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7 Best VPNs of 2020 to Keep Your Connection Private and Secure

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Best VPNs 2020

Did you know that your ISP constantly snoops around your connection? That is right, privacy, after all, is a luxury.

Internet service providers can look at your connection and block specific forms of traffic. People that want to download torrent files, for example, might not be permitted by their ISP.

But more importantly, some people just want an extra level of privacy when they go online and that is why you need a VPN.

Today, I am going to talk about the best VPNs of 2020.

Why Do You Need a VPN?

There are a lot of reasons why you should use a VPN. For those of you who do not know, VPN is just an abbreviation that stands for Virtual Private Network.

What it does is it allows you to be completely anonymous when you surf the internet. You see, your regular connection uses your ISP’s servers which means that if you are accessing a website, for example, you will be using your ISP’s IP address to do such a thing.

Because your provider’s servers have a specific IP address, a particular website can know where you are from and that is why some content that is specific only to a certain region (like accessing the American version of Netflix if you are accessing from Asia) is not permitted.

You can circumvent that and more when you are using a VPN. Essentially, a VPN provider allows you to use one of their many servers which means that you can somehow trick the website’s server into thinking that you are from another location.

Aside from allowing you to access region-specific content, it also masks your IP address so that you will be completely anonymous when you use the service. This provides you an extra level of security which can help put your mind at ease when you are online.

Also, because your connection can tunnel to different servers, if you are playing a game, your latency might improve, though do not count on it if the particular VPN service doesn’t focus on that specific aspect.

What to Look for in a VPN?

The VPN industry is actually quite competitive now as new players are joining the fray. There are free services and there are also those that require you to get a monthly or a yearly subscription.

That being said, here are the things that you need to be looking for when getting a VPN:

1.Servers

Since you are going to be tunneling your connection on one of the VPN’s servers, make sure that you get one that has plenty of servers right off the bat.

That is to allow you to choose specific locations that are favorable to you, as well as allow you to enjoy region-restricted content.

2.Price

If you are going to get a VPN, you’d also want to consider its price. You can save a lot of money if you are going to get an annual plan.

3.Features

Of course, getting the right VPN service means that you are going to go with one that provides you with the features that you need.

Some notable features include 5 or more concurrent users, torrent or gaming support, complete anonymity, no logging, and so much more.

4.Improved Security

While most VPNs have a lot of layers of protection (think about encryption, anonymity, etc.), you also want to make sure that they are not logging anything.

You see, part of the reason why people get such a service in the first place is to have complete anonymity when they are online because their ISPs are looking into their connections.

A company that doesn’t get any logs will ensure that you can go do whatever you want without having to worry about getting hacked or compromised.

Best VPN Services of 2020

1.ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN

This is the best VPN service for so many years now and it has also taken the crown again in 2020.

There is just no other company that rivals ExpressVPN in terms of usability and features.

What I really love about this particular service is its application. Whether you are using a computer or a smartphone, the company’s application is so user-friendly that even a non-tech-savvy person can operate it so easily.

Aside from that, the company boasts of amazing security with its robust encryption and DNS leak protection. In fact, the company touts its encryption as ‘industrial-grade’.

ExpressVPN has more than 3,000 servers that are scattered in 160 locations across 94 countries all over the world. This is the biggest in terms of the number of servers, as well as impressive accessibility.

The company has also upped the supported devices for concurrent users from 3 to 5 which is a good thing. In other words, up to 5 devices can be connected to one account and can use the said service at the same time.

This is the fastest VPN that provides users with amazing speeds and security across the board and that is why it is the most recommended one among many of the security experts.

And, if you are unhappy with the service after a month of use, you can have your money back without any questions at all.

If you get its one month subscription, you will pay $12.95. I suggest that you get the annual plan where you only get to pay $6.67 per month.

2.IPVanish

IPVanish(1)

For people that engage in peer-to-peer or P2P downloads like torrents and whatnot, IPVanish might be an appealing choice.

It has more than 1400 servers across 70 countries and no matter which server you choose, speeds remain consistent across the board.

The VPN has amazing support in that you can install their app on the computer, smartphone or tablet, and even on an Android TV.

If you are trying to access region-restricted content, you should have no problems doing so because the speeds, as mentioned above, remain consistent at all times.

The only negative that I can say about this particular service is that their app is not really that user-friendly (compared to ExpressVPN).

It is not convoluted, but there are a ton of options right off the bat that might confuse inexperienced users.

Still, for the price of $10 a month and $3.70/month for an annual plan, IPVanish is still a great choice.

3.NordVPN

NordVPN

If you want supreme protection when you are online, there is nothing better than NordVPN. The service uses 2048-bit encryption that is unlike any other. This is so strong that even the military is impressed by how it performs.

Aside from its amazing security, NordVPN has a handy connection wizard that helps users run through the process quickly and easily. This is perfect for the complete novice who does not have knowledge about VPNs before.

The company owns 6,000 servers that are spread across 50 countries, so you will definitely have a lot of options when it comes to choosing one that you like.

If there is one thing that I would pick apart from the service itself, it would be its shoddy connection at times. That is because download speeds are somewhat inconsistent.

To be fair, not all servers have that issue, but it is still worth pointing out so that you won’t get surprised.

Now, the service did have an issue before where the company had suffered from a data breach in late October 2019. Despite the debacle, the company did redeem itself by doing whatever measure they can to avoid that thing from happening ever again and they have been transparent about it ever since.

Although it is a bit on the expensive side at $11.95 a month, NordVPN still remains to be one of the best VPNs out there, especially if you value online security more than others.

4.CyberGhost

CyberGhost

Another feature-rich VPN service, CyberGhost is a compelling option for people that want an all-in-one solution.

The company has more than 6,00 servers that are scattered across 90 different countries and you can also use its service for torrent and p2p downloading as well.

What I really about the company is that when you use its app, it has a feature wherein you just select what service you want to unblock and it will connect to the best possible server from your location.

For example, if you want to access the American version of Netflix and you are from Australia, just select Netflix from the UI and it will automatically route your internet traffic to the best possible US server. This is a handy feature indeed.

The service also allows you to block trackers and ads from known and zero-day malicious websites to ensure that you do not visit a shady platform.

The downside? While this VPN service provides you with a lot of features, their app’s user interface is not as user-friendly as one would hope. Getting hold of their customer support service is not as fast as others.

However, if you are not satisfied with their service, the company offers you a 45-day money-back guarantee which is by far the longest among its competitors. The monthly service is $12.99.

5.Surfshark

SurfShark VPN

This VPN offers some of the cheapest services available out there. With more than 1,700 servers across 63 countries, they have a respectable level of service nonetheless.

