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The best VPNs for unblocking and watching American Prime Video — 01/31/2019

The best VPNs for unblocking and watching American Prime Video

Prime Video is the seriously popular on-demand streaming service that hosts literally thousands of movies, shows, and award-winning Prime Originals. Amazon Prime is priced at £79 per year and offers one-day delivery, unlimited music, and includes this impressive streaming service. 

You can pay for the whole package in one lump sum or pay monthly at a cost of £7.99 a month, which comes to almost £100 each year. Alternatively, can get a 30-day free Amazon Prime trial if you are a new customer, which lets you get a taste of all the benefits before you fully commit. You can then cancel the trial when it comes to an end, or you can continue Prime membership at the full price. The choice is all yours.

At £79 a year, Amazon Prime Video works out at about £6.50 a month, which is similar to other streaming video services like Netflix. However, you don’t get a delivery service, music streaming, and access to the Kindle library with Netflix. It’s for this reason that so many people continue to sign up to Amazon’s video streaming service. Amazon Prime Video is available to stream on all the Kindle Fire tablets and more than 600 other devices, including pretty much every computer, smartphone, console, and smart TV you can imagine. 

This all sounds great, but imagine for a moment that not everything is perfect. Imagine that everything is not well with the world, because you have signed up to Amazon Prime Video to specifically watch one programme, and it’s only shown on the U.S. version of the service. It’s a troubling thought and it seems to happen fairly regularly. 

Fortunately, there is something you can do to avoid this annoying issue. You can use a VPN to gain access to all of the best American content from the UK.

What is a VPN?

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) provide online privacy and anonymity by creating a private network from a public internet connection. VPNs hide your real IP address so all of your online activity is untraceable and secure. 

Does this make sense? We understand that this sort of technology can be confusing, so it can help to think of a VPN as a tunnel through which all of your online traffic passes. This tunnel is encrypted, meaning that nobody can see into it, and everything inside is protected against online threats like hackers, viruses, and malware.

Why should you invest in a VPN?

VPNs are used to provide protection for your sensitive information, and this is obviously important. These services are vital for improving you cybersecurity, there is another reason that VPNs are so popular. 

These tools can also be used to watch content that is normally blocked in your location by hiding your real IP address and connecting you to a server in another country. This simple process tricks leading streaming sites into thinking you are based in another country, meaning you can watch all of the extra content from global libraries.

VPNs are keys to the online world, granting you access to more of the shows and films you love by bypassing geo-restrictions. 

How do you unblock Prime Video with a VPN?

The process of accessing American Prime Video with a VPN is actually really simple. All you need to do is open up your preferred VPN, select an American server in order to spoof your IP to a U.S. address, and then head to Prime Video. 

There is a bit of a cat and mouse situation with streaming sites and VPNs, as sites like Prime Video and Netflix look to detect VPN usage and block servers. This is why you should always try and pick a VPN with a large and diverse network of servers, so you always have plenty of options to bypass restrictions.

You will still need to be subscribed to Prime Video for this trick to work. A VPN is not going to grant access to the streaming site for free. Instead, a VPN provides access to more libraries from around the world, once you’re subscribed.

What is the best VPN for Prime Video?

There are plenty of VPNs out there that can bypass online restrictions to unblock Prime Video, which is good and bad. It’s great to have options, but with so many VPNs to consider, it can be tough to pick the best option for you. This is where we come in.

We have outlined the best VPNs for the job. If you’re looking to unlock more content from anywhere in the world, we recommend checking out ExpressVPN, PureVPN, NordVPN, and the other names in this list. There should be something for everyone and every budget. You just need to weigh up each VPN against your own set of preferences, and pick a favourite. 

These are the best VPNs for unblocking and watching Prime Video in 2021.

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Image: expressvpn

The Good

Great customer support • High-level performance

The Bad

Most expensive • Limited number of connections

The Bottom Line

ExpressVPN is the most expensive option but you get great performance and superb customer support for the higher cost

ExpressVPN

With ExpressVPN you can access American content with a straightforward method.

ExpressVPN provides access to speedy servers from anywhere in the world, with great customer support. So it ticks the two essential boxes when it comes to VPNs. ExpressVPN operate across 94 countries, meaning that the performance shouldn’t dip away if you are travelling around.
ExpressVPN offers custom apps, in particular for Android and iOS, making it really easy to maintain access to U.S. Amazon Prime Video content when you are on the go. 
There’s no free trial with ExpressVPN and it’s one of the pricier options at about £5 per month. You can’t try before you buy, but there is a 30-day money back guarantee so if you don’t like it you can get out without losing out.
When it comes to accessing U.S. Amazon Prime Video content with ExpressVPN you need to either connect to USA – Washington DC-2, or USA – Los Angeles-3. Not the easiest method but certainly not too complicated for most users.

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Image: cyberghost

The Good

Strong privacy policy • Advanced security features • Simultaneous connections • Large server network • Intuitive interface

The Bad

There are faster VPNs

The Bottom Line

CyberGhost VPN is a comprehensive service that easily unblocks American Prime Video.

CyberGhost VPN

CyberGhost VPN is a slick VPN with an attractive interface that makes it appealing for beginners.

CyberGhost VPN is one of the most comprehensive products on offer, with a strong stance on privacy, a slick interface, a good network of servers, decent connection speeds, and much more. 
CyberGhost VPN does not store information on your IP address, DNS queries, browsing history, or session duration, and it offers advanced security features like split tunnelling. As an added bonus, CyberGhost VPN is really easy to install and use, with an intuitive design that should suit everyone. Even complete VPN newbies should be absolutely fine with CyberGhost VPN.
CyberGhost VPN lets you to experience the full potential of your Amazon Prime subscription, and you’ll be able to watch your shows on multiple operating systems as users get apps for a wide range of devices.

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Image: pia

The Good

Huge server network • Good speeds • 10 simultaneous connections

The Bad

Interface is clunky

The Bottom Line

A powerful VPN that doesn’t look great, but performance makes up for it.

Private Internet Access

Private Internet Access lets users connect to an absolutely massive network of servers, which is great for streamers.

Unblocking of streaming sites relies on a strong and diverse network of servers, and Private Internet Access definitely has that. You can pick from literally thousands of high-speed servers based all over the world with this powerful VPN.
The interface is a little clunky and outdated, but that really doesn’t matter because users get powerful encryption, strong connection speeds, and much more. Private Internet Access keep things simple and covers all of the essentials.
You are also allowed 10 simultaneous connections with Private Internet Access, meaning it’s a great option for large households with lots of streaming on different devices.

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Image: purevpn

The Good

Strong performance • Packed full of great features • Easy to install • Low price

The Bad

There’s no free trial option • The trickiest process to connect to US Amazon Prime Video content

The Bottom Line

Not the easiest process to gain access to US content but a strong list of features and good performance makes up for this

PureVPN

It’s slightly tricky to access U.S. Amazon Prime content with PureVPN, but it’s worth it.

Pure VPN has geographically diverse servers, a dedicated IP, and a strong privacy policy. It doesn’t have the best performance statistics but it certainly doesn’t have the worst. It’s somewhere in the top half.
PureVPN boasts an outstanding network of international VPN servers and this helps with performance. It also has a whole bunch of useful features to help you stay protected online and use its interface with ease.
So PureVPN isn’t the absolute fastest but it is one of the best thanks to its mix of competitive performance and an attractive design. 
PureVPN is going to cost you £2.35 a month which is really good value compared to some of the other VPNs in this list. The main negative is that it’s slightly tricky to access U.S. Amazon Prime content with PureVPN, as you have to first select Stream Mode then connect to a United States server. We aren’t saying this should put you off though, because even though it’s trickier, it’s still pretty straightforward.

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Image: nordvpn

The Good

Solid performance • Very easy to access US Prime Video content • Free trial

The Bad

Not the most simple interface design

The Bottom Line

A solid option with very few weaknesses and the easiest means of accessing U.S. Prime Video content

NordVPN

NordVPN takes your privacy seriously, and can access American Amazon Prime Video content with ease.

NordVPN is able to supply a connection that doesn’t reduce connection speed due to its large number of servers and locations — 5100 servers in 62 countries around the world.
NordVPN is also a strong contender when selecting a VPN to access U.S. content due to its stance on security. With a selection of offerings that boost protection, traffic passes through two separate VPN servers and NordVPN operates a ‘no logs’ policy, meaning your data should be secure.
The best NordVPN price we can find is £2.29 per month. That’s really cheap, especially when you consider that NordVPN is an all-round solid VPN and the easiest choice when it comes to accessing U.S. Amazon Prime Video content. All you need to do is connect to a United States server with NordVPN, and that’s it.

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Image: strong vpn

The Good

Strong connection speeds • Multiple connections • Easy to watch U.S. content

The Bad

Performance is spotty in some locations • No free trial • Not as many features as PureVPN

The Bottom Line

Doesn’t have as many features as others or a free trial but speeds are good and accessing U.S. content is uncomplicated

StrongVPN

StrongVPN can access all your favourite content with an attractive interface that’s ideal for beginners.

StrongVPN doesn’t offer loads of features but it does offer a simpler service with good speeds and multiple connections. So if you are in the market for a simple service with a good-looking design then this is the one for you. 
There are apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. You can connect to over 650 servers across 26 countries. There’s also around the clock customer support and a 30-day money-back guarantee. So whilst StrongVPN won’t break any records when it comes to performance, it’s more than adequate for the majority of users and covers all the basics.
Pricing is pretty standard for VPNs. We found the cheapest rate at £3.35 per month but this may change throughout the year. There’s no free trial available but that’s a good price for StrongVPN’s service. 
Gaining access to U.S. Amazon Prime Video content with StrongVPN is pretty easy too. All you need to do is connect to the United States and select Seattle from the list.

Best VPN deals this week


Looking to pick up a tablet on Prime Day? Here’s a guide to the best ones out there. — 01/29/2019

Looking to pick up a tablet on Prime Day? Here’s a guide to the best ones out there.

Tablets are one of our favorite tech advancements of the last decade. They’re compact and sleek devices that you can bring with you anywhere to get some work done on the road or use at home to watch a movie or read an e-book while sitting on the couch. Tablets are wonderful if you need something a little more advanced than a smartphone, but smaller and more compact than a laptop. 

SEE ALSO: Best tablets to get for your kids

However, with so many different types of tablets out there, it’s difficult to find the perfect one for you. 

Do you want an Android tablet? Perhaps an iPad? Windows 10? Maybe an Amazon Fire tablet would be a good fit? We took the time and pored through countless reviews and articles from various sources — including our own Mashable tech team and our colleagues at PCMag — to find the best tablet for just about anyone.

What is the best cheap tablet?

If you’re on a budget, the Fire HD 10 is going to be your best option. It’s durable, has excellent battery life, is kid-friendly, and is significantly less expensive than many of the other tablets on this list. It also doesn’t sacrifice size for the price – it’s comparable to iPads in terms of screen size (though the iPad is superior when it comes to functionality).

What is the best tablet to buy used?

Shopping renewed or refurbished tech is a great way to save money, especially if you’re making a purchase for your kids or are prone to destroying gadgets yourself. We really love Apple’s iPad (we know, you’re not surprised), which is pretty easy to source great used options. Other tablets on this list tend to be a bit more challenging when it comes to finding used devices.

