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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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Amazon Luna- Everything You Need to Know About Amazon’s Cloud Gaming Service

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Amazon Luna

It seems that cloud gaming is the future as a lot of companies are pooling their resources just to make things happen.

Amazon Luna is Amazon’s foray into cloud gaming and it is going to be available soon. Read further to find out more information about this new experience.

Channel-based Platform

Amazon Luna Platform

Google has paved the way for cloud gaming to come to the fore with the release of the Stadia not too long ago. Although it was mired with a lot of different issues, it seems that the company has found a way to make things work.

Amazon also wants in on the action and although there are some similarities with Luna and Stadia, there are also some stark differences as well.

Before I begin, I just want to explain the concept of cloud gaming. Basically, instead of downloading games to your gaming PC or whatever platform you choose to install them, you will just stream those games using data centers that are scattered all over the world.

It should go without saying that you need to have a fast internet connection to make this happen and so that you will not experience high latency (which was a huge problem when Stadia launched).

That being said, the premise of Google Stadia is that you need to either purchase an individual game so that you can play it at any time (forever) or you could subscribe to the monthly plan and play the games that are on offer every month (and continue to play them so long as you’re subscribed).

With Amazon Luna, you will be presented with different channels that you can subscribe to. Each of these channels has different games on offer which makes this quite appealing for game developers to show their mettle.

Right now, the platform is still in beta and there are only two channels available at the moment- Amazon’s own Luna Plus and the Ubisoft Channel. The latter will have 50 games that you can play right away and more Ubisoft games will be added in the future.

Keep in mind that this channel-based system makes it so that developers can price their services accordingly. It remains to be seen how much Ubisoft will charge individual users, so stay tuned for that.

1080p and 4K Gaming

Just like Google Stadia, Amazon Luna will support both 1080p and 4K resolutions. Of course, the latter would be more taxing and you will need a fast internet connection to be able to enjoy high-fidelity gaming. I suggest that you get a WiFi 6 router and a compatible device to make the most out of your experience.

Cross-Platform Support

Amazon Luna Cross-Platform

Unlike Stadia, Amazon Luna is more flexible in that it supports a lot of different devices. Not only can you play on your PC, but you can also choose to play it using your iOS devices, Android phones, and you can even utilize the company’s own FireTV devices as well.

Now, there has been this entire debacle about Apple’s 30% cut on every app in its App store but the good news is that Amazon can circumvent that.

You see, when you are going to play on your iOS devices, the application will actually be a PWA or a Progressive Web App. Basically, the game that you want to play will run in a contained web browser instead of it being an actual application that you install in your device. This bypasses the whole 30% cut issue which is a good thing.

NVIDIA Hardware Use

According to a recent Steam survey, the vast majority of PC users are all using NVIDIA graphics cards. This is a good thing for Amazon Luna because it means that it can support a lot more people.

That is because the company’s cloud gaming service will use NVIDIA GPUs instead of AMD cards (which Stadia uses for graphics processing).

Supposing that Amazon Luna will be more popular than any other cloud gaming service out there, NVIDIA will enjoy huge profits as a result.

Can Be Streamed to Popular Sites

Amazon Luna Controller

Twitch is arguably the most popular streaming platform today and Amazon is looking to forge a partnership with the said service to allow you to stream your games to the popular website.

The said platform is widely used as a means of generating revenue- something that is quite popular today due to the recent pandemic.

This move also makes it appealing as well as more and more content creators can use Amazon Luna to reach a broader audience.

New Controller with Alexa Support

Amazon Luna Controller 2

Just like Google Stadia, Amazon Luna also requires you to get a special controller. The good thing is that the control will have a microphone so that you can use Alexa for specific voice commands.

What’s interesting about the Luna’s controller is that it is completely connected to the Cloud, which means that you do not have to pair it with the specific device you are going to use to play games online.

