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6 Must-Have School Supplies for Online Classes

Just because you’re not attending class in a physical classroom doesn’t mean that you can show up empty-handed. Besides a reliable laptop or desktop computer, there are several things you’ll need to make your online classes go smoothly.

Ready to start preparing for your online classes? Make sure you have these essential supplies before the school year starts.

1. Logitech HD Webcam C525

Logitech HD Webcam C525 Logitech HD Webcam C525 Buy Now On Amazon $87.50

In case your online class requires the use of webcams, you’ll want to make sure that you have a high-quality webcam at the ready. That way, your teacher and fellow students can see and hear you clearly.

The Logitech HD Webcam C525 is the perfect balance of quality and affordability. For the price, you’ll get 720p video calling and recording. Although a 1080p webcam would be more ideal, they’re on the pricier side—720p is just enough to prevent your picture from appearing too grainy or blurred.

This Logitech webcam comes with an autofocus and light correction feature that automatically sharpens your video, cancels the noise around you, and brightens any dim lighting. Plus, you can’t go wrong with this webcam’s mobility. You can turn it 360 degrees, and even fold it to take it on-the-go.

2. Logitech USB Headset H390

Even if your webcam comes with a microphone, the microphone quality doesn’t always cut it. Your teacher and classmates might not be able to hear you due to the distance between your face and the webcam’s built-in microphone. Wearing a headset with a microphone can give your voice much more clarity.

The Logitech USB Headset H390 not only makes your voice sound crisp, but it also lets you better hear your professor. Its padded headband and earpad make it comfortable to wear for your entire class. This Logitech headset also comes with a rotational, noise-canceling microphone that won’t make your voice sound muffled.

As for changing the volume on these headphones, you don’t have to fiddle with your computer—you can just simply adjust sound controls right on the cord. As a result, this headset can definitely come in handy for participating in class, making presentations, and listening to lectures.

3. Microsoft 365 Personal 12-Month Subscription

Microsoft 365 Personal 12-Month Subscription Microsoft 365 Personal 12-Month Subscription Buy Now On Amazon

A Microsoft 365 Personal Subscription is a must-have for any student. Some schools offer a free subscription to Microsoft 365, so you might want to check with your school before purchasing your own. For a yearly fee, you’ll gain access to all Microsoft Office programs.

This means you’ll get to use Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. As you probably know, all of these programs come in handy, whether you’re taking an online or an in-person class. In addition to all of these helpful programs, this Microsoft 365 subscription also comes with 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage.

The cloud-based service gives you the ability to store thousands of documents and photos, as well as share them with other devices. OneDrive automatically backs up your PC, so you won’t have to worry about losing your precious documents and school assignments.

4. SmugChair Bonded Leather Office Chair

SmugChair Bonded Leather Office Chair SmugChair Bonded Leather Office Chair Buy Now On Amazon $82.99

Who wants to attend an online class in an uncomfortable chair? You never really know how important it is to have a comfortable office chair until you’re forced to stay seated all day. That’s why the SmugChair Bonded Leather Office Chair is a worthy investment.

This rolling office chair is made with smooth bonded leather and has plentiful padding on the seat and armrests. It’s fully adjustable—you can swivel, tilt the chair back, and lower or raise it according to your needs. The armrest’s curved position also helps you maintain a healthy posture, and won’t leave your arms feeling sore after several hours of sitting.

One of the best parts of this chair is its massage feature. Simply plug in the USB cord on the back of the chair, and you can start up a massage! It’s perfect for soothing your back while doing schoolwork and studying. With this chair’s affordable price and comfort level, you really can’t go wrong.

5. HP OfficeJet 3830 All-in-One Wireless Printer

HP OfficeJet 3830 All-in-One Wireless Printer HP OfficeJet 3830 All-in-One Wireless Printer Buy Now On Amazon $79.99

While you might not think you need a printer for an online class, that’s just not the case. Having hard copies of assignments and study material can actually help you keep track of your work. The HP OfficeJet 3830 All-in-One Wireless Printer is a great choice for online classes, as it’s budget-friendly and comes with just enough features to help you succeed.

Since this is an all-in-one printer, it can print, copy, scan, and fax documents. This makes it easy to print out assignments and do them by hand. When you’re done, you can quickly scan the assignments, upload them to your computer, and then email them to your instructor.

Better yet, the HP OfficeJet 3830 supports wireless printing and is even Alexa-friendly. You can also print files and photos from your smartphone, as well as documents from cloud storage services like Dropbox, iCloud, and Google Drive.

6. CosyFrame Adjustable Laptop Table

CosyFrame Adjustable Laptop Table CosyFrame Adjustable Laptop Table Buy Now On Amazon $40.99

Online classes give you the luxury of working from wherever you want, especially if you have a laptop. Don’t feel like getting out of bed? Plop the CosyFrame Adjustable Laptop Table on your bed, and you can sit back while getting some work done.

This stand isn’t only for doing work in bed—you can also place it on top of a table, or even extend its legs to create a small desk. Each leg is adjustable, allowing you to change its height and angle to suit your position.

When you place your laptop on a solid desk, you might notice your laptop getting hot, thanks to the lack of ventilation. Luckily, the CosyFrame comes with dual cooling fans to keep your laptop from overheating. So, if you’re tired of doing work at a desk, you might want to try using this laptop stand while relaxing in bed.

Getting Ready for Your Online Classes

Once you have your supplies in order, you can feel comfortable logging on for your first online classes. Online classes might seem intimidating at first, but you’ll soon realize that they’re just like in-person classes—only, you’ll never have to sit inside of a classroom.

Having an old or slow computer for online classes is a recipe for disaster. When you can’t get your computer to run, you’ll end up missing classes, and you likely won’t be able to get your work done on time. If you need an upgrade, check out these best Windows PC laptops.

Read the full article: 6 Must-Have School Supplies for Online Classes

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The 5 Best Burner Phones for Protecting Your Identity

Burner phones, devices which are intended to be cheap, throwaway, and less invasive serve may different purposes. Whether you’re after a spare to throw in your bag when travelling or hoping to minimize surveillance, there are options out there that won’t break the bank.

We’ve rounded up some of the best burner phones available today to get you started.

Why Use a Burner Phone?

There are plenty of reasons why you might want a burner phone. While news reports often link them to criminality, these devices can be incredibly useful for all sorts of legitimate reasons. They tend to be quite hard-wearing, have great battery life, and, best of all, are pretty inexpensive.

Aside from that, burner phones can be useful to protect your identity. For instance, your smartphone will have a lot of personal data stored on it. Lose your phone and that can leave you at risk of identity theft. A simpler, less expensive phone will likely only have text messages, phone calls, and contacts on there.

Given that most options rely solely on 2G or 3G connections, you’re unlikely to be using the internet in the same way, aside from possibly accessing emails or getting directions. Taking all of this into account, let’s see what handsets we rate as some of the best burner phones.

1. Nokia 3310 3G

Nokia 3310 3G Nokia 3310 3G Buy Now On Amazon $64.99

If you grew up in the 1990s, then you’ll remember the original Nokia 3310, one of the most popular cell phones of all time. The Nokia 3310 3G is an update of the iconic device with a color screen and 3G capability. While this is almost two generations of wireless technology behind, so it won’t offer the fastest internet speeds, it does have its uses.

For example, it would come in useful for someone who is going to a festival for the weekend. You can call and text your friends if you lose them, and, thanks to the 3G, you could probably even locate them on a map. Aside from the 3G capabilities, the phone has a massive 27-day standby time—more than enough for a weekend away, for example. There’s even an updated version of Snake, the classic pre-internet mobile game, to play.

We reviewed the revived Nokia 3310 back in 2017. At the time, we didn’t think it offered value for money. However, the phone has evolved in the years since and has become one of the best affordable burner phones available.

