The Best Mirrorless Camera for Your Budget in 2019

The Best Mirrorless Camera for Your Budget in 2019

mirrorless-camera-budget

Unless you’re a professional photographer, buying a mirrorless camera is better than buying a DSLR. They are more compact and lightweight, cost less, have interchangeable lenses, and yet shoot photos and videos that look as good as those of a DSLR.

You’ll find mirrorless cameras for every type, whether it’s an action camera or something with a full-frame sensor. Keep in mind, mirrorless cameras are sometimes referred to as compact system cameras (CSC) or micro-four-thirds cameras.

Here are the best mirrorless cameras of 2019.

Best Overall Mirrorless Camera:
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III Buy Now On Amazon $ 599.00

The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III is the best overall mirrorless camera as it is the best value option out there. This camera is the perfect representation of mirrorless cameras. It is cute and compact but has stellar picture quality and a range of compatible lenses.

The specifications are nothing to scoff at, either. Even at this bargain price, you get a 16MP Micro Four Thirds sensor, 5-axis in-body image stabilization, and an ISO range of 200 to 25,600.

It is one of the few cameras in this price range to shoot 4K video at 30fps and Full HD video at 60fps. Unfortunately, there isn’t a microphone or headphone jack, so it offers limited value for semi-professional or professional video shooting.

DP Review particularly liked how easy it is to use the camera with its many buttons and dials, as well as a simple touchscreen interface. TechRadar even reckons it’s the best beginner mirrorless camera available.

Best Sony Mirrorless Camera:
Sony A7 III

Sony A7 III Sony A7 III Buy Now On Amazon $ 1,998.00

The Sony A7 III is the best mirrorless camera on the market today. Featuring a 24MP full-frame sensor, it is great for photography enthusiasts and anyone looking to upgrade from a basic DSLR.

Comparing the Sony A7 III to its rivals, DP Review said it is the best at adapting to a wide range of situations, and that it has the best autofocus system. Photography Talk, Digital Trends, and CNET all praised the autofocus too, especially while shooting videos.

The Sony A7 III is not as compact as many other mirrorless cameras, but it is significantly lighter and smaller than a DSLR. Yet, it has a powerful battery that can take up to 610 shots while using the tiltable 3-inch LCD screen.

Other features include an ISO range between 100 and 51,200 and 5-axis in-body stabilization. It can record 4K videos at 30fps and Full HD videos at 120fps. For wireless connectivity, there is onboard Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. You’ll also find an HDMI port, microphone input, and headphone jack.

Sony also has the best range of lenses available at a range of prices for mirrorless cameras right now. Surprisingly, the Sony A7 III also has an adapter with which you can connect Canon EF mount lenses. If you already own a Sony DSLR lens, you can use that with the A7 III too.

Best Nikon Mirrorless Camera:
Nikon Z6

Nikon Z6 Nikon Z6 Buy Now On Amazon $ 2,396.95

The Nikon Z6 is a good alternative to the Sony A7 III, especially if you already have a bunch of Nikon lenses. It too has a 24MP full-frame sensor and outscores the Sony A7 III in continuous shooting speed.

DP Review said the Nikon Z6 is the best for video shooting, despite some autofocus issues, because it is easy to add separate settings for stills and videos. It records 4K videos at 30fps and Full HD videos at 120fps.

The Nikon Z6 matches the Sony A7 III in other features such as an ISO range from 100 to 51,200, and 5-axis in-body stabilization. There’s also Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, an HDMI port, microphone input, and headphone jack.

Best Canon Mirrorless Camera:
Canon EOS R

Canon EOS R Canon EOS R Buy Now On Amazon $ 1,999.00

The Canon EOS R aims for simplicity and ease of use for photography beginners. This is a different approach from the Sony A7 III and Nikon Z6, who tried to make great mirrorless cameras for enthusiast photographers.

That means the Canon EOS R has a few compromises, most notably with the sensor. It’s still wonderful, but not as good as the others. The Canon EOS R scores 89 on DXO Mark’s sensor test, compared to 96 for the Sony A7 III and 95 for the Nikon Z6. It also lacks in-body image stabilization, which is a significant omission for beginners.

Canon’s focus on simplicity results in some innovations like the Fv Exposure mode, which lets you adjust the exposure, while the other options (aperture, shutter speed, etc.) will auto-adjust accordingly. Photographer and reviewer Ken Rockwell was particularly impressed with the LCD screen and how it makes photography a breeze.

The Canon EOS R features an ISO range from 100 to 40,000. It shoots 4K video at 30fps and Full HD video at 60 fps. As with many of the cameras on this list, there is Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. To seal the deal, there is also a microphone input and headphone jack.

Best Mirrorless Camera for Video:
Panasonic Lumix GH5S

Panasonic Lumix GH5S Panasonic Lumix GH5S Buy Now On Amazon $ 2,197.99

All mirrorless cameras can shoot videos. But their focus is primarily about shooting still photographs. The Panasonic Lumix GH5S bucks that trend by making it about video first. And it’s still as compact as a standard mirrorless camera, making it the best camera for vloggers.

