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The 7 Best Android Auto Head Units

If you want to modernize your car without spending thousands on your upgrades, you may want to consider an update to your car's head unit.

One of the biggest reasons to take the plunge is the integration with smartphones, allowing you to keep your eyes on the road and take calls, send text messages, and choose your favorite music without physically interacting with your phone.

If you're an Android user, you'll want a head unit that supports Android Auto. These are the best Android Auto car heads available today.

Premium pick

1. Kenwood Excelon DNX997XR

10.00 / 10
Read Reviews

When you indulge in a Kenwood Excelon DNX997XR, you're getting more than just a 6.75-inch HD touchscreen display. You're also getting three free years of Garmin map updates, a two-year warranty, and premium sound quality from the Kenwood brand.

The 720p display is excellent, offering high-quality images even in bright weather conditions, along with the motorized tilt functionality for you to find the perfect viewing position.

The built-in WiFi means you can enjoy Android Auto with Google Assistant and your favorite apps. If you don't want to use Android Auto, you can opt for screen monitoring via USB so you can control the stereo via the phone and vice versa.

The HD radio tuner offers improved AM/FM sound quality, or you can play your favorite CDs and DVDs with multiple input options for audio and video sources.

Key Features
  • Dash Cam Link
  • 4 camera inputs for optional cameras
  • Parking guide lines
  • Dual phone connection
  • Lane assist
Specifications
  • Brand: Kenwood
  • Display: 6.75-inch touchscreen
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth, USB
  • Internet Services: SiriusXM
  • Apple CarPlay: Yes
  • Android Auto: Yes
Pros
  • 3D terrain view with Garmin maps
  • 5-year free subscription to INRIX traffic service
  • Drive EQ
Cons
  • Slow to turn on
Editors choice

2. Alpine iLX-F309 HALO9

8.40 / 10
Read Reviews

The iLX-F309 supports Android Auto, which works seamlessly with Google Assistant. Simply say "OK, Google" to get driving instructions, play your favorite music, or reply to text messages. You can also connect your phone via Bluetooth for additional features. It's possible to pair up to five phones via Bluetooth.

The novel design means you can place the display over or in front of the dash, positioning it in the perfect way to avoid obstructing car features like air vents or buttons.

Alpine's sleek and stylish car stereo offers a sturdy fit and allows for additional features and modifications to be made to your vehicle without adding annoying buttons and switches.

The iLX-F309 boasts a rear camera input and is compatible with the iDatalink Maestro Module, which displays vehicle information like tire pressure and engine codes.

Key Features
  • WVGA hovering capacitive touchscreen
  • Standard 1-DIN chassis
  • Support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • SiriusXM Ready
Specifications
  • Brand: Alpine
  • Display: 9-inch touchscreen
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth, USB, HDMI
  • Internet Services: Pandora, SiriusXM, Internet Radio
  • Apple CarPlay: Yes
  • Android Auto: Yes
Pros
  • Four pre-set angle points
  • Floating display
  • Anti-glare screen
Cons
  • Screen is too bright on maps

Although ATOTO is a less well-known brand than other car stereo receivers on the market, it offers incredibly affordable prices, which is an attractive feature.

The dual simultaneous Bluetooth connection is incredibly useful if you have more than one main driver in the car. There's a whopping 16GB of internal storage and support for microSD cards up to 256GB.

The ATOTO is easy to use with a simple interface that rivals some of the more prominent brands and offers a regular firmware update meaning you'll always have the latest features whenever they get released.

You can connect up to two monitors with the built-in video output feature, which is perfect if you have kids in the car who want to watch movies while you drive.

Key Features
  • Rear/front camera input
  • Bluetooth hands-free
  • 178-degree full-viewing angle IPS display
Specifications
  • Brand: ATOTO
  • Display: 7-inch touchscreen
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth, USB
  • Internet Services: YouTube
  • Apple CarPlay: Yes
  • Android Auto: Yes
Pros
  • Incredibly affordable
  • Unit feels well made and not cheap
  • Regular firmware updates
Cons
  • Interface can be sluggish at times

The shallow chassis of the JVC KWM75BT offers weight reduction and easier installation to allow you to enjoy your Android phone in the car safely.

The 6.8-inch touchscreen display is neat and simple and allows you to optimize your sound quality with ease. It comes with some awesome features like time alignment, so you can digitally delay speakers to offer the best listening position.

Suppose you have multiple people regularly driving your car. In that case, you can connect two devices permanently to the Bluetooth receiver or up to five devices simultaneously for a road trip with friends.

The Android and iPhone automatic pairing removes any manual intervention to connect your device and offers HFP 1.7 wideband speech for improved Bluetooth voice recognition.

Key Features
  • High-resolution audio playback
  • 13-band equalizer
  • Connect two phones full-time via Bluetooth
  • Automatic pairing to Android and iPhone
Specifications
  • Brand: JVC
  • Display: 6.8-inch touchscreen
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth, USB
  • Internet Services: Pandora, SiriusXM, Internet Radio
  • Apple CarPlay: Yes
  • Android Auto: Yes
Pros
  • Connect up to five simultaneous devices via Bluetooth
  • Rear-facing and front-facing camera compatibility
  • Live wallpaper
Cons
  • Doesn't play CDs
Buy This Product
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The Pioneer AVH W4500NEX is an affordable touchscreen digital display with multiple connection options to listen to your favorite music, send text messages, answer telephone calls, and lots more.

Pioneer's integrated wiring harness fits most car make and models making the installation process simple. There's plenty of extra tools in the box too that allow you to extend the capabilities of the Pioneer AVH W4500NEX later down the line.

One of the big bonuses is the fact you can play older media like DVDs and CDs. Similarly, you can use Bluetooth to pair mobile devices for quick media streaming or connect devices via USB.

The car stereo received comes backup camera-ready; if your car already comes with the camera, the process is straightforward.

Key Features
  • 13 backgrounds and splash screens
  • Second camera input
  • iDataLink Maestro compatible
Specifications
  • Brand: Pioneer
  • Display: 6.94-inch touchscreen
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB
  • Internet Services: Pandora, SiriusXM
  • Apple CarPlay: Yes
  • Android Auto: Yes
Pros
  • Highly responsive touchscreen display
  • Stable Bluetooth connection
  • USB media playback
Cons
  • GPS antenna not included

The Pioneer DMH-WT8600NEX features a single-DIN chassis meaning it will fit in most cars, even older vehicles. So, if you're looking to upgrade your car stereo receiver, this is a slim fitting option with an expansive 10.1-inch touchscreen display.

You can adjust the screen to where you need it with the floating display to move it in all directions and forward and backward. The wireless Bluetooth connection makes it easy to take calls, listen to podcasts, and play high-res music files along with a 13-band equalizer to maximize your sound output.

If you want to install a rear and front-view camera, the receiver's built-in parking guides come in very handy, along with the adjustable parking lines.

Key Features
  • 1-DIN Chassis
  • Floating display
  • Alexa built-in
  • Wired and wireless connectivity
Specifications
  • Brand: Pioneer
  • Display: 10.1-inch touchscreen
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth, USB, HDMI
  • Internet Services: SiriusXM
  • Apple CarPlay: Yes
  • Android Auto: Yes
Pros
  • Compatible with CarAVAssist App
  • Built-in HD Radio tuner
  • iDataLink Maestro
Cons
  • Some known firmware issues

The Sony XAV-AX5000's seven-inch flatscreen display offers stunning visual quality and color clarity, making it one of the sharpest displays on the market.

In the box, there is a wired microphone. The closer to the driver's seat you install it, the better callers can hear you when connected via Bluetooth. You can also keep the convenience of your car's steering wheel controls without having to install extra software.

To access your parking brake and rear camera, you'll need a wired connection. However, this is quite common with most aftermarket car stereos.

If you want to enjoy your favorite music via your Android device, you can play music directly from Spotify or Pandora.

Key Features
  • Two USB ports
  • Plays FLAC files via connected USB devices
  • 10-band equalizer
  • Bluetooth hands-free calling
Specifications
  • Brand: Sony
  • Display: 6.95-inch touchscreen
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth, USB
  • Internet Services: SiriusXM
  • Apple CarPlay: Yes
  • Android Auto: Yes
Pros
  • Easy to use interface
  • Multiple EQ settings including custom options
  • Offers physical buttons as well as touchscreen
Cons
  • Doesn't play CDs

FAQ

Q: Can I Use Android Auto Without USB?

Android Auto is available to use without a USB cable if you connect wirelessly via a local Wi-Fi connection. Still, some head units require you to connect your smartphone via a USB cable if they do not support the wireless mode on the Android Auto app.

