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The 5 Best Smartphones in the US in 2020 That Are Worth Your Money

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Best Smartphones in the US 2020

It is safe to say that people cannot live a day without smartphones. Technically, you could, but your life will be so much better if you have one.

Having said that, there are so many phones on the market nowadays and it might be hard for you to choose one.

Luckily for you, I happen to know only the greatest ones out there so you do not have to go somewhere else to find the information that you need.

Today, I am going to talk about the best phones in the US in 2020.

1.iPhone 11 Pro

iPhone 11 Pro

Price: Starts at $999

We’ll start the list by talking about a phone from the company that started it all. The iPhone 11 Pro is what many people would consider the best phone in early 2020. Everything about it just makes it quite an appealing choice.

For starters, it has a solid build quality. It is made of an all-metal frame and is also known to have really strong battery life.

It is powered by the company’s in-house operating system, the iOS 13. Aside from that, its performance package is really great as well thanks to the A13 Bionic chip.

The phone’s CPU is the best processor around. It beats Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 processor and it can even go head to head with Qualcomm’s latest CPU in the form of the Snapdragon 865 in some tests.

People will also love its 5.8-inch ‘Super Retina XDR’ display. It is basically the company’s take on an AMOLED screen that supports HDR.

Because of the said panel, you will get crisp visuals, as well as amazing contrast in all of the media that you intend to consume.

Of course, the camera of the iPhone 11 Pro is also a huge upgrade from the previous version. It comes with three cameras: all 12-megapixel sensors for telephoto, wide-angle, and ultra-wide angle with various apertures to suit everyone’s tastes.

Its price of $999 might not be appealing to a lot of people. In that case, you can opt for its little brother, the iPhone 11, instead.

2.Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus

Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus

Price: Starts at $1,199

When it comes to the smartphone industry, both Samsung and Apple are always the ones that go head-to-head and for good reasons.

You could say that as vast as the Android ecosystem is, Samsung is hailed as the champ and that is why it is always pitted against what Apple has to offer.

The company’s latest flagship device is quite an amazing addition to its product stack. The Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus truly deserves the acclaim that it’s been getting.

This phone has a very large 6.7-inch screen and it also comes with the company’s patented Infinity-O AMOLED display.

Aside from the superior picture quality of the display, people will be happy to know that the S20 Plus now also comes with a screen that has a refresh rate of 120hz.

While the default resolution of the phone is 3200×1440, if you are to take advantage of the higher screen refresh rate, you will have to scale down to Full HD+ resolution. Still, that is perfect for most people.

As for its performance package, the phone comes with Qualcomm’s latest offering in the form of the Snapdragon 865. It is also coupled with 12GB of RAM and storage capacity of 128GB-512GB (internal) with an option to expand it via MicroSD (up to 1TB).

The S20 Plus also comes with a hefty 4,000 mAh battery which can last a while and its included fast charger tops you off quickly as well. If you have a wireless charger, the phone supports it too.

Another main feature of the S20 Plus is its array of cameras. Its headline sensor is the 64-megapixel telephoto lens with up to 3x optical zoom.

Without a doubt, pictures and videos are quite crisp and clear and the software makes it really stand out.

In addition, you also have the ability to record 8K videos at 24fps, though you have to make sure that you have ample space as the resulting file will be so massive.

All in all, the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus is what I would consider the best Android phone in early 2020. The only thing that might turn you off is the price ($1,199), but for what it’s worth, you really won’t be disappointed.

3.OnePlus 8 Pro

OnePlus 8 Pro

Price: $900

OnePlus was the first smartphone company that created what people would call the ‘flagship killers’ or devices that kill flagship phones by offering them at a more affordable price.

Even though the company has reached the flagship territory in terms of pricing, the OnePlus 8 Pro is still quite a solid option and one that I would recommend if you want a somewhat affordable flagship device.

Its strongest suit is the company’s own OxygenOS. It is basically a reskin of Android 10 but what makes it great is its almost vanilla-like, buttery-smooth experience.

OnePlus is also one of the first companies to implement a high refresh rate screen. True enough, the OnePlus 8 Pro comes with a 120Hz AMOLED screen with HDR10 certification. This provides crisp details like the ones similar to the iPhone 11 and Samsung’s flagship devices.

The phone’s performance is also top-notch as well. Aside from having the Snapdragon 865 chip, it also comes with 12GB RAM and UFS 3.0 storage (128GB and 256GB options are available).

It can also last more than a day thanks to its 4,510 mAh battery. I am also happy to say that it comes with the company’s 30-watt Warp charger. If you can spend some extra money, you can opt to buy the company’s 30W wireless charging cradle instead.

Despite its amazing performance and great battery life, the phone does have its downsides in the form of its cameras.

For one, the camera bulge is so pronounced that it cannot fall flat when you put it on a desk. Aside from that, its camera software needs improvement, though recent updates have fixed the majority of issues.

Even with its shortcomings, I would still recommend the OnePlus 8 Pro.

4.Google Pixel 4 XL

Google Pixel 4 XL

Price: $849

Ever since Google veered away from third-party manufacturers to create their phones, its devices have been equipped with the best smartphone cameras on the market.

The Google Pixel 4 XL is the latest flagship device from the company that is famous for its amazing search engine.

While its performance is middling compared to the other phones listed in this article, where it truly excels is its cameras.

You see, what makes the Pixel 4 XL’s cameras great is not only because of its hardware but also because of its software as well.

