Do you work from home? If so, you will need a dedicated computer or a laptop that you can rely on.
If you are looking to buy one soon, read further to find out the best budget laptops this August 2020 that are perfect for online work.
Best Budget Laptops in August 2020
The best budget laptop in August 2020 is the Lenovo C640. There is a lot to love about this machine and although it cannot handle any graphics-intensive games, it is definitely a productivity workhorse.
For starters, it has a premium build- something that is usually overlooked in some budget laptops on the market. It has an aluminum chassis and has a metallic gray finish that looks svelte no matter where you look at it.
Instead of opting for an ARM-based chipset, the Lenovo C640 went back to its roots and it now comes with a 10th generation Intel Core i3 processor which can handle productivity workloads without any problems. In fact, using an Intel processor made this machine even better thanks to its optimization using the Windows platform.
Despite the metal build, the laptop is actually quite lightweight at under 3 pounds. That means that whether you want to go to your office or work from home, carrying this around will not be a pain at all.
It has a 13.3-inch IPS touchscreen display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 and a maximum brightness of 300 nits. Although the brightness is one of its weakest features, it is still okay if you are using it indoors.
For the most part, this laptop can handle anything other than video editing or playing graphics-intensive games.
Its storage solution is a 512GB NVMe SSD which is unparalleled for a laptop that is offered at this price point.
All in all, the Lenovo C640 is definitely one of the best budget laptops this August 2020.
2.HP Spectre x360
Just a reminder, when I say ‘budget’ laptops, I meant portable machines that cost less than $1,000. The HP Spectre x360 2020 edition has just had a price cut and is now priced at $950 which is a pretty amazing deal.
This is a 2-in-1 laptop which makes it ideal for office work. You can set it to tablet mode and use its included stylus for your spreadsheets and presentations.
It has a 13.3-inch IPS touchscreen display with a resolution of 1080p. The lowest configuration offers the 10th generation Intel Core i5 chip with 256GB SSD for its internal storage which should be adequate for most users.
The built-in graphics processor, the Intel Iris Plus, actually provides stunning visuals and impressive battery life. It cannot run graphically demanding games, but it certainly handles any media workload with flying colors.
Of course, the beauty of this machine is that you can have some of its components upgraded, provided that you have the money to spend.
But for $950 for its default configuration, the HP Spectre x360 certainly deserves praise and recognition on this list.
3.Dell Inspiron 15 7591
Users that want more screen real estate will certainly love this next recommendation. The Dell Inspiron 15 7591 is a great budget laptop offered for just $800.
With this configuration, you are getting a 15-inch display, an Intel Core i5-9300H processor, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB SSD for storage.
While its color accuracy doesn’t compare to the previous two recommendations, the screen real estate matters a lot and this laptop, being sold at just $800, is quite a steal in my opinion.
It can handle any workload without any problems and although this isn’t a 2-in-1 laptop, you can still get things done in a short amount of time.
The keyboard and trackpad on this thing are quite nice to the touch and they are ergonomically designed so that utilizing them won’t strain your hands at all.
Despite it being a budget laptop, it doesn’t compromise on build quality and that is something that is always appreciated.
Of course, the beauty of the Dell Inspiron 7000 series is its upgradeability. So long as you have the money to spend, you can have the option to buy better components for it.
4.Acer Swift 3
I am always impressed with budget laptops that have build qualities that are akin to their more expensive counterparts. The Acer Swift 3 is definitely going to be appealing for a lot of people.
First of all, it’s an all-aluminum portable computer that has the looks and the durability that can handle some punishment, which is usually unheard of from an inexpensive machine.
The strongest points of this laptop are its keyboard and trackpad. They are a joy to use and they are pretty accurate as well. I do not get any typos nor do I have any misclicks while using them.
This laptop also has a 14-inch IPS display with a resolution of 1080p. Its default configuration only has 4GB but this particular model has 8GB which is a steal.
When it comes to graphical workloads, the Acer Swift 3 has the right specs. It has an Intel Core i7-8565U coupled with the Nvidia Geforce MX150. No, you cannot max out any settings in the games that you play, but it does offer a graphical performance that is a cut above the rest at this price point.
