The 4 best Apple MacBook laptops in 2021 for work, general use, and students

  • Apple’s M1-powered MacBook Air is the best choice for most people.
  • But for those who need a bigger screen and better speakers, we recommend the 16-inch MacBook Pro.
  • Check out our guide to the best laptops for more buying advice.

Whether you’re a Mac or Windows fan, buying a new computer is an important decision. At the very least, a good laptop should offer the right level of performance, long battery life, and a comfortable keyboard and trackpad at a reasonable price.

For Apple users, the M1-powered MacBook Air is the best at fulfilling this criteria. Apple’s new chip enables battery life that may very well be the longest we’ve ever seen in a laptop, as well as impressively fast performance.

Of course, the MacBook Air isn’t right for everyone, which is why we also recommend the 16-inch MacBook Pro for those who need more screen space, storage, and higher-quality speakers. There are also a few reasons why Apple’s Intel-powered MacBook Pro might be a better choice, especially if your workflow involves specialized software that might not be optimized for Apple’s new chip yet.

But if you’re not in a rush, it might be worth waiting before you buy. Apple is expected to release new versions of the MacBook Pro this year, followed by a refreshed MacBook Air, according to Bloomberg. The new laptops are said to come with the next iteration of Apple’s M1 processor, improved designs, and a new version of the MagSafe charging system it used to include on its laptops.

Here are the best MacBooks you can buy:

The best MacBook overall

Apple MacBook Air 2020

The latest MacBook Air released in late 2020 gains Apple’s new M1 processor, which brings impressively fast performance and long battery life, for under $1,000, making it the best Apple laptop overall.

Pros: Fast performance, super-long battery life, much-improved camera

Cons: iPhone apps don’t add much to the experience

The MacBook Air has consistently been the go-to MacBook for most people and a solid entry-level computer. But the introduction of Apple’s M1 chip makes it even more powerful than its predecessor for the same price, solidifying its choice as our top pick.

The M1-powered MacBook Air‘s battery life alone makes it a worthwhile choice. During my testing, I was able to get more than 12 hours of use out of the MacBook Air, far longer than the roughly seven hours of usage I experienced on the Intel-powered model from early 2020. 

The M1 chip’s eight-core processor also brings notable performance gains, making tasks like photo editing and exporting large files a breeze. During my tests, it was faster than the previous Intel-powered MacBook Pro at just about everything. It also uses Apple’s image signal processor for its webcam, meaning you can expect much clearer video quality on your next Zoom call. 

Otherwise, it comes with the same sleek wedge-shaped design that’s been present on the MacBook Air line for years, as well as Apple’s much-improved Magic Keyboard. In terms of storage and memory, the MacBook Air goes up to 2TB of capacity and 16GB of RAM. It comes with two USB-C ports on all configurations. 

Laptops like the MacBook Air that are powered by Apple’s own chip can also run iPhone apps, since this chip is based on the same basic architecture as the one in the company’s smartphones. While that’s a nice perk, it’s really the performance and battery life that make Apple’s M1 stand out.

The best high-performance MacBook

macbook20161

The 16-inch MacBook Pro‘s powerful performance, larger screen, and high-quality speakers make it a great choice for creative professionals. 

Pros: Larger display, great keyboard, lots of configuration options, excellent speakers

Cons: Hefty upgrade prices, only four I/O ports for the size

The end of 2019 brought us the first entirely new MacBook Pro since 2016: a 16-inch version that replaces the long-standing 15.4-inch model. It was also the first laptop to get Apple’s superior new Magic Keyboard.

The 16-inch MacBook Pro has plenty to offer when it comes to performance and configuration options. Although it doesn’t run on Apple’s new M1 chip, Apple’s biggest laptop does come with up to an eight-core Intel processor, up to 64GB of memory, up to 8TB of storage, and up to 11 hours of battery life.

Those are the highest configuration options for memory and storage across Apple’s laptop lineup. Compared to the other laptops Apple sells, the 16-inch Pro also has the most selection when it comes to graphics, with the option to configure it with a variety of AMD Radeon Pro GPUs. 

But it’s not just the broader configuration options and larger size that makes this the best choice for pros. The 16-inch MacBook Pro comes with a three-microphone array and is the only Apple laptop with a six-speaker audio system, making it a better choice for media professionals that may need high-quality audio playback. The speakers can also come in handy if you’re on a lot of Zoom calls throughout the day and need a system that’s a bit louder and clearer. 