How do you choose the right tablet for your kid?

Most tablets made specifically for kids will already be equipped with built-in parental accounts, timers, and pre-selected websites or apps that are strictly for kids. Easy enough.

General purpose tablets aren’t a bad choice at all — many sites name the iPad as one of the best tablets for kids even though it’s technically for everyone. These won’t have the same built-in parental controls as tablets specifically for kids, though, so you’ll need to get creative if you’d rather your kid not have unlimited access to the internet. Apple and Android have features that can filter or block content and prevent purchases, but the closest thing you’ll be able to get to close monitoring is by installing parental control software. Opting for a tablet that’s not kid-specific might not be the best for parental controls, but it can save you money down the line because you won’t have to buy a whole new device when your child ages out of their kid tablet.

If you’d prefer to just make the family tablet more kid-friendly instead of purchasing a new one, Osmo is a super neat iPad and Fire Tablet add-on. The Osmo Genius Kit connects to your tablet for hands-on exercises that coincide with physical pieces that move on-screen when your kid moves them in real life. Subjects include numbers, words, tangram, Newton, and art, plus extra packs for more advanced stuff like STEM and coding.

Things to keep in mind when shopping for a tablet for kids: Screen resolution (depending on the amount of movie watching and gaming they’ll be doing), storage (they’ll probably have more apps than you do), the intensity of parental controls (for obvious reasons), and rugged-ness (because kids are basically adorable destruction machines).

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Image: Apple

The Good

Easy to use for anyone • Impressive speed

The Bad

Not as powerful as other tablets

The Bottom Line

Even if you’re a Windows 10 or Android user, the Apple iPad is the best tablet for just about anyone.

Apple iPad

It’s a classic for a reason: The iPad is a top-notch tablet for pretty much anyone.

  • Screen size:
    10.2 inches
  • Memory:
    2GB
  • Storage:
    32GB or 128GB
  • Battery life:
    Up to 10 hours
Let’s face it. The Apple iPad is the gold standard of tablets. Even if you’re typically a Windows 10 or Android user, no other tablet really comes close — the iPad wins when it comes to interface, build quality, and the number of apps created just for iOS.
Armed with Apple’s A12 Bionic chip and a 10.2-inch Retina display, the iPad is optimized for iOS 12. While there are more powerful tablets out there (including the iPad Pro), the standard iPad’s 2GB of memory and either 32GB or 128GB of storage will suit most casual users. And if you already have a MacBook, it’ll sync with that device with ease.
It’s also compatible with Apple’s Smart Keyboard as well as the Apple Pencil, both of which are, somewhat annoyingly, sold separately.

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Image: Amazon

The Good

Inexpensive • Full HD • Crisp and clear display • Large storage capabilities

The Bad

Made of plastic • No access to the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store • Features-wise, it’s best for Prime members

The Bottom Line

For $150, the Amazon Fire HD 10 delivers the the most bang for your buck, with its brilliant display and access to thousands of movies, games, and more.

Fire HD 10 Tablet

This tablet gives you some solid bang for your buck — at only $150, we’d say it’s the best deal on this list.

  • Screen size:
    10.1 inches
  • Memory:
    3GB
  • Storage:
    32GB or 64GB (expandable up to 1TB)
  • Battery life:
    Up to 12 hours
At only $149.99, Amazon’s Fire HD 10 Tablet can do quite a bit for its ultra-low price point.
Armed with a full HD 10-inch touchscreen display, the Fire HD 10 packs in over two million pixels for crisp, clear images and videos. Not only can it play full HD movies at 1080p, play music from Amazon Music, and run mobile games from the Amazon App Store, it also doubles as a hands-free smart home hub with the Alexa assistant built-in. Not even the Apple iPad can be used as a smart home hub like the Fire HD 10.
The tablet comes in 32GB and 64GB varieties, but it’s also expandable up to a whopping 256GB with a microSD card. If you’re a Prime member, then you’ll also get access to thousands of books, magazines, songs, movies, and TV shows for free. The Fire HD 10 can do so much for just $150 that it’s a steal! 

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Image: Amazon

The Good

Kid-proof case • Excellent battery life • Two-year replacement guarantee • Includes a year of Amazon Kids+

The Bad

Older kids might outgrow the tablet

The Bottom Line

Amazon’s Fire HD 10 Kids Edition is a durable and kid-friendly tablet at a low price.

Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition Tablet

Equipped with solid parental controls and protected by a colorful case, this tablet is a must for parents and kids alike.

  • Screen size:
    10.1 inches
  • Memory:
    3GB
  • Storage:
    32GB (expandable up to 1TB)
  • Battery life:
    Up to 12 hours
The Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition is a fairly basic tablet, but it gets the job done for young kids. It ships with a colorful and durable “kid-proof” case that will stand up to drops, throws, and spills. It also has a two-year “worry-free” guarantee — if something happens to the tablet during that time frame, Amazon will replace it with no questions asked.
To keep kids from accessing mature content, the tablet comes with a free year of Amazon Kids+, which offers more than 20,000 books, movies, TV shows, and games made for kids. On Amazon Kids+, users can’t use Alexa or any social media, and in-app purchases can’t be made without a parent accessing the account and giving the OK. (Worth noting: A few parents on the reviews page mentioned that they didn’t love the interface.)
Aside from the restrictions inherent to Amazon Kids+, parents are also able to set restrictions on screen time, permissible websites, and curfews for each user. (Speaking of users, there can be up to four different child profiles.)

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Image: Apple

The Good

Small and compact • Optimized for the Apple ecosystem • Long battery life

The Bad

Expensive for how small it is

The Bottom Line

Although it’s an older model, the compact and lightweight Apple iPad mini is still worth the investment, especially if you take long trips.

Apple iPad Mini 4

This tablet’s power and small size make it a great choice for traveling.

  • Screen size:
    7.9 inches
  • Memory:
    2GB
  • Storage:
    64GB or 256GB
  • Battery life:
    Up to 10 hours
Coming in at 7.9 inches and weighing less than a pound, the Apple iPad Mini is the most compact tablet you can buy right now, which makes it nice for travel. The iPad mini is ideal for flights or long bus or train rides with up to 10 hours of battery life. There’s even an option to get the iPad Mini with cellular if you need those capabilities on the go.
The iPad Mini comes with either 64GB or 256GB of storage, so you can load up on movies or trip photos. It’s powered by Apple’s A12 Bionic chip and features an 8MP back camera and 7MP front camera. It’s also compatible with Apple Pencil.

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Image: Samsung

The Good

Inexpensive • Expandable storage with microSD • Long battery life

The Bad

Slower than an iPad • Can’t store apps on microSD card

The Bottom Line

While it’s definitely not the most advanced tablet, the Tab A is affordable and easy to take on the go.

Samsung Galaxy Tab A

If the iPad Mini is out of your price range, the Tab A is a decent alternative.

  • Screen size:
    8 inches
  • Memory:
    2GB
  • Storage:
    32GB or 64GB (expandable up to 512GB)
  • Battery life:
    13 hours
The Samsung Galaxy Tab A is a cheaper alternative to the iPad Mini. It clocks in at 8 inches and has 32GB or 64GB storage options — both costing less than $200. It runs slower than an iPad, but that’s to be expected with such a large price drop.
The Tab A holds a charge for up to 13 hours, which is pretty impressive for such a small device. It’s a nice starter tablet for older kids or to take with you while you travel.

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Image: Microsoft

The Good

Comes with built-in LTE • Doubles as a laptop

The Bad

Signature Type Cover and Surface Pen sold separately

The Bottom Line

Microsoft Surface Pro LTE is a powerful beast to get work done while traveling. If you’re on the road and away from the office, this tablet will help you get down to business.

Microsoft Surface Pro LTE

This is a strong and robust workhorse for attending to business on the road.

  • Screen size:
    12.3 inches
  • Memory:
    8GB
  • Storage:
    256GB
  • Battery life:
    11 hours
Paired with the Signature Type Cover and the Surface Pen, the Microsoft Surface Pro LTE features the power of a laptop with the portability and ease of use of a tablet. The hybrid packs a punch with Intel’s 7th generation Dual Core i5 Processor and a built-in LTE modem that’s unlocked for just about any cellular service provider. This means you’ll always have a connection to the internet, even if you don’t have a WiFi hotspot accessible.
The Surface Pro LTE also features a brilliant 12.3-inch touchscreen display with a resolution of 2736 x 1824, which is powered with Intel HD Graphics 620, one USB 3.0 port, 8GB of memory, and 256GB SSD storage. This tablet/laptop hybrid also packs in a nice 11-hour battery life, so you’re not always tethered to a wall charger. It also runs Windows 10 Pro, so you can get some real work done.

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Image: Apple

The Good

Beautiful display • Intuitive interface • Great cameras • Powerful processor • Plenty of storage options

The Bad

Apple Pencil sold separately • Expensive (but worth the investment)

The Bottom Line

The Apple iPad Pro marries the laptop and the drawing tablet in one ultra-portable device that’s great for artists. If it (and its accessories) are in your budget, then it’s worth the investment.

Apple iPad Pro

This feature-laden iPad can serve as both laptop and drawing tablet.

  • Screen size:
    11 inches
  • Memory:
    8GB or 16GB
  • Storage:
    128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB
  • Battery life:
    Up to 10 hours
There’s a lot of hype surrounding the Apple iPad Pro, and it’s well-deserved. In fact, it’s the best iPad Pro that Apple has ever made.
The Pro’s 11-inch Liquid Retina display is nearly edge-to-edge. Its “ProMotion” technology helps make it seamless to draw on and its True Tone color helps make it pop. Powered by the Apple M1chip, up to 16GB of RAM, and up to 2TB of storage, the iPad Pro is particularly suited to Adobe creativity apps. Its 10-hour battery life isn’t the longest on this list, but it’s still pretty solid.
One downside of the iPad Pro is that you have to purchase an Apple Pencil to draw and sketch with it. This is an additional $125, but it’s an investment worth taking on to get the most out of the iPad Pro, which starts at $799.

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Image: Samsung

The Good

Clear, vibrant display • Built-in surround sound • S Pen attaches to the device • Long battery life

The Bad

No headphone jack • Doesn’t run large Adobe projects as well as the iPad Pro • S Pen attaches to the back, which makes the tablet hard to set down

The Bottom Line

While it’s not quite up there with the iPad Pro, the Galaxy Tab 6 is good for multitasking and includes the S Pen.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 has great functions and a long battery life.

  • Screen size:
    10.5 inches
  • Memory:
    6GB
  • Storage:
    128GB or 256GB (expandable up to 1TB)
  • Battery life:
    Up to 15 hours
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 has a beautiful 10.5-inch Super AMOLED display, an easy-to-use touchscreen, and built-in Dolby Atmos surround sound, making it great for watching movies.
It’s built for multitasking with a fast processor that lets you quickly switch between apps without any lag. The tablet also comes with the S Pen for note-taking, designing, and whatever else you could need a stylus for. It magnetically attaches to the back of the Tab 6 for easy storage and charging. You can also add on a keyboard (sold separately) for even more functions.

