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Jazz Up Your iPhone with the Best Free iOS Apps of 2020

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Best iOS Apps 2020

In the smartphone space, you will find that the vast majority of people are using Android devices. While no one can argue with that, a sizable portion of the global population wants to use iOS more than Android. There is just so much to offer when it comes to Apple’s ecosystem

That being said, to unlock the full potential of your device, you need to install some applications, and while there are definitely premium ones out there, who said that there aren’t any free apps worth considering?

Read further to find out the best free iOS apps of 2020.

1.Facebook Messenger

Facebook Messenger

Facebook’s own messenger app has come a really long way. From implementing dark mode to the inclusion of AR emojis, it certainly has features for just about everyone.

And, ever since Zoom- a popular video conferencing app- rose into prominence, Facebook has recently included a feature where you can add up to 50 people in a video call to conduct a conference using the app itself.

Although some people do not like to install the main app, you will be happy to know that you can install the messenger by itself.

2.Google Chrome

Google Chrome

While Apple’s own Safari web browser is okay, Google Chrome is still so much better in every way.

Aside from the fact that you can sync your account across multiple devices, the speed and performance of Chrome just makes it unbeatable.

Google’s browser also enables you to log into your Google account and all of the information that you need will be accessible almost immediately.

3.Skype

Skype

This free application is still considered as one of the best when it comes to communication apps.

Skype has come a really long way. From allowing you to make video calls to just about any person in the world to adding animated emojis and powerful bots that can provide you with information that you need, there is no reason why you shouldn’t install this on your iPhone 11 or other iOS-powered devices.

4.Splice

Splice

There are a lot of influencers now and people are starting to notice the power that social media brings. That is why people resort to vlogging and whatnot to provide content to their audience.

That being said, while taking raw videos are okay, it is still best that you edit them to make the finished product even better.

Splice is a free video editing tool that has plenty of options to tweak any image or video file that you have and make it great before uploading them to social media.

With its array of tools and overlays, I am quite surprised that this application is absolutely free of charge.

If you want a video editing tool that you can use on the go, then Splice is your answer.

5.Microsoft Office

Microsoft Office App

Although this application was made by Microsoft, Apple’s rival when it comes to PC operating systems, the Office app is actually cross-platform, which means that it is also available for your iOS-enabled devices.

That being said, Microsoft Office provides you with a vast array of features that can help you with your documents.

You can create spreadsheets, make presentations, and write your reports all in one app. Any finished product can be synced to your OneDrive account or any other cloud-based storage service.

While the base Microsoft Office app is free, you can unlock more features by getting an Office 365 subscription.

6.Snapchat

Snapchat

This application is not your standard messaging app. Snapchat allows you to express yourself through visuals, funny texts, and quotes.

What makes this messaging app unique is that every message that you send will be deleted after a short while (usually a day or two).

While I do not recommend using this as your main messaging app, Snapchat provides you with a fun way to communicate with your friends and family.

7.Youtube

Youtube App

There is no denying that Youtube is the best video streaming platform out there. With tons of videos in its portfolio, you can find just about anything that you can think of.

From video game footage to your favorite recipes, the platform provides you with a plethora of content that is free of charge.

Of course, if you do not want to contend with annoying ads, you can also subscribe to their premium service which not only eliminates ads but also supports playback even when your screen is locked, among many others.

8.Adobe Photoshop Fix

Adobe Photoshop Fix

People that want a mobile app that can help them tweak their photos a little bit by adding some effects here and there will be happy to use this application.

The Adobe Photoshop Fix is pretty much a stripped-down version of Adobe’s premiere photo editing software. Despite it being a toned down version of their popular program, this app allows you to not only do minor tweaks on your photos but its vast array of other tools can add more elements to make your images come to life.

While the base application allows you to do a lot of edits, spend a little bit of money and you can unlock even more features.

9.Viber

Viber App

Communication apps are always welcome, especially if they can be used for free. Viber is still one of the best out there when it comes to calling your loved ones all over the world.

The mobile version of Viber can be synced with its desktop counterpart and even though you are required to use your mobile number, it is okay since the app encrypts your data anyway.

10.Discord

Discord App

Discord is sort of a chat application that is similar to the mIRC desktop program of old. It is similar in the sense that you can join groups of like-minded people so that you can share your interests and whatnot.

Since this app is cross-platform compatible, you can switch to the desktop version and all of your previous chats will be saved so you can continue on with what you and your mates were talking about.

Also, if you are using your Apple device, you can also communicate with your friends via voice chat as well.

11.Otter Voice Notes

Otter Voice App

People that want to have a text version of their meeting or conference call should look into using Otter Voice Notes.

This application pretty much transcribes any audio to text so that you can read the transcripts at a later time.

I am quite surprised by how accurate this application is for what it does. You will find that the app does a pretty good job of creating sentences, using punctuation marks, and if the app detects that a particular person is in your contacts list, it will highlight the particular name inside the transcript itself.