There are small tweaks in the Lumix GH5S that benefit video shooting specifically. For example, there are no limits on how long you can shoot 4K videos. This means you can keep going until the battery is depleted, or storage is full on the two SD card slots. You can shoot 4K video at 60fps in both UHD and DCI, and Full HD video at 240fps. Those super slow motion videos will look gorgeous.

Panasonic has abandoned in-body stabilization on the Lumix GH5s, but as DP Review points out, that’s a good thing for video shooting. You are more likely to use a gimbal or a rig with its own stabilization, and you don’t want that to interfere with the camera’s stabilization. There are other nuances that video shooters will appreciate, like wider dynamic range, better microphone options, and automatic timecode stamping, and so on.

If the price is too high, you can consider the previous model, the Panasonic Lumix GH5. It is substantially cheaper and offers many of the same features.

Best Intermediate Mirrorless Camera:
Fujifilm X-T3

Fujifilm X-T3 Fujifilm X-T3 Buy Now On Amazon

The Fujifilm X-T3 is the best intermediate camera for those who don’t want to spend quite as much as the flagship mirrorless cameras, but still want most of the features. DP Review called it the best stills and video camera for most consumers.

The major difference from the others on this list is that the Fujifilm X-T3 doesn’t have a full-frame sensor. Instead, it uses a 26MP APS-C sensor and boosts autofocus performance. Digital Camera World says the autofocus performance is the highlight of the camera—able to lock a subject in just 0.06 seconds.

It can also shoot 4K video at 60fps and Full HD video at 120fps. The much-vaunted autofocus makes a big difference in video capture, while the APS-C sensor offers more dynamic range than most others at this price.

The only major feature the camera lacks is in-body image stabilization. Many reviewers also noted that the software-based face detection was sub-par.

Best Affordable Mirrorless Camera:
Canon EOS M100

Canon EOS M100 Canon EOS M100 Buy Now On Amazon $ 389.00

While you can get some mirrorless cameras for as low as $ 200, you will be compromising on quality and features. At lower prices, you actually won’t notice the difference between that and a good point-and-shoot. The best affordable mirrorless camera is the Canon EOS M100.

The EOS M100 looks and feels like a point-and-shoot, except for that big interchangeable lens. It comes with a basic 15-45mm lens, but you can change that to any of the other Canon EF-M lenses.

The tiltable LCD touchscreen is a nice feature for travelers who like to take a serious camera along, but also want to capture selfies. It features a 24MP sensor and can capture almost 300 shots on a single charge.

At this price, you need to expect a few compromises. The EOS M100 does not have in-body image stabilization, doesn’t support 4K video, and has a weak 49-point autofocus system. Still, you get Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and the pictures you take will be better than any point-and-shoot at that price.

The Best Mirrorless Camera for You

A mirrorless camera is one of the best value cameras you can buy. Many of them are lightweight, portable, and are even compatible with DSLR lenses.

However, if you’re a beginner photographer, your options are much more varied. While mirrorless cameras offer the best balance, you should still check out DSLRs, point-and-shoot cameras, and other options. To get started, check out our guide to the best cameras for photography beginners.

Read the full article: The Best Mirrorless Camera for Your Budget in 2019

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The 5 Best Android One Phones for Every Budget

android-one-phones

If you’re tired of dealing with the fragmentation of the Android operating system, and looking for an affordable smartphone, an Android One phone might be right for you.

But what is Android One? Are Android One devices available in the United States? And which are the best Android One phones on the market right now?

What Is Android One?

Almost since its inception, the Android OS has been grappling with the issue of device manufacturers’ running their own, heavily-modified, version of Android on their handsets.

Firstly, the modified versions are often worse than stock Android. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, manufacturers are frequently slow to release OS updates.

In response to the problem, Google launched Android One in 2014. Benefits of Android One phones include:

  • The phone ships with a stock version of Android.
  • Google controls the update cycle.
  • Android operating system updates are guaranteed for two years.
  • Security updates are guaranteed for three years.

The project was initially targeted at emerging countries and low-end devices. However, in 2017, Android One phones became available in the U.S. and Germany, and the amount of choice grew.

Today, there are more than 100 phones in the Android One range. Many of them are available worldwide.

1. Nokia 9 PureView

Nokia 9 PureView Nokia 9 PureView Buy Now On Amazon $ 699.99

Since the creation of the Android One program, Nokia has committed to offering Android One on almost all of its handsets.

The current flagship device is the Nokia 9 PureView. It was unveiled at the Mobile World Congress in February 2019 and is currently on sale in both the United States and the United Kingdom.

The phone’s headline-grabbing feature is the its array of five rear cameras. They combine images into a single photo when you take a shot.

Under the hood, things are slightly less impressive. In truth, this is a 2018 device. It uses a Snapdragon 845 processor rather than 2019’s newer Snapdragon 855.

There’s also a 5.99″ P-OLED display, 6GB RAM, and an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance. The Nokia 9 PureView ships with Android Pie 9.0.