2. Plum Ram 7

Plum Ram 7 Plum Ram 7 Buy Now On Amazon $55.00

As mentioned, burner phones tend to be fairly rugged. Case in point is the Plum Ram 7, which looks like something that could withstand a fall from the 37th story. The handset has a damage-limiting design, so it should be able to withstand a knock or two.

This handset is also 3G, so it will be able to access the internet, albeit without many of the features we’ve come to expect. This would be an excellent phone for hiking trips or similar pursuits. Its IP68 dust and water-resistant rating will ensure you won’t easily damage it if you drop it into the sand or a stream.

This cell phone is unlocked, too, meaning you can pop any SIM card from compatible carriers into it. Consequently, you can find the provider with the best coverage at your destination and use their network. The phone boasts a fantastic 35-hour talk time and 900-hour standby time.

3. Nokia 8110 4G

Nokia 8110 4G Nokia 8110 4G Buy Now On Amazon $57.35

Another Nokia, this time the revamped Nokia 8110 4G. However, unlike the 3310, this is a slider phone. Although largely a relic of a bygone era, these devices come equipped with a plastic covering over the buttons. This slides down to reveal the keypad so you can access the phone’s functions.

It is relatively inexpensive, and the sliding mouthpiece has an air of retro-cool. The 8110 outstrips the other burner phones on this list in terms of connectivity. Users can enjoy all the wonder of 4G, so you should have no problem with basic internet functions. It has a standby time of 25 days, which is the best part of a month.

It also has a talk time of 7.5 hours, so you will get plenty out of the battery. Just be aware that using the internet will drain the battery faster, so you would need to use it sparingly and ensure you turn data off when you aren’t using it. Interestingly, the original 8110 is the phone that Neo used in The Matrix!

4. Alcatel QUICKFLIP 4044C

Alcatel QUICKFLIP 4044C Alcatel QUICKFLIP 4044C Buy Now On Amazon $47.90

The Alcatel QUICKFLIP 4044C is an excellent example of an inexpensive burner phone. Like the others on this list, it comes with a novel throwback feature. In this case, the 4044C is a flip phone. Although this design has seen a few modern revivals, namely the Motorola Razr 2020, it still has an element of nostalgic cool to it.

However, one additional feature that stands out is the HD Voice capabilities of the phone. This makes it an ideal choice for noisy environments like a concert or music festival, where you might not hear your friends on a regular phone. The HD Voice capabilities will filter out background noise, making a caller’s voice clearer.

5. Zanco Tiny T1

Zanco Tiny T1 Zanco Tiny T1 Buy Now On Amazon $49.99

The Zanco Tiny T1 has to take the prize for the most compact handset on this list. Well, it would do, as it is the world’s smallest phone. Sick and tired of lugging an unwieldy Samsung beefcake around with you? Then the Zanco Tiny is for you.

If you are going backpacking or hiking for photography purposes, you want all the weight in your camera equipment. You can pop this phone in any pocket, and you won’t even notice the difference. Thanks to the 14-option software-based voice changer, this is an excellent phone if you want to protect your identity, too.

It also has a 180-minute talk time and a three-day standby time. Ideal for those short weekend trips away, then. The great thing is, it is a very basic phone. So, if you are taking a distraction-free break from everyday life, you can still contact someone if you need to.

The Best Cheap Burner Phone for You

Whatever you need a cheap burner phone for, there are plenty on the market to choose from. Whether you’re heading to a festival, off camping for the weekend, or just want a cheap, basic handset, the phones included here definitely have you covered.

That said, if you want to keep your smartphone’s features, while still getting the benefits of a burner phone, check out some of the best apps for a temporary burner phone number.

Read the full article: The 5 Best Burner Phones for Protecting Your Identity

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The 5 Best Quiet Bedroom Fans for Sleeping

Sleeping in a hot room can be an uncomfortable experience. If you are too hot in bed, that disturbs your sleep and makes you tired and grumpy. So, what can you do to remedy a warm bedroom?

Well, you can buy a fan, of course! You really should grab yourself one that works quietly while you sleep, though. Some fans are a bit on the clunky side, so you’ll find the wrong choice frustrates you even more throughout the night.

With that in mind, we want to help you find the best quiet fan for your bedroom.

1. Honeywell HTF210B Quiet Set Personal Table Fan

Honeywell HTF210B QuietSet Personal Table Fan Honeywell HTF210B QuietSet Personal Table Fan Buy Now On Amazon $14.24

If you are short on space, the Honeywell HTF210B QuietSet Personal Table Fan is a great option. It is only small, at 13-inches high. That means it will take up very little space on your nightstand. Not only that but, if you place it next to your bed, it is in a primary location to deliver refreshingly cool air. It is part of Honeywell’s QuietSet range of fans. So, it has plenty of power behind it while staying quiet at night, perfect for drifting off to sleep.

The automatic shut-off timer ensures that the HTF210B doesn’t waste energy. That makes it a reasonably green option, too. The four speeds will also make certain that the fan is delivering enough cool air based on your needs. The fan oscillates, allowing it to cool your bedroom evenly and efficiently. The control panel at the base allows you to tailor the fan’s airflow, keeping your bedroom, and you, cool throughout the night.

2. Dyson Pure Cool

Dyson Pure Cool Dyson Pure Cool Buy Now On Amazon $528.75

We couldn’t have a buying guide for quiet bedroom fans without Dyson making an appearance. The best Dyson fan for cooling your bedroom has to be the Dyson Pure Cool. Given the price, you may be wondering why this fan justifies the investment. For a start, it isn’t just a fan—it is also a HEPA filter and air purifier.

While it is the most expensive fan on our list, the additional features make it a wortwhile addition to your home. For instance, the fan even connects to an app to deliver data on how pure the air in your home is. The Pure Cool is a bladeless design, meaning that all the air is directed from the unit’s base and out through a small slit in the loop at the top.

This distributes the air around the room, ensuring that the whole space is cool and comfortable. The fan even detects changes in air quality and will customize its performance based on the data it receives. With 350 degrees of oscillation, the fan makes keeping your bedroom cool a breeze.

3. Honeywell DreamWeaver Sleep Fan

Honeywell DreamWeaver Sleep Fan Honeywell DreamWeaver Sleep Fan Buy Now On Amazon $53.99

The Honeywell DreamWeaver Sleep Fan is another great, multi-function device. Not only is it a quiet fan for your bedroom, it is an excellent cool sleep aid, too. Aside from emitting cold air, it also emits pink noise. To briefly explain, that means it generates an audible tone similar to static on an old-style TV set. It plays at a continuous pitch and volume, canceling out any other sound that might distract you from sleeping.

The unit is cylindrical, with a pivoting fan that oscillates around the base. There are three cooling speeds to enjoy, and the fan even has dimmable lights to help you go to sleep. You control the fan using the capacitive control panel up top. This allows you to customize airflow, set the timer, and change the light intensity. You can further reduce or increase airflow with the handy sliding shutter at the front. It even has a USB socket so you can charge a device with it!

4. Rowenta VU5670 Turbo Silence Extreme

Rowenta VU5670 Turbo Silence Extreme Rowenta VU5670 Turbo Silence Extreme Buy Now On Amazon $125.99

The Rowenta VU5670 Turbo Silence Extreme fan follows a more familiar form factor. The blades are at the top of the unit in a metal cage. In turn, this sits on an extendable arm, which is attached to a base unit to keep the fan steady. According to the company, the fan operates at a quiet 35dB. For comparison, 20dB is comparable to the sound of rustling leaves.

As a result, this really is a quiet fan for the bedroom, or anywhere in the home for that matter! The extendable arm also houses a remote control. Using this, you can change the speed of the fan, access controls for the silent mode, and set the timer so the fan will turn itself off when you’re fast asleep.