The free version of the application only allows you to store up to 600 minutes of transcribed audio.

However, if you like the service and would want more, you can subscribe to their monthly plan for only $9.99.

12.GrubHub

GrubHub App

Do you want to know the best foods that the city you are currently in has to offer? Grubhub makes use of GPS technology to help provide you with the best possible food joints available in your area.

You basically are given a list of restaurants in your locale and you can order food directly from within the app. Then, the meals that you’ve ordered will be delivered right to your doorstep.

For people that do not want to go through the hassle of going to the restaurant themselves, this app is definitely a must-have.

13.LastPass

LastPass App

As everything is available online, hackers are now given more incentive to get your sensitive information. Of course, you do not want that to happen and that is why you need to make sure that you get protected.

One of the measures that you can take is to install a password manager that not only saves your passwords across different websites and services but it also helps you form strong passwords, among many other things.

Lastpass is one of the best password managers out there. Even by just using its free version, you will get a bevy of different features that can help you keep your accounts safe.

By paying some money, however, you will get much better services, though the free version is still definitely worth using.

14.Bear

Bear App

If you want to be productive, you might need a note-taking app that allows you to jot down the most important things that need to be done during the day.

Bear is one of those apps that not only provides you with a flexible writing canvas but it also allows you to make doodles and more.

What makes Bear unique is that you are able to utilize the Apple Pencil to make illustrations or jot down simple tasks.

Furthermore, it can even support many different programming languages as well so you can create an agenda for today if you are a programmer.

Its free version gives you all you need when it comes from a note-taking standpoint but its premium version allows you to sync your data to your favorite cloud service, as well as give you additional tools that you can use to make your notes look even better.

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Google Nest Audio vs Amazon Echo- The Battle of the New ‘Smart’ Speakers

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Google Nest Audio vs Amazon Echo

Smart home speakers are not as popular as mobile phones, but in my opinion, it actually should be.

You see, companies are slowly rolling out smart home devices so that your life will be so much easier given the convenience of having them.

That being said, I am going to be talking about the Google Nest Audio and Amazon Echo speakers because they are the ones that are at the forefront when it comes to smart home speakers. Which of these should you choose? Read on to find out!

Design

For those of you who do not know, Google Nest Audio is actually the Google Home speakers that were released just about a year ago. It seems that Google wanted to use a new moniker to denote that this particular thing can ‘nest’ your other smart home devices.

The Amazon Echo, on the other hand, refers to the medium-sized Bluetooth speaker that the largest online retailer sells. The company is set to release a new version of this device soon, so it would be interesting to see how well it performs.

Even though the new version of the Amazon Echo hasn’t arrived at our doorstep yet for an official review, this is not to say that we can somehow speculate what it can offer, especially considering that the company has provided us with some really good information about it.

With all of those out of the way, let’s talk more about the design first. The Google Nest Audio takes on a more cylindrical approach in that the speaker itself has a higher height than the Amazon Echo.

For that reason, you are getting a 75mm woofer and a single 19mm tweeter. Google touts the Google Nest Audio as a better sound solution compared to its original Google Home Speaker because of the changes.

On the other hand, the Amazon Echo, in my opinion, has better sound quality. That is thanks to its two 20mm tweeters and a huge 76.2mm woofer. Its design is more spherical but I am pleased (and surprised) that Amazon was able to include two tweeters on its Bluetooth speaker implementation.

At the base of the Amazon Echo is a blue light ring that changes the way it emits light depending on the current usage.

Both of these Bluetooth speakers are offered in various colors so you have different options to choose from.

Sound Quality

Amazon Echo

If you look at the design of both speakers, you could make a case that the Amazon Echo wins this round when it comes to pure sound quality. Its two tweeters compared to the single tweeter on the Google Nest Audio, provides it with a much better chance of delivering mid-high sound frequencies.

This is not to discount the fact that Google has some tricks up its sleeves because its AI technology is smart enough to adjust the sound quality on the fly when needed.

Both of the speakers have an adaptive sound feature wherein if it detects that the ambient noise is loud enough, it increases the volume of whatever content you are consuming at that moment to compensate. This is using both of the speakers’ microphones. The volume should normalize to the last known level after it detects that the ambient sound has quieted down.

Of course, this is only my opinion after looking at the spec sheet because I will have to get my hands on these things before I can give my honest opinion. But, my initial assessment would be that the Amazon Echo delivers better sound compared to the Google Nest Audio.

Smart Features

Google Nest Audio

To be able to provide you with ‘smart’ features, both the Google Nest Audio and Amazon Echo are equipped with processors that can handle just that.

The Google Nest Audio comes with the company’s TeraOPS A53 processor which is a quad-core chip that boasts of better performance compared to the company’s previous Bluetooth speakers.