2. LG G7 Fit

LG G7 Fit LG G7 Fit Buy Now On Amazon $ 277.40

If you’re looking for a mid-range Android One phone, you should check out the LG G7 Fit.

Along with the LG G7 One, which was only launched in Canada, the LG G7 Fit is a derivative of the flagship LG G7 ThinQ. LG released the ThinQ in May 2018.

Indeed, the LG G7 Fit looks almost identical to the G7 ThinQ. Dig a little deeper, however, and more differences become apparent. For example, The G7 Fit only has a Snapdragon 821 processor—that’s from way back in 2016!

The G7 Fit also comes with a 6.1-inch QHD+ display, 563 ppi, a 16MP rear camera, 4GB of RAM,  and 32GB of storage. And impressively for less than $ 300, it has an IP68 water resistance rating; it can survive in one meter of water for up to 30 minutes.

3. Motorola Moto One

Motorola Moto One Motorola Moto One Buy Now On Amazon $ 201.88

Motorola’s debut Android One phone in the U.S. was 2017’s Moto X4. The Motorola Moto One is the successor to that model.

Motorola announced the phone at IFA 2018 in Berlin, with worldwide availability beginning in October 2018.

The phone has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage.

Other noteworthy features include a rear-facing fingerprint scanner, a 5.9-inch 2160×1440 screen in the 21:9 ratio, and 4K video capture.

A variant of the Moto One—the Moto One Power—is only available in India. It has a 5,000 mAh battery; larger than the 3,000mAh battery on the U.S. model.

4. Xiaomi Mi A2

Xiaomi Mi A2 Xiaomi Mi A2 Buy Now On Amazon $ 162.50

If you want a cheap Android One phone, the Xiaomi Mi A2 should be near the top of your list. The phone is a rebranded Xiaomi Mi 6X. It’s the successor to the Mi A1 and was released in July 2018.

Given the device’s budget price, the hardware specs are impressive. There’s a Snapdragon 660 processor, and Adreno 512 GPU, and eight Kryo 260 cores.

The phone comes in both 4GB and 6GB RAM versions. Storage options are 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB. Like the LG G7 Fit, the Mi A2 also supports expandable storage.

Elsewhere, you’ll find a 5.99-inch IPS LCD display, a 20MP rear-facing camera, a 3,000 mAh battery, and Android 8.1 Oreo. The battery is non-removable.

5. Nokia 7.1

Nokia 7.1 Nokia 7.1 Buy Now On Amazon $ 348.98

We end with what is arguably the best mid-range Android One phone on the market: the Nokia 7.1. It was unveiled in October 2018 and is now available in all major markets.

The Nokia 7.1 has a Snapdragon 636 processor and eight Kryo 260 cores clocked at 1.8GHz. Either 3GB or 4GB RAM versions are offered, and you can choose from 32GB or 64GB of storage. The phone also has a 12MP rear camera, a 5.84-inch screen, and 1080×2280 resolution. Although it launched with Android 8.1, it now ships with Android Pie 9.0.

In truth, the phone isn’t as good as the Nokia 8.1. The 8.1 was released in December 2018 and is available everywhere except the U.S. and Australia. Sure, it’s not a true upgrade of the popular Nokia 8 (the Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 processor isn’t the latest version, and there’s no water and dust resistance), but there’s still a 6.18-inch display with 408ppi and a resolution of 2280×1080. RAM is capped at 4GB, and the non-expandable storage is 64GB.

Which Is the Best Android One Phone?

It’s starting to feel like Android One is the start of something big. The top Android manufacturers are increasingly getting onside with the project, and the selection of mid and high-end devices is growing.

Right now, we love the Nokia 9 PureView, but any of the five phones we’ve discussed will make a worthy companion.

For more Android buying advice, check out the best Android phones with wireless charging. Before making your decision, you should be aware of the features that your new Android phone should have.

Read the full article: The 5 Best Android One Phones for Every Budget

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5 Simple Ways to Set a Budget and Avoid Overspending

ways-set-budget

Less than half the people in the world set a budget and adhere to it. This basic financial mistake often leads to overspending and eventual economic troubles. These five simple methods will help anyone set a budget that they can live comfortably with.

These apps are useful for beginners and those who don’t already set budgets. If you already have a budget and are looking to level-up or learn new methods and tools to save, you should check out Mint or YNAB, two of the best budgeting apps. Not only do they make it easier, but they also teach you saving skills.

Fifty Thirty Twenty (Web): Elizabeth Warren’s Budgeting Method

Elizabeth Warren's 50-30-20 method of budgeting

US Senator Elizabeth Warren, who is also running for President, popularized the 50-30-20 rule of budgeting in a book in 2005. Warren advises splitting your income such that you spend 50% on things you need (like rent, utilities, groceries, etc.), 30% on things you want (internet, entertainment, dining out, etc.), and 20% on savings and paying debt (student loans, retirement funds, etc.).

The system has become very popular, but how realistic is it? Fifty Thirty Twenty takes the rule and applies it to the average US citizen today. Using government-provided figures, this interactive guide shows who can and cannot live with the 50-30-20 rule, and suggests other methods too.

