The 7 best wireless phone chargers of 2021

  • The best wireless chargers provide a convenient way to charge your phone without the hassle of plugging in.
  • I’ve tested more than 40 wireless chargers over the past few years to find the best ones.
  • Our guide highlights chargers in different categories and suits various budgets.

To put it simply: no one likes charging their phone. Whether you’re chatting on a video call, reading the news, or listening to music during a run, there’s nothing like the panic that comes with seeing your battery dip below 20%.

Wireless chargers are a great way to power up your phone easily without fumbling with a power cord. In the early days, wireless chargers only offered slow speeds, were hampered by competing compatibility standards, and required precise placement in order to work. But as support for wireless charging has spread, especially after it became standard across the iPhone lineup in 2017, the technology has improved rapidly.

As an early adopter and tech reporter with more than a decade of experience, I’ve tested more than 40 different wireless chargers over the years, so I’m well placed to recommend the best picks to serve different needs. Later on in this guide, we breakdown things you should consider when shopping for a wireless charger.

Here are the best wireless chargers

The best wireless charger overall

Moshi_Otto_Q_Wireless_Charger

The Moshi Otto Q has a gray fabric design that looks good anywhere, it charges most phones at top speed, and it is sturdy.

Pros: Stylish look, non-slip, charges through cases

Cons: No adapter included, LED too bright for nightstand

With a smart design that combines style and function perfectly, the Moshi Otto Q is an excellent wireless charging pad. It supports fast wireless charging at up to 10W, which means it can charge up an iPhone and most Android phones at top speed.

Clever use of a metallic-looking silver plastic with a gray fabric cover helps this wireless charger stand out from the crowd in a good way. It looks at home on a wooden table, a nightstand, or a kitchen counter. 

The silicone ring on top both cushions your phone and prevents it from sliding off the charger. There’s also a rubbery pad on the underside that prevents it from slipping, even if you bump the table or nightstand that it’s on. Moshi supplies a USB-C to USB-A cable that’s 3 feet long in the box, but the manufacturer does suggest that you will need an adapter rated at Quick Charge 2.0 (9V/2A) minimum to get the maximum speed from it. This one from RAVPower should work.

I’ve been using it with a Samsung Adaptive Fast Charger, and it has been happily charging up a variety of phones, including an iPhone X and a Pixel 4.

The Moshi Otto Q has foreign object detection, so if any metal gets in between it and the phone it’s charging, it just turns off. You’ll want to make sure any case you use is metal-free, but thickness isn’t an issue. Moshi says it can charge through cases up to 5mm thick, and I’ve tested it with a variety, including some fairly thick protective cases, without any issues. Simply plug the USB-C cable into the back and plug the USB-A end into an adapter and you’re set. 

There’s a white LED at the front of the Moshi Otto Q that pulses gently while it’s charging and stays on when your phone is fully charged. Unfortunately, this light can be annoying in the bedroom when you’re trying to sleep, so the nightstand is not the best location for this wireless charger. I’ve placed mine on a side table in the dining room and it fits in nicely. 

My whole family has been using the Moshi Otto Q for a couple of years now and it’s still going strong, so I can wholeheartedly recommend it. The lack of an adapter in the box is a bit disappointing, but the style and quality build justify the price tag. Moshi also offers a 10-year warranty. 

The best fast-charging wireless charger

Anker PowerWave Alloy Pad charging a phone on a table

If you have a phone capable of charging at 15W or you want to future-proof, then the Anker PowerWave Alloy Pad is best for you.

Pros: Durable design, non-slip, long cable

Cons: No adapter included, LED too bright for nightstand

This compact metal puck blends into any room easily and feels built to last. It can fast charge most Qi-supporting Android phones and iPhones at the top speed they support, with four distinct charging modes designed to charge different smartphone models as quickly as possible.  

Anker is more focused on function than style and this sturdy, solid, weighty wireless charging pad has a silicone pad on the top and a silicone ring on the bottom to prevent any slippage. Pop your phone on the center of this pad and it will stay in place, even if a call comes in and it begins to vibrate. The only slight annoyance of the silicone is that it attracts dust and hairs. 

It comes with a relatively lengthy 5-foot cable, but you’ll need to provide your own power adapter. Cases are nothing to worry about because the Anker PowerWave Allow Pad can charge through cases up to 5mm thick. It also has safety features like temperature control and foreign object detection, and the alloy body helps it to stay cool in use.

The downside of the Anker PowerWave Alloy Pad, beyond the slightly dull design, is the presence of a blue LED at the front that lights up when it’s charging your phone. This light is likely to irritate you if you plan on using this wireless charger on the nightstand.

The best wireless charging stand

Best iPhone docks - Belkin BOOST UP Wireless Charging Stand

You can prop your phone up in landscape or portrait orientation while charging with the speedy Belkin BOOST UP Wireless Charging Stand.

Pros: Supports portrait or landscape, 4-foot power cord and adapter included, non-slip

Cons: Doesn’t fast charge some phones, quite large

Sometimes wireless charging stands are better than pads because they allow you to prop your phone up, making it easy to see incoming notifications or to check the time. The downside with stands is that they can be a little unstable and easy to accidentally knock your phone off.

The Belkin Boost UP Wireless Charging Stand has a smart design with a circular charging pad and a wide frame that makes it extremely stable. It’s also capable of charging your phone while it’s propped in landscape or portrait orientation and it can deliver up to 10W.

The Belkin BOOST UP comes in black or white plastic and has a wide frame with non-slip rubber padding on the bottom edges and on the surfaces where you rest your phone. The design makes it easy to position your phone correctly so that it charges.

Many stands claim to offer charging in portrait or landscape, but in practice, it can be tricky to find the right spot in landscape. With the Belkin BOOST UP, the angled circular pad makes it easy, and I’ve found it works reliably with an iPhone X and Pixel 4.

Another advantage with the Belkin BOOST UP is that it comes with a cable and adapter. My version has a barrel connector and the cable is permanently attached to the adapter you plug into the wall. There is another version of this wireless charger that comes with a separate cable and adapter. Either way, it’s nice to have the correct adapter included. 

It can charge through cases up to 3mm thick. There are also two pinprick LEDs in different positions, so that one is always visible whichever way you place your phone to charge. They light up white when charging and turn orange if there’s a problem, like keys or another metal object being stuck on the pad. It also has overheating protection built in for peace of mind.

If you have an iPhone, the Belkin BOOST UP can charge at the top speed of 7.5W, and it can hit 9W for Samsung phones, but for every other device, including Google’s Pixel phones it is capped at 5W. This isn’t a problem if you use it for overnight charging, and I think the light is small enough here that the Belkin BOOST UP is a good choice for the nightstand. It usually costs $50.

The best luxurious wireless charger

Bezalel_Altair_Wireless_Charger

A classy aluminum body with suede padding makes the Bezalel Altair a great looking, sturdy wireless charging stand for your phone.

Pros: Looks great, very stable, charges through cases

Cons: No adapter included, expensive

If you want a wireless charger that’s solid and sturdy with good looks, whether there’s a phone on it or not, then the Bezalel Altair is worth considering. It can deliver up to 10W of power, so it will charge iPhones and many Android phones at their maximum wireless charging speed. Carved from a single piece of aluminum, it’s strong and it looks great. 

There are two rubber pegs that stick out to prop your phone on, and there’s a white LED just beneath them. A suede pad, with a relatively subtle logo, allows you to rest your phone safely on the stand while it charges. A solid rubber base prevents it from sliding around on the desktop. Bezalel also provides a 3-foot, flat, non-tangle, USB-C to USB-A cable in the box. You’ll have to buy your own adapter and you’ll want one that’s rated at QC 2.0 or higher, like this one from RAVPower.

One of the nice things about the design is that you can prop your phone in landscape or portrait orientation, and it will charge. It’s also the perfect angle to have on your desk for face unlock and for video calls. I have it on my desk and use it with my Pixel 4 every day. It’s not capable of charging the Pixel at top speed, but the style and utility make up for that. If you’re ever in a rush and want to charge up via cable, the peg design allows easy access to the charging port on your phone, so you can prop your phone in portrait and plug in a charging cable.

It can charge through cases up to 5mm thick, but one downside here is that it doesn’t automatically detect foreign objects between the phone and charger and shut itself off like many wireless chargers do. Because it’s angled, this is less likely to be an issue than with a pad, but it’s worth noting. 

Sadly, the white LED stays lit all the time when this charger is plugged in or charging, so it’s not suitable for the nightstand if light is going to bother you. I think this style is better suited to a desk anyway. If you like the look of it, you can expect to pay $65.

The best wireless charger for travel

Fuse_Chicken_Universal

The multi-talented Fuse Chicken Universal All-in-One World Travel Charger is a battery pack, travel adapter, and wireless charger all at once, so it’s perfect for jet-setters.

Pros: Clever multi-functional design, great for travel, compact

Cons: Expensive, bulky at outlet, power button required to turn on USB charging

The Fuse Chicken Universal All-in-One World Travel Charger makes it easy to charge your phone in a variety of ways while you travel. It’s a battery pack, a wireless charger, and a travel adapter all wrapped into one portable device that’s about the same size as a MacBook power adapter.

Set your phone down on the charger, and it acts like a quick-charging 10-watt wireless charger, but if you’re on the move, you can also plug in a cable to use it as a battery pack. The 6,700mAh battery inside the charger is enough to fully charge most phones, though you’ll find you can squeeze a little more from it if you plug in, rather than use the wireless charging function. 

I was able to fully charge a Pixel 4 with change using the USB-C port. It can deliver up to 18W, which is enough to charge an iPhone or Pixel at top speed. As a wireless charger, you can expect a fair bit less, because wireless charging is less efficient. Luckily, you can see how much battery life is left in the internal battery by pressing the power button. The percentage remaining will display on the tiny LED screen.

When it comes time to plug in the charger and re-juice the internal battery, you can plug it right into a regular wall outlet. If you’re not in the US, and you happen to be traveling to the EU, UK, or Australia, Fuse Chicken has you covered with travel adapters for all those countries. Simply slide on the adapter you need, again, much like a MacBook power adapter. A small bag comes with the charger, so you have a place to safely store those adapters.

The USB-C port can also charge the battery up if you can’t plug it in for some reason. It is a bit bulky, which can sometimes be a problem with some outlets or power strips. There’s also a USB-A port that’s capable of delivering 12W, so you can plug your phone’s charging cable and juice up your device that way if you prefer. You can use both ports at the same time to charge multiple devices at once, should you need to. 

