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Best Ultrabook: Check Out Our Top Picks this Coming 2019

best ultrabook

When you start looking at purchasing or researching the best Ultrabook, you’re going to see just how far technology has come regarding laptops. You may have noticed that laptops continue to get faster, lighter, and thinner. The technology inside has also improved by leaps and bounds thanks to solid-state drives (SSDs) as well as the differences in processors. They’re portable and powerful, but how do you know it’s an Ultrabook instead of a typical laptop?

Ultrabook FAQs

What is an Ultrabook?

What does an Ultrabook do?

Where can you buy an Ultrabook?

How much does an Ultrabook Cost?

Is an Ultrabook worth the expense?

How We Reviewed the Best Ultrabooks 

We pored over reviews from customers, testing from reputable companies, and compared the specifications between the various Ultrabooks to arrive at a list of the best ones on the market. Things like processing power were necessary, as were the size and type of hard drive availability. After all, if you’re going to pay almost four thousand dollars, we want to make sure that you’re getting the best Ultrabook possible for that price.

The Expected Overall Price Range for the Best Ultrabooks

You can see a good representation of the price range over on Amazon. Expect to pay a thousand dollars or more for the best Ultrabooks that are on the market when you buy it brand new. Brand new is always better, especially since you know it will come with the manufacturer warranty and possibly an extended warranty. Refurbished Ultrabooks may not have the same opportunity to extend a warranty beyond something offered by a third-party seller, but they can be markedly less expensive.

Top Ultrabooks Available


2018 Dell XPS 13 9360 Ultrabook - 13.3" QHD+ Infinity TouchScreen...
  • Manufacturer Certified Refurbished, tested and certified to look and work like new with Minimum 90-day warranty. Only select sellers who maintain high performance may offer Certified Refurbished products on Amazon.com.
  • 13.3" QHD+ (3200 x 1800) InfinityEdge TouchScreen display w/ WebCam | Killer Wireless-AC 1535
  • New 8th Generation Intel Quad-Core i7-8550U 1.80 GHz (Turbo 4.0 GHz, 4 Cores 8 Threads, 8MB SmartCache)

The Dell XPS 13 has been a standby laptop for a very long time, but you’ll be happy to know that it has gotten an extreme facelift more recently. Available in a white and gold color scheme, this Ultrabook is the slimmest laptop that Dell has ever put out on the market. With all the technical bells and whistles, it’s no wonder that this laptop can command a higher price tag. You can choose a 4k display, an excellent webcam, and an eGPU that allows for gaming capabilities, which is a rarity among Ultrabooks. Add the InfinityEdge display and a thickness of less than half an inch total, and you’ve got a beautiful, sophisticated, functional machine at your fingertips.


2018 Lenovo Yoga 720 2-in-1 12.5" FHD IPS Touchscreen Tablet Laptop...
  • 12.5" FHD multitouch screen for hands-on control: 1920x1080 resolution boasts impressive color and clarity. Touch, tap, glide and make the most of Windows 10. IPS technology LED backlight. 360° flip-and-fold design: Offers four versatile modes - laptop, tablet, tent and stand. Lenovo Transition automatically switches specific applications to full screen when changing from PC to tablet, tent or stand position. Built-in HD webcam with microphone - Easy to video chat with family and friends.
  • 7th Gen Intel Core i5-7200U mobile processor: Ultra-low-voltage platform. Dual-core processing performance. Intel HD Graphics 620: On-processor graphics with shared video memory provide everyday image quality for Internet use, basic photo editing and casual gaming. Built-in Harman/Kardon speakers: DTS Sound creates a virtual surround sound experience for your music, movies, streaming Web content and games. Built-in fingerprint reader: Streamlines security settings for quick, typo-free access.
  • 8GB system memory for advanced multitasking: Substantial high-bandwidth RAM to smoothly run your games and photo- and video-editing applications, as well as multiple programs and browser tabs all at once. 128GB solid state drive (SSD): While offering less storage space than a hard drive, a flash-based SSD has no moving parts, resulting in faster start-up times and data access, no noise, and reduced heat production and power draw on the battery.

The Yoga 720 is an ultralight laptop that weighs in at less than three pounds. It measures at 0.6 inches thick, making this computer extremely portable. Battery life is outstanding and can get you through as many as 7 hours without having to recharge. For a large number of people, that’s an entire workday or nearly so. The display on the Yoga is also a touchscreen, and you can fold the keyboard all the way back to enable tablet capabilities. You also get the Active Pen 2 stylus that works well with the system. The screen is available in either 13” or 15” widths. Internally, you’ll find either an Intel i5 or i7 processor depending on the model you choose. If you’re into gaming, though, you can’t add an eGPU or any GPU for that matter because the system will not support it.