Surfshark is what people would want to get if they want a good VPN service without breaking the bank. If you are getting their 2-year commitment plan, you only get to pay $1.99 which is a stellar deal.

Despite its good overall performance, there are some downsides to it, however. For example, its application has the most basic interface out there. No, it is not as user-friendly as ExpressVPN; it is simple because it is barebones and not because of its amazing usability.

Another thing that you might not like is that they do not have a live phone service which means that if you are going to get a hold of their customer support staff, you may have to talk to them via live chat.

Still, its performance is definitely really good, but still, be aware of the downsides before committing to a 2-year deal.

6.Private Internet Access

Private Internet Access

Even though this particular VPN service is not the fastest nor the cheapest, Private Internet Access should still be a worthy consideration nevertheless.

It has servers in 60 locations across 40 countries and you can configure the application the way you want it. Because of this reason, it may not have the most user-friendly interface right off the bat but you can tweak it to your liking.

The service is supported by Windows, Android, iOS, and Mac and you also do not have to worry about its security as the company makes use of professional-grade security and encryption protocols.

Aside from their application, you can also download a web browser extension so that you can easily toggle the service on or off depending on what you want.

Speaking of turning it on or off, PIA also has a feature known as a ‘kill switch’ that automatically kills your internet connection if you are somehow disconnected from the service.

Though its performance and user interface need improvement, the service, as a whole, is still what I would recommend.

Their monthly plan costs $9,95, though you can get a good deal if you sign up for an annual plan for $3.33 a month.

7.TunnelBear

TunnelBear

If you want an extremely beginner-friendly VPN, then look no further than TunnelBear. This service is considered as one of the best free VPNs out there and you can support more devices if you go for the premium subscription.

Aside from its amazing user-friendly UI, you get to choose as many as 1,000 servers scattered across 20 countries.

Do keep in mind that while the application has an appealing UI, you will have to install it which may raise some privacy concerns. Furthermore, the main company location is from the US which may also raise other red flags.

However, having tested a lot of different VPN services out there, TunnelBear provides users with a no-frills approach to internet anonymity so I would still recommend it.

The price for a monthly subscription is $9.99 and a yearly plan for $3.33/month.

Conclusion

Getting a VPN service is a must in this day and age considering that more and more ISPs are snooping around your internet activity.

Having that extra layer of protection would just give you that peace of mind whenever you go online.

Whether you are just surfing the internet, accessing region-specific content, or downloading from P2P apps, getting a VPN service that works for you makes your online experience more enjoyable and secure like never before.

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Best Laptop Deals in October 2020

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Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 4K

I think that at this point, Laptops have become an essential part of our lives. This is true especially during a time where most businesses let their employees work from home.

Because it is a necessity, I understand that not a lot of people have the money to buy the most expensive laptops out there. The good news is that there are plenty of affordable options to choose from and today, I am going to be providing you with the best laptops deals in October.

I have scoured the internet for the best deals in order for you to get one that is in line with your budget. Without further ado, let’s get on, shall we?

Best October Laptop Deals

1.Microsoft Surface Pro 7 w/ Type Cover Keyboard

Price: $699 (was $959) @Best Buy

Microsoft Surface Pro 7 Review

The Microsoft Surface Pro 7 may not be a ‘true’ laptop, per se, but this tablet is actually a 2-in-1 device wherein you could add its keyboard attachment and make use of its gorgeous display.

The beauty of a 2-in-1 device is that you can use the display for more portability but you can also choose to utilize the keyboard if you want to type documents or even play some games.

Its convenient kickstand allows you to look at your documents or watch your favorite movies and TV shows without any issues.

Although this deal is just a modest setup with an Intel Core i3 CPU, 4GB of RAM, and just a 128GB SSD, the entire system is quite a steal, in my opinion, because it is now sold for only $699.

If you want a good laptop for productivity, I suggest that you take a look at the Surface Pro 7.

2.Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 4K

Price: $549 (was $999) @Samsung

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 4K

If you fancy a Chromebook, I highly recommend that you check the Galaxy Chromebook 4K right now because it is on a huge discount.

The beauty of Chromebooks is that the platform has become more diverse than ever before- allowing you to do a lot of things from making your documents to playing some Android games.

The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook was one of our picks for the best Chromebooks because of its vivid display and really good specs.

Speaking of specs, this particular laptop is equipped with a 10th generation Intel Core i5-10210 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB SSD. Of course, you could choose to expand its storage by spending more money if you want to.

3.Asus Vivobook 15.6

Price: $479.99 (was $599.99) @Best Buy

Asus Vivobook 15.6

A professional-looking machine with the specs to match its exuberance, the Asus Vivobook 15 is a laptop that I am sure a lot of people will love.

Here, you are looking for a machine that is built with a Ryzen 5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 512GB SSD which, for a laptop that is sold under $500, is a pretty good deal.

I understand that not a lot of people are familiar with AMD Ryzen processors, especially if they have come from using Intel machines, but I am here to tell you that the Ryzen 5 chip that this thing comes with should be more than enough for most use-cases.

I would also like to add that the display of this thing is quite vivid and punchy and it is definitely one that I would recommend for most people.

4.HP Pavilion x360 14t

Price: $590 (was $690) @HP

HP Pavilion x360 14t

If you are fond of using laptops with a capacitive touch screen display, then the HP Pavilion x360 14t might tickle your fancy.

What I love about this thing is that not only does it have a pretty good display, but you can also utilize it as an amazing touch screen with an included multipoint pen as well.

If you are interested to know more about its specs, you will be getting a portable workhorse that has the 10th generation Intel Core i5 chip, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB SSD.

Although its discount is not as high as the others on this list, this is still a pretty good purchase if you wish to buy this one.

5.Asus Zenbook S

Price: $1,099 (was $1,499) @Best Buy

Asus Zenbook S

If having a 4K screen is really something that you want in a laptop, I recommend that you look at the Asus Zenbook S 4K.

It’s got a really nice 4K display and I am quite surprised by how Asus has crammed a lot of amazing things inside a laptop with a relatively slim form factor.

Aside from its suave looks, you are looking into a portable machine that comes with an Intel Core i7-8565U, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB SSD. If you ask me, this is a pretty good deal.

6.Dell XPS 13

Price: $749.99 (was $858) @Dell

Dell XPS 13

The Dell XPS 13 is one of my most favorite ultrabooks in 2020. It is lightweight but it definitely packs enough punch to handle almost any workload you can imagine.

