Whether you are working from home, playing a game, or if you want to buy one for your kid for distance learning measures, a laptop is a hot commodity right now due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
While there are plenty of options to choose from out there, if you only want the top of the line, then read further to find out the best laptops that you can buy right now.
Best Laptops in 2020
1.Dell XPS 13
Price: Starts at $999
The Dell XPS 13 is consistently getting high praise from technology pundits and laptop reviewers all over the world. Its predecessor was already the best in its class last year and Dell has made something that is even better.
This laptop has a gorgeous design. This makes it easy to recommend for professional use-cases since it’s subtle and elegant at the same time.
The display is vibrant and the chassis has a slim profile that the entire thing weighs less than 5 pounds. And oh, it has a 91.5% screen-to-body ratio which means that you get a lot of screen real estate for your projects or media content.
Its price starts at $999 and it comes with a pretty modest configuration. You are getting a 10th generation Intel Core i5 processor, Intel Iris Plus GPU, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage.
Of course, you also have the option to spend some more money to improve its RAM and internal storage if you like.
I just love everything about this laptop so if you want an all-arounder, I definitely recommend the Dell XPS 13 without a doubt.
2.MacBook Air (2020)
While most people are okay using the Windows 10 platform, there are some users that prefer the Apple ecosystem.
If you do not want to be spending more than $2,000 on the MacBook Pro, then turn your attention to the 2020 version of the MacBook Air.
The newest MacBook Air is packed with the 10th generation Intel Core processors and it comes with a 13.3-inch retina display with a 100% color gamut rating for impeccable and crisp visuals.
The previous versions of the device have been laughed at because of its keyboard but I am happy that Apple has updated it to a much better version now.
It has a 1mm key travel which means that typing on this thing is a cinch and the overall layout puts your hands in a more natural and comfortable position.
While the base configuration comes with an Intel Core i3 processor, I highly recommend that you spend some more of your money to get at least the i5 variant.
All in all, I am happy with the MacBook Air 2020 and if you like using the Apple ecosystem, this is the one to get.
3.Acer Aspire 5
Price: Starts at $399
The Acer Aspire 5 is a great laptop for budget-conscious users. It is a testament to the fact that you do not have to spend a lot of money just to get a laptop that you can use for a variety of things.
First of all, you get a 15-inch IPS display that provides you with a lot of screen real estate for media consumption and for productivity purposes.
Among all of the budget laptops out there, it is one of the most long-lasting ones as it is able to last up to 9 hours with moderate use. This is perfect for people that are always on the go and want a laptop that can last for the whole day.
It is packed with the 8th generation Intel chips, 4GB RAM, and 128GB SSD, and weighs just 3.76 pounds which makes it quite portable.
Although its performance package is mediocre, the Acer Aspire 5 is still great for productivity purposes.
4.Asus ROG Zephyrus G14
If you want to play your favorite PC games on the go, then I highly recommend that you check the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 out.
It is one of the early adopters of AMD’s Ryzen 4000 mobile processors and it is packed with hardware that can play AAA games with considerable frame rates.
For the processor, you are getting the Ryzen 9 4900HS 8-core, 16-thread CPU and it is combined with the Nvidia Geforce RTX 2060 Max-Q GPU. As you can tell, this can handle any game you throw at it.
Its 14-inch Full HD IPS display can also be clocked to a 120Hz screen refresh rate as well so you are not only getting impressive visuals but also a smooth display that allows you to enjoy your games even more.
It is punctuated with 16GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD storage so you can easily put all of the files that you need in one laptop.
Seriously, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is one of the best gaming laptops that you can find on the market that doesn’t break the bank.
5.Dell XPS 15 (2020)
If the 13-inch display of the Dell XPS 13 wasn’t enough for you, maybe its bigger brother is.
The Dell XPS 15 has a larger, more vibrant display. It has a 15.6-inch screen that has a 100% sRGB color gamut rating, 100% Adobe RGB rating, and 94% DCI-P3 color gamut rating. As you can imagine, this is one of the best displays available on a laptop in 2020 and that is why it is loved by many content creators.
It also has HDR 400 certification and Dolby vision so you can enjoy HDR content with respectably good audio.