ASUS ZenBook 13 Ultra-Slim Laptop, 13.3” Full HD, 8th gen Intel...
  • 13.3 Inch Anti-glare FHD 1920 x 1080 Display, Wide View 170 degrees with Windows 10 Pre-installed. Display: IPS Technology
  • Latest 8th Gen Intel i5-8250U 1.6 GHz Processor (6M Cache, Turbo up to 3.4GHz), Fast storage and memory featuring 256GB SATA 3 M.2 SSD with 8GB LPDDR3 RAM
  • Extensive connectivity with micro HDMI/USB 3.1 Type C, 802.11ac WiFi, and SD Card Reader

For something that is less than a thousand dollars, you’d be happy to know that the Asus ZenBook has fantastic overall performance. With battery life at approximately seven hours, you’ll get plenty of use out of it before you have to find a wall to plug into. The display is a Full HD display, but it is not a touchscreen, so don’t try to tap and zoom in as you might on the Lenovo Yoga. Total weight for the unit is a mere 2.6 pounds, which makes it comfortably portable. There is also a built-in fingerprint reader if you need that extra line of security.


HP EliteBook x360 1020 G2 2-in-1 Laptop (3UJ14UC#ABA) Intel i5-7300U,...
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-7300U vPro processor with Intel HD Graphics 620 (2.6 GHz base frequency, up to 3.5 GHz with Intel Turbo Boost Technology, 3 MB cache, 2 cores).
  • Memory: 16GB LPDDR3-1866 SDRAM.
  • Storage: 256GB M.2 SATA TLC Solid State Drive.

All that can be said of the battery life for the HP EliteBook X360 is simply, wow. It has an excellent standby battery life of up to 16 hours and 30 minutes and a minimum of 8 hours of active usability before it needs to be charged. You can also fold the screen all the way back giving you tablet capability that you can combine with an optional Active Stylus. This Ultrabook can do just about anything you ask it to do short of gaming. According to Trusted Reviews, the performance of this particular laptop was excellent as they ran it through their battery of tests.


2018 Flagship Lenovo Ideapad 720S 13.3" FHD IPS Laptop Ultrabook (AMD...
  • 13.3" FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS Anti-Glare display; Integrated Radeon Vega Graphics
  • Quad Core AMD Ryzen 5 2500U (2.0 GHz, turbo boost up to 3.6 GHz, 5 MB Cache), 8GB DDR4 2133 MHz memory, 356GB PCIe SSD
  • JBL Premium Audio Speakers, 720p HD camera with dual-array microphones, Fingerprint reader with Windows Hello

If you go out to Amazon and search for the IdeaPad 720S, you’ll see that it’s available in two sizes – a 13.3” screen and a 14” screen. At 2.5 pounds and about half an inch thick, this laptop is extremely portable. The 13” model comes with an AMD Ryzen 5 processor while the 14” model comes with an Intel Core i57200U processor, both of which are fantastic in their own right. Do keep in mind, though, that the resolution is not great for gaming, so if that’s a deal-breaker, then you’ll need to go elsewhere. For everyday use, the battery life is great, easily reaching a full 8-9 hours of usability making it perfect for an entire day’s work. Given the price of the Lenovo IdeaPad 720S, you’re going to get an excellent computer for the cost.

Comparison Table

Product

Features

Price

2018 Dell XPS 13 9360 Ultrabook - 13.3' QHD+ Infinity TouchScreen...
  • 13.3” InfinityEdge  Display
  • Processor Intel Core i7-
    8550U
  • Hard Drive 256GB SSD –
    1TB SSD
  • RAM 4GB – 16GB
  • Thunderbolt 3, 2 USB 3.0, SD card slot
  • Webcam: Yes
2018 Lenovo Yoga 720 2-in-1 12.5' FHD IPS Touchscreen Tablet Laptop...
  • 13” and 15” Full HD and 4K Display Options
  • Intel 8th Gen i5 and i7
  • 256GB SSD – 2TB SSD
  • RAM 8GB – 16GB
  • An Always-On USB 3.0 port, 2 USB ports with
    Thunderbolt support
  • Webcam: No
ASUS ZenBook 13 Ultra-Slim Laptop, 13.3” Full HD, 8th gen Intel...
  • 13.3” Full HD Display
  • Intel 8th Gen i5-8250U
  • 256GB SSD
  • RAM 8GB 
  • Micro HDMI, USB 3.0 Type C, SD Card Reader
  • Webcam: Yes
HP EliteBook x360 1020 G2 2-in-1 Laptop (3UJ14UC#ABA) Intel i5-7300U,...
  • 13.3” Full HD Display
  • Intel 7th Gen Core i7
  • 128GB SSD
  • RAM 8GB 
  • 1 USB Type C with Thunderbolt support, 2 USB 3.0, 1 microSD slot
  • Webcam: Yes
2018 Flagship Lenovo Ideapad 720S 13.3' FHD IPS Laptop Ultrabook (AMD...
  • 13” and 14” Full HD Display
  • AMD Ryzen 5 Quad Core
  • 256GB SSD - 512GB SSD
  • RAM 8GB 
  • 2 USB 3.0, 1 USB 3.0 Type C
  • Webcam: No