That said, the 50-30-20 budget is about living within your means. Even if it seems difficult, perhaps making some hard choices could make it work for you in the long term. To calculate the 50-30-20 budget for yourself, use the website’s 50-30-20 Budgeting Worksheet or NerdWallet’s calculator. Fill it out and you’ll find where you need to cut expenses to live within the 50-30-20 rules.

Moplan (Android): How Much Can You Spend Today?

Moplan is the simplest app for budgeting beginners who need a constant reminder of their limits. Especially if you newly have a daily limit on expenditures, it can be difficult to track and stick to it. Set up Moplan and then add its handy widget to your homescreen, so you are constantly aware of how much you can spend today.

The app is ideal for those who have regular paydays and bill days. When you start the app the first time, you need to add your income and regular expenses, as well as their due dates. This lets Moplan create a daily expenditure limit for you.

You can also set a savings target in percentage, as well as “Goals” for things you want. You’ll need to do the goal’s split yourself if you want to save money over some time.

Every time you spend money during the day, add it into Moplan. This updates the daily expenditure limit widget, reminding you how much you can spend. It can seem daunting at first, but this is one of those good financial habits that will serve you well in the long term.

Download: Moplan for Android (Free)

Beginner’s Spreadsheet (Google Docs): Redditor’s Free Template

Simplest budget planning free spreadsheet for beginners

This is one of the most impressive budgeting spreadsheets I have seen, especially for how simple it is to use. Reddit user Celesmeh shared this personal spreadsheet for people who don’t know how to budget. The idea is to make a daily budget for yourself, which supports long-term goals as well.

The spreadsheet, which you can copy in Google Docs and download to use offline, shows a snapshot of your daily spending limit, monthly earnings and expenditures, flex spending, and a pie chart of where your money is going. How it reaches this snapshot is the interesting part.

Each aspect of your money is broken down in the simplest format possible. Add income and expenses, credit card payments, large goals, tips, daily expenses, and almost anything else related to your money. The calculator will take care of everything. You can even rename elements or add new ones.

The spreadsheet includes detailed instructions on how to use it so you can get started immediately. If you like what you see, read Celesmeh’s original post for discussions and ideas.

Download: Budget-again for Google Docs (Free)

Paper and Excel Tracker: A Guide on Annual Personal Budgeting

Paper and Excel budget tracker for advanced budgeting

Apps aren’t for everyone. Some prefer a simple paper-and-pen approach to keep track of expenditures and receipts. Reddit user WhiskeySauer put together a guide on how to do that, convert it into data on an Excel spreadsheet, and use it to budget your living.

WhiskeySauer recommends using a folder to track and store all your expenses and receipts, along with a blank page that lists every foreseeable expense already. You fill the sheet manually with a pen, which can help in crystallizing your expenditures much like writing notes can help in remembering them later.

At the end of the month, add all that data into the spreadsheet to get a snapshot of your annual budget, spending patterns, and other useful information.

Note: WhiskeySauer’s spreadsheet link isn’t working right now, but it would be easy to make your own Excel based on the screenshot guide, or you can wait for an updated link.

Honeyfi (Android, iOS): Budgeting for Couples

If you and your significant other have intertwined finances, you need an app that can set a budget together. Honeyfi works on both Android and iOS, and has all the features that a couple would need to set joint financial goals.

US citizens can link their Venmo accounts, credit cards, and manually add transactions too. You can add comments to a transaction to explain it to your partner, or as a note for yourself to remember later.

Like any other budgeting app, you can add incomes, expenses, upcoming bills, and all that jazz. But turning it into a shared dashboard of your coupled finances is where it helps the most.

Download: Honeyfi for Android | iOS (Free)

Try Out Simple Calculators

Much like the 50-30-20 budgeting rule, there are other budgeting methods and formulas that different financial advisors recommend. Most of these can be translated into simple calculators, which are available for free online.

Financial guru Dave Ramsey’s seven-step budgeting system, for example, is available as a free app called EveryDollar. Try it out, as well as other great budget calculators, to figure out the best financial management approach for yourself.

Read the full article: 5 Simple Ways to Set a Budget and Avoid Overspending

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The Best Graphics Cards for Any Budget

best-gpu-2018

If you want to edit video, mine cryptocurrency, or play video games, you need a graphics processing unit (GPU). The trouble is, there are a lot of GPUs on the market. Some cost a fortune, too. How do you discern how much to pay for a GPU that suits what you want to do?

In all honesty, most consumers don’t need to worry about the top-tier of GPUs. There are several fantastic GPUs that fit any budget. Here are the best budget GPUs of 2019.

How to Choose the Budget GPU for Your Needs

Before you hit the retailers, consider what you want from your GPU. Set reasonable expectations, depending on your budget. Most budget GPUs won’t manage 4K 60fps gaming. Some might manage VR gaming, but it is unlikely to hit the quality you need for a great experience, let alone to stave off nausea!

There are two distinct categories for budget GPUs:

  • Budget: these are the lowest cost, most accessible entry-level GPUs.
  • Mid-Tier: the mid-tier budget GPUs are slightly pricier, but you get more GPU for your money and therefore, better graphics experiences.