According to Amazon’s website, it should have a grippy texture and will feature low-friction thumbsticks that provide maximum performance across the board. By using the controller’s microphone, you can actually tell Alexa to fire up the specific game that you want to play, so long as it is inside the channel that you’ve subscribed to.

Conclusion

Amazon Luna is quite enticing, at least, on paper. It is shaping up to be a better cloud gaming service compared to its competitors but the service is still in beta, so there are more things that need ironing out before its official release.

Right now, there are only two channels that are available and Ubisoft hasn’t imposed its pricing yet. The Amazon Luna channel is priced at $6.99

If you are interested in getting in on the action, you can be an early beta tester by subscribing to the service.

Amazon Luna will be out sometime in October.

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Acer Nitro XV340CK Review- A Greatly Competitive Ultrawide Gaming Monitor Under $500

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Acer Nitro XV340CK Review

Ultrawide monitors used to be a niche display in that the only people who work on productivity tasks and creative workloads usually buy them.

Fortunately, the display technology has evolved and gamers, too, can enjoy a much wider screen.

Today, I am going to review the Acer Nitro XV340CK which is a 34-inch ultrawide gaming monitor that is priced competitively. 

Design

Even though this is marketed as a gaming monitor, the Acer Nitro XV340CK actually doesn’t look like it. It looks simple and I love the aesthetics, especially if you want to place this in your office.

The only thing that might make you think that this is a gaming display is that red accent that you can find on the base of the monitor but that’s about it.

Anyway, let’s start with the stand. Aside from the aforementioned red accent, the stand provides good ergonomics.

It gives you the ability to swivel the monitor a complete 360 degrees, you can tilt it to 35 degrees back and you can adjust the height up to 5.9 inches. Because this is an ultrawide monitor, you cannot put this thing in portrait mode.

I love the fact that this monitor has slim bezels. At only 0.4 inches, you can place another monitor right beside it and it wouldn’t really take a lot of screen real estate at all.

The overall build quality is good. Despite the fact that it doesn’t feel premium, at least when compared to the best gaming monitors out there, it still feels sturdy nevertheless.

For the ports, you get two Displayport 1.4 ports, two HDMI 2.0 ports, and two USB 3.0 ports. Due to the wealth of ports on offer, you can use this for your PC or your game console.

The only thing that might be cumbersome for some users is that the OSD controls are situated at the back of the monitor- particularly on the bottom right side. The buttons are also a bit smaller than usual, so you may have a hard time pressing the right ones.

Display

Acer Nitro XV340CK Review 2020

The Acer Nitro XV340CK has a 34-inch IPS display with a resolution of 3440 x 1440 and an aspect ratio of 21:9. It is the same as other ultrawide gaming monitors that you can find on the market so there is no problem with that.

You do have the option to enable the picture-in-picture mode so that you can divide the display in two if you wish to fire up two different programs at the same time. This is why it is not only a handy gaming monitor, but it can also be used for office work as well.

Its contrast and brightness leave much to be desired. With a native contrast ratio of 1048:1 and peak SDR brightness of only 247 nits, it is not the best display when it comes to these things.

However, its redeeming quality is that its colors are accurate. After calibration, I got 95% sRGB, 82% AdobeRGB, and 81% DCI-P3. It is relatively color accurate and it would have been nice for creative workloads, but its peak brightness just falls short of making it an ideal display for such use-cases.

It is also worth noting that if you are in a well-lit room that the brightness could be a huge issue. The good thing is that the display’s matte finish can help reduce glare significantly, though you will still find that it is not bright enough in some situations.

I am surprised by the fact that there is literally no color bleed on the Acer Nitro XV340CK. This is unheard of, especially since ultrawide monitors are notorious for this.

Performance

Sure, its peak brightness and contrast could have improved, but gamers are not especially focused on those things. If anything, it is the performance of the display that usually takes the cake and I am happy to report that you won’t be disappointed with the Nitro XV340CK.

