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:
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
The 4 Best Budget Laptops for 2020
What constitutes a budget laptop? Well, a budget laptop is one that is priced just under $1000. Although you cannot expect high-end components in such devices, they should still come with respectable specs.
If you are on the lookout for the best budget laptops in the market today, do read the rest of the article to find out our recommendations.
Lenovo Yoga C740
This is the first budget laptop that is worth considering. The Lenovo C740 has a lot of variants but the one that I will talk about is their 14-inch version.
A 14-inch laptop, you could say, is the best form factor when it comes to business and education use-cases. The 14-inch IPS screen supports a resolution of 1920 x 1080 (Full HD) and has a respectable 300 nits of brightness.
People who love to use this laptop for professional cases would really love the C740 mainly because it is a 2-in-1 device. This means that you not only have a bright and vibrant screen but it also acts as a touch screen as well.
The display is also able to fully tilt backward thanks to its 360-degree hinge. This is perfect for whenever you want fewer distractions and you want to be comfortable while consuming your movies or other media content.
This laptop will come with a 10th-gen Intel processor, up to 16GB of RAM and up to 1TB of storage. You can choose the configuration that you want, but keep in mind that the higher the specs of the device, the higher the price tag will be.
The configuration that I got comes with a 10th gen Intel Core i5 mobile processor, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB SSD. This specs package is not ideal for gaming, but for other use-cases, it is definitely respectable.
Lastly, the battery can last up to 13 hours, though depending on your use-case, your mileage may vary.
Acer Aspire 5 (Intel 2019)
Another great budget offering, the Acer Aspire 5 is definitely touted as the budget laptop to get, especially if you have under $500 to spend.
The laptop comes with a respectable performance package with an Intel Core i3-8145U, an Intel UHD 620 GPU, 4GB of RAM, 128GB SSD, and it is pretty lightweight at only 3.76 lbs.
Now, you might say that the specs aren’t great, but that is because this laptop is only intended for general use and media consumption. It was never intended to be a gaming laptop.
The Aspire 5 has a 15.6-inch IPS display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 and has a good enough 276 nits of brightness.
Its overall design is clean and sleek and its battery life can last up to 8-10 hours.
My only gripe with this device is that it only has 128GB of internal storage, but other than that, this should be a pretty good one under $500.
Dell D3 Gaming Laptop
Of course, there are some people that would want to play games everywhere they want and that is why I am also recommending a good gaming laptop under $1,000.
The Dell D3 Gaming Laptop has a pretty decent spec sheet for gaming. It comes with the Intel Core i5-9300H CPU, a GTX 1050 GPU, 8GB of RAM, 1TB HDD and 256GB SSD.
While the gaming performance is solid for the price, there are some noteworthy downsides as well.
The most obvious one is the build quality. It is chunkier than other gaming laptops and the design leaves much to be desired.
The laptop has a 15.6-inch TN panel display which means that while it is fast for gaming, the colors are dull when compared to its IPS counterpart.
It weighs a good 5.4lbs which is still lighter than other gaming laptops in its class and it does come with a USB Type-C port, along with the usual ones that come with standard laptops.
Although the design is not that appealing, the Dell G3 is still a pretty decent gaming machine that is perfect for people who are on a tight budget.
Asus Zenbook 13
If you want a thin laptop that you can bring with you with ease and has a respectable performance package to go along with it, the Zenbook 13 is definitely a noteworthy consideration.
The Zenbook 13 comes with a 13.3-inch ‘nanoedge’ display that basically means that the bezels are quite small. It is an IPS display that supports Full HD resolution.
For its performance package, it comes with the Intel Core i5-8265u CPU (that has a built-in GPU), 8GB RAM, 512 GB PCIe SSD, a fingerprint reader, and weighs only 2.5 pounds which is definitely one of the lightest 13-inch laptops on the market.
Its aesthetics is very pleasing with a gunmetal gray finish on the main keyboard and trackpad area and black color on the back.
While its specs are considerable for the price, what I do not like about this product is its display calibration. Somehow, the default configuration displays a greenish tint, though it can easily be fixed by tweaking the color saturation settings.
Still, for $700 (that usually goes on sale), the Asus Zenbook 13 is one of the best thin laptops on the market today.