There’s another decision to make, too. Should you choose an AMD or an Nvidia GPU?

AMD vs. Nvidia: Who Makes the Best Budget GPUs?

It isn’t an easy question to answer. Well, not as easy as it once was. Long ago, AMD GPUs struggled to compete with Nvidia. These days, AMD GPUs give Nvidia GPUs stern competition.

In general, Nvidia offers better performance per watt, while AMD focuses on value. In truth, it depends on your budget. The best card, after all, is the one that you can afford.

In 2018, there were a lot of major GPUs released to the market. AMD delivered the long-awaited Ryzen CPUs, along with their Vega GPU design. They also released a series of hybrid units, called an Accelerated Processing Unit (APU).

An APU differs from both a CPU and a GPU. While an APU doesn’t quite deliver the performance gains of a dedicated GPU, it’s a solid upgrade over the average Intel integrated GPU.

The Best Budget Graphics Cards in 2019

You will note that options such as the Nvidia GTX 1080, the AMD Vega 64, and the extremely new Nvidia RTX 2xxx series aren’t on the list. Why? They’re spectacularly out of the range of budget GPUs. Even as a new Nvidia GPU generation creeps in, high-tier GPUs still retail for around $ 500, if not more.

1. The Best GPU for Under $ 300: Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti 6GB

GTX 1660 Ti 6GB GTX 1660 Ti 6GB Buy Now On Amazon $ 279.99

The Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti 6GB is the newest addition to Nvidia’s GPU line-up. The 1660 Ti is so good that it jumps straight to the top of the list as the best budget GPU under $ 300. Now, I know some people will say “that’s not a budget GPU,” but it is one of the best value GPUs on the market.

The GTX 1660 Ti comes with 6GB GDDR6 memory and uses Nvidia’s latest Turing architecture. Although it uses the Turing architecture, Nvidia point out that the 1660 Ti doesn’t support ray tracing or Deep Learning Super Sampling. Furthermore, it is VR-ready and able, plus can support some 4K gaming.

The Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti is entering the GPU market to replace the GTX 1060 6GB. Benchmarking tests shows that the newer GTX 1660 Ti is around 30% more powerful than the GPU it is replacing. If your budget can stretch, the GTX 1660 Ti looks like a fantastic bit of kit.

AMD Equivalent: The RX 590 8GB is another sensational card and one that puts you in the 8GB GPU bracket. The release of the 1660 Ti is a direct attack on the RX 590, with many benchmark tests showing the Nvidia card with higher frame rates, even with 2GB less memory to draw on. Those results are down to the difference in GDDR5 to GDDR6, and the new Turing architecture. You might even see some extra discounting on the RX 590 to compete with the GTX 1660 Ti performance gains.

2. The Best GPU for Under $ 200: AMD RX 580 4GB

AMD RX 580 4GB AMD RX 580 4GB Buy Now On Amazon $ 179.99

The tussle for the position of best budget GPU under $ 200 is close. Really close, even. The AMD RX 580 4GB just about wins it, however, after its retail price dropped by around $ 20-30. Even without the price difference, the RX 580 outperforms the GTX 1050 Ti and GTX 1060 3GB in almost all areas, too, regularly returning higher frame rate per second scores for top tier games.

The AMD RX 580 comes with 4GB GDDR5 RAM. You should manage some VR gaming, and some 1440p experiences, too.

Nvidia Equivalent: The GTX 1050 Ti is an excellent GPU that comes with GDDR5 and is VR-ready for the Oculus Rift (but not an HTC Vive or other VR options). However, the RX 580 offers better performance and is cheaper. It is a similar story for the GTX 1060 3GB.

3. The Best GPU for Under $ 150: AMD RX 560 4GB

AMD RX 560 4GB AMD RX 560 4GB Buy Now On Amazon $ 129.99

The under $ 150 GPU category is also ridiculously close, with Nvidia and AMD both making strong cases. As with the other categories, recent changes in the top-end of the GPU market has made previously pricey GPUs much cheaper. Hence, the AMD RX 560 4GB finding its way into the under $ 150 bracket. Great news for consumers!

The AMD RX 560 packs in 4GB GDDR5 RAM (like the RX 580), but has a lower frequency and low clock speed. You will manage decent 1080p gaming, but you will struggle to get 1080p at 60fps in the latest games. Still, the 4GB card gives it a massive power boost versus its competitors in this budget bracket.

Nvidia Equivalent: In this bracket, you are looking at an Nvidia GTX 1050 2GB. The 2GB model doesn’t pack nearly as much punch as the 4GB RX 560, so there is a clear winner.

4. The Best GPU for Under $ 100: Nvidia GeForce GT 1030

Nvidia GeForce GT 1030 Nvidia GeForce GT 1030 Buy Now On Amazon $ 89.99

Don’t expect 4K or VR gaming, or even superb mid-range 1080p gaming with the Nvidia GeForce GT 1030. Nevertheless, the GT 1030 slides in under $ 100 and offers 4K video playback.