Normally, with IPS panels, they tend to not have a good response time, but that is actually not the case here. At just 5.3ms, it is definitely one of the best out there even when compared to other, more premium models.

How about input lag? This is a speed monitor and as expected, input lag is minimal. At just 4.2ms, I am really blown away by the performance of this thing. Every keypress on your gaming keyboard will register almost immediately and that is really great from a competitive standpoint.

It is also worth noting that its 144Hz refresh rate is ideal, especially since most gamers are clamoring for high refresh rate displays anyway.

This is a FreeSync gaming monitor and you can enable this variable refresh rate feature in both AMD and Nvidia graphics cards.

To get a hold of the said features, it is important for you to know that you should use the DisplayPort cable that is included in the box. There is also an included HDMI cable if you want to use this display for your Xbox or Playstation consoles.

Acer Nitro XV340CK

Verdict

With all of those things being said, if I were to ask you how much this thing costs, what will be your guess? If you’ve guessed around $700, you’re wrong.

The Acer Nitro XV340CK is priced at just $450! At that price, you are getting a relatively color-accurate monitor, a really fast display with minimal input lag, and a vast number of ports that you can use for your PC or game consoles.

Sure, its contrast and peak brightness could have been improved, but if you are talking about raw gaming performance, the Acer Nitro XV340CK blows other ultrawide gaming monitors out of the way.

Just make sure that you have a nice gaming PC for this thing to work nicely. Other than that, I highly recommend the Acer Nitro XV340CK for its price and performance.

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HyperX Cloud Stinger S- A Comfortable 7.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headset

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HyperX Cloud Stinger S Review

As an audiophile, I’ve always loved HyperX’s gaming audio solution. They are inexpensive and for the price, you are actually getting sound quality that you normally would only hear from expensive products.

In today’s article, I am going to review the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. This is a budget offering that aims to improve upon the original Cloud Stinger with the inclusion of a 7.1 surround sound option.

Do I recommend this headset? Find out later on in the article.

Design

The HyperX Cloud Stinger S is actually quite similar to the original version. It has the same pleather ear cups that envelope your ears quite nicely and the clamping force of the headset itself is actually quite okay.

I’ve been receiving reports that there are some people that have problems with the tightness or, shall I say, how loose this thing can be. But that will probably be a result of the size of your head and not the actual product itself. For me, the fit was okay, but your mileage may vary.

Although this thing is predominantly made in plastic, the overall build quality is good, though I would advise you not to throw this headset when you lose a round in a MOBA game or first-person shooter.

There is a microphone on this headset and just like the original, it is not removable. It would have been nice if you could remove it when you are not using it because even if you fold the microphone (which also acts as a way of muting it), you will still see it which can be annoying at times.

This thing is quite simple and all you have for the controls is the volume slider that is located on the right ear cup. 

While other HyperX gaming headsets come with a carrying pouch, I am sad to say that the HyperX Cloud Stinger S doesn’t have one.

All you get in the box aside from the headset is a USB dongle that is attached to a relatively long cable and some documentation. And, since you use this thing completely wired, it can also be used in your Playstation or other game consoles as well.

The 3.5mm analog cable should be inserted in the USB dongle if you wish to use its 7.1 surround sound implementation, but if you are just going to watch movies or play non-competitive games, I suggest that you do not use it.

Audio Quality

HyperX Cloud Stinger S Review 2020

There are two modes that you can utilize if you are going to use the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. You can use its 3.5mm headphone jack and enjoy stereo sound or you could insert that into the included USB dongle and use the 7.1 surround sound feature.

Keep in mind that if you are going to use the 7.1 output that it is only supported on the PC since you will need the NGENUITY software to enable it.

That being said, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S’ sound signature leans more toward being bright and with a little emphasis on the bass. This seems to be the preference of the majority of gamers since lower frequencies can make those in-game sounds pop-out more.

I also love the mid frequencies as it is quite balanced as well. I’ve had no problems listening to in-game dialog and when I am using the microphone, it just works really well.

