The Voice’ crowns its winner on December 14 — here’s how to watch the season finale live without cable

Prices are accurate at the time of publication.

When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

THE VOICE -- "Blind Auditions" -- Pictured: (l-r) Kelly Clarkson, John Legend, Ariana Grande, Blake Shelton
“The Voice.”

  • “The Voice” is a singing competition with an all-star panel of coaches.
  • The season 21 finale airs on December 14 at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.
  • You can stream “The Voice” live on services like Sling Blue, or the next day on Peacock and Hulu.

Originally $35.00 | Save 71%


“The Voice” will air its season 21 finale on December 14. You can watch the show live at 9 p.m. ET on NBC through cable, satellite, antenna, or live TV streaming services like Sling TV. The finale will also be available to stream the next day on Peacock and Hulu.

Like past seasons, this year’s competition began with the coaches choosing singers for their teams based on blind auditions. Ariana Grande, Kelly Clarkson, Blake Shelton, and John Legend round out the panel of coaches. 

After battling it out across several rounds, five contestants remain in the finale. Viewers will vote on the winner and the champion will be announced on December 14. The finale will also feature special performances from stars like Alicia Keys, Coldplay, Carrie Underwood, Ed Sheeran, and more.

If you want to stream “The Voice” live or on-demand, here’s how you can watch the finale without cable.

How to watch ‘The Voice’ season 21 finale

You can watch the season 21 finale of “The Voice” on December 14 at 9 p.m. ET on NBC. Live TV streaming services like Sling TV, Hulu + Live TV, Fubo TV, and YouTube TV all carry NBC in select markets. You can also stream the show through the NBC website or NBC app if you have an authenticated pay-TV account. 

Sling Blue is the cheapest service with live access to “The Voice” finale. This option costs $35 a month ($10 for your first month). Be aware, however, that NBC is only available in select areas through Sling.

Hulu + Live TV, Fubo TV, and YouTube TV all include access to live NBC as well, but regular prices start at $65 a month for each service. Though that’s a lot more than Sling, they each feature at least 65 live channels compared to Sling Blue’s 43 channels.

Originally $35.00 | Save 71%


Originally $64.98 | Save 15%


Outside of live TV options, on-demand episodes of “The Voice” are available on Peacock the day after they air on TV. That said, you’ll need a Peacock Premium ($5/month) or Peacock Premium Plus ($10/month) plan to watch new episodes. 

On-demand episodes of “The Voice” are also available to watch on Hulu the day after they air on NBC. A Hulu subscription costs $7 a month for ad-supported streaming or $13 a month for ad-free streaming. New members get a 30-day free trial.

Who are the finalists on ‘The Voice’ this season?

Five contestants are left as finalists on “The Voice.” The remaining singers include:

  • Girl Named Tom (Team Kelly)
  • Hailey Mia (Team Kelly)
  • Jershika Maple (Team Legend)
  • Paris Winningham (Team Blake)
  • Wendy Moten (Team Blake)
Read the original article on Business Insider

How to get 6 months of Apple Music for free, no purchase necessary

Prices are accurate at the time of publication.

When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

HomePod Mini U1

Apple Music works beautifully on Apple devices, plus there’s an app for it across a range of platforms, including Android.
Originally $9.99 | Save 100%


Apple Music is one of the best music streaming services available, especially if you’re someone who uses an iPhone and other Apple products. Right now, new members can get their first six months of Apple Music for free from Best Buy. That’s double the regular trial period that Apple gives subscribers directly.

The service offers access to over 75 million songs, hundreds of curated playlists, radio shows, and more. You can use it to download songs for offline listening, stream music across all your devices, and even find occasional album exclusives. Apple Music usually costs $10 a month for ad-free streaming with advanced features like lossless audio and Dolby Atmos, but eligible college students and Siri users can get specific plans for as little as $5 a month.

If you’re new to the service, there’s no better way to start than with six free months. We’ve outlined how to snag your own Apple Music trial, below. 

How to get 6 free months of Apple Music

  1. Go to Best Buy’s website and sign up for an account with the store.
  2. Add the “Free Apple Music for six months” digital download to your cart.
  3. Go to your cart and check out.
  4. Wait for a digital code to be sent to the email address linked to your Best Buy account.

Once your trial ends, your Apple Music subscription will auto-renew for $10 a month, which can be cancelled anytime. This deal is only good for new Apple Music members.

It’s not clear how long Best Buy’s promotion will be available. It started in May 2021, and is still running now. 

Apple Music works beautifully on Apple devices, plus there’s an app for it across a range of platforms, including Android.
Originally $9.99 | Save 100%


Read the original article on Business Insider

HBO’s ‘Succession’ airs its season finale on December 12 — here’s how to watch the Emmy-winning series

Prices are accurate at the time of publication.

When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

jeremy strong as kendall roy on succession
Jeremy Strong as Kendall Roy on HBO’s “Succession.”

  • “Succession” is about the turbulent lives of a wealthy family running a media corporation.
  • You can watch the season three finale on December 12 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO Max and HBO.
  • HBO Max costs $10/month for an ad-supported plan or $15/month for an ad-free plan.

Season three of “Succession” premiered October 17 on HBO Max and the HBO cable channel. You can watch the season finale on December 12 at 9 p.m. ET.

The critically acclaimed series follows the wealthy Roy family as they attempt to run a giant media empire and fight to wrest control of the company from their aging patriarch. “Succession” is known for its mix of tense drama and dark humor.

After an explosive turn of events in the show’s season two finale, the future of the Roy family business remains up in the air. Actors Alexander Skarsgård and Adrien Brody are among the guest stars that joined the ensemble cast for season three. The series also stars Brian Cox, Jeremy Strong, Sarah Snook, Kieran Culkin, and Alan Ruck.

Lauded by critics, the second season of “Succession” received an Emmy award for outstanding drama series. The first two seasons are both “Certified Fresh” on the review-aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes. Season three of “Succession” currently holds a “96% Fresh” rating.

How to watch ‘Succession’ season finale

You can watch the season three finale of “Succession” on December 12 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO Max and the HBO cable channel. All eight previous episodes of the third season are available to stream on-demand right now. If you’re new to the show, you can also stream the first two seasons in their entirety on HBO Max.

For viewers on a budget, HBO Max offers an ad-supported plan for $10 a month. This tier gives you access to “Succession” and all of the streaming service’s on-demand entertainment, except for same-day movie premieres. To stream those titles, you need the ad-free HBO Max plan for $15 a month.

HBO Max does not directly offer a free trial to new members, but current Hulu subscribers can claim a free seven-day trial of HBO Max as an add-on. The ad-free HBO Max add-on costs $15 a month after your free trial.

Watch HBO Max through your preferred web browser or with the dedicated app on smartphones, tablets, PlayStation consoles, Xbox consoles, and streaming devices. You can also stream HBO Max on smart TV models like LG, Samsung, and Vizio. The HBO Max website has a full list of all compatible devices.

What other Emmy-winning series can I watch on HBO Max?

HBO won nine awards at the 2021 Primetime Emmy Awards for captivating series like “Mare of Easttown,” “Hacks,” and “I May Destroy You.” Kate Winslet won outstanding lead actress in a limited series for her portrayal of a police detective in rural Pennsylvania.

Other HBO series have taken home numerous Emmy awards over the years as well. A few of the other Emmy-winning series available to stream right now on HBO Max include:

  • “Band of Brothers”
  • “Barry”
  • “Big Little Lies”
  • “Euphoria”
  • “Game of Thrones”
  • “The Newsroom”
  • “The Sopranos”
  • “Veep”
  • “Watchmen”
  • “Westworld”
Read the original article on Business Insider

The 5 best robot vacuums we tested in 2021

Prices are accurate at the time of publication.

When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

A collage of the best robot vacuums of 2021

A robot vacuum will make the small but time-consuming task of vacuuming a little easier. However, you’ll want one that’s powerful and relatively quiet and doesn’t require constant attention. 

I’ve tested 30 robot vacuums to find the best ones and consulted health experts and engineers on how to use them properly. A robot vac needs maintenance like any other small appliance. While using it takes just a press of a button, all our experts stressed the importance of regularly cleaning brushes and filters, and running the vac when no one is in the room to keep the indoor air quality clean and avoid resuspended particles. We get into details over here

I tested each robot vac’s cleaning abilities along with its extra features and app. You can find the details of how we tested, what else we recommend, how to shop for a robot vacuum, and more at the end of our guide. Find out more about how Insider Reviews tests and reviews home products.

Here are the best robot vacuums in 2021

Best robot vacuum overall: iRobot Roomba i3+ Robot Vacuum, $499 on Walmart
With its automatic dirt disposal, strong suction, and large main brushes, the iRobot Roomba i3+ Robot Vacuum is an excellent, low-maintenance solution for any home.

Best budget robot vacuum: Eufy RoboVac 15C Max Robot Vacuum, $169.99 on Amazon
With its sub-$250 price, the Eufy RoboVac 15C Max Robot Vacuum offers an impressive suite of features, including smart connectivity, and performs well picking up most debris on carpeting and hardwood.

Best robot vacuum with a mop: Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo T8 AIVI Robot Vacuum, $599.99 on Ecovacs
The Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo Pro Mopping System thoroughly cleans floors as opposed to pushing a wet cloth around. When paired with the Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo T8 AIVI Robot Vacuum, the two make easy work of time-consuming chores.  

Best robot vacuum for hardwood floors: iRobot Roomba s9+ Robot Vacuum, $899.99 on iRobot
The D-shaped iRobot Roomba s9+ Robot Vacuum did the best in our hardwood floor tests and features a self-emptying dustbin, an impressive app that lets you set no-go zones, and large main brushes that pick up debris on the first pass.

Best robot vacuum for pet hair: Bissell SpinWave Robot Vacuum, $299 on Amazon
The Bissell SpinWave Robot Vacuum picked up all the pet hair on carpet in our tests and has a great assortment of mop attachments and accessories. The company is also committed to helping homeless pets and helps them find loving homes.

Best robot vacuum overall

Best Robot Vacuum for carpet 2021 Roomba i3+
Originally $599.99 | Save 17%
Originally $599.00 | Save 17%
Originally $599.99 | Save 17%
Originally $599.00 | Save 17%
Originally $599.99 | Save 17%


With its automatic dirt disposal, strong suction, and large main brushes, the iRobot Roomba i3+ Robot Vacuum is an excellent, low-maintenance solution for any home.

Pros: Excellent performance on carpeting, cleans well on hardwood, pairs with the app and Alexa, comes with an automatic dirt disposal base, doesn’t get stuck easily

Cons: Loud, virtual wall barriers cost extra, not impressive in corners 

The iRobot Roomba i3+ Robot Vacuum is iRobot’s most affordable option that features automatic dirt disposal, which empties the vac’s dustbin automatically. You just replace the disposable dust bag every month or two.  

In our carpet tests, the i3+ picked up all of the coffee grounds, kitty litter, and pet hairs we laid out and left behind only about 5% of the flour — the best performance of all the robot vacs we tested. In corners, it came within an inch of the wall but left behind about half the flour.