Here, you are getting a laptop that has the 10th generation Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB SSD. Even though you are only getting a small amount of storage right off the bat, the good thing is that you can actually choose to expand it either by paying a little bit more or spending some money to get your own NVMe SSD.

Seriously, I am glad that Dell has given you the chance to get this thing because it is really that good.

7.Lenovo ThinkPad E15

Price: $729 (was $850) @Newegg

Lenovo ThinkPad E15

Lenovo’s Thinkpad line of laptops has always been known to be great productivity machines and the Lenovo ThinkPad E15 is no different.

It packs some punch because it is built with an Intel Core i5 10th generation processor, 8GB RAM, and 256GB of storage. This processing package should give you enough oomph to handle any workload you throw at it.

If there is one complaint that I have about this laptop, it would be its plastic chassis. It doesn’t feel as premium as the others on this list.

Still, I can recommend this in a heartbeat, especially if you are looking for a productivity machine that can do a lot of things.

8.Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED

Price: $1,589 (was $1,899)

Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED

The Gigabyte Aero 15 is one of those laptops that truly amazing displays. So much so that if you are a creative content creator, I suggest that you put this into consideration because it is really good for such workloads.

Here, you are getting a laptop with an Intel Core u7-9750H CPU, 16GB of RAM, 512GB SSD, and a dedicated Nvidia GTX 1660ti GPU which is good enough for both gaming and creative needs.

Because of the fact that it is built with an OLED display, you can expect impressive visuals at a relatively affordable price.

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Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 1 Review- A Great Business Laptop Under $1,000

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Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 1 Review

Lenovo’s ThinkPad laptops are made specifically for office use and because of the Covid-19 situation we are in, getting a laptop in this day and age is considered a must.

Having said that, the Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 1 is made for business professionals that want a fairly light laptop that they can bring with them anywhere they need it.

Today, I am going to review the said laptop. Find out why I think it is a great business laptop under $2,000 by reading further.

Design

The Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 1 is a 13-inch laptop that has all of the bells and whistles that business professionals would love in a portable machine.

You have the ability to tilt the screen 180-degrees and its minimalistic design fits right in. It has a pure matte black aesthetic which I think is a great idea because it doesn’t attract too much attention, especially if you are in an office setting.

Most people want to feel secure and the good thing is that this laptop comes with a fingerprint scanner which is situated slightly to the right of the trackpad. It is fairly accurate and it can readily scan your fingerprint in a matter of seconds.

Although this is a 13-inch laptop, the Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 1 is a bit heftier than its counterparts. It is still incredibly lightweight at only 2.8 lbs though, so I wouldn’t make too much of a fuss about it.

While most laptops have their ports scattered on both sides (and some even on the back), the ThinkPad X13 has all of its ports situated on the left side of the unit.

Here, you will find a single USB Type-A port, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, an HDMI 2.0 port, and a 3.5mm headphone/microphone combo jack. The inclusion of two Thunderbolt 3.0 ports is great because you can also use it to power up another display if you want to.

Display

Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 1 Review 2020

This particular machine comes with a 13.3-inch IPS display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080. In most cases, the screen is fairly accurate, though the colors do not pop out too much, at least, when compared to other 13-inch laptops that you can find on the market.

I am also surprised that the viewing angles aren’t that great compared to most IPS display panels out there. But, this is not to say that the ThinkPad X13’s screen is bad; it is just that it could have been better.

I am also not impressed with the color accuracy of this thing, as well as its peak brightness. Using a colorimeter, this thing only scored 72.3% on the DCI-P3 color spectrum and it only averaged 278 nits of brightness.

Now, the colors are fairly accurate, but it just doesn’t pop out. This means that this laptop is not meant for creative workloads, but it is more than enough for productivity tasks and typical office workloads.

There is also a 720p webcam on the top-middle portion of the display that provides a clear output, which is nice considering that most people work from home nowadays.

Keyboard and Touchpad

Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 1 Keyboard

While most laptops out there use fairly flat chiclet-style keycaps, the keyboard on the Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 1 actually has more concave keycaps. To my surprise, I was able to type better with this style compared to what you can find on other laptops in the market.

Because of how the keys are shaped, you can easily discern if you’ve changed to an entirely different key. This helps typists to type really fast without having to constantly look at the keyboard.

I also like the fact that it has a fairly good key travel and tactile feel. It is not a mechanical keyboard, but I still love how it feels every time I type.

For the touchpad, you are getting a 3.9 x 2.5-inch precision glass trackpad that has a relatively good feel and performance as well. It is smooth enough for better scrolling and it can register multiple taps at once which can be really helpful in some tasks.

While most laptops have ditched the two physical buttons that are supposed to be for the left and right mouse buttons, the Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 1 still has them, albeit they are positioned at the top of the trackpad and not at the bottom.

The placement is not intuitive in my opinion, but for people that still want to use mouse buttons when they are using the touchpad, then I guess this is still a welcome addition.

Specs and Performance

  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 Pro 4650U
  • GPU: Integrated Radeon Graphics
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4-3200
  • Storage: 256GB M.2 PCIe SSD
  • Display: 13.3-inch IPS, 1920 x 1080 Resolution
  • Connectivity: 802.11AX Wifi 6, Bluetooth 5.1
  • Battery: 48 WHr
  • Dimensions: 12.3 x 8.6 x 0.7 inches
  • Weight: 2.8 lbs

I am glad that a lot of laptops that you can find in 2020 are already equipped with AMD’s Ryzen mobile processors. The Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 1 is packed with the AMD Ryzen 5 Pro 4650U and an integrated Radeon graphics solution.

While you cannot play games on this thing (technically you can, albeit with very low frame rates), the ThinkPad X13 is actually a pretty good productivity machine.

The processor is more than capable enough of doing some rendering tasks, as well as the usual office workloads that you normally would do on a business laptop.

As configured, the storage could have been improved. Fortunately, you can spend a bit more to get higher storage capacities. Furthermore, if you know how to pry open a laptop safely, you can actually upgrade with another SSD as well if the current storage option is not enough for you.

I am pretty impressed with the performance package of this thing. Even though it is considered a modest machine, it still performed admirably in most business workloads, though I wouldn’t use this machine for creative workloads like photo or video editing mainly because of the underpowered specs, as well as a less than stellar display.

Battery

Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 1 Side

Normally, laptops for professionals should last the entire day because you will never know when you’re going to need it.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 1 lasted 7 hours and 53 minutes in my battery of tests, which includes some web browsing, watching movies, and doing some usual office tasks.

Its battery life is respectable, though the MacBook Pro and other 13-inch laptops fared better in this regard.