The keyboard and trackpad are both accurate and I especially like the former because it is very easy to type on this device and I am pretty sure that you will enjoy the experience as well.
It is packed with the Intel Core i7-10750H processor, Nvidia Geforce GTX 1650 Ti GPU, 16GB of RAM, and 1TB of M.2 PCIe SSD storage.
Although its price is quite steep, it is definitely worth it for what you are getting.
6.Lenovo Chromebook Duet
For people that prefer 2-in-1 laptops that come with the Google OS, the Lenovo Chromebook Duet is for you.
This is priced competitively at just $280 and for the price, you are getting a 10.1-inch tablet with the keyboard attachment included in the package. The keyboard can be attached using a 5-pin pogo connector with strong magnets so it can easily be utilized without any problems.
Chromebooks have become quite popular now thanks to the ever-improving ecosystem and if you want a laptop/tablet hybrid that is inexpensive and has the right specs, the Lenovo Chromebook Duet is an excellent choice.
7.MacBook Pro 16
If you are a macOS power user, then look no further than the MacBook Pro 16. It is a 16-inch MacBook that has a very vivid Retina display that is perfect for content creators and creative individuals thanks to its impressive color rating.
Its keyboard is vastly improved and has 1mm key travel that makes your typing experience so much better compared to its predecessors.
It is packed with the 9th generation Intel processors, 16GB of RAM, and 1TB of SSD storage. You also have the option to go as high as 64GB of RAM and 8TB of storage, though undoubtedly, you are going to spend lots of money to get those.
However, despite its price, many swear by the use of the MacBook Pro 16, especially if you are a creative content creator.
8.HP Spectre x360 (2020)
For people who love the form factor of a 13-inch laptop, the HP Spectre x360 is also another great laptop in this category.
It is a 2-in-1 laptop with impressive aesthetics, so you will not be ashamed to use this in school or in your office.
This laptop has a relatively good performance package because it comes equipped with 10th generation Intel Core CPUs, Intel Iris Plus onboard GPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 13.3-inch BrightView multi-touch display with a maximum resolution of 3840 x 2160.
Depending on the configuration you are going to get, you can have a measly 256GB installed on this thing or you can go as high as 2TB if you are willing to spend a bit more.
Aside from its amazing display and considerably good performance, the keyboard and trackpad of Spectre X360 are also pretty good. So good, in fact, that you do not need to use a dedicated mouse just to navigate your way through.
9.Gigabyte Aero 15
Gigabyte has been on a roll when it comes to highly competitive laptops and if you want one that is great for creatives, then you will find the Gigabyte Aero 15 quite appealing.
Its biggest feature is its OLED display which is a 15.6-inch screen with 4K resolution. This display has impressive 100% scores from all color gamut tests (sRGB, Adobe RGB, and DCI-P3) tests so you are assured that this screen is color accurate enough for all creative tasks.
Aside from its amazing colorful keyboard and accurate trackpad, the performance package of this thing is nothing short of amazing.
At its highest configuration, you are getting the Intel Core i9-10980HK processor, along with the Nvidia RTX 2070 Super Max-Q GPU. You also get 32GB of RAM and 1TB M.2 SSD for all of your storage needs.
Seriously, I am blown away by the details that the laptop’s screen can provide. If you have the money and if you are tackling creative endeavors, the Gigabyte Aero 15 is perfect for you.
10.LG Gram 17 (2020)
When you think about 17-inch laptops, you might imagine a machine that is less portable than others and is packed with powerful components. Well, this last recommendation definitely has the specs to show for, albeit it is much lighter than you think.
The LG Gram 17 is kind of unreal when you really think about it. It is a 17-inch laptop that only weighs less than 3 pounds. I know, right?
Its screen has a maximum resolution of 1600p and whether you are using it for productive or creative workloads or you just want to have a much larger screen for media consumption, this laptop will definitely not disappoint.
For $1,700, you are getting a relatively portable machine with the Intel Core i7-1065G7 processor, Intel Iris Plus GPU, 16GB of RAM, and 1TB of SSD storage.
Another hallmark feature of this thing is its keyboard. It has good tactile feedback and it is just a dream to type on. If you type a lot of documents, I highly recommend this thing without a doubt.
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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