Video Blogging: Beginners Guide

Video Blogging: Beginners Guide

Guide to getting started with video blogging

Why Video Blogging…

 

Video blogging or “Vlogging” has to be the top way to communicate with your online community. If you are looking to build brand awareness or just simply create a following, getting started with Vlogging gives you that opportunity to go viral.  So why start video blogging?

Youtube  has revealed that viewers spend over a billion hours a day on the site. It is also reported that over 92% of mobile video viewers share videos with others. As technology advances and our patience decreases, people are looking for ways to consume information quickly. Videos provide the visual example that blocks of text and books do not.

If you are looking to start video blogging for the purpose of building brand awareness. Vlogging gives you the opportunity to scale your brand awareness in a cost-effective and innovative manner. All you need is a camera, a good personality and content to start.

Even if you are thinking of vlogging for personal purposes, this can be a fun experience if you try it. Now that we have touched the surface of the benefits of video blogging, we can move on to the steps of getting started with video blogging.

Step One: Find Your Niche:

This step is crucial, you need to know what your vlog is going to be about. You need to know who your audience is going to be. If you already know what your niche is, then great, move on to the next step. For those of you who are barely getting your feet wet, stay here and read along.

a picture of different people
FFinding your target audience is important because you need to know how you are going to tailor your video in order to attract your targeted niche.  Top vloggers know what they are good at so they often tailor their content to be consistent with what their viewers are expecting to watch when visiting their channel. The point of this is to become your viewers go-to for when they want to know about a certain topic.

What do I mean by that? If you are doing vlog about fashion, then it would be logical to always look your best in your videos. If you are doing a vlog about reviewing products, you need to what kind of products, and what your market is expecting to find out when they are watching your videos. Whatever the case may be, you need to know how what will drive your target audience to watch your videos.

The best way to dash through the learning curve is to study the top vloggers in your niche. Study what they are doing to be at the top of the rankings. Read through their comments, see what their fanbase like. Better yet, see what the fans don’t like and see how you can improve your videos based on that feedback.

A good idea is to think the Youtube channels that you follow if you follow any. Think about why you follow them. Do they always provide valuable content? are they entertaining? Do they stay on topic? Or is it their dynamic way of recording? These are just a few of the questions to think about when you’re in the process of making your videos.

Step Two:  Equipment

You can’t vlog without a camera or microphone. At first, you may be able to get away with just your phone camera or webcam, but eventually, you will want to improve the quality of your videos. Top vloggers use quality cameras for the purpose of better quality which in return gives their videos a tone of professionalism. There is a great variety of cameras to vlog with. Choosing one can become a bit overwhelming.

Take a look at our list of Best Cameras for Video Blogging of 2018.  Do your research and read the reviews to determine if it will fit your style of recording.

Stabilization: You have to look for cameras that have image stabilization. The purpose of this is to reduce blurring associated with the motion of the camera. Some vloggers may not need this as they only record in one stable place. If your camera does not have stabilization, then you can just get a tripod.

Video Quality: Look for the video resolution. When you purchase a camera look for stamps that say 720p, 1080p and 4k. It is better to choose the highest resolution possible, this will give you an advantage over other vloggers who record in low resolution.

Microphone Input: Every camera comes with a built-in Mic however you want to choose a camera lets you connect an external mic for better audio quality.

Those are practically the key features that you have to look for when purchasing a camera. As long as the camera you purchase comes with those features, then you know you’re on the right path toward getting started with video blogging.

Step Three: Scripts

The scripts should not be something that you’re going to be reading verbatim to your audience. It should be more of a guide that keeps you on track with the topic you are going to be recording about. The point is to plan out what you are going to be discussing or reviewing in the video. In some cases, scripting is not necessary.

Step 4: Record

This is the fun part. If you’ve never had experience recording yourself, you may want to do a few takes before uploading. Do as many as you may need, what matters is high-quality content. Don’t get frustrated if the content is not perfect. There is plenty of time to grow.

Step 5: Distribute your video

Upload your content to the web. Youtube, Instagram, Facebook, Vimeo. Once you have uploaded the video its important to promote it. Promote your videos on any social media site that you are currently active on. Your followers will be your first views and if they like the video they will be more subjective to sharing. People will share content that they find valuable.

Step 6. Continued Assessment

After your video gets views and some comments. Look for feed back, see what the crowd is saying. Look for positive comments to reinforce what you are doing right and look for the negative comments, they will tell you where you need to improve. Of course, Do not worry about the trolls, nothing can make them happy. With that said, its ok to be selective with negative feedback, not all feedback is constructive.

Conclusion

So we have covered 6 steps on how to get started with video blogging. Now you know that you must have a niche and the proper equipment if you want to get started with video blogging. You also know that preparation is key and quality content is king, there is no way around it. At the same time, don’t stress too much about perfection, it is more important that you have fun with this. With time and experience, you will become a pro vlogger if you just stick to it. So don’t give up!

VPN Encryption

Techsnob.net

In this VPN Encryption guide, we will look at what encryption on a VPN is, how it works, and clarify the confusing terms for it.

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) encrypts all data as it travels between your devices and a VPN server.  In this Guide to VPN Encryption, we will explain what VPN encryption is, and how it is used over a VPN connection.

When looking at VPN’s, you may notice the term ‘encryption’ is thrown around quite often.  But what exactly does encryption mean when referring to a VPN?  During research, we noticed quite a few companies carelessly tossing the word around.  We also found that because it is such a technical subject, not many people actually fully understood the concept.

What is a VPN?

If you want to know what a VPN is, or why someone would use one, we wrote a basic Beginners Guide for VPN’s here.  A VPN can help protect a device, or multiple devices under one network.  The smart way to have one in your home is to install one onto the router.  For the sake of this article, we will assume this is true.

Encryption is a very complex subject, even for those that are technical.  This article will be aimed at all audiences, so we will do our best to not get too elaborate, but we still want to clarify what encryption is actually doing, and how it is accomplishing that.  We will also cover the different methods of encryption that a VPN might use.

Forward Secrecy

Forward Secrecy (FS), also known as Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS), protects against your specific keys, or even future compromises if the server key was compromised.  Forward Secrecy protects most connections using common SSL/TLS, as well as OpenSSL, which was previously exploited by the ‘Heartbleed exploit’.  TLS (Transport Layer Security) is an asymmetric encryption protocol that protects data for online communications, like email and fax.  Unfortunately, companies have been known to use 1 Master Key, to encrypt everything, and as a result will lose all data if compromised.

This is where Forward Secrecy comes into play, making the company much more secure.   It does this by generating a unique session key for every user generated session, making any potential compromises stick to only the session it compromised, and no other data will be affected.