You can pop the remote control back into the housing once you’ve used it, which keeps it securely located. As this is an adjustable floor-standing fan, you should have no problem directing the airflow across your entire bed, if you need to.

5. Ocean Loong AB09 Bladeless Heater Fan

Ocean Loong AB09 Bladeless Heater Fan Ocean Loong AB09 Bladeless Heater Fan Buy Now On Amazon $209.00

What do you do if you don’t just want a fan that blows cold air? A fan that heats you in the winter can also be a good option. Luckily, the Ocean Loong AB09 Bladeless Heater Fan does exactly that. It has ten speeds in Cool Mode. Consequently, it is one of the most customizable fans on our list.

If you need a blast of hot air when it is a cold day, then the three heat settings will see to that. As the name suggests, this is a bladeless fan, representing safety and modernity in equal part, as well as a nod to Dyson’s market-leading design.

The fan has a sleep mode with a timer, which makes it environmentally friendly as well. The 120-degree oscillation means it can cover a greater area, whether it is heating or cooling the room. There is even tip-over protection, so you can have peace of mind that it won’t damage anything and will stay operational if it falls.

The Best Quiet Bedroom Fans for Sleeping

These are definitely some of the best bedroom fans for sleeping. Especially so, given that several of them also have additional features. The pink noise element to the Honeywell DreamWeaver is a really cool extra to have, as is the heating feature that the Ocean Loong AB09 boasts.

Whatever your needs, there are some excellent fans on the market. If you would like to aid your sleep even further, check out the best gadgets for relaxation.

Read the full article: The 5 Best Quiet Bedroom Fans for Sleeping

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The 5 Best Mini PCs for Gaming

You don’t need a massive gaming rig to play the latest video games on ultra-settings. You can purchase a mini gaming PC instead, packed with the same high-spec hardware as a regular gaming desktop.

So, if size is a concern or you demand portability from your gaming PC, you should check out the best mini PCs for gaming.

1. Zotac Magnus Mini Creator

Zotac Magnus Mini Creator Zotac Magnus Mini Creator Buy Now On Amazon $1,899.99

Let’s kick things off with a mini gaming PC powerhouse: the Zotac Magnus Mini Creator. Under the hood, the Zotac Magnus Mini Creator packs a mighty six-core 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-9750H, along with the 8GB GDDR6 Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080. Out of the box, the Mini Creator comes with 8GB RAM, although this is upgradeable up to 32GB DDR4 RAM.

The Intel Core i7-9750H is a power-efficient CPU with a thermal design power rating of 45W. The 9750H also features integrated UHD Graphics 630, which you can use to take the load off of the discreet GPU for further power savings. The Zotac Magnus Mini Creator includes two HDMI ports, one DisplayPort, four USB 3.0 ports, one USB Type-C port, and a handy SD card slot.

This mini PC is ideal for gaming, but it is also well-suited to other creative tasks as well. The high-performance processor allows you to perform intensive functions like photo and video editing, 3D animation, and you can even use it to stream your gaming sessions. That’s not to mention that it’s capable of handling home theater media centers, too.

2. Corsair ONE i164

From one mini PC behemoth to another, the Corsair ONE i164 is another impressive tiny gaming system. The Corsair One i164’s Intel Core i9-9900K is an eight-core 3.6GHz CPU, one of the best consumer CPUs on the market at the time of writing.

Working with the 9900K is an 11GB GDDR6 Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, backed up with a whopping 32GB DDR4 RAM. One of the things that sets the Corsair ONE i164 aside from other mini PCs is the integrated liquid cooling system.

Corsair builds the ONE series of mini PCs with high and ultra-level quality gaming leading the design, and it shows. The ONE i164 packs in the external connections too. It features three DisplayPort, one VR-ready HDMI, two USB 2.0, four USB 3.1 Gen 1, and two USB 3.1 Gen 2 (Type-A and Type-C).

While the physical size of this computer is inline with other mini PCs, it uses the more familiar desktop PC format. So, rather than a compact box on your table, you can put the smaller desktop tower instead.

3. MSI Trident X

MSI Trident X MSI Trident X Buy Now On Amazon $2,299.00

As far as aesthetics go, the MSI Trident X is up there with the best looking mini gaming PCs. The Trident X looks similar to a modern gaming console, standing tall on your desktop or next to your TV. Throw in some RGB lighting effects and a nicely crafted case, and you have a visual winner.

But gaming is about what’s on the inside of the case. And in the MSI Trident X setup, you’ll find a top of the line Intel Core i7-10700KF, an eight-core 3.6GHz beast. Working alongside the CPU is an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super, which comes with 8GB GDDR6 RAM.

Finally, the Trident X has a whopping 32GB DDR4 RAM, future-proofing your mini gaming PC for the medium-to-long term. In terms of connectivity, you’ll find a Thunderbolt 3 port, three DisplayPorts, one HDMI, one USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C, three USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, one USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, and three USB 2.0 Type-A ports.

4. HP ProDesk 405

HP ProDesk 405 HP ProDesk 405 Buy Now On Amazon $512.88

The HP ProDesk 405 is an AMD-powered mini gaming PC with a similar style to a set-top cable box. Okay, it is slightly more appealing than your old cable box, but it certainly won’t win any awards, with the black and silver design fitting in with HP’s wider off-the-shelf PC designs.

Powering the ProDesk 405 is an AMD Ryzen 5 2400GE, a quad-core 3.2GHz CPU, which is decent enough. The AMD Ryzen 5 2400GE comes bundled with the AMD Radeon Vega 11 onboard graphics.

Again, the Vega 11 is decent enough but not world-beating, allowing some 1080p gaming at reasonable specs for games that are a few years old. Still, this is one of the more affordable options out there if you’re looking for a space-saving mini PC, but still want to jump into more than a few PC gaming sessions.

5. Intel NUC 8 Hades Canyon

The Intel NUC 8 Hades Canyon is a powerful mini PC for gaming—although you should note that it is not the latest generation of Intel NUC. However, the CPU and GPU combination make the NUC 8 Hades Canyon worth your consideration.

The Intel NUC 8 Hades Canyon uses an Intel Core i7-8809G, a quad-core 3.1GHz CPU, with onboard Intel HD Graphics 630. However, you don’t have to use the onboard graphics for gaming, as the NUC 8 Hades Canyon also packs in an AMD Radeon RX Vega M GH discreet graphics card.

The RX Vega M GH offers similar performance to the Nvidia GeForce 1060, allowing for some decent gaming at 1080p. The NUC 8 Hades Canyon also features one USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C, one USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A, four USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A, two Mini DisplayPort, and two HDMI ports.

Which Are the Best Mini PCs for Gaming?

If you scan through the listings on Amazon, you’ll find a vast number of mini gaming PCs. The prices look brilliant—until you actually consider the specs. Many of these entry-level or barebones systems come with a low to medium tier CPU and do not have a discreet GPU.

You will manage some gaming on a machine like this, but you certainly won’t roam the streets of GTA V’s San Andreas on ultra-settings. The simple fact of the matter is that a powerful mini gaming PC, like those we’ve listed here, will set you back a bit more than the alternatives.

You don’t have to buy an off-the-shelf mini gaming PC. If you want to keep costs down, check out our guide on how to build a small PC with the Mini-ITX form factor.

Read the full article: The 5 Best Mini PCs for Gaming

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The 10 Best Windows Apps Worth Paying For

When you want to download a new desktop program, your first instinct is probably to look for a free option. And while that’s great in a lot of cases, there’s some software that’s worth paying for.

Let’s take a look at the best paid software for your Windows PC. We’ll focus on generally applicable apps that most users will get something out of for their money.

1. Backblaze

If there’s one kind of paid software that’s worth the cost, it’s a backup tool. Without a backup of your computer, years’ worth of photos, documents, and other data could disappear in an instant.