Downsides include the fact that you can’t use the wireless charging function when it’s plugged in, because it plugs in vertically. You also must press the power button sometimes when plugging in a cable or it won’t start charging your device. Sadly, it can’t charge a USB-C laptop like the MacBook, but you can charge any phone, tablet, ereader, or accessories like headphones with it.

This travel friendly, all-in-one wireless charger is also very expensive. However, if you travel to those countries a lot, it’s worth it.

The best wireless charger for multiple phones

Unravel_Wireless_Charger

If you want to wirelessly charge up to three devices simultaneously, the clever Unravel Wireless Charger is the only one of its kind.

Pros: Clever fold-up design, wirelessly charges three devices at once, extra USB-C port

Cons: Expensive, looks a bit cheap

Whether Apple will ever revive its AirPower wireless charging mat, which was going to be capable of charging your iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods all at once, remains to be seen, but there are alternatives. The Unravel Wireless Charger offers three wireless charging pads linked together with hinges. 

There are two versions of the Unravel; there’s the Unravel AW+ and the Unravel 3+1. The Unravel AW+ has two wireless charging pads that can deliver up to 10W for phones, AirPods, or another Qi device, and a third pad that’s specially designed to charge an Apple Watch. The AW+ is obviously ideal for Apple fans. The Unravel 3+1 has three wireless charging pads offering up to 10W each, and it also has a second USB-C port that can be used to charge up a fourth device.

Both versions can fold up concertina style to stow neatly away for travel. You get a 30W charger in the box and a cable. Apart from the fact it folds up nicely, travel utility is expanded when you consider that you can potentially use the same USB-C Power Delivery (PD) charger as your MacBook to power this wireless charger. However, it’s important to note that you’ll need a 60W charger if you want to get the fastest possible charging rate from all three pads at once. 

The clever design features don’t end there. You can also configure the Unravel into a triangular shape, fold out a small perch to prop your phone in landscape orientation, and watch a movie while it charges. There are black and red versions, but I recommend the glow-in-the-dark model because it gives off just enough of a glow for you to position your phone on it in the dark, but not so much that it interrupts your shuteye. 

While I’m a big fan of the Unravel, it’s not perfect. Finished in soft-touch plastic, this isn’t the kind of charger that’s going to subtly blend in with your décor. There are pinprick lights that turn on when it’s charging, but most phones cover them, so they seem redundant. The fold-out perch for propping your phone in landscape orientation also feels quite flimsy. 

Still, this versatile wireless charger is ideal for busy families or people with multiple devices to pop on the charger at night. It’s also a useful companion for travel if a single pad isn’t going to meet your needs. Both versions of the Unravel are typically the same price, but read the descriptions to make sure you get the right one for you. The manufacturer, Ampere, also offers versions with world plug sets and different chargers on its website.

The best wireless charger for Apple devices

Belkin_BOOST_CHARGE_3 in 1

If you want to charge up your Apple Watch and AirPods alongside your iPhone, then this special edition of Belkin’s Boost Charge 3-in-1 charger is for you.

Pros: Can simultaneously charge three devices, 4.5-foot power cord and adapter included, attractive design, non-slip

Cons: Expensive, large

This elegant wireless charging station from Belkin can wirelessly charge your iPhone at the current top rate of 7.5W, but it also has a magnetic Apple Watch dock built in, and there’s a wireless charging pad for your AirPods or AirPods Pro. The ability to charge all three of your Apple devices simultaneously from a single outlet makes this accessory an ideal pick for placing on a nightstand or desk.

With a glossy plastic finish in black or white, this Belkin charger has a slightly futuristic feel. The base is solid and wide to aid stability, and there’s a soft rubbery covering on the bottom that ensures it stays put. The round charger for the iPhone is angled, extending up on a shiny stainless steel pole, and there’s a curved lip to guide your placement and keep the iPhone in place. 

The magnetic Apple Watch charger is built-in and sits at a 90-degree angle, which is perfect for Nightstand mode. The circular pad behind the Apple Watch charger provides a spot for your AirPods. The included AC adapter has a permanently attached cable and slots into the back neatly with a barrel connector. The cable has an ample 4.5-foot length, and the adapter provides enough power to charge your three devices at top speed.

Two, tiny, pin-sized LEDs light up white when an iPhone or AirPods are charging and turn amber if there’s a problem with alignment or something has snuck in underneath your device. Thankfully, they are low-key and shouldn’t disturb your slumber if you decide to use this charger on the nightstand. The iPhone pad can also handle cases up to 3mm thick, so you don’t have to worry about removing your case to charge. 

I’ve been testing this charger with an iPhone X and an Apple Watch Series 5, and it has won a permanent place on the nightstand. If you like to use Nightstand mode and set alarms on your Apple Watch, then this charger is especially good. I’d prefer it didn’t have the LEDs, but at least they are tiny.

The catch is that the Belkin Boost Charge 3-in-1 Special Edition for Apple Devices is expensive. It’s a hefty investment, but I appreciate the fact that everything is included, and the Apple Watch charger is built-in, so all you need to do to get going with this is plug it into the wall. There is a cheaper version with similar functionality for a bit less, but it lacks classy touches like the stainless steel.

What else we considered

Wireless_Chargers_Also_Considered

There are so many good wireless chargers available that it’s impossible to cover them all. These are the wireless chargers that came closest to making the list, and they are all decent alternatives if you don’t like what you’ve seen so far.

  • Nomad Base Station Pro: With cutting edge technology inside, this wireless charger doesn’t require careful placement of devices. Stick your phone down anywhere on the surface and it will charge. It has space and power enough for two phones and a set of AirPods to charge together. It’s also beautifully crafted from aluminum with leather padding on top and comes with a braided cable and wall charger. The only reason it fails to make the list is the high price. Read our Nomad Base Station Pro review to learn more.
  • AirUnleashed: This large wireless charging pad is designed to emulate Apple’s ill-fated AirPower charger and has space for an iPhone, an Apple Watch, and AirPods. It has a minimal design in black or white with a soft touch finish. Sadly, there’s no AC adapter included, it requires precise placement, and you must remove some Apple Watch bands to charge. I found it too easy to accidentally bump my iPhone off the sweet spot, and after testing for a few weeks this charger is starting to look shabby. 
  • OtterBox OtterSpot: Bringing some genuine innovation to the table, OtterBox’s wireless charging system starts with a simple round base charger that looks much like any other. What sets it apart is the fact you can put a battery pad with a 5,000mAh capacity on top; it can charge wirelessly, and it can serve as a wireless charger for your phone. You can even stack additional batteries to charge them all up at once, and then take them with you when you leave. The entry price gets you one base charger and one battery, but this system can get pricey fast.
  • RAVPower Wireless Charging Stand: After a year’s service, this unobtrusive black stand still works perfectly and can deliver up to 10W. It is Qi certified, has temperature controls to prevent overheating, and sports an LED that blinks green when everything is working and red when there’s a problem. It only just misses out on a place above. 
  • Google Pixel Stand: Capable of wirelessly charging your Pixel 4, 4 XL, 3, or 3 XL at top speed, the Pixel Stand also supports some interesting Google Assistant features. Use your Pixel as an alarm clock, get your daily schedule, or turn your Pixel into a digital photo frame. This will charge any Qi device, but it’s only worth paying this much if you have a Pixel phone that can take advantage of the special features. 
  • Mophie Charge Stream Pad+: With a dull, but practical design that includes a rubbery, non-slip finish, and a white LED light, this wireless charger can deliver up to 10W. It also comes with a 5-foot cable and a QC 2.0 adapter. It charges most phones at top speed, but can’t charge through bulky cases. No major complaints about the functionality, but there simply isn’t enough here to justify the high price. 
  • Satechi Wireless Charger: The chamfered aluminum frame is smart, and there’s a silicone cross in the middle of the shiny top surface to cushion your phone. Sadly, charging is slow at 5W, there’s no adapter in the box, and the LED is far too bright to use on the nightstand. 
  • Twelve South HiRise: With a clever design that includes a weighted leather base, with a pop-out puck that you can take with you for wireless charging on the go, the Twelve South HiRise is unusual. It can deliver up to 10W, but can’t deal with thicker cases and ships without an adapter, making the price tough to swallow. 
  • Courant Wireless Chargers: These fancy leather-clad 10W wireless chargers make nice gifts, but they are too expensive to recommend over our other picks — especially as the basic Catch:1 wireless chargers don’t come with outlet adapters. The Catch:2 and Catch:3 do come with adapters, but cost $120 and $140, respectively when they’re on sale.

How to choose a wireless charger

The wireless charger landscape has evolved in the last few years, with new features, faster charging speeds, and a range of different shapes and styles. To make sure your chosen charger is going to meet your expectations, it’s important to pose a few questions before you shop. 

What device or devices do you want to charge?

Make sure that your smartphone — or other device — supports Qi wireless charging. Every entry on our list is a Qi wireless charger. Many Android phone manufacturers, like Samsung, have included wireless charging support in their flagship phones for years now. Apple introduced wireless charging support with the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and iPhone X, and every iPhone since then has supported it.

Don’t assume your phone supports it, though, take the time to check. A few manufacturers still haven’t adopted wireless charging, and it’s less common in mid-range and budget devices.

What is the top speed your device can charge at?

At first, wireless chargers were capped at 5W, but you can get 10W or even 15W chargers now. However, the speed you can wirelessly charge your phone at is set by the manufacturer. At the time of writing, for example, the iPhone 12 Pro tops out at 7.5W (or 15W through Apple’s MagSafe charger), Google’s Pixel 5 can charge at 12W, and Samsung’s Galaxy S20 can charge at up to 15W.

Do you need a charging cable and adapter?

Many wireless chargers are sold without a wall adapter, though they generally include a cable. It’s important to make sure that you have the right cable and adapter to enable the top charging speed. If you use a 5W adapter with a 10W charging pad, for example, you’re only going to get 5W charging. Apple also no longer includes a power adapter in the box with its new iPhones, so you’ll want to make sure you have the proper adapter handy if you’re planning on buying a new phone. 

Where are you going to use it?

The nightstand will be the ideal location for some, but you may prefer to have a wireless charger on your desk at work, on the kitchen counter at home, or perhaps all three. Different kinds of chargers will work better in different locations. For example, if it’s for the nightstand, you probably don’t want a wireless charger with a bright flashing light. 