Verdict

Affordable laptops are highly sought after nowadays because most of us work from home. But, despite the fact that this event will pass, you will still need a relatively good laptop that can handle your office and productivity tasks.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 1 is a competitive portable machine that is priced under $1,000 and I can highly recommend this for people that want a laptop that they can rely on in these trying times.

This thing costs $975 but you can have some components upgraded at an increased cost.

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HP Envy 15 (2020) Review- A Great Laptop for Creatives

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HP Envy 15 (2020) Review

Are you a professional photographer, video renderer, photo editor, or any profession that involves creative work? If so, you’re probably looking for a portable laptop that you can bring with you for a quick edit and I can highly recommend the HP Envy 15.

Read further to find out why the HP Envy 15 is a great laptop for creative professionals.

Design

You are probably thinking about a flashy portable machine since I am talking about a laptop for creative professionals, right? But, even though this thing can handle any creative workload, it is best that the chassis itself remains subtle and that is what HP delivers.

The HP Envy 15 has an all-aluminum chassis that looks tame but professional. Here, you get a silver build that looks and feels premium- so much so that this laptop weighs 4.7 pounds. It is a bit heftier than other laptops of this type on the market, but this should just tell you that this thing is robust in terms of build quality and reliability.

On the lid, you will find the company’s logo which is presented with lines that have off-angles which I think is done for aesthetic appeal.

On the sides, you will find some air vents alongside some USB-A and USB-C ports, a microSD card reader, an HDMI 2.0 port, and a 3.5mm headphone/microphone combo jack. The USB-C ports have Thunderbolt 3 support which is pretty nice.

Display

HP Envy 15 (2020) Review 2020

Unlike most of the laptops that you find on the market, the HP Envy 15 is actually equipped with an AMOLED display that is quite similar to some flagship phones that you can find on the market.

Because of the said panel, you get vivid and punchy colors with amazing contrast and brightness. Creating content on this thing is a dream thanks to the display’s color prowess.

After using my colorimeter, I got a 100% sRGB rating, 97% Adobe RGB, and an impressive 142% DCI-P3 color gamut rating which is truly superior to others. Now you know why HP is marketing this as a great laptop for creative professionals.

It is worth mentioning that the HP Envy 15 also supports true HDR which means that you can watch any HDR content online and enjoy it on its 15.6-inch AMOLED display.

You can also use the company’s dedicated touch pen on the screen itself and it is pretty accurate as well. Just remember that the said accessory is not included in the box, so you will have to spend a bit more money just to get one.

There is also a 720p webcam at the top which produces good quality images, albeit on its color is a bit on the cooler side. It does have a privacy shutter that you can use to hide the camera when you are not using any application that warrants its usage.

Keyboard and Touchpad

HP Envy 15 (2020) Keyboard

I am more of a typist than a creative type but I have to say that this laptop has an amazing keyboard. It has a good feeling on every keypress and its tactile feedback is on point. It doesn’t have any backlighting whatsoever, but I think that is a fair compromise.

I find the keyboard’s layout a bit odd considering that there is a lot of real estate that can be used here. I think that has something to do with the speaker grilles that are found on both sides of the keyboard, but I would’ve wanted the company to go the usual route and have a layout that is used by many laptop manufacturers out there.

I just do not like that some keys are in line with each other. For instance, the page up and page down keys are in line with the delete key, which you will find pretty annoying when you are used to the regular layout. This also means that the power button is not on its usual placement on the side, which can be a turn off for some people (no pun intended).

The touchpad has a glass surface. It measures 4.5 x 2.7 inches and I consider it to be respectable enough for most users. Because of the said surface, it is pretty easy to glide your fingers to make gestures, make accurate drawings, etc. It also supports Windows precision drivers as well, so you will know that the company has got you covered if you decide to go all creative on this laptop.

Specs and Performance

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-10750H
  • GPU: Nvidia Geforce RTX 2060 Max-Q
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4-2933MHz
  • Storage: 512GB NVMe SSD +32GB Intel Optane
  • Display: 15.6-inch 3840 x 2160 AMOLED
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0, Intel WiFi 6 AX 201
  • Ports: HDMI 2.0a, 2x USB-C (w/ Thunderbolt 3.0 support), 2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, 3.5mm headphone/microphone combo jack
  • Battery: 86 WHr
  • Weight: 4.7 lbs

The HP Envy 15 has some pretty respectable specs. It comes with a 10th generation Intel Core i7 processor and is coupled with Nvidia’s RTX 2060 Max-Q GPU.

Its performance is pretty good, especially if you are doing some photo editing or even some video rendering workloads. Although it is not as fast as some AMD Ryzen-powered laptops on this front, you still get a fast laptop nonetheless.

Although this thing is marketed as a laptop for creative professionals, its RTX 2060 Max-Q GPU can handle PC games really well. In my testing with the 4K model, it is best that you set the graphical settings to just medium to get anywhere between 45-60 fps depending on the game that you want to play.

I can imagine that you get even more performance on the 1080p model, but 45-60 fps is already quite playable.

You can use the HP Command Center to set the different operating modes depending on your usage. Setting it to Performance mode ekes out every last bit of performance which is great if you really need a powerful system for games and creative workloads. Its balanced profile should be used in most cases.

Battery Life

HP Envy 15 (2020) Keyboard Lid

If there is one downside to this otherwise great laptop, it would be its battery life. The HP Envy 15 is equipped with an 86 WHr battery which, on paper, should be adequate for this kind of machine, right? Well, not exactly.

You see, the 4K AMOLED screen sucks out more battery than an IPS display of the same resolution. Yes, you get better visual fidelity with an AMOLED panel but that is at the cost of battery life.

In my testing, you could get only 2 hours and 36 minutes of effective runtime before you need to reach for the charger. That means that any taxing workload- may it be professional use-cases or playing games- can truly drain the battery really quickly.

You will have to bring the charger with you anywhere you go if you want to continually use this laptop when you are outside, but its hefty power brick can be a bummer to bring for people that want maximum portability.

Verdict

The HP Envy 15 is definitely a pretty good laptop for creative individuals. Its 4K AMOLED display produces vibrant colors with amazing contrast and its pretty impressive dynamic range sets it apart from most of the laptops on the market.

Even though this is not a true gaming laptop, you can still play any games that you want on this thing, albeit you may have to tone down some graphical settings here and there to get good enough frame rates.

The downside to this otherwise amazing portable machine is its battery life. That has something to do with the display panel used as AMOLED screens are generally power-hungrier than their IPS counterparts.

But, if you are okay with the fact that you need to bring the laptop’s charger with you at all times, then the HP Envy 15 is a pretty impressive choice for creative professionals.

The HP Envy 15, as reviewed, costs $1,600.