On the other hand, Amazon’s own speaker is equipped with the AZ1 Neural Edge processor that, according to the company, should be more responsive to voice commands compared to previous versions.

It is hard to say who wins this round. You see, Amazon has Zigbee hub integration which means that your connected smart home devices have better compatibility with the said speaker because of this.

However, we all know that Google’s AI technology is so advanced (and even more accurate) than Alexa, so it could potentially provide you with better features overall compared to Amazon’s Bluetooth speaker.

Of course, I cannot truly say which one wins this round until I get to review these wireless audio solutions. In that case, stay tuned for more.

Availability

The Google Nest Audio will be available on October 5, while the Amazon Echo will not be released until later this month (October 22). That being said, both of these speakers will retail for $99.99, so stay tuned for our official product reviews to help you know which one you should ultimately choose for yourself.

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Apple iPad 8th Generation Review- An Iterative Upgrade

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Apple iPad 8th Generation Review

When it comes to ease of use and convenience, people like getting Apple’s products because of its more streamlined approach to everything. Sure, there is a lot to tinker on Android but that is also precisely the reason why the user experience, at least for the layman, is not as great.

That being said, the 8th generation iPad was just released after the new iOS 14 update was launched. But, if you already have a 6th or 7th generation iPad, should you upgrade to the new one?

Design

Apple iPad 8th Generation Review 2020

There is this saying that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Well, although I would have liked to say that here, I just don’t think that that approach applies here.

You see, the design of the 8th generation iPad is identical to its predecessor. As in everything about its aesthetics are similar which means that if you want to imagine what the new iPad looks like, all you have to do is look at the 7th gen variant.

Like all things, it can be a good thing or a bad thing. It is a good thing because that familiar design should feel right at home, especially for people that already own an iPad. It is bad because, in this day and age, more and more mobile devices have slimmer bezels and the new iPad still has those atrociously huge ones.

Don’t get me wrong, there are practical uses to having large bezels as it allows you to hold the tablet better when using it in landscape mode, but if you are watching online content, you can’t help but be bothered by the huge sides.

There are two versions of the 8th generation iPad and that is one with WiFi only and the other one having LTE. Its dimensions are 9.8 x 6.8 x 0.29. The only difference between the WiFi and the LTE versions is that the latter is a bit heavier at 495 grams compared to the 490 grams of the former.

Thankfully, Apple didn’t remove the headphone jack but if you are going to utilize its built-in speakers, you are better off using a good Bluetooth speaker instead.

Display

Apple iPad 8th Gen

The 8th generation iPad has a 10.2-inch Retina Display with a resolution of 2160 x 1620 and 264 pixels per inch or PPI. It has a good peak brightness at 500 nits, though you can still experience some problems when you are outside and the sun is shining brightly.

You can utilize the Apple Pencil on this device and it is also quite accurate as well (just keep in mind that it is sold separately).

What I love about iPads, in general, is that their displays provide you with crisp and clear details. Whether you are working on your documents or perhaps watching your favorite movies and TV shows, they do not disappoint.

Specs and Performance

  • CPU: A12 Bionic
  • GPU: Apple GPU (4-core graphics)
  • RAM: 3GB
  • Storage: 32GB/128GB
  • Display: 10.2-inch Retina IPS LCD Display, 2160 x 1620, 4:3 aspect ratio, 500 nits brightness, 264 PPI
  • OS: iPadOS 14
  • Cameras: 8-megapixel (back), 1.2-megapixel (front)
  • Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 AC, Bluetooth 4.2
  • Battery: 32.4 Wh

So, if the 8th generation iPad has an identical design to its predecessor, what has changed here? Well, I am glad you asked. The only notable difference here is that the new model comes with the A12 Bionic chip and that’s pretty much it.

While you could be unhappy with the change, the new CPU actually beats its predecessor by a lot. By using Geekbench 5, single-core scores are about 60% higher than the 7th gen iPad and about 100% better in multi-core tasks than the previous model.

Granted that the said benchmark is relatively old, you couldn’t argue that the new processor is indeed way better than its predecessor.

Even when you are just using the tablet the way it should be used, you can really tell the difference. This is more evident if you are going to play some games

Now, do not worry about the 3GB of RAM because the iOS ecosystem is quite streamlined and efficient that you normally wouldn’t need more than that.

It should also go without saying that the included cameras are just there for show and they do not really do anything special, so I don’t think that covering them is warranted here.

Apple iPad 8th Gen Review

Verdict

Sure, the new 8th generation iPad doesn’t bring a lot to the table, but its new processor is leaps and bounds better than its predecessor. Does that justify buying the new one? Probably not, especially if you already own the 7th generation model.

However, if you own an older iPad and you want better performance across the board, then you could probably spend your money to get one.

My gripe here is that there are only two storage options to choose from. You can get the 32GB variant for only $329 but in this day and age, 32GB is not a lot of storage space.