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Image: apple

The Good

Comes in fun colors • Powerful chip lets you edit videos and play games • Compatible with iPad Pro accessories

The Bad

More expensive than the regular iPad • Not compatible with older iPad accessories • Only two storage options

The Bottom Line

As one of Apple’s most powerful iPads, the Air will let you run larger applications and edit videos with ease.

Apple iPad Air

The iPad Air opens up a world of possibilities for photo and video with a super fast A14 bionic chip.

  • Screen size:
    10.9 inches
  • Memory :
    4GB
  • Storage:
    64GB or 256 GB
  • Battery life:
    Up to 10 hours
If you’re a content creator, video editor, or digital creative in the market for a new tablet, the iPad Air is a very solid choice. The A14 bionic chip is ultra-fast, and will let you edit 4K videos, draw detailed graphics or art pieces, and even do some serious gaming with console-level graphics (it’s compatible with PS4 and Xbox controllers). 
The Liquid Retina display features True Tone, P3 wide color, and has an anti-reflective coating, so all your work, art, and entertainment will come through with clear, crisp visuals. iPad Air has a 7MP front-facing FaceTime HD camera, and also has the same 12MP rear camera as the iPad Pro, so you can capture 4K video and high-resolution photos. It also switches over to a USB-C port, meaning you can connect cameras, hard drives, and external 4K monitors plus transfer data up to 5Gbps.
The iPad Air comes in the classic silver, space gray, and rose gold, but also added two cool new hues — sky blue and green — to the mix. While it won’t work with the older lightning-cable based Apple accessories, it is compatible with the newer iPad Pro accessories, like the second-gen Apple Pencil and the Magic Keyboard, which will really enhance your iPad experience.  
A guide to the best tablets out there —

A guide to the best tablets out there

Tablets are one of our favorite tech advancements of the last decade. They’re compact and sleek devices that you can bring with you anywhere to get some work done on the road or use at home to watch a movie or read an e-book while sitting on the couch. Tablets are wonderful if you need something a little more advanced than a smartphone, but smaller and more compact than a laptop. 

SEE ALSO: Best tablets to get for your kids

However, with so many different types of tablets out there, it’s difficult to find the perfect one for you. 

Do you want an Android tablet? Perhaps an iPad? Windows 10? Maybe an Amazon Fire tablet would be a good fit? We took the time and pored through countless reviews and articles from various sources — including our own Mashable tech team and our colleagues at PCMag — to find the best tablet for just about anyone.

What is the best cheap tablet?

If you’re on a budget, the Fire HD 10 is going to be your best option. It’s durable, has excellent battery life, is kid-friendly, and is significantly less expensive than many of the other tablets on this list. It also doesn’t sacrifice size for the price – it’s comparable to iPads in terms of screen size (though the iPad is superior when it comes to functionality).

What is the best tablet to buy used?

Shopping renewed or refurbished tech is a great way to save money, especially if you’re making a purchase for your kids or are prone to destroying gadgets yourself. We really love Apple’s iPad (we know, you’re not surprised), which is pretty easy to source great used options. Other tablets on this list tend to be a bit more challenging when it comes to finding used devices.

How do you choose the right tablet for your kid?

Most tablets made specifically for kids will already be equipped with built-in parental accounts, timers, and pre-selected websites or apps that are strictly for kids. Easy enough.

General purpose tablets aren’t a bad choice at all — many sites name the iPad as one of the best tablets for kids even though it’s technically for everyone. These won’t have the same built-in parental controls as tablets specifically for kids, though, so you’ll need to get creative if you’d rather your kid not have unlimited access to the internet. Apple and Android have features that can filter or block content and prevent purchases, but the closest thing you’ll be able to get to close monitoring is by installing parental control software. Opting for a tablet that’s not kid-specific might not be the best for parental controls, but it can save you money down the line because you won’t have to buy a whole new device when your child ages out of their kid tablet.

If you’d prefer to just make the family tablet more kid-friendly instead of purchasing a new one, Osmo is a super neat iPad and Fire Tablet add-on. The Osmo Genius Kit connects to your tablet for hands-on exercises that coincide with physical pieces that move on-screen when your kid moves them in real life. Subjects include numbers, words, tangram, Newton, and art, plus extra packs for more advanced stuff like STEM and coding.

Things to keep in mind when shopping for a tablet for kids: Screen resolution (depending on the amount of movie watching and gaming they’ll be doing), storage (they’ll probably have more apps than you do), the intensity of parental controls (for obvious reasons), and rugged-ness (because kids are basically adorable destruction machines).

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Image: Apple

The Good

Easy to use for anyone • Impressive speed

The Bad

Not as powerful as other tablets

The Bottom Line

Even if you’re a Windows 10 or Android user, the Apple iPad is the best tablet for just about anyone.

Apple iPad

It’s a classic for a reason: The iPad is a top-notch tablet for pretty much anyone.

  • Screen size:
    10.2 inches
  • Memory:
    2GB
  • Storage:
    32GB or 128GB
  • Battery life:
    Up to 10 hours
Let’s face it. The Apple iPad is the gold standard of tablets. Even if you’re typically a Windows 10 or Android user, no other tablet really comes close — the iPad wins when it comes to interface, build quality, and the number of apps created just for iOS.
Armed with Apple’s A12 Bionic chip and a 10.2-inch Retina display, the iPad is optimized for iOS 12. While there are more powerful tablets out there (including the iPad Pro), the standard iPad’s 2GB of memory and either 32GB or 128GB of storage will suit most casual users. And if you already have a MacBook, it’ll sync with that device with ease.
It’s also compatible with Apple’s Smart Keyboard as well as the Apple Pencil, both of which are, somewhat annoyingly, sold separately.

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Image: Amazon

The Good

Inexpensive • Full HD • Crisp and clear display • Large storage capabilities

The Bad

Made of plastic • No access to the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store • Features-wise, it’s best for Prime members

The Bottom Line

For $150, the Amazon Fire HD 10 delivers the the most bang for your buck, with its brilliant display and access to thousands of movies, games, and more.

Fire HD 10 Tablet

This tablet gives you some solid bang for your buck — at only $150, we’d say it’s the best deal on this list.

  • Screen size:
    10.1 inches
  • Memory:
    3GB
  • Storage:
    32GB or 64GB (expandable up to 1TB)
  • Battery life:
    Up to 12 hours
At only $149.99, Amazon’s Fire HD 10 Tablet can do quite a bit for its ultra-low price point.
Armed with a full HD 10-inch touchscreen display, the Fire HD 10 packs in over two million pixels for crisp, clear images and videos. Not only can it play full HD movies at 1080p, play music from Amazon Music, and run mobile games from the Amazon App Store, it also doubles as a hands-free smart home hub with the Alexa assistant built-in. Not even the Apple iPad can be used as a smart home hub like the Fire HD 10.
The tablet comes in 32GB and 64GB varieties, but it’s also expandable up to a whopping 256GB with a microSD card. If you’re a Prime member, then you’ll also get access to thousands of books, magazines, songs, movies, and TV shows for free. The Fire HD 10 can do so much for just $150 that it’s a steal! 

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Image: Amazon

The Good

Kid-proof case • Excellent battery life • Two-year replacement guarantee • Includes a year of Amazon Kids+

The Bad

Older kids might outgrow the tablet

The Bottom Line

Amazon’s Fire HD 10 Kids Edition is a durable and kid-friendly tablet at a low price.

Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition Tablet

Equipped with solid parental controls and protected by a colorful case, this tablet is a must for parents and kids alike.

  • Screen size:
    10.1 inches
  • Memory:
    3GB
  • Storage:
    32GB (expandable up to 1TB)
  • Battery life:
    Up to 12 hours
The Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition is a fairly basic tablet, but it gets the job done for young kids. It ships with a colorful and durable “kid-proof” case that will stand up to drops, throws, and spills. It also has a two-year “worry-free” guarantee — if something happens to the tablet during that time frame, Amazon will replace it with no questions asked.
To keep kids from accessing mature content, the tablet comes with a free year of Amazon Kids+, which offers more than 20,000 books, movies, TV shows, and games made for kids. On Amazon Kids+, users can’t use Alexa or any social media, and in-app purchases can’t be made without a parent accessing the account and giving the OK. (Worth noting: A few parents on the reviews page mentioned that they didn’t love the interface.)
Aside from the restrictions inherent to Amazon Kids+, parents are also able to set restrictions on screen time, permissible websites, and curfews for each user. (Speaking of users, there can be up to four different child profiles.)

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Image: Apple

The Good

Small and compact • Optimized for the Apple ecosystem • Long battery life

The Bad

Expensive for how small it is

The Bottom Line

Although it’s an older model, the compact and lightweight Apple iPad mini is still worth the investment, especially if you take long trips.

Apple iPad Mini 4

This tablet’s power and small size make it a great choice for traveling.

  • Screen size:
    7.9 inches
  • Memory:
    2GB
  • Storage:
    64GB or 256GB
  • Battery life:
    Up to 10 hours
Coming in at 7.9 inches and weighing less than a pound, the Apple iPad Mini is the most compact tablet you can buy right now, which makes it nice for travel. The iPad mini is ideal for flights or long bus or train rides with up to 10 hours of battery life. There’s even an option to get the iPad Mini with cellular if you need those capabilities on the go.
The iPad Mini comes with either 64GB or 256GB of storage, so you can load up on movies or trip photos. It’s powered by Apple’s A12 Bionic chip and features an 8MP back camera and 7MP front camera. It’s also compatible with Apple Pencil.

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Image: Samsung

The Good

Inexpensive • Expandable storage with microSD • Long battery life

The Bad

Slower than an iPad • Can’t store apps on microSD card

The Bottom Line

While it’s definitely not the most advanced tablet, the Tab A is affordable and easy to take on the go.

Samsung Galaxy Tab A

If the iPad Mini is out of your price range, the Tab A is a decent alternative.

  • Screen size:
    8 inches
  • Memory:
    2GB
  • Storage:
    32GB or 64GB (expandable up to 512GB)
  • Battery life:
    13 hours
The Samsung Galaxy Tab A is a cheaper alternative to the iPad Mini. It clocks in at 8 inches and has 32GB or 64GB storage options — both costing less than $200. It runs slower than an iPad, but that’s to be expected with such a large price drop.
The Tab A holds a charge for up to 13 hours, which is pretty impressive for such a small device. It’s a nice starter tablet for older kids or to take with you while you travel.

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Image: Microsoft

The Good

Comes with built-in LTE • Doubles as a laptop

The Bad

Signature Type Cover and Surface Pen sold separately

The Bottom Line

Microsoft Surface Pro LTE is a powerful beast to get work done while traveling. If you’re on the road and away from the office, this tablet will help you get down to business.

Microsoft Surface Pro LTE

This is a strong and robust workhorse for attending to business on the road.

  • Screen size:
    12.3 inches
  • Memory:
    8GB
  • Storage:
    256GB
  • Battery life:
    11 hours
Paired with the Signature Type Cover and the Surface Pen, the Microsoft Surface Pro LTE features the power of a laptop with the portability and ease of use of a tablet. The hybrid packs a punch with Intel’s 7th generation Dual Core i5 Processor and a built-in LTE modem that’s unlocked for just about any cellular service provider. This means you’ll always have a connection to the internet, even if you don’t have a WiFi hotspot accessible.
The Surface Pro LTE also features a brilliant 12.3-inch touchscreen display with a resolution of 2736 x 1824, which is powered with Intel HD Graphics 620, one USB 3.0 port, 8GB of memory, and 256GB SSD storage. This tablet/laptop hybrid also packs in a nice 11-hour battery life, so you’re not always tethered to a wall charger. It also runs Windows 10 Pro, so you can get some real work done.