While Windows has a solid local backup option built-in, that doesn’t protect your backup drive from physical damage, such as a fire or theft. A cloud backup service like Backblaze is thus an essential part of your setup.

For a flat fee, you can back up as much data as you want from one computer. Backups run automatically and you can exclude certain folders if you like. It’s easy to restore one file or your entire backup when needed.

Backblaze offers a great “set and forget” backup solution for those who want protection but don’t want to worry about setting it all up manually.

Download: Backblaze ($6/month or $60/year, free trial available)

2. Groupy

Tabbed browsing is so convenient that you might wish other apps on your computer had the feature too. That’s where Groupy comes in—it’s a straightforward Windows utility that brings tab grouping to all apps.

Simply drag one app window on top of another to group them together. This lets you, for instance, keep tabs from multiple apps together when you’re using them to work on one task. You can save tab groups to easily re-open later, as well as setting Groupy to always group multiple instances of certain apps together.

If you love tabs, this is a few dollars well spent. It’s a great way to organize the dozens of app windows you have floating around.

Download: Groupy ($4.99, free trial available)

3. Microsoft 365

We’ve previously discussed how you might not need Microsoft Office, thanks to the wealth of free alternatives like LibreOffice and Office Online. And while that does hold true for many people, Microsoft 365 is worth paying for if you fall into the right use case.

Microsoft 365 Family costs $100 per year and includes full Office access for up to six people. As a bonus, it also includes 1TB of OneDrive storage per user, plus 60 minutes of Skype calling per month.

Considering that many cloud storage providers charge $10/month for 2TB of cloud storage, getting 1TB of cloud storage each for 6 people at $100/year is a great value. Plus, if everyone uses Office on at least one computer and their mobile device, you’re getting a lot for the money, compared to $70/year for one person.

We’ve compared the value of Microsoft 365 and Office 2019 standalone if you’re interested in more info.

Buy: Microsoft 365 ($99.99/year for Family or $69.99/year for Personal)

4. DisplayFusion

If you work with multiple monitors, you’ve probably noticed that Windows doesn’t do a whole lot to let you customize them. DisplayFusion adds a ton of functionality in this area, making it well worth the cost if you want to optimize your screen real estate.

Features include customization options like multiple wallpaper profiles, allowing you to create “mini monitors” on each display, dimming inactive monitors, and even scripting that lets you run actions based on triggers. While there’s a limited free version, the Pro licenses start at a one-time $29 purchase for a single computer.

Download: DisplayFusion ($29, free trial available)

5. A Paid VPN

We’ve spoken before about how a VPN is a great tool for enhancing your online privacy, accessing content from other regions, and browsing securely on open networks.

No matter which paid VPN you go for, having it installed on Windows is a worthwhile purchase. Check out our favorite VPN services and how to use a VPN with Windows 10 to find out more.

6. Spotify

Why pay for individual song and album downloads when you can have it all with one subscription? Spotify charges $10 per month (less per person with the Family, Duo, or Student plans) for unlimited access to millions of songs.

With Spotify Premium, you get high-quality music streams, the ability to save music offline on your device, and no ads. It’s a huge value if you listen to music all the time on your computer, so give it a look if you don’t already use another streaming service like Apple Music.

Download: Spotify (Free, subscription available)

7. Breevy

Chances are that you type the same snippets of text multiple times per day. How many times have you entered your home address, email address, or a canned email into a text field this week?

Text expansion is a huge productivity booster that’s worth the cost, and Breevy is a great choice for it. The application lets you set up shortcuts (such as @@) that let you expand to a larger block of text (like your email address). This saves you a ton of time—you won’t have to worry about repetitive blocks of text anymore.

Breevy offers more than just text expansion, including thousands of autocorrect entries, folder organization for expansions, dynamic input, and much more. Give the trial a spin and you’ll wonder how you lived without it.

Download: Breevy ($34.95, free trial available)

8. Malwarebytes Premium

For most people, Windows Defender does a good enough job of protecting your PC. If you’re looking for extra layers of protection, then Malwarebytes Premium is a great second line of defense.

In addition to the trusted on-demand scanning of the free version, Malwarebytes Premium includes always-on shields, ransomware protection, scheduled scans, and more. If you want to pay for a security tool, this is one to consider. You can also opt for the five-device plan to protect additional computers.

See our overview of Malwarebytes Premium for more reasons to consider upgrading.

Download: Malwarebytes (Free, $39.99/year for Premium)

9. A Password Manager

We’ve talked before about how everyone should use a password manager to generate secure passwords and keep them safe. While some password managers are available for free, such as LastPass, there are many paid password managers that are worth the few dollars per month.

For example, 1Password provides a smoother interface than LastPass. It also has handy features like the Watchtower, which alerts you to password breaches, and Travel mode, which lets you remove some passwords from your device when crossing borders.

LastPass also has a Premium plan, which unlocks one-to-many sharing, secure file storage, and a few other features. Have a look at our comparison of password managers to find the right one for you.

10. Grammarly

While it’s one of the most expensive apps on the list, Grammarly is worthwhile for anyone who writes on their computer a lot. Whether you want to improve your papers for school or have a second set of eyes while you blog or work on a novel, it’s a huge help.

Grammarly has a free plan, but Premium unlocks advanced readability features, vocabulary suggestions, and a plagiarism detector. It starts at $29.95/month, but the price drops to $11.66 a month if you pay yearly. If you’d benefit from stronger writing, give it a look.

Download: Grammarly (Free, from $29.95/month for Premium)

The Best Paid Software for Windows 10

This is just a sample of the best paid software for Windows that’s worth your time. There are many other apps worth checking out, such as screen recorders, screenshot tools, and creative apps. But what’s worth buying in those categories depends on your individual needs, while we tried to focus on broadly applicable apps here.

For more Windows software, check out the Windows 10 apps we recommend downloading on a new computer.

Image Credit: Syda Productions/Shutterstock

Read the full article: The 10 Best Windows Apps Worth Paying For

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The 4 Most Secure Phones for Privacy

Recent years have shown us how insecure our smartphones can be. They pose a risk if we misplace them, as all our confidential data is stored on the device, but they also represent an enormous privacy risk.

Google and Apple monitor everything you do on your smartphone, and then manufacturers will add their own invasive software into the mix. The situation can seem bleak for the privacy-enthusiast.

Fortunately, you do have options if you’re after the best phone for privacy.

Choosing the Most Secure Phone

Before diving into the recommendations, it’s important to note the unique considerations of choosing a phone for privacy. The smartphone experience is based on data collection and personalization.

First-party apps like Google Photos or Apple Maps, and third-party options like Instagram and WhatsApp, rely on capturing your personal information. However, they are also integral to the way we’ve come to use our phones.

Opting for a privacy-focused smartphone will mean that you lose out on some of these features and services. Of course, you may be able to work around these app-based restrictions. However, this also applies to the operating system as a whole.

Generally, privacy-friendly smartphones are less intuitive and more complicated thanks to the inclusion of encrypted software, fewer social platforms, and lack of personalization.

This doesn’t mean that they are unusable, though. However, you need to be aware of the significant differences between a regular iPhone or Android device and a secure smartphone going into your purchase.

1. Purism Librem 5

Librem 5 from PurismPurism, a social purpose corporation, has been producing privacy-friendly Linux-based laptops and computers since 2014. The Purism Librem 5 is the company’s first smartphone. The device was launched as a crowd-funded project in 2017, with the first batch of phones shipping in late 2019.

The phone runs PureOS, Purism’s privacy-focused Linux operating system. As such, the software is open-source and comes with free and open-source software (FOSS) pre-installed. As a result, there is no access to the Google Play Store or other mainstream app stores. The default web-browser, Pure Browser, is a modified version of Firefox with DuckDuckGo as the default search engine.