The Verdict

Intel has taken significant steps to improve the efficiency of their processors resulting in these incredibly sleek Ultrabooks. Because of these improvements, you will be happy to know that you will get the same performance quality from an Ultrabook that you would from a traditional laptop. There are instances, too, where gaming is supported by an Ultrabook, but only with modifications. In most cases, Ultrabooks do not support gaming very well, so if that’s your jam, then you need to go with a traditional gaming laptop. With a fantastic battery life among the Ultrabooks, you may very well spend hours away from a wall socket and not even realize that your day is over before you go to plug it back in.

They’re all amazing computers that are great daily use laptops. Highly portable, long-lasting battery and fantastic displays all lend themselves to a computer you’ll be happy with. Before you take the plunge, just remember to figure out what your budget is for one of these bad boys, and you’ll be sure to find something that you will appreciate.

Eero vs Orbi – A Product Comparison of the Best Devices Today

eero vs orbi

Wireless signals suffer sometimes in various parts of your house, and you’re pretty sure it’s just normal. You deal with it and know if you go to that corner of your home, you’re just not going to have a good signal. What is that didn’t have to be the way of things anymore? It’s true. Signal degradation happens due to the constructs of your home, but it is now possible to reduce the interference that causes the signal to go weak. Having a solid signal all over your home may feel like an intangible dream, but wireless mesh makes it possible with today’s technology. It even works in larger homes near flawlessly. You may be wondering, though, what exactly is wireless mesh?

Understanding Wireless Mesh

Every now and again there are huge strides forward in technology, and the most recent one is wireless mesh networking. It’s more than just routers with a spin. The technology actually improves the wireless signal available in your very own house. Imagine a net and the way the fibers criss-cross to cover something. Wireless mesh works the same way by casting a virtual netting over your entire house. These wireless mesh networks are also extremely simple to configure compared to more traditional router setups. Once you finish setting them up, they’re ready to continue on their own without any intervention from you. Mesh networks effectively solve one of the more significant problems that have been around for a while concerning wireless networks. That problem has been to provide coverage to areas that do not have good signals. The dead places that you come across or that wireless signal that seems to fade in and out can be fixed and improved by using wireless mesh networking.

The Way Wireless Mesh Functions

Wireless mesh networks have several bases also referred to as nodes, beacons, or units. Each of these bases extends the overall size of the network. They all exchange data regularly between nodes and are all equally aware of any other nodes on the network. One of the biggest differences between traditional router networks and wireless mesh networks is the way data moves across them. Traditional router networks transmit data while wireless mesh networks move data. The difference in functionality creates a higher throughput compared to conventional networks. Mesh routers and nodes also have a different number of bands – some are single, duel, or tri-band by design. Having more bands means more improved functionality. The number of bands that Eero has, three, allows for better data carry without resulting in a congested channel.

Things to Consider Regarding Wireless Mesh Tech

This is such a new technology for consumers that there is a lot to think about in terms of wireless mesh. One of the more significant considerations needs to be about the way the different mesh networks communicate with each other. Each manufacturer has a separate proprietary protocol that the different nodes communicate with on the mesh network. The reason for this is because there is no set standard unlike the pre-existing 802.11n that most network connection uses. To illustrate what is happening, you can’t take an Orbi and mix it into a mesh network comprised of Eero beacons. It’s very different from current tech because you can mix brands and they’ll all communicate with each other. Belkin, D-Link, and all the others out there follow the same industry standard in their traditional wireless connections.