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The best Apple Watches to buy in 2021 and which one to avoid

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Apple Watch 6 and SE
The Apple Watch Series 6 (left) and Apple Watch SE (right)

  • The Apple Watch Series 6 is Apple’s best watch yet and comes packed with the latest health tech.
  • But the Apple Watch SE has the watch’s most important features at a more reasonable price.
  • The Apple Watch Series 3 is getting too old to recommend, but it’s fine for just the basics.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

The Apple Watch is the most popular smartwatch in the world, and it’s the best choice for iPhone owners. But that doesn’t mean picking out the right Apple Watch is easy, especially now that Apple sells three different models.

The Apple Watch Series 6 is the best Apple Watch overall. Even if you aren’t interested in taking blood oxygen readings from your wrist, which is the Series 6’s biggest improvement over the Series 5, it still comes with a variety of useful features that aren’t available on the SE or Series 3.

But it’s also the most expensive Apple Watch, which means it isn’t for everyone. The $280 Apple Watch SE comes with a larger screen and more recent processor compared to the Series 3, but lacks an always-on display and other newer features.

The $200 Apple Watch Series 3 had a good run, but we wouldn’t recommend buying it right now. It’s starting to get a bit slow and difficult to update, so you’re better off paying the extra $80 for the Apple Watch SE.

The best Apple Watch overall: Apple Watch Series 6

Apple Watch Series 6

The Apple Watch Series 6 is Apple’s priciest smartwatch, and also its most advanced. The Series 6 comes loaded with new health-oriented features and an upgraded chip from Apple. The biggest new addition is the ability to measure blood oxygen saturation, which refers to the percentage of oxygen your red blood cells distribute throughout the body. 

Other improvements include a slightly brighter always-on display and faster charging, although you still won’t get multi-day battery life out of the Apple Watch like you can with Fitbit’s watches. The Series 6 also comes with wellness features that debuted on the Series 5, such as hard fall detection, electrocardiogram readings, international emergency calling, and noise level alerts.

But the Series 6 has one big advantage over Apple’s other current watches: an always-on display. That means the watch’s screen is capable of showing your watch face even when the display would normally turn off. This feature debuted on the Series 5, which Apple no longer sells, but the Series 6 is the only model in the current lineup to have it. 

Apple also provides more choice  in terms of style for its top-of-the-line watch compared to the SE or Series 3. The Apple Watch Series 6 is available in silver, space gray, gold, blue, and red if you opt for the aluminum finish, while the stainless steel version comes in silver graphite and gold. The titanium model is available in titanium or space black. 

The Apple Watch Series 6 comes with more health and wellness capabilities, style options, and features that make it function better as a wristwatch compared to any watch in Apple’s lineup.  Overall, it’s the best experience you can get on an Apple smartwatch for those who are willing to pay.

Watch Series 6 (40mm, GPS) (button)
The best Apple Watch on a budget: Apple Watch SE

Apple Watch SE

You don’t have to spend $400 to get an Apple Watch that feels new and fast. For the first time, Apple launched a second new watch alongside its flagship model: the $280 Apple Watch SE.

The Apple Watch SE has many of the same capabilities as the Series 6: it can track the same exercise types, monitor sleep, measure heart rate, detect hard falls, comes with a built-in compass for location tracking, and features an always-on altimeter for logging elevation. 

Fitness buffs won’t be missing out on much with the SE, but those who want to get a more detailed picture of their overall health and wellness might. That’s because the SE lacks the ability to measure blood oxygen levels and take an ECG from the wrist.

With this in mind, the SE is better suited for potential buyers looking for a general-purpose smartwatch that can track their workouts and don’t need to keep as close of an eye on their cardiac health.

There’s another major feature missing from the SE: an always-on display. This is probably the most critical omission, considering it makes the SE less capable as a wrist watch. But it still has a screen that’s 30% larger than the Series 3’s display.

Color and finish options are also more limited on the SE than the Series 6, with Apple only offering an aluminum finish in silver, space gray, or gold. 

Still, for the price, the Apple Watch SE is an excellent choice. Although it’s missing features like an always-on display, fast charging, and blood oxygen measurements, the overall experience is very similar to the Series 6. I’ve even called it the best Apple Watch for most people given its more accessible price.

Watch SE (40mm, GPS) (button)
Why we’re not recommending the Apple Watch Series 3 anymore

Apple Watch Series 3 cyber monday deal

I still wear my Series 3 every day, but it’s becoming difficult to update because of its low storage capacity. That might not sound like a big deal. However, software updates are crucial for bringing new features to the Apple Watch — and more importantly, for keeping it secure.

Apple only sells the Series 3 in the GPS configuration, which means it only comes with 8GB of storage. The Apple Watch SE and Series 6 both come with 32GB of onboard storage. 

This was never a huge issue for me until earlier this year when I had to delete almost every single app from my watch to install an important update. Updating a Series 3 without enough storage can actually be more cumbersome than what I experienced and usually involves unpairing and reconnecting your Apple Watch to your iPhone.

That also makes me wonder how much longer Apple will support the Series 3, considering the latest Apple Watch software doesn’t run on the Series 2 and earlier. 

Software updates bring new features to the Apple Watch — like the ability to unlock your iPhone with your Apple Watch. But the bigger reason you’ll want to keep your Apple Watch updated  is to ensure it remains safe. Back in March, for example, Apple released an important fix for all of its products to address a security vulnerability.

Anecdotally, I’ve also noticed that my Apple Watch Series 3 has gotten a bit sluggish. Sometimes there’s a delay when pushing the digital crown to return to the app screen, and Siri doesn’t always respond right away.  

If you’re thinking about buying the Series 3, that means you’re already expecting to spend around $200 on an Apple Watch. It’s worth spending the extra $80 for a watch that will run faster and last longer.

When will Apple release a new Apple Watch?

Apple Watch lineup 2020

If history is any indication, we can expect to see a new Apple Watch in the fall timeframe. The company typically unveils its new smartwatch in September and releases it within the same month.

It’s unclear what to expect from Apple’s next smartwatch, which will likely be called the Apple Watch Series 7. But each new Apple Watch usually comes with an updated Apple processor, so that will likely hold true in 2021 as well. Bloomberg also reports that Apple is working on a new swim tracking feature for the Apple Watch. But it’s unclear if this feature would be available across current models or if it would be exclusive to a new model.

Apple may also be working on a new rugged version of the Apple Watch called the Explorer Edition that could launch in late 2021 or early 2022, according to Bloomberg.

Check out our guide to the best Apple Watch bands

apple watch bands
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The 5 best Bluetooth speakers of 2021 for listening to music outside and around the house

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Bluetooth speakers come in all shapes, sizes, and price ranges.
  • The Sonos Move is our top pick thanks to great sound, reliable voice control, and solid battery life.
  • For more speaker recommendations, check out our roundup of the best speaker deals.

A great listening experience for all your favorite music services shouldn’t be limited by pesky wires. While the days of carrying around a boom box on your shoulder are by and large over, you can still get quality wireless music in the form of a Bluetooth speaker.

Thanks to Bluetooth support, these speakers are able to play music from other Bluetooth-enabled sources, like a smartphone or laptop, without any cables. Whether you’re getting a speaker for use around the house or a day at the park, there’s almost certainly a Bluetooth speaker for you. But there are a number of things to consider before you buy, including size, battery, durability and, of course, sound quality.

With all of those factors in mind, we’ve selected the best Bluetooth speakers you can buy for a variety of needs. Since most people purchase Bluetooth speakers for their portability, all of our picks feature built-in batteries for listening on the go.

Here are the best Bluetooth speakers:

The best Bluetooth speaker overall

Sonos Move

The Sonos Move looks good, sounds great, and offers multi-room audio as well as voice control with Alexa and the Google Assistant.

Pros: Attractive design, integrates with other Sonos speakers, excellent audio quality, Alexa and Google Assistant with Wi-Fi

Cons: A little expensive, a bit heavy

Sonos has long been a leader in the wireless speaker market, and the company now has a Bluetooth-enabled model called the Move. With an excellent design, awesome sound quality, and support for two digital assistants, the Move is one of the most fully featured Bluetooth speakers you can buy.

The speaker offers a ton of bass, coupled with crisp clarity and detail in the high end. That makes it excellent for listening to music. The Move can even be calibrated using Trueplay tuning technology to suit different environments and locations.

The speaker has a charging station where you can keep it most of the time, but it’s designed to be portable too, so you can take it outside or move it around the house. It’s a bit heavy compared to most portable speakers, but it’s nice to have the option. It’s rated for around 11 hours of battery life, so it should easily get you through a day of listening.

Like other Sonos speakers, the Sonos Move is also smart. You can choose to use either Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, plus it integrates perfectly with Sonos’ other speakers, allowing for multi-room audio. 

But what about the downsides? The speaker is a little pricey, and you won’t get access to all of its smart features unless you’re connected to Wi-Fi.

The best Bluetooth speaker for portability

Bose

The Bose SoundLink Revolve+ II is easy-to-use, offers 17 hours of battery, features a convenient handle for travel, and it sounds good, too.

Pros: Good sound, versatile design for portable use outdoors and around the house, long battery life

Cons: A bit pricey, lacks Wi-Fi support

There are a number of things that make the Bose SoundLink Revolve+ II such an ideal portable option, from its great sound to its nice design.

The design is reminiscent of smart speakers, so it’ll look right at home in any tech-savvy person’s house. On top of that, it offers extremely easy-to-use controls, with six buttons located on the top for things like volume and Bluetooth control. Bose also added a handle to make it easy to bring the speaker with you outside or around the house.

We tested the previous-generation model and were impressed by its great sound quality and how easy it is to move from room to room. It delivers ample volume and deep bass without distorting. 

This newer version is nearly identical to the one we tested, but features an upgrade from IPX4 water resistance to an IP55 rating. It also supports an extra hour of battery life for up to 17 hours of play time — the longest of any speaker on our guide. 

The speaker even has some smart features, including Bluetooth pairing with voice prompts, the ability to take calls, and access to Siri or Google Assistant from your phone. That said, the speaker doesn’t have Wi-Fi so it doesn’t support a built-in digital assistant.

The best waterproof Bluetooth speaker

Ultimate Ears Boom 3

The UE Boom 3 is well designed and sounds pretty good, but it’s also water resistant, making it great for use by the pool or at the beach.