Q: What Can Android Auto Do?

Android Auto lets you use specific apps from your phone to your compatible car display. Android Auto is designed to keep your eyes on the road so you can access features like navigation, calls, and music hands-free.

Q: Which Head Units Support Wireless Android Auto?

To connect wirelessly to Android Auto, an auto head unit must support Android Auto and 5GHz Wi-Fi.  Any smartphone with Android 6.0 and above can connect to Android Auto wirelessly.

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SSD vs HDD: Which Storage Device Should You Choose? | MakeUseOf

If you're looking to purchase a new computer or laptop or want to upgrade your existing machine, you're probably going to come across HDD and SSD hard drives in your research.

Newer PCs and laptops tend to now come with SSDs as a preference, but budget models may still favor HDDs. There are advantages and disadvantages to both; while their physical features may be similar, the way they write and store data is very different.

What Is an HDD?

HDD stands for Hard Disk Drive. HDDs have increased in storage capacity and decreased in size over the years. However, they still rely on spinning disks to read data.

A traditional HDD can store an operating system, applications, and files, with a circular disc known as a platter which stores the data.

If you have an HDD in your computer or laptop, you can probably hear the platter spinning as you load multiple applications, making your device work harder.

Most modern HDDs use a SATA connection to connect to a computer's motherboard, with the latest SATA III connection enabling the fastest data transfers available for an HDD.

What Is an SSD?

A solid-state drive (SSD) is newer than HDD technology, but it's still been around for some time and isn't the newest storage technology available.

Unlike HDDs, SSDs contain no moving parts and instead uses NAND flash memory. When they were first released, SSDs struggled to keep up with HDDs in terms of storage capacity. However, with more NAND memory chips being available, SSDs can compete with HDDs.

Similar to modern HDDs, SSDs come with SATA III ports, so they can easily replace an HDD and are often smaller in physical size. SATA III has a maximum data throughput of 600MB/s. Commonly you'll see some of the best SATA III SSDs with read speeds of around 550MB/s like this Samsung 860 EVO. While this kind of speed works well for HDDs, SSDs can handle much faster speeds.

To rectify this, SSDs were created with PCIe connections, allowing a connection directly to the motherboard with much faster speeds. But, if you have a motherboard with fewer PCIe lanes for use with other devices, you may decide to connect a graphics card in favor of an SSD.

Modern PCs and laptops are now using M.2 SSDs, which are typically smaller than SSDs. Newer motherboards with M.2 ports allow your SSD to be connected to your motherboard while making room for other components without having to sacrifice your SSD.

The latest SSD technology is NVMe, which offers some of the fastest data transfer speeds available. But, of course, it comes at a much higher price. To put this into perspective, the Samsung 970 EVO Plus offers read/write speeds up to 3,500/3,300 MB/s.

Related: Should You Upgrade to NVMe?

SSD vs. HDD: Speed

The speed difference between an SSD and HDD entirely depends on the hardware you are comparing. The table below should give you a general idea of the performance difference between an SSD vs. HDD.

SSDHDD
Read Speed550 MBps125 MBps
Write Speed520 MBps125 MBps

An SSD is around four times faster than an HDD when it comes to read speed and slightly less when comparing write speed. However, using a more compatible SSD interface like PCIe can offer an even higher data rate.

SATA IIIPCIe
Data Rate560MB/s985MB/s (per lane)

Average speeds for PCIe and M.2 SSDs are around 1.2GB/s to 1.4GB/s and, in some cases, can reach 2.2GB/s if you can afford the extortionate cost.

Many people opt to put their operating systems on an SSD due to their superior performance. System boot speeds are much quicker compared to storing an OS on an HDD.

It wouldn't be unreasonable to expect an improvement in boot speed of 200% - 800%, which results in Windows booting up in around 20 seconds. Compare this to an HDD of around 40-60 seconds, and you can see there's a big difference.

If money was no object, SSDs could get up to 10 times faster speeds than HDDs, so they are the clear winner in terms of speed and performance.

Related: The Best NVMe SSDs for Faster Performance

SSD vs. HDD: Storage Capacity

HDD storage can range anywhere between 40GB to 12TB for general commercial use. Enterprise use can reach even higher storage capacities, but in most cases, you can get hold of a good value for money HDD with 2TB storage.

If you need to store a lot of data, it's recommended to have multiple hard drives with smaller storage capacities, rather than putting all of your eggs into one basket and relying on one hard drive. If your hard drive fails or becomes corrupt, you could lose all your data, but if you save your data across multiple hard drives, you won't lose it all.

HDDs are good for holding a lot of data, especially videos, photos, and games. However, due to their slower read and write speeds, they won't perform as well as an SSD. So, you could store the majority of your games on an HDD but store your favorite and most power-hungry games on your SSD.

SSDs were only available in smaller capacities and were often saved for operating systems, which took up less space than thousands of files, games, and media. However, you can now get SSDs with terabytes worth of storage, though they tend to be more expensive.

SSD vs. HDD: Cost

One of the big differences between SSDs and HDDs is their cost. SSDs tend to be more expensive than HDDs per gigabyte, but there are specifications to take into account too.

SATA III SSDs are often cheaper than M.2 and PCIe SSDs because they contain older technology. However, you could pick up a SATA III SSD for a similar price to a traditional HDD.

If you're purely after storage capacity, HDDs are cheaper overall, and you'll be able to get a lot for your money. However, if you weigh up whether to buy an SSD or HDD for your operating system, you can easily pick up a 256GB SSD for a similar price to an HDD, but the specs will be a lot better.

SSD vs. HDD: Types of User

Whilst it's easy to compare SSDs and HDDs in terms of technical specifications and performance, it's often simpler to be able to make reference and relate to the type of user you are to decide whether an SSD or HDD is right for you.

HDDs

  • Multimedia users: HDDs have large storage capacities at affordable prices, so they are ideal for users who want to store lots of images, videos, and other media.
  • Graphic artists: Photo editors and video software can take up a fair amount of storage. As well as the software itself, photos and videos in certain formats can fill up storage quickly.
  • Budget users: If you're on a budget, HDDs are cheaper than SSDs. Budget PCs and laptops often contain HDDs.

SSDs

  • On-the-go: Users who travel a lot, or work in the field, will benefit from the quick performance an SSD can offer, especially when needing to boot up a laptop from sleep mode quickly.
  • Musicians: Musicians will benefit from the performance increase an SSD can offer and the quieter sounds compared to a noisy HDD.
  • Gamers: Gamers who rely on games to load and perform well will see a difference in how their games load when installed to an SSD compared to an HDD.

The Future of Storage

With plenty of storage options being available, including cloud storage, it's hard to predict whether SSDs will replace HDDs in their entirety.

SSDs are still expensive compared to HDDs if you're looking to replace terabytes of data on your PC or laptop. For some users, they simply need a lot of storage space; it doesn't need to be fast or quiet. It just needs to exist.

However, the prices of SSDs are coming down, and it's becoming easier to afford a decent SSD with a lot of storage space compared to 5 years ago. SATA III SSDs will undoubtedly become cheaper as newer SSD technology emerges.

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How to Play Old Xbox Games on Your Xbox Series X | MakeUseOf

You may be surprised to learn that the Xbox Series X console didn't have many exclusive games at launch. However, the saving grace is that you can play all of the games featured on previous Xbox consoles, including the Xbox One, Xbox 360, and original Xbox.

Here is how to get your old Xbox games working on your Xbox Series X...

Will Old Xbox Discs Work on the Xbox Series X?

From the offset, Microsoft made it clear that it would be developing the Xbox Series X to be backward compatible with older Xbox games.

The Xbox Series X boasts a 4K Blu-ray disc drive, so if your Xbox One discs work without any hassle on your Xbox One, they are going to be compatible with the Xbox Series X.

The only exception to this is Kinect games. They rely on motion-sensing technology, which the Xbox Series X doesn't support.

Playing an older generation Xbox game on the Xbox Series X comes with improved visual performance and faster loading times. This can be is a real blessing for some games.

Will Old Xbox Discs Work on the Xbox Series S?

The short answer is no. Unlike the Xbox Series X, the Xbox Series S doesn't feature a physical disc drive, so you won't be able to play your Xbox discs on the Xbox Series S, even from the previous generation, the Xbox One.

If you have a lot of old Xbox game discs that you intend to play, it's highly recommended you consider the Xbox Series X instead.

However, if you have digital downloads of your games, these will play on Xbox Series S.