There’s a deeper meaning to this, specifically that whatever system you buy, you’re stuck with that system unless you want to invest in something else altogether. Being restricted to a single device family can cause problems in the future because if any company were to go under, you’re going to be without support. Think about that for a minute. That means tech support won’t exist and warranties would not be
available if a company isn’t there anymore. Security flaws would be waiting to be exploited because no one would be there to ensure updates arrived promptly. You need to take the time to think about whether or not you’re okay with the possibility of losing the future assistance if any of these companies ever disappeared. It’s a real possibility because so many of the companies turning out mesh technology are startups and it’s common for startups to not last for a long time.

Established companies like Netgear and Google, though, probably have a longer lifespan, but at the same time, if they’re not selling the product well enough, they’ll remove them from the shelves, too.


eero Home WiFi System (1 eero + 2 eero Beacon) – Advanced Tri-Band...
  • WHOLE HOME WIFI SYSTEM: The eero WiFi System (1 eero + 2 eero Beacon) replaces the traditional WiFi router, WiFi extender, and internet booster by covering a 2-4 bedroom home with fast and reliable internet powered by a mesh network.
  • eero SECOND GENERATION: With the most intelligent mesh WiFi technology and powerful hardware, the eero 2nd generation WiFi system is 2x as fast as the original eero WiFi. Backwards compatible with 1st generation eeros.
  • WIFI EXTENDER: The eero Beacon is a full-fledged WiFi access point that simply plugs in to standard outlets and easily extends your WiFi connectivity to every device with more reliability than the standard WiFi booster.

Eero is a startup and revolutionary in consumer mesh tech. Their mesh tech is in the second generation of their product. The router and nodes contain a tri-band mesh system. One band is solely for communication between the different nodes. The dedicated band keeps the nodes talking to each other without congesting the other bands to improve overall throughput. The beacons are small, nice to look at, and have a polished, low-profile size. If you’re into minimalism, this would fit in well with the rest of your home. With Eero, you get extensive coverage across your home with at least two beacons. You can add more beacons if you want to and they will all connect seamlessly. Eero also ensures a fantastical efficient network because of the way the bands are configured. Coverage is exceptional across larger distances, too. Even adding a new beacon is easy. Your app will send you a notification once you plug it in, and then you update it if it tells you it needs an update.

Setting Up Eero

Setup is so easy a child can probably do it. Just remember, you’ll need to download the app to get it done, so download it first before you get started. You can find it on Google Play or the Apple Store. The user-friendly app takes you through from start to finish to get you connected quickly, too. In the event that you’re not familiar with this kind of technology, you can still follow the instructions relatively easily. You’ll also notice that there are three pieces - a base unit in addition to the two other beacons. Only the base unit has an ethernet port for wired connectivity, so keep that in mind when you’re going through your setup process. If you want other hard-wired connections, you’re going to need more base units.

The Eero App

The Eero app is easy to navigate, too. You can check everything you want inside the app and see what is happening in real-time in your network. Information that you’ll see includes device usage, diagnostics, and the ability to shut down the internet connectivity if you needed to do so. In other words, if your kid’s friends have outstayed their welcome because they lost track of time playing online video games, you can temporarily disable the network long enough to get them all out of the house. The reality is, though, the app has excellent usability and intuitive functionality. You’ll love working with the app because it’s just that easy.

Getting All of Your Eero Updates

Eero has rolling software updates on a regular basis with each update providing all of the latest patches, security additions, and bug fixes. If you want to, you can also manually update the network via the app. Upon installing your network, you’ll get a notification asking if you’d like to install updates. Tap the button on the app, and just wait for the updates to start. It’s okay if you don’t get a notice because it just means that your Eero is already fully updated. Make sure you have the latest app version, and everything else will go smoothly for you.

Eero’s Performance

The Eero was one of three units that were tested by Business Insider, and it had outstanding performance. The primary router delivered a download speed of over 100Mbps along with an upload speed of 35Mbps. When the connectivity over at one of the beacons was tested, the download speed was consistent with the primary router at 100Mbps or more, and the upload speed stayed at 35Mbps.


Sale
NETGEAR Orbi Ultra-Performance Whole Home Mesh WiFi System - fastest...
  • Ultra-performance Mesh WiFi network blankets every inch of your home in super fast and seamless WiFi connectivity - room to room, wall to wall, floor to floor
  • Up to 161% faster than the leading brands, as certified by an independent study, makes Orbi the highest performance Mesh WiFi system on the market
  • Eliminates WiFi dead zones and buffering - 5,000 square feet of consistent coverage - with speeds up to 3.0 Gbps