Pros: Good sound quality, nice design, waterproof, can float

Cons: High frequencies aren’t as detailed as other speakers

Looking for something that you can take to the beach or use by the pool without fear of it breaking due to water damage? The UE Boom 3 is the way to go. 

The speaker may not sound as robust as the Sonos Move, but it still sounds good, especially considering how small it is. The UE Boom 3 offers decent bass response, along with a well-tuned mid-range, and a solid amount of clarity in the high frequencies. One of the best things about it is that it can also get super loud, which is great for use outside.

It’s relatively small and portable, and it’s available in a range of different colors. On the side, you get buttons for controlling volume, while on the top there are controls for things like Bluetooth pairing and power. 

The UE Boom 3 is built for use near water. The speaker is not only waterproof, but it’s also designed to float, so you won’t have to worry about losing it at the bottom of the pool. The Boom 3 is capable of being submerged in up to 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes, so it shouldn’t break due to water damage.

The best cheap Bluetooth speaker

Anker bluetooth speaker

The Anker Soundcore Flare Mini may be super-affordable, but it still looks and sounds solid for the price.

Pros: Inexpensive, water-resistant, solid battery life

Cons: Sound quality is only decent

Looking for an inexpensive speaker that still looks and sounds pretty good? The Anker Soundcore Flare Mini may well be the way to go. This speaker may carry a budget price, but it still sounds decent and won’t break the bank.

The speaker is designed to look a lot better than other speakers in its price range. It’s a cylindrical design with a fabric covering around the side and controls on the top. Those controls include power, volume, and Bluetooth pairing. There are even LED lights on the bottom, and you can control those lights through five different lighting modes.

The design of the speaker plays into how it sounds too. The speaker can deliver 360-degree audio, so no matter where you are around it, it should sound pretty good. It definitely won’t sound as powerful as some of the more expensive speakers on our list, but it can still get pretty loud and offers a decent amount of bass.

You’ll get 12 hours of battery life out of the speaker, which isn’t bad at all, and it’s water-resistant with an IPX7 rating. 

Considering the price range, perhaps the only real downside to the speaker is that it can’t really match more expensive offerings in the audio department.

The best small Bluetooth speaker

bo beplay p2

The B&O Beoplay P2 doesn’t just sound good and feature a slick design, it’s ultra-compact, too.

Pros: Great sound, very portable, intuitive touch-controls, compact size

Cons: A little pricey for its size, could use more high-end clarity

The B&O Beoplay P2 is the perfect fit for buyers who want an ultra-compact speaker that can easily fit in a backpack or purse.

Now, generally speaking, smaller Bluetooth speakers can be a little hit and miss, but the BeoPlay P2 is a hit. That’s largely thanks to its sleek and stylish design, coupled with hidden and intuitive controls.

For example, you can double tap the speaker grill to play and pause your music, or you can program the speaker through the accompanying app to activate your digital assistant of choice, whether it be Google Assistant or Siri. That happens through your phone because the speaker doesn’t have those assistants built-in.

So how does the speaker sound? You can’t expect studio-quality sound, but it’s not bad. The speaker features mono audio and an impressive bass response for a device its size. The high-end isn’t as responsive, but it’s still not bad. 

What else we considered

JBL Flip 4

Here are other speakers we considered for our guide, and why they didn’t make our top picks.

Other Bluetooth speakers we recommend:

JBL Flip 4: The JBL Flip 4 speaker was recently one of our picks, and it’s still a fantastic Bluetooth speaker for the money. With that said, the less expensive Soundcore Flare Mini includes similar features for a more affordable price, making that model a better overall budget pick. If you’re willing to spend a little more, however, the JBL Flip 4 features a bit more power and better sound quality.

What you should look for in a Bluetooth speaker

bose portable home speaker lifestyle

When shopping for a Bluetooth speaker, there are some key factors you should keep in mind. For instance, a compact model might not be a good fit for someone who wants the best audio quality, while a heavy speaker won’t be ideal for someone who wants to take their audio on the go.

Below, we’ve broken down some main features and design elements you should look into when selecting the best Bluetooth speaker for your needs.

  • Size matters: Generally speaking, larger speakers will be louder, so they tend to be a better fit for parties and gatherings. Larger speakers also tend to have more refined audio quality with better clarity and bass. Of course, size also affects portability. If you’re looking for something you can slip in your bag and carry around easily, then a smaller speaker will be a better choice.
  • Battery life: You’ll obviously want longer battery life if you’re looking for a speaker that can last all day, but sometimes a speaker with shorter battery life will do the job — especially if you plan on being able to charge it often or even while in use. Though all of our picks include batteries, some Bluetooth speakers don’t have charging at all. If you only plan to use your speaker in one room, this isn’t a problem, but if you want portability, a speaker with a battery is a must.
  • Durability and water resistance: Durability is another important factor if you plan on carrying the speaker around a lot. Not only will your speaker last longer if it’s more durable, but it might be a little more versatile, too. For example, you probably won’t want to take a non-waterproof speaker to the pool or the beach.
  • Sound quality: Some may not care too much about how a Bluetooth speaker sounds, but others will want to ensure that they’re getting the best audio performance they can for their money. A single Bluetooth speaker is never going to offer the same quality as a true stereo speaker pair, but high-end Bluetooth speakers from brands like Sonos and Bose offer impressive performance. Again, larger models tend to have better sound, so if audio quality is a priority, you’ll likely want to avoid ultra-compact speakers. 

Check out our other speaker buying guides

Sonos Beam

The best speakers


The best smart speakers


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Read the original article on Business Insider

The best charging stations and USB charging hubs in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • There are many multi-port USB charging stations to choose from with support for a variety of devices.
  • The Satechi Dock5 is our top pick thanks to its convenient ability to charge up to five devices at the same time.

Charging stations and hubs come in all shapes and sizes. We’ve included different options to suit different needs and device charging specifications, so whether you have an iPhone, an Apple Watch, AirPods, a Quick Charge Android phone, a laptop, or a USB-C Android phone; we’ve got you covered.

These days, more and more devices are shipping with USB-C cables instead of USB-A cables, so we’re including charging stations that come with both USB-C ports and USB-A ports if you’re still using your older cables.

For Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra users, specifically – unfortunately, none of the charging stations we’ve encountered support Samsung’s 45W fast charging for the Galaxy S20 Ultra. If you’re looking to max out your charging speeds with those devices, your best bet is to get Samsung’s own charger. Just note that the latest Galaxy S21 series, including the Galaxy S21 Ultra, only support up to 25W charging, which some of the chargers below can achieve.

Here are the best charging stations and USB charging hubs:

The best charging station overall

Satechi Dock5 charging station

The Satechi Dock5 Multi-Device Charging Station neatly charges five devices simultaneously and includes two USB-C PD ports, two USB-A ports, and a Qi charging pad.

Pros: Charges up to five devices at the same time, holds devices in place neatly, affordable, meets standard charging speeds on most devices, can fast charge iPhone, includes USB-C charging ports

Cons: Short charging cables are sold separately, won’t meet top charging speeds on some Android devices

Households with several smartphones and/or tablets, and wireless charging earbuds will appreciate the Dock5 by reputable tech accessories maker Satechi. 

The Dock5 can charge five devices at the same time with its variety of two USB-C ports, standard USB-A ports, and a Qi wireless charging pad. Devices can be organized neatly with the silicone dividers that prevent scratching. 

The USB-C ports are rated at 20W each, and will be best used on smartphones with fast charging, or devices with large batteries, like a tablet. For reference, the Dock5‘s 20W USB-C ports exceed the iPad Pro’s 18W included charging brick and the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12’s 18W fast charging capabilities. The Galaxy S21 phones can charge up to 25W.

The standard USB-A ports are rated at 12W each, which makes them more suitable for smartphone charging at decent speeds. 

The wireless Qi charging pad is rated at 10W, which is double what the AirPods Pro charging capacity. Unfortunately, the Dock5 won’t charge AirPods Pro faster, as they’ll only accept up to 5W for wireless charging. Still, the wireless charging pad can be used to charge a smartphone up to 10W wirelessly.

The Dock5 doesn’t come with the short charging cables you see in the images — those are sold separately and range between $9 to $18, and you’ll have to use your existing cables. That’s a shame, because charging four wired devices with longer cables will make for a messier look than what you see in Satechi’s images. Still, the convenience is undeniable.

Antonio Villas-Boas, Senior Tech Reporter

The best budget charging station

Anker PowerPort 5

Charging multiple devices on a budget means you’ll miss out on USB-C charging ports, but you get five USB-A ports on the Anker PowerPort 5 is a cheap, easy solution that will do a great job charging several devices.

Pros: Charges up to five devices at the same time, cheap

Cons: Doesn’t include USB-C or fast charging tech

While you may not get USB-C ports or very fast charging, Anker’s 40W 5-Port USB Wall Charger will do nicely for up to five mobile devices. For under $25 on Amazon, it’s hard to beat. You can easily charge devices like smartphones, smartwatches, headphones, and other accessories that use USB for charging with the PowerPort 5. — Antonio Villas-Boas, Senior Tech Reporter

The best charging station with wireless charging

Nomad Base Station

The Nomad Base Station is a premium, elegant wireless charging station that can charge up to four devices at the same time with its USB-C, USB-A port, and wireless charging pad. 

Pros: Elegant and premium design, versatile charging options, affordable for what it offers, included EU and US adapters

Cons: Doesn’t wirelessly charge Apple Watch, doesn’t charge iPad Pro through Magic Keyboard

The sleek, elegant Nomad Base Station has a padded leather wireless charging surface that can wirelessly charge two devices at the same time at 7.5W, or 10W for a single device. Just note that different phones have different speed limits for wireless charging. Alternatively, you could charge a phone and a pair of wireless charging earbuds or a smartwatch on the pad. Also note that it won’t charge the Apple Watch.

If the wireless charging pad won’t charge your phone fast enough in a pinch, the 18W USB-C port will do the trick for iPhones and Android devices, and it’ll charge most tablets at a standard pace.

The USB-A port is rated at 7.5W, which is pretty slow for phones, but is suitable for charging wireless earbuds.

For its price, the Nomad Base Station is among the best options for a versatile charging station. — Antonio Villas-Boas, Senior Tech Reporter

The best charging station for Quick Charge devices

RavPower PD Pioneer Charging Station

The Ravpower PD Pioneer 65W 4-Port USB C Desktop Charger offers quick charging for both standard USB-A ports, as well as two USB-C ports.