All told, the 16-inch MacBook Pro‘s bigger size, variety of configuration options, and high quality speakers are ideal for those shopping for something that isn’t quite as large and powerful as a desktop, but is closer to the desktop experience than any of Apple’s other laptops.

The best middle of the road MacBook

macbook13inch

For anyone that needs as much power as Apple is willing to cram within a 13-inch laptop, the MacBook Pro with M1 is worth a look. 

The MacBook Air is powerful enough for everyday tasks. But the 13-inch MacBook Pro with M1 is better-suited for those who need more power in a laptop that’s not as big as the 16-inch. It shares many similarities with the MacBook Air; they both come in nearly identical configuration options, include the same number of ports, and have very similar screens. 

But since the MacBook Pro has a fan-powered cooling system unlike the Air, it’s probably better at maintaining high performance for longer periods of time. So if you frequently run heavy workloads that involve crunching a lot of data, for example, the Pro is probably a better bet. Another added benefit: it has slightly longer battery life than the M1-powered Air.

Those are the biggest differences between the M1-powered Pro and Air, but the former’s processor also has an extra core in its GPU at the base level compared to the Air. Its screen is also slightly brighter, and the Pro’s speakers support high dynamic range unlike the Air’s.

Like the Air, the Pro has two USB-C ports, a 720 camera that uses Apple’s image signal processor, Touch ID, and the Magic Keyboard.  

The 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro falls into a strange place in Apple’s lineup. It doesn’t have the perks that make the 16-inch Pro stand out, like a six-speaker audio system and flexible configuration options. But it also doesn’t have much that distinguishes it from the Air to justify the $300 starting price difference. 

Still, that’s exactly what makes it the right choice for buyers who find themselves in the middle. It’s a great option for those who want a bit more than what the Air has to offer along with the benefits of Apple’s M1 chip.

The best college MacBook

13 inch macbook pro 2020 magic keyboard

The best MacBook for college packs powerful performance into a compact, 13-inch laptop, but expands the connectivity options to four USB-C ports instead of two.

Pros: More storage and RAM, two extra USB-C ports for connectivity, great keyboard

Cons: Shorter battery life than M1 MacBook Pro and Air

Apple’s Intel-powered versions of the 13-inch MacBook Pro fill in the gaps when it comes to storage, memory, and connectivity compared to the M1 model. 

Unlike the 13-inch MacBook Pro with M1, the Intel version offers up to 32GB of memory, up to 4TB of storage, and four USB-C ports. The M1 model, by comparison, tops out at 16GB of memory, 2TB of storage, and two USB-C ports. It’s great for those who need more connectivity and storage than the M1-powered MacBook Pro allows for, but don’t want a laptop that’s as large and expensive as the 16-inch model. 

That extra ports alone could make this model worth it for college students, who may need to charge their laptop, plug in their iPhone, and connect a hard drive containing large video projects for class all at the same time. Plus, the Intel-powered MacBook Pro may be a safer option if you rely on specific software for classwork since Apple’s M1 architecture is still new and app makers are still updating their programs for it.

The Intel-powered 13-inch MacBook Pro comes in models that run on a Core i5 or Core i7 chip, which should be more than capable of managing hefty workloads. It has the same Retina display as Apple’s M1 laptops, and also has Apple’s Magic Keyboard. Like its M1-powered sibling, the Intel-based 13-inch Pro also has speakers with high dynamic range.

Although the Intel-powered 13-inch MacBook Pro offers the right balance of performance, portability, and flexible choices that make it ideal for the college experience, there are reasons students should consider Apple’s M1 laptops, too. 

The M1 MacBook Air may be a better fit if you need a laptop for little more than writing papers and prioritize long battery life and portability over additional configuration options.

How to buy a MacBook

MacBook Pro and Air

These are the top factors to consider when purchasing a new MacBook.

Performance 

To decide which MacBook is right for you, it’s important to understand what you intend to use it for. If you need a powerful machine for processing images, editing video, or handling complex data, the MacBook Pro is a better choice. 

Apple’s MacBook Pro models, particularly the 13-inch Intel-powered one with four ports and the 16-inch MacBook Pro, are upgradeable to 32GB of memory, while the less expensive M1 MacBook Pro, Intel-powered MacBook Pro with two ports, and M1-powered MacBook Air only come with up to 16GB of memory.