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7 Best VPNs of 2020 to Keep Your Connection Private and Secure

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Best VPNs 2020

Did you know that your ISP constantly snoops around your connection? That is right, privacy, after all, is a luxury.

Internet service providers can look at your connection and block specific forms of traffic. People that want to download torrent files, for example, might not be permitted by their ISP.

But more importantly, some people just want an extra level of privacy when they go online and that is why you need a VPN.

Today, I am going to talk about the best VPNs of 2020.

Why Do You Need a VPN?

There are a lot of reasons why you should use a VPN. For those of you who do not know, VPN is just an abbreviation that stands for Virtual Private Network.

What it does is it allows you to be completely anonymous when you surf the internet. You see, your regular connection uses your ISP’s servers which means that if you are accessing a website, for example, you will be using your ISP’s IP address to do such a thing.

Because your provider’s servers have a specific IP address, a particular website can know where you are from and that is why some content that is specific only to a certain region (like accessing the American version of Netflix if you are accessing from Asia) is not permitted.

You can circumvent that and more when you are using a VPN. Essentially, a VPN provider allows you to use one of their many servers which means that you can somehow trick the website’s server into thinking that you are from another location.

Aside from allowing you to access region-specific content, it also masks your IP address so that you will be completely anonymous when you use the service. This provides you an extra level of security which can help put your mind at ease when you are online.

Also, because your connection can tunnel to different servers, if you are playing a game, your latency might improve, though do not count on it if the particular VPN service doesn’t focus on that specific aspect.

What to Look for in a VPN?

The VPN industry is actually quite competitive now as new players are joining the fray. There are free services and there are also those that require you to get a monthly or a yearly subscription.

That being said, here are the things that you need to be looking for when getting a VPN:

1.Servers

Since you are going to be tunneling your connection on one of the VPN’s servers, make sure that you get one that has plenty of servers right off the bat.

That is to allow you to choose specific locations that are favorable to you, as well as allow you to enjoy region-restricted content.

2.Price

If you are going to get a VPN, you’d also want to consider its price. You can save a lot of money if you are going to get an annual plan.

3.Features

Of course, getting the right VPN service means that you are going to go with one that provides you with the features that you need.

Some notable features include 5 or more concurrent users, torrent or gaming support, complete anonymity, no logging, and so much more.

4.Improved Security

While most VPNs have a lot of layers of protection (think about encryption, anonymity, etc.), you also want to make sure that they are not logging anything.

You see, part of the reason why people get such a service in the first place is to have complete anonymity when they are online because their ISPs are looking into their connections.

A company that doesn’t get any logs will ensure that you can go do whatever you want without having to worry about getting hacked or compromised.

Best VPN Services of 2020

1.ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN

This is the best VPN service for so many years now and it has also taken the crown again in 2020.

There is just no other company that rivals ExpressVPN in terms of usability and features.

What I really love about this particular service is its application. Whether you are using a computer or a smartphone, the company’s application is so user-friendly that even a non-tech-savvy person can operate it so easily.

Aside from that, the company boasts of amazing security with its robust encryption and DNS leak protection. In fact, the company touts its encryption as ‘industrial-grade’.

ExpressVPN has more than 3,000 servers that are scattered in 160 locations across 94 countries all over the world. This is the biggest in terms of the number of servers, as well as impressive accessibility.

The company has also upped the supported devices for concurrent users from 3 to 5 which is a good thing. In other words, up to 5 devices can be connected to one account and can use the said service at the same time.

This is the fastest VPN that provides users with amazing speeds and security across the board and that is why it is the most recommended one among many of the security experts.

And, if you are unhappy with the service after a month of use, you can have your money back without any questions at all.

If you get its one month subscription, you will pay $12.95. I suggest that you get the annual plan where you only get to pay $6.67 per month.

2.IPVanish

IPVanish(1)

For people that engage in peer-to-peer or P2P downloads like torrents and whatnot, IPVanish might be an appealing choice.

It has more than 1400 servers across 70 countries and no matter which server you choose, speeds remain consistent across the board.

The VPN has amazing support in that you can install their app on the computer, smartphone or tablet, and even on an Android TV.

If you are trying to access region-restricted content, you should have no problems doing so because the speeds, as mentioned above, remain consistent at all times.

The only negative that I can say about this particular service is that their app is not really that user-friendly (compared to ExpressVPN).

It is not convoluted, but there are a ton of options right off the bat that might confuse inexperienced users.

Still, for the price of $10 a month and $3.70/month for an annual plan, IPVanish is still a great choice.

3.NordVPN

NordVPN

If you want supreme protection when you are online, there is nothing better than NordVPN. The service uses 2048-bit encryption that is unlike any other. This is so strong that even the military is impressed by how it performs.

Aside from its amazing security, NordVPN has a handy connection wizard that helps users run through the process quickly and easily. This is perfect for the complete novice who does not have knowledge about VPNs before.

The company owns 6,000 servers that are spread across 50 countries, so you will definitely have a lot of options when it comes to choosing one that you like.

If there is one thing that I would pick apart from the service itself, it would be its shoddy connection at times. That is because download speeds are somewhat inconsistent.

To be fair, not all servers have that issue, but it is still worth pointing out so that you won’t get surprised.

Now, the service did have an issue before where the company had suffered from a data breach in late October 2019. Despite the debacle, the company did redeem itself by doing whatever measure they can to avoid that thing from happening ever again and they have been transparent about it ever since.

Although it is a bit on the expensive side at $11.95 a month, NordVPN still remains to be one of the best VPNs out there, especially if you value online security more than others.

4.CyberGhost

CyberGhost

Another feature-rich VPN service, CyberGhost is a compelling option for people that want an all-in-one solution.

The company has more than 6,00 servers that are scattered across 90 different countries and you can also use its service for torrent and p2p downloading as well.

What I really about the company is that when you use its app, it has a feature wherein you just select what service you want to unblock and it will connect to the best possible server from your location.

For example, if you want to access the American version of Netflix and you are from Australia, just select Netflix from the UI and it will automatically route your internet traffic to the best possible US server. This is a handy feature indeed.

The service also allows you to block trackers and ads from known and zero-day malicious websites to ensure that you do not visit a shady platform.

The downside? While this VPN service provides you with a lot of features, their app’s user interface is not as user-friendly as one would hope. Getting hold of their customer support service is not as fast as others.

However, if you are not satisfied with their service, the company offers you a 45-day money-back guarantee which is by far the longest among its competitors. The monthly service is $12.99.

5.Surfshark

SurfShark VPN

This VPN offers some of the cheapest services available out there. With more than 1,700 servers across 63 countries, they have a respectable level of service nonetheless.