Pros: Compact design, charges most devices quickly, can charge a laptop, inexpensive

Cons: Doesn’t support Samsung’s 45W charging tech

The Ravpower PD Pioneer 65W Desktop Charger offers a variety of quick charging USB-A and USB-C ports for a range of devices, including smartphones, tablets, and laptops. It’s the best quick charger for the money. 

It features Power Delivery for the USB-C ports that charges up 65W for USB-C PD-compatible devices up to 65W from a single port. If you connect two USB-C PD-compatible devices to the USB-C ports, it’ll charge one at 45W and the other at 18W. 

As for the standard Quick Charge USB-A ports, it can charge one port at 18W, and 12W if you have two devices plugged into each USB-A port. Ravpower also includes this handy chart to show you what it can do with different connection combinations:

Connected port combination Output for each connected port
1 USB-C port USB-C – PD 65W
2 USB-C ports USB-C – PD 45W; USB-C – PD 18W
2 USB-A ports USB-A – 5V/2.4A; USB-A – 5V/2.4A
1 USB-C port + 1 USB-A port USB-C – PD 45W; USB-A – QC 18W
1 USB-C port + 2 USB-A ports USB-C- PD 45W; USB-A – 5V/2.4A; USB-A – 5V/2.4A
2 USB-C ports + 1 USB-A port USB-C – PD 18W; USB-C – PD 18W; USB-A – QC 18W
When connected to all ports USB-C – PD 18W; USB-C – PD 18W; USB-A – 5V/2.4A; USB-A – 5V/2.4A

Just note that like any other quick charging hub we’ve encountered, the Ravpower won’t support Samsung’s ultra-fast 45W charging, as it uses a special protocol that only Samsung seems to use with its own chargers. If you have a Samsung device that supports 45W charging, it’s best to go with Samsung’s own chargers. — Antonio Villas-Boas, Senior Tech Reporter

The best charging station with USB-C for laptops

Aukey charging station

The Omnia Mix4 100W 4-port PD Charger by Aukey has a huge 100W capacity that will charge almost any standard laptop via USB-C at full clip while charging other devices at the same time.

Pros: Can charge multiple laptops while charging other devices, compact, affordable

Cons: Doesn’t support Samsung’s 45W smartphone charging

This 100W charger is smaller than most included charging bricks that come with laptops these days and meets their full power needs. For example, Aukey claims it can charge the power-hungry 16-inch MacBook Pro in 1.8 hours, at least if it’s the only device connected to the charger.

If you connect two laptops to the Omnia via USB-C, the USB-C ports will reduce to 45W each, which is enough to power two MacBook Airs at the same time. If you’re looking to charge laptops that require over 45W, the Omnia will work best as a single-laptop solution. 

The two USB-A ports can charge at a 12W maximum each, but are reduced to 6W each if you have two laptops connected to the USB-C ports. — Antonio Villas-Boas, Senior Tech Reporter

The best charging station for iPhone and Apple Watch

Mophie charging stand

The Mophie 3-in-1 Wireless Charging Stand is an ideal charging station for your pre-iPhone 12 iPhone , AirPods (with wireless charging), and Apple Watch. iPhone 12 users should look at the Belkin Boost Charge Pro.

Pros: Perfect for desks or night stands, ideal for Apple users

Cons: Mophie is slow for iPhone 12, Belkin doesn’t support pre-iPhone 12 generation

If you’re looking to charge your daily Apple portable Apple devices that you regularly charge overnight all in one place, the Mophie 3-in-1 Wireless Charging Stand should be near the top of your list. 

The Mophie charges iPhones that support wireless charging up to 7.5 watts, which is fine for any iPhone that supports wireless charging before the iPhone 12. It will also charge your Apple Watch with the magnetic charging pad that props the Watch up in horizontal mode, and there’s a dedicated charging pad for AirPods with wireless charging.

If you have the iPhone 12, consider Belkin’s Boost Charge Pro instead, as it uses Apple’s MagSafe technology and wirelessly charges the iPhone 12 at 15W — faster than the Mophie above. It also features wireless charging for your Apple Watch and wirelessly charging AirPods. — Antonio Villas-Boas, Senior Tech Reporter

The best charging station for travel

Zendure_Passport_Travel_Adapter

The Zendure Passport is a clever travel adapter that fits international outlets and offers one USB-C and three USB-A ports to charge your mobile devices.

Pros: Clever design, works in more than 200 countries, charges five devices at once, auto-resetting fuse

Cons: Chunky, can slide out of some outlets

If you frequently fly abroad for work or pleasure, then you should consider the Zendure Passport travel charger. This global travel adapter works with outlets in more than 200 countries and it also provides four charging ports for mobile devices that can deliver a total of 30W.

It’s quite a chunky adapter, measuring 2.24 by 2.8 by 2.5 inches, and it comes in black or white. There’s a blue LED on the bottom that lights up when it’s plugged in, and Zendure’s signature ribbing runs around the outside.

This charger plugs directly into the wall and has four sliders on the side that enable you to choose the correct plug for the EU, US, UK, or Australia. These four plug types will fit the outlets in most places you’re likely to visit. You can also plug into the other side using devices from any of these countries. On the bottom, you’ll find a USB-C port, marked in blue, and three USB-A ports. The USB-C port supports the Power Delivery standard and offers up to 30W. The USB-A ports are rated at 5V/2.4A for 12W each. The AC output is 6A (600W at 100V or 1,500W at 250V). 

This travel adapter has accompanied me on every trip I’ve taken for the last couple of years and it has served me well in the US, the UK, and across Europe. Being able to charge two phones, a smartwatch, a tablet, and a camera battery from one outlet can be very handy. It has also served my family of four, keeping all our phones charged up, and still offering an outlet for a laptop.

You will need your own charging cables, but you can effectively charge five devices at once with this travel adapter. It is quite bulky, so I’ve occasionally found it’s a tight fit with some outlets. If you have a lot plugged into it the weight can also begin to pull it out of the outlet. 

One feature that has proved very handy is the auto-resetting fuse. Fuses inevitably blow occasionally, but this will cut-off automatically for safety, then reset and be usable again, without you having to worry about changing a fuse.

There’s an older version of the Passport that just has four USB-A ports, so make sure you get the newer one with the USB-C port. It comes with a 24-month warranty. — Simon Hill

How fast does your device charge?

Here are the charging speeds of several popular devices:

Device Charging speed
iPhone 11 18W wired, 7.5W wireless
iPhone 11 Pro 22.5W wired, 7.5W wireless
iPhone 12 20W wired, 15W wireless (with Apple’s MagSafe charger), 7.5W with standard Qi charger
iPhone 12 Pro 20W wired, 15W wireless (with Apple’s MagSafe charger), 7.5W with standard Qi charger
Samsung Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20 Plus, Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21 Plus, Galaxy S21 Ultra 25W
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 45W

What else we considered

Aukey_QC3_6Port_Charging_Station

You can pick up a wide variety of other charging stations and USB charging hubs that will meet your charging needs. Here’s a small selection of the ones that didn’t quite make our list, but are still worth considering if you’ve yet to see something you like. 

  • AUKEY Quick Charge 3.0 6-Port USB Wall Charger: The affordable Aukey 6-Port Desktop Charging Station has two Quick Charge 3.0 ports marked in orange, four green ports rated at 2.4A apiece, comes with a detachable, 4-foot power cable that plugs directly into an outlet, and can deliver a total of 60W. It may be worth choosing over the Anker if you need that extra port, but the boxy design leaves something to be desired.
  • Anker PowerPort Atom PD 4: This charging station has two USB-C ports that support the Power Delivery standard and two USB-A ports. It can deliver up to 100W. That means you can plug in two laptops and two phones and have all four charge up at once. If you have a new MacBook or Pixelbook and want to charge it alongside your phone, then this could be the ideal charger, but it is expensive.
  • Vogek 5-Port 50W Charging Station: This doesn’t quite match our top pick from Satechi, as it only has five ports, but it’s a similar design, with slots to hold your devices neatly. One advantage of this charging station is that it comes with a mixture of eight short charging cables, and it’s relatively inexpensive.
  • Amazon Basics 60W 10-Port Wall Charger: If you need a large capacity, no frills, wall charger, you won’t find anything much bigger, or cheaper, than this charging station from Amazon. It can supply 60W in total to up to 10 devices, but ports are capped at 2.4A each and there’s no support for any fast charging standards.
  • Belkin Boost Up Wireless Charging Dock: This is another stylish charging dock for the nightstand that’s designed to accommodate an iPhone and Apple Watch. Instead of plugging in, it wirelessly charges your iPhone, and it has a USB-A port for a third device. The only reason this didn’t make the list is the high price. — Simon Hill

How to choose a charging station

To find the right charging station for you, there are a few questions to ask. There are also certain features that you may want to consider before you buy. 

How many devices do you need to charge?

The first thing to work out when you’re shopping for a charging station for your gadgets is how many ports you need. Count up your phones, tablets, smartwatches, and any other devices that need frequent charging. Remember that you’ll also need charging cables for each one.

Not all ports are created equal

As you’ll see when you peruse our guide, many charging stations offer a mix of ports. You might find USB-A and USB-C, and you may also find that some ports are capable of faster charging rates than others. It’s also quite common for charging stations to have some ports that support certain charging standards and others that don’t. 

Get the right cables

You can always use the charging cable that came with your device, but if you’re buying new cables, make sure they’re fit for the purpose. Look for certified safe cables that can deliver the charging rate you want. We like these 4-inch Anker Powerline Lightning cables and these 8-inch Aukey USB-C cables for keeping things tidy. 

Where will you put the charging station?

Think about where you’re going to put your charging station and consider what size you can accommodate. You will need a wall outlet handy and space to rest your devices while they juice up. It’s a good idea to choose somewhere out of sight because there will be a tangle of cables. We have one on a bookcase in the upstairs landing and another tucked away under a side table at the end of the couch in the lounge. We also use a magnetic cable tidy that helps us quickly find the end of an unused cable and keeps things from getting too messy.

Is charging rate important?

For people planning to plug in overnight, there’s little point in paying a premium for fast charging, but if you want to be able to top up quickly, charging rate matters. Check what charging standards your phone or other device supports and look for a charging station that can deliver. There’s USB Power Delivery, Qualcomm’s Quick Charge standard, and a host of other manufacturer-specific charging technologies. 