Related: Xbox Series X vs. Xbox Series S

How to Transfer Your Old Xbox Games to Your Xbox Series X

There are several ways you can transfer your old Xbox games to the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S. This includes your save data too, so you won't have to start your games again. Thank you, Microsoft!

How to Import From Cloud Saves

Whilst the fastest way to play your old Xbox games on Xbox Series X is using the disc drive, you'll need to import your saves from the cloud.

Xbox Wire confirmed in a blog post that if you purchase a game on Xbox One then your game library, progression, and saves will move with you to the next generation consoles.

If you've already enabled cloud saves on your previous Xbox, they will automatically sync to any game you install on your new Xbox Series X.

How to Import From External Storage

To transfer your old Xbox games and save files to your Xbox Series X, you'll need an external hard drive.

  1. Go to Settings > System > Storage on your Xbox One and select the external storage device.
  2. Select the data you want to transfer and choose Copy.
  3. Once the transfer is complete, you can disconnect your external storage.
  4. Power on your Xbox Series X and connect the external storage via the USB ports.
  5. Your Xbox Series X should recognize the external drive and ask you what to do with it. If it doesn't ask, you can navigate to Settings > System > Storage and select it.
  6. Via the Storage menu, select the games and data you want to import to your Xbox Series X and select Copy.

Some games can actually run off the external storage device. So, they won't need to be copied to your Xbox Series X. Great if you don't want to transfer them, or don't have the storage space to do so.

How to Use Data Transfer via Wi-Fi

If you don't own an external storage device, don't worry. You can transfer your currently installed games and system data from your Xbox One to Xbox Series X using Wi-Fi.

Both consoles need to be powered on and connected to the same WiFi network for this to work. If your internet connection is slow, the transfer could take some time, or if you're copying over a lot of games and data in one go.

  1. Go to Settings > System > Backup & Transfer on your Xbox One
  2. Select Allow network transfer.
  3. Power on your Xbox Series X and go to Settings > System > Backup & Transfer
  4. Select your Xbox One under Local Consoles.
  5. Select the games and save data you want to transfer from your Xbox One to your Xbox Series X.
  6. Select Copy to begin the transfer process.

Enhancing Your Xbox Series X Games Library

If you're looking to make the most of your Xbox Series X games library, you may want to consider Microsoft's subscription service, Xbox Game Pass.

Console ($9.99/mo)PC (First month for $1, then $9.99/mo)Ultimate (First month for $1, then $14.99/mo)
Access to 100+ high-quality gamesYesYesYes (Plus PC and Android)
New games addedYesYesYes
Xbox Game Studio titles the same day as releaseYesYesYes
Member discounts and dealsYesYesYes (Plus exclusive)
Free perksNoNoYes
Gold membershipNoNoYes
EA playNoNoYes

The Game Pass gives you access to over 100 games, including old Xbox games and new releases. You'll also be amongst the first to experience titles before anyone else.

Xbox Series X Controller Compatibility

The Xbox Series X and Series S controllers are both compatible with the Xbox One and PC. On the flip side, you can use your Xbox One controller on your Xbox Series X or S.

Microsoft has reassured Xbox players that their controllers won't incur compatibility issues. When comparing the Xbox Series X with the PS5, the Xbox comes out on top here, as you can't use the PS5 DualSense controller with the PS4.

Utilizing Auto HDR to Make Your Old Games Look Better

When the Xbox One S was released, many games launched without HDR capability. However, the Xbox Series X and Series S boast a new feature called Auto HDR.

Auto HDR will automatically enhance the graphics of an SDR game, without the developers having to perform any extra work to make their games compatible.

Because the Auto HDR feature is implemented by the system, the CPU, GPU, and memory won't incur any performance costs, ensuring you always get the best out of your Xbox Series X.

Now You Can Play Old Xbox Games on Your Series X

One of the best features of the Xbox Series X is its ability to play old games. Meaning you can give your old console away to someone in need but continue playing the games on your next-gen console. And thanks to Auto HDR, they should look better than ever.

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The 7 Best Fitbit Versa 3 Bands

The Fitbit Versa presents itself as one of the best smartwatches you can purchase. With the arrival of the Versa 3 and Fitbit Sense, there are more opportunities to swap Fitbit bands and straps than ever before.

If you're looking to customize your Fitbit Versa 3 out of the box, there's a wide variety of stylish, versatile, and comfortable bands to choose from.

Here are the best Fitbit Versa 3 bands available today.

Premium pick

1. Hatalkin Band

9.20 / 10
Read Reviews

The Hatalkin band is compatible with the Fitbit Versa 3 and Fitbit Sense, boasting three color choices; gold, silver, and black. The stainless steel material is stylish and sleek, fit for any occasion.

Included with the Versa 3 band is a pin knockout kit, which allows you to adjust the band's size; however, only three pins are included, so individuals with petite wrists may struggle to get the perfect fit.

Key Features
  • Adjustable length
  • Stainless steel
  • Choice of three colors
Specifications
  • Brand: Hatalkin
  • Material: Stainless Steel
  • Size: Adjustable
  • Compatibility: Fitbit Versa 3, Fitbit Sense
Pros
  • Stylish
  • Easy on/off
  • Durable and comfortable
Cons
  • Limited color options
Editors choice

2. Aresh Fitbit Versa 3 Band

8.20 / 10
Read Reviews

The Aresh Fitbit Versa 3 Band will undoubtedly make you stand out from the crowd with a choice of bright and bold colors, sporting a unique and blocky look that retro fans will love.

The bumper around the display adds additional protection to the Fitbit Versa 3, with the ability to attach itself to your smartwatch, minimizing the need to fiddle with clips and pins.

If you need to charge your smartwatch, the band is designed so that you won't need to take it off.

Key Features
  • No pins required
  • Shock protection and impact resistance
  • Odourless and non-toxic material
Specifications
  • Brand: Aresh
  • Material: Clear TPU
  • Size: 5.9 inches to 8.7 inches
  • Compatibility: Fitbit Versa 3, Fitbit Sense
Pros
  • Easy to wipe clean
  • Choice of six bright colors
  • Easy to change
Cons
  • May not be to everyone's taste

The Poshei Fitbit Versa 3 Band is ideal for sports and exercise due to its silicone-based design. You can dive straight into the water without worrying about your Fitbit Versa 3, as well as enduring some tough workouts.

The snap-on design and pin and tuck closure make these bands incredibly comfortable and cost a lot less than Fitbit's official Versa 3 bands. There's a wide range of colors so that you can interchange the bands with your mood and style.

This version of the strap comes as part of an excellent value three-pack, with each strap sporting a different color.

Key Features
  • Waterproof sports bands
  • Multiple sizes available
  • Snap-on connector design
  • Pin and tuck closure
Specifications
  • Brand: Poshei
  • Material: Silicone
  • Size: Small, Large
  • Compatibility: Fitbit Versa 3, Fitbit Sense
Pros
  • Sweat and water resistant
  • Easy to assemble
  • Ideal for sports
Cons
  • Prone to yellowing in the sun

Boasting a comfortable and stylish woven fabric, the Kimilar Woven Band is excellent for any occasion. It is available in 10 color options, including Rainbow, Gray Black, Light Blue, Purple, and Wine.

This Kimilar option is one of the few Fitbit Versa 3 bands suitable for adults and kids. It's easy to put on and take off, with a secure stainless steel buckle for stability and the perfect fit.

Key Features
  • Comfortable woven fabric
  • 10 color options
  • Easy to put on and take off
  • Small and Large sizes available
Specifications
  • Brand: Kimilar
  • Material: Woven fabric
  • Size: Small, Large
  • Compatibility: Fitbit Versa 3, Fitbit Sense
Pros
  • Secure connector
  • Breathable material
  • Suitable for kids and adults
Cons
  • May irritate your skin when exercising

Designed with a secure velcro strap and nylon band, the Omee Nylon Band is great for jumping in and out of the shower and wearing during sports. The band dries quickly without losing the adhesiveness of the velcro.

The band is soft and comfortable, with a choice of colors that won't fade quickly. While this smartwatch band may not catch everyone's attention, it is fit for purpose and can be freely adjusted.

Key Features
  • Lightweight material and design
  • Available in nine colors
  • Suitable for sports
  • Can be worn in the shower
Specifications
  • Brand: Omee
  • Material: Nylon
  • Size: 5.5 inches to 8.3 inches
  • Compatibility: Fitbit Versa 3, Fitbit Sense
Pros
  • Comfortable and soft
  • Velcro makes it secure
  • Breathable material
Cons
  • Doesn't look as stylish as other smartwatch bands

The Koreda Magnetic Strap comes in a comfortable and stylish woven mesh stainless steel with a choice of five colors; Black, Champagne Gold, Rose Gold, Silver, and Colorful.