At the time of writing, the Google Pixel 4 XL is still the best phone to get if you want the best possible cameras in a smartphone on the market.

However, I put it later down the list simply because only its cameras are its strongest suit. Its battery life is so-so, its 90Hz OLED display is okay (but nothing to brag about), and its design is lackluster, to say the least.

5.ASUS ROG Phone 2

ASUS ROG Phone 2

As mobile games become more and more demanding, you will need to be using hardware that is capable of handling any game out there. That is where the ROG Phone 2 comes in.

The Asus ROG Phone 2 is the second version of the company’s highly-acclaimed ROG mobile lineup.

This is a gaming phone that not only has a high refresh rate screen but it also comes with programmable shoulder buttons to help give you an extra edge.

As a gaming device, it dissipates heat effectively thanks to its included vents and built-in cooling system.

The performance of this phone is top-notch thanks to its use of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855+ flagship processor, as well as 12GB of RAM and UFS 3.0 storage.

Its hefty 6,000 mAh battery also ensures that you can play even the most demanding games and never have to worry about running out of battery at all as it can last the whole day.

And, if you want to recharge it, its included 30W charger should give it enough juice in a short amount of time.

While this phone comes with an array of cameras, their performance is mediocre at best. Truly, its main purpose is to provide mobile gamers with a device that they can rely on.

Honorable Mentions

A.iPhone SE (2020)

iPhone SE (2020)

Would you believe me if I tell you that you can buy a brand new iPhone for just under $400? That is correct, you can get an iPhone SE 2020 edition for just $349 at the time of writing.

Unlike Apple’s flagship product stack, the iPhone SE is a smaller device that comes with a 4.7-inch (1334×750) retina display and a respectable 3GB of RAM. But, what makes it appealing for a budget device is it still comes with the company’s A13 Bionic chip, so from a performance standpoint, it is definitely no slouch.

Its camera is also pretty good. You get a 12-megapixel snapper that, when coupled with the OS, gives you the best possible photos in a budget smartphone.

Although devoid of Apple’s newer features, the iPhone SE (2020) is definitely worth considering for the price.

B.Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

With a price tag of $1,399, the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra might not be for everyone but it is indeed one of the best phones out there if you want an amazing smartphone with great camera capabilities.

The phone is highlighted by its 108-megapixel wide-angle lens coupled with a 48-megapixel telephoto lens.

Samsung touts this phone to be able to do a 10x lossless zoom and with its 30x digital zoom, you can still capture a good quality photo regardless of the presence of some photo noise.

This smartphone is also 5G-enabled and although your network might still be putting up their 5G infrastructure, at least this one is already capable of handling the new technology.

If you are wondering how this one compares to the other S20 phones in Samsung’s product stack, it is basically the same as the S20 Plus but with better cameras and a slightly larger screen (6.9 inches).

C.Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus

People that want to use their smartphones for productivity purposes should definitely look into getting the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus.

Although it comes with last year’s flagship processor (Snapdragon 855), its performance package still works really, really well in this day and age.

Its highlight feature is the included S-Pen which is a vast improvement over its first version.

While some of Samsung’s flagship devices do not have a headphone jack anymore, you will be pleased to know that the Note 10 Plus still has one.

With a highly competitive S-Pen, vivid and color-accurate display, as well as a bevy of useful features for productivity, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus is also a great buy.

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Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Wireless Router Review- The Gaming Router to Get in 2020

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Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Review

The gaming industry is one of the most popular niches now in that there are tons of products that you can buy that are great for gaming purposes.

The Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Wireless Router is touted as a ‘gaming’ router, but does it have what it takes to help eliminate lag and provide a better overall experience than the other routers that you can find on the market?

Design

Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Review 2020

When you look at the Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Wireless Router, you will probably think of a lost starship from the infamous Death Star from Star Wars as its design is quite similar to those ships.

It has two ‘wing’ antennas that actually house a total of four antennas on the inside. This will provide maximum performance and throughput and it also helps increase the router’s range as well.

Because this is a WiFi 6 router, you can enjoy all of the features that the new WiFi technology provides, most especially OFDMA for better reliability in terms of giving internet connectivity to multiple users at any time.

On the top and at the bottom sides of the router, you will find that this thing has plenty of air exhaust vents and they are quite useful, especially considering that this is one of the more power-hungry networking solutions on the market today.

At the back, you will find all of the ports that you need. What’s interesting here is that you will find that two of the four gigabit Ethernet ports can be combined (via the router’s software) for better throughput. This is what you’ll want to use on your gaming PC so that you can virtually eliminate lag while you play.

There are also two USB 3.2 ports so you can plug in your printer and other USB-powered devices, and you will also find a power button, as well as an LED on/off switch as well.

Performance

Netgear Nighthawk AX12

Since this is a ‘gaming’ router, how well does it perform in such scenarios? In my testing, I’ve used World of Warcraft, one of the best MMORPGs out there, and Overwatch as both of these games not only have a built-in latency indicator, but they are also quite challenging in terms of latency in some parts of the day.

Normally, I would get 120ms on World of Warcraft and about 100ms on Overwatch for most of the day using my usual router, but the Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Wireless Router performs really well as I am able to get 100ms on WoW and a little over 70ms on Overwatch.

It is worth noting that I’ve used the combined port (which should be indicated on the back of the unit) for better performance, though using the other ports yielded only a slight performance penalty of roughly 10-15ms.

Being a WiFi 6 router, it is also important to test its capabilities on this front. So, I’ve connected multiple devices at one time and each of them is connected to Youtube for continuous streaming.