It performed better on hardwood floors, picking up all of the coffee grounds and pet hair, and only left behind 5% of the kitty litter and about 10% of the flour. The robot vac didn’t get stuck during its cleaning sessions.

Whereas some robot vacuums sense carpeting and boost suction, the i3+ provides consistently strong suction, and when it detects excess dirt, it automatically performs multiple passes. 

Setup is a breeze, only taking about 10 minutes, including connecting to the user-friendly app. Unfortunately, the app doesn’t allow you to set up no-go zones, so you must buy virtual wall barriers. The barriers work as advertised, but at around $40 each, I prefer using everyday household objects to keep the Roomba out of areas I want to protect.

The other negative with the i3+ is how loud it is. My sound meter recorded 68 dB, and you can’t adjust the suction power for a quieter clean.

Best budget robot vacuum

Best Robot Vacuums 2021_Eufy RoboVac 15C MAX Robot Vacuum
Originally $249.99 | Save 32%
Originally $279.99 | Save 39%


With its sub-$250 price, the Eufy RoboVac 15C Max Robot Vacuum offers an impressive suite of features, including smart connectivity, and performs well picking up most debris on carpeting and hardwood.

Pros: Good performance on carpeting and hardwood, doesn’t get stuck easily, quiet, supported by an app, Alexa and Google Assistant compatible, fits into small spaces

Cons: Did poorly in corner cleaning tests and picking up flour on carpeting, app doesn’t let you set no-go zones

Of the vacuums that cost under $250, the Eufy RoboVac 15C Max Robot Vacuum had the best overall performance in our tests.

It picked up all of the coffee grounds, kitty litter, and pet hair we laid out on carpeting and hardwood. It had a more challenging time with flour, leaving 10% of the flour on hardwood and a disappointing 40% of the flour on the carpeting.

Another area where the unit showed poor performance was in corners. It only came within about 3 inches of the hardwood corner, and though it came within an inch of the carpeted corner, it didn’t pick up much of the flour.

On the plus side, the RoboVac 15C Max only got stuck during its cleaning cycles about a quarter of the time, which is impressive in my messy home. Also, it’s the quietest of the units we tested, registering 60 decibels on its highest suction power.

Beyond quickly testing to make sure it worked, I didn’t use the controller because the vacuum pairs with your phone and is compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant. Unfortunately, the app (available for iOS and Android) doesn’t allow you to set up no-go zones or virtual barriers.

Additionally, setup and connecting to the app were seamless experiences, taking a total of 10 minutes. The vacuum also has a small footprint so it can squeeze into tight spaces.

Best robot vacuum with a mop

Best Robot Vacuum with a mop 2021 Ecovacs T8 AIVI
Originally $799.99 | Save 25%


The Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo Pro Mopping System thoroughly cleans floors as opposed to pushing a wet cloth around. When paired with the Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo T8 AIVI Robot Vacuum, the two make easy work of time-consuming chores.  

Pros: Excellent performance on carpeting and hardwood, automatically empties the dustbin, HD video surveillance, impressive deep-cleaning mop attachment, quiet operation

Cons: Got stuck on the threshold in our tests, doesn’t get deep into corners

The Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo Pro Mopping System attachment is the best mopping system I’ve tested. The 480-vibrations-per-minute scrubbing motion offers a deep clean. It made the powerful Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo T8 AIVI Robot Vacuum even better. 

The 240mL water tank was large enough to complete at least two passes over the 500-square-foot test floor. With the app, you can choose from four water-flow levels to reach a balance of moistness and quick drying and two mopping patterns. The deep scrubbing option provides thorough cleaning, and the quick scrubbing is for routine mopping. And, I appreciated that it automatically avoids carpeting.

As for the robot vac itself, the Ozmo T8 AIVI has HD video and a microphone so you can watch your pets or check for open windows and doors from your phone. I didn’t find the home surveillance features particularly useful, but they could be handy if you’re concerned about security. 

The more helpful feature is the auto-empty station that automatically empties the dustbin after cleaning sessions. You just replace the disposable pouch every month or two. 

The Ozmo T8 AIVI was among the best at removing the debris types we tested on carpeting and hardwood. Plus, it remains relatively quiet at just 67 dB on the highest cleaning setting and 58 dB on Quiet mode. 

However, the vac consistently got stuck on a 1-inch lip between rooms. It also wasn’t able to come within 2 inches of corners.

The setup was seamless. I plugged in the dock to charge the vacuum, connected the app, updated the firmware, and set a schedule for cleaning. After two cleanings, the vac created a map of my layout so I could set no-go zones to keep the T8 AIVI away from sensitive areas.

Best robot vacuum for hardwood floors

Best Robot Vacuum for hardwood floors 2021 Roomba S9+
Originally $1099.99 | Save 18%
Originally $1299.99 | Save 31%


The D-shaped iRobot Roomba s9+ Robot Vacuum did the best in our hardwood floor tests and features a self-emptying dustbin, an impressive app that lets you set no-go zones, and large main brushes that pick up debris on the first pass.

Pros: Cleans well on hardwood flooring, good performance on carpeting, rarely gets stuck, comes with a charging dock that empties the dustbin, large main brushes, has a helpful app with virtual no-go zones

Cons: Loud, poor performance in carpeted corners

As iRobot’s top-of-the-line model, the Roomba s9+ Robot Vacuum is packed with features. It empties itself and is supported by an app that allows you to schedule cleanings effortlessly, set no-go zones, and customize your cleaning experience. You can even pair it with the iRobot Braava Jet M6 (sold separately) to mop after it finishes its vacuum cycle.

In testing, the Roomba s9+ performed the best of any robot vac on hardwood flooring. After the cleaning cycle, there was only a trace of flour left. Its D-shaped design came within an inch and a half of the corner, picking up everything it could reach. The performance was still solid on carpeting with only about 10% of the flour left, 5% of the kitty litter, and no coffee grounds or pet hairs to be found after testing. The unit didn’t get stuck in our testing area either. 

At 77 dB (about as loud as a busy city street) on high suction power, the s9+ was by far the loudest model we tested, and even in quiet mode, the vacuum is not unnoticeable. 

Additionally, the vac got within an inch of the carpeted corner. But it left behind about 70% of the flour, which suggests it doesn’t do as well picking up fine debris on carpeting, especially in areas the main brushes have trouble reaching.

Installation was easy, but it took about 25 minutes. I spent most of that time installing firmware updates after connecting to the app.

Best robot vacuum for pet hair

Best Robot Vacuum for pet hair 2021 Bissell Spinwave
Originally $399.99 | Save 25%
Originally $399.99 | Save 25%
Originally $399.99 | Save 25%


The Bissell SpinWave Robot Vacuum picked up all the pet hair on carpet in our tests and has a great assortment of mop attachments and accessories. The company is also committed to helping homeless pets and helps them find loving homes. 

Pros: Excellent job on hardwood and corners, picked up all of the pet hair in our tests, great mop attachment and accessories, app connectivity, small size, quiet operation

Cons: Can’t set up no-go zones, gets stuck easily

The Bissell SpinWave Robot Vacuum is created specifically for pet hair and has a 5.75-inch tangle-resistant main brush, a useful mop attachment, and powerful suction. Specs aside, a portion of each sale also goes to the Bissell Pet Foundation, which is committed to finding loving homes for pets.

The Bissell SpinWave picked up all the cat and dog hair we laid out on carpeting and hardwood. Additionally, on the hardwood, it only left a trace of kitty litter and flour. It came within 2 inches in corners and picked up more than 60% of the flour on both the carpet and hardwood.

It’s also among the quietest vacs we tested – 58 decibels on quiet mode (slightly softer than a normal conversation) and 65 on high suction. If you have particularly skittish pets, the low-decibel output is less likely to startle your fur friends. 

The vacuum’s extras are helpful to any pet parent, including a mop tank attachment, spinning mop pads, and a trial-size bottle of cleaning formula. Plus, you receive a cleaning tool that helps remove hairs from the brushes and clean the filter.

In testing, the mop attachment worked seamlessly. You just fill the tank with water and some cleaning formula and attach it to the vacuum in place of the dustbin. The mop pads spin to scrub away stuck-on debris while avoiding carpeting.

The SpinWave has a quick setup that takes five minutes, including installing the app and connecting the unit. 

The most significant limitation is it consistently got stuck on the 1-inch threshold between rooms. 

What else we tested

Best Robot Vacuums 2021

We’ve tested 30 robot vacuums and counting; here are the ones that didn’t make our top picks.

What else we recommend and why

Under $400

Ecovacs U2 Pro: This vac did excellent cleaning hardwood and carpeting and rarely got stuck. The U2 Pro also comes with a mop attachment, which didn’t do a good job of cleaning up dried Tang on linoleum. Despite good performance, it couldn’t compete with our current top picks and was too expensive for consideration as our best budget pick. Other negatives include loud operation, poor corner cleaning, and boundary strips for setting no-go zones that are sold separately.

Proscenic 850T: When it comes to cleaning hard flooring, the 850T is outstanding. It picked up almost all of the debris on hardwood in our testing, got deep into the corners, and got all of the grounds, hair, and litter on the carpet. However, it left 20% of the flour behind, got stuck easily, and ran loudly. Plus, the vac regularly disconnected from the app in my long-term testing and required my attention to run on schedule.

Eufy RoboVac G30 Edge: Eufy usually makes more affordable robot vacuums, so at this price, the G30 Edge is considered the company’s top-end model. The variety of extras — no-go zone strips, a user-friendly app, and Alexa and Google Home compatibility — make it worth the price, but you’ll have to compromise some power. It performed poorly on carpeting and in corners during our testing, and it was in the middle of the pack on hardwood. Despite the underwhelming performance, it remains a good value for the price.

ILife A10If setting no-go zones is essential to you, the A10 might be a good option. After it maps your house, you can set up virtual barriers in the app. This model also does an outstanding job of cleaning hardwood and carpet. But, there are plenty of cons: The A10 barely picked up any flour in carpeted corners, it runs loudly, and it gets stuck easily.

Under $600

iRobot Roomba i7+: The Roomba i7+ was the first robot vacuum to feature an automatic dirt disposal charging dock. Since then, iRobot has introduced two other models that improve upon the i7+. Though this Roomba has great high-end features, its performance doesn’t justify its price. It only did a satisfactory job on carpeting and hardwood, and it got stuck relatively often. If you find the i7+ on sale, we recommend picking it up. Otherwise, consider the s9+ or i3+ instead. Read our full review.

Roborock S6 MaxV: For the most part, Roborock is doing a terrific job in the robot vac space. We recommend the S6 MaxV because of its excellent performance in our carpeting, hardwood, and corner tests. It also has video surveillance, no-go zones, and a useful app. But it’s oversized and kept getting stuck on the 1-inch lip leading into the kitchen of our testing course. The S6 MaxV is louder than most vacs we’ve tested. 