Although the high frequencies are okay, I would say that it is the weakest of the bunch, though not so much as to diminish the overall sound quality. You will still hear the sibilance of the cymbals and lead guitars, but it is not as pronounced as the lower and mid frequencies.

As for the 7.1 surround sound, you should enable it in the companion software and it is only available when you are on the PC.

Anyway, its surround sound is okay but I say this because it is a budget gaming headset. If you compare it to the more premium ones, this is subpar at best. Still, you could enable it in your favorite games but I will advise against it if you are just listening to music or watching movies.

Despite a relatively good clamping force, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S doesn’t do so well in terms of sound isolation. People around me can still hear what I was listening to, so this might not be ideal if you are playing at night and there are people sleeping.

Microphone Quality

HyperX Cloud Stinger S

There is usually this notion that budget headsets have horrible microphones but not the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. In fact, I would go on to say that it has one of the better ones on the market.

Instead of sounding tinny, the microphone quality of the Cloud Stinger S is full-bodied and my teammates can hear every word I said without any problems.

The volume of the microphone is also quite good as well. Normally, with budget offerings, you tend to sound a bit ‘too far’ but that is not the case here.

Overall, I am quite pleased with the microphone. The only thing that I do not like is that the flippable microphone may impede your vision sometimes, but I think that you can adjust to this.

Verdict

For a budget headset, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S is definitely one of the better sounding ones. I also love the fact that the microphone’s quality is top-notch and it can even go head-to-head against its more premium counterparts.

I am just a bit disappointed that you do not get a carrying pouch with this one because other HyperX gaming headsets have them. But, this is a minor inconvenience.

I did not feel the need to talk about the NGENUITY software mainly because it is pretty barebones and all you can do with it is to enable the 7.1 surround sound, adjust the volume and microphone, and that’s about it. There is no equalizer present which is quite odd.

Still, for what it is giving you, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S is highly recommended. This thing costs $60.

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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

Amazon Luna- Everything You Need to Know About Amazon’s Cloud Gaming Service

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Amazon Luna

It seems that cloud gaming is the future as a lot of companies are pooling their resources just to make things happen.

Amazon Luna is Amazon’s foray into cloud gaming and it is going to be available soon. Read further to find out more information about this new experience.

Channel-based Platform

Amazon Luna Platform

Google has paved the way for cloud gaming to come to the fore with the release of the Stadia not too long ago. Although it was mired with a lot of different issues, it seems that the company has found a way to make things work.

Amazon also wants in on the action and although there are some similarities with Luna and Stadia, there are also some stark differences as well.

Before I begin, I just want to explain the concept of cloud gaming. Basically, instead of downloading games to your gaming PC or whatever platform you choose to install them, you will just stream those games using data centers that are scattered all over the world.

It should go without saying that you need to have a fast internet connection to make this happen and so that you will not experience high latency (which was a huge problem when Stadia launched).

That being said, the premise of Google Stadia is that you need to either purchase an individual game so that you can play it at any time (forever) or you could subscribe to the monthly plan and play the games that are on offer every month (and continue to play them so long as you’re subscribed).

With Amazon Luna, you will be presented with different channels that you can subscribe to. Each of these channels has different games on offer which makes this quite appealing for game developers to show their mettle.

Right now, the platform is still in beta and there are only two channels available at the moment- Amazon’s own Luna Plus and the Ubisoft Channel. The latter will have 50 games that you can play right away and more Ubisoft games will be added in the future.

Keep in mind that this channel-based system makes it so that developers can price their services accordingly. It remains to be seen how much Ubisoft will charge individual users, so stay tuned for that.

1080p and 4K Gaming

Just like Google Stadia, Amazon Luna will support both 1080p and 4K resolutions. Of course, the latter would be more taxing and you will need a fast internet connection to be able to enjoy high-fidelity gaming. I suggest that you get a WiFi 6 router and a compatible device to make the most out of your experience.