Crucially, the phone also has three hardware-based killswitches that can entirely disable the camera and microphone, remove power from the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth adaptors, and shut down all network connectivity, including GPS. As for the remaining hardware, the Librem 5 has a 3,500mAh removable battery, a 13MP primary camera, and 32GB of onboard storage, expandable up to 2TB via microSD.

Purism has committed to continuous updates for the Librem 5. This is in stark contrast to Google and Apple, who typically only support a phone for two or three years. The phone charges via USB-C, and supports wireless Bluetooth connectivity. Fortunately, there is also a 3.5mm connection known as the Courage Jack for those who still prefer to use the traditional input.

On paper, the Librem 5 makes a convincing case as the best phone for privacy. However, before you hand over your cash, take a look at our review of the Purism Librem 5. The trade-off between privacy and usability is evident here, and the phone has some notable flaws. However, if your primary goal is improved smartphone privacy, then the Librem 5 is still a good option.

2. Fairphone 3

Fairphone 3 front with screen onThe Fairphone 3 is an ethical, sustainable, and repairable Android-based smartphone. The coverage of the device is usually focused on the supply chain and repairability, both important considerations. However, the Fairphone 3 is also a suitable Android smartphone for the privacy-conscious.

In keeping with its ethical stance, Fairphone also understands that many people don’t want a Google-based Android experience. The phone ships with Fairphone OS, a custom edition of Android 9, pre-installed. Thankfully, there is also the option to install alternative operating systems.

Fairphone develops a de-Googled operating system known as Fairphone Open. This was initially released alongside the Fairphone 2 and is currently in early-stage development for the Fairphone 3. You can install Fairphone Open on the Fairphone 3, although the process isn’t straightforward.

If you’d prefer to opt for an easy to install option, you can unlock the Fairphone 3’s bootloader and install your favorite alternative operating system. As the device was launched in 2019, third-party development is still ongoing. If you need a more immediate option and don’t mind using older hardware, there is an active community creating LineageOS and Ubuntu Touch ports for the Fairphone 2.

The Fairphone 3 is powered by a Snapdragon 632 processor, has 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of onboard storage. The 3,000mAh battery is removable and replaceable, and charges via USB-C. The phone supports Bluetooth 5, NFC, and dual SIM operations. There is a 12MP primary camera and an 8MP front-facing lens.

To find out more about the device, check out our review of the Fairphone 3.

3. Pine64 PinePhone

linux-distros-pinephoneThe Pine64 PinePhone is a Linux-based alternative to the Purism Librem 5. However, the PinePhone isn’t specially adapted for increased security and privacy. Instead, it’s strength comes from the fact that the phone runs an open-source operating system and relies solely on open-source software.

The PinePhone is designed to run a variety of Linux operating systems. There are pre-configured variants of the phone available like the PinePhone Community Edition: PostmarketOS available to buy directly from Pine64. However, once you’ve got the physical device in your hands, you can install any of the 17 currently supported operating systems.

The PinePhone uses the Allwinner A64 quad-core system-on-a-chip (SoC), has 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of storage. It is powered by a 3,000mAh removable battery, which can be recharged via USB-C. There is a 5MP primary camera and a 2MP selfie camera, too. There are privacy killswitches for mobile connectivity, Wi-Fi, the microphone, the speaker, and both cameras.

The phone is easily repairable—the components are conveniently accessible with just a screwdriver—and will have a production lifespan of five years, so should be supported until at least 2024. In early 2020, Pine64 announced the PinePhone UBports Community Edition.

4. Apple iPhone 11

The smartphones we’ve listed so far are not mainstream options and many of them appeal only to a small subset of users. However, not everyone has the time or resources to invest in these options. As a result, it is worth considering a readily available option, too.

In a move that some people may find controversial, our final choice for the most secure phone available today is the Apple iPhone 11. Although you may question whether Apple is truly a privacy-friendly company, these devices are regarded as more private than Android smartphones.

The main reason for this is the difference in the business model between Apple and Google. Apple devices are, on the whole, quite expensive and tend to encourage vendor lock-in. So, once you have an iPhone, you’ll consider purchasing a MacBook, Apple Watch, AirPods, and so on. In effect, Apple is a hardware business.

On the other hand, Google provides Android (mostly) for free to manufacturers who then produce a wide variety of smartphones. It recoups its investment by capturing your personal data. This data is used to inform the ads you see across the apps you use, the websites you visit, and wherever you are signed in to a Google account.

However, that’s not to say that Apple is perfect for privacy-enthusiasts. The company still gathers data about you and your habits, but this is used to customize your experience with Apple products, rather than create an advertisement profile. Much of the data is stored locally on your device rather than synced to the cloud.

The iPhone 11 is the latest smartphone from Apple and runs the most recent edition of its iOS mobile operating system. The device features a 6.1-inch Retina display, is IP68-rated for water and dust resistance, and uses Face ID for biometric authentication.

The Best Phone for Privacy

In the wake of the Edward Snowden leaks in 2013, public interest in privacy grew, eventually leading to a new wave of privacy-focused products. While there are sometimes trade-offs, this is inevitable as the mainstream options rely on data collection to function.

We’ve rounded up some of the best smartphones for privacy available today, but many of them run Linux operating systems rather than Android or iOS. If you haven’t made the switch to Linux on desktop, check out the things Ubuntu does better than Windows.

Read the full article: The 4 Most Secure Phones for Privacy

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The 8 Best Fluid Head Tripods Under $200

When looking for a tripod for your video camera, there are a dizzying array of options with across many price ranges. That definitely makes it difficult to know where to start. If you’re looking for a great way to capture stable videos, a fluid head tripod is a great choice.

As you might have guessed by the name, the system uses a fluid chamber to help lessen any jerkiness or vibrations when capturing video. They can easily make a big difference in the final result and turn a decent video into something better.

Here are some of the best fluid head tripods under $200.

1. COMAN Heavy Duty Tripod

COMAN Heavy Duty Tripod COMAN Heavy Duty Tripod Buy Now On Amazon $129.99

A great all-around choice is the COMAN Heavy Duty Tripod. The fluid head can pan 360 degrees. It can also tilt +90 degrees and -75 degrees vertically to help capture the best shot. Along with legs made from a high-strength aluminum alloy, there is a spreader in the middle of the tripod to help the left from collapsing on uneven ground and to add stability.

There is a 1/4-inch screw and spare 3/8-inch screw for compatibility with most cameras and camcorders. A safety button on the left side of the fluid head helps equipment from accidentally falling down. The maximum load is 13.2 pounds. You can adjust the 10.2-pound tripod from 35.6 inches to 72 inches.

2. Magnus VT-4000 Tripod System

Magnus VT-4000 Tripod System Magnus VT-4000 Tripod System Buy Now On Amazon $119.00

The Magnus VT-4000 Tripod System features a two-way fluid head for smooth motion. A two-stage design easily allows you to adjust the tripod’s height from 27.6 inches to 59 inches. The fixed counterbalance spring is set to 3.3 pounds to help provide smoother tilt motions. Ground spikes can help stabilize the tripod outdoors.

When setting up indoors, there are retractable rubber feet that can help protect delicate floors. You can attach your camera using a slide plate that is attached using a 1/4-inch screw with a video pin. The tilt angle is from +90 degrees to -60 degrees and it can pan a full 360 degrees. The tripod can hold up to an 8.8-pound load and weighs 7.9 pounds.

3. GEEKOTO Video Camera Tripod

GEEKOTO Video Camera Tripod GEEKOTO Video Camera Tripod Buy Now On Amazon $99.99

The GEEKOTO Video Camera Tripod sports a fluid ball head to provide 360-degree panning and a +90 degree to -70 degree tilt. Thanks to quick-release flip locks and a four-section column, you can quickly adjust the height of the tripod anywhere from 24 inches to 77 inches.