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Image: Apple

The Good

Beautiful display • Intuitive interface • Great cameras • Powerful processor • Plenty of storage options

The Bad

Apple Pencil sold separately • Expensive (but worth the investment)

The Bottom Line

The Apple iPad Pro marries the laptop and the drawing tablet in one ultra-portable device that’s great for artists. If it (and its accessories) are in your budget, then it’s worth the investment.

Apple iPad Pro

This feature-laden iPad can serve as both laptop and drawing tablet.

  • Screen size:
    11 inches
  • Memory:
    8GB or 16GB
  • Storage:
    128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB
  • Battery life:
    Up to 10 hours
There’s a lot of hype surrounding the Apple iPad Pro, and it’s well-deserved. In fact, it’s the best iPad Pro that Apple has ever made.
The Pro’s 11-inch Liquid Retina display is nearly edge-to-edge. Its “ProMotion” technology helps make it seamless to draw on and its True Tone color helps make it pop. Powered by the Apple M1chip, up to 16GB of RAM, and up to 2TB of storage, the iPad Pro is particularly suited to Adobe creativity apps. Its 10-hour battery life isn’t the longest on this list, but it’s still pretty solid.
One downside of the iPad Pro is that you have to purchase an Apple Pencil to draw and sketch with it. This is an additional $125, but it’s an investment worth taking on to get the most out of the iPad Pro, which starts at $799.

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Image: Samsung

The Good

Clear, vibrant display • Built-in surround sound • S Pen attaches to the device • Long battery life

The Bad

No headphone jack • Doesn’t run large Adobe projects as well as the iPad Pro • S Pen attaches to the back, which makes the tablet hard to set down

The Bottom Line

While it’s not quite up there with the iPad Pro, the Galaxy Tab 6 is good for multitasking and includes the S Pen.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 has great functions and a long battery life.

  • Screen size:
    10.5 inches
  • Memory:
    6GB
  • Storage:
    128GB or 256GB (expandable up to 1TB)
  • Battery life:
    Up to 15 hours
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 has a beautiful 10.5-inch Super AMOLED display, an easy-to-use touchscreen, and built-in Dolby Atmos surround sound, making it great for watching movies.
It’s built for multitasking with a fast processor that lets you quickly switch between apps without any lag. The tablet also comes with the S Pen for note-taking, designing, and whatever else you could need a stylus for. It magnetically attaches to the back of the Tab 6 for easy storage and charging. You can also add on a keyboard (sold separately) for even more functions.

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Image: apple

The Good

Comes in fun colors • Powerful chip lets you edit videos and play games • Compatible with iPad Pro accessories

The Bad

More expensive than the regular iPad • Not compatible with older iPad accessories • Only two storage options

The Bottom Line

As one of Apple’s most powerful iPads, the Air will let you run larger applications and edit videos with ease.

Apple iPad Air

The iPad Air opens up a world of possibilities for photo and video with a super fast A14 bionic chip.

  • Screen size:
    10.9 inches
  • Memory :
    4GB
  • Storage:
    64GB or 256 GB
  • Battery life:
    Up to 10 hours
If you’re a content creator, video editor, or digital creative in the market for a new tablet, the iPad Air is a very solid choice. The A14 bionic chip is ultra-fast, and will let you edit 4K videos, draw detailed graphics or art pieces, and even do some serious gaming with console-level graphics (it’s compatible with PS4 and Xbox controllers). 
The Liquid Retina display features True Tone, P3 wide color, and has an anti-reflective coating, so all your work, art, and entertainment will come through with clear, crisp visuals. iPad Air has a 7MP front-facing FaceTime HD camera, and also has the same 12MP rear camera as the iPad Pro, so you can capture 4K video and high-resolution photos. It also switches over to a USB-C port, meaning you can connect cameras, hard drives, and external 4K monitors plus transfer data up to 5Gbps.
The iPad Air comes in the classic silver, space gray, and rose gold, but also added two cool new hues — sky blue and green — to the mix. While it won’t work with the older lightning-cable based Apple accessories, it is compatible with the newer iPad Pro accessories, like the second-gen Apple Pencil and the Magic Keyboard, which will really enhance your iPad experience.  
The best smart scales for meeting your fitness and weight goals — 01/24/2019

The best smart scales for meeting your fitness and weight goals

Whether you’re starting a new fitness plan, resolving to get healthy this year, or just trying to watch your weight, it’s time to ditch your old analog scale and upgrade to a smart scale. 

What makes a smart scale different from a regular scale?

Standard bathroom scales only tell you your weight, while smart scales give you a more comprehensive view of your body composition that can help you tailor your weight-loss (or muscle-building) plan. They use Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) technology, which sends small currents through your body to capture body composition measurements.

Not all smart scales track the same measurements, but you can expect to find ones that show you body mass index (BMI), body water percentage, body fat percentage, muscle mass, bone density, fat-free body weight, metabolic age, and more. Of course, smart scales will also tell you your weight.

The number of measurements tracked varies from scale to scale. Some, keep it simple with just a handful of measurements like BMI and body fat, while others track up to 14 different metrics.

Smart scales not only give you all of this information, but they give you the ability to track your body composition data by connecting to your phone via Bluetooth or WiFi. (Bluetooth scales are often easier to set up.) Most smart scales will only show you your weight on the scale’s actual screen or panel. You’ll have to open the mobile app to see the rest of the measurements. Some scales require you to have your phone open to the app nearby in order to pull the data, while others work in the background and will sync with your phone the next time you open the app even if you didn’t have it near you when you stepped on the scale.

Some smart scales do have limits to the number of people who can use them, so if you have a large household you’ll likely want one that can accommodate everyone who lives with you. Each person who uses the scale will have their own user profile and the scale automatically knows who’s on the scale based on their body composition. (Though, users with similar body types and weights might get mistaken for each other.) If the scale pulls up the wrong profile in the app, you can easily correct it by manually selecting your profile. 

Do smart scales really work?

At-home smart scales aren’t going to give you as accurate readings as you could get from a medical professional, but can definitely give you more data than a traditional scale. Your readings might fluctuate more with a home smart scale.

Smart scales are accurate enough for everyday use and can help you track your physical health and fitness goals.

Can everyone use a smart scale?

Because smart scales use BIA technology, not all of them are recommended for everyone to use. BIA is pretty noninvasive, but some smart scales have warnings for children, pregnant people, and anyone with a pacemaker or similar medical device. If you have any concerns, check with your doctor before using a smart scale.

That said, there are some smart scale models that are designed for tracking pregnancies and child growth if you’re interested in tracking measurements for the whole family. We’ll indicate which ones are OK below.

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Image: FITINDEX

The Good

Easy setup • Good quality for price • Unlimited users

The Bad

Small • Body fat calculations might be off

The Bottom Line

Get a comprehensive look at your body composition at an affordable price.

FITINDEX smart wireless digital scale

This scale provides 13 body measurements at an affordable price.

  • What it measures:
    Body weight, BMI, body fat percentage, water percentage, skeletal muscle, fat-free body weight, subcutaneous fat, visceral fat, muscle mass, bone mass, protein, basal metabolism, and body age
  • Number of users:
    Unlimited
  • Size:
    10.2 x 10.2 x 0.96 inches
The FITINDEX smart scale is great if you will have multiple people tracking their measurements as the scale can accommodate unlimited users. Each smart scale user will just need to create their own profile in the FITINDEX app, which can then sync with their respective accounts on Apple Health, Google Fit, and Fitbit. The FITINDEX smart scale works without needing your phone open nearby, but some reviewers reported missing information when trying to sync that way, So, have the app open when you step on the scale to be safe.

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Image: arboleaf

The Good

Fairly accurate • Unlimited users • User-friendly app

The Bad

Some reviewers had difficulty pairing to phone • App has to be open nearby every time you weigh in

The Bottom Line

This is an impressively accurate device for a relatively low price.

Arboleaf smart scale

For a low price, Arboleaf provides impressive accuracy.

  • What it measures:
    Weight, body fat percentage, body type, visceral fat, body water percentage, muscle mass, bone mass, BMR, BMI, and metabolic age
  • Number of users:
    Unlimited
  • Size:
    11.8 x 11.8 x 1 inches
Reviewers love the Arboleaf smart scale for its accuracy and price. The scale’s app does more than just show you your data — it also provides plans on how to improve and meet goals for each measurement. You do have to have the app open nearby to record your metrics.

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Image: Withings

The Good

OK for pregnant people and children to use • Automatically recognizes different users • Highly compatible with other fitness apps • All measurements are visible on the actual scale

The Bad

Expensive • Some reviewers have issues connecting to WiFi

The Bottom Line

The Withings Body+ is a good option if you want to splurge a little for a brand you know you can trust.

Withings Body+

Pregnancy and baby modes make Withings stand out.

  • What it measures:
    Weight, body fat, water percentage, muscle mass, and bone mass
  • Number of users:
    Up to 8
  • Size:
    12.8 x 12.8 x 0.9 inches
The price tag is higher than some of the competition, but that’s because you’re getting an established, recognizable brand. Withings has impressive fitness trackers, so you can expect the same high quality in the brand’s smart scale. The Withings Body+ is great for all users and has pregnancy and baby modes, which allow you to monitor your body composition and nutrition as you go through a pregnancy and gather information about the babies or tots in your life to monitor their growth

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Image: RENPHO

The Good

Good price • Unlimited users • 13 type of metrics • Great customer service

The Bad

Some reviewers reported different readings in back-to-back weigh-ins

The Bottom Line

This is a good scale if you’re unsure about committing to the smart scale lifestyle.

Renpho Bluetooth body fat scale

The Renpho scale has a good number of features for its low price.

  • What it measures:
    Body weight, BMI, body fat percentage, water percentage, skeletal muscle, fat-free body weight, muscle mass, bone mass, protein, basal metabolism, subcutaneous fat, visceral fat, and body age
  • Number of users:
    Unlimited
  • Size:
    11 x 11 x 1 inches
I personally have the Renpho smart scale, and while I’ve never had my body composition measured by a professional to compare accuracy, it seems to do a good job. There have been some occasions where I’ll have to step on the scale twice for the measurements to show up in the app, but overall I like the app layout and the scale is easy to use and it seamlessly differentiates between users as long as the app is open at weigh-in.

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Image: GREATER GOODS

The Good

Full results displayed on scale • Part of purchase goes toward charity

The Bad

Some reviewers had difficulty connecting Bluetooth • Larger than most scales

The Bottom Line

This scale is a great choice if you don’t want to have your phone nearby when weighing in.

Greater Goods Bluetooth smart scale

A portion of proceeds from the Greater Goods smart scale goes toward charity.

  • What it measures:
    Weight, BMI, body fat, lean mass, water weight, and bone mass
  • Number of users:
    Up to 8
  • Size:
    15 x 15 x 4 inches
You don’t need your phone by you to weigh in on the Greater Goods smart scale — your info will sync next time you open the app. Something unique about Greater Goods is that a portion of each sale goes toward the brand’s nonprofit charity partners. So, it’s a high-quality product that also gives back. As for accuracy, this smart scale nails it in the weight category, while some reviewers reported other measurements being a little off.