Under $800

Roborock S7: I tested this Roborock with the optional auto-empty dock ($299.99), which looks incredible, is super convenient, and performed flawlessly. The vac itself has powerful suction and avoided getting stuck in our tests. The mop scrubs at up to 3,000 cycles per minute, which translated to one of the top performances in our mop test. However, it didn’t do well vacuuming in corners and operated loudly. It came close but did not perform well enough to unseat any of our top picks. Still, if the Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo T8 AIVI isn’t available, this is a worthy substitute.

What we don’t recommend and why

Eufy BoostIQ RoboVac 11S: At one time, the RoboVac 11S was our budget pick, but after putting it through our testing alongside other affordable options, we no longer recommend it. The 11S doesn’t have WiFi connectivity, which has become standard at every price point in the industry. The vac performed well on carpeting but left a lot of debris behind on hardwood and in corners. You’d be much better off with the Eufy RoboVac 15C Max. Read our full review.

Proscenic M6 Pro: After testing two other Proscenic models I recommend, I was surprised by how poorly the M6 Pro cleans. It left significant debris behind on carpeting and hard flooring and in corners. The vac also got stuck easily and ran loudly. Plus, the app is slow to respond to finger taps and commands. 

Yeedi K650: The attractive price doesn’t make up for the fact that the Yeedi K650 does a poor job cleaning any surface. It also gets stuck often, is noisy, and doesn’t have many of the features we like, such as the ability to set no-go zones.

iRobot Roomba e5This appears to be iRobot’s attempt to make a budget Roomba, but it’s the worst-performing Roomba I’ve come across in my years of testing. It didn’t come with any extras – not even an additional filter. You can schedule it easily in the app, and it’s compatible with Alexa and Google Home, but you have to buy virtual wall barriers separately. Also, it gets stuck easily and doesn’t clean well on hardwood.  

Neato Botvac D7 Connected: We’re dropping the Neato Botvac D7 Connected from our guide this time around because it’s relatively big, got stuck about half the time during our initial testing, and it only comes with two extra filters and a magnetic barrier, which isn’t necessary since you can set no-go zones in the app. We think there are more affordable alternatives that perform better and are more feature-rich in our guide. Read our full review.

Eufy RoboVac 11S Max: The 11S Max updates the 11S, but we feel the original 11S is better. If you’re spending this much, though, the 15C Max performed much better in our testing. The 11S Max did poorly on carpeting and hardwood and in corners. It also relies on a remote controller rather than app connectivity, which means you need to turn to and keep track of another device.

Roborock S5 Max: The S5 Max is loud, big, and it did poorly in corners and on carpeting in our tests. 

Our robot vacuum testing methodology

Best Robot Vacuums 2021

I’ve been reviewing vacuums for the past few years, writing numerous buying guides and reviews, so I leaned on my background when developing our testing methodology.

I also consulted three experts and took their advice and expertise into consideration — Dr. Luis Javier Peña-Hernández, a lung and sleep health specialist at the Pulmonary, Critical Care & Sleep Disorders Institute of South Florida; Andrea Ferro, Ph.D., a professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Clarkson University and the current president of the American Association for Aerosol Research; and Jill Notini, the Vice President of Communication and Marketing for the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers.

In addition to using each robot vacuum daily for at least several weeks, I tested each for its suction on various types of flooring, including corners, ability to maneuver around obstacles, noise, and special features.

Our testing methodology has gotten more comprehensive over the years. For any models that I’d previously tested but didn’t have the vacuums on hand anymore, I extrapolated the data as best as possible based on previous testing and manufacturer info. Those vacuums are the iRobot Roomba i7+, Neato Botvac D7 Connected, and Eufy 11S Max and 15C Max. 

Here’s a breakdown of the percentages of each material the top picks cleaned up on each surface in our tests:

Surface – Material iRobot Roomba i3+ Eufy RoboVac 15C Max Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo T8 AIVI iRobot Roomba s9+ Bissell  SpinWave

Carpet – Flour

95% 60% 98% 90% 80%
Carpet – Coffee 100% 100% 98% 100% 100%
Carpet – Litter 100% 100% 98% 95% 98%
Carpet – Hair 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Carpet corner – Flour 50% 20% 35% 30% 65%
Carpet corner – Proximity 1 inch 1 inch 2 inches 1 inch 2 inches
Hardwood – Flour 90% 90% 95% 98% 98%
Hardwood – Coffee 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Hardwood – Litter 95% 100% 98% 100% 98%
Hardwood – Hair 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Hardwood corner – Flour 80%

0%

80% 85% 75%
Hardwood corner – Proximity 1 inch 3 inches 2 inches 1.5 inches 1.5 inches

Here are the main attributes we look for and how we test them:

Size: I note the specs of the overall unit, main brush, and side brushes. This gives me an idea of how well a vacuum can clean floors and carpet — the larger the brushes, the more they can usually sweep up. The main brushes are often between 5 to 10 inches long, and side brushes are usually 2 to 3 inches long. Of the vacs I’ve tested, only Roomba models have two main brushes; others have one. I’ve noticed that longer brushes tend to facilitate faster cleaning. If this appeals to you, consider a unit with a longer brush, such as the Roomba s9+.

Carpet cleaning: I poured a tablespoon each of flour, coffee grounds, and kitty litter on 18-inch-square sections of carpeting. I also collected pet hairs from my rat terrier and two cats to place on carpeting. I ran the vacuum on its most powerful mode for two cleaning cycles and compared before-and-after photos to estimate the percentage of each material picked up or left behind.

Hardwood floor cleaning: This is the same test as the carpet cleaning test but on hardwood flooring.

Corner cleaning: To test corner cleaning abilities, I poured a teaspoon of flour in an approximately 4-inch radius in a corner on hardwood and carpeting. I took pictures of the messes before and after running the robot vac for two cleaning cycles to compare how much flour was left over. I also measured how close to the corner the vac was able to reach.

Obstacle avoidance: You don’t want your robot vac to get stuck while it’s cleaning or when it’s returning to its charging dock, both of which force you to hunt it down while it’s sending you notifications or making annoying error sounds. I tested the vacuum in an approximately 500-square-foot room with several obstacles, including stairs, a 1-inch threshold to a kitchen, and a table with chairs.

Loudness: I used a sound meter to measure the decibel output of each of the robot vacuums from 12 inches away as they ran on the highest and lowest settings. For vacuums I no longer had in my possession for testing, I relied on manufactures’ info and my previous notes. 

Brushes: I noted the lengths of the main and side brushes as they’ll likely indicate performance in our cleaning tests.

Robot vacuums work using a combination of suction and brushes. There are two types of brushes on robot vacuums: the side brush and the main brush. Units have either one or two side brushes that are about 3 inches in diameter and protrude from the forward portion of the vac. They move in a circular motion, get into corners, and feed debris to the main brush. There appears to be little difference in the performance of vacuums with two side brushes versus those with one.

The main brush is between five and ten inches long, located under the unit, and is made of a rubber-like material. The vacuum sucks debris into the main brush, which spins to feed the materials into the dustbin. Of the vacs I’ve tested, only Roomba models have two main brushes. Other models have just one. I’ve noticed that longer brushes tend to facilitate faster cleaning. If this appeals to you, consider a unit with a longer brush, such as the Roomba s9+.

Extras: I note if the vacuums included extras such as filters and side brush replacements, mop attachments, a cleaning tool, and more.   

Special features: All of the vacuums featured some method for scheduling and returning to their charging dock on their own, so those weren’t useful differentiators. Auto-dirt disposal, voice control, and home surveillance aren’t universal, so you may want to consider if those are important. (There’s more information on those and other features here.)

Why we don’t measure Pascal Pressure Unit

Best Robot Vacuums 2021

A robot vacuum’s suction power is measured in Pascal (Pa). Generally speaking, the higher the Pa, the better, but that’s a misleading metric of comparison. 

When I talked to engineers at iRobot about a year ago, they told me that there are several ways to measure suction power, but there are no industry standards. They viewed the reported Pa measurements as essentially useless, hence why it’s nearly impossible to find suction power for iRobot vacs. It’s also difficult to find the Pa for Ecovacs, though Eufy and Roborock report the measurements for their models.

Due to the inconsistent reporting from manufacturers, we don’t include Pa as a part of our testing methodology and criteria.

How to shop for a robot vacuum

Best Robot Vacuums 2021

While using a robot vacuum is easy enough, shopping for one can be overwhelming. Here are the main aspects to look for when considering which one to buy. 

Size: If you have furniture that’s hard to move or low-clearance pieces like sofas or bed frames, you’ll want to pay attention to the height of a robot vacuum; the other dimensions are usually within the range of reason for a normal household.

For example, I have several radiators in my house with a 3.5-inch clearance that slim vacuums can get under, while just-slim-enough models sometimes get stuck, and too-thick models bump up against and go elsewhere. If you want your robot vacuum to get under your low-clearance furniture, make sure you choose a model that is slim enough to do so. 

Features: It’s important to think about what features you actually need. For instance, if you work from home and are rarely away, HD cameras aren’t useful since you can keep tabs on your home with your own eyes. If your floors are covered with carpet, you don’t need your robot vac to mop. I also rarely use voice control out of personal habit, but if you use Alexa or Google Assistant for everything, then compatibility with those services is a must.

Extras: You can easily purchase extra filters or brushes for robot vacs, but we think having them included with the unit is better. All of our top picks include useful extras like brushes or dirt disposal bags.

Price: Robot vacuums go on sale often, and the discounts are steepest during Amazon Prime Day, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. We expect most of the models we recommend in this guide to go on sale, so it pays to wait until those sale days.

How to use a robot vacuum

Best Robot Vacuums 2021

Robot vacuums make keeping your house clean easier, but there’s still some regular maintenance needed to improve the performance and longevity and help your indoor air quality. 

Run your robot vac when no one is around: Andrea Ferro, Ph.D., a professor at Clarkson University and president of AAAR, and Dr. Luis Javier Peña-Hernández, a lung and sleep health specialist at PCSI, both recommend running your robot vacuum in unoccupied areas. The robot vacs can kick dust, pollutants, and microbes back into the air as it vacuums floors, which can lead to subpar indoor air quality. “Every vacuum, including a robot vacuum, has the potential to release some dust, particles, and allergens back into the air, but the benefits still outweigh the risks,” said Peña-Hernández. 

And run it regularly: Ferro and Peña-Hernández agree that you should run your robot vac at least once per week and more if you have pets and heavy-traffic areas. Ferro even suggests that daily cleaning isn’t a bad idea. I generally set my vacuums to run in the early morning before I wake up or when the level of my house where the vacuum is running will be unoccupied, especially since I live in a large house with three pets and no HVAC system.

Clean the dustbin and filter: If you’re regularly vacuuming your space, you’ll need to make sure to empty the dustbin and clean the filter. According to Peña-Hernández, you should clean the vacuum’s filter at least once a week, or twice a week if you have a pet.  

You’ll also need to replace the filter and brushes every few months. Manufacturers usually give guidelines in the vac’s user manual on how often you should replace these components. A good sign that it’s time to replace your filters or brushes is if they appear to be damaged or if your vac just isn’t doing as good of a job of cleaning as it once did. 

