot of security options in PIA, but they’re a mixed bag. You can opt to use TCP if you prefer an added sense of security in exchange for speed. There are also multiple options to switch ports for more technical users. Plus you can switch to using small packets for better compatibility with your router.

PIA VPN has a nice feature that lets you block ads and malware while connected. Interestingly, PIA VPN offers a kill switch, but recommends using Android’s “Always On VPN” option because it’s better integrated. It also automatically enables aggressive IPv6 blocking to prevent any DNS leaks, which might give away your true IP address. 

Additionally, you can select your data encryption, authentication, and handshake. These are great features for the tech-savvy user since you’re not given a lot of guidance on why you should use AES-128-CBC, the default encryption, over AES-128-GCM, for example. 

CBC and GCM are different encryption protocols with the latter being more secure, according to PIA. While GCM is theoretically a more secure encryption protocol, the added security can slow you down, which makes sense since the 128 refers to bits, so 256 means double the bits. It’s added security, but leads to a slower experience.

However, all of these features feel like a grab bag of security features. There are a lot of options, and plenty of helpful answers on the PIA website on to how to use them, but some important security features are missing for the Android app. There are no obfuscated servers, which masks VPN activity to look more like regular internet activity. This is an important feature for any user in a country with restrictive internet laws. It’s especially important when main competitors such as NordVPN or TunnelBear each offer this feature. If you’re in a country that has restricted internet laws and actively monitors for suspected VPN activity, you’re likely going to quickly pass on PIA. 

The Chromebook extension is similar. While PIA VPN acts as a proxy for Chromebooks, that means no obfuscated servers or ways to change encryption protocols. Instead of a full VPN, which uses an encrypted tunnel to mask your activity before connecting to the VPN’s server, a proxy is a basic way to mask your IP address without encryption. However, there were multiple options to limit tracking—such as disabling third-party cookies and blocking malware—or improve privacy, including blocking location access and camera access. 

The experience is better on the MacBook Air. I can switch encryption types, add malware protection, activate a kill switch, or request port forwarding.

Despite having somewhat inconsistent experiences between OSes, PIA VPN security features do their job. Testing for domain name service (DNS) leaks revealed no leaks at all. If a website requesting an IP address receives your original IP address and not the VPN’s, you have what’s called a DNS leak. There are many DNS leak tests online to figure out if you’re on a leaky VPN. If the DNS leak test reveals two servers, then you have a leak. 

Security features are great, but they can become moot if you can’t trust the VPN company in the first place. PIA VPN says it has a strict “no log” policy — meaning it doesn’t keep a log of your internet activity — but you have to believe they are telling the truth. PIA has passed the no-log test twice in courts, but the company behind the VPN is headquartered in the United States and that still leaves a little cause for concern. A year after our original review, PIA has yet to hand over any data, but the company is still headquartered in the United States.

The United States is a founding member of an intelligence-sharing alliance with up to 14 countries. Known as the Five Eyes alliance, it’s a long-standing intelligence-sharing agreement between the U.S., the UK, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada. Any VPN headquartered in on one of these countries may be compelled to give up data it has on its users. 

In other words, you should take those no-log claims with a grain of salt.

Privacy and speed

U.S. servers for PIA VPN were on par with my standard service. I noticed some drops in my upload speeds, but download speeds were consistently in the 60Mbps range for servers located in New York City, Atlanta, and the Midwest.

Default server

Default server

New York speed

New York speed

I noticed a 10 Mbps drop in my upload speed when I was connected to the Midwest VPN.

Download speeds were better in the UK than France with the latter seeing a close to 20 Mbps drop in speed. Upload speeds were lackluster with both hovering in the teens. It may never be something you notice until you need to send a large file, but it’s something to consider. 

UK speed

UK speed

France speed

France speed

I had no speed issues using the Android app. There were negligible 5Mbps drops in download speed, and I never noticed any hiccups or slow-loading images while browsing the web on the default server. 

PIA VPN faces another setback with users because it does not bypass Netflix’s strict security measures. Most VPNs are blocked by Netflix ever since the streaming service began actively cracking down on VPN and proxy usage, but this feature would have made PIA VPN a contender even with some of the concerns mentioned previously. 

No Netflix, PIA VPN users ????

No Netflix, PIA VPN users ????

Additionally, PIA VPN does not penetrate China’s “Great Firewall” (although there’s a cumbersome workaround). It does support P2P traffic, for those who like to torrent.

Private internet access and little else

PIA offers a decent VPN, but that’s about it. There are some good privacy features, but it’s also lacking in obfuscated server support. Speeds are hit-or-miss, but mostly not too bad for a VPN. Speed drops should be minimal for most users who won’t go beyond the default connection. No Netflix is a bummer. 

Ultimately, it’s hard to recommend PIA when there are so many VPN options on the market. Sometimes you need more than just internet access that’s private.

UPDATE: June 7, 2021, 10:29 a.m. EDT This was updated to include the latest specs and updates.

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