Even if you don’t need that much memory, a MacBook Pro model is still the best pick if performance is your top priority. For example, although the M1 MacBook Pro and MacBook Air are very similar, the MacBook Pro has a slight edge when it comes to performance since it has a fan-powered cooling system and an extra graphics core in its processor at the base level.


Battery life

If battery life matters the most, go for the M1 MacBook Pro or MacBook Air. Apple’s custom chip brings unprecedented battery life to its laptops, with the MacBook Air lasting for up to 18 hours according to Apple’s estimates, and the MacBook Pro lasting for 20 hours. Apple’s Intel-powered laptops, by comparison, are only estimated to get between 10-12 hours of battery life.


Storage

Storage is also critical when it comes to picking out a new laptop. If you need the most space you can possibly get in a MacBook, you’ll want to consider Apple’s 16-inch MacBook Pro, which is configurable up to 8TB. The 13-inch Intel-powered MacBook Pro with four ports is a close second, since you can order it with up to 4TB of storage.

Apple’s other current laptops, including the M1 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, are only configurable up to 2TB of storage.


Size

Looking for a larger-sized laptop for getting work done? The 16-inch MacBook Pro is your best bet. It’s the only Apple laptop that comes in a size bigger than 13 inches, making it the right pick if you want a laptop that’s more ideal for a desktop-like setup rather than portability. 

If you want the most compact Apple laptop, check out the MacBook Air. Like most of Apple’s MacBook Pro laptops, the Air has a 13-inch screen. But it’s slightly lighter at 2.8 pounds, while the MacBook Pros weigh 3 pounds or more.

Check out our guide to the best USB-C hubs you’ll need for your Mac

hootoo USB-C hub

The best USB-C hubs you can buy


Read the original article on Business Insider

The 5 best 4K computer monitors of 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • 4K monitors offer the highest resolution commonly available to PC desktops and laptops. 
  • I’ve reviewed hundreds of monitors and laptop displays over the past 14 years. 
  • Dell’s S2721QS combines sharp 4K resolution with vibrant color and an affordable price.

A 4K monitor is the sharpest, most attractive display for most computers sold today. Only Apple’s 5K displays pack more pixels per inch. While 4K monitors are often marketed towards professionals or enthusiasts, their superior image quality is obvious in everyday use. It’s possible to buy an outstanding 4K monitor without emptying your wallet.

I’ve tested over 600 desktop monitors and laptop displays over the past 14 years, and I’ve kept a log of instrumented test results for the past decade. While monitor technology hasn’t changed drastically in nearly 20 years, quality has certainly improved. Modern monitors are much brighter, more colorful, and sharper than those sold a decade ago.

Despite that, pricing continues to fall. Dell’s affordable S2721QS is a great example. It’s excellent by every measure, providing a crisp, vibrant, bright image. It’s also sturdy and includes an ergonomic stand. If the Dell S2721QS isn’t for you, though, don’t worry. There’s several great alternatives for people with more specific needs.

Here are the best 4K computer monitors you can buy:

The best 4K monitor overall

best 4k monitor dell s2721qs.JPG

The Dell S2721QS delivers a bright, colorful, sharp 4K picture at a surprisingly affordable price.

Pros: Vibrant color, high maximum brightness, attractive design, sturdy ergonomic stand, great value

Cons: Mediocre HDR performance

Dell’s S2721QS is a fantastic monitor that raises the bar for value. Though not the best in any category, it has many strengths and no major flaws. It’s also among the most affordable 4K monitors currently sold. 

This monitor has a sharp, vibrant image. Its color performance is excellent, displaying a wide range of color with great accuracy. It can realistically display photos, video, and games as their creators intended. 

It’s an exceptionally bright display, which is useful if your home office or computer room is brightly lit. The S2721QS is bright enough to compete with open windows on a sunlit day and has an anti-glare finish that reduces reflections.

The S2721QS supports High Dynamic Range (HDR), a standard that helps movies and games provide better contrast and color. Despite its vibrant color and intense brightness, this monitor’s HDR performance is mediocre, as it lacks advanced features like a backlight that can selectively dim when necessary. Having said that, the S2721QS is the best monitor for HDR on this list. 

You’ll enjoy looking at the S2721QS even when it’s off. The monitor’s design is sleek, modern, and professional. It has a sturdy ergonomic stand has the ability to rotate 90 degrees for use in portrait orientation. It’s VESA compatible for use with third-party monitor arms. 