Fortunately, many models come with extra filters and brushes, but eventually, you’ll have to purchase replacements. Manufacturers usually link to their parts store in your robot vac’s app, but you can also usually find parts on Amazon, so it’s worth shopping around. Just make sure that you are buying the right parts for your model.

Use it in addition to a traditional vacuum:  Despite how far robot vacuums have come in the last decade, they won’t replace your stick and upright vacuums anytime soon.

Robot vacuum FAQs

Do you still need another vacuum if you have a robot vac?

While the dream is to set your robot vacuum on a schedule and have it do all the floor cleaning for you, it’s just not the reality at the moment. Robot vacuums don’t clean as much dirt and debris as upright vacuums. “I think you’d still need a stick or upright vacuum for spots that the robot vac can’t reach,” Ferro said.

Robot vacs function best as maintenance cleaners. Having them run a couple times a week will make your floors less gunky, especially if you have pets. But these vacuums also need babysitting. You need to clear their path of anything that might get tangled in their wheels, and some have trouble getting into or out of tight spaces. Their bins are fairly small, so you’ll need to empty them more regularly than an upright or stick version. 

Even squarish robot vacuums — as opposed to round ones — aren’t perfect at getting into corners. Some are too tall to fit under certain types of furniture. They obviously avoid stairs, too. Upright vacuums typically come with attachments that are useful for cleaning things like drapes or furniture, which robot vacs can’t handle. 

“Research indicates that robot vacuums are not meant to replace upright vacuums,” Peña-Hernández said. “That likely has to do with their smaller motor size. They’re good for touch-ups and in-between uses.”

When it comes to robot vacuums, expect maintenance not miracles.


How have robot vacuum cleaners improved?

Since iRobot’s first Roomba came on the market in the early 2000s, robot vacuum technology has improved a lot. You can now find square-ish models in addition to round ones, and the mapping technology is much better. 

Cameras and optical sensors can help with obstacle recognition, and LiDAR-based navigation uses lasers to detect objects. These capabilities aren’t perfect, but vacuums are now more adept at finding their way back to charging docks than they were even a few years ago. Another new feature is self-emptying bins, which suck the debris out of the robot and into a canister in the charging dock. 

Many robot vacuums are now smart, letting you start a cleaning session from an app or by asking a smart speaker. Some, like the iRobot Roomba s9+ Robot Vacuum, let you block off entire rooms in an app, so you don’t have to worry about them getting stuck on your kid’s clothing piles. With cameras and connectivity come some privacy concerns. 

Some interesting features aren’t universal, such as auto-dirt disposal and home surveillance. To get more guidance on these features, I spoke with Jill Notini, Vice President of Communications and Marketing for AHAM.

A few of the new features she’s excited about — and that are found in many if not all of the models in our guide — include:

  • Advanced navigation: “Many of today’s models have the ability to map a home and remember how to get around objects and stay out of tough spots. You can also program the robots to vacuum specific areas of the home.” You can also set no-go zones that the vacuum should avoid on your phone via the app.
  • Mopping ability: “Robots are evolving into floor care multitaskers,” said Notini. “In addition to vacuuming, some models now have the ability to mop, both wet and dry.”
  • Voice control: “Robotic vacuums can now respond to voice commands, either directly or through an outside system like Amazon Alexa.”
  • Remote operation: “You can start, stop, or control your robotic vacuum with your mobile device.”
  • Cameras: “Cameras have been incorporated into some models to help the robot map the room and allow you to get a robot’s eye view of cleaning and keep an eye on your house while you’re away.”
  • Fall prevention: “Even with all of the new features and technological advances, robotic vacuums still have not gained the ability to climb stairs. Many models now utilize sensors to prevent themselves from taking a tumble down the stairs or off a higher level.” All of the robots in our testing were able to sense cliffs and avoid falling down stairs.
  • Automatic dirt disposal: One of the most useful features that’s becoming more ubiquitous is the charging dock that automatically empties the vacuum’s dustbin. Even the largest bins need to be emptied with regular use, so it’s a maintenance task you’ll need to perform once a week — at best. But with the self-emptying dock, the chore is no longer necessary. You just throw away and replace the disposable dust bag every month or two.

Can a robot vacuum prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus?

The novel coronavirus is most easily spread through face-to-face interactions and in close quarters. If someone in your household has been sick — even if it’s not with COVID-19 — it’s recommended to clean and disinfect the area.  

“Currently, the CDC recommends that we take precautionary measures for vacuuming during the COVID-19 outbreak although there are no reported cases of COVID-19 associated with vacuuming,” Peña-Hernández said. “It recommends using a vacuum with a HEPA filter, opening outside doors and windows to increase air circulation, and not vacuuming areas with people in it.” 


How do you clean a robot vac?

Though robot vacuums automate cleaning your floors, they are not completely hands-off. There are several care and maintenance steps you should take to ensure your vac operates properly for many years to come. Manufacturers provide clear instructions for cleaning and maintaining your robot vacuum in the user manual or app. 

Here are some general maintenance tasks:

  • Empty the dustbin: Depending on how dirty your home is, you will want to empty your robot vacuum’s dustbin after every use. If you run your vac daily and don’t have pets, you can get away with doing this chore once a week.
  • Clean the filter and dustbin: This is a weekly task. Cleaning the filter is important because the vacuum doesn’t clean as well when the filter is dirty. You can clean most models’ filters and dustbins with water. I usually clean and thoroughly dry the dustbin while letting the filter air dry. While the filter is air drying, I insert the extra filter that most units come with. Whatever you do, make sure the filter and dustbin dry completely before you use them again.
  • Clean front wheel, brushes, sensors, and charging contacts: You should do this every two to four weeks. Most robot vacuums come with a cleaning tool with a brush on one end and a cutting blade on the other. Use these to cut out hairs that are wrapped around the brushes and wheel and brush away debris. Use a soft dry cloth to dust the sensors and charging contacts per the manufacturer’s instructions.

Additionally, after about two months of use, it’s time to replace the filter. The front caster wheel and brushes — both the main brush and side brushes — should be replaced every year or so.


Can you fix a robot vac?

This depends entirely on the problem. In my years of testing robot vacuums, I’ve probably run into every problem a robot vacuum can experience: falling down stairs (surprisingly uncommon), running through pet accidents, attempts at taking up crocheting, etc. I’ve learned that these machines are resilient. 

That said, any attempt to fix a problem with your robot vacuum should start with consulting customer service. After I determined there was no chance I could clean the pet waste off my robot vacuum, I reached out to the manufacturer. And, even though the warranty specifically states these accidents aren’t covered, they still provided me with a replacement unit for free. 

The most common problem I face is the vacuum finding my wife’s yarn and wrapping it around its wheels and brushes. When this happens, you can usually work the thread free if you’re patient. I usually just cut it free. 

The best deals on robot vacuums from this guide

A robot vacuum can make a huge difference in your life by cleaning messes for you with the touch of a button, but they can be pricey — at least on the surface. Every week, we see discounts on robot vacuums. However, the product category is so saturated that it can be difficult to determine which sales are bargains.

Robot vacuum deals during Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Amazon Prime Day are almost always worthwhile. During these events, we’ve seen our top pick, the iRobot Roomba i3+, drop by more than $200; our other picks also saw similar discounts. 

Below, we’ve listed some of the best deals available now on the robot vacuums our team of expert reviewers recommend.

Originally $1099.99 | Save 18%
Originally $1299.99 | Save 31%


Originally $399.99 | Save 25%
Originally $399.99 | Save 25%
Originally $399.99 | Save 25%


Originally $249.99 | Save 32%
Originally $279.99 | Save 39%


Read more about how the Insider Reviews team evaluates deals and why you should trust us.

Check out our guides to more great vacuum cleaners

best cordless vacuum 2021 dyson v11 outsize vacuum review

The best vacuums


The best affordable vacuum cleaners


The best cordless vacuums

Read the original article on Business Insider

The Game Awards 2021 honored the year’s best video games and debuted exclusive trailers — here’s who won

Prices are accurate at the time of publication.

When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Metroid Dread
Metroid Dread won Best Action/Adventure Game at The Game Awards 2021.

  • The Game Awards 2021 were livestreamed on December 9 from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
  • Awards were given in more than 25 categories and the show premiered new trailers for upcoming games.
  • The big winner of the night was It Takes Two, which took home the award for Game of the Year.

The Game Awards 2021 honored the year’s best video games and unveiled multiple world premiere trailers during a live ceremony at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. The event was livestreamed across multiple platforms and you can watch a replay of the show now on YouTube, Twitch, Twitter, and Facebook Live.

Electronic Arts’ cooperative adventure It Takes Two earned Best Multiplayer Game, Best Family Game, and Game of the Year, the show’s most prestigious award. Bethesda’s Deathloop won awards for Best Game Direction and Best Art Design. Other winners included the indie release Kena: Bridge of Spirits and Microsoft’s Forza Horizon 5.

The Game Awards featured debut trailers for tons of games, including Sonic Frontiers, starring Sonic the Hedgehog, a Wonder Woman game from Warner Bros., Star Wars Eclipse, a story-based adventure, and Alan Wake II, a sequel more than 10 years in the making. Highly anticipated titles like Elden Ring, Horizon Forbidden West, and Forspoken premiered new footage as well.

The Game Awards also included trailers for upcoming video game adaptations coming to theaters and TV. “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” showed off it’s first trailer and Paramount Plus offered a first look at the “Halo” TV series coming in 2022.

Awards were distributed across more than 20 categories, including Game of the Year, Best Game Direction, Best Narrative, and genre specific awards like Best Action Game and Best Fighting Game. You can find a full breakdown of nominees below. Winners in each category are marked in bold.

The Game Awards 2021 winners and nominees

Game of the Year

It Takes Two
Best Game Direction

Deathloop Bethesda
Best Narrative

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy game
Best Ongoing Game

Final Fantasy XIV Endwalker
  • Apex Legends (Respawn/EA)
  • Call of Duty: Warzone (Infinity Ward/Raven/Activision)
  • Final Fantasy XIV Online (Square Enix)
  • Fortnite (Epic Games)
  • Genshin Impact (MiHoYo)
Best Art Direction

The Artful Escape
Most Anticipated Game

Elden Ring
  • Elden Ring (FromSoftware/Bandai Namco)
  • God of War Ragnarök (Sony Santa Monica/SIE)
  • Horizon Forbidden West (Guerrilla Games/SIE)
  • Sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo)
  • Starfield (Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda)
Best Community Support

Apex Legends
Best Action/Adventure

Metroid Dread
Metroid Dread won Best Action/Adventure Game at The Game Awards 2021.