The magnetic clasp is ideal for quick adjustments making it easy to take off and put back on again. However, individuals with larger wrists may struggle to get the band to fit.

Key Features
  • Magnet clasp design
  • Stylish and durable stainless steel
  • Available in five color options
  • No buckle required
Specifications
  • Brand: Koreda
  • Material: Woven mesh stainless steel
  • Size: Adjustable
  • Compatibility: Fitbit Versa 3, Fitbit Sense
Pros
  • Adjustable
  • Easy installation
  • Includes quick release pins
Cons
  • May be too small for larger wrists

The Joyozy Thin Leather Band offers a stylish and sleek leather design suitable for more formal occasions. The ten holes on the band allow you to adjust the strap accordingly without adding or removing links.

The strap is available in 18 color options, allowing you to switch and change your Fitbit Versa 3 band to suit your mood. However, this band is not recommended for sports or exercise as the leather-based strap is not waterproof or sweat resistant.

Key Features
  • Leather strap and stainless steel buckle
  • Comes with a screen protector
  • Ten holes to adjust the size
  • Available in 18 strap colors
Specifications
  • Brand: Joyozy
  • Material: Leather
  • Size: 5.5 inches to 7.8 inches
  • Compatibility: Fitbit Versa 3, Fitbit Sense
Pros
  • Comfortable to wear for long periods
  • Slimline deisgn
Cons
  • No sweat or water resistance
  • Not suitable for vegans

FAQ

Q: Are Versa 2 Bands Compatible with Versa 3?

The short answer is no. Previous Fitbit Versa bands are not compatible with the Fitbit Versa 3. However, most Fitbit Versa 3 bands are compatible with the Fitbit Sense, and vice versa.

Q: Can You Get Different Bands for the Fitbit Versa 3?

There's a wide choice of Fitbit Versa 3 bands available in varying colors, styles, and materials. If you play a lot of sports or exercise regularly, you may find a silicone Fitbit Versa 3 band is more appropriate than a woven fiber or stainless steel band.

Q: Can the Fitbit Versa 3 Answer Calls?

Yes, the Fitbit Versa 3 has plenty of smart features, including the ability to take phone calls, direct calls to voicemail, and adjust call volume. The Versa 3 has a built-in speaker and microphone.

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What Is Roblox and Is It Safe for Kids? | MakeUseOf

If you've got kids then chances are you've heard of a game called Roblox. Or you may have been asked by your children to buy them some Robux, the virtual currency for the game.

Roblox is enjoyed by millions of people, mainly children, worldwide, offering a virtual world where kids can create their own games and share ideas amongst a community of like-minded individuals.

Although it's an immensely popular game, it doesn't mean it there aren't dangers lurking around the corner of Roblox, which is why we're going to explore the potential risks and how to protect your kids from them.

What Is Roblox?

If your kids are playing Roblox, it's likely they would have played Minecraft too. Roblox is a mix of Minecraft and Lego allowing people to play games designed by others, as well as being able to create games too.

Roblox is a free platform and you can play it on PC, smartphones, and game consoles. According to Roblox, there are 150 million active users each month, with millions of people playing at any given time.

Not only can a person play Roblox, but they can also make money by creating games and charging real money to play it. Individuals can charge for bonus features like character skins, actions, and more.

How Does Roblox Work?

Once you've created an account with Roblox, you'll be presented with a library of games that you can join. Each game will display its feedback rating along with the number of players signed up.

If you want to find out more about a game, simply click the game's icon to reveal a description, game and player stats, and other recommended games.

The majority of games found on the Roblox platform contain real people. So, if you choose a game where you meet other people or have to work alongside people (e.g. creating food for others), you'll likely be assuming a role with another real person.

You can customize your character by unlocking in-game items like clothes and accessories, or you can buy stuff with real money through the currency Robux.

Is Roblox Safe for Kids?

There are several risks associated with Roblox that you should be aware of. Firstly, although Roblox has an age rating of 7+, the games themselves do not have age limits.

When signing up for Roblox, you are asked for your date of birth. Roblox will only offer appropriate content based on a person's age, e.g. if you are under the age of 13, the games in the library will be filtered.

If a person says they are 13+, Roblox applies no filters to any games. They do routinely search through the library and flag illegal or inappropriate content, but it's not automated.

The Problem With Robux

Roblox is a free-to-download game, but it does use an in-game currency called Robux. This must be purchased using a debit or credit card and can be bought via a smartphone.

Be careful if you spot anyone promising free Robux. Sites and apps offering free Robux tend to be a scam. If you aren't sure, remember that very little comes for free and, if it seems too good to be true, it often is.

Players can use Robux to update their character's clothing, buy in-game items, or unlock further access within games.

If a player purchases Robux via a smartphone, the in-app purchase will be charged to the credit card associated with the account. You can protect your child from making purchases by ensuring they cannot access the password on your iTunes or Google Play account.

Roblox Chat

Roblox contains a chat system allowing players to talk to each other, whether they are friends or people you don't know.

If your child is playing a game with other players, the chat system will allow them to talk to one another meaning anyone can talk to anyone. You can change the game settings to limit who your child can talk to, or alternatively, you can disable the chat system entirely.

How Can You Protect Your Kids on Roblox?

Before allowing your kids to sign up for Roblox, either sign up for an account on behalf of them or sit with them whilst they sign up. That way, if they're under the age of 13, you can be sure they are only accessing appropriate and filtered content.

You can explain why this is important to keeping your kids safe whilst playing Roblox and offers complete transparency from the start.

Sitting down with your child and exploring the game library is a great way to find the most suitable game for them, whilst allowing them to learn what they enjoy to play online.

It's important to help your child understand what information they share online and what others can see. Before letting them play a game, outline what constitutes personal information including emails, school information, and photos.

Using real examples can make it easier for them to understand, e.g. explaining why it wouldn't be appropriate to give their telephone number or address to a random person in the street.

Enable PIN Protection

If you want to ensure your child can't change the settings on their account, you can enable an "Account PIN" which only you should know and have access to. They won't be able to change the settings without the PIN.

Roblox Account Restrictions

You can restrict your child's access so they can only view and play curated content and contact settings will be set to off, so they can't chat with others. This is done below the "Account PIN" section under "Account Restrictions" by setting the toggle to on.

If you don't mind your kid chatting to other people but you want to restrict who they talk to, you can change the settings via the privacy section of your account.

Here you can customize almost every aspect of how your child contacts others, and how they contact your child. You can choose who can message them, who can chat with them, who can invite them to private servers, and more.

Teach Your Children How to Stay Safe Online

Reassuring your child and explaining to them about the internet and how to play safe online is just as important as restricting their access to Roblox.

Internet safety can help them (and you) to understand what's safe and what isn't, as well as reminding them that they can always talk to you if they find something upsetting.

Instilling a level of trust between you and your child is one of the biggest steps you can take to ensure they come to you if they don't like what they see online.

Play It Safe

Roblox is an incredibly popular game for a reason; it's enjoyable and it can be a safe environment for kids to enjoy if you know how to set it up correctly.

The platform can offer a wealth of opportunity for kids to socialize and interact with each other safely.

If you take the necessary and simple steps to protect your kids whilst playing Roblox and having an open conversation with them, they can continue to enjoy the game and even let out their creative side.

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The 7 Best Budget Chromebooks

Whether you're working from home, in the office, or on the move, Chromebooks are a versatile alternative to the average laptop. If you're looking for simplicity over complexity, you may be attracted by a Chromebook's low prices and easy to use software.

With so many different makes and models to choose from, it can be challenging to narrow down your search. We've put together this guide to offer you the best budget Chromebooks on the market today.

If you're looking for a decent premium Chromebook in an otherwise crowded market, the Samsung Chromebook Plus V2 offers a sturdy two-in-one design with a stunning display.

The Full HD resolution offers vivid colors, so the laptop is well-suited for creative projects or streaming. You can rotate the Chromebook Plus by 360 degrees for alternative views, including tablet, tent, and stand modes.

One of the most significant positive points of the Samsung Chromebook Plus V2 is the dual-camera setup, making it an ideal choice for students or office workers looking to take quick snaps.

Samsung's world-facing camera is built into the keyboard area. While this would be a fairly useless view for a laptop, it is perfect as a rear-facing camera while in tablet mode.