Check the safety features and warranty

You’ll be plugging some of your most prized possessions into your chosen charging station, so it’s important to think about safety. Cheap, uncertified chargers can fail, damage your devices, or even cause a fire. Stick to trusted brands, check the reviews, and look for safeguards covering surges and overheating. It’s also a good idea to check the warranty and review people’s experiences with customer support before you buy. 

Check out our other tech accessory guides

native union

The best charging cables

Although most devices come with charging cables, it’s smart to have several on hand in case yours breaks, gets lost, or you simply need to charge multiple devices at once. These are the best charging cables for iPhone, Android, and other devices. Whether you need a lightning cable or a USB-C cable, there’s an option for you here.


The best phone chargers

We’ve rounded up the best phone chargers of all kinds so you can finally have more than one charger on hand.

We’ve included fast-charging options, ones for USB-C-to-USB-C cables, and more. Regardless of your charging needs, you should find an option in our guide.


The best iPhone cases for every model

There’s a seemingly endless variety of iPhone case out there, so we’ve rounded up the best ones we’ve tested from top brands.

These case makers have options for every model of iPhone, so whether you have an iPhone 8 or an iPhone 11 Pro, you can get the right case for your phone.


The best iPhone accessories for every model

No matter which iPhone you have, you can find tons of different accessories for your device. We’ve rounded up the best chargers, cases, cables, and other fun accessories that you might want to have to make the most of your device.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 10 best places to buy men’s athleisure, and the best pieces we’ve tried

  • The best athleisure brands are saving people from wearing the same boring sweatpants every day.
  • With pieces from our favorite brands, you can be comfortable and presentable at the same time.
  • Brands like Nike, Twillory, Vuori, Uniqlo, Public Rec, and Everlane are among our favorites.

Over the past few years, athleisure has been one of the quickest growing categories in clothing, but now it’s more popular than ever – and for good reason. Drawing cues from true performance athletic wear and cozier loungewear styles, athleisure fills the gap between the two categories, which makes these pieces some of the most versatile clothes you can own and wear.

Whether you’re shopping for clothing that’s stylish enough for Zoom meetings yet comfortable enough for sitting on your couch, or you want clothes that you can wear to work out in before running errands and grabbing lunch, athleisure has you covered for it all.

Think of it as the easiest way to get dressed for daily life without having to put much thought and effort into it. No longer will you have to choose between form and function when it comes to your clothes.

Here are the best athleisure brands for men in 2021:

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Nike

Nike

Nike‘s clothing is dependable, sporty, and fashionable all at the same time.

Nike has a massive selection of tried-and-true sportswear that’s been backed by some of the world’s best athletes. The iconic branding translates well to the full spectrum of style — from casual everyday wearers to sneakerheads and streetwear enthusiasts. In other words, pretty much anyone can wear Nike products, and look good in them too

On top of that, Nike’s clothing is relatively affordable. You’ll find that in some instances it’s actually cheaper than up-and-coming athleisure or performance wear companies.

Another plus side of Nike is its ability to create inclusive clothing. Although some styles favor a more masculine or feminine silhouette, a good portion of Nike’s clothing is unisex.

You’ll be able to find shorts, T-shirts, hoodies, compression pants, socks, and basically anything else you could possibly think of. Also, don’t forget that Jordan Brand and Converse are part of the Nike family, making the selection seemingly endless. 

What to buy:

Product Card (small)Sportswear Swoosh Shorts (small)
Vuori

Vuori

Vuori’s clothing is both lightweight and comfortable, which makes it a breeze to both live in and work out in.

It’s obvious that Vuori takes its inspiration from the beach that’s just a stone’s throw away from its headquarters in Encinitas, California. And that means that its clothes maintain an easy, laidback California aesthetic that is effortlessly cool without looking sloppy.

The brand’s Ponto Performance Pant is the absolute best for people who want to seamlessly transition through different environments in one pair of pants.

While most performance wear is based strictly on sportiness, Vuori is centered around performance in more than just sport. The pants are made from a light and stretchy material that’s soft against the skin. Whether you’re doing yoga, running, working out, riding a bike, lounging, or dressing casually, the Ponto Performance Pants can handle it in comfort.

If you’re looking for a great shirt, I would recommend the Tradewind Performance shirt. The Tradewind Tee is the company’s “most technical” in the lineup, featuring micro-perforation for ventilation, flatlock seams, and a front chest pocket. The shirt promises to wick moisture and dry quickly, making it perfect for a run, a hot yoga session, and any errands you may need to run in between.

What to buy:

Product Card (small)Product Card (small)Product Card (small)
Uniqlo

Uniqlo

If you simply need a good T-shirt without spending a lot of money, Uniqlo’s Dry T-shirts are the way to go. 

Although Uniqlo isn’t an athleisure brand specifically, it’s my favorite place to get comfortable basics at affordable prices. You’ll find an array of T-shirts, shorts, sweatpants, sweatshirts, hoodies, and other pieces that fall into the category of athleisure. 

Despite Uniqlo’s affordable prices, the brand does a great job of offering variety. There are a handful of different materials available to help make clothing more comfortable or useful for specific activities or seasons of the year.

AIRism, a lightweight material that makes clothes more breathable, UV Protection, which blocks sunlight, BLOCKTECH, a water-resistant material, and HEATTECH, a warmth-trapping material, are just some of the many technologies you can find.

In terms of style, Uniqlo definitely pays close attention to fashion trends and regularly collaborates with designers to create more elevated basics.

What to buy:

Product Card (small)Product Card (small)Product Card (small)
Rhone

Rhone

Rhone’s athleisure clothing is made with its special GoldFusion technology, which keeps odors at bay no matter how long your day drags on.

Back in 2016, Rhone managed to raise nearly $113,000 to bring GoldFusion technology to its line of activewear. And now, it can be found in a wide range of activewear and athleisure clothing. 

GoldFusion technology is Rhone’s proprietary, eco-friendly fabric treatment that leverages real gold particles to help fabrics dry up to three times faster. In addition, it’s UV protective, and looks great, too.

The technology goes a long way in keeping your clothes fresh for extended periods of time, whether that means long and active days on the go or simply getting a couple wears out of your workout clothes before having to wash them.

Beyond the odor-blocking technology, Rhone has proven itself to be a versatile brand, offering everything from workout apparel to casual comfort styles.

I absolutely love Rhone’s Commuter Pant, a great pair of trousers that you would actually feel comfortable wearing to an office. Well-tailored and sharply cut, these pants prove that looking good and feeling good can be two sides of the same coin. Similarly, I love the Reign Long Sleeve Shirt. Combined with a pair of shorts, you’ll be ready for a workout, but if swapped for a nice pair of chinos, you could even be ready to go on a date.

If you’re more interested in Rhone’s athletic gear, you might check out the 7-inch Swift Lined short. Perfect for running, these shorts feature a perforated venting system for cooling, as well as two side zipper pockets to hold essentials during a jog. Plus, a soft performance liner promises an exceptional fit.

We’ve tested a handful of items from the brand and have loved them all. Read our full review of Rhone products here.

What to buy:

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Todd Snyder

Todd Snyder

Todd Snyder fuses old school style with high-quality materials to make super stylish, yet sporty clothes.

Todd Snyder is an all-encompassing menswear brand, but its Champion collection specifically is a great place to find stylish athleisure wear. The collaboration brings together the best of both worlds — high-end looks from Todd Synder and the undeniable sportswear history from Champion — to create timeless pieces you’ll want to wear casually and during workouts.

Todd Snyder has sweatpants, shorts, T-shirts, hoodies, and a lot more — and everything is available in plenty of colorways, so you can pick out your favorite shades or stock up on a few good ones to rotate between.

Almost all of the pieces use a super soft french terry cotton, garment-dyed treatment for a worn-in look, and vintage Champion branding.

What to buy:

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Adidas

Adidas

If you’re a fan of the classics, then look no further than Adidas to supply you with great performance gear that looks good, too.

Even with the emergence of what seems like an endless supply of athleisure brands focused more on the leisure than the athlete component of their names, one company has maintained a position at the top of the mountain. And that company is Adidas. Whether you’re looking for great athletic wear or just great clothes to wear, Adidas has you covered.

Adidas remains one of the most sought-after brands around the world. That’s likely thanks to its expert combinations of quality and classic style that manages to be both fashion-forward and reminiscent of the brand’s roots — plus, its pieces easily transition across a variety of environments with just a few small adjustments.

Thanks to a wide range of styles, Adidas can match just about any aesthetic. While many of its bestsellers are the brand’s trademark sneakers, you can also find a great selection of performance clothes that work well at the gym and just hanging out.

One of my favorite pieces to wear is the Adidas Must Haves 3-Stripes Shorts. The brand describes them as “sporty everyday shorts with a strong Adidas look” and that’s precisely what they are.

They feature 3-Stripes branding along the sides of the legs and a small Adidas logo on the left leg. You’ll also find basic requirements for any good pair of shorts like side pockets and a drawstring waist.

In addition to having good-looking performance clothing and classic designs like the shorts, the Three Stripes has teamed up with dozens of brands.

Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, White Mountaineering, A Bathing Ape, Reigning Champ, and Alexander Wang are just a few of the many collaborators they’ve worked with for more elevated designs. 

What to buy: 

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Public Rec

Rhone

Brought to life by a former JP Morgan banker, Public Rec makes the kind of athleisure clothing that you’d be comfortable wearing to work.

It started with a pair of sweatpants so popular that it attracted a 1,200-person waitlist. And things have just ballooned from there. Public Rec specializes in technical leisure apparel for men, operating under the mantra that if you feel good, you’ll look good. The brand actually got its start on Kickstarter back in 2015, when it designed and sold its first pair of public-appropriate sweatpants. But since then, it has expanded its offerings to include a number of presentable yet comfortable pieces for everyday life.

The original bestseller is, of course, the All Day Every Day Pant. While they feel like sweatpants, they’re sized more like jeans, which means that they fit your body instead of hanging off of them. You’ll feel totally at ease wearing these pants out and about in your daily life, and if you’re working in a more casual environment, you could certainly wear them to the office as well.

Also popular is the extremely versatile polo shirt, the Go-To Polo. Designed to wick moisture, be breathable, and never lose its shape, it can be dressed up or down, and could even be workout appropriate. Plus, at under $70, it’s surprisingly affordable — most name-brand polos will set you back significantly more, and certainly wouldn’t stand up to an hour at the gym.