Encryption

Encryption is simply a lock on your data.  To open that lock, you need a key.  Without it, you are looking at a bunch of encrypted data, that is unreadable.  For those without the key, there is an option of trying to hack or break the lock.  It is noteable that encryption comes in different forms, and some encryption is stronger and more valuable than others.
Encryption simply takes your data, and ciphers it with a mathematical formula.  A simple metaphor for this would be Pig Latin.  Although that is a much simpler metaphor, there is an equation to cipher the words you actually intend to say, as well as a key or way to decipher it.  Without the key to decipher, it is impossible to decipher the meaning of the data you are receiving, without cracking it.
If someone wants to read an encrypted message, but does not have the key, they must attempt to ‘crack’ the code (the cipher).  Depending on the level of encryption, this could prove to be extremely difficult.  We will learn about the different levels of encryption and find out which ones are the most secure.  The purpose of encryption on a VPN, is to make it extremely difficult for someone to steal your data.
When talking about VPN encryption, there are a couple variables that will tell us how complex it is to crack.

 

Encryption Key Length

Modern computer encryption is very complex.  Although technically crackable, and potentially even having already been cracked by various World government agencies, they still pose quite a challenge to anyone without a Supercomputer.
Any encryption is subject to a ‘Brute Force Attack’, an attack aimed at extracting data by doing an exhaustive key search.  The basic concept of a Brute Force Attack is trying every single combination of all characters of a password, or key.  The more complex the algorithm, the harder it is to successfully pull off a Brute Force Attack.  Once successful, the attackers have the key, thus are able to extract the data they want.
Computers process equations through binary numbers, which is a series of 0’s and 1’s.  When we are talking about complexity of an algorithm, we are referring to its key size, in bits.  This is expressed as the raw number of 0’s and 1’s necessary to express its algorithm, each zero or one will represent a digit.   The longer the encryption key, the more complex the encryption becomes, thus raising the difficulty to break the code.

Now imagine trying to decipher a 256 bit key.  

There are 1.157920892373163 x 10^77 possible keys.

Let’s say you could try 10,000 per second. (That figure is a total guess – actually decrypting a message using a key might be somewhat faster or slower than this, but it doesn’t matter).

That still leaves you 1.157920892373163 x 10^73 seconds to complete the task, worst case. That’s 3.67 x 10^65 years. The universe is only 14 x 10^9 years old.

So the reason the above decryption time is irrelevant is that even if you could try a billion keys per second, the number of seconds you’d need still exceeds the age of the universe by many orders of magnitude.

 

Encryption Cipher

We have already discussed one important aspect to a Virtual Private Network (VPN), the Key Length.  The other aspect is the cipher, the mathematics, algorithm or formula used to encrypt the data.  As we just discovered, trying to brute force an encryption key is almost impossible.  However, an encryptions true weakness is not the key, but the cipher itself

The weakness lies in the design of the cipher algorithm, either deliberately or by a fundamental flaw in the design process itself.  This is what leads to an encryption getting cracked.  Sometimes the cipher leaves just enough information from the original data, before it was encrypted.  This reduces the amount of key characters to try, which reduces the overall Encryption Key Length.  There is an entire field of study devoted to weaknesses in encryption ciphers, called cryptoanalysis.

To make up for these weaknesses, a longer key length will create more possible outcomes, creating a more complex encryption.

An attacker can focus their attack on the key itself, instead of the cipher.   This would lead to a single site being affected, or a single software.  The result would be the cipher remains intact, thus the security of all other programs protected by that cipher.  The on break, in this specific case, would be the singled out site, as a result of the broken key.  The rest of the systems utilizing the same algorithm, would remain unaffected.

Cipher Key Length

The strength of a cipher is dependant on not only the mathematical equation that encrypts it, but also the length of its key as expressed in bits.  The two variables are interchangeable, and the cipher is usually described along with its key size.

For instance, AES-256 (AES cipher with a 256-bit key length) is generally considered to be stronger than AES-128 encryption.  There are a couple different types of encryption.

Symmetric Vs. Asymmetric Encryption

If you go by key length alone, this is not a good indicator of how strong an encryption is.  The combination of key length, and cipher are what matters.  Ciphers that use asymmetric encryption, require key sizes much longer than a symmetric encryption Cipher, to provide the same protection.

As we can see from the slide above, is that asymmetric encryption requires a more complex algorithm, thus resulting in slower speeds.  Symmetric encryptions offer the same level of protection, with a lower encryption key size.  As more complex algorithms require more computing power, and result in slower speeds, a VPN service must choose between level of protection and practicality.

The most common encryption cipher on VPNs are the 256 AES encryption with a 128 bit block, and the 448-bit Blowfish which uses a 64 bit block size.  Companies like NordVPN, ExpressVPN, and IPVanish are all using AES encryption with different ciphers.  RSA is generally used to encrypt / decrypt cipher keys, SHA-1 and SHA-2 is used as the hash function, which helps authenticate data.

Forward Secrecy

Forward Secrecy (FS), also known as Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS), protects against your specific keys, or even future compromises if the server key was compromised.  Forward Secrecy protects most connections using common SSL/TLS, as well as OpenSSL, which was previously exploited by the ‘Heartbleed exploit’.  TLS (Transport Layer Security) is an asymmetric encryption protocol that protects data for online communications, like email and fax.  Unfortunately, companies have been known to use 1 Master Key, to encrypt everything, and as a result will lose all data if compromised.

This is where Forward Secrecy comes into play, making the company much more secure.   It does this by generating a unique session key for every user generated session, making any potential compromises stick to only the session it compromised, and no other data will be affected.

Every session creates a new, unique key.  At the end of every session, the key simply disappears, and new ones will be generated in the future.  The result is no single Master Key, that may allow access to all data.  With Forward Secrecy, if that session is compromised, then only THAT session can be compromised.  This prevents any communication or data recorded in the past, from being intercepted in the event a long term secret key or password is compromised.  In the past, use of Forward Secrecy with VPNs was rare, but is now more common.

VPN Encryption Protocols

A VPN protocol refers to the technologies and services VPN providers use to ensure you get a secured and fast connection to and from the VPN servers.   VPN protocol is a combination of encryption standards and transmission protocols.

Keep reading…

What is a VPN: A Beginners Guide

What is a VPN: A Beginners Guide

Techsnob.net

In this VPN guide, we will look at what a VPN is, how it works, and is it actually important to use one.  As this term gains popularity, more people are looking into a VPN for their private home.  Learn how easy they are to use.

In this VPN guide, we look at what a VPN is, how it works, and is it actually important to be using one.  As this term gains popularity, more people are looking into a VPN for their private homes.  Learn how easy they are to use.

What is a VPN?

A Virtual Private Network (VPN)  is a technology that enables you to access the internet safely and privately by creating a private network from a public internet connection.  In other words, think of it as a Harry Potter invisibility cloak masking the link between you and the internet, in which no one else can enter to see or steal your data.  This is possible because a VPN masks your internet protocol (IP) address so your online actions are virtually untraceable.

More importantly, a VPN service establishes a secure and encrypted connection to provide greater security than a Wi-Fi hotspot.  A side-benefit, but one which many users find the most useful, is that they allow you to pretend to be in a different country enabling you to access blocked content, or test sites from all over the world.  