You might not be crazy about the way Orbi looks, though, because it isn’t the best looking piece of equipment out there. Plus, they’re really big comparatively speaking, and you won’t be able to tuck it away into some unobtrusive corner somewhere. From another perspective, Orbi is manufactured by Netgear, which is an established company that likely isn’t going anywhere in the near future. This has the potential to be a significant benefit over competitors because you know they’ll probably be around for a long time to come. It is a tri-band system with one of the bands dedicated to the unit communication so as not to cause congestion in the rest of the network. It’s the core reason why this mesh system works so effectively. Another option that is offered by Orbi is an outdoor satellite that makes it possible to extend your internet coverage outside. This is a fantastic offering that parks and outdoor events could absolutely take advantage of. On the downside, the Orbi is expensive, and the three-pack runs around $ with extra satellite units that are around $ each.

best looking piece of equipment

Setting Up Orbi

All Power Moves did a full set up on Orbi, and their reports were nothing spectacular. The setup was pretty easy enough with the app. It’s a lot easier with the web browser that you’re used to seeing when you log into a Netgear device from your computer. The mesh system that the Orbi creates also has to be stacked in a specific way to make sure that the base unit communicates properly with the other satellite units. Options on the Orbi during setup are far more complicated than the Eero or even Google Wifi because there are so many. There are advanced options like QoS as well as forwarding. A technical guru may like these available options, but it might be too much for the average person that just wants to plug the thing in and go.

The Orbi App

The Orbi app is not as user-friendly as the Eero app when you get a chance to compare the two. You can’t prioritize devices or put in much in the way of parental controls. Really, you’re better off getting into your Orbi by way of your web browser to be able to access the entire suite because the app is pretty limiting.

Getting All of Your Orbi Updates

According to Netgear, there are regularly released updates to the Orbi system. You can set the mesh network devices to auto-update, and then you won’t need to do anything to ensure everything gets updated quickly. Alternatively, you can also update the firmware manually on both the router and the satellite. You’ll need to be hardwired into the router to make it happen, so it’s just easier for you to let it work
automatically.​​update the firmware

Orbi’s Performance

When it comes to overall performance, Orbi knocked it out of the park. It is fast no matter where you are in your house because two units will cover up to 5,000 square feet which covers larger homes quite effectively. It was also one of the mesh systems that was tested by Business Insider and download speeds. It delivered download speeds of over 100Mbps and upload speeds averaging 35Mbps. It was right on par with the Eero, too.

The Pros and Cons Eero and Orbi

Now that you’ve had the chance to get to know a little more about the Eero and the Orbi mesh networks, here’s a quick breakdown into the pros of each one.

Pros and Cons of Eero

Pros

  • Expect nothing but excellent performance with the Eero.
  • Excellent download and upload speed at both the primary router and the satellite beacons.
  • The low-profile design of the beacons and the main unit are compact, too.
  • The app is user-friendly as well as easy to work with during set up and updating as well.
  • Parental controls are also available.
  • Updates happen automatically without intervention, but you also can manually update if you want to.

Cons

  • It is more expensive between the two.
  • Limited by two ethernet ports on the main unit.
  • Eero uses proprietary protocols, so you can’t mix different models of wireless mesh network devices with it.
  • Eero is a startup company, and startups don’t always succeed. This means you may or may not be able to get support later.

Pros and Cons of Orbi

Pros

  • The Orbi delivers excellent performance.
  • Updates are also set to roll out regularly without you needing to prompt anything.
  • There are several ethernet ports on the main unit and on the satellite.
  • Coverage is fantastic with each unit covering at least around 2,000 square feet.

Cons

  • The Orbi is massive compared to a mesh system like the Eero.
  • The Orbi is expensive compared to other consumer mesh systems.
  • Available options are incredibly complex and not as easy to setup as the Eero.
  • The app needs some work.

Which One Should You Buy?

Knowing which one to buy between the Eero vs Orbi is going to be dependent on the end user. If you want more options along with excellent connectivity, then the Orbi is the way to go. Orbi is also less expensive than the Eero, and it comes with three units including the router compared to the Eero that only comes with two.

If you’re not as technically savvy and you want something that is easy to set up, then the Eero needs to be the choice for you, even if it does cost a bit more. Consider the longevity of the company, too, and decide whether or not that makes a difference to you for long-term purposes. Whichever one you choose, though, you’ll know that your connectivity will consistently deliver fantastic speeds.

Eero vs Google Wifi – Taking An In-Depth Look at Their Features

eero vs google wifi

Almost everyone has experienced that one spot in their house where the wireless signal just isn’t as strong as it should be. It might even show up when you’re trying to stream Netflix across the house, and you can’t figure out why the signal just isn’t up to par. The truth of the matter is that the signal has more to do with the structure of your house than the viability of the signal itself. Walls get in the way and cause signal degradation the more there are between your device and your router.