Key Features
  • Lightweight
  • Dual camera
  • Google Play Store support
  • Add up to 400GB with a microSD card
Specifications
  • Brand: Samsung
  • Storage: 32GB
  • CPU: Intel Celeron Processor 3965Y
  • Memory: 4GB
  • Operating System: Chrome OS
  • Battery: 10 hours
  • Ports: 2x USB-C, USB 3.0
  • Camera: 13MP world-facing, 1MP front-facing
  • Display (Size, Resolution): 12.2-inch, 1920 x 1200
  • Weight: 2.98lbs
  • GPU: Intel HD Graphics 615
Pros
  • Built-in pen
  • 13MP world-facing camera
  • Easily folds into tablet mode
Cons
  • Battery life is very average
  • Keyboard is uncomfortable
Editors choice

2. ASUS Chromebook Flip

8.80 / 10
Read Reviews

Although at the higher-end of affordable, the ASUS Chromebook Flip is an excellent, versatile option for those interested in a long-lasting work laptop that doubles as a portable everyday companion.

The mid-range Chromebook is lightweight yet offers a decent size screen so you can easily switch between productivity and entertainment. It offers two USB-C ports and a backlit keyboard so you can use it day and night.

The durable 360-degree hinge is ideal for flipping your laptop into a touchscreen tablet, offering HD viewing, and a super-fast processor for lightning performance.

Key Features
  • 360-degree ErgoLift hinge
  • microSD slot
  • Offers two USB-C ports and a single USB-A connection
  • One year of free 100GB Google cloud storage
Specifications
  • Brand: ASUS
  • Storage: 32GB
  • CPU: Intel Core m3-8100Y
  • Memory: 4GB
  • Operating System: Chrome OS
  • Battery: 10 hours
  • Ports: 2x USB-C, USB 3.2
  • Camera: 720p
  • Display (Size, Resolution): 14-inch, 1920 x 1080
  • Weight: 3.2lbs
  • GPU: Intel HD Graphics 615
Pros
  • Brilliant display
  • Long-lasting battery life
  • Slick and modern design
Cons
  • Heavier than competitor models
Best value

3. HP Chromebook 14

9.60 / 10
Read Reviews

The HP Chromebook 14 is an excellent budget-friendly option for newcomers or those looking for a feature-packed laptop. There's a vivid display for watching videos and a tactile backlit keyboard for a relaxed typing experience.

Despite the entry-level price, this Chromebook still packs a punch. It comes with 32GB of onboard storage, a 720p HD webcam, and a 13.5-hour battery life. The stereo speakers have been tuned by Bang & Olufsen for excellent audio playback.

While it has a slower processor than other Chromebooks, the HP Chromebook 14 is an ideal solution if you're on a budget.

Key Features
  • Stereo speakers
  • Multi-touch touchpad
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Bluetooth 5
Specifications
  • Brand: HP
  • Storage: 32GB
  • CPU: Intel Celeron N4000
  • Memory: 4GB
  • Operating System: Chrome
  • Battery: 13.5 hours
  • Ports: 2x USB-C, USB 2.0
  • Camera: 720p
  • Display (Size, Resolution): 14-inch, 1366 x 768
  • Weight: 3.20lbs
  • GPU: Intel HD Graphics
Pros
  • Keyboard and trackpad are responsive
  • Clear and crisp screen
  • Great value for money
Cons
  • Slower processor compared to others

Be done with dull and boring looking Chromebooks with the Lenovo C340, which boasts an impressive design that looks like it costs a lot more than it does.

The 15.6-inch display is ideal for turning your laptop into a large tablet to take to meetings, or you can sit back and relax with a movie using the Chromebook's tent position.

The Lenovo Chromebook C340 is perfect for getting stuff done. With excellent battery life and flexibility, it offers superb value for money with a decent i3-8130U processor to manage multiple tasks.

Key Features
  • Touchscreen display
  • 2-in-1 design with 360-degree movement
  • USB 3.1 Type-C Gen 1 ports
Specifications
  • Brand: Lenovo
  • Storage: 32GB
  • CPU: Intel Pentium Gold 4417U
  • Memory: 4GB
  • Operating System: Chrome OS
  • Battery: 10 hours
  • Ports: 2x USB-C, USB 3.1
  • Camera: 720p
  • Display (Size, Resolution): 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080
  • Weight: 4.4lbs
  • GPU: Intel HD Graphics 610
Pros
  • Large 15.6-inch display
  • 10-hour
  • Impressive design and build quality
Cons
  • Heavy
  • Speaker sound quality is average

One of the main driving forces behind switching to a Chromebook rather than opting for a Windows or macOS machine is due to affordability, and the HP Chromebook 11 certainly offers a budget option that packs a decent punch.

The laptop comes with a 720p HD camera, 4GB of RAM, and 10-hour battery life. At this price, you won't get the most powerful laptop. That said, it does come with stereo speakers tuned by Bang & Olufsen.

However, you will get a device that's easy to use and perfect for fitting into a bag while on the move. Although the plastic chassis isn't particularly appealing, this budget Chromebook will do the job you need a portable computer to do while boasting touchscreen technology.

Key Features
  • Touchscreen display
  • Octa-core CPU and GPU
  • Android app support
Specifications
  • Brand: HP
  • Storage: 32GB
  • CPU: Intel Celeron N3060
  • Memory: 4GB
  • Operating System: Chrome OS
  • Battery: 10 hours
  • Ports: 2x USB-C, 2x USB 3.1, microSD
  • Camera: 720p
  • Display (Size, Resolution): 11.6-inch, 1364 x 768
  • Weight: 2.36lbs
  • GPU: MediaTek Integrated Graphics
Pros
  • Affordable pricing
  • Extremely portable
  • Robust budget buy
Cons
  • Plastic chassis

If you're looking for a portable, versatile solution for your computing needs, the Acer Spin 11 ticks all the boxes while throwing a stylus in the mix too.

There's a 5MP front-facing camera for video calls and photo-taking. This is particularly useful as the rotating screen means you can use the Chromebook in tablet mode as well.

This budget Chromebook runs exceptionally well even with its lower specs compared to the competition. It doesn't boast the best screen resolution, but you'll still be able to work well and have fun with your Acer Spin 11 Chromebook, which is what they're intended for.

Key Features
  • Portable and versatile
  • Android apps available
  • 10-point multitouch screen
Specifications
  • Brand: Acer
  • Storage: 32GB
  • CPU: Intel Celeron N3350 1.10 GHz
  • Memory: 4GB
  • Operating System: Chrome OS
  • Battery: 10 hours
  • Ports: 2x USB-C, 2x USB 3.0
  • Camera: 5MP, front-facing
  • Display (Size, Resolution): 11.6-inch, 1366 x 768
  • Weight: 3.20lbs
  • GPU: HD Graphics 500
Pros
  • Small and lightweight
  • Includes a stylus
  • Fast SSD storage
Cons
  • Specs aren't as good as competitor models
  • Low internal storage

While the Acer Chromebook R 13 isn't the most stylish looking Chromebook on the market, it does offer enough decent specs and features to make it a contender for the best budget Chromebook.

Offering 360 degrees of flexibility, you can turn your Chromebook into a notebook, display screen, tent, or tablet. The solid 12-hour battery life makes the Acer Chromebook R 13 ideal for productivity, along with its powerful Quad-Core processor and 802.11ac wireless connectivity for super-fast smooth streaming.

Key Features
  • Additional 100GB of Google One storage
  • Two built-in Stereo Speakers
  • 360-degree rotation
  • LED-backlit IPS (In-Plane Switching)
Specifications
  • Brand: Acer
  • Storage: 32GB
  • CPU: MediaTek MT8173C
  • Memory: 4GB
  • Operating System: Chrome OS
  • Battery: 4,670mAh
  • Ports: USB 3.1, USB 3.0, HDMI
  • Camera: HD Webcam (1280 x 720), supports High Dynamic Range (HDR)
  • Display (Size, Resolution): 13.3-inch, 1920 x 1080
  • Weight: 3.28lbs
  • GPU: Integrated PowerVR GX6250
Pros
  • Full HD display
  • 2-in-1 form factor
  • 12-hour battery life
Cons
  • Doesn't look particularly stylish
  • Not very powerful

FAQ

Q: Should I Buy a Chromebook or Laptop?

The main difference between a Chromebook and a Laptop, aside from price, is the processor. Laptops are run on Windows and offer a wide range of processors, including AMD and Intel, whereas Chromebooks tend to use lower-performance chips like Pentium and Celeron.
Chromebooks run Google's Chrome OS and are suitable for lower-performance tasks like office-based work and watching movies. In comparison, Windows-powered laptops can pack more power and provide a gamer with enough resources to run with low-latency to improve performance.

Q: What are the Disadvantages of Chromebook?