All of them do not have any buffer issues at all and they all got consistent speeds. But, this was done within a 10-meter radius near the router.

So, to test its mettle in terms of how far the WiFi signals can go, I went to the second floor (the router is on the first floor) and I was still able to get about 70% of my network speed (my internet connection is 120mbps, so in this instance, I was able to get roughly 84mbps).

I went a step further and went inside my room (which is also on the second floor), albeit this time, I did it with the door closed. Although the speed dropped a bit, I was still able to get 68-75mbps for the most part which is pretty good overall.

How about the speed of the USB ports in terms of file sharing? The performance is quite impressive as well. This is so much so that I can say that you can use it as a NAS drive because it is that good.

Software

Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Gaming Router

I am surprised that the Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Wireless Router doesn’t use the DumaOS that can be found in the company’s other ‘Nighthawk’ line of networking equipment, but I am still pleased with the router’s GUI overall.

The menus are outlined neatly and you can get to the specific settings that you want quickly and easily. The GUI is so intuitive that a layperson could easily navigate through the different settings without any problems.

You get your usual options such as the ability to prioritize different applications via QoS, setting up your router’s username and password (to access the GUI and for the SSID), and you can even do some port forwarding for your other applications as well, among many others.

It is interesting to me that there is no option for packet prioritization which can be found in Netgear’s other routers, but this is usually not something that people would touch anyway, so I am okay with that.

Just a reminder: Once you fire up this thing for the first time, it is generally a good idea to update the router’s firmware. This is to ensure that you will get all of the latest improvements, as well as some security patches.

Verdict

The Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Wireless Router is a pretty good WiFi 6 router. Its performance is quite consistent across the board and you will have no issues when it comes to its WiFi connectivity.

It is one of the most power-hungry routers on the market, though, but the good thing is that it has plenty of air vents to exhaust hot air effectively.

This gaming router costs $400 and although it is quite steep, getting a high-quality product is a worthwhile investment anyway, so I would still recommend this thing for people that want to get a pretty competitive WiFi AX router.

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Intel Core i5-10600K Review- The Best Mainstream Gaming CPU in 2020

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Intel Core i5-10600K Review

Ever since the launch of the Ryzen 3000 CPUs, more and more people are recommending the R5 3600 for people that want to build a budget gaming PC. It is pretty sad that Intel chips are not getting recognition, but that is going to change with the release of the Intel Core i5-10600K.

Today, I am going to review the said chip. Find out why I think it is the best mainstream gaming CPU in 2020 by reading the rest of the article.

Comet Lake Architecture

Intel Core i5-10600K Review 2020

The 10th generation Intel Processors is part of the ‘Comet Lake’ family that uses a much-improved architecture than Skylake (where it’s derived from).

While the i9-10900K is definitely a beast of a chip, the Intel Core i5-10600K is surely something that most people are going to want to look at.

Competition is very important, especially to us consumers. When AMD released their Ryzen line of processors, Intel had to respond in kind to stay in the game. 

Back then, you normally wouldn’t find i5 chips to have hyperthreading, which is essentially the same as the SMT or simultaneous multi-threading feature that is present in AMD’s CPUs. But now, the 10600K not only has one, but the core frequency is clocked higher as well.

Here is a rundown of the Intel Core i5-10600K’s specs:

  • Cores: 6
  • Threads: 12
  • Lithography: 14nm
  • Base clock: 4.1GHz
  • Peak Turbo (single-core): 4.8GHz
  • Peak Turbo (all-core): 4.5GHz
  • L3 Cache: 12MB
  • TDP: 125W
  • PCIe Lanes: 16

As you can see, thanks to hyperthreading being enabled, you get to have two times more threads than an i5 chip of yesteryears. This means that you get considerably better performance across the board, especially for multi-core/multi-threaded workloads.

But, where the 10600K really shines is through its gaming performance and I will talk about this in the next section.

Performance

Intel Core i5-10600K

When you ask people what CPU you want to compare the 10600K to, it would be the AMD Ryzen R5 3600. That is because they have the same core and thread counts but there is a huge difference when it comes to their clock frequencies.

You see, the R5 3600 has a base frequency of 3.6GHz and a boost (all-core) frequency of only 4.2GHz. The 10600K, on the other hand, has a base frequency of 4.1GHz with an all-core boost of 4.6GHz.

Because Intel has added a new boost algorithm wherein the best core inside the CPU boosts higher than others, you get a clock frequency of 4.8GHz maximum on the said core, giving you even more performance.

Now, how does this translate into the real world? Well, in most multi-core benchmarks, the Intel Core i5-10600K performs so much better than the chip that it is compared to. Seriously, I would recommend this Intel chip for anyone who engages in productivity workloads on the side.

When it comes to gaming performance, there is no question that the 10600K beats the R5 3600 by a lot. That is due to the combination of the architecture, as well as the higher core frequencies of each core of the said chip.

Overclocking

Intel Core i5-10600K Box

What makes Intel chips appealing to the overclocking community than AMD Ryzen processors is the fact that you can eke out even more performance by setting the clock frequency of the cores higher than their rated specs. This is possible if you have a ‘K’ series chip (which the Intel Core i5-10600K is) and a compatible Z490 motherboard as well.

In most cases, people can set the frequency to 4.8GHz all-core with the single-core frequency (the best one) set to 5.1-5.3 GHz depending on the silicon of your particular chip. This provides even better performance across the board which is pretty nice.