Ideally, you’re going to want a solid wireless signal everywhere because you’d love to have a strong signal in every room in the house, but up until more recently, that wasn’t entirely possible without extenders, and even then, it wasn’t always effective. That’s where the latest trend in routers, wireless mesh networking, comes into play, and it is fabulous.

What is Wireless Mesh?

Wireless mesh is the next big thing in networking, and it’s so much more than you would think. It’s not just a new wave of routers. It’s an entirely new technology that can improve wireless availability in your home. Think about the way a net covers a surface, and you’ve got a visual representation of how a mesh network functions. Not only does it cast a virtual net over your home, but it is also easy to configure because aside from initial setup, mesh network devices will take care of the rest by themselves. Mesh networks are effective at solving a major problem that has plagued wireless networks for years – covering a single large area when there are no network presences physically available. All those dead spots that happen in traditional wireless networks are no longer a thing thanks to wireless mesh networks.

How does Wireless Mesh Work?

Mesh networking uses several bases to extend the size of the network. Each node exchanges data on a consistent basis from node to node. Because of the way they communicate, each node is aware of the other nodes within the network. A key difference is that mesh networks do not actually transmit the data through the various base stations. Instead, the nodes work to adjust and decrease any potential virtual interference and extend the range of the signal. Their functionality leads to higher throughput than what most wireless routers provide. Some mesh routers are single band, and others have multiple bands. More bands lead to better functionality. As an example, the Eero has three different bands which allow for bands that are dedicated to reducing potential congestion on the same channel.

Do You Need Wireless Mesh?

Well, that depends on a few things. Wireless mesh uses different proprietary protocols when you compare them to your traditional wifi. It with the 802.11 suite of protocols, but what you see in most routers and other wireless network gear is the standard 802.11n protocol that is cross-compatible among all wireless platforms regardless of the manufacturer. In other words, a D-Link modem will not
have any issues communicating with a Linksys router connected to a Belkin switch.
Wireless mesh protocols have not yet been standardized, so while they are compatible with 802.11 equipment, they may only be compatible inside your own home, but not necessarily compatible with each other. In other words, you can’t put an Eero inside of a Google Wifi mesh network because they aren’t going to be compatible.

Once you’re in, you’re stuck unless you get a whole new setup. The problem with this is that because the technology is still so new for consumers if a company were to fold and disappear, you would be out of luck getting any support later on. No support would mean you couldn’t call someone if you needed something, no warranty coverage, inability to purchase new pieces, and access apps wouldn’t be updated anymore. Additionally, if there were ever any major security flaws that showed up later, you might never get that needed update. So when you ask whether or not you need to get a wireless mesh network setup, it’s not an easy yes or no kind of answer. Is the efficiency more important to you now than the long-term possibilities? Alternatively, are the long-term possibilities a deal-breaker for you right now? You’ll have to weigh the answers to those questions and be prepared in case the startups like Eero were to ever go south. If you decide to go forward with a mesh network, it’s a good idea to compare different mesh network specifications to see if there are any preferences between them.

All About Google Wifi


Sale
Google WiFi system, 3-Pack - Router replacement for whole home...
  • A new type of connected system for seamless Wi-Fi coverage throughout your home, helping eliminate dead zones and buffering
  • Replaces your current router, and works your modem and internet service. It's compatible with major internet service providers including Comcast, Time Warner, and Verizon Fios
  • A single Wifi point covers up to 1,500 sq. ft, a set of three covers homes up to 4,500 sq. ft. Wifi points work together so you can add more if you need additional coverage

It’s no wonder that Google Wifi is at the forefront of this latest tech, especially since Google needs you to be online. If you weren’t online, chances are Google would eventually cease to exist because then not hardly anyone would be online searching the web. It would be like we went back to the early 1990s – the horror! With that said, Google knows how to make their equipment work with the web, and do so seamlessly. If you’ve ever used Google products, you’re going to be ahead of the curve because you’re going to intuitively know how it needs to be setup.

Setup is Easy

Setting up Google Wifi is as easy as most plug and play devices. You turn on the first unit and connect it directly to your modem. Make sure you download the app so you can monitor and finish setting up your nodes. After that, you’ll get real-time instructions on what you need to do next to set up the remaining additional nodes. It doesn’t take more than a few minutes, and then you’re done. When setup has been completed, with three nodes, you’ll be able to cover approximately 4500 square feet of house space, so even larger homes can take advantage of the coverage provided by a mesh network.