Chromebooks tend to be limited to the amount of storage they offer, generally speaking, this is around 32GB. You cannot access popular applications like Microsoft Office and iTunes, so your word processing options may be restricted.

That said, you can access the feature-limited cloud-based editions of many products. Chromebooks are not ideal for gaming as they don't offer enough performance, processing power, or RAM and generally only last for a few years.

Q: What are Chromebooks Good For?

Chromebooks are a lightweight alternative to a laptop, powered by the Chrome OS and are intended to be used for low-productivity tasks like browsing the internet, streaming videos, and playing games and downloading Android apps from the Google Play Store.

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What Is the Difference Between AirPods 1 and 2? | MakeUseOf

Second-generation AirPods (also referred to as AirPods 2) feature some upgrades over AirPods 1, which were a huge success for Apple. The eagerly anticipated arrival of AirPods 2 begs the question, "What's the difference between AirPods 1 and AirPods 2?".

In actual fact, the difference between AirPods 1 and 2 is very minimal. In some cases, they are not different at all, e.g., the color and style. With a long-awaited upgrade from their launch back in 2016, AirPods 2 are here! Read on for our breakdown of how you can tell the difference between AirPods 1 and 2.

How to Tell the Difference Between AirPods 1 and 2 Design

Apple is all about their iconic look; their slick, clean white design has been a staple part of their brand for a long time, and that's not about to change.

If the AirPods 1 design put you off buying them the first time around, I hate to break it to you, but there's no telling AirPods 2 apart from AirPods 1. They even have the exact same fit in your ear, unlike the AirPods Pro interchangeable tips.

On the face of it, there's no difference between AirPods 1 and 2, so should you consider upgrading at the same price as the first-gen product?

Wireless Charging Case

If you already have the first-generation AirPods, but you want to join the wireless charging trend, you'll be pleased to know you won't have to buy a new pair of AirPods.

At the time of writing, the wireless charging case for AirPods is $79 via the Apple website. It enables you to place your AirPods in the case and allow them to charge via the Qi-compatible charging mat or the lightning connector.

However, if you plan to upgrade to AirPods 2 at some point, it's probably worth investing in AirPods 2 with a wireless charging case as you'll save around $40 as opposed to purchasing the wireless charging case later down the line.

Battery Life

AirPods 1AirPods 2
Talk Time2 hours3 hours
Music Time5 hours5 hours
Listening Time24 hours24 hours

One of the big differences between AirPods 1 and 2 is the battery life. Users can now enjoy five hours of listening time on one charge as well as 24+ hours of listening time with the charging case. In reality, this should be enough to last around a week between case charging.

AirPods 2 can offer two hours of talk time from a mere 15 minutes of case charging. While that sounds impressive, AirPods 1 offered exactly the same, so not much of an upgrade here.

Efficiency

Although there's not much difference between AirPods 1 and 2 in terms of battery life, AirPods 2 does deliver some significant changes in performance and efficiency, which is very much welcomed.

The new H1 chip allows AirPods 2 to pair faster, switch devices faster, and increases talk time by 50%. AirPods 2 also offers 30% lower latency, which is ideal for gamers who rely on this kind of performance.

AirPods 2 is also voice-activated, which means you can say "Hey, Siri" to make calls, ask questions, request directions, switch songs, etc. AirPods 1 did have the ability to activate Siri, but this required the user to double-tap on either one of the earphones.

Processor

One of the main technical feature differences between AirPods 1 and 2 is the processor. AirPods 1 used the W1 chip, whereas AirPods 2 uses the H1 chipset. H1 can deliver a more stable and faster wireless connection to other devices like iPhones, though AirPods 1 didn't exactly have much trouble in this area.

The H1 chipset is also able to connect calls up to 1.5-times faster than the W1 chip, with faster connectivity, lower latency, and Siri support.

Sound Quality

It's quite clear that Apple has designed AirPods for efficiency, and AirPods 2 is certainly a step up. However, it's disappointing to learn there have been no sound quality improvements to AirPods 2.

Although AirPods have delivered adequate audio for their purpose, it would have been nice to see a change in this area, considering the differences between AirPods 1 and 2 have been fairly thin on the ground overall.

Price

When AirPods 1 hit the market, things were simple. They were advertised with a $159 price tag, and that was that.

AirPods 2 have shaken things up a little, offering multiple options:

  • AirPods 2 with wireless charging case ($199)
  • AirPods 2 with charging case ($159)
  • Wireless charging case ($79)

Customers now have the chance to buy AirPods 2 with the wireless charging case for $199, saving them $40 compared to buying the wireless charging case separately. This also means that consumers who already have the first generation AirPods can buy the wireless charging case and use any Qi-compatible charging mat or lightning port to charge their AirPods.

Related: Are Apple AirPods Worth Your Hard Earned Cash?

As is the case with most Apple products, AirPods 1 is no longer available to purchase from the Apple website or Apple Stores. Still, you may be able to find them cheaper through other retailers now that AirPods 2 has been out for some time, or you could seek an AirPods alternative.

AirPods 1 vs. AirPods 2 Comparison Chart

AirPods 1AirPods 2
ChipsetW1 Chipset H1 Chipset
SiriDouble-tap either earphone to wake up Siri and talk to it Voice activation by saying, “Hey, Siri.”
LatencyGaming latency can cause lag at times Up to 30% lower latency in comparison to AirPods 1
Battery Life Talk time is less than AirPods 2 Talk time increased by 50%
Charging Case $79 when purchased separately $40 when purchased with AirPods 2

Should You Upgrade to AirPods 2?

In terms of design and aesthetics, there's not much difference between AirPods 1 and 2. If you were to look at both of them side by side, you wouldn't be able to identify which were AirPods 1 and which were AirPods 2. If you're still happy with your AirPods 1, it's probably not worth upgrading to AirPods 2, but an investment into a wireless charging case could make your life a little easier.

However, aside from looks, there are a few significant differences between AirPods 1 and 2 that make the investment in upgrading to the second generation worthwhile. The new H1 chipset delivers higher performance in terms of a more stable connection and offers up to 30% lower latency for gamers.

If you already have AirPods 1 and are tempted by the new wireless charging case, it's more cost-efficient to upgrade to AirPods 2 with the wireless charging case, as you'll save money and have the latest technology at your fingertips (or in your ears).

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Why You Should Use a CDN to Improve Your Website’s User Experience

A two-second delay to your website's page load time can cause bounce rates to skyrocket by up to 103%. Slow loading pages can kill your business with 54% of mobile users abandoning a page if it takes more than a couple of seconds to load.

There are plenty of ways you can improve your website's speed, but using a CDN (Content Delivery Network) is one of the quickest ways you can give your website the boost it needs.

What Is a CDN?

A CDN is a group of servers located in different locations around the world. These servers store static content like HTML, images, and videos.

The job of a CDN is to cache static content from your website across multiple locations. It then delivers the content to your website visitors via the closest server to their location.

Let's say your website is hosted on a UK server but the majority of your website visitors are from the US; a CDN can deliver your static website content to them via a US server. This means they can view your website's content quicker than if it had to travel from a UK server.

Why Do You Need a CDN?

Typically when you start a website, you'll be hosting it on a shared server. This means you share your server with other people. When a user visits your website, they get redirected to your host's server which is located in the global region you've chosen (most hosts allow you to choose your data center).

Every time a user accesses your website, they go via that single shared server. So if you have a lot of website traffic or other websites that share the same server do, it's quite easy for it to become overwhelmed.

Although there are multiple types of web hosting services, using a CDN can help relieve some of the stress on your server without you having to change web hosts.

Advantages of Having a CDN

Having a CDN can make a big difference in how your website performs and it can improve user experience. Here are a few of the biggest benefits of having a CDN:

  • Speed: It's well known that using a CDN can increase your website's speeds and loading times. Speed is a factor in both how your website is ranked by search engines like Google and user retention.
  • User Experience: A faster website will naturally lead to an improved user experience. Once your website takes longer than two seconds to load, research shows your visitors will leave your site and go elsewhere. With a CDN in place, you'll see decreased bounce rates and an increase in how long people stay on your site.
  • Server Load: If your website experiences a lot of traffic, a CDN can help to distribute the load on your server, meaning your server will be more reliable and responsive.

How Site Speed can Affect Conversions

So far we've talked a lot about speed. We know that faster loading websites make people happy, but how can that affect conversions?

79% of customers said they wouldn't return to a website with poor performance. This has a direct impact on potential conversions. Almost half of all consumers will abandon a web page if it takes more than three seconds to load. This means you could lose up to half of your visitors before they get a chance to browse your website.