If you want more storage, you will need to spend an additional $100 premium just to get the 128GB model. In fact, I would go on to say that you should be buying this particular model compared to the 32GB variant. I just don’t like that the company is gouging you another $100 ($429 in total) just to get one.

The 8th generation iPad is disappointing in a lot of ways and its only redeeming quality is its new processor. It would have been nice if there is a redesign or that the lightning cable is changed to USB-C, but there is just not a lot of things to talk about here.

Therefore, I should say that the 8th generation iPad is just an iterative upgrade. Whether you want to buy it or not is entirely up to you.

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Amazon Echo Studio Review- The Bigger ‘Echo’ Speaker That Competes

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Amazon Echo Studio Review

Amazon, the biggest online retailer in the world, has created its own AI implementation in the form of the Amazon Alexa.

It is actually quite polished and it can go against Apple’s Siri and Google’s own AI. That being said, the company has released some ‘Echo’ speakers that not only act as Bluetooth audio devices but as smart devices as well.

Today, I am going to be reviewing the Amazon Echo Studio. Does this thing really have what it takes to compete with the others?

Design

One of the biggest criticisms of Amazon’s Echo speakers of the past is that although its smart features are okay, their sound output leaves much to be desired. As a way of addressing the issue, Amazon has built the Echo Studio.

The Amazon Echo Studio is pretty big. It is 8 inches in height and 7 inches wide so this is indeed a pretty hefty audio solution. In fact, I would go on to say that this is one of the biggest Bluetooth speakers on the market.

Its design is pretty much akin to the Amazon Echo speakers of old. You get a fabric mesh design that encapsulates the speaker itself with all of its button controls situated at the top of the device.

You also get a blue ring light that will pretty much add to the aesthetic appeal of the unit. The microphone is also placed at the top and it is always on ‘listening mode’ so that whenever you want to interact with Alexa, it can do so at a moment’s notice.

Although you cannot see it, the Amazon Echo Studio is actually powered by a subwoofer, a tweeter, and four mid-range speakers that are mounted at the top and the sides. This thing is a beast as it can output 330 watts of power when needed, which is ample enough even for home cinema setups.

Audio Performance

Amazon Echo Studio Review 2020

The Amazon Echo Studio is quite a powerful Bluetooth speaker. No matter what genre of content you’d like to consume, this thing can output the necessary sound to make your viewing experience more immersive.

I am usually keen on an audio solution’s performance when it comes to playing music and I am happy with the Echo Studio’s prowess.

Although it favors the lower frequencies more than the mids and the highs, it does so without drowning the latter two, which is something that you normally do not see on large Bluetooth speakers.

An interesting feature that the Amazon Echo Studio has is its support for 3D Audio. You will need to sign in to your Amazon Music HD account before you can get a hold of this feature and it is the only platform that supports the Echo Studio’s 3D Audio. Amazon did mention that it will hand out support for other streaming platforms at a later date though.

So, how is the speaker’s performance on that front? Well, I am not really sure what to think about it as I have mixed feelings about the said feature.

3D audio is meant to provide a more immersive listening experience but I can hardly tell the difference between traditional Hi-Res audio and this one.

I guess you could say that for tracks that have a more melodic tone that you can discern a 3D audio-enabled track from a regular track, but other than that, non-audiophiles can hardly tell the difference.

To be fair, the said feature is still not polished yet, so expect it to improve in the years to come.

The Amazon Echo Studio also has seamless integration with the Amazon Fire TV Stick, though it does support all other streaming services like Netflix and Hulu as well.

You are also given the option to link up another Amazon Echo Studio speaker so that you can have them work in tandem to provide you with even better sound. I do not have a second unit though, so I cannot really tell anything about this. But, the feature is there if you want to get another unit.

Features

Amazon Echo Studio

Aside from 3D audio, the Echo Studio also acts as a control hub for your smart devices. You can use Alexa to turn off your lights at a specific time of the night or you can have it play your favorite track if you want. The possibilities are endless.

Do keep in mind that while it should support most of the smart home devices that you can buy on the market, there are some products that do not play ball. 

For instance, some smart locks can only be supported using Apple’s Siri, so you cannot control that using this device.

You can also link up a second Echo Studio speaker if you have one and you can use both of them to provide you with an even more powerful and more immersive listening experience.

You can control the speaker’s features by manually tapping on the buttons at the top of the device or by downloading its companion app.

Conclusion

Amazon has finally solved the issue of the Amazon Echo speakers of the past by giving you a relatively large speaker that can do a lot of things.

The Amazon Echo Studio has support for 3D audio, but you will need to have an Amazon Music HD account to get a hold of the said feature.

You can also use the speaker to control your smart home devices which is pretty nice. The microphone is always on listening mode so that you can call Alexa’s attention at a moment’s notice.

Normally, I would expect a product like this to cost more than $300, but the Amazon Echo Studio actually costs just $199. I guess getting another one is not too far out of the equation, eh?