For additional flexibility and shooting styles, the tripod can also transform into a monopod adjustable from 35 inches to 82 inches. Even though the tripod weighs just 3.1 pounds, it can handle a load of up to 20 pounds with a 1/4-inch screw mount. The handle can be detached for a more compact form when on the go.

4. Andoer Professional Video Tripod System

Andoer Professional Video Tripod System Andoer Professional Video Tripod System Buy Now On Amazon $98.15

The Andoer Professional Video Tripod System is made for traveling and comes with a nylon carrying bag with an adjustable shoulder strap. The tripod itself weighs 8.8 pounds and collapses to 31.5 inches. The maximum load is 20 pounds.

When ready to shoot, the fluid head offers 360-degree panning and +90 degree to -80 degree tilt. It can be adjusted anywhere from 29 inches to 66 inches. The dual-convertible 1/4-inch and 3/8-inch mounting screws are made for most types of cameras.

5. Neewer 2-in-1 Camera Tripod

Neewer 2-in-1 Camera Tripod Neewer 2-in-1 Camera Tripod Buy Now On Amazon $84.99

Consider the Neewer 2-in-1 Camera Tripod if you have a heavy camera set up—it can handle a load of up to 26.5 pounds. The fluid head allows 360-degree panning and titling anywhere from +90 degrees to -70 degrees.

The four-section column legs can be adjusted from 24.4 inches to 70.8 inches. A removable leg can convert into a monopod adjustable from 20.8 inches to 55.9 inches. To help protect your equipment, there is a security locking knob. Neewer provides a carrying bag for traveling with the 3.17-pound tripod.

6. Regetek Professional Video Camera Tripod

Regetek Professional Video Camera Tripod Regetek Professional Video Camera Tripod Buy Now On Amazon

The Regetek Professional Video Camera Tripod is a great choice if you’re looking to shoot video in many different environments. On a muddy surface, special legs can be inserted directly into the ground for stability. They can also help stability on gravel. The fluid head offers 360 degrees of pan and a tilt range from +90 degrees to -60 degrees.

The tripod can extend from 32.28 inches to 65 inches. You can take advantage of either a 3/8-inch or 1/4-inch mounting screw. The 8.7-pound tripod also comes with a water-resistant carrying bag with a shoulder strap. The maximum load of the Regetek Professional Video Camera Tripod is 22 pounds.

7. Cayer BV30L Video Tripod System

Cayer BV30L Video Tripod System Cayer BV30L Video Tripod System Buy Now On Amazon $139.88

The fluid head on the Cayer BV30L Video Tripod System features a pre-set counterbalance for smoother motion. You can pan 360 degrees and tilt from +90 degrees to -70 degrees. A middle spreader provides more stability on uneven surfaces. A 75mm ball adapter with a 3/8-inch stud makes it easy to level the head of the tripod without needing to spend time readjusting the legs.

The top of the head offers a 3/8-inch and 1/4-inch mounting screw. There is also a 3/8-inch thread on the side of the head to mount additional accessories. You can adjust the tripod 8.8-pound anywhere from 33.3 inches to 72.7 inches. The maximum load capacity is 13.2 pounds.

8. Ravelli AVTP Video Camera Tripod

Ravelli AVTP Video Camera Tripod Ravelli AVTP Video Camera Tripod Buy Now On Amazon $119.96

The Ravelli AVTP Video Camera Tripod sports a mid-level spreader for maximum stability and has a maximum load of 27 pounds. The tripod’s legs have lock adjustment knobs and feet for stability. The fluid head provides 360 degrees of pan and a full 180 degrees of tilt. As a nice touch, dual handles on the 14-pound tripod provide more precise control. There are also independent locks for the pan and tilt axis.

Your camera secures to the tripod head with a quick-release plate. There is also a safety latch to prevent equipment from accidentally falling off. You can adjust the tripod up to a height of 54.5 inches. The tripod legs, head, and spreader can all fit into the included carrying bag.

Stabilize Your Content With the Best Fluid Head Tripod

Using a fluid head tripod can quickly help take your videos to the next level. And with all of these options under $200, you won’t have to break the bank.

Using any tripod can open up many creative possibilities. Once you’ve chosen your favorite, be sure to take a look at these additional tips to help shoot better video.

Read the full article: The 8 Best Fluid Head Tripods Under $200

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6 Eco-Friendly Products You Need in Every Home Office

Around the world, there’s a growing awareness of environmental issues. From climate change to single-use plastics, the impact we have on the planet is becoming more evident.

While some of this is beyond our means to influence directly, we can make alternative purchasing choices. Switching standard products for ethical or eco-friendly substitutions is a great place to start, particularly for eco-friendly office supplies.

If you’re looking to invest in green items for your home office, we’ve found some of the best sustainable products available today.

1. The Original Paper Pen (Five Pack)

The Original Paper PensBy some estimates, households and workplaces in the US throw away 1.6 billion plastic pens each year. Disposable products tend to appear cheaper than long-lasting alternatives. However, they are often made from non-recyclable, virgin (as in, not recycled) plastics. In short order, these items find their way to landfill sites across the country.

The Original Paper Pen is a sustainable alternative to cheap plastic pens. The Paper Pen is made from recyclable and biodegradable paper. There is a choice of fine or broad tip, while the nib is made of brass for ease of use. The ink is stored in a traditional plastic cartridge. However, the Paper Pen still represents a 70 percent reduction in plastic compared to the widely-used alternatives.

The company behind the writing instrument, Paper Pens Co., is based in Australia, although worldwide shipping is available. Traditional shipping could undermine the company’s ethics, but all shipping is guaranteed to be carbon neutral.

2. Plume Labs Flow 2

Flow 2 on wallOne of the most critical measures of a healthy work environment is air quality. While many offices and workspaces have air conditioning, that doesn’t always mean that the air is clean. Tracking your exposure throughout the day helps you make better decisions about when to perform specific tasks and separate interventions that work and those that don’t.

To keep track of your exposure to pollutants, consider the Plume Labs Flow 2 portable air quality monitor. This Bluetooth-enabled tracker uses multiple sensors to assess the cleanliness of the environment around you. A touch-enabled button on the front activates color-coded LEDs on the front, allowing you to judge the air quality quickly.

Syncing the Plume Labs Flow 2 with the companion smartphone app allows you to track exposure over time. The results can be viewed as an overall air quality index or particulate (PM1, PM2.5, PM10, NO2, and VOC). By maintaining a cleaner environment, other areas like health, well-being, and office maintenance will likely improve.

To learn more about the device, check out our review of the Plume Labs Flow 2.

3. Bodum Chambord

Bodum Chambord French PressIf you’ve been searching for an eco-friendly office coffee machine, the truth is, there isn’t one. The materials, components, manufacture, and distribution of these machines come at an environmental cost. However, if you currently rely solely on takeout coffee, then using a machine at work means you can control the beans’ standard and reduce waste on items like disposable cups.

That said, you can minimize the impact of your daily coffee routine. Opting to brew your coffee manually using hot water and a French press significantly reduces your coffee’s energy requirement, components, and cost. The Bodum Chambord is an eight-cup French press ensuring energy-efficient brewing. The container is made of glass while the fixings, handle, and press are made from synthetic materials.

It’s always worth keeping in mind where your coffee is from and the supply chain’s ethics. Manually brewing your drinks gives you greater control over the coffee source, allowing you to choose an ethical, environmentally-conscious brand rather than accepting whatever is in the office or your local coffee shop uses.

4. KeepCup Brew Cork Black

KeepCup Brew Cork Black

Continuing with the coffee theme, disposable takeaway cups cause a huge environmental issue. The single-use nature of the containers makes them wasteful in any case. You’ll have noticed that most are made of cardboard. However, they can’t be recycled. To prevent spillage and leaks, the interior is often coated in a plastic film.