Best Role Playing

Monster Hunter Rise
Best Multiplayer

Back 4 Blood
  • Back 4 Blood (Turtle Rock/WB Games)
  • It Takes Two (Hazelight Studios/EA)
  • Knockout City (Velan Studios/EA)
  • Monster Hunter Rise (Capcom)
  • New World (Amazon Games)
  • Valheim (Iron Gate Studio/Coffee Stain)
Best Fighting Game

Guilty Gear Strive
Best Family Game

New Pokemon Snap
Best Sim/Strategy

Microsoft Flight Simulator
  • Age of Empires IV (Relic Entertainment/Xbox Game Studios)
  • Evil Genius 2: World Domination (Rebellion Developments)
  • Humankind (Amplitude Studios/Sega)
  • Inscryption (Daniel Mullins Games/Devolver)
  • Microsoft Flight Simulator (Asobo Studio/Xbox Game Studios)
Best Sports/Racing Game

FIFA 22
  • F1 2021 (Codemasters/EA Sports)
  • FIFA 22 (EA Vancouver/EA Sports)
  • Forza Horizon 5 (Playground Games/Xbox Game Studios)
  • Hot Wheels Unleashed (Milestone)
  • Riders Republic (Ubisoft Annecy/Ubisoft)
Best Action

Retunal
  • Back 4 Blood (Turtle Rock/WB Games)
  • Chivalry II (Torn Banner Studios/Tripwire Interactive)
  • Deathloop (Arkane Studios/Bethesda)
  • Far Cry 6 (Ubisoft Toronto/Ubisoft)
  • Returnal (Housemarque/SIE)
Best VR/AR

Resident Evil 4 VR
  • Hitman 3 (IO Interactive)
  • I Expect You To Die 2 (Schell Games)
  • Lone Echo II (Ready at Dawn/Oculus Studios)
  • Resident Evil 4 (Armature Studio/Capcom/Oculus Studios)
  • Sniper Elite VR (Coatsink/Just Add Water/Rebellion Developments)
Best Mobile Game

Pokemon Unite
  • Fantasian (Mistwalker)
  • Genshin Impact (MiHoYo)
  • League of Legends: Wild Rift (Riot Games)
  • Marvel Future Revolution (Netmarble)
  • Pokemon Unite (TiMi Studios/The Pokemon Company)
Best Indie

Kena Bridge of Spirits
  • 12 Minutes (Luis Antonio/Annapurna Interactive)
  • Death’s Door (Acid Nerve/Devolver Digital)
  • Kena: Bridge of Spirits (Ember Lab)
  • Inscryption (Daniel Mullins Games/Devolver Digital)
  • Loop Hero (Four Quarters/Devolver Digital)
Best Debut Indie

Sable
  • Kena: Bridge of Spirits (Ember Lab)
  • Sable (Shedworks/Raw Fury)
  • The Artful Escape (Beethoven & Dinosaur/Annapurna)
  • The Forgotten City (Modern Storyteller/Dear Villagers)
  • Valheim (Iron Gate/Coffee Stain)
Games for Impact

No Longer Home
  • Before Your Eyes (GoodbyeWorld Games/Skybound Games)
  • Boyfriend Dungeon (Kitfox Games)
  • Chicory (Greg Lobanow, Alexis Dean-Jones, Lena Raine, Madeline Berger, A Shell in the Pit/Finji)
  • Life is Strange: True Colors (Deck Nine/Square Enix)
  • No Longer Home (Humble Grove, Hana Lee, Cel Davison, Adrienne Lombardo, Eli Rainsberry/Fellow Traveler)
Best Performance

Resident Evil Village Capcom
Maggie Robertson’s Lady Dimitrescu in Resident Evil Village

  • Erika Mori as Alex Chen, Life is Strange: True Colors
  • Giancarlo Esposito as Anton Castillo, Far Cry 6
  • Jason E. Kelley as Colt Vahn, Deathloop
  • Maggie Robertson as Lady Dimitrescu, Resident Evil Village
  • Ozioma Akagha as Julianna Blake, Deathloop

 

Best Score and Music

Cyberpunk2077_Hello_stranger_RGB en
Cyberpunk 2077.

  • Cyberpunk 2077 (Marcin Przybylowicz, Piotr T. Adamczyk, composers)
  • Deathloop (Tom Salta, composer)
  • NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139 (Keiichi Okabe, composer)
  • Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy (Richard Jacques, composer)
  • The Artful Escape (Johnny Galvatron & Josh Abrahams, composers)
Best Audio Design

Forza Horizon 5

 

Innovation in Accessibility

Ratchet Clank Rift Apart
Best Esports Game

League of Legends Riot Games
  • Call of Duty (Activision)
  • CS:GO (Valve)
  • DOTA2 (Valve)
  • League of Legends (Riot Games)
  • Valorant (Riot Games)
Best Esports Team

Four Atlanta FaZe players in Black standing in a row under falling yellow confetti. The middle two players are lifting the trophy.
FaZe Clan’s “Call of Duty” team Atlanta FaZe after winning the 2021 “Call of Duty” League Championship.

  • Atlanta FaZe (COD)
  • DWG KIA (LOL)
  • Natus Vincere (CS:GO)
  • Sentinels (Valorant)
  • Team Spirit (DOTA2)
Best Esports Event

Five people in black jerseys surround and lift up a silver metal trophy.
Edward Gaming (EDG) after winning the 2021 “League of Legends” World Championship

  • 2021 League of Legends World Championship
  • PGL Major Stockholm 2021
  • PUBG Mobile Global Championship 2020
  • The International 2021
  • Valorant Champions Tour: Stage 2 Masters
Best Esports Coach

  • Airat “Silent” Gaziev
  • Andrey “ENGH” Sholokhov
  • Andrii “B1ad3” Horodenskyi
  • JamesCrowderCrowder
  • Kim “kkOma” Jeong-gyun
Best Esports Athlete

  • Chris “Simp” Lehr
  • Heo “ShowMaker” Su 
  • Magomed “Collapse” Khalilov
  • Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev
  • Tyson “TenZ” Ngo
Content Creator of the Year

  • Dream
  • Fuslie
  • Gaules
  • Ibai
  • TheGrefg
Read the original article on Business Insider

The 16 best Christmas movies on Disney Plus — from ‘The Santa Clause’ to ‘Home Alone’

Prices are accurate at the time of publication.

When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

The best Christmas movies to watch on Disney+ 4x3
  • Disney Plus has an expansive list of Christmas movies available to stream for the holidays.
  • Highlights range from animated classics, like “A Christmas Carol,” to family favorites like “Home Alone.”
  • Disney Plus costs $8 a month or $80 a year, and you can buy an annual plan as a gift.

Whether you’re gathering with friends or family, or just curling up with a cozy blanket on the couch, Disney Plus has a wholesome selection of holiday movies to entertain you this season.

The service costs $8 a month or $80 a year, and you can even buy an annual membership as a gift. If you haven’t purchased Disney Plus yet, we broke down everything you need to know about the streaming service in our full Disney Plus guide.  

To help you choose which titles to stream,  we gathered 16 of our favorite Christmas movies available to watch with a Disney Plus membership. The selection includes something for audiences of every age and taste, from live-action classics to animated feature films.

Here are the top 16 Christmas movies currently streaming on Disney Plus.

‘Home Alone’

Home Alone

Watch “Home Alone” on Disney Plus

Kevin may be forgettable to his family, but “Home Alone” is unforgettable to its fans. Watch the shenanigans that unfold when a young boy’s parents accidentally leaves him at home during their family’s Christmas vacation.

In addition to the original movie, the entire “Home Alone” franchise is available on Disney Plus. You can also view “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York,” “Home Alone 3,” and the brand-new entry “Home Sweet Home Alone.”

‘A Christmas Carol’ (2009)

A movie poster for "A Christmas Carol"

Watch “A Christmas Carol” on Disney Plus

A CG animated rendition of the classic holiday story, the 2009 “A Christmas Carol” stars Jim Carrey as Ebenezer Scrooge. The movie uses 3D animation and motion capture to bring the characters and plot to life, making it a fun choice for audiences of any age.

‘Jingle All The Way’

A movie poster for 'Jingle All The Way'

Watch “Jingle All The Way” on Disney Plus

This ’90s family flick starring Arnold Schwarzenegger tells the story of a dad’s determination to get the perfect gift for his son. Though far from a critical favorite, it’s a fun comedy to stream with the kids, or even to watch alone if you’re just feeling a little nostalgic.

‘Noelle’

Noelle

Watch “Noelle” on Disney Plus

This Disney Plus original from 2019 is the perfect opportunity to start a new family holiday tradition. “Noelle” follows the story of Kris Kringle’s daughter (Anna Kendrick) as she searches for her brother (Bill Hader), Nick, in an attempt to save Christmas. 

‘Annie’ (1999)

Annie

Watch “Annie” on Disney Plus

While the original film version of “Annie” may not be a Christmas movie, the 1999 edition follows everyone’s favorite redheaded orphan as she spends Christmas in Oliver Warbucks’ luxury mansion. I grew up watching this version of “Annie,” so I’m a bit biased, but dare I say it’s better than the original. Plus, this version features plenty of musical theatre stars, including Audra McDonald, Alan Cumming, Kristin Chenoweth, Victor Garber, and Kathy Bates. 

‘The Santa Clause’

The Santa Clause

Watch “The Santa Clause” on Disney Plus

Have you ever wondered what life would be like if your dad turned into Santa? “The Santa Clause” has your answer. Just like “Home Alone,” Disney Plus also features “Santa Clause 2” and “Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause,” creating the perfect movie marathon. 

‘Frozen’

frozen olaf's adventure

Watch “Frozen” on Disney Plus

Contrary to Elsa’s belief, the cold definitely bothered me anyway. However, “Frozen” is a heartwarming family film to remedy even the coldest of winter days. When Elsa’s powers unintentionally freeze the city of Arendelle, she and her sister Anna strive to save the city from an endless winter.

The 2019 sequel, “Frozen II,” is also available to stream, as is the 2017 spinoff short film, “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure,” which specifically takes place during the Christmas season.

‘Lego Star Wars Holiday Special’

Best Christmas movies on Disney+ Star Wars

Watch “Lego Star Wars Holiday Special” on Disney Plus

“Star Wars” fans old and new will appreciate this walk down memory lane for the franchise. In an effort to learn more about the Force, Rey joins BB-8 on a journey that highlights epic moments of “Star Wars” history. 

‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’

Christmas movies Disney+ The Nightmare Before Christmas

Watch “The Nightmare Before Christmas” on Disney Plus

Though some may say this spooky special is technically a Halloween movie, it does have Christmas in the title. Watch as Jack Skellington’s attempt to hijack Christmas goes awry in this Tim Burton classic.

‘High School Musical: The Musical: The Holiday Special’

high school musical holiday special

Watch “High School Musical: The Musical: The Holiday Special” on Disney Plus

On Disney Plus, the ever-popular “High School Musical” franchise has been revived with a gen-z twist: The Disney Plus series profiles fictional attendees of the infamous high school that’s home to the original film. The holiday special spotlights several of the key players from “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” as they discuss their own holiday traditions and perform their favorite songs of the season.

‘The Mistle-Tones’

The Mistle-Tones

Watch “The Mistle-Tones” on Disney Plus

Christmas movies are fun in any capacity, but especially so when Christmas music is involved! Watch along as two Christmas singing groups compete in a sing-off. 