The S2721QS is affordable, but sometimes out of stock due to its popularity. You should also consider the (similarly named) Dell S2721Q. This monitor has comparable performance but lacks an ergonomic stand, though it includes a VESA mount for attaching a third-party monitor arm. The S2721Q is less expensive and rarely out of stock. 

The best 4K monitor for gaming

best monitor Viewsonic XG3200

The Viewsonic XG3220 is a large, sharp, and colorful monitor with AMD FreeSync support.

Pros: Attractive color, good contrast in dark scenes, impressive display size, AMD FreeSync supported, significant image customization 

Cons: Poor HDR performance, limited viewing angle, not a high-refresh monitor

Gamers prefer a monitor with a 144Hz refresh rate (or higher) because higher refresh rates let a monitor respond more quickly to player input. Unfortunately, high-refresh 4K monitors are very expensive and hard to find in stock. That’s why I recommend the large yet reasonably priced Viewsonic XG3220.

4K resolution pairs nicely with this monitor’s 32-inch display, providing excellent clarity that gives games a sharp, immersive look. The XG3220 performs well in contrast by reaching a deep, inky black level that most monitors fail to achieve. Gamers who enjoy the horror and simulation genres will appreciate this. 

The XG3220 technically supports High Dynamic Range (HDR) content. Its brightness is just mediocre, however, leading to poor HDR performance. I recommend you leave HDR turned off. The XG3220 has poor viewing angles, so you’ll need to view this monitor straight-on for best results. 

AMD FreeSync is supported, and the monitor unofficially works with Nvidia G-Sync. The monitor can match its refresh rate to the framerate of games, eliminating stutter and image tearing.  

The XG3220 has a detailed on-screen menu that offers a variety of customization options. This lets you customize the display’s image quality to your preferences. The monitor also includes gaming-specific features, such as a dark stabilizer that can be activated to brighten dark areas of the screen. Gamers can use this feature to see foes hiding in dark corners. 

It technically pivots up to 90 degrees, but the monitor is too large to use in portrait orientation. It’s VESA compatible, so you can swap to a third-party monitor arm.

The Viewsonic XG3220 is a great value. Its retail price is close to 32-inch competitors that have a lower 2560 x 1440 resolution, yet its image quality is superior to many alternatives.

The best 4K monitor for professionals

best 4k monitor BenQ PD3220U

BenQ’s PD3220U has pinpoint color accuracy and tons of connectivity. 

Pros: Great color accuracy and wide gamut, supports 10-bit color, excellent connectivity, plenty of display customization

Cons: Mediocre brightness, poor HDR performance

All the 4K monitors on this list have vibrant color, but professional photographers, videographers, and digital artists demand more.  They need precise color accuracy and the ability to display colors outside the range normally supported by a monitor.

The BenQ PD3220U delivers. It has exceptional color accuracy out of the box. That’s important for professional work, as it means an image displayed on the PD3220U can represent how it will look on other displays or in print. 

In testing, the BenQ PD3220U handles up to 89 percent of the DCI-P3 color gamut. DCI-P3 is a standard color gamut used when shooting and editing for film and television. This monitor also supports native 10-bit color, which expands color support from 16.7 million to 1.07 billion colors. The real-world difference is less than those dramatic numbers suggest, but the PD3220U’s ability to display additional colors is critical for professional use.

The PD3220U’s color performance is backed by deep customization. You can select a variety of color temperature, gamma, and gamut presets and make tweaks to color hue and saturation. These features aren’t relevant to most readers. Professionals, however, need this customization so they can change the monitor’s look to match the standards of the project they’re working on.

Brightness is this monitor’s only flaw. The BenQ PD3220U is fine for use in most rooms but can struggle to compete with a sunlit window. This also impacts the monitor’s High Dynamic Range (HDR) performance, which is lackluster. It’s useful for professionals creating content that will be viewed in HDR but doesn’t deliver much visual punch. 

The BenQ PD3220U has excellent connectivity. It’s a great monitor to use with multiple inputs and it can charge laptops connected to it via Thunderbolt 3.

This monitor has an adjustable stand and is VESA compatible, so you can switch to a third-party monitor arm if you’d like. 

It’s important to note this is a true professional-caliber display and is priced to match. Readers not familiar with this monitor’s special features, like 10-bit color and the DCI-P3 color gamut, shouldn’t buy this monitor. The BenQ PD3220U’s superior performance will only be obvious to the eyes of professionals who work with photos, video, or digital art. 