Store giant, Walmart, reported an increase in conversions after they made improvements to their website's speed. They had previously concluded that visitors who converted experienced web pages that loaded two times faster than those who didn't convert.

After optimizing their website's speed, they found that for every one second of improved site speed, they experienced a 2% increase in conversions. Incremental revenue also increased by up to 1% for every 100ms of site speed improvement.

It's pretty conclusive that increasing your site speed can have a huge impact on conversions, even with an improvement of one second. When it comes to page loading speeds, every second counts (literally). Investing in a CDN can reduce the time it takes for your website to load and deliver information to your website visitors.

Site Speed Improvements can Influence Visibility

With Google taking site and page speed into consideration when ranking sites, load times can influence how people can find your website through a search engine.

Back in 2015, mobile searches outranked the number of desktop searches. This statistic has only continued to grow year on year. This indicates that it's essential to ensure your website's mobile experience is as good as desktop (if not more so).

Prior to Google's mobile-first index, search rankings only took desktop into consideration in terms of SEO. It didn't matter if a website offered a poor mobile experience as it could still rank at the top of Google if desktop was fine.

The tables have completely turned on this; pages are ranked and indexed on Google based on how good the user experience is on mobile. If you want to rank well and therefore increase your site's visibility, you'll need to focus your efforts on reducing the loading time of your website on all devices.

A CDN like CloudFlare can deliver website content in a fast and secure manner to enhance your user's experience, increasing site visibility, and improving your website's conversions.

Use a CDN to Reduce Loading Time

Whilst there are multiple ways you can reduce your page loading times, a CDN is one of the easiest options to try first.

In most cases, individuals who host a website will do so on a shared server. Each website visitors you get will send a request to your webserver to obtain your website content. If you get a large amount of traffic to your site, each request increases and in-turn increase the load time for each of them.

High traffic certainly isn't a bad thing; it indicates your website and business are doing well, but if your server is slowing down, that isn't an ideal situation.

Even if your site isn't experiencing high traffic, users who are further away from your server can be affected by slower load times due to their physical location.

A CDN is a solid tool to aid you in eliminating these issues. Your site will be cached on a large global network of servers, so when a user sends a request to visit your website, the request will get sent to the closest server and reduce page speed loading times.

The content that your users receive when a CDN is active on your website won't differ. The only thing that changes is the amount of time it takes to receive content from your website. It's a win-win situation for you and your potential customers.

A CDN Can Seriously Boost Your Website

There are free and paid versions of CDNs, all of which are incredibly easy to implement on your website. Regardless of whether you consider yourself an SEO expert or not, CDNs can offer a quick fix to your website load time issues and are incredibly effective.

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The 8 Best Multipurpose WordPress Themes | MakeUseOf

There are thousands of free and premium WordPress themes available. That being said, it can be overwhelming for beginners to find the best WordPress theme for their requirements.

The WordPress theme library itself has thousands of themes to browse through, so finding a theme that fits a variety of purposes can be a bit of a challenge.

What Should I Look for in a Theme?

Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned pro, it's important to keep an eye out for a few key features that all the best WordPress themes have in common. After all, these features contribute to making them so popular.

Although WordPress themes tend to be based on a niche market or offer multipurpose designs, there are certain features that consistently shine among them. It doesn't matter if you're looking for a portfolio theme or one that serves multiple business purposes, these features are key to finding the best WordPress themes:

  • Responsive Design: It's essential that your website looks great on mobile and meets your users' expectations. A great theme should always offer a responsive design that will work well on desktop, mobile, and tablet.
  • SEO: If you want your website to be found via search engines, you'll need your theme to support SEO best practices and offer optimization in this area. Key pointers to look out for are clean code, regular updates, fewer JavaScript libraries, structured data, and no hidden links. If you're not sure whether your theme is SEO-friendly, it's worth checking out Google's Webmaster Guidelines for some reassurance.
  • Performance: While it's important to recognize website speed and performance in relation to web hosting, it's also very relevant to choosing the best WordPress theme. If your theme is slow and sluggish, it can negatively affect your SEO and user experience. If you're unsure if your chosen theme is going to perform well, you can use Google's PageSpeed Tool to identify any loading issues.
  • Support: Although you may find yourself not needing any support from a theme's developer, it's always a good sign if the developer does offer support. WordPress can be a tough nut to crack, so on occasions, it's useful to reach out to a helping hand. If a theme offers support, it's a good sign that they aren't going anywhere and will offer updates to fix issues.
  • Compatibility: Many WordPress themes are compatible with most plugins and third-party apps. However, not all of them are, and this is something you should look out for. If you're a total beginner or feel apprehensive about WordPress, you may want to find a theme that's compatible with a drag and drop page builder like Elementor.

These are features that any decent WordPress theme will offer. You should research your theme before you become dead set on it, and consider whether it meets your requirements. Most themes will come with additional features, but it's still important to keep the above elements in mind.

Without further ado, let's take a look at our picks for the best multipurpose WordPress themes.

1. Divi

Divi has been crowned one of the best multipurpose WordPress themes for many good reasons. Not only is it an awesome theme, but it's also a page builder, offering the ultimate combination for any keen WordPress user, new or experienced. The beauty of Divi is that it is simple; there are plenty of elements you can use to create a stunning website in no time at all.

If you are pressed for time, you can browse through Divi's hundreds of ready-made layouts to suit a wide range of industries. It's essentially its own theme library within a theme. If you decide to use Divi's website layout tool, it's literally as simple as clicking a button to import your chosen layout.

For new WordPress users or those that simply want an easier life, Divi's drag and drop builder makes it easy to move elements around your website design. If you create something spectacular, you can save your design and use the style across multiple web pages.

Divi offers the whole package; full control, flexibility, and ease of use.

Download: Divi ($89/year)

2. Themify Ultra

Themify Ultra is a multipurpose theme offering a wealth of ready-made website templates for photography, fashion, portfolios, and more. The Ultra theme gives you access to 12 additional bonus builder addons, including a countdown timer, progress bar, contact form, Slider Pro, Image Pro, and WooCommerce.

If you don't have much confidence in your development ability, Themify Ultra includes the Themify Page Builder which makes it easy to customize your website. One of the negative points people make about pre-made themes is their inability to look unique. Themify Ultra smashes this notion out of the park, offering plenty of choice and flexibility.

Planning on opening an online store? Themify's integration with WooCommerce means you can set up your online store and start selling your products and services in no time at all. You can manage the entire process, from putting your ideas down on paper to seeing them live online, pathing your road to success.

Download: Themify Ultra ($59)

3. Astra

With over 500,000 users, Astra is one of the fastest-growing multipurpose WordPress themes on the market. Astra works seamlessly with the likes of Gutenberg, Elementor, and other popular drag and drop page builders. If you're in a rush to get your website live, Astra has a selection of ready-made sites you can use to get online fast.

Whether you're a blog writer wanting to show off your portfolio, or a small business ready to launch your online store, Astra is a no-brainer. There are plenty of features on offer including custom widgets, layouts, page headers, Google Fonts, and more. However, the main selling point is its integration with WooCommerce.

Creating an online store can be a difficult market to get into, but the Astra theme will reassert your ability to penetrate the market. It will ensure that you can create a beautiful online store outfitted with product galleries, cart options, and shop pages. What's more, Astra is well known for its SEO optimization, so if you want to generate more traffic, this is a solid choice.

Download: Astra ($47/year)

4. Hestia Pro

Hestia Pro is a one-page theme ideal for most businesses. With its slick modern design, Hestia Pro boasts page builder compatibility, speed optimization, and comes WooCommerce ready, meaning you can start selling your products online straight away.

Whilst creating your own website can be rewarding, it can also be time-consuming. Hestia Pro takes the effort out of building a website and comes with multiple pre-made sites ideal for eCommerce stores and other industries.

If you do want to get creative, Hestia is fully customizable and offers lots of flexibility. It's Gutenberg ready too, so even those who aren't familiar with WordPress can start designing their website in a matter of hours.

Download: Hestia Pro ($69/year)

5. Ocean WP

Many of the awesome WordPress themes you'll find in this guide are premium themes, and that's what makes them so brilliant. However, OceanWP is in a league of its own, offering a set of free multipurpose designs to developers and hobbyists.

You'll find lots of extensions and features to add to your website, like Instagram feeds, featured posts, sliders, and lots more. It can also be translated into multiple languages, in case you want to create a multilingual website.

Much like other themes we've seen already, OceanWP comes out of the box ready to hit play with WooCommerce. It also ticks the box in terms of SEO, offering features to help drive traffic to your website in no time.