This is just nitpicky of me, but I do have to point out that the all-metal build might not appeal to anyone as it looks dull and boring. But hey, if it is sturdy and has the right specs, I am sure that people won’t mind at all.
5.Google Pixelbook Go
If all you need is a laptop for online work, then you might want to consider getting a Chromebook instead.
Chromebooks are essentially laptops that use the Chrome OS as its main operating system. They are quite similar to an Android smartphone and that is why they are much easier to use.
Having said that, while the Google Pixelbook is certainly the best out there, it does cost a fortune which may put a lot of people off.
If you want to go the budget route, the Google Pixelbook Go is the one that you should be getting.
This is a cut-down version of the original Pixelbook but it does have the right specs for work-from-home setups.
At the said price, you are getting a Chromebook that has the Intel Core m3 processor, an Intel onboard graphics solution, 8GB of RAM, and a 13.3-inch Full HD display.
Its performance is actually quite good despite the meager specs. That is because the machine is fully optimized for the setup and that is why you will not experience any lags whatsoever.
The only thing that I do not like about this configuration is that the storage is only limited to just 128GB eMMC memory, though you do have the option to get a heftier one if you are willing to spend more.
6.Asus Vivobook S15
The Asus Vivobook S15 is always hailed as one of the best budget laptops on the market and it certainly does deserve the recognition in the month of August.
As more and more people are forced to work from home, getting a laptop nowadays is a must. I also understand that people do not have a lot of money, so getting the most bang for the buck machine makes sense.
The Asus Vivobook S15 offers a lot for a laptop that is priced under $500. You are getting a vibrant 15.6-inch Full HD display, 8GB of RAM, an Intel Core i5 processor, and a whopping 512GB of SSD storage.
Its overall aesthetics are simple but once you open this machine to reveal its trackpad, you will be pleasantly surprised.
You see, instead of a traditional trackpad, you are actually getting what is known by the company as the ‘screenpad’ which provides more information to the user than a regular trackpad.
It does take time getting used to but it certainly is a welcome addition in a budget machine.
7.Dell G5 SE Gaming Laptop
Okay, what if you do not want to buy a dedicated work laptop but you want a portable gaming machine instead? If you have less than $1,000 to spend, then this next recommendation will certainly be quite an appealing proposition.
The Dell G5 SE is one of the best budget gaming laptops on the market this August 2020. It has the right specs to play even the most demanding games at considerable framerates and is priced at only $850.
For this configuration, you are getting a Ryzen 5 4500H CPU, a Radeon RX 5600M discrete graphics solution, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage. While having more storage is ideal, for the price, you cannot really complain here.
Since you are buying this mainly as a portable gaming machine, the Dell G5 SE also comes with a 15.6-inch IPS display with a resolution of 1080p. That’s a more balanced display that provides a lot of graphical elements at one time.
If you have $200 more to spend, you will get a much better CPU, 256GB more storage (a total of 512GB), and the RAM will be doubled to 16GB of RAM.
There are a lot of amazing budget laptops that should be available in the month of August 2020. The above-mentioned products are highly praised by the community and tech enthusiasts and that is why getting any one of these will make it a worthy purchase for you.
Whether you are looking for a laptop for your online work or a portable gaming machine, I hope that this article has helped you make the right purchase decision.
Amazon Luna- Everything You Need to Know About Amazon’s Cloud Gaming Service
It seems that cloud gaming is the future as a lot of companies are pooling their resources just to make things happen.
Amazon Luna is Amazon’s foray into cloud gaming and it is going to be available soon. Read further to find out more information about this new experience.
Google has paved the way for cloud gaming to come to the fore with the release of the Stadia not too long ago. Although it was mired with a lot of different issues, it seems that the company has found a way to make things work.
Amazon also wants in on the action and although there are some similarities with Luna and Stadia, there are also some stark differences as well.
Before I begin, I just want to explain the concept of cloud gaming. Basically, instead of downloading games to your gaming PC or whatever platform you choose to install them, you will just stream those games using data centers that are scattered all over the world.