The shirt is made from a proprietary fabric blend of Pima cotton, Tencel, and spandex, which is designed to wick moisture and never shrink while staying soft and stretchy. The material is actually the same as the brand’s Go-To Tee, but thanks to the polo design, it’s much more versatile in terms of wearability.

We’ve also noticed that Public Rec apparel never loses its shape. Despite several wears and several washes, both pants and tops alike look as new as the day we got them, and that durability is a major win in our book.

Read my full review on the Public Rec All Day Every Day Pants here.

What to buy:

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Twillory

Twillory

Twillory might be best known for its performance dress shirts, but the brand’s venture into athlesiure shouldn’t be overlooked.

The collection includes a zip-up hoodie, joggers, T-shirts, polos, and henleys — and they’re all designed to be stretchy, moisture-wicking, cooling, and quick-drying.

However, the standout pieces are the joggers and the hoodie. The joggers have a nicely-tapered fit, slanted side pockets, and a single pocket on the right side of the rear. Combined with the pattern of the material, these joggers look more like your favorite chinos than a sloppy pair of gym sweats.

The hoodie, which comes in matching materials and colors is just as comfortable and completes the set. You can save $20 on the set when you bundle the Althouger Joggers and  Athlounger Hoodie

Athlounger Jogger (small)Athlounger Hoodie (small)
Oliver’s Apparel

Olivers Apparel

Olivers Apparel covers the full gamut of athleisure with workout gear, loungewear, and performance gear you can get away with at work.

Olivers Apparel came to life after a 2013 Kickstarter and has since become one of the best brands for stylish athletic wear. If your sense of fashion is clean and simple, then Olivers is perfect for you. While many sportswear brands use bold colors and patterns on its gear, many of Olivers’ clothes use solid colors and logo-less designs. 

Some of our favorite items include the Classic Sweatpants made from Supima cotton, and the Convoy Tee, which is made from 100% merino for a cozy, yet relaxed fit. 

What to buy:

Classic Hoodie (small)Classic Joggers (small)All Over Short (small)
Everlane

Everlane

Everlane is a dependable place to buy all wardrobe essentials, including athleisure.

We love Everlane for everything from its cashmere sweaters and jeans to footwear and outerwear. The brand’s products are always responsibly made with a high level of quality and keen attention to style. 

While you can always rely on Everlane to find clothes that will help you look your best, you can also rely on them to find clothes that will help you feel your best. 

The brand just launched its new Track Collection, which includes a variety of organic cotton sweatsuits. You can find T-shirts, sweatsuits, and even sneakers at Everlane.

What to buy:

Track Crewneck (small)Track Pant (small)Cotton Crew (small)The Trainer (Men’s) (small)

 

Read the original article on Business Insider

The best Apple Watch

  • The Apple Watch is the best smartwatch we’ve ever tried, and Apple sells it in three different versions.
  • The $400 Apple Watch Series 6 is the newest model that comes loaded with all of Apple’s most advanced health features and its latest processor.
  • The $280 Apple Watch SE is a great option for those looking to save a little money since it comes with many of the same features as the Series 6, although it unfortunately lacks an always-on display. 
  • The $200 Series 3 is still going strong despite launching in 2017 and delivers the core Apple Watch experience at a more affordable price, but it’s better to invest in newer technology if you can afford it.
  • Wondering how the Apple Watch stacks up to the competition? Here are our picks for the best smartwatches overall.

The Apple Watch has become the world’s most popular smartwatch since its launch in 2015, outshining rivals like Samsung and Huawei

Each new version introduces additional features that make it even more worthwhile. In 2020, Apple introduced the ability to measure blood oxygen levels on the Series 6, for example, and also launched a sleep tracking feature for all models that support watchOS 7. 

I’ve been covering smartwatches and wearables since 2014, and our team of tech reporters and editors have collectively tested every Apple Watch model that’s launched. Based on our experience, we have narrowed down the best Apple Watch models you can buy right now. 

With all that in mind, read on to see which of the Apple Watch models is best for your needs and budget. You can also read our buying guide to the top smartwatches overall.

Here are the best Apple Watch models:

Updated on 1/21/21 by Lisa Eadicicco: Updated language and added more guidance to the section on factors to consider when shopping for an Apple Watch. 

The best Apple Watch overall

Apple Watch Series 6

The Apple Watch Series 6 is the best smartwatch Apple currently sells. It comes with top-of-the-line health features, a brighter always-on display, and fast charging.

Pros: Brighter always-on display, fast charging, more health metrics than any other Apple Watch, many color options

Cons: Expensive, not always clear how blood oxygen readings contribute to overall fitness metrics, battery life is short compared to Fitbit

The Apple Watch Series 6 is Apple’s priciest smartwatch, and also its most advanced. The Series 6 comes loaded with new health-oriented features and an upgraded chip from Apple. The biggest new addition is the ability to measure blood oxygen saturation, which refers to the percentage of oxygen your red blood cells distribute throughout the body. 

Other improvements include a slightly brighter always-on display and fast charging, the latter of which should make it easier to top off your watch in the morning after wearing it overnight for sleep tracking. However, like all Apple Watches, the Series 6’s battery life isn’t long enough to last two full days, unlike watches from Fitbit which offer multi-day battery life. 

The blood oxygen reader works by shining red and green LEDs and infrared light through your wrist and monitoring the color of the light that’s reflected back. Low oxygen levels could be an indication that you need to seek medical care, as the Minnesota Department of Health notes, but Apple says the Series 6 isn’t meant for medical use and should instead only be an indicator of overall wellness.

You can take a reading any time on the Series 6 through an app, and the watch can measure levels in the background, too. Although it’s great that the Apple Watch can offer a new metric for getting a glimpse into your general wellness, in my experience I found that it can be difficult to know what to make of these readings since they’re not meant for medical use.

The Series 6 also comes with all the health and fitness-focused features from the Series 5. These include the ability to detect hard falls, take an electrocardiogram from the wrist, call emergency services internationally, and alert you if noise levels in your surroundings may damage your hearing. It can also track a variety of different workout types, provide more precise location information through its built-in compass, and can track elevation with its always-on altimeter. 

The Apple Watch Series 6 has the most to offer when it comes to health tracking, but it also has another critical advantage: an always-on display. That means the watch’s screen is capable of showing your watch face even when the display would normally turn off, a useful feature that makes the Apple Watch perform better as a general purpose wrist watch. This feature debuted on the Series 5, which Apple no longer sells, but the Series 6 is the only model in the current lineup to have it. The always-on display is also slightly brighter on the Series 6 compared to the Series 5.

Apple also provides more choice  in terms of style for its top-of-the-line watch compared to the SE or Series 3. The Apple Watch Series 6 is available in silver, space gray, gold, blue, and red if you opt for the aluminum finish, while the stainless steel version comes in silver graphite and gold. The titanium model is available in titanium or space black. 

The Apple Watch Series 6 comes with more health and wellness capabilities, style options, and features that make it function better as a wristwatch compared to any watch in Apple’s lineup. Although the new blood oxygen readings alone may not be worth splurging on the  priciest model for many people, the overall experience is the best you can get on an Apple smartwatch for those who are willing to pay.

The best Apple Watch on a budget

Apple Watch SE

With a recent Apple processor and many of the same features as the Series 6, the Apple Watch SE is a great budget-friendly option.  

Pros: Affordable price, robust health and fitness tracking features, large display

Cons: No always-on display

You don’t have to spend $400 to get an Apple Watch that feels new and fast. For the first time, Apple launched a second new watch alongside its flagship model: the $280 Apple Watch SE.

The Apple Watch SE has many of the same capabilities as the Series 6: it can track the same exercise types, monitor sleep, measure heart rate, detect hard falls,  comes with a built-in compass for location tracking, and features an always-on altimeter for logging elevation. 

Fitness buffs won’t be missing out on much with the SE, but those who want to get a more detailed picture of their overall health and wellness might. That’s because the SE lacks the ability to measure blood oxygen levels and take an ECG from the wrist.

With this in mind, the SE is better suited for potential buyers looking for a general-purpose smartwatch that can track their workouts and don’t need to keep as close of an eye on their cardiac health.

There’s another major feature missing from the SE: an always-on display. This is probably the most critical omission, considering it makes the SE less capable as a wrist watch. Even though the screen turns into a black square on your wrist when idle, it does have the more modern design Apple introduced with the Series 4  that makes it 30% larger than the Series 3’s display.

Color and finish options are also more limited on the SE than the Series 6, with Apple only offering an aluminum finish in silver, space gray, or gold. 

Still, for the price, the Apple Watch SE is an excellent choice. Although it’s missing features like an always-on display, fast charging, and blood oxygen measurements, the overall experience is very similar to the Series 6. I’ve even called it the best Apple Watch for most people given its more accessible price.

The best Apple Watch for just the basics

Apple Watch Series 3

Not only is it the most affordable model you can buy, the Apple Watch Series 3 still offers reliable performance and includes features most people would need.

Pros: Solid performance, includes features most people would need, Apple Pay, fitness tracking, great app support, great value, very durable

Cons: Older processor, smaller display, no advanced fitness and health features, Digital Crown becomes less smooth with age, no always-on screen

After using the $200 Apple Watch Series 3 sporadically since it was introduced in 2017, it continues to perform well, making it the best Apple Watch for people on a tighter budget that just want the basics.

Compared to the SE, the less expensive Series 3 has a smaller screen, can’t detect hard falls, lacks the ability to call emergency services internationally, doesn’t have a built-in compass, and  doesn’t support family setup.

That last point is a bit disappointing since the price otherwise makes it an appealing option for a child or teenager’s first smartwatch. Of course, it’s also missing characteristics of the Series 6 like an always-on screen, blood oxygen level monitoring, and the ability to take an ECG. 

However, if you don’t need those features, the Series 3 still offers the same apps and services available on the pricier SE and Series 6, meaning it has many of the capabilities most people would want from a smartwatch.

Some of the applications we’ve used the Series 3 for include: Paying for a subway ride, withdrawing cash from an ATM, remotely triggering the shutter button on our iPhone, arming and disarming a home’s alarm system, choosing a Spotify playlist, getting directions, controlling smart home devices, waking us up each morning by vibrating on our wrist, and much more.

It also comes in an LTE variant just like the pricier models, which can be a lifesaver during instances in which you’ve left your phone at home. But like the SE, the Series 3  lacks an always-on display, meaning you must raise your wrist or touch the watch to wake it.