Rather than adding to the tally of coffee cups heading to landfills, purchase your own reusable coffee cup. One of the most popular eco-friendly options is the KeepCup Brew Cork Black. The brand is notable for being one of the first to develop containers that fit most barista-style coffee machines.

The Brew Cork Black is a premium variant of the company’s original offering. The cork grip makes the cup easy to handle, while the shaped glass vessel allows for easy pouring. The containers are machine washable, and the tops are interchangeable. KeepCup also offers custom-branded editions, should you want to invest in a set for the office.

5. method All-Purpose Lavender Wipes

method All-Purpose Cleaning WipesIn the post-pandemic age, all offices, even remote-working home offices, will need to pay close attention to their cleaning regimes. While many believe that the only way to combat bacteria is through harsh chemical cleaners, there’s an alternative.

The eco-friendly cleaning supplies producer, method, has a range of sprays, wipes, and surface cleaners that sterilize your workspace while minimizing the impact on the environment.

If you need a multipurpose cleaning wipe for the office, consider the method All-Purpose Lavender Wipes. These fragranced disposable wipes are biodegradable, not tested on animals, and ideal for wiping down keywords, mice, and other shared equipment.

6. Refurbished Computers

Microsoft Windows on a laptop
Image Credit: Ashkan Forouzani/Unsplash

Although it’s a consideration for most consumers, there are very few sustainable or eco-friendly computers. In fact, UK-based publication Ethical Consumer doesn’t even list any laptop available today as a Best Buy. Desktop computers and laptops, like all electronics, have incredibly complex supply chains fraught with environmental issues and human rights abuses.

As such, it’s hard to recommend any computer or eco-friendly computer mouse. However, you do still have options. The best way to create a sustainable home office is to buy second-hand computing equipment. In most cases, it’s possible to find high-end refurbished items at a significant discount. This helps you boost your environmental credentials while also saving money.

Before investing, make a note of your requirements, the types of programs you are likely to use, and any hardware constraints. Then locate a second-hand item that fits the brief. You’ll also be able to increase your electronic equipment’s lifespan by choosing an easily repairable and upgradeable computer or laptop.

The Best Eco-Friendly Products for Your Needs

As more of us become aware of our purchases’ environmental and ethical implications, it’s natural to want to switch to more eco-friendly and sustainable alternatives. Fortunately, there are plenty of eco-friendly home office supplies out there to get you started.

However, there are other changes you can make, as well. Instead of upgrading to the latest flagship smartphone, consider an ethical alternative. To find out more, check out our review of the Fairphone 3 ethical smartphone.

Read the full article: 6 Eco-Friendly Products You Need in Every Home Office

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Nintendo Switch vs. Switch Lite: Which Console Should You Buy?

The Nintendo Switch is a great video game console from Nintendo. You can attach it to your TV or take it out with you for portable play. That means you can play great games like Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros. wherever you are.

However, you might have noticed that the console comes in two flavors: the Nintendo Switch and the Nintendo Switch Lite. There are some very important differences between these two, including the portability, size, and battery life.

We’re going to explore what the Switch and Switch Lite are and compare the two so you can decide which is best for you.

What Is the Nintendo Switch?

Nintendo Switch Nintendo Switch Buy Now On Amazon $440.00

The Nintendo Switch is an eighth-generation video game console that was first released in March 2017, competing with the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. The Switch can connect to your TV like a traditional games console by sliding into a dock, but it can also be used handheld as a portable device.

The two controllers, known as Joy-Cons, can detach from the console. This is great not only for TV-based gaming but also for placing the Switch on a surface and playing in tabletop mode. A revised version of the Nintendo Switch was released in August 2019 with an improved battery life.

What Is the Nintendo Switch Lite?

Nintendo Switch Lite Nintendo Switch Lite Buy Now On Amazon $247.99

The Nintendo Switch Lite was released in September 2019. Though similar to the Nintendo Switch, the main difference is that it’s purely a handheld games console. It cannot be docked to the TV, nor does it have detachable controllers.

The Nintendo Switch Lite is more portable than its hybrid counterpart, featuring a smaller screen size and lighter weight. This means it’s easier to slip the Switch Lite into your pocket or bag.

To account for the reduced functionality, the Nintendo Switch Lite retails at a lower price. In fact, many have taken advantage of the cheaper cost—around 30 percent of Switch owners also have the Switch Lite.

Switch vs. Switch Lite: Play Modes

The most significant difference between the two consoles is that the Switch is a hybrid device that can be used in TV mode, tabletop mode, and handheld mode. The Switch Lite operates in handheld mode only. For TV mode, the Switch comes with a dock and HDMI cable, allowing you to place the console in the dock and output to a TV.

For tabletop mode, the Switch has a kickstand that pulls out so that the console freely stands up on a surface. The controllers on the Switch, known as Joy-Cons, can be detached to support these modes. On the Switch Lite, the controllers are fixed to the console.

The Switch Lite isn’t compatible with the dock, nor does it have a kickstand. The only mode compatible with both the Switch and the Switch Lite is handheld, where the controllers are attached.

Switch vs. Switch Lite: Portability and Display

Nintendo Switch handheld mode

Both the Switch and the Switch Lite are designed to be portable. That said, if you favor a smaller size and lighter weight, the Switch Lite is the better option. The Switch weighs 0.88 lbs with controllers attached, while the Switch Lite weighs just 0.61 lbs.

The Switch has a 6.2-inch touch screen, while the Switch Lite has a 5.5-inch touchscreen. Despite the difference in screen size, both consoles output at a 1280×720 resolution in handheld mode (also known as 720p). However, when the Switch is docked, it’s capable of a 1080p resolution.

The Switch is 4-inches tall, 9.4-inches long, and 0.55-inches deep when the controllers are attached. The Switch Lite is 3.6-inches tall, 8.2-inches long, and 0.55-inches deep.

Switch vs. Switch Lite: Games

super mario odyssey

There are loads of great Nintendo Switch games featuring Nintendo franchise hits such as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, and Animal Crossing: New Horizons. These games are available on physical cartridges or digitally via the Nintendo eShop, and many support both local and online multiplayer.

All games are compatible with the Switch and the Switch Lite. However, there is a caveat to this. A few games, like 1-2-Switch and Ring Fit Adventure, require you to detach the Joy-Con controllers from the console to play. Since this isn’t possible on the Switch Lite, you would need to buy separate controllers in order to play them.

Switch vs. Switch Lite: Controllers and Colors

Nintendo Switch - Animal Crossing Edition Nintendo Switch - Animal Crossing Edition Buy Now On Amazon $659.95

There’s a sizeable range of Nintendo Switch controllers available to buy. These include different color Joy-Cons, Pro Controllers, and GameCube style controllers. They all work on the Switch and the Switch Lite, though wired controllers will need an adapter for portable play (and is therefore required on the Lite).

The color of the Switch can be customized by switching out the standard blue and red Joy-Cons for colors like pink/green, purple/orange, and blue/yellow. There is also the occasional themed console, which includes a different dock design, like the Nintendo Switch – Animal Crossing Edition.

The Switch Lite comes in a range of colors like coral, yellow, and in themes like Pokémon-inspired Nintendo Switch Lite – Zacian and Zamazenta Edition . However, since the Joy-Cons aren’t removable, you can’t customize the color of the Switch Lite like you can on the Switch.

Switch vs. Switch Lite: Battery Life

zelda breath of the wild

When the Switch first launched, it had a battery life of 2.5 to 6.5 hours in handheld mode. That range is so wide because the battery life depends on the games you play. For example, when playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, it could manage only 3 hours.

The newest model of the Switch now gives 4.5 to 9 hours of battery life, and around 5.5 hours in Zelda. Any Switch you buy new should be the 2019 updated model; check for the model number HAC-001(-01) to make sure.