The Google Wifi App

As you explore the app, you’re going to see that there are some really cool features that you’ll especially love if you have kids that might play Fortnite for just a little too long these days. That’s right. You can set the amount of time allowed by the device from your app. Then when their internet connection goes down, and they cry out, “Mo-om” or “Da-ad, it stopped working,” you’ll know why and subsequently send them outside to play. Unless it’s 2 am, in which case they might just be tired enough to go to sleep.

Automatic Updates

One of the best things about the easy setup and reliable connectivity with Google Wifi is the way that it updates seamlessly. They keep updates going on a regular schedule, so you know that your network is always going to be secure so long as Google Wifi sticks around. You can find Google Wifi online directly from Google, or you can purchase them at places like Best Buy and Fry’s electronics. Currently, they run around $ for a set of three stations.

Performance

Business Insider compared a few mesh networks to include Google Wifi. When the speeds were tested at the main router, the performance was exceptional and delivered a consistent 100Mbps or more download speed, and an excellent 35Mbps upload. However, when they tested the various satellite nodes, the download speed lost a lot of strength, but the upload speed stayed consistent. This was not the case with others that were compared, and the Google Wifi performed the worst at the satellite points.

All About Eero


eero Home WiFi System (1 eero + 2 eero Beacon) – Advanced Tri-Band...
  • WHOLE HOME WIFI SYSTEM: The eero WiFi System (1 eero + 2 eero Beacon) replaces the traditional WiFi router, WiFi extender, and internet booster by covering a 2-4 bedroom home with fast and reliable internet powered by a mesh network.
  • eero SECOND GENERATION: With the most intelligent mesh WiFi technology and powerful hardware, the eero 2nd generation WiFi system is 2x as fast as the original eero WiFi. Backwards compatible with 1st generation eeros.
  • WIFI EXTENDER: The eero Beacon is a full-fledged WiFi access point that simply plugs in to standard outlets and easily extends your WiFi connectivity to every device with more reliability than the standard WiFi booster.

Eero is a pioneer in consumer mesh tech, and their latest model is the second generation of their product. It is a tri-band mesh system complete. One of the bands is dedicated to intra-node communications, so as the nodes talk to each other, they don’t interfere with the overall bandwidth capacity. The beacons themselves are polished, small, and aesthetically pleasing to behold, especially if you’re into the whole minimalist look. You’ll get fantastic coverage without really obvious placements of individual units. Plus, you can add as many beacons as you want to and it won’t have an issue with connectivity. Eero also provides a fast and efficient network due to the way the bands are configured, even across larger distances. Even adding a new beacon is easy. Once you plug it in, you’ll get a notification on the app to do an update. After you update your newest addition, it will seamlessly integrate into your entire network.

Eero Setup

Setup is about as easy as it is for the Google Wifi mesh. Before you plug anything in, though, you’ll need to download the app to get it taken care of. The app is very user-friendly and talks you through the entire process to get you connected in next to no time at all. Even if you’re not familiar with technology like this, you’ll still be able to follow the instructions relatively easily. You’ll also notice that there is a base unit as well in addition to the two other beacons. Only the base unit has an ethernet port, so keep that in mind when you’re going through your setup process.

The Eero App

The Eero app is easy to read and even easier to navigate. You can find everything you need to know by checking out your app to see what is going on inside your network. Information found in the app includes device usage, diagnostics, and the ability to shut down the internet as needed. In other words, when your kiddos have been watching too many Minecraft videos or playing too long on some other online game, you can temporarily disable their part of the network and get them to rejoin civilization for a bit. In all seriousness, though, the app has excellent functionality and usability. You’ll love what you can see.

Getting Eero Updates

Eero functions very similarly to Google Wifi. They have rolling software updates on a regular basis, and each update provides the newest security additions. You can also manually update the network via the app. As soon as you install your network, you’ll immediately get a notification on your app asking if you’d like to install updates. You tap the button, and then the updates just start. If you don’t get a notice, that’s okay, too, because it just means that your Eero is fully updated already. Just make sure you’ve got the latest app version, too, and it will be smooth sailing for you the entire time you’re getting updates.

Performance

The Eero was another one of the units that was tested over at Business Insider, and it had exceptional performance all the way around. The primary router reported a download speed of over 100Mbps and an upload speed of approximately 35Mbps. When they tested the connectivity over at one of the beacons, the reported download speed remained the same 100Mbps or more, and the upload speed consistently stayed at 35Mbps, too.