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Jazz Up Your iPhone with the Best Free iOS Apps of 2020

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Best iOS Apps 2020

In the smartphone space, you will find that the vast majority of people are using Android devices. While no one can argue with that, a sizable portion of the global population wants to use iOS more than Android. There is just so much to offer when it comes to Apple’s ecosystem

That being said, to unlock the full potential of your device, you need to install some applications, and while there are definitely premium ones out there, who said that there aren’t any free apps worth considering?

Read further to find out the best free iOS apps of 2020.

1.Facebook Messenger

Facebook Messenger

Facebook’s own messenger app has come a really long way. From implementing dark mode to the inclusion of AR emojis, it certainly has features for just about everyone.

And, ever since Zoom- a popular video conferencing app- rose into prominence, Facebook has recently included a feature where you can add up to 50 people in a video call to conduct a conference using the app itself.

Although some people do not like to install the main app, you will be happy to know that you can install the messenger by itself.

2.Google Chrome

Google Chrome

While Apple’s own Safari web browser is okay, Google Chrome is still so much better in every way.

Aside from the fact that you can sync your account across multiple devices, the speed and performance of Chrome just makes it unbeatable.

Google’s browser also enables you to log into your Google account and all of the information that you need will be accessible almost immediately.

3.Skype

Skype

This free application is still considered as one of the best when it comes to communication apps.

Skype has come a really long way. From allowing you to make video calls to just about any person in the world to adding animated emojis and powerful bots that can provide you with information that you need, there is no reason why you shouldn’t install this on your iPhone 11 or other iOS-powered devices.

4.Splice

Splice

There are a lot of influencers now and people are starting to notice the power that social media brings. That is why people resort to vlogging and whatnot to provide content to their audience.

That being said, while taking raw videos are okay, it is still best that you edit them to make the finished product even better.

Splice is a free video editing tool that has plenty of options to tweak any image or video file that you have and make it great before uploading them to social media.

With its array of tools and overlays, I am quite surprised that this application is absolutely free of charge.

If you want a video editing tool that you can use on the go, then Splice is your answer.

5.Microsoft Office

Microsoft Office App

Although this application was made by Microsoft, Apple’s rival when it comes to PC operating systems, the Office app is actually cross-platform, which means that it is also available for your iOS-enabled devices.

That being said, Microsoft Office provides you with a vast array of features that can help you with your documents.

You can create spreadsheets, make presentations, and write your reports all in one app. Any finished product can be synced to your OneDrive account or any other cloud-based storage service.

While the base Microsoft Office app is free, you can unlock more features by getting an Office 365 subscription.

6.Snapchat

Snapchat

This application is not your standard messaging app. Snapchat allows you to express yourself through visuals, funny texts, and quotes.

What makes this messaging app unique is that every message that you send will be deleted after a short while (usually a day or two).

While I do not recommend using this as your main messaging app, Snapchat provides you with a fun way to communicate with your friends and family.

7.Youtube

Youtube App

There is no denying that Youtube is the best video streaming platform out there. With tons of videos in its portfolio, you can find just about anything that you can think of.

From video game footage to your favorite recipes, the platform provides you with a plethora of content that is free of charge.

Of course, if you do not want to contend with annoying ads, you can also subscribe to their premium service which not only eliminates ads but also supports playback even when your screen is locked, among many others.

8.Adobe Photoshop Fix

Adobe Photoshop Fix

People that want a mobile app that can help them tweak their photos a little bit by adding some effects here and there will be happy to use this application.

The Adobe Photoshop Fix is pretty much a stripped-down version of Adobe’s premiere photo editing software. Despite it being a toned down version of their popular program, this app allows you to not only do minor tweaks on your photos but its vast array of other tools can add more elements to make your images come to life.

While the base application allows you to do a lot of edits, spend a little bit of money and you can unlock even more features.

9.Viber

Viber App

Communication apps are always welcome, especially if they can be used for free. Viber is still one of the best out there when it comes to calling your loved ones all over the world.

The mobile version of Viber can be synced with its desktop counterpart and even though you are required to use your mobile number, it is okay since the app encrypts your data anyway.

10.Discord

Discord App

Discord is sort of a chat application that is similar to the mIRC desktop program of old. It is similar in the sense that you can join groups of like-minded people so that you can share your interests and whatnot.

Since this app is cross-platform compatible, you can switch to the desktop version and all of your previous chats will be saved so you can continue on with what you and your mates were talking about.

Also, if you are using your Apple device, you can also communicate with your friends via voice chat as well.

11.Otter Voice Notes

Otter Voice App

People that want to have a text version of their meeting or conference call should look into using Otter Voice Notes.

This application pretty much transcribes any audio to text so that you can read the transcripts at a later time.

I am quite surprised by how accurate this application is for what it does. You will find that the app does a pretty good job of creating sentences, using punctuation marks, and if the app detects that a particular person is in your contacts list, it will highlight the particular name inside the transcript itself.