The best 4K monitor for USB-C

best 4k monitor dell U2720Q

Dell’s UltraSharp U2720Q 27-Inch 4K Monitor can handle up to 90 watts of power over USB-C, easily charging most laptops. 

Pros: Accurate and realistic color, excellent build quality, delivers 90 watts of power over USB-C, great warranty 

Cons: Poor HDR performance, no Ethernet por

Anyone who uses a laptop with an external monitor should consider a USB-C monitor. A single USB-C cable between a monitor and a laptop that supports USB-C charging can handle both power and video. It even turns the monitor into a USB hub. This lets you replace the mess of cords normally connected to your laptop with a single USB-C cable between your laptop and monitor.

Many USB-C monitors are available, but the Dell UltraSharp U2720Q is the best 4K for most people. This has everything to do with its power delivery. The U2720Q can deliver up to 90 watts of power over USB-C. That’s enough to power any laptop that supports USB-C charging. Most competing 4K monitors support only 60 to 65 watts of power over USB-C. That’s fine if you own a 13-inch laptop, but it’s not a match for more powerful laptops like Apple’s MacBook Pro 16 or Dell’s XPS 15. 

This monitor can act as a USB-C hub. This is helpful when the monitor is paired with a USB-C laptop that has limited connectivity. However, unlike some more expensive USB-C monitors, the U2720Q doesn’t have an Ethernet port. 

The U2720Q has excellent image quality with precise color accuracy. Like the BenQ PD3220U, the Dell UltraSharp U2720Q supports the expanded DCI-P3 color gamut used in professional film and television production. Though not as accurate as the BenQ PD3220U, the U2720 is a good monitor for photographers and digital artists.

High Dynamic Range (HDR) is supported, but the U2720Q doesn’t handle it well. The monitor is bright but not as bright as the less expensive Dell S2721QS, so it lacks the punchy, vivid look HDR is supposed to provide. 

This monitor’s stand can rotate 90 degrees to put the monitor in portrait orientation. It’s also VESA compatible with third-party monitor arms. 

While the U2720Q is a great monitor, I only recommend it if you can take advantage of its USB-C connectivity. You won’t get your money’s worth if you pair it with a desktop over HDMI or DisplayPort. 

The best 24-inch 4K monitor

best 4k monitor LG 24UD58 B

The LG 24UD58-B 24-Inch 4K Monitor packs 4K resolution into a 24-inch size, providing the sharpest image available on a PC.

Pros: Incredibly sharp, good image quality, compact size, supports AMD FreeSync

Cons: Unattractive design, no ergonomic stand

Not everyone needs a large monitor. If you want a small 4K monitor, however, your options are slim. 4K monitors smaller than 27 inches were easier to find in 2016 and 2017, when 4K monitors first appeared. LG’s 24UD58-B is the only reasonable option remaining.

Packing 4K resolution into a 24-inch display has the advantage of drastically upping pixel density to 185 pixels per inch. Only Apple’s 5K iMac and the rare handful of 5K monitors sold over the past five years beat that. The result is a remarkably sharp, crisp image. Pixels are virtually indistinguishable unless your nose is touching the monitor. 

The LG 24UD58-B is otherwise an average, mid-range monitor. It has acceptable color accuracy, can display a wide range of color, and is bright enough for use in most rooms. This monitor has some trouble with dark scenes, because it can’t display a rich, deep, inky black. It also tends to show bright spots in dark scenes because of uneven backlighting. 

This monitor can’t display an HDR signal. It does support AMD FreeSync, so it can match its refresh rate to a game’s framerate for smooth, stutter-free gaming if you have an AMD video card. 

Unlike other monitors on this list, the LG 24UD58-B has a flimsy stand that only slightly adjusts for tilt. The monitor is VESA compatible, though, so you can add a third-party monitor arm. This monitor isn’t much to look at, with simple black plastic construction and thick bezels around the display.

The LG 24UD58-B is the least expensive 4K monitor on this list and the least expensive commonly sold today. It’s a fine option for people who don’t want a display larger than 24 inches. 

What else we considered

4K monitors, once rare, are now extremely common. There are dozens of options, ranging from 24 to 43 inches, with prices from $300 to over $3,000. Most alternatives provide great image quality but didn’t make the cut due to pricing, a lack of additional features, or known flaws. 