Why use a VPN?

If you have every heard stories of people losing mass amounts of Bitcoin after making a transaction on a public Wi-Fi network, at an airport or Starbucks, you know how unsafe it is to surf the internet over a public network.  Perhaps you have experienced data loss, or identity theft.  Any time you connect over a public network, you leave yourself open to exposing your private information or browsing habits.

In theory, a VPN would be a must for anyone worried about online security and privacy.  For instance, think about those times you have been on the go, browsing emails at a coffee shop, or checking your bank accounts.  Unless you have logged into a private Wi-Fi network that required a strong password, any data transmitted during that session may have been vulnerable to literally anyone else using that same network.

The encryption and anonymity that a VPN provides helps protect your online activities: sending emails, shopping online, or paying bills. VPNs also help keep your web browsing anonymous.  Basically, if you connect to that same public network, AND use a VPN, you can be assured that no one else on that same network will be able to spot your traffic, or intercept your data.  

Even if you accidentally connected to a honey pot Wi-Fi a fake WiFi built and renamed to resemble Starbucks or other public hotspots, they would still not be able to see your data.  

There are a number of good reasons to use a VPN:

  • It encrypts your activity on the web.
  • It hides your activity from anyone who might be interested in it.
  • It hides your location, enabling you to access geo-blocked content (e.g. on Netflix and other sites).
  • Makes you more anonymous on the web.
  • Helps you keep the connection protected when using a public WiFi hotspot.

Overall, use a VPN if your web privacy, security, and anonymity are important to you. Roughly $3-5 a month is a small price to pay for all of that.

Limitations of a VPN

Does a VPN protect your data from everybody?  No.  The VPN simply makes it much harder to find and intercept your data by disguising your IP address, however not hiding it permanently.  There will always be a digital footprint, no matter how convoluted you make it.  But why not make it harder to keep track of you, if you have that ability?

The integrity of the company you are purchasing the VPN from is going to be a big difference between having no logs of you using the service, to having them go behind your back and sell your data to a 3rd party.  Even if they don’t sell your data, if a law enforcement comes knocking, expect them to become law abiding, throwing you to the wind.  So do your research.

All VPN’s have their limitations.  There are multitudes of ways to track your online footprint.  Sites like Facebook, Amazon, Google use cookies that don’t expire even after you have left the site.  A VPN will not work against cookies, make sure you are practicing safe browsing.  There is a limitation on how much a VPN can actually disguise your browsing to make it anonymous.  If you 

are really serious about browsing anonymously, you should be using Tor.

 

The Good

Unlike VPNs, Tor bounces your traffic through several actual server nodes on the way to the destination.  Although it is not impossible to reverse, it does make it much harder to track down.  Essentially you would need a pretty big warrant, to be caught using Tor.  Tor is managed by a non-profit organization and is actually distributed for free.   Fun Fact:  Some VPN services will even connect to Tor via VPN, for additional security.

The Bad

It is important to keep in mind that most VPN services are not actually non-profit, philanthropic organizations.  They are there to make profit, thus act like a business.  This means that they have to protect their business, they need to respond to sub-poenas and warrants.  Keep this in mind when shopping for a VPN, making sure you know exactly what you are trying to disguise.  These VPN services also have their own bills to pay, and loans to pay back.  Do some research to make sure the company is not keeping too much data, and trying to make another profit behind your back.

Do your Research on VPN Services

 

Because for-profit VPN services must abide by the local state and federal laws, it is very important to read the privacy policy for VPN services, and to find out where a VPN company is headquartered.  NordVPN, for example, operates out of Panama, and is not subject to any laws that would require it to retain user data.

Because VPN services are relatively new, they are sometimes target of federal investigations.  PureVPN came under fire after it released log information to federal investigators in regards to a cyberstalking case.  PureVPN seems to have updated its privacy policy as of May 2018.  

“We DO NOT keep any record of your browsing activities, connection logs, records of the VPN IPs assigned to you, your original IPs, your connection time, the history of your browsing, the sites you visited, your outgoing traffic, the content or data you accessed, or the DNS queries generated by you.”

Are VPN services  the perfect solution to protect you against any threat?  No.  The truth is, if someone targets you, and is willing to put forth some serious effort, they will absolutely get to you.  Keep this in mind, and make sure you are shopping with realistic expectations.  However, using tools like VPN services to obfuscate your online footprint, ensure you are not an easy target for mass surveillance is not a bad idea.

Considerations

Here are some unforeseen consequences to using a VPN.  Chromecast, and other streaming protocols are sending data over your local network.  When you use a VPN service, this encrypts the information being sent, but will not tell your devices to decrypt the information.  The result is that your Laptop, Smart TV, and other streaming devices will not know what to do with the information.  These devices simply will not run along with a VPN.

The solution is to move the VPN up a level and install it to the router.  This will encrypt all data as its leaving your private home, but will keep everything internal to your network unencrypted.  All of your devices connected to the network will work smoothly, but also have a secured connection.  For those with Netgear routers, Netgear has written some instructions on how to install a VPN to their routers.

Legal vs illegal vs Company Policy

Will a VPN allow you access to anything by cutting ties with the country you are in, and pretending to spawn from a different location?  No.  Netflix, for instance, is notorious for chasing down and shutting down the VPN services that would otherwise allow you to view materials from other countries.  This comes down to strict licensing requirements, and brings us back to our point that a VPN hides you, as long as no one is targeting you.  Netflix has a keen interest in keeping you away from their content in other Countries.

Although some VPN companies strive to allow their customers access to streaming TV shows and movies, Netflix not only blocks most VPNs, but actively searches for ones that are circumventing its policy.  Basically, a VPN working today, may not be around tomorrow.   Keep this in mind as you are shopping around for VPN just to get around this rule!  

Another legal concern is Torrents.  Sites like thepiratebay.org 

allow users to share files like movies, TV shows and other applications.  In the past, both Federal Agencies and ISP providers have reacted strongly to users pirating content.  With the addition of VPN services, the companies have felt the pressure from Federal Agencies.  Because of this, many VPN services have outright banned BitTorrenting.

Speed

Another concern about the use of VPN services is speed.  The whole idea behind a VPN is to jump through as many hoops as possible with the disguise of completely masking your IP address.  As a general rule, a VPN will increase the latency, or the time it takes a server to respond to your request, and for your computer to read the response.  This slows site, download, and upload speeds considerably.  During your research, and depending on your goal of using a VPN, look into which VPN services create a fast secure experience.

Protect Yourself with a VPN

Remember that the internet was just pieced together about 20 years ago.  Not much thought or coherence was put into security or privacy.  As time went on, equipment became a lot more sophisticated, as well as methods of extracting data.  The internet protocols have not fully caught up yet.  As of July, 2018 Google Chrome browser FINALLY made changes to show sites not using HTTPS:// protocol as ‘Not Secure’.  In fact, HTTPS was not even a word many fully understood, and certainly became widespread in the business realm very recently. 