The free version of the application only allows you to store up to 600 minutes of transcribed audio.

However, if you like the service and would want more, you can subscribe to their monthly plan for only $9.99.

12.GrubHub

GrubHub App

Do you want to know the best foods that the city you are currently in has to offer? Grubhub makes use of GPS technology to help provide you with the best possible food joints available in your area.

You basically are given a list of restaurants in your locale and you can order food directly from within the app. Then, the meals that you’ve ordered will be delivered right to your doorstep.

For people that do not want to go through the hassle of going to the restaurant themselves, this app is definitely a must-have.

13.LastPass

LastPass App

As everything is available online, hackers are now given more incentive to get your sensitive information. Of course, you do not want that to happen and that is why you need to make sure that you get protected.

One of the measures that you can take is to install a password manager that not only saves your passwords across different websites and services but it also helps you form strong passwords, among many other things.

Lastpass is one of the best password managers out there. Even by just using its free version, you will get a bevy of different features that can help you keep your accounts safe.

By paying some money, however, you will get much better services, though the free version is still definitely worth using.

14.Bear

Bear App

If you want to be productive, you might need a note-taking app that allows you to jot down the most important things that need to be done during the day.

Bear is one of those apps that not only provides you with a flexible writing canvas but it also allows you to make doodles and more.

What makes Bear unique is that you are able to utilize the Apple Pencil to make illustrations or jot down simple tasks.

Furthermore, it can even support many different programming languages as well so you can create an agenda for today if you are a programmer.

Its free version gives you all you need when it comes from a note-taking standpoint but its premium version allows you to sync your data to your favorite cloud service, as well as give you additional tools that you can use to make your notes look even better.

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Google Nest Audio vs Amazon Echo- The Battle of the New ‘Smart’ Speakers

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Google Nest Audio vs Amazon Echo

Smart home speakers are not as popular as mobile phones, but in my opinion, it actually should be.

You see, companies are slowly rolling out smart home devices so that your life will be so much easier given the convenience of having them.

That being said, I am going to be talking about the Google Nest Audio and Amazon Echo speakers because they are the ones that are at the forefront when it comes to smart home speakers. Which of these should you choose? Read on to find out!

Design

For those of you who do not know, Google Nest Audio is actually the Google Home speakers that were released just about a year ago. It seems that Google wanted to use a new moniker to denote that this particular thing can ‘nest’ your other smart home devices.

The Amazon Echo, on the other hand, refers to the medium-sized Bluetooth speaker that the largest online retailer sells. The company is set to release a new version of this device soon, so it would be interesting to see how well it performs.

Even though the new version of the Amazon Echo hasn’t arrived at our doorstep yet for an official review, this is not to say that we can somehow speculate what it can offer, especially considering that the company has provided us with some really good information about it.

With all of those out of the way, let’s talk more about the design first. The Google Nest Audio takes on a more cylindrical approach in that the speaker itself has a higher height than the Amazon Echo.

For that reason, you are getting a 75mm woofer and a single 19mm tweeter. Google touts the Google Nest Audio as a better sound solution compared to its original Google Home Speaker because of the changes.

On the other hand, the Amazon Echo, in my opinion, has better sound quality. That is thanks to its two 20mm tweeters and a huge 76.2mm woofer. Its design is more spherical but I am pleased (and surprised) that Amazon was able to include two tweeters on its Bluetooth speaker implementation.

At the base of the Amazon Echo is a blue light ring that changes the way it emits light depending on the current usage.

Both of these Bluetooth speakers are offered in various colors so you have different options to choose from.

Sound Quality

Amazon Echo

If you look at the design of both speakers, you could make a case that the Amazon Echo wins this round when it comes to pure sound quality. Its two tweeters compared to the single tweeter on the Google Nest Audio, provides it with a much better chance of delivering mid-high sound frequencies.

This is not to discount the fact that Google has some tricks up its sleeves because its AI technology is smart enough to adjust the sound quality on the fly when needed.

Both of the speakers have an adaptive sound feature wherein if it detects that the ambient noise is loud enough, it increases the volume of whatever content you are consuming at that moment to compensate. This is using both of the speakers’ microphones. The volume should normalize to the last known level after it detects that the ambient sound has quieted down.

Of course, this is only my opinion after looking at the spec sheet because I will have to get my hands on these things before I can give my honest opinion. But, my initial assessment would be that the Amazon Echo delivers better sound compared to the Google Nest Audio.

Smart Features

Google Nest Audio

To be able to provide you with ‘smart’ features, both the Google Nest Audio and Amazon Echo are equipped with processors that can handle just that.

The Google Nest Audio comes with the company’s TeraOPS A53 processor which is a quad-core chip that boasts of better performance compared to the company’s previous Bluetooth speakers.