Cross-Platform Support

Amazon Luna Cross-Platform

Unlike Stadia, Amazon Luna is more flexible in that it supports a lot of different devices. Not only can you play on your PC, but you can also choose to play it using your iOS devices, Android phones, and you can even utilize the company’s own FireTV devices as well.

Now, there has been this entire debacle about Apple’s 30% cut on every app in its App store but the good news is that Amazon can circumvent that.

You see, when you are going to play on your iOS devices, the application will actually be a PWA or a Progressive Web App. Basically, the game that you want to play will run in a contained web browser instead of it being an actual application that you install in your device. This bypasses the whole 30% cut issue which is a good thing.

NVIDIA Hardware Use

According to a recent Steam survey, the vast majority of PC users are all using NVIDIA graphics cards. This is a good thing for Amazon Luna because it means that it can support a lot more people.

That is because the company’s cloud gaming service will use NVIDIA GPUs instead of AMD cards (which Stadia uses for graphics processing).

Supposing that Amazon Luna will be more popular than any other cloud gaming service out there, NVIDIA will enjoy huge profits as a result.

Can Be Streamed to Popular Sites

Amazon Luna Controller

Twitch is arguably the most popular streaming platform today and Amazon is looking to forge a partnership with the said service to allow you to stream your games to the popular website.

The said platform is widely used as a means of generating revenue- something that is quite popular today due to the recent pandemic.

This move also makes it appealing as well as more and more content creators can use Amazon Luna to reach a broader audience.

New Controller with Alexa Support

Amazon Luna Controller 2

Just like Google Stadia, Amazon Luna also requires you to get a special controller. The good thing is that the control will have a microphone so that you can use Alexa for specific voice commands.

What’s interesting about the Luna’s controller is that it is completely connected to the Cloud, which means that you do not have to pair it with the specific device you are going to use to play games online.

According to Amazon’s website, it should have a grippy texture and will feature low-friction thumbsticks that provide maximum performance across the board. By using the controller’s microphone, you can actually tell Alexa to fire up the specific game that you want to play, so long as it is inside the channel that you’ve subscribed to.

Conclusion

Amazon Luna is quite enticing, at least, on paper. It is shaping up to be a better cloud gaming service compared to its competitors but the service is still in beta, so there are more things that need ironing out before its official release.

Right now, there are only two channels that are available and Ubisoft hasn’t imposed its pricing yet. The Amazon Luna channel is priced at $6.99

If you are interested in getting in on the action, you can be an early beta tester by subscribing to the service.

Amazon Luna will be out sometime in October.

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Gaming

Acer Nitro XV340CK Review- A Greatly Competitive Ultrawide Gaming Monitor Under $500

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Acer Nitro XV340CK Review

Ultrawide monitors used to be a niche display in that the only people who work on productivity tasks and creative workloads usually buy them.

Fortunately, the display technology has evolved and gamers, too, can enjoy a much wider screen.

Today, I am going to review the Acer Nitro XV340CK which is a 34-inch ultrawide gaming monitor that is priced competitively. 

Design

Even though this is marketed as a gaming monitor, the Acer Nitro XV340CK actually doesn’t look like it. It looks simple and I love the aesthetics, especially if you want to place this in your office.

The only thing that might make you think that this is a gaming display is that red accent that you can find on the base of the monitor but that’s about it.

Anyway, let’s start with the stand. Aside from the aforementioned red accent, the stand provides good ergonomics.

It gives you the ability to swivel the monitor a complete 360 degrees, you can tilt it to 35 degrees back and you can adjust the height up to 5.9 inches. Because this is an ultrawide monitor, you cannot put this thing in portrait mode.

I love the fact that this monitor has slim bezels. At only 0.4 inches, you can place another monitor right beside it and it wouldn’t really take a lot of screen real estate at all.

The overall build quality is good. Despite the fact that it doesn’t feel premium, at least when compared to the best gaming monitors out there, it still feels sturdy nevertheless.