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Image: FITBIT

The Good

Fitbit app has advanced fitness tracking and planning

The Bad

Only tracks weight and BMI • Pricey for what it does

The Bottom Line

The Aria Air is the way to go if you don’t need full body composition readings but like Fitbit products.

Fitbit Aria Air Bluetooth smart scale

Fitbit users will find this to be an easy addition to their fitness arsenal, though it doesn’t track as much as the competition.

  • What it measures:
    Weight and BMI
  • Number of users:
    Up to 8
  • Size:
    11.81 x 11.81 x 1.06 inches
Fitbit is one of the most trusted names in fitness tech, so you can assume you’re getting an efficient and quality smart scale. If you’re already a Fitbit user, you don’t have to download a second app as the Aria Air syncs to the Fitbit app. Unfortunately, this scale is not super impressive in terms of what it tracks. It only measures weight and BMI, but the app does have additional fitness planning and goal setting.

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Image: EUFY

The Good

Accurate weight readings • Easy setup • OK for ages 13 and up

The Bad

App must be open to use • Not meant for muscular/athletic builds

The Bottom Line

This is a good scale for casual, everyday users.

Eufy C1 smart scale

Eufy provides a straightforward scale with few extra features.

  • What it measures:
    Weight, body fat percentage, BMI, body fat mass, lean body mass, BMR, visceral fat, muscle mass, bone mass, water
  • Number of users:
    Up to 16
  • Size:
    11.02 x 11.02 x 0.91 inches
The Eufy C1 smart scale is intended for users 13 and older (unless you’re pregnant or have an implanted medical device) and tracks 10 different metrics. The app is user friendly and gives you a few different options for viewing your data.

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Image: GARMIN

The Good

Displays all measurements on screen • Long battery life • Shows weather on scale display • App provides comprehensive look at overall body health for Garmin users

The Bad

Expensive • Might experience WiFi connectivity issues

The Bottom Line

The Index S2 was made for Garmin users to enhance their fitness tracking.

Garmin Index S2 smart scale

Garmin users can get a comprehensive view of their health.

  • What it measures:
    Weight, weight trend, BMI, body fat percentage, skeletal muscle mass, bone mass, body water percentage
  • Number of users:
    Up to 16
  • Size:
    18 x 16 x 3 inches
This is a pricey smart scale, but if you’ve got the cash and are a die-hard Garmin user, the Garmin Index S2 is definitely a good scale. The scale itself displays your profile name and cycles through all of your measurements instead of making you open the app. The scale’s screen even shows you the weather to help you plan for your day.

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Image: Yunmai

The Good

See weight and body fat on scale’s display • Set fitness goals in the app • Syncs well with other fitness apps

The Bad

Pricey

The Bottom Line

Yunmai made a reliable smart scale, but it is significantly more expensive than comparable models from other brands.

Yunmai Premium smart scale

Create fitness goals within the Yunmai scale’s app.

  • What it measures:
    Weight, body fat, BMI, muscle, water percentage, protein, visceral fat, bone mass, BMR, fitness age
  • Number of users:
    16
  • Size:
    12.9 x 12.9 x 1.2 inches
As you step on the Yunmai smart scale, you see your weight and body fat percentage on the display. Open the app, and you’ll see even more data measured. Within the app you get to set goals and track your progress through your fitness or weight-loss journey.

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Image: redover

The Good

Unlimited users • 13 metrics • Easy to set up

The Bad

Some reviewers reported inaccuracy in body fat measurements

The Bottom Line

For a decent price, this scale provides a comprehensive health assessment.

Redover smart scale

The whole family can track 13 health measurements with this smart scale.

  • What it measures:
    Weight, BMI, body fat, body water, skeletal muscle, BMR, fat-free body weight, subcutaneous fat, visceral fat, muscle mass, bone mass, protein, and metabolic age
  • Number of users:
    Unlimited
  • Size:
    11.8 x 11.8 x 1 inches
Unlike most scales, the Redover smart scale doesn’t require you to tap the scale’s sensors to calibrate it — you can just step right on and get an accurate reading. The scale tracks 13 metrics, which is on the higher end of smart scale measurement numbers.

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Image: 1byone

The Good

Fast app syncing • Easy setup • Unlimited users • 14 metrics

The Bad

Take the body fat measurements with a grain of salt

The Bottom Line

While body fat measurement won’t be as accurate as a professional reading, this scale gives you a comprehensive look at your body composition.

1byone smart scale

Store your fitness data in the cloud, export it as a PDF, or even enter it manually.

  • What it measures:
    Weight, BMI, body fat, body water, bone mass, visceral fat, BMR, muscle mass, protein, skeletal muscle rate, fat-free body weight, lean body mass, body type and body score
  • Number of users:
    Unlimited
  • Size:
    11 x 11 x 0.9 inches
The 1byone smart scale provides a whopping 14 body composition measurements and is ready to roll when you are and turns on without you having to tap it awake first. Within the app, you can save your data progress in cloud storage or export it as a PDF — and there’s even an option to insert data manually.

How a smart scale can help you lose weight

It’s easy to see how smart scales could promote motivation to stick to losing or maintaining weight. After you step on the scale, your information is recorded and sent to the accompanying app. Most of these apps track your progress in charts and allow you to set goals. Being able to see your goals and see where you are in terms of meeting them can motivate you in ways that simply writing down your weight can’t. 

This means you can track things like body fat and muscle mass over time, and most scales and their apps are compatible with other fitness apps like Fitbit, Apple Health, and Google Fit, so you can sync your data where you’re already tracking other fitness goals.

Some of these measurements might not be necessary for you to track. If you are just casually trying to watch your weight, you probably don’t need a scale that tracks your bone mass and muscle. But, getting a holistic view of your body composition can promote more mindfulness of your physical health overall.

8 of the best laptop backpacks for everyone — 01/22/2019

8 of the best laptop backpacks for everyone

It might not sound like a daunting task, but finding the right laptop backpack can be a really tough process.

There are loads of different factors to consider, like exactly what you’ll be using it for, the size of the laptop sleeve, how functional or comfortable it is, what materials will best suit your needs, and how much stuff you’ll be able to cram inside. That’s not forgetting the price, because most people aren’t willing to drop more than £100 on a backpack – but if you want one that’s robust and big on features, you might need to invest a little extra. 

Selecting a backpack is also a really personal task — it depends entirely on your lifestyle and day-to-day requirements. There is a lot to think about. Almost as much as when choosing the laptop itself.

What size of laptop backpack should you get?

If only it was as easy as simply picking a backpack that fits your laptop. As for overall size, think about how you most commonly use your backpack. If you use it while commuting, you might want a slimmer size for saving space on busy trains or buses – or maybe you need it to fit comfortably in the office or at home (which could even mean under the desk). Conversely, maybe you double-up and take your everyday laptop backpack on hiking or weekend excursions, in which case you may want a bigger bag for packing in extra belongings and accessories. Look out for the bag’s capacity in litres. A smaller bag is around 15 litres and larger capacities are somewhere around the 30 litre mark.

It’s not just about the general size of the bag, but the size of the specifications within it. For instance, different laptop bags are built to fit different laptop sizes – from 13 to 17-inches (and beyond). But the size of the laptop sleeve (that’s the compartment intended for your laptop) will vary from brand to brand. To make sure your laptop fits, look at the manufacturer’s specific measurements. The size of other compartments will also be a factor. Do you also need to carry a tablet and documents? Or bundles of leads and charging devices? Or space for spare clothes?

What are the most important features in a laptop backpack?

A laptop sleeve is your base requirement, of course. As opposed to a general bag compartment that will hold your laptop but won’t keep it secure, which means your laptop will be banging about.

Commuters or frequent fliers can look for backpacks which have a USB port, which eliminates the issue of needing to find a seat next to a power point. They should also seek out secure locking functions. Hikers may want features such as handy water bottle pockets, extra padding on the straps, or an attachment for a torch. Easy-to-reach front pockets for holding your phone or other necessary items are useful too. 

Also consider what other activities you might do with your backpack. If you’re a photographer, you may want space and extra cushioning for your camera. If you’re dedicated to fitness, look for a compartment dedicated to holding your gym gear or trainers. Whatever you need, there’s almost certainly a bag built especially for you.

Materials are also a factor when choosing a backpack. Leather and canvas backpacks will be sturdy and attractive, but will pick up wear and tear faster than synthetic options. Manmade materials such as nylon will be hard-wearing and more durable. For something seriously water resistant, look out for tarpaulin polyester, or PVC. 

What style of laptop backpack should you buy?

The backpack is not the only option, of course. There are also tote, messenger, duffel, and briefcase-style bags available. But if it’s a backpack that you’re after – and the backpack is the best all-rounder – there are still style variations to consider:

Technology — these are well suited to anyone whose job or day-to-day includes carrying lots of gadgets, devices, leads, and accessories; typically featuring lots of compartments for good organisation. 

Vintage or classic —  these bags will look like an upgrade of your school bag and will accompany timeless, no-frills fashion. See brands such a Herschel, Janspory, or Fjallraven.

Sports — these bags will likely come from the well-known sports brands – such as Nike or outdoors brands like Osprey and North Face – and will accommodate gym gear, or have features suitable for active and outdoors lifestyles. 

Business — these bags will include a high-end style, such as laptop bags made by Samsonite, or a business casual style that will look good with a suit but shrug off the formality. Look out for brands such as Bellroy or Lily & Drew. 

What is the best backpack for your laptop?

Whether you’re looking for a basic option for the commute or a heavy-duty backpack with all the bells and whistles, we’ve got the best bags to fit your needs. We have lined up a selection of the very best laptop backpacks from all the biggest brands.

There is something for everyone in this list. We recommend taking your time, considering everything in this roundup, and then picking a favourite. We’re confident that there is something for you.

These are the best laptop backpacks for 2021.

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Image: amazon

The Good

Many compartments and pockets • Comfortable to carry • Spacious

The Bad

Phone pocket is pretty small

The Bottom Line

This Wenger laptop backpack has pretty much everything you could ask for in a laptop bag, making it a good choice for nearly any situation.

Wenger Carbon Laptop Backpack

Super spacious, stylish, and comfortable with plenty of compartments for organisation.

  • Features:
    Shock absorbing shoulder straps, reinforced grab handle, air-flow back padding, quick-access front pocket, side mesh pockets, computer pocket and three main compartments, limited lifetime warranty
  • Laptop size capacity:
    17-inch
Wenger has got you covered with the Carbon Laptop Backpack. Regardless of your intended use — whether it’s for work, business trips, school, or travel — this model has got the goods that make it work in nearly any situation. Its a big backpack designed for a big load. 
It has an impressive 30 litre capacity and its main compartment will comfortably hold a laptop of up to 17 inches. The other pockets make it easy to stay organised: the front pocket is made for your phone, cables, charger, business cards, and smaller items, and the larger compartments (there are four in total) to hold your books, clothes, notebooks, and whatever else you may need to carry with you. 
Shoulder straps are shock absorbing to keep you comfortable, and it has mesh side pockets for easy access to a water bottle or anything else you want to put your hands on quickly and easily. Air-flow back padding keeps you cool and the reinforced grab handle will slip over the handle of wheeled luggage to make things easier if you’re travelling with multiple bags. Wenger is pretty well-known for making quality products that last, but if you’d like to see some firsthand accounts, definitely check out the reviews.