On the other hand, Amazon’s own speaker is equipped with the AZ1 Neural Edge processor that, according to the company, should be more responsive to voice commands compared to previous versions.

It is hard to say who wins this round. You see, Amazon has Zigbee hub integration which means that your connected smart home devices have better compatibility with the said speaker because of this.

However, we all know that Google’s AI technology is so advanced (and even more accurate) than Alexa, so it could potentially provide you with better features overall compared to Amazon’s Bluetooth speaker.

Of course, I cannot truly say which one wins this round until I get to review these wireless audio solutions. In that case, stay tuned for more.

Availability

The Google Nest Audio will be available on October 5, while the Amazon Echo will not be released until later this month (October 22). That being said, both of these speakers will retail for $99.99, so stay tuned for our official product reviews to help you know which one you should ultimately choose for yourself.

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Apple iPad 8th Generation Review- An Iterative Upgrade

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Apple iPad 8th Generation Review

When it comes to ease of use and convenience, people like getting Apple’s products because of its more streamlined approach to everything. Sure, there is a lot to tinker on Android but that is also precisely the reason why the user experience, at least for the layman, is not as great.

That being said, the 8th generation iPad was just released after the new iOS 14 update was launched. But, if you already have a 6th or 7th generation iPad, should you upgrade to the new one?

Design

Apple iPad 8th Generation Review 2020

There is this saying that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Well, although I would have liked to say that here, I just don’t think that that approach applies here.

You see, the design of the 8th generation iPad is identical to its predecessor. As in everything about its aesthetics are similar which means that if you want to imagine what the new iPad looks like, all you have to do is look at the 7th gen variant.

Like all things, it can be a good thing or a bad thing. It is a good thing because that familiar design should feel right at home, especially for people that already own an iPad. It is bad because, in this day and age, more and more mobile devices have slimmer bezels and the new iPad still has those atrociously huge ones.

Don’t get me wrong, there are practical uses to having large bezels as it allows you to hold the tablet better when using it in landscape mode, but if you are watching online content, you can’t help but be bothered by the huge sides.

There are two versions of the 8th generation iPad and that is one with WiFi only and the other one having LTE. Its dimensions are 9.8 x 6.8 x 0.29. The only difference between the WiFi and the LTE versions is that the latter is a bit heavier at 495 grams compared to the 490 grams of the former.

Thankfully, Apple didn’t remove the headphone jack but if you are going to utilize its built-in speakers, you are better off using a good Bluetooth speaker instead.

Display

Apple iPad 8th Gen

The 8th generation iPad has a 10.2-inch Retina Display with a resolution of 2160 x 1620 and 264 pixels per inch or PPI. It has a good peak brightness at 500 nits, though you can still experience some problems when you are outside and the sun is shining brightly.

You can utilize the Apple Pencil on this device and it is also quite accurate as well (just keep in mind that it is sold separately).

What I love about iPads, in general, is that their displays provide you with crisp and clear details. Whether you are working on your documents or perhaps watching your favorite movies and TV shows, they do not disappoint.

Specs and Performance

  • CPU: A12 Bionic
  • GPU: Apple GPU (4-core graphics)
  • RAM: 3GB
  • Storage: 32GB/128GB
  • Display: 10.2-inch Retina IPS LCD Display, 2160 x 1620, 4:3 aspect ratio, 500 nits brightness, 264 PPI
  • OS: iPadOS 14
  • Cameras: 8-megapixel (back), 1.2-megapixel (front)
  • Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 AC, Bluetooth 4.2
  • Battery: 32.4 Wh

So, if the 8th generation iPad has an identical design to its predecessor, what has changed here? Well, I am glad you asked. The only notable difference here is that the new model comes with the A12 Bionic chip and that’s pretty much it.

While you could be unhappy with the change, the new CPU actually beats its predecessor by a lot. By using Geekbench 5, single-core scores are about 60% higher than the 7th gen iPad and about 100% better in multi-core tasks than the previous model.

Granted that the said benchmark is relatively old, you couldn’t argue that the new processor is indeed way better than its predecessor.

Even when you are just using the tablet the way it should be used, you can really tell the difference. This is more evident if you are going to play some games

Now, do not worry about the 3GB of RAM because the iOS ecosystem is quite streamlined and efficient that you normally wouldn’t need more than that.

It should also go without saying that the included cameras are just there for show and they do not really do anything special, so I don’t think that covering them is warranted here.

Apple iPad 8th Gen Review

Verdict

Sure, the new 8th generation iPad doesn’t bring a lot to the table, but its new processor is leaps and bounds better than its predecessor. Does that justify buying the new one? Probably not, especially if you already own the 7th generation model.

However, if you own an older iPad and you want better performance across the board, then you could probably spend your money to get one.

My gripe here is that there are only two storage options to choose from. You can get the 32GB variant for only $329 but in this day and age, 32GB is not a lot of storage space.