  • AOC CU32V3 ($389.99): This 32-inch 4K monitor is inexpensive and has good image quality but can’t match Viewsonic’s XG3220. It also has a flimsy stand that only adjusts for tilt.
  • Asus VP28UQG ($274.99): The Asus VP28UQG is the least expensive monitor of its size. Its image quality is acceptable though not outstanding, but the monitor’s build quality and stand leave a lot to be desired.
  • Acer Predator X27 ($1,343.99): The Acer Predator X27 is a high-end, 27-inch 4K gaming monitor that throws in every feature imaginable. That leads to an extremely high price. It’s also frequently out of stock online and often sold at inflated prices when it is available. 
  • BenQ EL2870U ($299.99): This 28-inch 4K monitor is among the most affordable sold today, but the Dell S2721QS has superior image quality. The BenQ EL2870U also has a limited stand that only adjusts for tilt. 
  • Dell Ultrasharp PremierColor UP2720Q ($1,599.99): The UP2720Q is Dell’s top-end 27-inch monitor for professionals that need nearly perfect color. It even has a built-in colorimeter that lets you calibrate the display on the fly. Still, it’s hard to justify the monitor’s premium over the BenQ PD3220U. 
  • Dell U3219Q ($864.99): The Dell U3219Q is a credible competitor to the BenQ PD3220U. It’s a couple years old, however, and Dell is likely to replace it with a new display soon. 
  • HP V28 ($324.99): HP’s V28 is an affordable display similar to the Dell S2721QS, but its design is unimpressive and the stand only adjusts for tilt.
  • HP U27 ($464.99): The HP U27 upgrades its design to better match the Dell S2721QS, but it also ups the monitor’s price into a higher tier that forces it to compete with better displays. Despite the price bump, the stand still only adjusts for tilt.
  • LG 27UL850-W ($449.99): LG’s 27-inch 4K monitor is a great display with excellent image quality and attractive design. But it’s more expensive than the Dell S2721QS and doesn’t have an advantage in image quality. The LG27UL850-W does include USB-C, like the Dell U2720Q, but it only provides 60 watts of power delivery. 
  • LG Ultragear 27GN950-B ($799.99): The 27GN950-B is among the best gaming monitors available. It has 4K resolution, a Nano IPS panel, and a fast 144Hz refresh rate that responds quickly to player input. Unfortunately, its expensive retail price is only inflated by short supply. Gamers who want this monitor will likely have to pay over $1,000 to a third-party seller.
  • LG 43UN700-B ($599.99): This massive 43-inch 4K monitor is affordable relative to its size, but it’s too large to make sense as a desktop monitor, and its image quality is mediocre. 
  • LG 32UL950-W ($1,296.99): This 32-inch 4K monitor has features comparable to the BenQ PD3220U but targets professional use with less precision. It isn’t as easy to customize, and its color performance isn’t as accurate. 

What we look forward to testing

  • LG 32UL500-W ($296.99): This extremely affordable, 32-inch 4K monitor seems too good to be true, undercutting competitors significantly while claiming color performance that’s in line with more expensive displays. Owners seem to like it, but I’ve yet to test this monitor. 
  • Philips 328E1CA ($349.99): Philips monitors are once again coming to the North American market, and they look to undercut the pricing of established competition. This 32-inch 4K monitor is nearly as inexpensive as the LG 32UL500-W and makes similar claims, though it has a curved screen as well. I hope to test this monitor in the coming months.
  • Acer Nitro XV282K KV ($899.99): Acer’s upcoming 28-inch 4K monitor has a 144Hz refresh rate and wide color gamut and supports HDMI 2.1. That last specification is important for gamers, because it will make the monitor compatible with 120Hz output from Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and Sony’s PlayStation 5. It will be available in May 2021.
  • Asus ROG Strix XG43UQ (TBA): This 43-inch 4K monitor has every feature you could possibly desire, including a 144Hz refresh rate, HDMI 2.1, a wide color gamut, and support for the DisplayHDR 1000 standard. Asus has not announced pricing or availability, but I expect it will easily exceed $2,000. 
  • LG UltraFine OLED Pro 32EP950 (TBA): OLED technology, which is common among televisions, remains almost unheard of among monitors. This 32-inch 4K display will change that. Pricing and availability remain to be announced but expect it to exceed $2,500. 
  • Viewsonic XG320U (TBA): Viewsonic’s XG320U is a 32-inch 4K monitor with a 144Hz refresh rate, HDMI 2.1, and a wide color gamut, features that make it a perfect companion to an Xbox Series X or Sony PlayStation 5. It will be available in the first quarter of 2021, though pricing remains unknown.