‘Mickey’s Christmas Carol’

Mickey's Christmas Carol

Watch “Mickey’s Christmas Carol” on Disney Plus

It’s hard to be a Scrooge while watching anything that Mickey’s involved in. This version of “A Christmas Carol” sticks to the usual storyline, but the Disney twist makes it both fun and family-friendly. 

”Twas the Night’

'Twas The Night

Watch “‘Twas the Night” on Disney Plus

Disney Channel original movies are at the heart of Disney Plus nostalgia. Such is the case with “‘Twas the Night,” which profiles a boy and his uncle (played by Bryan Cranston) as they try to assume Santa’s role on Christmas Eve. 

‘The Ultimate Christmas Present’

The Ultimate Christmas Present

Watch “The Ultimate Christmas Present” on Disney Plus

This is the perfect Christmas movie for West Coasters who dream of a snowy holiday season. Two LA-based friends team up to create a snow day for their school, but they have to think on their feet when the machine goes awry. 

‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’

The Muppet Christmas Carol

Watch “The Muppet Christmas Carol” on Disney Plus

The Muppet Movie” was a favorite of mine growing up, so I was thrilled to see the Christmas iteration available on Disney Plus. Similar to Mickey’s take on the classic, this movie takes the same plot as the original version of “A Christmas Carol,” but Kermit and Miss Piggy add a bit of extra fun. 

‘Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas’

Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas

Watch “Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas” on Disney Plus

Nothing brings the holiday joy quite like Mickey, Minnie, and the whole Disney gang. Watch them reminisce on their favorite Christmas stories in “Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas.” The sequel, “Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas,” is also available for the whole family to enjoy. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

The Game Awards 2021 will honor the year’s best video games and debut exclusive trailers — here’s how to watch live on December 9

Prices are accurate at the time of publication.

When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Metroid Dread
Metroid Dread is one of six nominees for Game of the Year at the 2021 Game Awards.

  • The Game Awards 2021 will be livestreamed on December 9 at 8 p.m. ET from Los Angeles.
  • There are 30 award categories and you can expect debut trailers for upcoming video games and movies.
  • You can watch The Game Awards on multiple platforms including YouTube, Twitch, Twitter and Facebook.

The Game Awards 2021 will honor the year’s best video games and unveil multiple world premiere trailers for upcoming games and movies during a live ceremony at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. The event will be streamed online starting at 8 p.m. ET across multiple platforms, including YouTube, Twitch, Twitter, Facebook Live, and more.

While most of the special announcements will be kept secret until The Game Awards begin, you can expect trailers for Rocksteady’s Suicide Squad game, a debut trailer for the “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” movie, and a first look at the “Halo” TV series coming to Paramount Plus in 2022. Fans are still speculating on what announcements we’ll see from major publishers like Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft.

How to watch The Game Awards 2021

You can watch The Game Awards 2021 live on many different streaming and social platforms, including YouTube, Twitch, Twitter, and Facebook Live. The show is set to begin at 8 p.m. ET. Visit the official website for a full list of places where you can watch the stream, and international start times. The stream is free to watch on all platforms. You can find the YouTube feed embedded below.

Awards will be distributed across more than 20 categories, including Game of the Year, Best Game Direction, Best Narrative, and genre specific awards like Best Action Game and Best Fighting Game. Gamers can vote for their picks in each category, but the winners are ultimately decided by a jury panel of more than 100 members, with fan votes accounting for 10 percent of the final decision. 

Along with celebrating the best video games of 2021, The Game Awards will feature live musical performances by Sting, Imagine Dragons, and the Game Awards orchestra, as well as celebrity appearances from Keanu Reeves, Jim Carrey, Giancarlo Esposito, and more.

The Game Awards 2021 nominees

Game of the Year

Deathloop Juliana
Best Game Direction

It Takes Two
Best Narrative

Life is Strange True Colors
Best Ongoing Game

Final Fantasy XIV Endwalker
  • Apex Legends (Respawn/EA)
  • Call of Duty: Warzone (Infinity Ward/Raven/Activision)
  • Final Fantasy XIV Online (Square Enix)
  • Fortnite (Epic Games)
  • Genshin Impact (MiHoYo)
Best Art Direction

The Artful Escape
Most Anticipated Game

Elden Ring
  • Elden Ring (FromSoftware/Bandai Namco)
  • God of War Ragnarök (Sony Santa Monica/SIE)
  • Horizon Forbidden West (Guerrilla Games/SIE)
  • Sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo)
  • Starfield (Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda)
Best Community Support

Apex Legends
Best Action/Adventure

Metroid Dread
Metroid Dread is one of six nominees for Game of the Year at the 2021 Game Awards.

Best Role Playing

Monster Hunter Rise
Best Multiplayer

Back 4 Blood
  • Back 4 Blood (Turtle Rock/WB Games)
  • It Takes Two (Hazelight Studios/EA)
  • Knockout City (Velan Studios/EA)
  • Monster Hunter Rise (Capcom)
  • New World (Amazon Games)
  • Valheim (Iron Gate Studio/Coffee Stain)
Best Fighting Game

Guilty Gear Strive
Best Family Game

New Pokemon Snap
Best Sim/Strategy

Microsoft Flight Simulator
  • Age of Empires IV (Relic Entertainment/Xbox Game Studios)
  • Evil Genius 2: World Domination (Rebellion Developments)
  • Humankind (Amplitude Studios/Sega)
  • Inscryption (Daniel Mullins Games/Devolver)
  • Microsoft Flight Simulator (Asobo Studio/Xbox Game Studios)
Best Sports/Racing Game

FIFA 22
  • F1 2021 (Codemasters/EA Sports)
  • FIFA 22 (EA Vancouver/EA Sports)
  • Forza Horizon 5 (Playground Games/Xbox Game Studios)
  • Hot Wheels Unleashed (Milestone)
  • Riders Republic (Ubisoft Annecy/Ubisoft)
Best Action

Retunal
  • Back 4 Blood (Turtle Rock/WB Games)
  • Chivalry II (Torn Banner Studios/Tripwire Interactive)
  • Deathloop (Arkane Studios/Bethesda)
  • Far Cry 6 (Ubisoft Toronto/Ubisoft)
  • Returnal (Housemarque/SIE)
Best VR/AR

Resident Evil 4 VR
  • Hitman 3 (IO Interactive)
  • I Expect You To Die 2 (Schell Games)
  • Lone Echo II (Ready at Dawn/Oculus Studios)
  • Resident Evil 4 (Armature Studio/Capcom/Oculus Studios)
  • Sniper Elite VR (Coatsink/Just Add Water/Rebellion Developments)
Best Mobile Game

Pokemon Unite
  • Fantasian (Mistwalker)
  • Genshin Impact (MiHoYo)
  • League of Legends: Wild Rift (Riot Games)
  • Marvel Future Revolution (Netmarble)
  • Pokemon Unite (TiMi Studios/The Pokemon Company)
Best Indie

Kena Bridge of Spirits
  • 12 Minutes (Luis Antonio/Annapurna Interactive)
  • Death’s Door (Acid Nerve/Devolver Digital)
  • Kena: Bridge of Spirits (Ember Lab)
  • Inscryption (Daniel Mullins Games/Devolver Digital)
  • Loop Hero (Four Quarters/Devolver Digital)
Best Debut Indie

Sable
  • Kena: Bridge of Spirits (Ember Lab)
  • Sable (Shedworks/Raw Fury)
  • The Artful Escape (Beethoven & Dinosaur/Annapurna)
  • The Forgotten City (Modern Storyteller/Dear Villagers)
  • Valheim (Iron Gate/Coffee Stain)
Games for Impact

No Longer Home
  • Before Your Eyes (GoodbyeWorld Games/Skybound Games)
  • Boyfriend Dungeon (Kitfox Games)
  • Chicory (Greg Lobanow, Alexis Dean-Jones, Lena Raine, Madeline Berger, A Shell in the Pit/Finji)
  • Life is Strange: True Colors (Deck Nine/Square Enix)
  • No Longer Home (Humble Grove, Hana Lee, Cel Davison, Adrienne Lombardo, Eli Rainsberry/Fellow Traveler)
Best Performance

Resident Evil Village Capcom
Maggie Robertson’s Lady Dimitrescu in Resident Evil Village

  • Erika Mori as Alex Chen, Life is Strange: True Colors
  • Giancarlo Esposito as Anton Castillo, Far Cry 6
  • Jason E. Kelley as Colt Vahn, Deathloop
  • Maggie Robertson as Lady Dimitrescu, Resident Evil Village
  • Ozioma Akagha as Julianna Blake, Deathloop

 

Best Score and Music

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy game
  • Cyberpunk 2077 (Marcin Przybylowicz, Piotr T. Adamczyk, composers)
  • Deathloop (Tom Salta, composer)
  • NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139 (Keiichi Okabe, composer)
  • Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy (Richard Jacques, composer)
  • The Artful Escape (Johnny Galvatron & Josh Abrahams, composers)
Best Audio Design

Forza Horizon 5

 

Innovation in Accessibility

Ratchet Clank Rift Apart
Best Esports Game

League of Legends Riot Games
  • Call of Duty (Activision)
  • CS:GO (Valve)
  • DOTA2 (Valve)
  • League of Legends (Riot Games)
  • Valorant (Riot Games)
Best Esports Team

Four Atlanta FaZe players in Black standing in a row under falling yellow confetti. The middle two players are lifting the trophy.
FaZe Clan’s “Call of Duty” team Atlanta FaZe after winning the 2021 “Call of Duty” League Championship.

  • Atlanta FaZe (COD)
  • DWG KIA (LOL)
  • Natus Vincere (CS:GO)
  • Sentinels (Valorant)
  • Team Spirit (DOTA2)
Best Esports Event

Five people in black jerseys surround and lift up a silver metal trophy.
Edward Gaming (EDG) after winning the 2021 “League of Legends” World Championship

  • 2021 League of Legends World Championship
  • PGL Major Stockholm 2021
  • PUBG Mobile Global Championship 2020
  • The International 2021
  • Valorant Champions Tour: Stage 2 Masters
Best Esports Coach

  • Airat “Silent” Gaziev
  • Andrey “ENGH” Sholokhov
  • Andrii “B1ad3” Horodenskyi
  • JamesCrowderCrowder
  • Kim “kkOma” Jeong-gyun
Best Esports Athlete

  • Chris “Simp” Lehr
  • Heo “ShowMaker” Su 
  • Magomed “Collapse” Khalilov
  • Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev
  • Tyson “TenZ” Ngo
Content Creator of the Year

  • Dream
  • Fuslie
  • Gaules
  • Ibai
  • TheGrefg
Read the original article on Business Insider

‘And Just Like That…’ follows the beloved characters of ‘Sex and the City’ in their 50s — here’s how to watch the premiere

Prices are accurate at the time of publication.

When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

and just like that... sex and the city reboot poster
The cast of “And Just Like That…”

  • “Sex and the City” is back with a new miniseries called “And Just Like That…”
  • The new show follows three characters from the original series as they go through life in their 50s.
  • You can stream “And Just Like That…” starting December 9 on HBO Max ($10/month).