This leads to individuals fending for themselves by using their own Antivirus programs, and password generator apps, etc.  But this does not address how simple it is to mine your data, sell it to a third party, or even use that data to steal identities, clear out bank accounts etc.  Combine that with the publics generally low awareness of how to keep themselves safe, and you might be able to see you are clearly choosing your path of which side to be on.  Should you allow companies to continue to easily mine data, hackers to steal your information?  Or will you obfuscate the process, making things just a little harder for them, by choice?  The decision is yours.

Viewing your PHP Settings with a phpinfo Page

Viewing your PHP Settings with a phpinfo Page

View your PHP Settings with a phpinfo Page

How to Read PHP Settings

In this tutorial, we will show you how to create a file to read what PHP version your hosting is set to, as well as output all of the PHP settings on your hosting.  We used our cPanel hosting account for this video.  To grab your own hosting, jump over to www.githosts.com for really cheap hosting – starting at $2.49/month.

PHP has many environmental variables that you are able to update as needed. For example, you may need to update your php memory_limit to prevent certain scripts from running out of memory. In order to change these values, you must first be able to see what they are. To do that, you will need to create a phpinfo page. A phpinfo page shows you all of your php environment settings.

A phpinfo page is simply a php page with the following code:

<?php phpinfo(); ?>

How to Create a phpinfo File

If you’re not familiar with how to create a phpinfo file, follow the steps below to create a phpinfo file using your File Manager.

  1. Log into your cPanel.
  2. Get ready to upload through FTP or your File Manager.
  3. Navigate to the directory you are working with. This is important because each folder can actually be set to have different php settings. In this example, we are viewing the php settings for our main domain, so we are navigating to the public_html folder.
  4. In the top menu, click New File.
  5. When prompted for the file name, enter phpinfo.php (it can actually be named anything, phpinfo.php is simply a common name for the file).
  6. Find the phpinfo.php file in your list of files (it should have automatically updated). Right click on it and choose “Edit”. If you see a “Text Editor” prompt, choose “utf-8” from the drop down list and then click “Edit”.
  7. Enter the following text:       <?php phpinfo(); ?>

    Then click Save Changes.

How to View your PHP Settings

After you have uploaded and created the file phpinfo.php, you may now visit the file in your browser.   For example, if you owned the domain example.com, you would type http://example.com/phpinfo.php.  The results should look like the picture below.

How to use this to your advantage.

If the entire reason you are reading this article, is because you have been trying to increase php settings, like memory_limit, or max_execution_time, you now have a cheat sheet that will show you live values.  

Hit ( Ctrl + f ) to search for your values.  Make the necessary changes to your .user.ini file, your php.ini file, or if you are lucky and have cPanel – literally go down to the ‘select php version’ button, and hit ‘select php options’ on the top right.  Click and edit the values and save.   

Don’t forget to kill php processes after making changes!  This is the most common mistake.  PHP needs to reset, in order for your changes to take effect.  To do this, scroll down to the software section in cPanel, click on ‘PHP Processes’, and click ‘Kill All’.  

Reload your phpinfo.php file, and check to see if the values have updated.  

Here is an article from GitHosts.com about how to change your php settings on various servers.

Build a Raspberry Pi Project Projector

Build a Raspberry Pi Project Projector

Build a Raspberry Pi Projector!

We found this project with the help of YouTuber MickMake, who has been working hard on producing a Raspberry Pi pocket projector with the Raspberry Pi Zero W.  We thought this was an amazing project, and thought you should check it out too!

    Share the love

    YouTuber Novaspirit Tech released a new video yesterday, reviewing MickMake’s Raspberry Pi Zero W pocket projector, as the video went on, we became a little obsessed with the project!

    Thank you, Novaspirit Tech, for reminding us to subscribe to MickMake. And thank you, MickMake, for this awesome project!

    The Pi Zero W pocket projector of your dreams

    In his project video, Mick goes into great detail about the tech required for the project, along with information on the PCB he’s created to make it simpler and easier for other makers to build their own version.

    The overall build consists of the $20 Raspberry Pi Zero W, a DLP2000 board, and MickMake’s homemade $4 PCB, which allows you to press-fit the projector together into a very tidy unit with the same footprint as a Raspberry Pi 3B+ — perfectly pocket-sized.

    Specs and Things

    While the projected images obviously aren’t as clear as those of high-end projectors, MickMake’s projector is definitely good enough to replace a cheap desktop display, or to help you show off your projects on the go at events such as Raspberry JamsCoolest Projects, and Maker Faire.  Because this has low power consumption, the entire unit can run off the kind of rechargeable battery pack you may already be carrying around for your mobile phone!

    In his review video, NovaSpirit Tech goes through more of the projector’s playback and spec details, and also does a series of clarity tests in various lights. So why read about it when you can watch it? Here you go:

    Build a Raspberry Pi Project Projector

    We found a phenomenal Do-it-Yourself Raspberry Pi Pocket Projector project, check here for more!

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    New Raspberry PI PoE HAT

    New Raspberry PI PoE HAT

    Introducing PoE HAT

    On sale 8/24/2018

    Yesterday, Raspberrypi.org finally announced the release of the POE HAT, a way over powering your Raspberry Pi over Ethernet.   The Raspberry Pi 3b+ was originally released with the ability to be Powered over Ethernet (PoE) with a HAT.  The HAT was released 8/24/2018.   The PoE HAT is a small accessory for the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ (released March, 2018).   For this product to be used, the network it is connected to needs to have power-sourcing equipment installed.

    Purchase from Canakit.com 

     

    Buy a raspberry pi poe HAT from Canakit.com

     

    Supplied with this product

    • Raspberry Pi PoE HAT
    • Mechanical spacers

    Other hardware needed

    • A Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+
    • An Ethernet cable
    • Power-sourcing equipment for a 802.3af Power over Ethernet network
      • Provided by your network switch
      • Or power injectors on an Ethernet Cable

    Power Over Ethernet

    Power over Ethernet places power on the Ethernet cable along with the data.  A couple methods of this has been standardized back in 2003, and is widely adopted.  PoE has no effect on the data, so you won’t lose bandwidth. There are various standards of PoE; this HAT uses the most common standard 802.3af.   This standard provides up to 15 W of DC power (minimum 44 V DC and 350 mA) on each port.   Only 12.95 W is assured to be available at the powered device as some power dissipates in the cable

    This means that the HAT is capable of providing all the power needed for running your Raspberry Pi!  You will need power sourcing equipment to power your Pi. This is either provided by your network switch or with power injectors on an Ethernet cable.

    Using the PoE HAT

    • Before installing the PoE HAT, you must attach the supplied spacers in the four corners of the board
    • Then connect the Raspberry Pi PoE HAT to the two 0.1” headers (40 + 4) that are fitted on the Raspberry Pi
    • Once the PoE HAT board is connected, you can power the Raspberry Pi through its RJ45 network connector

    The HAT is a compact, single-sided board that sits within the footprint of the Raspberry Pi.  A small (25mm) fan is pre-installed on the board. The HAT could be useful to people building systems that could be in tougher environments, so the addition of the fan helps with cooling. The fan is controlled via a small ATMEL processor which allows for it to be temperature-controlled: when your Raspberry Pi processor hits certain temperatures, the fan automatically turns on to cool it down. To enable this you will need to get the latest firmware (sudo rpi-update).