Our testing methodology

I test displays using a Datacolor SpyderX colorimeter. This device creates a performance report that checks the monitor’s color accuracy, color gamut, gamma, luminance uniformity, and white point against industry standards. 

The Datacolor SpyderX is precise enough that the details of its report aren’t relevant to most people, but it provides an objective benchmark that can be used for comparisons between monitors. 

I have used this device (or its earlier version) for over a decade, and I have logged all my results. I’ve tested over 600 laptop and desktop displays. 

There’s more to a monitor than image quality, though. The best monitors also have good connectivity, a highly adjustable stand, attractive design, and a customization menu that’s easy to navigate and offers many options. Pricing is also a major factor in my final recommendations. 

In fact, image quality rarely elevates a monitor to a top recommendation. Many companies make monitors, but most source parts from the same suppliers and construct their monitors in similar ways. That limits how much image quality will vary between displays. Monitors instead set themselves apart with great design, impressive connectivity, or a surprisingly low price.

Read the original article on Business Insider

How to add a Thumbprint Radio station to Pandora and listen to all your favorite tracks in one place

Man listening to music with headphones
Pandora’s Thumbprint Radio station lets you listen to all your thumbed-up tracks in one place.

If you’ve used Pandora for a while, you know that you mark songs or artists that you like by giving them a thumbs up. Once you’ve thumbed-up enough tracks or artists, Pandora will automatically create a Thumbprint station for you. 

The Thumbprint Radio station includes all of the music that you’ve thumbed-up. It’ll also feature tracks and artists that are similar to what you’ve liked in the past, which makes Thumbprint stations a great way to find new music.

Here’s how to add a Thumbprint station to your Pandora account.

What is Pandora’s Thumbprint station

Unlike your Thumbprint Playlist, which only features your thumbed up songs, the Thumbprint Radio station is a mixture of content from practically any station type you’ve listened to. 

This tailored radio station includes all tracks you’ve thumbed up for as long as you’ve had your account, as well as similar tracks and artists that you might also like but haven’t yet discovered.

If you want to access this specialty station, you’ll need to have added at least three stations and have four thumbs upped tracks on each. 

Once you’ve met the requirements for a Thumbprint Radio station, here’s how to add it to your Pandora stations list. 

How to add Thumbprint Radio to Pandora on the desktop site

1. Open Pandora in your chosen web browser and sign in, if you haven’t already. 

2. Using the search bar at the top of the player dashboard, type in “Thumbprint Radio.” 

Add Thumbprint 1
You’ll need to use the search bar to locate the station.

3. In the list of results, run your cursor over the Thumbprint Radio icon, and when the Play icon appears on the station art, click it. 

Add Thumbprint 3
You can’t access the Thumbprint Radio station page until you click play on the album art.

4. If the station begins to play, it’s been added to your “My Collection” list. 

How to add Thumbprint Radio to Pandora on the mobile app

1. Open the Pandora mobile app and log into your account, if you haven’t already.

2. Tap the Search icon located in the app’s bottom menu bar. 

Add Thumbprint 4
The Search tool is located between the My Collection and Profile icons.

3. Type in “Thumbprint Radio” and wait for the station to appear in the results. 

PandoraThumbprint_Image4
Tap the Thumbprint station to begin playing it.

4. Tap the play icon to the right of the station result. It will automatically be added to your “My Collection” station list. If it doesn’t play, then you haven’t met the criteria for adding it.

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How to use Amazon Watch Party to stream Prime Video movies and shows remotely with friends and family

Watching movies and tv on computer
Amazon Watch Party is comparable to Hulu’s Watch Party or the Teleparty extension.

  • Amazon Watch Party allows you to watch and chat about your favorite shows and movies simultaneously with friends and family remotely.
  • Up to 100 people can watch entertainment and chat simultaneously, but they need to have an Amazon Prime membership to use the feature. 
  • Watch Party is currently still in beta and only available in select countries. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Finding ways to enjoy fun activities with our loved ones from a distance is more important than ever. Following the swell of interest in Netflix Watch Party – now Teleparty – other streaming platforms began releasing their own remote watch tools to help friends and family enjoy their favorite shows and movies while miles apart. 