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Image: amazon

The Good

Roomy enough for full-size laptop plus gear • Contrasting colour compartments for easy organising • Easy-access foldout design • Comfortable

The Bad

Straps may loosen with weight • Pricey

The Bottom Line

It’s hard to find a laptop backpack fit for gaming gear, and even harder to find one with as many added features as the Titan.

Everki Titan Backpack

The Everki Titan backpack is top-notch for organisation and easy access, and especially useful for gamers with large laptops.

  • Features:
    Extra large laptop sleeve, 180-degree foldout design, water resistant weather cover, media player compartment, five-point balance strap system, security strap to keep your device in place, soft felt lining inside tablet sleeve
  • Laptop size capacity:
    18.4-inch
Gamers rejoice. For every minor to large inconvenience you have faced when it comes to finding the perfect backpack to transport your precious gaming goods, the Everki Titan is the answer. Seriously though.
Unlike most of the backpacks on our list (and most laptop backpacks in general) that typically fit laptops up to 17 inches, the Titan has a dedicated ultra-soft padded laptop compartment that’ll hold full-sized laptops up to 18.4 inches. You’ll also have room to pack all of your necessary accessories (headset, power block, mouse, etc.). One of the most impressive things about the Titan is how it caters to its owner in terms of convenience. 
The 180-degree foldout design makes all of the bag’s contents easily accessible, while making it totally checkpoint friendly. The multiple compartments and pockets on the inside are contrasting colours, making it super simple to stay organised and know exactly where to grab when you need something. It comes with a media player outlet to avoid the annoyance of wires tangling around your backpack straps, and utilises a five-point balance strap system, which features pillow-soft straps adjustable at the shoulders, two quick-slide straps at the bottom, and one across the chest. This comfort-conscious system is designed to balance the weight on your body, reduce strain, and provide you with maximum comfort and breathability. To top it all off the Titan is water resistant, so your precious cargo will be safe even in bad weather. 

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Image: amazon

The Good

Extremely durable • Spacious • Extra padding for comfort

The Bad

Some report that the straps are stiff

The Bottom Line

If you know you’re going to be packing heavy, you need a bag that can keep up.

The North Face Borealis Backpack

Great for heavy-duty use, whether you’re planning a rugged excursion or just lugging around textbooks and a laptop.

  • Features:
    FlexVent suspension system, injection-molded straps, padded mesh back panel, protective laptop compartment, extra padded tablet sleeve, pendolier, secure-zip pockets, two extended mesh water bottle pockets, external fleece-lined pocket for sunglasses/keys etc., removable waist belt, front elastic bungee system for external storage, reflective bike-light loop
  • Laptop size capacity:
    15-inch
It should come as no surprise that The North Face ranks high on our list. Known for designing gear aimed at athletes and outdoor adventurers, The North Face creates products to withstand somewhat extreme conditions. The same standards apply to their Borealis Backpack.
Pretty much everything on this backpack is heavily padded. It features custom injection-molded shoulder straps and a super padded mesh back panel, so even if you pack this thing to the max, it should still feel comfortable on your back and be able to get you through the day without feeling the pain. The laptop compartment is also super protective, so there’s no need to worry about your laptop getting all banged and damaged. The top handle is also padded for a comfortable grip, and it comes complete with a sternum strap and removable waist belt if you need them. 
Apart from the comfort perks, the Borealis also has multiple compartments and stretch mesh pockets for bottles of water. Whether you’re trekking through the mountains with heavy gear or walking across campus with a bunch of textbooks, the Borealis is designed to handle it all while providing you maximum comfort.

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Image: amazon

The Good

Simple yet functionable • Reliable brand • Quality manufacturing • Lifetime warranty

The Bad

Some colour options may appear different than in photos (if the Amazon comments are anything to go by)

The Bottom Line

Jansport is, and probably always will be, a top player in the back-to-school game.

Jansport Cool Student Backpack

The Cool Student Backpack by Jansport is a classic, safe bet for anyone headed back to school.

  • Features:
    Made of polyester with synthetic leather trim, web haul handle, side water bottle pocket, laptop sleeve, pleated front stash pocket, ergonomic S-curve shoulder straps
  • Laptop size capacity:
    15-inch
If you’ve ever shopped for a backpack for back-to-school season, the classic navy and maroon coloured Jansport logo should be familiar. Jansport has seemingly been around forever, remaining a reliable and trusted brand in the world of school supplies. Therefore, it’s definitely appropriate they have a backpack dedicated to students that earns a spot on our list. 
The Cool Student Backpack gives you all the basic necessities you’ll need for the semester. It has two deep sleeves, one for a laptop and the other for textbooks and notebooks, as well as a front stash pocket for smaller items like pens, pencils, and other supplies. It also has a side water bottle pocket that’s just the right size to keep your water bottle from slipping out. The manufacturing quality on the Jansport is definitely good — so good that Jansport offers a lifetime warranty on this backpack, so there’s literally no need to worry about this thing lasting you through the school year or beyond. 
And since every student is unique and has their own personal taste, the Cool Student comes in 15 different colours and patterns. 

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Image: amazon

The Good

Cool • Simple design • Durable • Lightweight • Spacious • Comfortable

The Bad

Only three compartments (including laptop sleeve) • No water bottle holder

The Bottom Line

If you’re not someone who needs a bunch of random pockets or special features, the Herschel Casual is a classic, smart choice and a staple as far as backpacks go

Herschel Casual Rucksack

Herschel is all about quality, so if you don’t mind a simplistic design, the Herschel Supply Co. Casual Rucksack is definitely a great choice.

  • Features:
    One main large compartment, 15-inch laptop sleeve, front zip compartment with key clip, internal media pocket with headphone port
  • Laptop size capacity:
    15-inch
Chances are you’re probably familiar with (or have at least seen) Herschel Backpacks, since they’re pretty much everywhere right now. Herschel is a Canadian-based company on a mission to “create a timeless product with a fine regard for detail.” That mission pretty much sums up one of their most popular models, the Casual Backpack
The Casual is a classic, simple design that meets all the basic functions of a good laptop backpack. That being said, if you’re looking for a more “tech” focused backpack with lots of extra bells and whistles (i.e multiple pockets, compartments, straps, etc.) the Casual probably isn’t for you. However, what it lacks in the frills department, it makes up for as a quality, durable product that’s designed to get the job done and last you a long time. Plenty of reviews mention how spacious and comfortable it is for its size. Also worthy of noting: it looks pretty great. It’s sleek, simple, comes in a whopping 28 colours and patterns, and generally looks a lot more “adult” compared to your typically bulky, primary school backpack.
The Casual features one large main compartment with a 15-inch laptop sleeve, and one single front pocket with a key clip. Nothing confusing here, people. Again, just enough to get the job done. It also features an internal media pocket with a headphone port, so you can feed your headphone wires right through. 

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Image: amazon

The Good

Sleek and fashionable • Spacious • Lots of pockets • Versatile

The Bad

Not as durable as other models • Won’t fit laptops bigger than 14 inches

The Bottom Line

Though it’s not as durable as some of the more heavy duty backpacks, it’s still a smart and convenient design that will keep you organised and stylish.

Lily & Drew Daypack Backpack

The Lil & Drew Daypack provides you with all the necessary functions of a good laptop backpack without sacrificing style.

  • Features:
    Water-resistant polyester exterior, gold zipper detailing, adjustable padded shoulder straps, convenient trolley sleeve, padded foam back and bottom, two slip pockets for laptop/tablet, several smaller zippered pockets, two external side pockets
  • Laptop size capacity:
    14-inch
Backpacks are super convenient, but aren’t usually stylish — especially if they’re big enough to fit your laptop. Luckily, the Lily & Drew Daypack is a sleek option that will make you look more like a polished adult and less like a pupil heading to the bus stop. 
The Daypack has pockets galore, including two slip pockets and a sleeve for your tablet or laptop, a front zippered pocket, a “hidden” pocket on the back, and two side pockets for water bottles or an umbrella.The two different carry options make it extra versatile, allowing you to toss it on your back like a regular backpack with shoulder straps (when you want to have your hands free) or use the top handles to carry it like a briefcase. The shoulder straps are padded, just like the foam back and padded bottom, so you’ll stay comfortable and at ease knowing your electronic goods are still protected. The Daypack comes in lots of different colours so you can choose whichever works best with your style.

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Image: amazon

The Good

Safety features • USB port for charging on the go • Attaches to wheeled luggage

The Bad

Less stylish than other bags • Not as durable • No power bank included

The Bottom Line

An affordable and practical backpack that suits all kids of travel – from your commute to long distance flights.

Wenig Anti-Theft Laptop

This thin, lightweight backpack comes complete with a theft-proof lock and USB charging cord, making it the perfect laptop backpack for commuters.

  • Features:
    Three main compartments, nine inner pockets, two side pockets, hidden back pocket, anti-theft lock, USB port, headphone port, water resistant
  • Laptop size capacity:
    15.6-inch
If your daily commute involves public transport or navigating the hustle and bustle of city life, you’ll know that it’s important to choose the right backpack – one that isn’t going to get in the way. You don’t want a bulky bag that will take up already-limited space. But it still needs to protect your laptop at all times. 
The Wenig Anti-Theft backpack is both slimline while packed with features and storage. It has three main compartments – including a laptop sleeve to fit a 14-15.6-inch laptop – plus 12 other pockets for stashing a tablet, notebook, chargers, leads, pens, and anything else you need with you. 
It comes with other commuter friendly features too. There’s a USB charging port, so there’s no need to stress over finding a seat next to an outlet or the fact that you forgot to charge your phone overnight, and headphone port. Plus, a fixed password anti-theft lock and hidden anti-theft pocket

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Image: amazon

The Good

Travel-friendly • Good for organisation • Spacious yet compact

The Bad

A bit pricey • Might feel somewhat stiff with laptop packed

The Bottom Line

If you’re constantly doing short trips, the Osprey is worth the price tag.

Osprey Nebula Daypack

Compact and comfortable yet expandable, making it the perfect pack for a short trips or weekend getaways.

  • Features:
    Side stretch mesh pockets, front stretch pocket, blinder light attachment, padded, security-approved laptop and tablet sleeve, front panel stretch mesh pocket, padded harness with waist strap
  • Laptop size capacity:
    17-inches
If you find yourself constantly trekking from one end of the airport to another, whether it be for a business trip or a weekend excursion, the Osprey Nebula Daypack is a great choice. 
The bag features a sleeve for your laptop or tablet, several internal and external organisation pockets, a large main compartment, stretch front compartment, side mesh pockets, and a cozy padded harness to keep everything you need organised and accessible while taking the pressure off your shoulders. It even comes with a little blink light attachment to keep you safe if you’re traveling at night by foot or bike.
One of the things that reviewers seem to love most about the Osprey Nebula is the fact that it’s spacious enough to fit all of your necessities, yet compact enough to fit in any overhead bin and even under most aircraft seats (which is a big relief for those of us who get anxiety about being able to find room in the overhead bin when boarding a plane)..
Dipping your toes into PC gaming? Here are 6 laptop options for under $1,000. — 01/18/2019

Dipping your toes into PC gaming? Here are 6 laptop options for under $1,000.