It should go without saying that you need to have a fast internet connection to make this happen and so that you will not experience high latency (which was a huge problem when Stadia launched).
That being said, the premise of Google Stadia is that you need to either purchase an individual game so that you can play it at any time (forever) or you could subscribe to the monthly plan and play the games that are on offer every month (and continue to play them so long as you’re subscribed).
With Amazon Luna, you will be presented with different channels that you can subscribe to. Each of these channels has different games on offer which makes this quite appealing for game developers to show their mettle.
Right now, the platform is still in beta and there are only two channels available at the moment- Amazon’s own Luna Plus and the Ubisoft Channel. The latter will have 50 games that you can play right away and more Ubisoft games will be added in the future.
Keep in mind that this channel-based system makes it so that developers can price their services accordingly. It remains to be seen how much Ubisoft will charge individual users, so stay tuned for that.
1080p and 4K Gaming
Just like Google Stadia, Amazon Luna will support both 1080p and 4K resolutions. Of course, the latter would be more taxing and you will need a fast internet connection to be able to enjoy high-fidelity gaming. I suggest that you get a WiFi 6 router and a compatible device to make the most out of your experience.
Unlike Stadia, Amazon Luna is more flexible in that it supports a lot of different devices. Not only can you play on your PC, but you can also choose to play it using your iOS devices, Android phones, and you can even utilize the company’s own FireTV devices as well.
Now, there has been this entire debacle about Apple’s 30% cut on every app in its App store but the good news is that Amazon can circumvent that.
You see, when you are going to play on your iOS devices, the application will actually be a PWA or a Progressive Web App. Basically, the game that you want to play will run in a contained web browser instead of it being an actual application that you install in your device. This bypasses the whole 30% cut issue which is a good thing.
NVIDIA Hardware Use
According to a recent Steam survey, the vast majority of PC users are all using NVIDIA graphics cards. This is a good thing for Amazon Luna because it means that it can support a lot more people.
That is because the company’s cloud gaming service will use NVIDIA GPUs instead of AMD cards (which Stadia uses for graphics processing).
Supposing that Amazon Luna will be more popular than any other cloud gaming service out there, NVIDIA will enjoy huge profits as a result.
Can Be Streamed to Popular Sites
Twitch is arguably the most popular streaming platform today and Amazon is looking to forge a partnership with the said service to allow you to stream your games to the popular website.
The said platform is widely used as a means of generating revenue- something that is quite popular today due to the recent pandemic.
This move also makes it appealing as well as more and more content creators can use Amazon Luna to reach a broader audience.
New Controller with Alexa Support
Just like Google Stadia, Amazon Luna also requires you to get a special controller. The good thing is that the control will have a microphone so that you can use Alexa for specific voice commands.
What’s interesting about the Luna’s controller is that it is completely connected to the Cloud, which means that you do not have to pair it with the specific device you are going to use to play games online.
According to Amazon’s website, it should have a grippy texture and will feature low-friction thumbsticks that provide maximum performance across the board. By using the controller’s microphone, you can actually tell Alexa to fire up the specific game that you want to play, so long as it is inside the channel that you’ve subscribed to.
Amazon Luna is quite enticing, at least, on paper. It is shaping up to be a better cloud gaming service compared to its competitors but the service is still in beta, so there are more things that need ironing out before its official release.
Right now, there are only two channels that are available and Ubisoft hasn’t imposed its pricing yet. The Amazon Luna channel is priced at $6.99
If you are interested in getting in on the action, you can be an early beta tester by subscribing to the service.
Amazon Luna will be out sometime in October.
Acer Nitro XV340CK Review- A Greatly Competitive Ultrawide Gaming Monitor Under $500
Ultrawide monitors used to be a niche display in that the only people who work on productivity tasks and creative workloads usually buy them.
Fortunately, the display technology has evolved and gamers, too, can enjoy a much wider screen.
Today, I am going to review the Acer Nitro XV340CK which is a 34-inch ultrawide gaming monitor that is priced competitively.
Even though this is marketed as a gaming monitor, the Acer Nitro XV340CK actually doesn’t look like it. It looks simple and I love the aesthetics, especially if you want to place this in your office.