    Because the fan is controlled over I2C, none of the GPIO are used, so you can stack a second HAT on top of the connector. To do this you will need to buy some longer pass-through headers that expose the pins on the other side of the PoE HAT. You will need one for the 40-way and one for the 4-way connector that has the PoE splitters on it.

    Raspberrypi.org has recommended the 2×20 pin header from Pimoroni and the 4-way risers from RS and element14.  

    Build a Raspberry Pi Project Projector

    We found a phenomenal Do-it-Yourself Raspberry Pi Pocket Projector project, check here for more!

    New Raspberry PI PoE HAT

    The new Power Over Ethernet HAT for the Raspberry Pi, allows you to power your Raspberry Pi with your Ethernet cable!

    How to Format 64GB SD Card from exFAT to FAT32

    Step by step tutorial on how to format a 64GB SD Card from exFAT to FAT32

    How to Build a mini SNES – Part 4 – The Roms

    Step by step instructions, manually install RetroPie to your Raspberry Pi and include all your favorite Roms

    How to Build a mini SNES – Part 3 – The Software

    Recently, the NES Classic made a big splash. The ability to play all your old favorites on a tiny device! However, it only plays NES games, and can fit upwards of 30 games maximum on it. We would all like the ability for a device like this to play our entire library...

    How to build a Raspberry Pi into a mini SNES – Part 2 – The Building

    Recently, the NES Classic made a big splash. The ability to play all your old favorites on a tiny device! However, it only plays NES games, and can fit upwards of 30 games maximum on it. We would all like the ability for a device like this to play our entire library...

    Review: Super Tinytendo Case for Raspberry Pi

    TechSnob Review: Super Tinytendo Case for Raspberry Pi 3, 2, Model B with Large Cooling Fan During my last project, I built a SNES Raspberry Pi complete with all games, realistic controllers, and an amazing case guaranteed to give you nostalgia. The Tinytendo Case...

    How to build a Raspberry Pi Super Nintendo – Part 1 – Parts

    How to build a miniature Raspberry Pi Super Nintendo, a step by step guide.

    Best Indoor Smart Gardens of 2018


    Techsnob.net

    Smart home technology has made its way into the world of gardening, and has made it easier than ever.  We review the best smart gardens of 2018, that help bring plants into your home.  

     

    Smart home technology has made its way into the world of gardening, and has made it easier than ever.  We review the best smart gardens of 2018, that help bring plants into your home. 

    These small, efficient gardens are perfect for cramped spaces in the city, or just adding some greenery to one of your rooms.  Some of these gardens add the perfect amount of light, some actually water the gardens for you.  Join us, as we explore our favorite smart gardens, and find your perfect indoor garden. 

     

    The Click and Grow Smart Garden 9 will instantly catch your attention with its name.  Whether you have tried to garden and failed, or if you have a green thumb, and want some herbs year round, we recommend checking this garden out.

    Ever wondered what it would be like to have a continuous supply of fresh herbs in the kitchen?  Thanks to energy efficient LED grow lights, the Click and Grow Smart Garden will grow your favorite culinary herbs, salad greens and flowers all year round without you having to worry about weather or lighting conditions. The Smart Garden 9 can grow up to nine different plants pods simultaneously and is the perfect addition to any kitchen counter, windowsill or living room.

    What comes with it?

    The Smart Garden 9 pretty much comes everything you need to get started.  Open it up, and you will see a complimentary set of plant pods so you can start growing right away. In the package you will find 3 mini tomato, 3 basil and 3 green lettuce plant pods. All you need to do to start growing is put the plant pods into their cavities, plug in the power adaptor, and fill the water reservoir.

    The Verdict

    The Click and Grow Smart Garden 9 Indoor Gardening System is a great place to start, if you are a beginner looking to grow indoor herbs or flowers year round.  The garden system is not too pricey, just under $200.00.   This will not be for the serious gardener, as the controls override a lot of the customization’s someone might want to make when planting.  

    However, this includes everything you need to get your indoor garden started, and the seeds sprout very quickly.  The Click and Grow actually works, and produces real results.  The success rate is very high, so we call this one a win.   See more at their website, Clickandgrow.com.

    Best AeroGarden:  AeroGarden Bounty 



    AeroGarden Bounty

    AeroGarden stepped onto the scene early, in 2002. The company was a developer, and direct-seller of Indoor Garden Systems for consumers, cooking, and healthy eating. As of 2018, they have shipped 1.7 million units of AeroGarden to consumers world-wide. Over the years AeroGarden has been incorporating smart technology, like WiFi and sensors, which leads us to our favorite AeroGrow Garden of 2018.

    The AeroGarden Bounty with Gourmet Herb Seed Pod Kit can grow up to 9 plants simultaneously without the use of soil. The plants grow in a system of water called hydroponics. It features a 45-watt full spectrum LED grow light system (adjustable to up to 24” of growing height). Simply turn the light to the specific spectrum that you wish so that plants receive maximized photosynthesis for rapid growth and abundant harvests; white LEDs for rapid growth, blue LEDs for higher yields, and red LEDs for more fruit and flowers.

    What’s Included?

     

    • 45 Watt LED Grow Light
    • 9 Plant Pods
    • Extends 24″
    • Interactive LCD Touchscreen, Fully Automated, Customizable
    • Includes 9-Pod Gourmet Herb Seed Kit that contains: Genovese Basil (x2), Thai Basil, Curly Parsley, Italian Parsley, Thyme, Chives Dill, Mint & 3 oz. liquid plant food

    The Verdict

    The AeroGarden Bounty has a 45 LED system and 9 grow pods just like the AeroGarden Bounty Elite WiFi, but at half the price tag.  It is lacking the stainless steel and WiFi, however holds the same power.  Having a hydroponics system that is capable of growing almost anything, in your home, is a huge perk.  Paying only $200 for the system, helps.

    Best Low Price:  Smart Garden Smart Plugs 



    Smart Garden Smart Plugs Rapid Rooter Grow Kit

    Sexymates Smart Garden Indoor Smart Plugs Rapid Rooter Grow Capsule Gardening Kit with LED Grow Lights might be the cheapest Smart Garden you can find.  At under $25.00, it is a steal compared to any other Smart Garden.  The instructions are simple, water up to the water line, plug in the LED, and grow your herbs simply  in your own kitchen or space.

    What’s Included?

     

    • LED Grow Light
    • 3 Plant Pods
    • Extends 9-12″ for growth

    The Verdict

    At $24.99, this is the cheapest amount you will have to spend for this technology.  The system works well, however the LED lights are not the strongest.  Many users have recommended putting the planter in a bright window sill.  However, if you are new to these Smart Indoor Gardens, or are looking at picking up a gift for someone else, we suggest taking a look at Smart Garden Smart Plugs Garden Kit.