“And Just Like That…” presents a continuation of the beloved show “Sex and the City.” The series is coming to HBO Max on December 9 with a two-episode premiere. HBO Max costs $10 a month for ad-supported streaming, or $15 a month for an ad-free experience. 

The show follows three of the original series’ characters: Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), and Charlotte (Kristin Davis). Samantha, originally played by Kim Cattrall, will not be returning for the new show. Just as “Sex and the City” detailed the day-to-day life and struggles of women in their 30s, “And Just Like That…” picks up years later by focusing on the daily lives of Carrie, Miranda, and Charlotte in their 50s. 

The original show premiered on HBO in 1998 and saw enough success to run for six seasons through 2004. There are even two “Sex and the City” movies. The first film was released in 2008 and the sequel hit screens in 2010.

How to watch ‘And Just Like That…’

You can watch “And Just Like That…” on HBO Max starting December 9. The first two episodes will debut together, and the following episodes will be released on a weekly basis every Thursday. The show will include a total of 10 episodes. 

You can subscribe to HBO Max for $10 a month. This base plan offers access to “And Just Like That…” and the rest of the service’s library of shows. On the downside, the $10 plan includes ads and does not include Warner Bros same-day movie premieres. To skip the commercials and see movies as they drop, you’ll need to pay for the $15 a month ad-free plan. 

If you’re hoping to try HBO Max for free before buying your subscription, your only hope is to go through Hulu. Hulu subscribers can claim a seven-day trial of HBO Max as an add-on service. The trial is only available to members who are new to HBO Max. 

You can watch “And Just Like That” or any other HBO Max content through your web browser or with the HBO Max app. The app is available on most smartphones, Xbox consoles, PlayStation consoles, tablets, and smart TVs. You can find a complete list of compatible devices on the HBO Max website

What else can I watch on HBO Max?

If you want to catch up on old episodes of “Sex and the City” before streaming the sequel series, you can stream all six seasons of the original show right now on HBO Max. Both “Sex and the City” theatrical movies are also available to stream.

More upcoming HBO Max Originals include “Peacemaker,” a series focused on John Cena’s character from “The Suicide Squad,” and “Finding Magic Mike,” a competition show in which 10 average Joes are pushed to find their inner magic. 

If you’re subscribed to the ad-free plan, you can also look forward to the release of “The Matrix Resurrections” on December 22. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 6 best mechanical keyboards of 2021 for faster typing and better gaming

Prices are accurate at the time of publication.

When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Collage of the best mechanical keyboards, including Logitech, Razer, and HyperX 4x3

Mechanical keyboards use a physical switch under each key rather than a membrane or rubber dome. Besides offering a satisfying “clicky” feel, mechanical keyboards are more accurate for fast typists.

People who type fewer than 150 words per minute won’t see much of an improvement by ditching the membrane keyboard, says Tom Gilmore, the technology education coordinator at Free Geek, an electronic recycling and refurbishing nonprofit. But fast typists will gain more accuracy. “The robust construction of each switch also lends itself to being much more durable in terms of the number of times that a key can be pressed before it wears out,” he adds.

The feel of the switch is a matter of preference, so mechanical switches come in different variations. Besides the amount of pressure required to push each switch, the different types of keys also have a different feel and noise to them.

As a writer, I regularly type for several hours a day. The wrong keyboard can quickly introduce more typos and cause wrist and shoulder strain. To find the best mechanical keyboard, I consulted experts, fellow Insider writers, and dozens of professional reviews on the top-ranked options. I then tested nine of the top-ranked mechanical keyboards, spending several hours typing on each one. Learn more about how Insider Reviews tests and researches tech products.

Here are the best mechanical keyboards you can buy:

Best mechanical keyboard overall: Logitech G915 TKL, $174.64 on Amazon
The Logitech G915 TKL features many tools and tricks that are rare in mechanical keyboards, and it’s easily usable for both office typing and PC gaming.

Best cheap mechanical keyboard: HyperX Alloy Origins 60, $79.99 on Amazon
The HyperX Alloy Origins may be a gaming keyboard, but it is a small, $100 keyboard with a design and build quality that suggests a much steeper price.

Best mechanical keyboard for gaming: Razer Huntsman Elite, $129.99 on Amazon
The Razer Huntsman Elite is designed for hardcore gamers who need the most speed as well as the most fine-tune control.

Best full-size mechanical keyboard: Logitech G513, $129.99 on Best Buy
The Logitech G513 is a premium, fast, and reliable mechanical keyboard that’s well priced for most people.

Best tenkeyless mechanical keyboard: SteelSeries Apex 7 TKL, $114.99 at Walmart
The SteelSeries Apex 7 TKL features quality materials, is comfy to type on, and it’s generally approachable in price in terms of full-size.

Best quiet mechanical keyboard: Das Keyboard 4 Professional, $169.00 on Amazon
With designs for Mac and Windows, the Das Keyboard 4 Professional is a comfortable, all-around performer.

Best mechanical keyboard overall

Logitech G915 Mechanical Keyboard — best mechanical keyboard overall
Originally $229.99 | Save 24%
Originally $229.99 | Save 22%


The Logitech G915 TKL includes several features that are difficult to find on mechanical keyboards, plus it’s versatile enough to work for office use or gaming.

Pros: Wireless connectivity, long battery life, great low profile keys, excellent build quality, fast response

Cons: Pricey, some users may prefer taller keys, no included wrist rest

Mechanical keyboards are power-hungry, which makes the wireless connectivity so common in membrane keyboards difficult to find. The Logitech G915 TKL Lightspeed wireless mechanical keyboard, however, has enough battery to last through a full workweek of typing. While that makes it the best wireless mechanical keyboard that I tested, the other features, like low profile keys and a durable build, make it my favorite overall keyboard of those I tested. 

The low-profile keys on the G915 feel more like a cross between the smooth keys of my Macbook and the clicky feedback of a mechanical keyboard. The keys aren’t the traditional big and chunky kind, sitting at about half the typical height. Despite the size, there’s a definite click and tactile feedback to them. While some users may prefer the larger keys, I liked the smooth, yet tactile feeling of using this keyboard. I also prefer the Tenkeyless design, which keeps hands more centered, rather than hunched to one side of the keyboard. 

There are two ways to connect the keyboard. Logitech says that it’s Lightspeed Wireless technology allows for a response in 1 millisecond. I don’t notice any lag while typing, and while some gamers may still prefer the speed of a physical connection, that’s fast enough for the keyboard to cross over from the office to gaming. The Lightspeed wireless requires a USB dongle, but Bluetooth connectivity is also available (just not at 1 millisecond) so you can use the keyboard without taking up any USB ports or on compatible mobile devices.

The G915 TKL is well-built. The top plate is a beautiful brushed metal, while the bottom has two different kickstands of varied heights The keyboard also houses a nice metal scroll wheel for volume, media keys, buttons to switch between Bluetooth and wireless connection. The backlighting, which can be customized with software, can be turned off with a quick key at the top. Lights at the top indicate when the battery is getting low and when caps lock is activated. 

While the Logitech G915 TKL is a great keyboard, it’s one of the pricier options. Users that want a mechanical keyboard because they like taller keys will also want to choose another option on this list. 

Best cheap mechanical keyboard

HyperX Alloy Origins 60 Mechanical Keyboard — best cheap mechanical keyboard
Originally $99.99 | Save 20%
Originally $99.99 | Save 20%


The HyperX Alloy Origins is a compact, $100 keyboard with a build quality that feels like it costs much more.

Pros: Sturdy aluminum body, great clicky feel, arrow shortcuts are still easy to use, fast response for gaming

Cons: Some users will miss those arrow and number keys, lacks a wrist rest

Mechanical keyboards tend to be much pricier than their membrane siblings. But if you don’t mind giving up some number and arrow keys, you can get a great mechanical keyboard for $100. The HyperX Alloy Origins 60 doesn’t feel cheap, with an aluminum body that easily bests some of the pricier full-sized keyboards. If you are looking for an affordable mechanical keyboard, look closely at the HyperX Alloy Origins 60. 

Despite the lower price, it still builds in RGB lighting, which can be customized using software. Designed for gamers who want to maximize desk space, the HyperX Alloy Origins also feels very responsive with its USB connection. It’s also more portable, both because of the 60 percent size and the USB-C cord being removable to slip more easily into a computer bag. 

A 60% keyboard does away with the numberpad like a tenkeyless but goes one step further and removes the arrow, function, and command keys to the right of the Enter key on a typical keyboard. This keyboard makes up for those missing keys via shortcuts. For example, you need to press the Fn key and the ? key for the up arrow. These shortcuts are labeled and still easy to press with one hand.

I like the overall feel, durability, and compact size of the HyperX Alloy Origins. It’s impressive for a $100 keyboard. While the 60% design isn’t for everyone, the smaller profile may be worth considering for maximizing desk space, centering the keyboard for better ergonomics, or simply getting that lower price point.

Best mechanical keyboard for gaming

Razer Huntsman Elite mechanical keyboard — best mechanical keyboard for gaming
Originally $199.99 | Save 35%
Originally $129.99 | Save 23%


The Razer Huntsman Elite is made for serious gamers who need the most speed.

Pros: Fast response, comfortable wrist rest, great clicky feel, media controls

Cons: Pricey

Razer added an optical sensor to each switch on the Huntsman series, replacing the traditional mechanical switches. You get the feel of a mechanical keyboard but at a much faster speed with the Razer Huntsman Elite. But, besides the speed, it also has a super-comfortable wrist rest, media controls, and a great overall feel.

Available with linear or clicky switches, the keyboard uses switches designed by Razer rather than  third-party switches, like Cherry MX. Razer says the switch has a shorter actuation distance than other similar switches. That means you don’t need to press the keys far. Though it’s a gaming keyboard, it’s also great for general typing. The plush wrist rest makes this keyboard comfortable for a long day of writing.

The Huntsman Elite offers a full set of keys, including extra controls for media and a custom dial. It allows gamers to create custom macros quickly and easily switch between modes. The Elite has custom backlighting and can save five user profiles — plus more can be saved in cloud storage. The keyboard is constructed with an aluminum top plate, giving it a more durable feel. It’s pricey, but you can instead get those fast switches in models with a smaller design and fewer features, such as the Huntsman Mini.

Best full-size mechanical keyboard

best keyboard logitech g513

The Logitech G513 is a well-built, responsive mechanical keyboard that’s reasonably priced.

The Logitech G513 is a slightly older model, but it delivers some flagship-like features without the price. The keyboard has a good, chunky tactile feel for the price. I tested the version with Blue switches, which have a great click to them. The G513 is a full-sized keyboard with a number pad, though it lacks extras like media playback controls.

Using Logitech’s own tactile, clicky, or linear switches , the keys have a bit of a different feel than the common Cherry MX options. I like the feel and click of the GX Blue switches. But, if you are looking for a quieter mechanical keyboard, try this keyboard with the quieter GX Brown switch option. While it’s not a top-of-the-line model, the keys are also quick enough for gamers to consider this keyboard.

Customization options include both the function keys and per-key RGB lighting. The keyboard includes a USB pass-through port, but you don’t gain an extra spot to plug in peripherals because the keyboard needs two USB ports to enable that “extra” port.