I do have to caution you to not overclock the processor until you get one of the best CPU coolers on the market.

Because of the higher core frequency and because of the fact that you add more voltage to the chip just to make it stable, overclocking will result in higher heat production than usual. You will need a very competent cooler to keep things at relatively good temperatures.

Verdict

The Intel Core i5-10600K is way better than its predecessors- both in terms of architecture and performance.

Its rival, the Ryzen 5 3600, doesn’t come close to its performance thanks to the Intel chip’s higher clock frequency and better boost algorithms.

This is not to say that the AMD CPU is bad because there are some cases where it is more warranted than the 10600K.

For instance, if you are really on a tight budget, the Ryzen 5 3600 makes sense because it already comes with a cooler out of the box and its performance is still quite good for the price (currently at $160 compared to the i5-10600K’s $280 price tag).

The money that you can save by getting the Ryzen chip could be budgeted towards a better graphics card or faster storage, so there is still value that can be had when you go this route.

However, if you are okay with spending $280 and if you want a processor that can comfortably last at least 3 years competitively, then the Intel Core i5-10600K is indeed a much better option.

All in all, the Intel Core i5-10600K is definitely what I would consider to be the best mainstream gaming CPU in 2020.

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Razer Blackshark V2 Review- A Comfortable and Great-Sounding Headset for $100

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Razer Blackshark V2 Review

Back then, I never would recommend any of Razer’s gaming headsets because they often sound muddy due to the obvious preference towards the lower frequencies, but the company has changed its stance ever since.

The Razer Blackshark V2 is shaping up to be one of the best gaming headsets that are priced competitively in the market. Should you get one of these or look for something else? Read on to find out.

Design

Razer Blackshark V2 Review 2020

The ‘Blackshark’ line of headsets is nothing new because there is one that was released so many years ago. However, the Razer Blackshark V2 is a pretty polished iteration that I think would warrant the people’s attention.

Its design is quite similar to its predecessor, albeit there is a noticeable volume control dial located on the left ear cup.

Usually, Razer would put leatherette ear cups on its gaming headsets, but the Blackshark V2 actually comes with mesh foam ear cups instead.

In terms of comfort, I would prefer these over leather ear cups any day, but some people would want the feel of the leatherette material. So, to each his own.

The headset itself is quite simple-looking, although the aviation-style aesthetic might not appeal to some. I especially do not like the green wire that is exposed on each ear cup as you could potentially damage it if you are not careful.

Also situated on the left ear cup is the port for the removable boom microphone. I like the fact that you can completely remove it as it will not impede your vision when you are not using it.

Now, I’ve heard of some reports that the clamping force of the Razer Blackshark V2 makes this headset uncomfortable, but I beg to disagree.

If anything, the Razer Blackshark V2 is one of the most comfortable gaming headsets that you can find on the market.

I do have to point out that, being a large person myself, its clamping force is a bit on the stronger side, but it is still relatively comfortable for me to wear even during prolonged gaming sessions.

The Razer Blackshark V2 connects to your game console or PC either via 3.5mm headphone jack or with the use of its included USB soundcard (the latter is only usable on the PC, however).

Audio Performance

Razer Blackshark V2 Gaming Headset

The company has come a really long way when it comes to audio quality. Gone are the days where the soundstage gets muddied by the lower frequencies as everything sounds pretty balanced right from the get-go.

Razer has partnered with THX to provide you with a better surround sound gaming experience and if you use the included USB soundcard, its 7.1 surround sound implementation is so much better than what the company used to offer.

Once you plug this thing in using the said USB connector, its drivers will get installed on your PC and you can use it to your heart’s content.

You can use the Razer Synapse 3 software to tweak the EQ settings or choose from a variety of different presets.

Personally, the default sound quality is already pretty good as it is quite balanced overall. Of course, you could add more kick to the bass by tinkering with the necessary settings, but I find that the default soundstage is already good for most use-cases.

Whether you are playing MMORPGs, fast-paced games like Overwatch and CS:GO, or even just listening to your favorite tunes, I am blown away by the sound quality that the Razer Blackshark V2 provides.

It is worth noting, however, that because of the mesh foam material of the ear cups that you will experience some sound leakage as a result. This is important to keep in mind, especially if you want to play games as you do not want to disturb the people around you.

Microphone

Razer Blackshark V2 Gaming Headset Microphone

While I am impressed by the audio quality of the Razer Blackshark V2, I am disappointed with the boom microphone.

It just doesn’t sound well. My voice is tinny, it is not full-bodied, and for the most part, the volume could definitely be improved.

Even when using the USB soundcard, nothing changes for the betterment of the said gaming headset. You should be using its 3.5mm connector instead as I find it to be considerably better.

Because it is a cardioid microphone, it should be able to get your voice really nicely, right? Well, that is talking from a theoretical standpoint, but in reality, it can still pick up unwanted background noise so I am really disappointed with the microphone of the Blackshark V2.

Verdict

So, what do I think about the Razer Blackshark V2? If we are talking purely from an audio standpoint, the Razer Blackshark V2 is one of the best out there. This is especially true if you are going to use the included USB soundcard and wire this to your PC.

However, I am really disappointed with the microphone quality. The output is not full-bodied at all and you are better off using a third-party standalone microphone instead.

Do I recommend the Razer Blackshark V2? Well, as I’ve said, if you are okay with its mediocre microphone quality, then this product is definitely one of the best out there. However, if you are looking for a complete package, you are better off finding something else.

The Razer Blackshark V2 costs $100.