Surfshark is what people would want to get if they want a good VPN service without breaking the bank. If you are getting their 2-year commitment plan, you only get to pay $1.99 which is a stellar deal.

Despite its good overall performance, there are some downsides to it, however. For example, its application has the most basic interface out there. No, it is not as user-friendly as ExpressVPN; it is simple because it is barebones and not because of its amazing usability.

Another thing that you might not like is that they do not have a live phone service which means that if you are going to get a hold of their customer support staff, you may have to talk to them via live chat.

Still, its performance is definitely really good, but still, be aware of the downsides before committing to a 2-year deal.

6.Private Internet Access

Private Internet Access

Even though this particular VPN service is not the fastest nor the cheapest, Private Internet Access should still be a worthy consideration nevertheless.

It has servers in 60 locations across 40 countries and you can configure the application the way you want it. Because of this reason, it may not have the most user-friendly interface right off the bat but you can tweak it to your liking.

The service is supported by Windows, Android, iOS, and Mac and you also do not have to worry about its security as the company makes use of professional-grade security and encryption protocols.

Aside from their application, you can also download a web browser extension so that you can easily toggle the service on or off depending on what you want.

Speaking of turning it on or off, PIA also has a feature known as a ‘kill switch’ that automatically kills your internet connection if you are somehow disconnected from the service.

Though its performance and user interface need improvement, the service, as a whole, is still what I would recommend.

Their monthly plan costs $9,95, though you can get a good deal if you sign up for an annual plan for $3.33 a month.

7.TunnelBear

TunnelBear

If you want an extremely beginner-friendly VPN, then look no further than TunnelBear. This service is considered as one of the best free VPNs out there and you can support more devices if you go for the premium subscription.

Aside from its amazing user-friendly UI, you get to choose as many as 1,000 servers scattered across 20 countries.

Do keep in mind that while the application has an appealing UI, you will have to install it which may raise some privacy concerns. Furthermore, the main company location is from the US which may also raise other red flags.

However, having tested a lot of different VPN services out there, TunnelBear provides users with a no-frills approach to internet anonymity so I would still recommend it.

The price for a monthly subscription is $9.99 and a yearly plan for $3.33/month.

Conclusion

Getting a VPN service is a must in this day and age considering that more and more ISPs are snooping around your internet activity.

Having that extra layer of protection would just give you that peace of mind whenever you go online.

Whether you are just surfing the internet, accessing region-specific content, or downloading from P2P apps, getting a VPN service that works for you makes your online experience more enjoyable and secure like never before.

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Best Laptop Deals in October 2020

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Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 4K

I think that at this point, Laptops have become an essential part of our lives. This is true especially during a time where most businesses let their employees work from home.

Because it is a necessity, I understand that not a lot of people have the money to buy the most expensive laptops out there. The good news is that there are plenty of affordable options to choose from and today, I am going to be providing you with the best laptops deals in October.

I have scoured the internet for the best deals in order for you to get one that is in line with your budget. Without further ado, let’s get on, shall we?

Best October Laptop Deals

1.Microsoft Surface Pro 7 w/ Type Cover Keyboard

Price: $699 (was $959) @Best Buy

Microsoft Surface Pro 7 Review

The Microsoft Surface Pro 7 may not be a ‘true’ laptop, per se, but this tablet is actually a 2-in-1 device wherein you could add its keyboard attachment and make use of its gorgeous display.

The beauty of a 2-in-1 device is that you can use the display for more portability but you can also choose to utilize the keyboard if you want to type documents or even play some games.

Its convenient kickstand allows you to look at your documents or watch your favorite movies and TV shows without any issues.

Although this deal is just a modest setup with an Intel Core i3 CPU, 4GB of RAM, and just a 128GB SSD, the entire system is quite a steal, in my opinion, because it is now sold for only $699.

If you want a good laptop for productivity, I suggest that you take a look at the Surface Pro 7.

2.Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 4K

Price: $549 (was $999) @Samsung

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 4K

If you fancy a Chromebook, I highly recommend that you check the Galaxy Chromebook 4K right now because it is on a huge discount.

The beauty of Chromebooks is that the platform has become more diverse than ever before- allowing you to do a lot of things from making your documents to playing some Android games.

The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook was one of our picks for the best Chromebooks because of its vivid display and really good specs.

Speaking of specs, this particular laptop is equipped with a 10th generation Intel Core i5-10210 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB SSD. Of course, you could choose to expand its storage by spending more money if you want to.

3.Asus Vivobook 15.6

Price: $479.99 (was $599.99) @Best Buy

Asus Vivobook 15.6

A professional-looking machine with the specs to match its exuberance, the Asus Vivobook 15 is a laptop that I am sure a lot of people will love.

Here, you are looking for a machine that is built with a Ryzen 5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 512GB SSD which, for a laptop that is sold under $500, is a pretty good deal.

I understand that not a lot of people are familiar with AMD Ryzen processors, especially if they have come from using Intel machines, but I am here to tell you that the Ryzen 5 chip that this thing comes with should be more than enough for most use-cases.

I would also like to add that the display of this thing is quite vivid and punchy and it is definitely one that I would recommend for most people.

4.HP Pavilion x360 14t

Price: $590 (was $690) @HP

HP Pavilion x360 14t

If you are fond of using laptops with a capacitive touch screen display, then the HP Pavilion x360 14t might tickle your fancy.

What I love about this thing is that not only does it have a pretty good display, but you can also utilize it as an amazing touch screen with an included multipoint pen as well.

If you are interested to know more about its specs, you will be getting a portable workhorse that has the 10th generation Intel Core i5 chip, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB SSD.

Although its discount is not as high as the others on this list, this is still a pretty good purchase if you wish to buy this one.

5.Asus Zenbook S

Price: $1,099 (was $1,499) @Best Buy

Asus Zenbook S

If having a 4K screen is really something that you want in a laptop, I recommend that you look at the Asus Zenbook S 4K.

It’s got a really nice 4K display and I am quite surprised by how Asus has crammed a lot of amazing things inside a laptop with a relatively slim form factor.

Aside from its suave looks, you are looking into a portable machine that comes with an Intel Core i7-8565U, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB SSD. If you ask me, this is a pretty good deal.

6.Dell XPS 13

Price: $749.99 (was $858) @Dell

Dell XPS 13

The Dell XPS 13 is one of my most favorite ultrabooks in 2020. It is lightweight but it definitely packs enough punch to handle almost any workload you can imagine.