Download: OceanWP (Free, premium version available)

6. Composer

Composer boasts outstanding support, flexible demos, and high-performance multipurpose WordPress designs. This theme offers over 81 demos and 100+ pre-built layouts to suit a variety of website niches.

The customizable layout means Composer is incredibly versatile, suitable for almost every business or type of website. When you purchase the Composer theme, you'll have access to several plugins including Slider Revolution, Contact Form 7, WooCommerce, Yoast, WP Bakery Page Builder, WordPress security plugins, and lots more.

Download: Composer ($59)

7. Mist

Mist is a multipurpose WordPress theme created by Zozothemes with over 500 page demos and 50+ predefined home demos. You can build the website of your choosing with supportive tutorials and free plugins like Visual Composer, Ultimate Addons, and Revolution Slider.

One of the main appeals of Mist is its page builder feature which contains more than 130 customize options to ensure your website is responsive and compatible with all devices. For an easy-to-use theme and control panel, Mist is highly recommended.

Download: Mist ($59)

8. Uncode

Uncode's creative multipurpose WordPress theme is designed specifically for the purpose of multi-concept websites. There's a wide choice of demos to choose from which are pre-configured with high-resolution images and modern features, ready for you to inject your own content and creative flair.

You can customize Uncode to your heart's content, whether you're starting your first blog, small business website, or you're showcasing your products online, Uncode is compatible with WooCommerce 4.3.x and WordPress 5.5.x.

Download: Uncode ($59)

What's the Best Multipurpose WordPress Theme?

There's no best or worse WordPress theme (though there are some you shouldn't take a second glance at), as it's really dependent on what you want to use it for. However, Divi should take the crown for the King of all multipurpose WordPress themes due to its versatility, flexibility, and user-friendliness.

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The 8 Best New Features of iOS 14 | MakeUseOf

iOS 14, released in September 2020, boasts new features, a home screen design overhaul, and updates to existing apps. If you have a supported iPhone, we'll show you all the best new features and how to take advantage of them.

Does My iPhone Support iOS 14?

If your iPhone can run iOS 13, then you'll be able to run iOS 14. However, some older phones may not be able to enjoy some of the latest features (notably camera updates).

Here is a full list of supported iPhones for the iOS 14 update (the iPhone 12 line ships with iOS 14 installed):

  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone 11 Pro
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone 6s
  • iPhone 6s Plus
  • iPhone SE (1st and 2nd generation)
  • iPod touch (7th generation)

How Do I Update to iOS 14?

If you haven't already received a notification on your iPhone prompting you to update to iOS 14, follow these simple steps to install the update:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Select General.
  3. Choose Software Update.

The update will begin a verification, processing, and installation process. Follow the prompts on your iPhone to install iOS 14. It should be a simple process, but just in case, we recommend backing up your iPhone before installing any updates.

Once the update completes, here are the neat new features you should check out in iOS 14.

1. Home Screen Overhaul

Undoubtedly the biggest change that iOS 14 brought are the new home screen customization features. It's now easier than ever to personalize your iPhone without jailbreaking it.

Below are some of our coolest features on the new home screen.

Widgets

While Android users have enjoyed this feature for quite some time, iPhone users can now add helpful widgets to get info at a glance. These include ones for weather, news, photos, music, and more. To add a widget, enable "jiggle mode" on your iPhone by holding an empty area of the Home screen, then tap the Plus button at the top.

You'll be able to add a list of Apple widgets as well as ones for third-party apps installed on your phone. There's an option to adjust size and layout on each widget to ensure everything fits just the way you want it to.

Hide Home Screens

Now you have the option to choose the Home screens you want to see (or hide). You can re-enable their view at any point, or keep them hidden and still find your apps in the App Library.

Smart Stack

Smart Stack is a widget that makes information panels like Weather and Maps available to view at a quick glance. The idea is that you can flick through helpful widgets by simply using your finger to scroll up or down.

If you press and hold on the Smart Stack widget and choose Edit Stack, you'll be able to adjust the apps shown, re-order them, and enable Smart Rotate.

App Library

The App Library solves the problem of storing apps in folders to de-clutter your home screen. Now you can tidy up all of your apps and access them easily via the App Library.

In jiggle mode, you can choose to remove an app from your home screen, or from your iPhone entirely. When you swipe to the right on your home screens, you'll be able to access the App Library where apps are categorized for you, or you can search for an app of your choosing.

2. Enhanced Voice Memo Recordings

If you've ever used your iPhone to record voice memos, you may have noticed there wasn't a feature to reduce the background noise. If you're someone that likes to make voice notes on the go, record your shopping list, or chat to friends, you're definitely going to enjoy this update.

To reduce background noise through Apple's Enhanced Recording option, follow these simple steps:

  1. Make a recording.
  2. Select the three-dot ellipsis menu.
  3. Select Edit Recording.
  4. Tap the Magic Wand Icon.
  5. Select Done.

In addition to enhancing your recordings, you can organize voice memos into different folders and mark individual recordings as favorites for a later date.

3. Change Your Default Browser App

Any time you tap a link on your iPhone, you've probably noticed that this take you to Safari, even if you have other browsers installed.

While the majority of iOS users do use Safari, it's nice to have the choice of which browser your iPhone defaults to. And now you can—iOS 14 allows you to set most browser apps installed on your iPhone as the default browser.

Here's how you can change the default browser on your iPhone:

  1. Update your browser in the App Store to make sure it's compatible with this option in iOS 14.
  2. Open Settings.
  3. Scroll down until you see the browser you want your iPhone to use by default and select it.
  4. Scroll down to the Allow Access section.
  5. Select Default Browser App.
  6. Choose the browser you want to set as the default.

Now you can enjoy your favorite browser all the time, even when you open links from your email and other sources.

4. Direct Reply in iMessage Groups

Anyone who's part of many group iMessages will know how crazy they can get, especially with all the fun things you can do with the iMessage app. This is especially true if there are more than three people in the group.

For a long time, apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger have allowed you to reply directly to other messages. This is useful because if there are multiple people chatting about different topics, you can specify who you're responding to. Or if you only catch up on a conversation well after the fact, a direct response is much clearer than a random reply to something mentioned hours ago.

Thankfully, iOS 14 allows you to reply directly to specific messages in iMessage. All you have to do is hold your finger down on the message you want to reply to, and you'll see an option to Reply, with other messages being grayed out.

5. No More Scroll Wheels

How many times have you gone to set an alarm on your iPhone or pick a time in your calendar app and accidentally scrolled past the time you wanted? While that old scroll wheel could be hypnotizing, it wasn't very precise. Thankfully, in iOS 14, this is gone (if you want it to be).

To enter time for an alarm (for example), your iPhone will now bring up a keyboard for you to type in the desired time, or a visual calendar for entering a date. However, if you still want to use the scroll wheel, the option is still there. Simply hold your finger down on the time/date selection and scroll to your heart's content.

6. Hide Your Photos

iOS has allowed you to hide photos for some time. However, the photo would be moved to a folder called Hidden, which was still accessible from the Photos app.

In order to hide a photo in iOS 14, simply view it and select Share > Hide. With the latest iOS update, you can now actually hide the hidden folder, meaning your secret photos are actually invisible.

Follow these quick steps to hide your hidden album:

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Select Photos.
  3. Tap on Hidden Album.
  4. Toggle Off.

Your photos will still exist, but your hidden album won't be visible. The only way you can unhide your hidden album is to go back into Settings and toggle this option On again.

7. Caption Photos

If you've ever wanted to quickly add a caption to your photos, you'll be pleased to know that iOS 14 has introduced this feature. Rather than the laborious task of selecting Markup on photos and fiddling around with the awkward settings, you can now easily add a caption to any photo or video in your camera roll.

All you have to do is swipe up on the image or video and type straight onto it. This also makes it much easier to find photos at a later date, by giving them names such as "Fireworks 2020."

8. Hide Your Precise Location

It's well-known that phones and smart devices track your location and what you're up to. Unfortunately, there's a huge market for data mining to make people a lot of money (and worse).

iOS 14 has made it possible to turn your precise location on or off. Some apps require your precise location, such as in an emergency or if your car has broken down. However, in most cases, it's doubtful that you really want Twitter or KFC knowing your exact location.

To turn precise location on/off for an app, follow these quick steps:

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Navigate to Privacy.
  3. Select Location Services.
  4. Select each app you want to toggle Precise Location On/Off.

Continue Exploring iOS 14

iOS 14 is one of the biggest updates the iPhone has had in a while. In addition to these major features, smaller tricks and hidden features should make their way out of the woodwork before long.

For now, why not look more closely at some of the widget options available?