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The 5 Best Smartphones in the US in 2020 That Are Worth Your Money

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Best Smartphones in the US 2020

It is safe to say that people cannot live a day without smartphones. Technically, you could, but your life will be so much better if you have one.

Having said that, there are so many phones on the market nowadays and it might be hard for you to choose one.

Luckily for you, I happen to know only the greatest ones out there so you do not have to go somewhere else to find the information that you need.

Today, I am going to talk about the best phones in the US in 2020.

1.iPhone 11 Pro

iPhone 11 Pro

Price: Starts at $999

We’ll start the list by talking about a phone from the company that started it all. The iPhone 11 Pro is what many people would consider the best phone in early 2020. Everything about it just makes it quite an appealing choice.

For starters, it has a solid build quality. It is made of an all-metal frame and is also known to have really strong battery life.

It is powered by the company’s in-house operating system, the iOS 13. Aside from that, its performance package is really great as well thanks to the A13 Bionic chip.

The phone’s CPU is the best processor around. It beats Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 processor and it can even go head to head with Qualcomm’s latest CPU in the form of the Snapdragon 865 in some tests.

People will also love its 5.8-inch ‘Super Retina XDR’ display. It is basically the company’s take on an AMOLED screen that supports HDR.

Because of the said panel, you will get crisp visuals, as well as amazing contrast in all of the media that you intend to consume.

Of course, the camera of the iPhone 11 Pro is also a huge upgrade from the previous version. It comes with three cameras: all 12-megapixel sensors for telephoto, wide-angle, and ultra-wide angle with various apertures to suit everyone’s tastes.

Its price of $999 might not be appealing to a lot of people. In that case, you can opt for its little brother, the iPhone 11, instead.

2.Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus

Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus

Price: Starts at $1,199

When it comes to the smartphone industry, both Samsung and Apple are always the ones that go head-to-head and for good reasons.

You could say that as vast as the Android ecosystem is, Samsung is hailed as the champ and that is why it is always pitted against what Apple has to offer.

The company’s latest flagship device is quite an amazing addition to its product stack. The Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus truly deserves the acclaim that it’s been getting.

This phone has a very large 6.7-inch screen and it also comes with the company’s patented Infinity-O AMOLED display.

Aside from the superior picture quality of the display, people will be happy to know that the S20 Plus now also comes with a screen that has a refresh rate of 120hz.

While the default resolution of the phone is 3200×1440, if you are to take advantage of the higher screen refresh rate, you will have to scale down to Full HD+ resolution. Still, that is perfect for most people.

As for its performance package, the phone comes with Qualcomm’s latest offering in the form of the Snapdragon 865. It is also coupled with 12GB of RAM and storage capacity of 128GB-512GB (internal) with an option to expand it via MicroSD (up to 1TB).

The S20 Plus also comes with a hefty 4,000 mAh battery which can last a while and its included fast charger tops you off quickly as well. If you have a wireless charger, the phone supports it too.

Another main feature of the S20 Plus is its array of cameras. Its headline sensor is the 64-megapixel telephoto lens with up to 3x optical zoom.

Without a doubt, pictures and videos are quite crisp and clear and the software makes it really stand out.

In addition, you also have the ability to record 8K videos at 24fps, though you have to make sure that you have ample space as the resulting file will be so massive.

All in all, the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus is what I would consider the best Android phone in early 2020. The only thing that might turn you off is the price ($1,199), but for what it’s worth, you really won’t be disappointed.

3.OnePlus 8 Pro

OnePlus 8 Pro

Price: $900

OnePlus was the first smartphone company that created what people would call the ‘flagship killers’ or devices that kill flagship phones by offering them at a more affordable price.

Even though the company has reached the flagship territory in terms of pricing, the OnePlus 8 Pro is still quite a solid option and one that I would recommend if you want a somewhat affordable flagship device.

Its strongest suit is the company’s own OxygenOS. It is basically a reskin of Android 10 but what makes it great is its almost vanilla-like, buttery-smooth experience.

OnePlus is also one of the first companies to implement a high refresh rate screen. True enough, the OnePlus 8 Pro comes with a 120Hz AMOLED screen with HDR10 certification. This provides crisp details like the ones similar to the iPhone 11 and Samsung’s flagship devices.

The phone’s performance is also top-notch as well. Aside from having the Snapdragon 865 chip, it also comes with 12GB RAM and UFS 3.0 storage (128GB and 256GB options are available).

It can also last more than a day thanks to its 4,510 mAh battery. I am also happy to say that it comes with the company’s 30-watt Warp charger. If you can spend some extra money, you can opt to buy the company’s 30W wireless charging cradle instead.

Despite its amazing performance and great battery life, the phone does have its downsides in the form of its cameras.

For one, the camera bulge is so pronounced that it cannot fall flat when you put it on a desk. Aside from that, its camera software needs improvement, though recent updates have fixed the majority of issues.

Even with its shortcomings, I would still recommend the OnePlus 8 Pro.

4.Google Pixel 4 XL

Google Pixel 4 XL

Price: $849

Ever since Google veered away from third-party manufacturers to create their phones, its devices have been equipped with the best smartphone cameras on the market.

The Google Pixel 4 XL is the latest flagship device from the company that is famous for its amazing search engine.

While its performance is middling compared to the other phones listed in this article, where it truly excels is its cameras.

You see, what makes the Pixel 4 XL’s cameras great is not only because of its hardware but also because of its software as well.