MacBook Air 2020 Review- The Best and Cheapest ‘Air’ Yet
The Macbook Air has been around for so many years now but its previous iterations are hard to recommend because they always come with glaring quirks. For instance, last year’s model has a pretty bad keyboard that it is atrocious to type on. That certainly changes, though, as the new Macbook Air 2020 holds a lot of promise.
Not only is this new version highly improved, but it is also the first-ever Macbook Air that is priced under $1000 ($999 for the base model). Read further to find out more about this new and improved laptop from Apple.
What You Get for the Price
When you are planning to buy a Macbook Air 2020, you will be given different price tiers with various configurations. The base model is priced at $999 and comes with a 10th-generation Intel Core i3 processor, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD for storage.
If you want to upgrade a little bit, say, increase your CPU and storage a notch higher, then you will have to pay $1,299. At this price, you will be getting a 10th-gen Intel Core i5 processor and 512 GB SSD storage. Of course, you also have the ability to increase its RAM capacity, but that is going to cost you extra.
The Macbook Air 2020 is a 13-inch laptop that comes in two colors: Gold and Space Gray. Space Gray is the most popular, but the gold one is really fancy-looking and is definitely a head-turner.
There are a lot of things that have improved when it comes to the design of the said laptop. For one, it has thinner bezels on the sides and while it provides you with even more screen real estate, the top portion still looks clunky thanks to the included webcam.
This laptop weighs about 2.8 pounds which is relatively lightweight (thus, earning its ‘Air’ moniker) and it also measures about 11.9 x 8.4 x 0.6 inches. If you have a previous model Macbook Air, you might find that the design aspects are quite the same and you are correct. The only major difference is the new and improved keyboard and it is definitely way better than last year’s.
One of the things that I do not like about Macbook Airs, in general, is their non-inclusion of a USB 2.0/3.0 port. This is a compromise that people would have to make considering that Apple wants this product to be as slim as possible while providing considerable performance in a smaller chassis.
If you are to use any of your USB-powered peripherals (like a mouse, for example), then you will need an adapter for that.
Why do you think people who have creative professions (editors, graphic designers, etc.) love Apple laptops? Well, that is because of their amazing screens and the New Macbook Air 2020 is no exception.
This laptop has a 13.3-inch, 2560 x 1600 Retina True Tone Display, which is technically an IPS LED screen that produces punchy and vibrant colors. True enough, using a colorimeter on the device’s display yields an sRGB gamut of 113%, which is definitely more than the recommended 100% for high-end laptops.
Since it is an IPS display, you can get the best possible color performance no matter where you look at it. Vibrant and punchy- the two words that I would use to describe the laptop’s screen.
One of the best things about the 2020 version of the Macbook Air is its keyboard. A lot of people have complained about the keyboard in the last year’s version mainly because it is not a joy to type on. Well, that has certainly changed in this year’s iteration.
The Macbook Air now comes with what the company calls the ‘Magic Keyboard’ that has been implemented in the Macbook Pro 16 (that was released last year). It is definitely way better to type on, has a good tactile response, and it will not tire your fingers out no matter how many words you need to type.
Considering that this is a lighter version of Apple’s laptops, its performance is okay but not as good as the Pro models. Depending on your configuration, you might experience lags or stutters here or there.
For example, using a 10th-gen Intel Core i5 with 512GB SSD, I experienced some lags whenever I switch to different programs. It is not a dealbreaker since the lags only happen a split-second, but it is still worth noting. Such a thing is non-existent in last year’s pro model, however.
It is pretty hard to quantify how long a device can last, especially since the device’s battery drain relies heavily on what the users intend to do with the said thing. That being said, in my testing, I was able to get a little over 9 hours just by doing menial tasks such as surfing the web, consuming video content, all while doing that at the screen set to 150 nits brightness. To me, that is definitely respectable, though if you decide to play graphically-intensive games, battery life will be lower than that.
The Macbook Air 2020 is definitely the best version of the Macbook Air yet. It has a much-improved keyboard, pretty respectable specs, and a vibrant display. Its base model is also much cheaper than the previous ones.
Having said that, the said laptop is only best for your everyday work tasks and processes. It is not meant to be used as a gaming machine (though you can fire up your favorite games if you want to). It does have a pretty good battery life, but that really depends on how you use the device.
Still, recommending the said laptop is easy given that it is the best version of the product line to date.
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