The Apple Watch Series 3 also has many of the same health and fitness capabilities of its pricier siblings, save for the ability to take an ECG and measure blood oxygen levels. One of our favorite Apple Watch features is the Activity Rings, which gamifies three physical activities: movement, exercise, and stand. With a desire to close the rings daily, this has encouraged us to be less sentient.

Even though it’s not the fastest, performance is still strong even after three years. I regularly use my Series 3 and never experience any crashes or slowdowns, even after installing new updates.

As for durability, the Series 3 seems very capable. After more than three years, it still doesn’t have a scratch. The Digital Crown doesn’t rotate as fluidly as when the watch was new, but it still works without problem. Even after swimming in both fresh and saltwater with it and wearing the watch in the shower, it still holds up just fine. 

Overall, the Series 3 has performed well after more than three years. But if you were to purchase it new today, there’s no guarantee it will maintain its strong performance for years to come.

It uses an older processor and as with all things tech, it will inevitably start slowing down as newer and more demanding apps are released. Although we recommend it for people on a tight budget, do realize that it may have shorter longevity from this point on. If your budget allows, opt for the SE.

When it comes to color choices and finishes, you only have the aluminum case in space gray or silver to choose from. 

All told, the Apple Watch Series 3 checks all the right boxes for those who just want basic smartwatch and fitness functionality.

Things to consider when you shop

An Apple Store employee shows the new Series 5 Apple Watch during the preview of the redesigned and reimagined Apple Fifth Avenue store in New York, U.S., September 19, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid -
An Apple Store employee shows the new Series 5 Apple Watch during the preview of the redesigned and reimagined Apple Fifth Avenue store in New York

Like any other tech product, choosing an Apple Watch model depends on your preferences, budget, and how you intend to use it. Here are some factors to consider when shopping for an Apple Watch.

  • Health tracking: Are you looking for a device for comprehensive health features, like the ability to take an ECG from the wrist? Or do you just want to track your workouts and monitor your heart rate? If your answer is yes to the first question, the Series 6 is your best bet. Plus, since it charges more quickly, it’s a better choice for those who plan to use their Apple Watch for sleep tracking. Otherwise, consider the cheaper Apple Watch SE instead.
  • Watch functionality: If having a smartwatch that functions as a regular watch all the time is most important to you, the Apple Watch Series 6 is the right choice. It’s Apple’s most expensive watch, but its always-on display and faster charging make it a more capable wristwatch. That’s because the Series 6 can show the time even when the screen is idle and doesn’t take as long to replenish its battery. While these features are helpful, they’re not necessary and mostly just add polish to the experience. If you’re going to spend the extra $120 on the Series 6, do it because you’re interested in the additional health features it has too offer as well. If these features aren’t as important to you, the cheaper Apple Watch SE has plenty to offer.   
  • Material: Depending on the model, the Apple Watch comes in a few different materials, including aluminum, stainless steel, and titanium. Each material comes with its own price tag. You can also choose between different colors depending on the version. Apple launched two new blue and red color options for the Series 6 in addition to silver, space gray, and gold.
  • Bands: Each Apple Watch is paired with a band at purchase, another style choice you’ll have to make. Some bands cost more than others. Thankfully, any Apple Watch can be used with any compatible band and you’re able to swap them out depending on your wardrobe and mood. Apple also allows you to pair any Apple Watch case with any band through its Apple Watch Studio customization tool when picking out a watch. Other accessory companies make their own Apple Watch bands and sell them at more affordable prices, so you can always add to your collection. 
  • Regardless of which bands and materials you choose, every Apple Watch the company currently sells can run the same apps from the App Store, supports water resistance, and is compatible with the latest watchOS 7 software.
Read the original article on Business Insider

The best Android tablets

Android tablets never really caught on in the same way that Apple’s iPad did, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some good ones out there. In fact, our recommended Android tablets offer some unique traits that set them apart from the iPad.

We’ve tested about a dozen Android tablets over the years, and some have really impressed us with their solid performance, unique features, or low price tags.

Whether you’re looking for a cheap tablet, a sturdy one for your kids, or the best of the best in Android tablets, there’s a tablet for those looking for an alternative to the iPad.

Here are the best Android tablets:

Updated on 01/13/2021 by Antonio Villas-Boas: Added the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 after testing. Updated to the newest Amazon Fire HD 8 model.

The best Android tablet overall

Samsung Tab S7

Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S7 is as stylish as it is powerful, you can use it as a laptop in a pinch, and it comes with the superb S Pen stylus.

Samsung has been making excellent Android tablets for years, and its recently launched Galaxy Tab S7 continues that tradition. It’s a high-end Android tablet that can compete with Apple’s iPad Pro on nearly every level.

The Tab S7 is a stylish, well-made tablet with a metal frame and back. The keyboard case is sturdy and it turns your tablet into a quasi-laptop. Although this tablet doubles as a laptop, it is a tablet first and foremost.

Samsung sure knows how to make astonishingly beautiful screens. The Tab S7 has a gorgeous 10.5-inch Super AMOLED screen. I watched lots of Netflix and Prime Video on the tablet, and I was really impressed by the clarity, color reproduction, and intensity of the brilliant screen. The tablet’s 128GB of storage gives you ample space for downloads, and it’s expandable with a microSD card.

Every Tab S7 comes with Samsung’s S-Pen stylus, which is great for drawing and feels like a real pen. I love to draw on tablets, and I was impressed by the lack of lag on the Tab S7. Palm rejection works well, and it’s a great tablet for drawing or note-taking.

It is an expensive price to pay  — especially for an Android tablet, but if you want the best iPad Pro alternative, this is it.

Pros: Gorgeous screen, fast processor, S-Pen stylus is included, and powerful speakers

Cons: Expensive compared to most Android tablets

The best cheap Android tablet

Amazon Fire HD 8

Amazon’s Fire HD 8 may be incredibly cheap, but it’s a good Android tablet for anyone on a budget.

Amazon makes lots of cheap Android tablets. Some are low-powered, low-resolution slates, but others, like the newly updated Fire HD 8, are actually great bang for your buck based on our testing. 

Since it’s a budget tablet, the new Fire HD 8 isn’t top-of-the-line, but it offers just enough quality tech to make it a great deal. The 8-inch screen has an HD 1,280 x 800-pixel resolution, which is sharp enough to make watching videos on it a good experience. It’s just the right size for reading, and the grippy plastic body is comfortable to hold. 

Amazon offers some fun colors, too, making this a great tablet for anyone who’s bored with metallic tones and plain black budget devices. It should be relatively durable, though it isn’t water-resistant, so don’t go dunking it in the bath or pool.

The new Fire HD 8 offers decent performance, and Amazon’s custom version of Android, Fire OS, runs smoothly. You can choose between 16 or 32GB of storage, but no matter how much you pick, you can expand it via a microSD card slot up to 256GB. We recommend that you do so, and you can check out the best microSD cards you can buy here.

You’ll have access to the Alexa voice assistant and thousands of apps. However, although Fire OS is built on Android, it is not true Android. That means you won’t have access to the Google Play store, where there are a ton more apps to choose from. Fire OS is very much a tailored experience envisioned by Amazon and it’s a bit restrictive, but you can download most of the popular apps, including Netflix and Hulu. There’s still no official YouTube app, but that’s coming.

If you’re a Prime member, you can watch Prive Video, read dozens of ebooks, stream music, and access shopping quickly on Fire OS. Prime buyers have the option of getting the tablet with special offers, which are ads on the lockscreen and elsewhere. The price will be lower, but ads may be annoying to some.

It’s a very good deal for people who want a cheap Android tablet, especially if they aren’t married to iOS or Android. If you have a young kid who would also love a cheap tablet, read all about the Amazon Fire Kids Edition tablet below.

Pros: Super cheap, cute color options, decent HD screen, Alexa, and sturdy build quality

Cons: Not the sharpest screen or the best processor

The best Android tablet for kids

Amazon Fire Tablet kids edition

The Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition is just right for young kids and their parents, thanks to kid-friendly content, a tough design, and parental control software.

Amazon makes kid-friendly versions of its tablets that include parental software and a guarantee that if your little ones break it, Amazon will replace it. For that reason (and a few more we’ll get into), the Fire 7 Kids Edition tablet is a great deal for parents with young kids.

The 7-inch screen may have a lower resolution than the Fire HD 8 tablet we recommended above, but it’s more than enough for young kids. If your kid is old enough (eight and up) and responsible enough to handle a better tablet without breaking it, the Fire HD 8 might be a better choice. Amazon also makes a Kids Edition of the HD 8 tablet and a 10-inch Kids tablet so you have those options as well.

The two versions are very similar, except for size, storage, and screen resolution: The Fire HD 8 Kids Edition has an 8-inch, 1,280 x 800-pixel screen and 32GB of storage, while the Fire 7 Kids Edition has a 7-inch, 1,024 x 600- pixel screen and 16GB of storage. Regardless of which one you get, the storage is expandable up to 256GB via a microSD card. We recommend that you pick one up: check out the best microSD cards you can buy.

The Kids Edition comes in a bright kid-proof case, which you can get in a number of colors, including blue, green, and pink. The rugged case — combined with Amazon’s promise to replace the tablet, should it break during the first two years of its life — make the Fire Kids Edition a great buy for parents with little ones.

Amazon includes a year of its FreeTime Unlimited service, which gives kids access to tens of thousands of kid-friendly books, movies, TV shows, educational apps, and games. If you’re worried that it’s too much content for your kid, you can also set usage limits, control access to content, and set goals.

Pros: Cheap, cute colors, two-year protection, one year of FreeTime Unlimited content, and parental control software

Cons: Non-HD screen and not the best processor

Check out our guide to the best tablets

iPad Mini 2019

The best tablets

Tablets are ideal for kids, travelers, and professionals — it just depends on which one you buy.

We’ve picked the best tablets you can buy in several different categories, including ones that are best for kids, professionals, and travelers. We’ve tested all but one of these tablets personally, so you can trust our recommendations. If you need more guidance before you choose, read the last slide for everything you should know about buying a tablet.


The best iPads

The iPad is the best tablet for most people’s needs, so we’ve broken down which iPad is best for each person’s budget and needs. Whether you want a small tablet that’s portable, one that doubles as a laptop, or something a bit cheaper, there’s an iPad for you.

Read the original article on Business Insider