At the time of writing, the Google Pixel 4 XL is still the best phone to get if you want the best possible cameras in a smartphone on the market.

However, I put it later down the list simply because only its cameras are its strongest suit. Its battery life is so-so, its 90Hz OLED display is okay (but nothing to brag about), and its design is lackluster, to say the least.

5.ASUS ROG Phone 2

ASUS ROG Phone 2

As mobile games become more and more demanding, you will need to be using hardware that is capable of handling any game out there. That is where the ROG Phone 2 comes in.

The Asus ROG Phone 2 is the second version of the company’s highly-acclaimed ROG mobile lineup.

This is a gaming phone that not only has a high refresh rate screen but it also comes with programmable shoulder buttons to help give you an extra edge.

As a gaming device, it dissipates heat effectively thanks to its included vents and built-in cooling system.

The performance of this phone is top-notch thanks to its use of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855+ flagship processor, as well as 12GB of RAM and UFS 3.0 storage.

Its hefty 6,000 mAh battery also ensures that you can play even the most demanding games and never have to worry about running out of battery at all as it can last the whole day.

And, if you want to recharge it, its included 30W charger should give it enough juice in a short amount of time.

While this phone comes with an array of cameras, their performance is mediocre at best. Truly, its main purpose is to provide mobile gamers with a device that they can rely on.

Honorable Mentions

A.iPhone SE (2020)

iPhone SE (2020)

Would you believe me if I tell you that you can buy a brand new iPhone for just under $400? That is correct, you can get an iPhone SE 2020 edition for just $349 at the time of writing.

Unlike Apple’s flagship product stack, the iPhone SE is a smaller device that comes with a 4.7-inch (1334×750) retina display and a respectable 3GB of RAM. But, what makes it appealing for a budget device is it still comes with the company’s A13 Bionic chip, so from a performance standpoint, it is definitely no slouch.

Its camera is also pretty good. You get a 12-megapixel snapper that, when coupled with the OS, gives you the best possible photos in a budget smartphone.

Although devoid of Apple’s newer features, the iPhone SE (2020) is definitely worth considering for the price.

B.Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

With a price tag of $1,399, the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra might not be for everyone but it is indeed one of the best phones out there if you want an amazing smartphone with great camera capabilities.

The phone is highlighted by its 108-megapixel wide-angle lens coupled with a 48-megapixel telephoto lens.

Samsung touts this phone to be able to do a 10x lossless zoom and with its 30x digital zoom, you can still capture a good quality photo regardless of the presence of some photo noise.

This smartphone is also 5G-enabled and although your network might still be putting up their 5G infrastructure, at least this one is already capable of handling the new technology.

If you are wondering how this one compares to the other S20 phones in Samsung’s product stack, it is basically the same as the S20 Plus but with better cameras and a slightly larger screen (6.9 inches).

C.Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus

People that want to use their smartphones for productivity purposes should definitely look into getting the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus.

Although it comes with last year’s flagship processor (Snapdragon 855), its performance package still works really, really well in this day and age.

Its highlight feature is the included S-Pen which is a vast improvement over its first version.

While some of Samsung’s flagship devices do not have a headphone jack anymore, you will be pleased to know that the Note 10 Plus still has one.

With a highly competitive S-Pen, vivid and color-accurate display, as well as a bevy of useful features for productivity, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus is also a great buy.

Gaming

Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Wireless Router Review- The Gaming Router to Get in 2020

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Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Review

The gaming industry is one of the most popular niches now in that there are tons of products that you can buy that are great for gaming purposes.

The Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Wireless Router is touted as a ‘gaming’ router, but does it have what it takes to help eliminate lag and provide a better overall experience than the other routers that you can find on the market?

Design

Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Review 2020

When you look at the Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Wireless Router, you will probably think of a lost starship from the infamous Death Star from Star Wars as its design is quite similar to those ships.

It has two ‘wing’ antennas that actually house a total of four antennas on the inside. This will provide maximum performance and throughput and it also helps increase the router’s range as well.

Because this is a WiFi 6 router, you can enjoy all of the features that the new WiFi technology provides, most especially OFDMA for better reliability in terms of giving internet connectivity to multiple users at any time.

On the top and at the bottom sides of the router, you will find that this thing has plenty of air exhaust vents and they are quite useful, especially considering that this is one of the more power-hungry networking solutions on the market today.

At the back, you will find all of the ports that you need. What’s interesting here is that you will find that two of the four gigabit Ethernet ports can be combined (via the router’s software) for better throughput. This is what you’ll want to use on your gaming PC so that you can virtually eliminate lag while you play.

There are also two USB 3.2 ports so you can plug in your printer and other USB-powered devices, and you will also find a power button, as well as an LED on/off switch as well.

Performance

Netgear Nighthawk AX12

Since this is a ‘gaming’ router, how well does it perform in such scenarios? In my testing, I’ve used World of Warcraft, one of the best MMORPGs out there, and Overwatch as both of these games not only have a built-in latency indicator, but they are also quite challenging in terms of latency in some parts of the day.

Normally, I would get 120ms on World of Warcraft and about 100ms on Overwatch for most of the day using my usual router, but the Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Wireless Router performs really well as I am able to get 100ms on WoW and a little over 70ms on Overwatch.

It is worth noting that I’ve used the combined port (which should be indicated on the back of the unit) for better performance, though using the other ports yielded only a slight performance penalty of roughly 10-15ms.

Being a WiFi 6 router, it is also important to test its capabilities on this front. So, I’ve connected multiple devices at one time and each of them is connected to Youtube for continuous streaming.