Best tenkeyless mechanical keyboard

SteelSeries Apex 7 TKL - best tenkeyless mechanical keyboard
Originally $129.99 | Save 2%


The SteelSeries Apex 7 TKL is well-built, comfortable, and affordable.

Pros: Affordable, compact, built-in OLED display, responsive

Cons: USB cord isn’t long enough for ports on opposite sides of a laptop

The SteelSeries Apex 7 TKL sits at a happy medium between price and features. Retailing for about $130, it still includes a durable build, great clicky keys, and even a built-in OLED screen. It’s a good option for those looking for the smaller TKL size but at a more affordable price then the wireless Logitech G915 TKL. 

I tested this keyboard with the red switches. The keys have a great feel to them. There’s both tactile feedback and an auditory click that allows me to type quickly with relatively few mistakes. I didn’t care for the space key, which was significantly louder and firmer than the rest of the keys.  

Considered a gaming keyboard, it’s also quite responsive and customizable. There’s a mini display at the top that can be used to show settings and profiles. The screen settings, as well as the colored backlighting, can be customized with software. Besides the screen, this small keyboard doesn’t go overboard on extras. There’s a handy little volume wheel and a button to select options on that mini screen.

The Apex 7 TKL still leaves room for a USB pass through. However, you’ll need to plug in the keyboard to two USB outlets, so the pass through allows you to just gain one of them back. Unfortunately, the split portion of the USB cord isn’t long enough to use with my MacBook Pro, which places the second USB port on the opposite side. You’ll want a device that has two USB ports on the same side in order to be able to use all the features and plug in both USB ports.

Best quiet mechanical keyboard

Das Keyboard 4 Professional — best quiet mechanical keyboard

With designs for Mac and Windows, the Das Keyboard 4 Professional is a comfortable, all-around performer.

Pros: Quieter switches, classic layout, media buttons, two USB pass through ports

Cons: More plasticky build, no backlighting

Read our full Das Keyboard 4 Professional review

With a classic layout, a sturdy build, and a click that isn’t overly loud, the Das Keyboard 4 Professional is an excellent yet versatile mechanical keyboard. The Das Keyboard 4 comes in a PC or a Mac version, so keys like command and Windows will be properly labeled for your system. It’s a full-size, 104-key layout with a numeric pad and the addition of a nice-sized volume dial and a few media keys.

The version with Cherry MX Brown keys offers that mechanical feedback without annoying anyone that happens to be nearby. This keyboard is one of the quietest mechanical keyboards that I tested. However, there is still a small click — if you want something super quiet, membrane keyboards are still going to lead the way.

The full-sized keyboard will take up more room on your desk. But my favorite feature is that it only takes up one USB port yet offers two USB pass-through ports on the body of the keyboard itself. If you want a keyboard that actually gives you one more USB than you already have (rather than simply replacing the one that it’s occupying), the Das Keyboard 4 Professional is a good option.

While it feels great and is quiet, the build is a bit more plastic than some of the other options that I tried. It doesn’t have any sort of backlighting, and the small white letters are a little harder to see than the colorful backlit ones. But for the mix of comfortable typing, system-specific layouts, and build quality, the Das Keyboard 4 Professional stands out.

How to choose a mechanical keyboard

Key type plays a big role in the overall feel of the keyboard in your hands. Mechanical keys come in three main types, Free Geek’s Tom Gilmore explains:

  • Linear switches are a simple switch type. When you press a key, a circuit is completed, which is what gets that signal to the computer.
  • Tactile switches add a bump to a linear switch. This creates tactile feedback so you can physically feel that the key has been fully pressed.
  • Clicky switches are tactile switches but with auditory feedback as well. As the name suggests, you get a louder click with this switch type.

There’s more than just the basic switch type. Different types of switches will also vary depending on the amount of pressure that you need to use them. This creates variety even among, say, two tactile switches. Pressure sensitivity is measured in grams (g) or centinewtons (cN). “A lighter key (say 45 cN) will be easier to press than a heavier key (60 cN), which can be beneficial for writers or others who type a lot,” Gilmore said. “The lower pressure allows for a faster keypress and less finger fatigue — yes, that is a real thing — for a more efficient workday. A heavier key, however, gives a lot more feedback to the typist and can make people feel more connected to their computer and the work that they are doing.”

Many companies use Cherry switches. Cherry MX has several colors with different feels. The MX Red is quieter without feeling any physical feedback, MX Brown is quieter but tactile, and MX Blue has both physical and auditory feedback. Some companies design their own switches. Some people will prefer one type of switch over another. If you have no idea what type of switch you want, a switch sample costs around $20 and lets you test the sound and feel of different types. 

Outside of the keys, consider features like size and connectivity as well as extras like a built-in wrist pad. “A built-in wrist pad keeps your wrist in a neutral position, not flexed or extended,” said Kevin Weaver, a clinical assistant professor of physical therapy at New York University.

Mechanical keyboards glossary of terms

Tenkeyless, or TKL: A tenkeyless, often abbreviated TKL, is a keyboard that doesn’t have the extra numeric pad at the side. While these keyboards do not have the extra set of numbers, they keep the user’s hands more centered, which can be more comfortable for users that don’t regularly use the number keys.

60 Percent Keyboard: A 60 percent keyboard eliminates both the extra set of number keys and the arrow keys and the nine keys above them, which includes things like a page up, home, and delete button. Instead, shortcuts are used to replace those keys. For example, pressing a Fn button with another key works as arrow keys. 60 percent keyboards also use the row of numbers to double as the F keys.

Macros: Macros are saved key combinations. Macros are user-designed, but some keyboards have faster, easier ways to customize. Macros are great features for users who regularly use certain keyboard shortcuts or combinations.

USB Pass-through: A USB pass-through is an extra USB port on the keyboard. You can use this port to plug in things like USB drives and external hard drives, similar to the USB slot on the computer itself.

Wireless keyboard: A wireless keyboard is connected to a computer wirelessly using a USB dongle. While there are no wires on your desk this way (unless you are charging) it does still take up a USB port.

Bluetooth keyboard: A Bluetooth keyboard connects using the device’s Bluetooth. Unlike wireless, this means that you don’t need to occupy a USB slot and you can connect to devices without any USB ports at all, such as tablets.

Linear switch: When a linear switch is pressed, it completes a circuit to send a signal to the computer. This is a type of mechanical key.

Tactile switch: When a tactile switch is pressed, a circuit is completed just like with a linear switch, but there’s also a tactile bump. This gives the user physical feedback that the key was fully pressed.

Clicky Switch: A mechanical clicky switch is just like a tactile switch, except there’s added noise. This gives the user both physical and auditory feedback indicating that the key was fully pressed.

What else we considered

Corsair K95 RGB Platinum XT: With smooth typing and some gaming-focused extras, the Corsair K95 RGB Platinum XT receives some good praise from the gaming community. It lacks the custom pressure keys and optical-mechanical design of the other $200 gaming keyboards on this list, however.

Razer Huntsman Mini: This keyboard is the Huntsman Elite but in a 60% size. Our first impressions of this option are good, though the build quality doesn’t quite seem as good as our top pick. The split USB cord also isn’t long enough — it needs a device with two USB ports next to each other. Read our full Razer Huntsman Mini review.

SteelSeries Apex Pro: The SteelSeries Apex Pro has customizable switches that allow gamers to set up profiles for whether they want a firmer, more accurate push, or a lighter, faster push. I preferred the more plush wrist rest of the Razer Huntsman, however, and the USB split wasn’t long enough to reach ports on opposite sides of my MacBook.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Where to buy Xbox Series consoles — Walmart is restocking Series X on December 8, but Walmart+ members get first access

Prices are accurate at the time of publication.

When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Xbox Series X
  • The Xbox Series X, Microsoft’s most powerful video game console, is available for $500.
  • The Xbox Series X launched alongside the $300 Xbox Series S, replacing the Xbox One.
  • Walmart+ members will get exclusive access to Xbox Series X stock on December 8 at 12 p.m. ET.

The Xbox Series X ($500) is Microsoft’s flagship video game console; Series X launched alongside the Xbox Series S ($300) in November 2020, replacing the Xbox One family of consoles.

Both consoles have been in high demand during the 2021 holiday season, with the Xbox Series X selling out regularly and the Series S topping the sales charts despite limited availability. Series X offers significantly more power and twice the on-board storage space of the Series S; the cheaper console also lacks a disc drive so you can only play games that are digitally downloaded.

Walmart will offer a restock of Xbox Series X consoles on December 8 at 12 p.m. ET, but early access for restocks are given exclusively to Walmart+ subscribers. You can expect Walmart+ members to snag all the consoles as soon as they’re available. Walmart+ costs $13 a month or $98 per year. Normally, you can sign up for a 15-day trial but only paying Walmart+ members are eligible for early access restocks.

Microsoft also offers a monthly payment program called Xbox All-Access that gives you an Xbox Series X and a subscription to Xbox Game Pass for $34.95 per month. After two years of the All-Access program, the Xbox Series X console is yours to keep with no further payments. Xbox Series X is also available through Walmart with All-Access.

Below, we’ve broken down everything we know about how to buy the Xbox Series X and where to find one. We’ll update this article with more purchase options and restock details as they are announced.

Xbox Series X price and retailers

Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S
Microsoft released two new Xboxes together for the first time in 2020.

The Xbox Series X is now available for $500 but it remains hard to find in stock at retailers like Microsoft, Amazon, Best Buy, GameStop, Walmart, and Newegg.

Though the Series X is regularly sold out at most stores, new inventory has been available at different times each week. Walmart will have stock on December 8 at 12 p.m. ET, but initial access will be given exclusively to paying Walmart+ members ($13/month). Free trial members are not eligible.

Check the links below to see the current availability at each store.

In addition to regular purchase options from various retailers, Microsoft is also offering a monthly purchase option for the console as part of its Xbox All Access program. The plan costs $34.99 a month for 24 months, and includes the system and a 24 month subscription to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. You can find more details here.

Xbox Series X specs

Xbox Series X

Microsoft says the Xbox Series X is about twice as strong as the Xbox One X and more than eight times as powerful as the original Xbox One released in 2013. The Series X also boasts significantly faster load times thanks to a new solid state hard drive. The SSD enables new features like Quick Resume, which lets you save multiple games in a suspended state similar to rest mode.

Another new feature is “Smart Delivery” — a process that lets Xbox owners swap between the Series X and Xbox One versions of games, like “Halo Infinite” and “Gears 5,” to get the best possible quality on both consoles with no extra cost.

Because of smart delivery, Microsoft says there won’t be any games that are truly exclusive to the Xbox Series X for a year or longer. Every new Xbox release in 2020 will still be available on Xbox One, but the Series X versions will have improved visuals thanks to Smart Delivery.

The Xbox Series X excels as a gaming console and an entertainment hub with powerful hardware, a 4K Blu-ray player, and terrific app support. Note: The Series X remains sold out at most stores, but retailers have been adding new stock on a rolling basis.


Read the original article on Business Insider