It’s suitable for playing older video games and even some newer releases with lower system requirements at 1080p. You could even consider a GT 1030 for a home theater PC (HTPC) or budget gaming build.

5. The Best Value GPU: Ryzen 5 2400G APU

Ryzen 5 2400G APU Ryzen 5 2400G APU Buy Now On Amazon $ 134.99

Depending on your needs, a Ryzen APU might offer the best bang for your buck. The Ryzen 5 2400G APU includes four cores, eight threads, and 11 compute units with a 3.9GHz maximum boost.

Benchmarks show that the Ryzen 5 2400G is competitive with the GeForce GT 1030. It doesn’t sound like much. But if you consider the entire package—that’s a CPU/GPU combo—you’re looking at a fantastic deal.

What Is the Best Budget GPU in 2019?

The best budget GPU is the one that fits your budget. I know I’ve already said it, but it is true. The budget GPUs on this list represent some of the best budget GPU options available to you. You can see what your budget gets you, as well as what you might need to part with to jump to the next GPU level.

It also shows that you don’t need to spend a fortune to grab a powerful GPU. Did you just buy a new GPU? Then you may be interested in seven demanding PC games that’ll test the limits of your GPU.

Read the full article: The Best Graphics Cards for Any Budget

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The Best Budget Smartphones: 7 Cheap Phones for the US

budget-phones-us

Flagship smartphones have been rapidly adopting more experimental technologies to stand out from the competition. But while those advancements have opened several new opportunities for what phones are capable of, they’ve also significantly pushed up prices.

Fortunately, developments at the budget end are still primarily focused on offering more for less. So today, spending around $ 350 can get you a phone that can perform all the usual smartphone tasks without skipping a beat. Here are the best affordable and unlocked Android phones available in the US.

1. Nokia 7.1

Nokia 7.1 Nokia 7.1 Buy Now On Amazon $ 349.00

The HMD Global Nokia 7.1 is one of the most well-rounded smartphones you can acquire in the budget range. Exceeding expectations for this price, the phone has an all-glass build and includes a 5.84-inch LCD screen. In keeping with modern trends, the Nokia 7.1 even features a notch and edge-to-edge screen.

The Nokia 7.1 is also an Android One product which means it will receive updates directly from Google and ships with the stock Android operating system and minimal bloatware. There is plenty of storage space too, with 64GB internal storage expandable via microSD.

The Nokia 7.1 carries two cameras on the rear—a primary 12MP f/1.8 lens and another 5MP secondary one for better bokeh effects. On the front, there’s an 8MP camera for selfies.

If you’d like to spend even less, you should cast a glance over a few other HMD Global phones, like the Nokia 6.1 and Nokia 3.1.

2. Moto Z3 Play

Moto Z3 Play Moto Z3 Play Buy Now On Amazon $ 359.00

The affordable option in Motorola’s lineup, the Moto Z3 Play is another excellent choice for those looking to save. The Z3 Play’s biggest highlight is its modular design that lets you extend the phone’s functionalities by attaching several accessories called Moto Mods.

You can, for instance, plug in a projector Moto Mod for mirroring the screen on a wall. Motorola bundles the Moto Power Pack accessory for free in the United States that adds an additional 3450mAh juice to the phone’s 3,000mAh battery. Apart from that, the Moto Z3 Play has an all-glass exterior and a slim 6.75mm form factor. Unlike the Nokia 7.1, the Z3 Play features an OLED screen.

The phone’s rear camera arrangement houses two sensors; a 12MP lens paired with a 5MP depth sensor. For selfies, you have an 8MP f/2.0 lens which can also shoot 1080p videos.

There are a host of other Motorola phones that offer a bang for the buck. If you’re not interested in the Moto Mods, you can purchase the Moto G7 which comes equipped with most common smartphone features and a waterdrop-style display. For those on a slimmer budget, there’s the Moto X4 which is IP68-rated and sports a dual rear camera.

3. Xiaomi Pocophone F1

Xiaomi Pocophone F1 Xiaomi Pocophone F1 Buy Now On Amazon $ 299.72

Xiaomi’s Pocophone F1 is the most powerful phone in the budget price range. It’s powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 which you would normally only find on high-end flagships. On top of that, it has an ample 6GB of RAM, 64GB of expandable storage, and a large 4,000mAh battery. The Pocophone F1 is no slouch in the optics department either.

There’s a dual rear camera setup which includes a primary 12MP lens and a 5MP secondary shooter. On top of that, it has a 20MP selfie camera. The other key highlight of the Pocophone F1 is the LiquidCool thermals making it ideal for mobile gamers.

Xiaomi also sells the Mi 8 Lite which comes in at a slightly lower cost than the Pocophone F1. While it trades on some of the internal specifications to bring the price down, it does come housed in a premium glass body.

4. Huawei P20 Lite

Huawei P20 Lite Huawei P20 Lite Buy Now On Amazon $ 236.83

While Huawei’s flagships have yet to make it to US retail, the company has made its entry-level P20 Lite smartphone available in the country. The Huawei P20 Lite has a glass underside and a 5.84-inch notch-equipped 1080p screen. In addition, it has Huawei’s own Kirin 659 octa-core processor, 4GB of RAM, and 32GB of internal storage which can be expanded with a microSD card.