Here, you are getting a laptop that has the 10th generation Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB SSD. Even though you are only getting a small amount of storage right off the bat, the good thing is that you can actually choose to expand it either by paying a little bit more or spending some money to get your own NVMe SSD.

Seriously, I am glad that Dell has given you the chance to get this thing because it is really that good.

7.Lenovo ThinkPad E15

Price: $729 (was $850) @Newegg

Lenovo ThinkPad E15

Lenovo’s Thinkpad line of laptops has always been known to be great productivity machines and the Lenovo ThinkPad E15 is no different.

It packs some punch because it is built with an Intel Core i5 10th generation processor, 8GB RAM, and 256GB of storage. This processing package should give you enough oomph to handle any workload you throw at it.

If there is one complaint that I have about this laptop, it would be its plastic chassis. It doesn’t feel as premium as the others on this list.

Still, I can recommend this in a heartbeat, especially if you are looking for a productivity machine that can do a lot of things.

8.Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED

Price: $1,589 (was $1,899)

Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED

The Gigabyte Aero 15 is one of those laptops that truly amazing displays. So much so that if you are a creative content creator, I suggest that you put this into consideration because it is really good for such workloads.

Here, you are getting a laptop with an Intel Core u7-9750H CPU, 16GB of RAM, 512GB SSD, and a dedicated Nvidia GTX 1660ti GPU which is good enough for both gaming and creative needs.

Because of the fact that it is built with an OLED display, you can expect impressive visuals at a relatively affordable price.

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Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 1 Review- A Great Business Laptop Under $1,000

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Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 1 Review

Lenovo’s ThinkPad laptops are made specifically for office use and because of the Covid-19 situation we are in, getting a laptop in this day and age is considered a must.

Having said that, the Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 1 is made for business professionals that want a fairly light laptop that they can bring with them anywhere they need it.

Today, I am going to review the said laptop. Find out why I think it is a great business laptop under $2,000 by reading further.

Design

The Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 1 is a 13-inch laptop that has all of the bells and whistles that business professionals would love in a portable machine.

You have the ability to tilt the screen 180-degrees and its minimalistic design fits right in. It has a pure matte black aesthetic which I think is a great idea because it doesn’t attract too much attention, especially if you are in an office setting.

Most people want to feel secure and the good thing is that this laptop comes with a fingerprint scanner which is situated slightly to the right of the trackpad. It is fairly accurate and it can readily scan your fingerprint in a matter of seconds.

Although this is a 13-inch laptop, the Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 1 is a bit heftier than its counterparts. It is still incredibly lightweight at only 2.8 lbs though, so I wouldn’t make too much of a fuss about it.

While most laptops have their ports scattered on both sides (and some even on the back), the ThinkPad X13 has all of its ports situated on the left side of the unit.

Here, you will find a single USB Type-A port, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, an HDMI 2.0 port, and a 3.5mm headphone/microphone combo jack. The inclusion of two Thunderbolt 3.0 ports is great because you can also use it to power up another display if you want to.

Display

Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 1 Review 2020

This particular machine comes with a 13.3-inch IPS display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080. In most cases, the screen is fairly accurate, though the colors do not pop out too much, at least, when compared to other 13-inch laptops that you can find on the market.

I am also surprised that the viewing angles aren’t that great compared to most IPS display panels out there. But, this is not to say that the ThinkPad X13’s screen is bad; it is just that it could have been better.

I am also not impressed with the color accuracy of this thing, as well as its peak brightness. Using a colorimeter, this thing only scored 72.3% on the DCI-P3 color spectrum and it only averaged 278 nits of brightness.

Now, the colors are fairly accurate, but it just doesn’t pop out. This means that this laptop is not meant for creative workloads, but it is more than enough for productivity tasks and typical office workloads.

There is also a 720p webcam on the top-middle portion of the display that provides a clear output, which is nice considering that most people work from home nowadays.

Keyboard and Touchpad

Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 1 Keyboard

While most laptops out there use fairly flat chiclet-style keycaps, the keyboard on the Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 1 actually has more concave keycaps. To my surprise, I was able to type better with this style compared to what you can find on other laptops in the market.

Because of how the keys are shaped, you can easily discern if you’ve changed to an entirely different key. This helps typists to type really fast without having to constantly look at the keyboard.

I also like the fact that it has a fairly good key travel and tactile feel. It is not a mechanical keyboard, but I still love how it feels every time I type.

For the touchpad, you are getting a 3.9 x 2.5-inch precision glass trackpad that has a relatively good feel and performance as well. It is smooth enough for better scrolling and it can register multiple taps at once which can be really helpful in some tasks.

While most laptops have ditched the two physical buttons that are supposed to be for the left and right mouse buttons, the Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 1 still has them, albeit they are positioned at the top of the trackpad and not at the bottom.

The placement is not intuitive in my opinion, but for people that still want to use mouse buttons when they are using the touchpad, then I guess this is still a welcome addition.

Specs and Performance

  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 Pro 4650U
  • GPU: Integrated Radeon Graphics
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4-3200
  • Storage: 256GB M.2 PCIe SSD
  • Display: 13.3-inch IPS, 1920 x 1080 Resolution
  • Connectivity: 802.11AX Wifi 6, Bluetooth 5.1
  • Battery: 48 WHr
  • Dimensions: 12.3 x 8.6 x 0.7 inches
  • Weight: 2.8 lbs

I am glad that a lot of laptops that you can find in 2020 are already equipped with AMD’s Ryzen mobile processors. The Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 1 is packed with the AMD Ryzen 5 Pro 4650U and an integrated Radeon graphics solution.

While you cannot play games on this thing (technically you can, albeit with very low frame rates), the ThinkPad X13 is actually a pretty good productivity machine.

The processor is more than capable enough of doing some rendering tasks, as well as the usual office workloads that you normally would do on a business laptop.

As configured, the storage could have been improved. Fortunately, you can spend a bit more to get higher storage capacities. Furthermore, if you know how to pry open a laptop safely, you can actually upgrade with another SSD as well if the current storage option is not enough for you.

I am pretty impressed with the performance package of this thing. Even though it is considered a modest machine, it still performed admirably in most business workloads, though I wouldn’t use this machine for creative workloads like photo or video editing mainly because of the underpowered specs, as well as a less than stellar display.

Battery

Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 1 Side

Normally, laptops for professionals should last the entire day because you will never know when you’re going to need it.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 1 lasted 7 hours and 53 minutes in my battery of tests, which includes some web browsing, watching movies, and doing some usual office tasks.

Its battery life is respectable, though the MacBook Pro and other 13-inch laptops fared better in this regard.