    Unrelated Distraction

    This Venus Flytrap in B52 Mericlone may not be a Smart Garden, but is a new way to display your Venus Fly Trap.  Water plants have been gaining popularity, and are incredible to look at.  At $7.99, this was the perfect distraction.

     

    • Self-sustaining terrarium. No watering, feeding, or sunlight needed.
    • Watch in amazement as your Fly Trap multiplies to many new plants and grows in size!

    Best Upcoming:  Ava Byte Smart Indoor Garden

    As far as we know, Ava Byte Smart Indoor Garden is the first Smart Garden to combine AI technology, as well as machine learning to its user experience.  So no matter how many plants you have killed in the past, Ava is sure to lend a helping hand.  In no time, you will have a miniature farmers market right in your own kitchen.  

    The Ava Smart Indoor Garden will ship its first units sometime in October 2018, and second wave in January 2019, it is estimated.  Starting in 2015 at Startup Weekend, and gaining popularity and traction, the team including the designers, engineers, horticulteralists and marketers have worked laboriously to deliver the product we are seeing today.  

    Whats Included?

    • Ava Byte and HD Camera
    • Smart App for IOS and Android
    • Lights:  Energy-Efficient, Full-Spectrum RBG Plant-Optimized LED Lighting Panel
    • WiFi connection 802.11/b/g/n
    • Sensors: Relative Humidity, Temperature, Ambient Light, Water Level
    • Home Automation Compatibility: Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Apple HomeKit
    • Features:  Automated watering, Plant-optimized LEDs, Water refill reminders, Environmental sensing, Wall-mount, Camera for timelapse, IOS/Android App.

    The Verdict

    As we have not tested this yet, this will not be a true review.  However, it is on our list because we are very excited to try it!  Pre-order one for 35% off, and see for yourself.  We love the features on this one, and combining the words hydroponics with AI seem to speak directly to our heart.  WiFi alerts, an app made specifically for the product, and integration with Alexa, Google Home, or Apple HomeKit.  

    The directions:  Plug it in, place your pods, connect to Wi-Fi using the app, and fill the water reservoir. AVA notifies you when it’s time to refill the reservoir and when your plants are ready to harvest!  

    We love the water recycling features it has, as well as the ability to take time-lapse videos.  We are excited and looking forward to the launch in October, 2018.   If you want more information on how to pre-order your own, or just want to check out the specs, check out their project on Indiegogo.



    How to Format 64GB SD Card from exFAT to FAT32

    Why can’t I format my SD card to FAT32?

    “I have a Sandisk Ultra 64GB SD card and cannot get it to a FAT 32 format. Tried few links, no success. I am using Windows 10.  Is there any way possible to achieve this?”

     

    SD cards are a popular storage device for many different types of equipment, and range in space from a couple MB to a couple GB.  Most devices need the format of FAT32, including the Rasbperry Pi and programs ran on it, which boot from FAT32.  We built a Raspberry Pi with a 64GB SANDISK, installing Noobs on it, Raspbian and Eleclite, if you are building a similar project, you can find our instructions on our Software page.  We found windows does not let you format any device over 32MB into FAT32, which makes formatting an SD card of 64GB hard to handle.  If you have tried using CMD or command prompt to achieve this, you may have seen an error saying Windows was unable to complete the format.

     

    With Windows 10, you have an option to use this command.         format /FS:FAT32 X:
    Replace the letter X with the drive letter for the external device you wish to format and hit Enter.   

    Note – This process may take several hours.

    If you do not have Windows 10, and are on Windows 7 or a variation of it, or just don’t feel like waiting an hour or so to find out if this works or not, there are other options.

    Format 64GB SD card/USB flash drive to FAT32 with Windows GUI of fat32format.

     

    A fast, effective, and simple tool from http://www.ridgecrop.demon.co.uk/index.htm will get the job done.  There are plenty of tools out there that will format your SD card from a 64GB exFAT to FAT32, you just need to do your due diligence to find a safe one.  This technology has been around for a while, so the internet has plenty of links to programs for this.  I found many programs that all claimed to do the same thing, but my top interest was security. 

    We found a simple program referenced in multiple forums, with reviews from those forums.  We cross referenced with an internet search for that program name, and went way past the first couple pages, and did so on a couple different search engines.  The tool, fat32format, can be found at http://www.ridgecrop.demon.co.uk/index.htm?fat32format.htm.

    The program fat32format, has been deemed safe to use, we ran virus scans on it after download, and tried the program out.  It works just as advertised, it formatted my SANDISK 64GB Micro SD Card from exFAT to FAT32.   It did so in about 10 seconds.

    This program works excellent for this specific task. For anything else, 32GB and less, you may use the SD Memory Card Formatter from sdcard.org.  Just remember, it will format anything larger than 32GB as exFAT automatically, and you need a tool like the one above as a workaround.  

    Best Headphones of 2018

    Best Headphones of 2018


    Techsnob.net

    Check out the best headphones of 2018, including Beats, Bose, Sony and more.

    With the rise of the latest technology, headphones have become increasingly sophisticated.  The latest headphones can provide unique, noise cancelling sound with deep bass and crystal clear sound.  When Beats made the deal with Apple, the soundwave was heard across the world, and you could actually see headphones trending.  We felt the need to review the best headphones of 2018.

    To be honest, there are a TON of choices.  The best over the ear headphones, the best headphones for running, the best wireless headphones, the best Hi-Fi headphones, etc..  We take a look at the top headphones of 2018, for each of these categories.

     

    Best overall :  Sony WH-1000xM2



    Sony WH-1000XM2


    With a newer, longer battery life, the Sony WH-1000XM2 Headphones are the real deal.  Backed by a large company that has been in the entertainment business a long time, Sony has crafted an excellent noise-cancelling, wireless headset.  The battery is now rated up to 30 hours with wireless, or 40 hours wired.

    With High-Resolution Audio you will hear music true to the original recording.   With options like Virtual Surround Sound, become completely immersed, or tune into what is important to you with options like Ambient Sound Control.  The noise cancelling was upgraded from last time with Atmospheric Pressure Optimizer (a Sony exclusive), designed for those of you traveling by airplane.

    As to the comfort of wearing these headphones, they are a little heavier than Bose’s QuietComfort 35 II, however the sound quality on the Sony leads this one for the win.  With the upgrades to the sound quality and adjustments, the wireless option, the new Atmospheric Pressure Optimizer, and extended battery life, the Sony WH-1000XM2 Headphones grab our top spot.

     

    Best Smart Noise Cancelling:  Bose QuietComfort 35 II  



    Bose QuietComfort 35 (Series II)

    Bose QuietComfort 35 Series II was updated in 2018 to carry Google Assistant.  The headphones are very comfortable, extremely light-weight, and provide solid noise cancelling.  The battery life is only rated up to 20+ hours.   This can be greatly improved by turning noise cancellation off.  