BEST DEALS ON GAMING LAPTOPS:


PC gaming is said by many to be the best way to play video games. In many ways, that’s true — high-end gaming computers pack more graphical and processing power than any home console does, and they offer a level of freedom in terms of customization and game choice that you’re just not going to find anywhere else. 

There is a downside, however, and it’s one that can be endlessly frustrating for those who aren’t used to the PC gaming lifestyle. When it comes down to it, starting your foray into PC gaming can be extremely complicated, and comes off as pretty inaccessible more often than not (especially when you’re just starting out). Unlike consoles that you can just pick up and play, gaming computers require an intense amount of research into each and every part that goes into one. GPUs, CPUs, monitors, keyboards — it’s a lot to take in, and it all comes in at a steep price of admission. 

If that sounds intimidating to you, you still have another way to get into PC gaming without stressing about building a tower from scratch: a gaming laptop

Gaming laptops still take a bit of careful spec scrutinization before you buy one, but they are way simpler than their desktop counterparts, seeing as it’s all contained in one single package. Plus, they take up less space, are portable, and won’t have you spending thousands to build and maintain. (That’s not to say that they’re cheap, though — if you go too low-budget, you’ll most likely end up with a machine that can’t run what you really want to play.)

But even with the extra simplicity that comes with going the laptop route, it can still be a nerve-wracking choice to pull the trigger on one if you don’t know what to look for in the first place. As you probably already guessed, we’re here to help you with that.

What to consider when looking for a gaming laptop

As with any computer — gaming or otherwise — there are a lot of components that go into making a great laptop…well, great. Let us break it down for you so you don’t get bogged down in trying to figure it all out for yourself. 

Here’s what you’ll want to take into account when shopping for a gaming laptop:

  • CPU: Also called a processor, your CPU is basically your computer’s brain, and will dictate how speedy your laptop can process inputs, store data, and execute on outputs correctly. Your processor is in constant communication with the other parts of your computer, so it’s important that the device’s central nervous system is a good one. 

  • GPU: The GPU (or graphics card) does what it sounds like it does: It ensures that your games can run at their intended graphical quality. The better the GPU, the better your laptop can render details like textures, anti-aliasing, ray tracing, and more (you can always change these settings within your games to better suit your graphics card, but the better the GPU, the closer you can get to those higher-end settings). 

  • System Memory (or RAM): Your RAM, like your CPU, is also extremely important in determining overall performance. RAM provides short-term memory storage for applications so that they can access data quickly, storing information that your computer is actively using. For budget gaming laptops, you shouldn’t settle for anything less than 8GB of RAM.

  • Storage: When it comes to storage, you’ll normally find yourself deciding between a hard drive (HDD) and a solid-state drive (SSD). HDDs can have a higher storage capacity than SSDs, but at the cost of lower performance. The good news is that some gaming laptops come with a dual-storage approach, opting for an HDD as the main storage method, with a smaller SSD built in that you can dedicate to your more performance-demanding games.

  • Display: That nice GPU you bought will be wasted if you don’t have a nice display to marvel at its brilliance on. You’ll mainly want to look for three things here: resolution, refresh rate, and size. For our money, we say go for a 1080p resolution with a 60Hz refresh rate (which means you can run up to 60 frames per second on your screen). The size, however, is up to your preference — gaming laptops usually come in at 15.6-inch and 17.3-inch displays.

  • Keyboard: The keyboard is another vital part of your overall experience with a gaming laptop. Comfort is definitely a factor, but you’ll also want to decide whether you want full-range RGB backlight settings (totally fine to skip out on the fancy stuff here), and if you like the layout of the keys themselves. For example, if you find that you desperately need a number pad on your keyboard, you’ll want to double-check to make sure that it’s there — not all gaming laptops have one (not all 15.6-inch options at least, almost all 17.3-inch laptops will have one). 

Portability is a huge bonus to gaming laptops over desktops.

Portability is a huge bonus to gaming laptops over desktops.

Image: MSI

Um, that’s a lot. What parts should I focus on the most?

If you’re going to boil it down to just two things, you’ll want to put most of your focus on the computer’s GPU and CPU, or the processor and graphics card, respectively. These will be the two things that make or break your experience with your gaming laptop, as they work in tandem with each other — having a good GPU and CPU will ensure that your games run as they should, and look great while doing it. 

If you skimp on them, get ready for choppy gameplay and a hefty helping of frustration when you realize that your options are super limited when it comes to what you can play. Just don’t make that mistake, and you’ll be saving yourself from a bad time. 

What’s the best gaming laptop for less than $1,000?

Luckily, you can get a pretty nice gaming laptop for under $1,000. Keep in mind that you may not be able to run graphically demanding games on one, but you’ll be able to play whichever games you want for the most part. 

So, which gaming laptop should you buy? Here are our picks:

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Image: asus / mashable photo composite

The Good

512GB SSD is rare at this price • AMD Ryzen 7 CPU and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 GPU make for a great combo • VR-ready

The Bad

No disc drive — if you have old PC games on disc that you want to play, look elsewhere

The Bottom Line

If you want an AMD-powered gaming laptop at the budget price point, the Asus TUF Gaming A15 is the only way to go — with the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 GPU to boot, it’s a fantastic buy.

Asus TUF Gaming A15

The Asus TUF Gaming A15 is the best AMD powered laptop that you’ll find at this price point, especially when paired with the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 GPU.

  • CPU:
    AMD 3rd Generation Ryzen 7
  • GPU:
    NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060
  • RAM:
    8GB
  • Storage:
    512GB SSD
  • Display:
    15.6 inches, 1080p
If AMD processors are more your style over Intel, the Asus TUF Gaming A15 is the best AMD-powered laptop you’ll find at the $1,000-and-under price point. It’s also one of the only AMD-powered laptops running an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 GPU at this price. 
In addition to the speedy performance from the AMD CPU and RTX 2060 graphics card, the A15 is just a well-rounded machine that serves as a great starting point for those new to the PC gaming landscape. It has a large SSD (most laptops at this price bring about 256GB to the table — this one boasts 512GB) that’ll give an extra power boost to that at CPU-and-GPU combo, a gorgeous 1080p display, and a full RGB backlit keyboard. It’s also VR-ready, just in case you’ve been thinking about picking up an Oculus Rift. 
 

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Image: msi / mashable photo composite

The Good

Compact, thin-bezel design is great for travel • Speedy performance for a smaller device • A nice lineup of components

The Bad

Screen is a bit dim, which takes away from its graphical power

The Bottom Line

If you see yourself traveling with your gaming laptop often, the MSI GF63 is really good for chucking into your backpack and playing from wherever you are.

MSI GF63 Thin

Speedy and packing good components for the price, the MSI GF63 Thin gaming laptop makes for an ideal device to travel with.

  • CPU:
    Intel Core i5-8300H
  • GPU:
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
  • RAM:
    8GB
  • Storage:
    256GB SSD
  • Display:
    15.6 inches, 1080p
Planning on traveling with your PC? The MSI GF63 Thin gaming laptop is going to be your best bet. 
We love this laptop not only for its compact, thin-bezel design that’s great for storing in a backpack, but also for its other components. At this price, you’re getting a really solid setup — an Intel Core i5-9300H processor, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card, 256GB SSD, and a 1080p full HD display. 
It’s fast, packs stellar visuals, and is all tied together in an ultra-portable package.

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Image: acer / mashable photo composite

The Good

Affordable • Great components for the price • Long battery life

The Bad

Lower graphical quality than our other picks, as expected

The Bottom Line

The Acer Nitro 5 is the best *budget* budget laptop, in our opinion — the component setup and long battery life make it an awesome deal at just $700.

Acer Nitro 5

If you’re looking to spend the least money possible on your gaming laptop without buying an absolute clunker, the Acer Nitro 5 will satisfy on all counts.

  • CPU:
    Intel 10th Generation Core i5
  • GPU:
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
  • RAM:
    8GB
  • Storage:
    256GB SSD
  • Display:
    15.6-inches, 1080p
The Acer Nitro 5 is our favorite budget pick because, for one thing, it’s the cheapest on our list.
But that low price wouldn’t mean anything if it wasn’t also a good laptop, which it totally is. In fact, it has a lot of the same inner components as a few of the more expensive options in this roundup. Perhaps the most impressive selling point of this laptop (other than the price) is its 9-hour battery life. Most gaming laptops at this price will last 7 hours on the high end, for comparison. 
The price does come with some downsides, though. Most notably, the graphical performance in conjunction with the Intel 10th Generation Core i5 processor isn’t as great as our other picks (that’s not to say it looks bad, though). But hey, you can’t have it all, and that low price point is hard to beat. 

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Image: hp / mashable photo composite

The Good

Beautiful, large 17.3-inch display • Nice CPU and GPU make the bigger display all the better

The Bad

Lacking in battery life (around 6 hours)

The Bottom Line

Enjoying your nice processor and graphics card is all the better on a large display — look no further than the HP Pavilion 17t-cd100 if you plan on going big.

HP Pavilion 17t-cd100

Plan on keeping your laptop solely at home? Well then, the bigger the display, the better — pick the HP Pavilion 17t-cd100’s large display so you can better enjoy those beautiful visuals.

  • CPU:
    Intel Core i5-10300H
  • GPU:
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
  • RAM:
    8GB
  • Storage:
    256GB SSD
  • Display:
    17.3-inches, 1080p
If you’re not going to be traveling with your gaming laptop, we say the bigger the display, the better — especially if you have a good CPU and GPU, which the HP Pavilion 17t-cd100 does. 
And with that strong balance of CPU and GPU comes the ability to enjoy gorgeous visuals on the laptop’s 17.3-inch display. It also packs a nicely sized SSD storage, as well as an extra-large keyboard that should keep even the biggest hands comfortable. 
If you want a step up from your usual 15.6-inch gaming laptops with going over your budget, the HP Pavilion 17t-cd100 is a no-brainer decision. (Just don’t expect a lightweight rig.)

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Image: Lenovo / mashable photo composite

The Good

HDD and SSD storage combo • Nice display and chassis design • Great mashup of internal components

The Bad

Runs pretty hot, so make sure the laptop is well-ventilated while you play

The Bottom Line

The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i’s HDD and SSD storage combo is enough to solidify it as a top pick — the sleek design and other internal components are a nice bonus.

Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i

The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i’s HDD and SSD storage combo alone is enough to solidify it as one of the best gaming laptops you can get for under a grand.

  • CPU:
    10th Generation Intel Core i7-10750H
  • GPU:
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
  • RAM:
    8GB
  • Storage:
    1TB HDD, 256GB SSD
  • Display:
    15.6 inches, 1080p
The best storage specs you can ask for in a budget gaming laptop is a combination of a large HDD paired with a smaller SSD that’s dedicated to the more demanding games in your library. Well, no gaming laptop under $1,000 better exemplifies that than the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i
The IdeaPad Gaming 3i impresses with its 1TB hard drive, which should leave plenty of room for most (if not all) of your game library. In addition, you’ll get a 256GB SSD on which you can store games that require a boost in speed and graphical processing power. 
And if that’s not reason enough to seal the deal already, the device contains a powerful set of internals that should keep your favorite games running swimmingly, as well as a striking display and chassis design. 