As for the cameras, there are four of them. On the back, it sports a primary 16MP f/2.2 lens coupled with a 2MP depth sensor. For selfies, it has a 24MP camera and another 16MP wide lens. It’s worth noting here that Huawei doesn’t offer any warranty on the P20 Lite in the United States.

If the warranty is a key feature for you, then you could also consider the Huawei Mate SE. This phone has similar hardware to the P20 Lite but without the high-end selfie camera setup.

5. Samsung Galaxy J8

Samsung Galaxy J8 Samsung Galaxy J8 Buy Now On Amazon $ 224.00

Samsung has long been one of the Android world’s most prolific and respected brands. If sticking to a well-known brand is important to you, then try the Samsung Galaxy J8. The phone offers a 6-inch 720p OLED screen. It includes the Qualcomm Snapdragon 450, features 3GB of RAM, and 32GB of expandable onboard storage.

The Galaxy J8 has dual SIM functionality and houses a 3,500mAh battery. Like the Huawei P20 Lite, it too doesn’t have US warranty. The phone runs Android Oreo which was initially released in 2017, putting it a few years behind the latest Android operating system. However, it does feature a dual 16MP and 5MP rear camera, and a 16MP front camera.

6. Asus ZenFone 5Q

Asus ZenFone 5Q Asus ZenFone 5Q Buy Now On Amazon $ 319.00

Asus’ mid-range device, the ZenFone 5Q, is another phone worth considering. The ZenFone 5Q has a glass shell and a 6-inch 1080p display. It’s powered by the Snapdragon 630, has 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of expandable internal storage. Similar to the Huawei P20 Lite, the ZenFone 5Q also has a total of four cameras.

On the rear, you’ll find a dual camera setup featuring one 20MP and one 8MP camera. For selfies, there is a 16MP and 8MP front-facing arrangement. The ZenFone 5Q is equipped with NFC, dual SIM support, a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, and a 3,300mAh battery.

7. LG Stylo 4

LG Stylo 4 LG Stylo 4 Buy Now On Amazon $ 209.99

The LG Stylo 4 is an Amazon Prime Exclusive phone which means that it comes preloaded with a handful of Amazon apps like Prime Video and Kindle. Aside from the Amazon-tinged software, the Stylo 4 is a typical mid-range Android device.

It features a 6.2-inch 1080p screen, Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 processor, and 3GB of RAM. What sets the LG Stylo 4 apart is the bundled stylus which you can employ for doodling, taking notes, or otherwise interacting with the phone.

The Stylo 4 also employs a dual rear camera setup, with a 13MP and 5MP arrangement. It runs Android 8.1, charges via USB Type-C, and has 32GB of storage, expandable via microSD.

Bonus: Refurbished or Discounted Older Phones

While the products above were always intended as budget phones, you could also consider refurbished or older flagship devices. Camera enthusiasts, for instance, can acquire the first generation Google Pixel XL for less than some of the phones on this list. Alternatively, if you’re invested in the Apple ecosystem, a refurbished iPhone 7 could save you significant sums.

A word of caution though, the terminology used to describe a refurbished or second-hand phone can be confusing. Before committing yourself, be sure to familiarize yourself with the terms used to describe non-new devices.

The Best Budget Smartphone for You

Thanks to Moore’s Law, smartphones with features that just a few years ago would have been cutting-edge, are now available at affordable prices. However, before diving into your next purchase, do confirm that your smartphone of choice will be compatible with your network provider. This’ll ensure that you purchase the best budget smartphone for you.

Once you’ve settled on which phone you’ll be buying, it’s time to choose an affordable carrier plan. For that, you may want to check out some of the cheapest unlimited phone plans.

Read the full article: The Best Budget Smartphones: 7 Cheap Phones for the US

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The 4 Best Budget Gaming Headsets for Under $25

gaming-headphones

A few years ago, finding a decent gaming headset under $ 100 was tough. At best, you’d have to sacrifice tons of features and sound quality for an uncomfortable hunk of junk.

But now there are all kinds of headsets for gamers on a budget, and many of them aren’t that bad—much better than what used to be available, that’s for sure. You just have to know where to look, what to look for, and be willing to settle for less than perfect.

What to Look for in a Gaming Headset

A headset is a pair of headphones with a built-in microphone. There are no practical differences between a gaming headset and a regular headset except physical design and appearance. However, some features are more important than others.

Over-ear vs. on-ear vs. in-ear: For the most part, over-ear headsets are the only ones worth buying at this price level. On-ear headsets tend to cost more due to their refined designs, and in-ear headsets won’t have the sound or microphone quality that you need when gaming. Learn more about headphone terms and considerations.

Physical weight: A massive headset can feel good… five minutes at a time. Any longer than that and you’ll be dying to take them off, either because they’re pushing down on your ears or they’re tiring out your neck. Light and comfortable is what you want, especially for long gaming sessions.