Verdict

Affordable laptops are highly sought after nowadays because most of us work from home. But, despite the fact that this event will pass, you will still need a relatively good laptop that can handle your office and productivity tasks.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 1 is a competitive portable machine that is priced under $1,000 and I can highly recommend this for people that want a laptop that they can rely on in these trying times.

This thing costs $975 but you can have some components upgraded at an increased cost.

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HP Envy 15 (2020) Review- A Great Laptop for Creatives

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HP Envy 15 (2020) Review

Are you a professional photographer, video renderer, photo editor, or any profession that involves creative work? If so, you’re probably looking for a portable laptop that you can bring with you for a quick edit and I can highly recommend the HP Envy 15.

Read further to find out why the HP Envy 15 is a great laptop for creative professionals.

Design

You are probably thinking about a flashy portable machine since I am talking about a laptop for creative professionals, right? But, even though this thing can handle any creative workload, it is best that the chassis itself remains subtle and that is what HP delivers.

The HP Envy 15 has an all-aluminum chassis that looks tame but professional. Here, you get a silver build that looks and feels premium- so much so that this laptop weighs 4.7 pounds. It is a bit heftier than other laptops of this type on the market, but this should just tell you that this thing is robust in terms of build quality and reliability.

On the lid, you will find the company’s logo which is presented with lines that have off-angles which I think is done for aesthetic appeal.

On the sides, you will find some air vents alongside some USB-A and USB-C ports, a microSD card reader, an HDMI 2.0 port, and a 3.5mm headphone/microphone combo jack. The USB-C ports have Thunderbolt 3 support which is pretty nice.

Display

HP Envy 15 (2020) Review 2020

Unlike most of the laptops that you find on the market, the HP Envy 15 is actually equipped with an AMOLED display that is quite similar to some flagship phones that you can find on the market.

Because of the said panel, you get vivid and punchy colors with amazing contrast and brightness. Creating content on this thing is a dream thanks to the display’s color prowess.

After using my colorimeter, I got a 100% sRGB rating, 97% Adobe RGB, and an impressive 142% DCI-P3 color gamut rating which is truly superior to others. Now you know why HP is marketing this as a great laptop for creative professionals.

It is worth mentioning that the HP Envy 15 also supports true HDR which means that you can watch any HDR content online and enjoy it on its 15.6-inch AMOLED display.

You can also use the company’s dedicated touch pen on the screen itself and it is pretty accurate as well. Just remember that the said accessory is not included in the box, so you will have to spend a bit more money just to get one.

There is also a 720p webcam at the top which produces good quality images, albeit on its color is a bit on the cooler side. It does have a privacy shutter that you can use to hide the camera when you are not using any application that warrants its usage.

Keyboard and Touchpad

HP Envy 15 (2020) Keyboard

I am more of a typist than a creative type but I have to say that this laptop has an amazing keyboard. It has a good feeling on every keypress and its tactile feedback is on point. It doesn’t have any backlighting whatsoever, but I think that is a fair compromise.

I find the keyboard’s layout a bit odd considering that there is a lot of real estate that can be used here. I think that has something to do with the speaker grilles that are found on both sides of the keyboard, but I would’ve wanted the company to go the usual route and have a layout that is used by many laptop manufacturers out there.

I just do not like that some keys are in line with each other. For instance, the page up and page down keys are in line with the delete key, which you will find pretty annoying when you are used to the regular layout. This also means that the power button is not on its usual placement on the side, which can be a turn off for some people (no pun intended).

The touchpad has a glass surface. It measures 4.5 x 2.7 inches and I consider it to be respectable enough for most users. Because of the said surface, it is pretty easy to glide your fingers to make gestures, make accurate drawings, etc. It also supports Windows precision drivers as well, so you will know that the company has got you covered if you decide to go all creative on this laptop.

Specs and Performance

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-10750H
  • GPU: Nvidia Geforce RTX 2060 Max-Q
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4-2933MHz
  • Storage: 512GB NVMe SSD +32GB Intel Optane
  • Display: 15.6-inch 3840 x 2160 AMOLED
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0, Intel WiFi 6 AX 201
  • Ports: HDMI 2.0a, 2x USB-C (w/ Thunderbolt 3.0 support), 2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, 3.5mm headphone/microphone combo jack
  • Battery: 86 WHr
  • Weight: 4.7 lbs

The HP Envy 15 has some pretty respectable specs. It comes with a 10th generation Intel Core i7 processor and is coupled with Nvidia’s RTX 2060 Max-Q GPU.

Its performance is pretty good, especially if you are doing some photo editing or even some video rendering workloads. Although it is not as fast as some AMD Ryzen-powered laptops on this front, you still get a fast laptop nonetheless.

Although this thing is marketed as a laptop for creative professionals, its RTX 2060 Max-Q GPU can handle PC games really well. In my testing with the 4K model, it is best that you set the graphical settings to just medium to get anywhere between 45-60 fps depending on the game that you want to play.

I can imagine that you get even more performance on the 1080p model, but 45-60 fps is already quite playable.

You can use the HP Command Center to set the different operating modes depending on your usage. Setting it to Performance mode ekes out every last bit of performance which is great if you really need a powerful system for games and creative workloads. Its balanced profile should be used in most cases.

Battery Life

HP Envy 15 (2020) Keyboard Lid

If there is one downside to this otherwise great laptop, it would be its battery life. The HP Envy 15 is equipped with an 86 WHr battery which, on paper, should be adequate for this kind of machine, right? Well, not exactly.

You see, the 4K AMOLED screen sucks out more battery than an IPS display of the same resolution. Yes, you get better visual fidelity with an AMOLED panel but that is at the cost of battery life.

In my testing, you could get only 2 hours and 36 minutes of effective runtime before you need to reach for the charger. That means that any taxing workload- may it be professional use-cases or playing games- can truly drain the battery really quickly.

You will have to bring the charger with you anywhere you go if you want to continually use this laptop when you are outside, but its hefty power brick can be a bummer to bring for people that want maximum portability.

Verdict

The HP Envy 15 is definitely a pretty good laptop for creative individuals. Its 4K AMOLED display produces vibrant colors with amazing contrast and its pretty impressive dynamic range sets it apart from most of the laptops on the market.

Even though this is not a true gaming laptop, you can still play any games that you want on this thing, albeit you may have to tone down some graphical settings here and there to get good enough frame rates.

The downside to this otherwise amazing portable machine is its battery life. That has something to do with the display panel used as AMOLED screens are generally power-hungrier than their IPS counterparts.

But, if you are okay with the fact that you need to bring the laptop’s charger with you at all times, then the HP Envy 15 is a pretty impressive choice for creative professionals.

The HP Envy 15, as reviewed, costs $1,600.

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