The only thing that might make you think that this is a gaming display is that red accent that you can find on the base of the monitor but that’s about it.
Anyway, let’s start with the stand. Aside from the aforementioned red accent, the stand provides good ergonomics.
It gives you the ability to swivel the monitor a complete 360 degrees, you can tilt it to 35 degrees back and you can adjust the height up to 5.9 inches. Because this is an ultrawide monitor, you cannot put this thing in portrait mode.
I love the fact that this monitor has slim bezels. At only 0.4 inches, you can place another monitor right beside it and it wouldn’t really take a lot of screen real estate at all.
The overall build quality is good. Despite the fact that it doesn’t feel premium, at least when compared to the best gaming monitors out there, it still feels sturdy nevertheless.
For the ports, you get two Displayport 1.4 ports, two HDMI 2.0 ports, and two USB 3.0 ports. Due to the wealth of ports on offer, you can use this for your PC or your game console.
The only thing that might be cumbersome for some users is that the OSD controls are situated at the back of the monitor- particularly on the bottom right side. The buttons are also a bit smaller than usual, so you may have a hard time pressing the right ones.
The Acer Nitro XV340CK has a 34-inch IPS display with a resolution of 3440 x 1440 and an aspect ratio of 21:9. It is the same as other ultrawide gaming monitors that you can find on the market so there is no problem with that.
You do have the option to enable the picture-in-picture mode so that you can divide the display in two if you wish to fire up two different programs at the same time. This is why it is not only a handy gaming monitor, but it can also be used for office work as well.
Its contrast and brightness leave much to be desired. With a native contrast ratio of 1048:1 and peak SDR brightness of only 247 nits, it is not the best display when it comes to these things.
However, its redeeming quality is that its colors are accurate. After calibration, I got 95% sRGB, 82% AdobeRGB, and 81% DCI-P3. It is relatively color accurate and it would have been nice for creative workloads, but its peak brightness just falls short of making it an ideal display for such use-cases.
It is also worth noting that if you are in a well-lit room that the brightness could be a huge issue. The good thing is that the display’s matte finish can help reduce glare significantly, though you will still find that it is not bright enough in some situations.
I am surprised by the fact that there is literally no color bleed on the Acer Nitro XV340CK. This is unheard of, especially since ultrawide monitors are notorious for this.
Sure, its peak brightness and contrast could have improved, but gamers are not especially focused on those things. If anything, it is the performance of the display that usually takes the cake and I am happy to report that you won’t be disappointed with the Nitro XV340CK.
Normally, with IPS panels, they tend to not have a good response time, but that is actually not the case here. At just 5.3ms, it is definitely one of the best out there even when compared to other, more premium models.
How about input lag? This is a speed monitor and as expected, input lag is minimal. At just 4.2ms, I am really blown away by the performance of this thing. Every keypress on your gaming keyboard will register almost immediately and that is really great from a competitive standpoint.
It is also worth noting that its 144Hz refresh rate is ideal, especially since most gamers are clamoring for high refresh rate displays anyway.
This is a FreeSync gaming monitor and you can enable this variable refresh rate feature in both AMD and Nvidia graphics cards.
To get a hold of the said features, it is important for you to know that you should use the DisplayPort cable that is included in the box. There is also an included HDMI cable if you want to use this display for your Xbox or Playstation consoles.
With all of those things being said, if I were to ask you how much this thing costs, what will be your guess? If you’ve guessed around $700, you’re wrong.
The Acer Nitro XV340CK is priced at just $450! At that price, you are getting a relatively color-accurate monitor, a really fast display with minimal input lag, and a vast number of ports that you can use for your PC or game consoles.
Sure, its contrast and peak brightness could have been improved, but if you are talking about raw gaming performance, the Acer Nitro XV340CK blows other ultrawide gaming monitors out of the way.
Just make sure that you have a nice gaming PC for this thing to work nicely. Other than that, I highly recommend the Acer Nitro XV340CK for its price and performance.
HyperX Cloud Stinger S- A Comfortable 7.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headset
As an audiophile, I’ve always loved HyperX’s gaming audio solution. They are inexpensive and for the price, you are actually getting sound quality that you normally would only hear from expensive products.