For the ports, you get two Displayport 1.4 ports, two HDMI 2.0 ports, and two USB 3.0 ports. Due to the wealth of ports on offer, you can use this for your PC or your game console.

The only thing that might be cumbersome for some users is that the OSD controls are situated at the back of the monitor- particularly on the bottom right side. The buttons are also a bit smaller than usual, so you may have a hard time pressing the right ones.

Display

Acer Nitro XV340CK Review 2020

The Acer Nitro XV340CK has a 34-inch IPS display with a resolution of 3440 x 1440 and an aspect ratio of 21:9. It is the same as other ultrawide gaming monitors that you can find on the market so there is no problem with that.

You do have the option to enable the picture-in-picture mode so that you can divide the display in two if you wish to fire up two different programs at the same time. This is why it is not only a handy gaming monitor, but it can also be used for office work as well.

Its contrast and brightness leave much to be desired. With a native contrast ratio of 1048:1 and peak SDR brightness of only 247 nits, it is not the best display when it comes to these things.

However, its redeeming quality is that its colors are accurate. After calibration, I got 95% sRGB, 82% AdobeRGB, and 81% DCI-P3. It is relatively color accurate and it would have been nice for creative workloads, but its peak brightness just falls short of making it an ideal display for such use-cases.

It is also worth noting that if you are in a well-lit room that the brightness could be a huge issue. The good thing is that the display’s matte finish can help reduce glare significantly, though you will still find that it is not bright enough in some situations.

I am surprised by the fact that there is literally no color bleed on the Acer Nitro XV340CK. This is unheard of, especially since ultrawide monitors are notorious for this.

Performance

Sure, its peak brightness and contrast could have improved, but gamers are not especially focused on those things. If anything, it is the performance of the display that usually takes the cake and I am happy to report that you won’t be disappointed with the Nitro XV340CK.

Normally, with IPS panels, they tend to not have a good response time, but that is actually not the case here. At just 5.3ms, it is definitely one of the best out there even when compared to other, more premium models.

How about input lag? This is a speed monitor and as expected, input lag is minimal. At just 4.2ms, I am really blown away by the performance of this thing. Every keypress on your gaming keyboard will register almost immediately and that is really great from a competitive standpoint.

It is also worth noting that its 144Hz refresh rate is ideal, especially since most gamers are clamoring for high refresh rate displays anyway.

This is a FreeSync gaming monitor and you can enable this variable refresh rate feature in both AMD and Nvidia graphics cards.

To get a hold of the said features, it is important for you to know that you should use the DisplayPort cable that is included in the box. There is also an included HDMI cable if you want to use this display for your Xbox or Playstation consoles.

Acer Nitro XV340CK

Verdict

With all of those things being said, if I were to ask you how much this thing costs, what will be your guess? If you’ve guessed around $700, you’re wrong.

The Acer Nitro XV340CK is priced at just $450! At that price, you are getting a relatively color-accurate monitor, a really fast display with minimal input lag, and a vast number of ports that you can use for your PC or game consoles.

Sure, its contrast and peak brightness could have been improved, but if you are talking about raw gaming performance, the Acer Nitro XV340CK blows other ultrawide gaming monitors out of the way.

Just make sure that you have a nice gaming PC for this thing to work nicely. Other than that, I highly recommend the Acer Nitro XV340CK for its price and performance.

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Gaming

HyperX Cloud Stinger S- A Comfortable 7.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headset

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HyperX Cloud Stinger S Review

As an audiophile, I’ve always loved HyperX’s gaming audio solution. They are inexpensive and for the price, you are actually getting sound quality that you normally would only hear from expensive products.

In today’s article, I am going to review the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. This is a budget offering that aims to improve upon the original Cloud Stinger with the inclusion of a 7.1 surround sound option.

Do I recommend this headset? Find out later on in the article.