All of them do not have any buffer issues at all and they all got consistent speeds. But, this was done within a 10-meter radius near the router.

So, to test its mettle in terms of how far the WiFi signals can go, I went to the second floor (the router is on the first floor) and I was still able to get about 70% of my network speed (my internet connection is 120mbps, so in this instance, I was able to get roughly 84mbps).

I went a step further and went inside my room (which is also on the second floor), albeit this time, I did it with the door closed. Although the speed dropped a bit, I was still able to get 68-75mbps for the most part which is pretty good overall.

How about the speed of the USB ports in terms of file sharing? The performance is quite impressive as well. This is so much so that I can say that you can use it as a NAS drive because it is that good.

Software

Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Gaming Router

I am surprised that the Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Wireless Router doesn’t use the DumaOS that can be found in the company’s other ‘Nighthawk’ line of networking equipment, but I am still pleased with the router’s GUI overall.

The menus are outlined neatly and you can get to the specific settings that you want quickly and easily. The GUI is so intuitive that a layperson could easily navigate through the different settings without any problems.

You get your usual options such as the ability to prioritize different applications via QoS, setting up your router’s username and password (to access the GUI and for the SSID), and you can even do some port forwarding for your other applications as well, among many others.

It is interesting to me that there is no option for packet prioritization which can be found in Netgear’s other routers, but this is usually not something that people would touch anyway, so I am okay with that.

Just a reminder: Once you fire up this thing for the first time, it is generally a good idea to update the router’s firmware. This is to ensure that you will get all of the latest improvements, as well as some security patches.

Verdict

The Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Wireless Router is a pretty good WiFi 6 router. Its performance is quite consistent across the board and you will have no issues when it comes to its WiFi connectivity.

It is one of the most power-hungry routers on the market, though, but the good thing is that it has plenty of air vents to exhaust hot air effectively.

This gaming router costs $400 and although it is quite steep, getting a high-quality product is a worthwhile investment anyway, so I would still recommend this thing for people that want to get a pretty competitive WiFi AX router.

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Intel Core i5-10600K Review- The Best Mainstream Gaming CPU in 2020

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Intel Core i5-10600K Review

Ever since the launch of the Ryzen 3000 CPUs, more and more people are recommending the R5 3600 for people that want to build a budget gaming PC. It is pretty sad that Intel chips are not getting recognition, but that is going to change with the release of the Intel Core i5-10600K.

Today, I am going to review the said chip. Find out why I think it is the best mainstream gaming CPU in 2020 by reading the rest of the article.

Comet Lake Architecture

Intel Core i5-10600K Review 2020

The 10th generation Intel Processors is part of the ‘Comet Lake’ family that uses a much-improved architecture than Skylake (where it’s derived from).

While the i9-10900K is definitely a beast of a chip, the Intel Core i5-10600K is surely something that most people are going to want to look at.

Competition is very important, especially to us consumers. When AMD released their Ryzen line of processors, Intel had to respond in kind to stay in the game. 

Back then, you normally wouldn’t find i5 chips to have hyperthreading, which is essentially the same as the SMT or simultaneous multi-threading feature that is present in AMD’s CPUs. But now, the 10600K not only has one, but the core frequency is clocked higher as well.

Here is a rundown of the Intel Core i5-10600K’s specs:

  • Cores: 6
  • Threads: 12
  • Lithography: 14nm
  • Base clock: 4.1GHz
  • Peak Turbo (single-core): 4.8GHz
  • Peak Turbo (all-core): 4.5GHz
  • L3 Cache: 12MB
  • TDP: 125W
  • PCIe Lanes: 16

As you can see, thanks to hyperthreading being enabled, you get to have two times more threads than an i5 chip of yesteryears. This means that you get considerably better performance across the board, especially for multi-core/multi-threaded workloads.

But, where the 10600K really shines is through its gaming performance and I will talk about this in the next section.

Performance

Intel Core i5-10600K

When you ask people what CPU you want to compare the 10600K to, it would be the AMD Ryzen R5 3600. That is because they have the same core and thread counts but there is a huge difference when it comes to their clock frequencies.

You see, the R5 3600 has a base frequency of 3.6GHz and a boost (all-core) frequency of only 4.2GHz. The 10600K, on the other hand, has a base frequency of 4.1GHz with an all-core boost of 4.6GHz.

Because Intel has added a new boost algorithm wherein the best core inside the CPU boosts higher than others, you get a clock frequency of 4.8GHz maximum on the said core, giving you even more performance.

Now, how does this translate into the real world? Well, in most multi-core benchmarks, the Intel Core i5-10600K performs so much better than the chip that it is compared to. Seriously, I would recommend this Intel chip for anyone who engages in productivity workloads on the side.

When it comes to gaming performance, there is no question that the 10600K beats the R5 3600 by a lot. That is due to the combination of the architecture, as well as the higher core frequencies of each core of the said chip.

Overclocking

Intel Core i5-10600K Box

What makes Intel chips appealing to the overclocking community than AMD Ryzen processors is the fact that you can eke out even more performance by setting the clock frequency of the cores higher than their rated specs. This is possible if you have a ‘K’ series chip (which the Intel Core i5-10600K is) and a compatible Z490 motherboard as well.

In most cases, people can set the frequency to 4.8GHz all-core with the single-core frequency (the best one) set to 5.1-5.3 GHz depending on the silicon of your particular chip. This provides even better performance across the board which is pretty nice.