    The features of Bose QuietComfort 35 II include Google Assistant, which is housed in the left earcup, controlled by a button on the left side, and the right side adjusts volume, playback, pairing and a power button.  Google Assistant picks up your voice, even when in a crowded area, although it requires you to connect to the Bose App.

    While both the noise cancellation and the sound are excellent in the Bose QuietComfort 35 Series II, we liked the performance of Sony WH-1000XM2 Headphones better.  These performed well enough for the number two spot and are definitely worth looking into.  These headphones are excellent for travelers, and commuters.

    Update – 7/5/18 – Amazon Alexa will be added shortly, so you will have support for both devices.  Once added, simply update the app and it will allow both assistants.  More at https://www.bose.com/en_us/products/headphones/over_ear_headphones/quietcomfort-35-wireless-ii.html



    Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro

    Beyerdynamic has been creating some awesome sounding audio gear for quite some time.  These headphones are another testament to that.  Open studio reference class headphones for mixing and mastering,  These are some of the best sounds we have heard coming from headphones.  They are professional quality headphones that anyone can have fun listening to.

    Almost double the price as the other headphones, the 1990 Pro are worth every penny.  Soft, replaceable ear pads and headband for long studio sessions. Headphone frequency response : 5-40,000 Hz.   Nominal sound pressure level : 102 dBSPL (1mW/500Hz).  

    As we reviewed the best headphones in 2018, we realized Beyerdynamic had done something special here.  It was immediately clear when we put on the headphones to listen.  These headphones were my personal favorite, and best sounding of the bunch.  The price was a little steep, but it is definitely worth it if you are an audiophile.


    Apple AirPod

     

    In late 2017, Apple introduced a significant wireless upgrade to their headphones, the Apple AirPods.  The reviews have been mixed, but as for what they’re worth, they perform well, and the headphones / case charges very fast.  In about 15 minutes, you can expect about 80% battery charge. 

    The AirPods are very easy to pair with bluetooth, your iPhone or iPad.  These perform great in the gym or going for a run, you don’t have to worry about wires getting tangled.  The sound quality is actually better than the wired headphones from Apple. 

    If you lose, or break the AirPods, each AirPod costs around $30.  Obviously, the AirPods do not cancel noise, so if you are looking for a way to block out some sound around you, these are not the best for you.  One problem with small wireless devices, is they are very easy to accidentally drop.  We have dropped them in water a couple of times..  

     

     

    The Apple AirPods are one of the better sets of headphones out there for one of the most widely used cellphones in the world, which creates a spot in our list of best headphones of 2018.  

     


    Jabra Elite Active 65t

     

    Jabra is a company that produces a wide array of headphones, headsets, audio devices and business solutions.  They put together the Jabra Elite Active 65t, a fully wireless set of headphone meant for active users, without sacrificing sound quality.  The top two features are the sweat-proof design, and what they call a passive noise isolation – which helps effectuate the top notch sound.

    The Jabra Elite Active 65t headphones are not only a solid competition to Apples AirPods, but found them to be superior for active users.  

    You can find them for around $189.99 on Amazon.

    Our Top Pick:  Sony WH-1000xM2

    Sony WH-1000XM2

    Sony WH-1000XM2 over the ear headphones win our top spot for best headphones of 2018.  The battery life at 30 hours wireless is huge, compared to other headphones, and 40 hours wired.  The noise cancelling was good enough to be a contender, and works pretty well when traveling.  The sleek design and the comfort won us over.  

    Pros:  The look and feel, comfort being the most important.  The noise cancellation upgrade is solid, but not as jaw dropping as advertised.  The battery life!  30 hours wireless, 40 hours wired.  Stellar.

    Cons:  A bit clunky sometimes.  The buttons could be worked out or mapped a little better.  Not too many complaints.

    Who should buy it:  Anyone who doesn’t mind wearing large headphones, but also travelers, and people surrounded by noise often.  These will help block it out, but isolate the sound coming through to you.  They are reasonably priced, giving a lot of benefits, and make our top spot on the list of best headphones of 2018.




    Best Gaming Laptops of 2018

    Best Gaming Laptops of 2018

    Techsnob.net

    With the tech industry booming in our current era, gaming laptops are entering their stride as powerful, lightweight, and increasingly affordable alternatives to the desktop PC. In this day and age, the best gaming laptop in 2018 can replace a many of the desktops out there. So lets cut to the chase and get to the facts.

    With the tech industry booming in our current era, gaming laptops are entering their stride as powerful, lightweight, and increasingly affordable alternatives to the desktop PC. In this day and age, the best gaming laptop in 2018 can replace a many of the desktops out there. So lets cut to the chase and get to the facts.

    Best Design: ASUS ROG M GX501

    Rog Zephyrus GX501


    ROG Zephyrus GX501 (8th-Gen) 15.6″ Ultra Slim Gaming Laptop
    CPU:  2.8GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ (quad-core, 6MB cache, up to 3.8GHz)
    Graphics:  Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 (8GB GDDR5X VRAM); Intel HD Graphics 630
    RAM: 16GB DDR4 (2,400MHz)
    Display: 15.6 Full HD (1920x1080)
    Storage:  512GB M.2 PCIe x4 SSD
    The Asus ROG Zephyrus is a beautifully designed gaming laptop with the power to outperform some of the desktops out there. This ultra-thin design makes this laptop look elegant, yet with a touch of aggressiveness. The eye-catching design makes it a pleasure to show off to your friends. Only weighing 5 pounds, this gaming laptop comes in at the head of its class with a brilliant and innovative design, a color-rich display, amazing speakers and, most importantly, stellar gaming performance.
    Unique to this laptop, the bottom panel separates when the lid is open, creating a 6mm high cooling zone. Aside from pushing the heat away from the components, the 6mm gap inclines the laptop slightly for better typing comfort. This may feel awkward at first when trying to set on the lap, but its rather easy to adjust. The thin bezels on the screen make the display look amazing. Graphics looked great and it gave a solid performance while playing Rocket League.

    The ROG Zephyrus GX501comes equipped with an Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia GeForce 1080 Max-Q GPU, giving solid gaming performance. However, the 1080 Max-Q GPU may be powerful for a thin and ultraportable laptop but may have troubles keeping up with a full-sized desktop GPU.

    Regarding the battery life, I rather not mention. This laptop lasted short of 2 hours while playing Fortnite. With that being said, just remember to bring your charger along.