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Image: dell / mashable photo composite

The Good

Impressive price-to-performance ratio • Well-rounded components make for a really good starter gaming laptop

The Bad

Some hardware issues like overheating and low battery life (which can be mitigated if you keep it plugged in)

The Bottom Line

If you don’t really care for the all bells and whistles and just want raw performance, the Dell G5 15 is a good beginner’s gaming laptop at a sweet price.

Dell G5 15

The Dell G5 15 gaming laptop prioritizes raw performance over fancy features, which becomes totally worthwhile at such a low price.

  • CPU:
    10th Generation Intel Core i5-10300H
  • GPU:
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
  • RAM:
    8GB
  • Storage:
    256GB SSD
  • Display:
    15.6 inches, 1080p
The Dell G5 15 is the way to go if you’re looking for the best price-to-performance ratio. 
The G5 15 has a really solid CPU and GPU setup for the $800 range, prioritizing raw performance over fancy bells and whistles that other gaming laptops may opt for. The Dell G-Series laptops definitely don’t reach the heights of their premium Alienware line, but on a budget, the G5 15 is the best of the Dell bunch.
The hardware is a bit chunky and has the tendency to overheat during long play sessions, but if you can stomach those issues, the speedy Dell G5 15 is a beginner gaming laptop that is well worth the money. 
8 of the best Bluetooth speakers for every occasion — 01/10/2019

8 of the best Bluetooth speakers for every occasion

What’s so great about Bluetooth speakers? Well, these portable devices allow you to experience your favourite songs no matter where you are or what you’re doing. 

You can enjoy everything you love, all the time.

There are absolutely loads of top quality options on the market right now, so you have plenty of choice when it comes to making a purchase. This isn’t always a good thing, though. The problem with having so many impressive products from top brands is that picking the right device can be tricky.

Maybe you’re an active person who needs a durable speaker for all those outdoor adventures, or perhaps you’re looking for something to kickstart a home audio system. There really is something for everyone, and we’re here to help you find the best speaker to suit your needs. 

Which is the best speaker brand?

Most of the best Bluetooth speakers come from the biggest brands, including the likes of Bose, Sony, Ultimate Ears, and JBL. Sure, there are impressive options from other brands, but these guys specialise in audio equipment, so you know you’re getting something decent. 

Sony has successfully integrated its business into nearly every space of consumer technology, and its selection of Bluetooth speakers demonstrate the brand’s commitment to quality. JBL is one of the oldest and most trusted names in the industry, and its selection of Bluetooth speakers offers affordability and versatility. Ultimate Ears might be one of the younger companies in the audio space, but it has already carved out a place for itself as a respected name in this market.

All of these brands are worth your consideration, but none have set the standard like Bose. The brand is generally viewed as the leader in this space, and consistently delivers products with crisp sound regardless of size.

What is the best Bluetooth speaker?

We’re not going to tell you what to buy, but we have tracked down some of the very best Bluetooth speakers for you to consider. We have lined up options from all the biggest brands, with something for everyone and every budget.

These are the best Bluetooth speakers in 2021.

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Image: amazon

The Good

Good overall audio • Water resistant design • Can link with another XB10 speaker

The Bad

Bass could be better • Easily attracts dust • Can occasionally suffer distortion

The Bottom Line

A well balanced speaker that provides excellent value for money.

Sony SRS-XB10

If you need a speaker that’s affordable and consistent, the XB10 is the one to look at.

  • Speaker:
    1 channel with 1 passive radiator
  • Wireless functionality:
    Bluetooth, NFC
  • Battery life:
    16 hours
  • Water Resistant:
    Yes
First up from Sony is the XB10 Portable Speaker. This is the type of Bluetooth speaker to check out if you are looking at the smaller end of the spectrum. This speaker is able to strike a nice balance between size and power compared to other speakers at this scale, especially as a one channel speaker. 
One way this balance is established is through the improved bass performance, which can always be a question mark for small speakers. And with a 16-hour lifespan on the battery and waterproof capabilities, you’ll definitely get your money’s worth. 

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Image: amazon

The Good

Solid audio output • Water resistant design • Easily portable • Built-in 3.5mm cable for physical connection

The Bad

Low bass output • Speaker only has skip forward button • Shorter battery life compared to other speakers

The Bottom Line

The Clip 3 is portable, reasonably priced, with solid audio output

JBL Clip 3

Just clip the JBL Clip 3 to your belt and enjoy your music with one of the easiest portable speakers to carry around.

  • Speaker:
    Mono channel
  • Wireless function:
    Bluetooth
  • Battery life:
    10 hours
  • Water resistant:
    Yes
The JBL Clip 3 is one of JBL’s smaller Bluetooth speakers. That doesn’t mean JBL skimped on features, though.
Thanks to the body’s design, the Clip 3 is one of the more durable speakers out there. Not only is it waterproof, but the materials will make sure it survives other trials daily life might deliver. It can also be daisy chained with another Clip 3 to bump up the sound. And with an 10-hour battery life, it will help pass time during anything from day-long hikes to your bike commute into the office.
Users on Amazon have been happy with the speaker as well. Currently, 88% of users have given the speaker five stars, so it definitely delivers where it counts.

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Image: amazon

The Good

Excellent 360 audio • Water resistant • Voice assistant ready

The Bad

Average battery life

The Bottom Line

With rich 360-sound and a durable design, the SoundLink Revolve lives up to the Bose name

Bose SoundLink Revolve

Whether it’s at home or at the beach, the Bose SoundLink Revolve will deliver deep audio wherever you need it.

  • Speaker:
    Dual channel
  • Wireless functionality:
    Bluetooth
  • Battery life:
    12 hours
  • Water resistant:
    Yes
The SoundLink Revolve by Bose is a bigger version of the small speaker mentioned above. Bose does a good job of integrating the same features across all Bluetooth speakers available. So once you know what you get with one, its simply a question of how big you want to go. That said, with 360-degree sound, the SoundLink Revolve definitely steps it up from the Micro’s sound quality.
The quality of the Revolve is reflected in the 5-star ratings by 79% of Amazon users. 

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Image: amazon

The Good

Solid bass • App features • Solid performance for the price • Daisy chaining to other Sony speakers

The Bad

Proprietary charging port • App can be buggy at times

The Bottom Line

Extra power and the capacity to daisy chain make this speaker an ideal party partner

Sony SRS-XB30

This ultra portable speaker packs plenty of punch for the price.

  • Speaker:
    2 channels with dual passive radiators
  • Wireless functionality:
    Bluetooth, NFC
  • Battery life:
    24 hours
  • Water resistant:
    Yes
If you’re looking for something that can bump out extra power, the SRS-XB30 might be the speaker to look at. It comes sporting some typical features, like the waterproof design, allowing for flexible use. That said, the XB30 is a definite step-up in power to the XB10.
While the XB10 sports a one channel design, the XB30 uses a dual channel design since its a larger speaker. That also means that the XB30 is louder simply because of the extra audio channel and can make the party that much more enjoyable. It will also be able to last as long as you need it with a 24-hour battery life. 

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Image: amazon

The Good

Plenty of power for the size • Water resistant

The Bad

Can suffer distortion

The Bottom Line

The WONDERBOOM is small, portable, water resistant, and can deliver decent power

Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM

Ultimate Ears delivers a small, portable speaker that’s ideal for dealing with anything nature can throw your way.

  • Speaker:
    Mono channel
  • Wireless functionality:
    Bluetooth
  • Battery life:
    10 hours
  • Water resistant:
    Yes
One way Ultimate Ears has been able to find its place in the market is thanks to a product like the WONDERBOOM. While it may be small, it does pack power into that small body with a best of both approach. 
Now you might be asking, “what’s best of both approach?” Essentially, it provides durability similar to JBL speakers with the battery and sound quality on par with Sony speakers. And similarly to those, it can be paired up with a second WONDERBOOM for that extra oomph. The added bonus is the 100-foot range for Bluetooth, so connectivity shouldn’t be an issue.
With 77% of Amazon users giving it five stars, it’s definitely proven to be a popular and reliable speaker. 

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Image: amazon

The Good

Well-rounded audio performance • Water resistant • Can connect two smart devices

The Bad

No navigation buttons • Battery life is shorter compared to other speakers

The Bottom Line

The Flip 4 provides a loud, solid speaker for anyone who doesn’t need all the bells and whistles

JBL Flip 4

JBL leans into pure audio performance and removes the physical extras with the JBL Flip 4.

  • Speaker:
    Stereo
  • Wireless functionality:
    Bluetooth
  • Battery life:
    12 hours
  • Water resistant:
    Yes
The phrase “bigger is better” can be very hit or miss depending on what you’re talking about. When it comes to speakers, it can become even more inconsistent. That said, the phrase rings true when it comes to the JBL Flip 4.
The Flip 4 delivers a bigger and better version of the Clip 3 speaker. The body is just as durable, making it ideal for group trips to the beach. The battery life is bumped up to 12 hours to make it through a long day out. However, the biggest improvement is in the speaker chaining. The Flip 4 features JBL Connect+, which allows for up to 100 JBL speakers that also have Connect+.
With 82% of Amazon users rating the Flip 4 at five stars, its definitely a quality product. 

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Image: amazon

The Good

Excellent performance • Water resistant • Compatible with Google Home and Amazon Alexa

The Bad

Expensive for the size

The Bottom Line

While it may be pricey for the size, the SoundLink Micro packs a seriously powerful punch

Bose SoundLink Micro

The Bose SoundLink Micro offers plenty of power in a small package, with a price tag to match.

  • Speaker:
    Mono channel
  • Wireless functionality:
    Bluetooth
  • Battery life:
    6 hours
  • Water resistant:
    Yes
The first example of Bose’s quality is the SoundLink Micro. As the name states, it is on the smaller side — but that doesn’t mean its power or features are small too.
Bose speakers typically deliver when it comes to sound quality, so sound shouldn’t be an issue. It also features improved voice integration, since its able to work with Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant devices. And unlike previous speakers, the Bose Connect app allows the Micro to pair up with any compatible Bose speaker, and not limit it to the same speaker.
With 5-star ratings from 84% of Amazon users, plenty of people are happy with it. 

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Image: amazon

The Good

Strong general performance • Water resistant • Surprisingly portable

The Bad

Price tag

The Bottom Line

The audio is great and with 24-hour battery life you can take the party with you wherever you go

JBL Boombox

A strong, powerful speaker that’s water resistant and surprisingly easy to transport.

  • Speaker:
    Stereo
  • Wireless functionality:
    Bluetooth
  • Battery life:
    24 hours
  • Water resistant:
    Yes
The third offering from JBL falls on the biggest end of the spectrum. That’s the JBL Boombox, and it definitely lives up to the name. With it, you can take the party with you anywhere.
With a 24-hour battery life, all you have to worry about is providing the music to keep everyone entertained. Thankfully, the Boombox can be adjusted to deliver the right audio for the setting. Switch between indoor and outdoor modes, that way the audio isn’t too overwhelming. Aside from that, it has key features like the JBL Connect+ to connect with other JBL speakers and really get things going.
Plenty of people have been happy with the JBL Boombox, with 87% giving it five stars on Amazon.