Design

The HyperX Cloud Stinger S is actually quite similar to the original version. It has the same pleather ear cups that envelope your ears quite nicely and the clamping force of the headset itself is actually quite okay.

I’ve been receiving reports that there are some people that have problems with the tightness or, shall I say, how loose this thing can be. But that will probably be a result of the size of your head and not the actual product itself. For me, the fit was okay, but your mileage may vary.

Although this thing is predominantly made in plastic, the overall build quality is good, though I would advise you not to throw this headset when you lose a round in a MOBA game or first-person shooter.

There is a microphone on this headset and just like the original, it is not removable. It would have been nice if you could remove it when you are not using it because even if you fold the microphone (which also acts as a way of muting it), you will still see it which can be annoying at times.

This thing is quite simple and all you have for the controls is the volume slider that is located on the right ear cup. 

While other HyperX gaming headsets come with a carrying pouch, I am sad to say that the HyperX Cloud Stinger S doesn’t have one.

All you get in the box aside from the headset is a USB dongle that is attached to a relatively long cable and some documentation. And, since you use this thing completely wired, it can also be used in your Playstation or other game consoles as well.

The 3.5mm analog cable should be inserted in the USB dongle if you wish to use its 7.1 surround sound implementation, but if you are just going to watch movies or play non-competitive games, I suggest that you do not use it.

Audio Quality

HyperX Cloud Stinger S Review 2020

There are two modes that you can utilize if you are going to use the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. You can use its 3.5mm headphone jack and enjoy stereo sound or you could insert that into the included USB dongle and use the 7.1 surround sound feature.

Keep in mind that if you are going to use the 7.1 output that it is only supported on the PC since you will need the NGENUITY software to enable it.

That being said, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S’ sound signature leans more toward being bright and with a little emphasis on the bass. This seems to be the preference of the majority of gamers since lower frequencies can make those in-game sounds pop-out more.

I also love the mid frequencies as it is quite balanced as well. I’ve had no problems listening to in-game dialog and when I am using the microphone, it just works really well.

Although the high frequencies are okay, I would say that it is the weakest of the bunch, though not so much as to diminish the overall sound quality. You will still hear the sibilance of the cymbals and lead guitars, but it is not as pronounced as the lower and mid frequencies.

As for the 7.1 surround sound, you should enable it in the companion software and it is only available when you are on the PC.

Anyway, its surround sound is okay but I say this because it is a budget gaming headset. If you compare it to the more premium ones, this is subpar at best. Still, you could enable it in your favorite games but I will advise against it if you are just listening to music or watching movies.

Despite a relatively good clamping force, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S doesn’t do so well in terms of sound isolation. People around me can still hear what I was listening to, so this might not be ideal if you are playing at night and there are people sleeping.

Microphone Quality

HyperX Cloud Stinger S

There is usually this notion that budget headsets have horrible microphones but not the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. In fact, I would go on to say that it has one of the better ones on the market.

Instead of sounding tinny, the microphone quality of the Cloud Stinger S is full-bodied and my teammates can hear every word I said without any problems.

The volume of the microphone is also quite good as well. Normally, with budget offerings, you tend to sound a bit ‘too far’ but that is not the case here.

Overall, I am quite pleased with the microphone. The only thing that I do not like is that the flippable microphone may impede your vision sometimes, but I think that you can adjust to this.

Verdict

For a budget headset, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S is definitely one of the better sounding ones. I also love the fact that the microphone’s quality is top-notch and it can even go head-to-head against its more premium counterparts.

I am just a bit disappointed that you do not get a carrying pouch with this one because other HyperX gaming headsets have them. But, this is a minor inconvenience.

I did not feel the need to talk about the NGENUITY software mainly because it is pretty barebones and all you can do with it is to enable the 7.1 surround sound, adjust the volume and microphone, and that’s about it. There is no equalizer present which is quite odd.

Still, for what it is giving you, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S is highly recommended. This thing costs $60.

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