    Best Battery Life:  MSI GS65 Stealth



    MSI GS65 Stealth 15.6" Gaming Laptop

    MSI GS65 Stealth, Light weight, beautiful. Yet Powerful

    CPU: Intel Core i7- 8750H (6 cores)
    Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 (8GB GDDR5X VRAM, Max-Q)
    RAM: 16GB
    Display: 15.6-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) anti-glare, wide-view 144Hz panel
    Storage:  512GB M.2 SSDs

    MSI GS65 Stealth is now even more impressive than what we’ve seen before. The entirety of the laptop’s chassis is made from black, matte sandblasted aluminum alloy. MSI did something special with this laptop and replaced its classic red emblem with a printed black-and-gold emblem. Top off this beautiful design, MSI added a thin, diamond-cut golden stripline the top of the lid. The company also added some gold to the side vents for an elegant flash of color. Designed for work and play, MSI equipped the Stealth with a flexible hinge that allows you to lay the display flat.
    The thin frame of the Stealth did not sacrifice any of the needed ports. On the right sits a USB 3.1 Type-A port, Thunderbolt 3, a Mini DisplayPort, HDMI and the power jack. You’ll find a pair of USB 3.1 Type-A ports, Gigabit Ethernet, a microphone jack and an S/PDIF jack for high-res audio and a secure lock slot.

    At14.1 x 9.8 x 0.7 inches, the 4.1-pound laptop is one of the slimmest gaming laptops beating the Asus Zephyrus ROG M GX501 in terms of weight and size. It’s almost as portable as an Ultrabook, but it has enough power to contend with other gaming desktops.

    As for gameplay, The Stealth Thin packs a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q GPU, which is powerful enough to deliver good frame rates at the highest settings. As for the keyboard, the Stealth Thin features a SteelSeries keyboard with RGB lighting. The battery life on this beauty will last you a solid 7 hours.

     

    Best Performance: Alienware 17 R5



    Alienware 17 R5 17.3"

    Alienware 17 R5 Top performing gaming laptop

    CPU: Intel Core i9-8950HK (6Core, 12MB Cache up to 5.0GHZ)
    Graphics: NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 1080 8GB DDR5X Overclocked
    RAM: 32GB RAM (2X16GB) DDR4 2666MHZ
    Display: 17.3″ QHD (2560x1440) 400nits TN+WVM G-Sync anti-glare with Tobii eye tracking
    Storage: 512GB PCIe SSD, 1TB HDD

    The Alienware 17 R5 may just the most powerful gaming laptop out there, however, portability isn’t its strongest point. Weighing approximately 10lbs, this gaming laptop is thick, heavy and sturdy. This laptop may be heavier than other laptops on the market, however, most other laptops do not come strapped with the most powerful hardware available.
    The Alienware 17 comes equipped with a full desktop version of the GTX 1080 and a 6-core Intel Core 19 processor. Packed with Tobii Eye Tracker’s utility, which tracks your eye movement. This tool can be neat at times with games that do support the feature. This laptop also comes with Windows Hello, Microsoft’s facial recognition login system.

    A big part of this desktop replacement’s package is the 17-inch QHD screen with 120Hz refresh rate. the display is mindblowing, it can almost compare to an IPS monitor. The 120Hz G-Sync panel even the fastest pacing games look smooth and fluid, unlike a 60HZ display.

    Now the Alien 17 R5 may not be as portable as the other gaming laptops mentioned in this article, but it will outperform them all. This laptop was created to just crush games. In addition to this laptop being wickedly smooth while gaming, it is also stellar with video editing programs and other CPU dependent apps.

    Regarding the battery life. It’s laughable. it lasted about 1 hour and 40 minutes while playing Battlefront. So don’t forget your charger if your thinking about taking it on the go.

    The Final Verdict? If you’re looking for the best performance when it comes to gaming, the Alienware 17 R5 is the way to go, no other laptop on the market will give this much power. On the downside, it is heavy, making it difficult to take on the go on a daily basis.

     

    Best Google Best Display:  Razer Blade Pro (2017)



    Razer Blade Pro Gaming Laptop

    Razer Blade Pro 4K Touchscreen
    CPU: Intel Core i7
    Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB GDDR5) – 1080 (8GB GDDR5X)
    RAM: 16 – 32GB
    Display: 17.3-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) 120Hz matte IPS – UHD (3,840 x 2,160)
    Storage: 512GB – 2TB PCIe SSD
    With its slim, attractive chassis, the Razer Blade Pro is out to prove that a laptop can replace your gaming desktop. Blade Pro comes strapped with a quad-core Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia GTX 1080 graphics, a 17-inch 4K display and 32GB of RAM standard – all packed away in a 0.88-inch thick frame. If that wasn’t enough, the slim stunner is also the first mobile device to feature THX audio certification. The premium design, 4K-resolution touchscreen, and mechanical keyboard make it a pleasure to use.
    At 7.7 pounds, the 16.7 x 11 x 0.89-inch Razer Blade Pro is still the slimmest and powerful 17-inch gaming laptop. However, this beauty does not come cheap, starting at $3,999. Depending on your spending tolerance and on what you are looking for, this gaming laptop may be the one for you.

    The battery life is mediocre, the Razer Blade Pro lasted only about 2 hours on our battery test (Playing Fortnite). Overall, the Razer Blade Pro is a beautiful and powerful laptop that has features to replace most desktops however it is one of the priciest.

     

    Best Affordable: Dell Inspiron 15 7000



    Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Series

    CPU: Intel Core i5-7300HQ
    Graphics: 6GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (Max-Q)
    RAM: 8GB DDR4 SDRAM 2400MHz
    Display: Full HD (1920x1080)
    Storage: 256GB NVMe PCIe SSD
    VR ready and packed with a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q GPU graphics card, gaming laptops with these features can definitely come at a high, but not for the Dell Inspiron 15. With its starting price of $849.99, this may be the obvious choice for anyone who wants a solid gaming laptop that is still affordable.

    As far as design goes, the Dell Inspiron 15 Gaming is relatively subtle in its appearance. The Inspiron has a mean red matte finish, however, if you prefer the murdered-out look, it also comes in black.

    The build is solid, the chassis is stable and there is some flex to the screen. The Dell Inspiron does not have the nice RGB keyboard that other gaming laptops may feature, instead, the Inspiron 15 Gaming does have a red-backlit keyboard with a full-size number-pad.

    Regarding the battery life, this laptop lasted 4 hours and 31 minutes in our Techsnob battery test. For the price of this laptop, the games do look and feel amazing, which is what matters at the end of the day. On a scale of 1-10, this laptop is a solid 7.

    Our Top Pick: MSI GS65 Stealth



    MSI GS65 Stealth 15.6" Gaming Laptop

    The MSI GS65 Stealth won our top pick because it is not bulky or underpowered, it’s beautiful and its light enough to carry on a daily basis. Out of all the laptops that were tested, this one was the one I enjoyed working with the most.  The battery life was rather impressing, and the design of the laptop is stunning. In comparison to the Alienware 17 R5, it is not a hassle to carry it around when you have to do work other than gaming. to rehash, the MSI GS65 Stealth is the top pick on this list due to its portability, beauty, and power.

    Pros:
    Powerful enough for work and play.
    Beautiful display
    lightweight.

    Cons:
    Gets HOT after long usage.
    Speakers are located at the bottom of the laptop.

    Who should buy it: Anyone who needs a powerful yet stylish laptop that will fulfill both work and play requirements.