That includes Prime Video’s Amazon Watch Party, a more recent introduction from the streaming platform behind hits like “The Expanse,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “Fleabag,” and “The Boys.” It allows up to 100 people to enjoy their favorite TV show or movie together, watching and chatting simultaneously from wherever they are. 

You’ll need an Amazon Prime account to start a Watch Party, and you’ll be limited to streaming titles only from Amazon’s Prime Video library. Luckily, that’s more than 15,000 movies and TV shows to choose from, so there should be something for everyone. 

You can host an Amazon Watch Party on all desktop browsers except for Safari and Internet Explorer. At the current time, the feature is not available on mobile devices. It is also currently in beta, meaning you may notice some errors or other issues while using it, even on the devices it’s compatible with. 

If you’re interested in starting an Amazon Watch Party, it’s easy – here’s how to do it. 

How to use Amazon Watch Party on Prime Video

1. Log into your Amazon account. 

2. Go to Amazon’s Prime Video section and search for any title available in the streamer’s library. 

3. In the media options, click “Watch Party” to launch the feature.

Amazon Watch Party 1
Look for the “Watch Party” button to begin.

4. Enter the name you want to use for the chat. This could be your actual name or a screen name of your choice. 

Amazon Watch Party 2
You’ll need to identify yourself before you can begin watching.

5. Once your name is entered, click “Create Watch Party.”

6. To begin inviting friends, share the customized link that appears to the video’s right by copy and pasting it into an email, instant messaging app, or your preferred method of communication. 

7. If you prefer, you can also choose to Share directly using Facebook, Twitter, or email. 

Amazon Watch Party 3
Share the link with your fellow watchers to start streaming together.

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How to partition a hard drive on a computer and create multiple drive locations

hands using keyboard computer
You can partition a hard drive on a Windows PC using the Disk Management utility.

  • You can partition a hard drive on a computer to create multiple drive letters with a single drive. 
  • You can use the Disk Management utility in Windows to partition a drive by shrinking an existing partition and then formatting the new unallocated partition.
  • Remember that a partitioned hard drive is still just a single device, so you should have a reliable backup of both partitions. If the drive fails, both partitions will be lost.   
  • Visit Business Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Partitioning a hard drive is like turning one hard drive into two. By creating a partition, you’ll have two drive letters (such as “C” and “D” drives), and formatting one partition does not affect the other, as if they were two physically separate drives. 

It’s common, for example, to partition a hard drive into a separate system and data drives so Windows and applications are stored separately from your documents, music, and other data. You don’t need any special software to partition a drive; you can do it with the Disk Management utility in Windows. 

How to partition a hard drive 5
When you’re done, you’ll see two drives in File Explorer rather than just one.

When the formatting is complete, you will have a new partition on the hard drive. It will behave like a completely new drive in Windows. Remember, though, that if the hard drive physically fails, you will lose all your data on both partitions. That’s why it’s essential to have a reliable backup. And note, you can’t back up one partition to the other because a failure will destroy both partitions.

Here’s how to partition a hard drive. 

How to partition a hard drive

1. To start, make sure you have enough free space on the drive to create the new partition. To check, open File Explorer and see how much free space is on the drive.

  • Note: You can only add a partition to free space, so if the drive is mostly full of data and files, you won’t be able to create a partition. 
How to partition a drive 1
Check your free drive space in File Explorer.

2. In the Start menu search box, type “Disk Management” (or just “partition”). 

3. Click “Create and format disk partitions” when you see it appear in the search results. 

4. Right-click the drive you want to partition. (Be careful and make sure you’re choosing the right drive.) 

5. In the dropdown menu, click “Shrink Volume…”

How to partition a drive 2
To create a new partition, shrink the existing partition.

6. In the Shrink dialog box, enter the size you want the new partition to be in the field called “Enter the amount of space to shrink in MB:” 

  • Note: If you have a 1 TB hard drive and you want one partition to be 400 GB, and the other partition to be 600 GB, enter “600000.” This will shrink the original partition to approximately 400 GB (slightly less, in reality) and add a new partition that’s 600 GB.

7. Click “Shrink.”

How to partition a drive 3
Choose the size to shrink the original partition by – this will be the new partition size.

8. Now you have a new partition, but it’s not yet usable space – in Windows parlance, it’s “unallocated.” Right-click the new partition, and in the dropdown menu, choose “New Simple Volume.” 

How to partition a drive 4
To finish the process, format your new unallocated partition.

9. Complete the setup wizard by choosing the drive letter and format (NTFS is almost always the right choice). 

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