USB vs. 3.5mm: USB headsets include their own sound cards, which means they’re less prone to radio frequency interference, but 3.5mm headsets are more versatile and better for console gaming. For PC gaming, go with USB whenever possible.

Stereo vs. surround sound: Surround sound in gaming headsets is a sham. Not only do most so-called “surround sound headsets” lack the driver count to produce true surround sound, but surround sound is meant to take advantage of room acoustics—something that doesn’t happen in a headset.

Wired vs. wireless: You won’t find good wireless gaming headsets for under $ 25. There’s a reason why wireless headphones are more expensive than wired headphones: it’s hard to produce a set that sounds good.

Build quality: At this price, don’t expect anything to feel great in your hands or on your head. Ear pads won’t feel luxurious, metal components will be rare, plastic components won’t be robust, and cables will feel flimsy. Expect these headsets to last 6-12 months, or slightly longer if you can take good care of them.

Brand names: You won’t find any Razer, SteelSeries, Corsair, or Sennheiser products this far down the barrel.

So is it possible to find a gaming headset that fits all of the criteria above without spending more than $ 25? Not really, but you can get close enough. It depends on what you’re willing to compromise on.

Here are the best cheap gaming headsets we’ve found.

1. Mpow 071

Mpow 071 USB Headset/ 3.5mm Computer Headset with Microphone Noise Cancelling, Lightweight PC Headset Wired Headphones, Business Headset for Skype, Webinar, Phone, Call Center Mpow 071 USB Headset/ 3.5mm Computer Headset with Microphone Noise Cancelling, Lightweight PC Headset Wired Headphones, Business Headset for Skype, Webinar, Phone, Call Center Buy Now At Amazon $ 20.99

The Mpow 071 is the cheapest headset we’d ever recommend, whether you’re gaming or doing something else, because it offers some of the best quality and value in this price range. For those on a budget, no other headset offers as much bang for your buck.

Why do we like it? Because the microphone sounds great, the microphone arm can be bent in any direction, the headset comes with both USB and 3.5mm connections, it has inline volume and mute controls when using USB, the ear pads are comfortable for long-term wear, and the headset itself looks great.

Honestly, it’s surprising that a company was able to fit this much goodness into such a cheap headset. Don’t expect it to be magical, of course, but there’s really no better headset for gaming at this price level.

2. Logitech H390

budget-gaming-headset-logitech-h390

Logitech is one of the most trustworthy and reputable brands you’ll ever come across. They have several “gaming” product lines, but they aren’t a “gaming brand” so to speak. This particular headset is a general-use headset—but it’s good and we recommend it even for gaming.

The Logitech H390 is an on-ear headset that features comfortable ear pads, a rotating noise-canceling microphone, and a volume control with a mute button. And thanks to its understated design, you won’t be embarrassed wearing it in the presence of company. Overall, it’s probably the best option if you don’t want to look like a gamer.

3. BENGOO G9000

Bengoo is a recently-established Chinese off-brand manufacturer of various PC and mobile peripherals. Their wares include external DVD drives, portable fans, selfie sticks, and audio equipment. They make good products—as good as a budget product can be, anyway—and their gaming headsets stand out as one of their best-rated products.

If you’re thinking of getting the BENGOO G9000, be aware that you get what you pay for. In this case, you’re paying for a lack of quality control. It looks good and feels okay, but will it make it to one year? Cross your fingers and hope you get one from a good batch!

Be careful when reading the reviews for this one. According to ReviewMeta and FakeSpot, a bunch of the reviews are fake or suspicious. However, when you exclude the bad reviews and adjust the product rating, it still has 4.2 stars out of 5. Not bad at all.

4. Sades A60/OMG

budget-gaming-headset-sades-omg

USB Gaming Headset-SADES A60/OMG Computer Over Ear Stereo Heaphones with Microphone Noise Isolating Volume Control LED Light (Black+White) for PC & MAC USB Gaming Headset-SADES A60/OMG Computer Over Ear Stereo Heaphones with Microphone Noise Isolating Volume Control LED Light (Black+White) for PC & MAC Buy Now At Amazon $ 24.99

To this day, Sades remains a hit-or-miss brand. They specialize in budget gaming peripherals, and pretty much all their products can be had for under $ 30. Even so, their products tend to have surprisingly good ratings—even after adjusting for fake reviews.

If you’re committed to getting a gaming headset in this price range, you’ll probably be happy with this one.

The Sades A60/OMG has a sleek design, sensitive microphone, volume and mute controls, and above-average sound drivers (compared to others in this price range, that is) that produce excellent sound quality for how much you’re paying. The comfortable cups also have a bit of noise isolation.

Consider Saving Up for a Better Gaming Headset

If you’re absolutely strapped for cash, then the headsets listed above will do in a pinch. But really, there’s no point in wasting money on a budget gaming headset if you can wait a bit and save up for a proper one. In that case, we definitely recommend looking into these wireless gaming headsets!

Read the full article: The 4 Best Budget Gaming Headsets for Under $ 25

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