I do have to caution you to not overclock the processor until you get one of the best CPU coolers on the market.

Because of the higher core frequency and because of the fact that you add more voltage to the chip just to make it stable, overclocking will result in higher heat production than usual. You will need a very competent cooler to keep things at relatively good temperatures.

Verdict

The Intel Core i5-10600K is way better than its predecessors- both in terms of architecture and performance.

Its rival, the Ryzen 5 3600, doesn’t come close to its performance thanks to the Intel chip’s higher clock frequency and better boost algorithms.

This is not to say that the AMD CPU is bad because there are some cases where it is more warranted than the 10600K.

For instance, if you are really on a tight budget, the Ryzen 5 3600 makes sense because it already comes with a cooler out of the box and its performance is still quite good for the price (currently at $160 compared to the i5-10600K’s $280 price tag).

The money that you can save by getting the Ryzen chip could be budgeted towards a better graphics card or faster storage, so there is still value that can be had when you go this route.

However, if you are okay with spending $280 and if you want a processor that can comfortably last at least 3 years competitively, then the Intel Core i5-10600K is indeed a much better option.

All in all, the Intel Core i5-10600K is definitely what I would consider to be the best mainstream gaming CPU in 2020.

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Razer Blackshark V2 Review- A Comfortable and Great-Sounding Headset for $100

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Razer Blackshark V2 Review

Back then, I never would recommend any of Razer’s gaming headsets because they often sound muddy due to the obvious preference towards the lower frequencies, but the company has changed its stance ever since.

The Razer Blackshark V2 is shaping up to be one of the best gaming headsets that are priced competitively in the market. Should you get one of these or look for something else? Read on to find out.

Design

Razer Blackshark V2 Review 2020

The ‘Blackshark’ line of headsets is nothing new because there is one that was released so many years ago. However, the Razer Blackshark V2 is a pretty polished iteration that I think would warrant the people’s attention.

Its design is quite similar to its predecessor, albeit there is a noticeable volume control dial located on the left ear cup.

Usually, Razer would put leatherette ear cups on its gaming headsets, but the Blackshark V2 actually comes with mesh foam ear cups instead.

In terms of comfort, I would prefer these over leather ear cups any day, but some people would want the feel of the leatherette material. So, to each his own.

The headset itself is quite simple-looking, although the aviation-style aesthetic might not appeal to some. I especially do not like the green wire that is exposed on each ear cup as you could potentially damage it if you are not careful.

Also situated on the left ear cup is the port for the removable boom microphone. I like the fact that you can completely remove it as it will not impede your vision when you are not using it.

Now, I’ve heard of some reports that the clamping force of the Razer Blackshark V2 makes this headset uncomfortable, but I beg to disagree.

If anything, the Razer Blackshark V2 is one of the most comfortable gaming headsets that you can find on the market.

I do have to point out that, being a large person myself, its clamping force is a bit on the stronger side, but it is still relatively comfortable for me to wear even during prolonged gaming sessions.

The Razer Blackshark V2 connects to your game console or PC either via 3.5mm headphone jack or with the use of its included USB soundcard (the latter is only usable on the PC, however).

Audio Performance

Razer Blackshark V2 Gaming Headset

The company has come a really long way when it comes to audio quality. Gone are the days where the soundstage gets muddied by the lower frequencies as everything sounds pretty balanced right from the get-go.

Razer has partnered with THX to provide you with a better surround sound gaming experience and if you use the included USB soundcard, its 7.1 surround sound implementation is so much better than what the company used to offer.

Once you plug this thing in using the said USB connector, its drivers will get installed on your PC and you can use it to your heart’s content.

You can use the Razer Synapse 3 software to tweak the EQ settings or choose from a variety of different presets.

Personally, the default sound quality is already pretty good as it is quite balanced overall. Of course, you could add more kick to the bass by tinkering with the necessary settings, but I find that the default soundstage is already good for most use-cases.

Whether you are playing MMORPGs, fast-paced games like Overwatch and CS:GO, or even just listening to your favorite tunes, I am blown away by the sound quality that the Razer Blackshark V2 provides.

It is worth noting, however, that because of the mesh foam material of the ear cups that you will experience some sound leakage as a result. This is important to keep in mind, especially if you want to play games as you do not want to disturb the people around you.

Microphone

Razer Blackshark V2 Gaming Headset Microphone

While I am impressed by the audio quality of the Razer Blackshark V2, I am disappointed with the boom microphone.

It just doesn’t sound well. My voice is tinny, it is not full-bodied, and for the most part, the volume could definitely be improved.

Even when using the USB soundcard, nothing changes for the betterment of the said gaming headset. You should be using its 3.5mm connector instead as I find it to be considerably better.

Because it is a cardioid microphone, it should be able to get your voice really nicely, right? Well, that is talking from a theoretical standpoint, but in reality, it can still pick up unwanted background noise so I am really disappointed with the microphone of the Blackshark V2.

Verdict

So, what do I think about the Razer Blackshark V2? If we are talking purely from an audio standpoint, the Razer Blackshark V2 is one of the best out there. This is especially true if you are going to use the included USB soundcard and wire this to your PC.

However, I am really disappointed with the microphone quality. The output is not full-bodied at all and you are better off using a third-party standalone microphone instead.

Do I recommend the Razer Blackshark V2? Well, as I’ve said, if you are okay with its mediocre microphone quality, then this product is definitely one of the best out there. However, if you are looking for a complete package, you are better off finding something else.

The Razer Blackshark V2 costs $100.

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