In today’s article, I am going to review the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. This is a budget offering that aims to improve upon the original Cloud Stinger with the inclusion of a 7.1 surround sound option.
Do I recommend this headset? Find out later on in the article.
The HyperX Cloud Stinger S is actually quite similar to the original version. It has the same pleather ear cups that envelope your ears quite nicely and the clamping force of the headset itself is actually quite okay.
I’ve been receiving reports that there are some people that have problems with the tightness or, shall I say, how loose this thing can be. But that will probably be a result of the size of your head and not the actual product itself. For me, the fit was okay, but your mileage may vary.
Although this thing is predominantly made in plastic, the overall build quality is good, though I would advise you not to throw this headset when you lose a round in a MOBA game or first-person shooter.
There is a microphone on this headset and just like the original, it is not removable. It would have been nice if you could remove it when you are not using it because even if you fold the microphone (which also acts as a way of muting it), you will still see it which can be annoying at times.
This thing is quite simple and all you have for the controls is the volume slider that is located on the right ear cup.
While other HyperX gaming headsets come with a carrying pouch, I am sad to say that the HyperX Cloud Stinger S doesn’t have one.
All you get in the box aside from the headset is a USB dongle that is attached to a relatively long cable and some documentation. And, since you use this thing completely wired, it can also be used in your Playstation or other game consoles as well.
The 3.5mm analog cable should be inserted in the USB dongle if you wish to use its 7.1 surround sound implementation, but if you are just going to watch movies or play non-competitive games, I suggest that you do not use it.
There are two modes that you can utilize if you are going to use the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. You can use its 3.5mm headphone jack and enjoy stereo sound or you could insert that into the included USB dongle and use the 7.1 surround sound feature.
Keep in mind that if you are going to use the 7.1 output that it is only supported on the PC since you will need the NGENUITY software to enable it.
That being said, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S’ sound signature leans more toward being bright and with a little emphasis on the bass. This seems to be the preference of the majority of gamers since lower frequencies can make those in-game sounds pop-out more.
I also love the mid frequencies as it is quite balanced as well. I’ve had no problems listening to in-game dialog and when I am using the microphone, it just works really well.
Although the high frequencies are okay, I would say that it is the weakest of the bunch, though not so much as to diminish the overall sound quality. You will still hear the sibilance of the cymbals and lead guitars, but it is not as pronounced as the lower and mid frequencies.
As for the 7.1 surround sound, you should enable it in the companion software and it is only available when you are on the PC.
Anyway, its surround sound is okay but I say this because it is a budget gaming headset. If you compare it to the more premium ones, this is subpar at best. Still, you could enable it in your favorite games but I will advise against it if you are just listening to music or watching movies.
Despite a relatively good clamping force, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S doesn’t do so well in terms of sound isolation. People around me can still hear what I was listening to, so this might not be ideal if you are playing at night and there are people sleeping.
There is usually this notion that budget headsets have horrible microphones but not the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. In fact, I would go on to say that it has one of the better ones on the market.
Instead of sounding tinny, the microphone quality of the Cloud Stinger S is full-bodied and my teammates can hear every word I said without any problems.
The volume of the microphone is also quite good as well. Normally, with budget offerings, you tend to sound a bit ‘too far’ but that is not the case here.
Overall, I am quite pleased with the microphone. The only thing that I do not like is that the flippable microphone may impede your vision sometimes, but I think that you can adjust to this.
For a budget headset, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S is definitely one of the better sounding ones. I also love the fact that the microphone’s quality is top-notch and it can even go head-to-head against its more premium counterparts.
I am just a bit disappointed that you do not get a carrying pouch with this one because other HyperX gaming headsets have them. But, this is a minor inconvenience.
I did not feel the need to talk about the NGENUITY software mainly because it is pretty barebones and all you can do with it is to enable the 7.1 surround sound, adjust the volume and microphone, and that’s about it. There is no equalizer present which is quite odd.
Still, for what it is giving you, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S is highly recommended. This thing costs $60.
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