On the other hand, the Switch Lite has a battery life of 3 to 7 hours. For comparison, when playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, you can achieve up to 4 hours of usage.

Switch vs. Switch Lite: Rumble, Motion Camera, and Other Features

Switch Lite

Unlike the Switch, the Switch Lite doesn’t have rumble for haptic feedback, nor an infrared motion camera. Otherwise, the internals of the system are nearly identical.

Both the Switch and the Switch Lite have a custom NVIDIA Tegra processor, and 32GB of internal storage, expandable up to 2 TB using micro SD cards. Each console has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support, and, importantly, a 3.5 mm audio jack.

Switch vs. Switch Lite: Price

switch tv mode

As is clear, the Switch Lite has reduced features compared to the standard Switch, so it makes sense that the Switch Lite would be cheaper. Prices for both consoles fluctuate depending on stock and demand, but the Switch is typically around $100 more than the Switch Lite.

That $100 difference isn’t to be sniffed at. If you just want a portable console for travel to play all the Nintendo hits, the Switch Lite is a superb choice. However, if you also want the ability to hook it up to your TV, you must get the Switch.

Customize the Switch Interface

Whether you decide to get the Switch or the Switch Lite, you’re bound to have an excellent time. Nintendo knows how to produce a great console packed full of fun games.

Once you have the console, take some time to customize the Nintendo Switch user interface.

Read the full article: Nintendo Switch vs. Switch Lite: Which Console Should You Buy?

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The 9 Best Ceiling Fans to Keep Your Home Cool

Keeping cool in the summer is definitely not easy. When temperatures rise, many of us have air conditioners at home to take care of the heavy lifting.

But a ceiling fan can also help make a room even cooler without making a significant dent in your electricity bill. As a nice plus, you can use a fan in the winter to help keep your home warmer.

Here are the best ceiling fans available to keep your house cool.

1. Hunter Fan Company Symphony Ceiling Fan

Hunter Fan Company Symphony Ceiling Fan Hunter Fan Company Symphony Ceiling Fan Buy Now On Amazon $299.99

All you need is your voice to keep cool when using the Hunter Fan Company Symphony Ceiling Fan. You can control the fan speed and lights using any Amazon Alexa device. It’s also compatible with Apple HomeKit or Google Assistant. All of the Wi-Fi electronics are inside the fan to make installation easy. The fan is available in nickel or white.

If you don’t have your phone to hand, you can use the included handheld remote. The 54-inch fan is excellent at keeping larger rooms cool. The motor provides strong airflow as quietly as possible. Hunter also provides an LED light kit. A provided 2-inch down rod can help you find the best spot for optimal air movement.

2. Honeywell Ceiling Fans Glencrest

Honeywell Ceiling Fans Glencrest Honeywell Ceiling Fans Glencrest Buy Now On Amazon $139.98

The highlight of the Honeywell Ceiling Fans Glencrest is its vintage design with a clear LED glass light kit. The 52-inch damp-rated fan can be used in a larger room indoors or outside under a covered deck or patio.

You can select a dark walnut or aged teak finish with reversible blades to accent the oil-rubbed bronze finish. For flexibility, you can select from one of three different mounting options. There’s a 4-inch down rod alongside the ability to mount the fan flush to the ceiling or at an angle.

3. Minka-Aire Light Wave

Minka-Aire Light Wave Minka-Aire Light Wave Buy Now On Amazon $279.95 ($0.87 / oz)

A great showcase for any room, the Minka-Aire Light Wave is a 52-inch fan sporing three distressed koa wood blades. A built-in LED light kit provides a dimmable warm light.

You can control the lights and three-speed fan with an included remote control. There is also a six-inch down rod is also provided in the package.

4. Westinghouse Lighting Comet

Westinghouse Lighting Comet Westinghouse Lighting Comet Buy Now On Amazon $117.47 ($0.39 / oz)

The Westinghouse Lighting Comet can be installed directly to the ceiling or with an optional down rod. The 52-inch fan is great for cooling a medium or larger room up to 400 square feet.

The light kit sports frosted glass and two 40-watt candelabra bulbs are provided. To highlight the fan’s black finish, you can choose one of two colors on the reversible blades—matte black or marble.

5. Honeywell Ceiling Fans Ocean Breeze

Honeywell Ceiling Fans Ocean Breeze Honeywell Ceiling Fans Ocean Breeze Buy Now On Amazon $69.97

Sometimes you need to bring a blast of cold air to smaller places in a home like a kitchen, bedroom, or bathroom. The Honeywell Ceiling Fans Ocean Breeze is a great choice. The 30-inch fan is available in three different color options—brushed nickel, bronze, or white.

Each edition has three reversible fan blades with complementary colors you can select from to better match your interior. Two LED lights are included along with a light-frosted globe. The light can dim up to 20 percent and a remote control and wall cradle are provided.

6. Portage Bay Hugger

Portage Bay Hugger Portage Bay Hugger Buy Now On Amazon

If you’re on a budget and need to cool a room, take a look at the Portage Bay Hugger. The 52-inch fan can cool a medium-sized room. This option is great for rooms with a low ceiling, as the fan measures only 11.5 inches from the ceiling to the bottom of the fixture.

The frosted white light kit comes with a bulb. It can dim from 100 percent to 10 percent. The reversible blades are white on one side and maple on the other.

7. Harbor Breeze Mazon

Harbor Breeze Mazon Harbor Breeze Mazon Buy Now On Amazon $109.47 ($109.47 / Count)

The Harbor Breeze Mazon is made for smaller rooms of up to 100 square feet and features an energy-efficient integrated LED light kit. The fan and blades sport a modern brushed nickel finish.

With the smaller footprint, the fan is made to be flush mounted on your ceiling. The three-speed fan can be controlled with the included remote. A wall cradle is also provided so you can always locate the remote.

8. Hunter Fan Company Transitional Ceiling Fan

Hunter Fan Company Transitional Ceiling Fan Hunter Fan Company Transitional Ceiling Fan Buy Now On Amazon $199.65 ($0.36 / oz)

For larger rooms, consider the Hunter Fan Company Transitional Ceiling Fan. The 70-inch fan can help cool rooms up to 625 square feet. You can install the fan flush with the ceiling, angled, or with the included six-inch down rod for added flexibility in a larger room.

There’s also the option to install the included 180-watt white bowl light fixture. The brown fan blades complement the fan’s bronze finish. Another great feature is the special dust armor coating on the blades. Instead of having to worry about dusting, dust particles will blow away from the surface of the fan and keep it clean.

9. XM Bluetooth Ceiling Fan With Light and Speaker

XM Bluetooth Ceiling Fan With Light and Speaker XM Bluetooth Ceiling Fan With Light and Speaker Buy Now On Amazon $199.99

You can do more than just keep cool with the XM Bluetooth Ceiling Fan With Light and Speaker. Along with a retractable ceiling fan, the unit also sports a Bluetooth speaker and light that can change colors. To start rocking out, use a companion smartphone app to connect your Bluetooth device and play tunes. There are three different colors to select from—gold, nickel, or silver.

You can also use an app to set the color of the light or even have the light change to the melody of the music. It is possible to set a timer for the fan to stop after anywhere from one to eight hours of use. The three-speed fan is 42-inches, making it ideal for smaller rooms. You can mount the fan flush to the ceiling or with a 5-inch down rod.

Keep Cool With the Best Ceiling Fans

If you’re losing the battle with heat during the summer, a ceiling fan is a great way to help make a home cooler and more comfortable.

And if you’re looking for another way to keep cool without going through the hassle of installation, make sure to take a look at the best portable fans that you can use anywhere in your home.

Read the full article: The 9 Best Ceiling Fans to Keep Your Home Cool