If you want more storage, you will need to spend an additional $100 premium just to get the 128GB model. In fact, I would go on to say that you should be buying this particular model compared to the 32GB variant. I just don’t like that the company is gouging you another $100 ($429 in total) just to get one.

The 8th generation iPad is disappointing in a lot of ways and its only redeeming quality is its new processor. It would have been nice if there is a redesign or that the lightning cable is changed to USB-C, but there is just not a lot of things to talk about here.

Therefore, I should say that the 8th generation iPad is just an iterative upgrade. Whether you want to buy it or not is entirely up to you.

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Amazon Echo Studio Review- The Bigger ‘Echo’ Speaker That Competes

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Amazon Echo Studio Review

Amazon, the biggest online retailer in the world, has created its own AI implementation in the form of the Amazon Alexa.

It is actually quite polished and it can go against Apple’s Siri and Google’s own AI. That being said, the company has released some ‘Echo’ speakers that not only act as Bluetooth audio devices but as smart devices as well.

Today, I am going to be reviewing the Amazon Echo Studio. Does this thing really have what it takes to compete with the others?

Design

One of the biggest criticisms of Amazon’s Echo speakers of the past is that although its smart features are okay, their sound output leaves much to be desired. As a way of addressing the issue, Amazon has built the Echo Studio.

The Amazon Echo Studio is pretty big. It is 8 inches in height and 7 inches wide so this is indeed a pretty hefty audio solution. In fact, I would go on to say that this is one of the biggest Bluetooth speakers on the market.

Its design is pretty much akin to the Amazon Echo speakers of old. You get a fabric mesh design that encapsulates the speaker itself with all of its button controls situated at the top of the device.

You also get a blue ring light that will pretty much add to the aesthetic appeal of the unit. The microphone is also placed at the top and it is always on ‘listening mode’ so that whenever you want to interact with Alexa, it can do so at a moment’s notice.

Although you cannot see it, the Amazon Echo Studio is actually powered by a subwoofer, a tweeter, and four mid-range speakers that are mounted at the top and the sides. This thing is a beast as it can output 330 watts of power when needed, which is ample enough even for home cinema setups.

Audio Performance

Amazon Echo Studio Review 2020

The Amazon Echo Studio is quite a powerful Bluetooth speaker. No matter what genre of content you’d like to consume, this thing can output the necessary sound to make your viewing experience more immersive.

I am usually keen on an audio solution’s performance when it comes to playing music and I am happy with the Echo Studio’s prowess.

Although it favors the lower frequencies more than the mids and the highs, it does so without drowning the latter two, which is something that you normally do not see on large Bluetooth speakers.

An interesting feature that the Amazon Echo Studio has is its support for 3D Audio. You will need to sign in to your Amazon Music HD account before you can get a hold of this feature and it is the only platform that supports the Echo Studio’s 3D Audio. Amazon did mention that it will hand out support for other streaming platforms at a later date though.

So, how is the speaker’s performance on that front? Well, I am not really sure what to think about it as I have mixed feelings about the said feature.

3D audio is meant to provide a more immersive listening experience but I can hardly tell the difference between traditional Hi-Res audio and this one.

I guess you could say that for tracks that have a more melodic tone that you can discern a 3D audio-enabled track from a regular track, but other than that, non-audiophiles can hardly tell the difference.

To be fair, the said feature is still not polished yet, so expect it to improve in the years to come.

The Amazon Echo Studio also has seamless integration with the Amazon Fire TV Stick, though it does support all other streaming services like Netflix and Hulu as well.

You are also given the option to link up another Amazon Echo Studio speaker so that you can have them work in tandem to provide you with even better sound. I do not have a second unit though, so I cannot really tell anything about this. But, the feature is there if you want to get another unit.

Features

Amazon Echo Studio

Aside from 3D audio, the Echo Studio also acts as a control hub for your smart devices. You can use Alexa to turn off your lights at a specific time of the night or you can have it play your favorite track if you want. The possibilities are endless.

Do keep in mind that while it should support most of the smart home devices that you can buy on the market, there are some products that do not play ball. 

For instance, some smart locks can only be supported using Apple’s Siri, so you cannot control that using this device.

You can also link up a second Echo Studio speaker if you have one and you can use both of them to provide you with an even more powerful and more immersive listening experience.

You can control the speaker’s features by manually tapping on the buttons at the top of the device or by downloading its companion app.

Conclusion

Amazon has finally solved the issue of the Amazon Echo speakers of the past by giving you a relatively large speaker that can do a lot of things.

The Amazon Echo Studio has support for 3D audio, but you will need to have an Amazon Music HD account to get a hold of the said feature.

You can also use the speaker to control your smart home devices which is pretty nice. The microphone is always on listening mode so that you can call Alexa’s attention at a moment’s notice.

Normally, I would expect a product like this to cost more than $300, but the Amazon Echo Studio actually costs just $199. I guess getting another one is not too far out of the equation, eh?

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