The Pros of Eero vs Google Wifi

Now that you’ve got some information on these two different mesh networks, here’s a quick breakdown into the pros and cons of each one so you can weigh them against each other. 

Google Wifi Pros and Cons:

Pros

  • The design of the nodes are sleek and look nice on a shelf.
  • The setup is the most natural thing in the world thanks to the simplicity behind Google’s creation.
  • The app is user-friendly with everything.
  • Parental controls are outstanding
  • Network controls are also easy to access.
  • Updates happen without any manual intervention ever.
  • This is the least expensive when it comes to wireless mesh network equipment.
  • Excellent download and upload speeds at the primary router.

Cons

  • While the performance is good, it’s not as good as the Eero.
  • You’ll only find two ethernet ports on the main unit.
  • It might be the most inexpensive, but it is still $ for a set of 3 or $ for a single node.
  • Google Wifi uses proprietary protocols and so will not work with anything else except for other Google Wifi nodes.
  • There is significant signal degradation at the satellite nodes.

Eero Pros and Cons

Pros

  • You can expect excellent performance with the Eero.
  • The design of the beacons and the main unit are compact and very low-profile.
  • The app is user-friendly and easy to work with in setting up and updating as well.
  • Updates happen automatically, too, without intervention, but you have the option to manually update if you want to.
  • Excellent download and upload speed at the primary router and the satellite beacons.
  • Parental controls are available on the user-friendly app.

Cons

  • There are only two ethernet ports on the main unit.
  • It is the more expensive between the two.
  • Eero is a startup company, and it is difficult for startups to succeed, so you may or may not end up getting needed support later.
  • Eero also uses proprietary protocols, so you cannot combine multiple types of wireless mesh network devices with it.

Which One Should You Buy?

The one you should buy is going to depend on your personal preference as well as your overall budget. Both choices make it possible to improve your overall network performance, and each covers an impressive amount of square footage. Google Wifi will do what you need it to do very well and for a smaller price tag. Plus, you get three units with their set for $. The Eero is considerably more expensive for a two-pack that covers an equivalent square footage. It runs around $ for a three pack, and it will cost you $ for a two-pack.

That’s a huge difference in your wallet for a similar performance. The only thing that would push you to consider the Eero over Google Wifi would be if you’re a gamer type. Eero does have better download and upload performance, while Google Wifi is worse when you compare upload speeds. For basic streaming, they both function very well, so for the average person looking to improve their overall network connectivity, Google Wifi would be the way to go because it is so much cheaper and still offers excellent performance.

Can Laptop Play Blu Ray? – Watch Your Favorite Movie on Your Computer

can laptop play blu ray

In a moment of uncertainty, you may see your cat on your couch feeling as though a thought bubble could appear over their furry head wondering, “can laptop play Blu Ray?” Cats do stuff like that – they’re weird. They stare. Of course, you could be projecting your own thoughts and wondering if that laptop that you have in your closet might play a Blu Ray disc, but you’re not really sure. It’s okay. Believe it or not, the question gets asked all the time, and the answer is usually maybe.

Getting to Know How Blu Ray Works

blue ray movies

Older laptops probably don’t have the integrated capacity to play Blu Ray discs. At the same time, that doesn’t mean you can’t watch your disc on your computer. Wait, what? Yep. All that means is that you need to buy an external Blu Ray drive to connect to your laptop, and then you can finally watch that movie you’ve been meaning to watch. Newer laptops made within the past seven or eight years might have a Blu Ray player installed. There are a couple of ways you can check. The easiest is to put the disc in and see what happens. If it reads, then yay, you’ve got a Blu Ray player. If it doesn’t, then you’re out of luck until you either replace your current drive, or you purchase an external one.

Another way to check to see if you have a Blu Ray player is to simply look at your laptop. You should see a label somewhere that indicates you’ve got a Blu Ray player installed. It might be on the media player itself, so make sure you examine your laptop closely, so you don’t miss it. You can so get into your Computer Management by clicking on your Start menu in Windows, then going to Windows Administrative Tools and then finally to Computer Management. Once you’re in Computer Management, click on Device Manager and then look for any disc drives or optical drives. If you have a Blu Ray player, you’ll find it and be able to see its properties as long as the correct drivers are installed. If you don’t have one, you won’t see it in the list.

What are Drivers?

Blue Ray player

Drivers drive the program, connection, devices, and other related items forward. Think of Driving Miss Daisy – the driver drove her around everywhere because that’s what drivers do. If you don’t have the drivers installed, then your hardware isn’t going to go forward and do what you want it to do. External optical drives usually need drivers to function properly, and so do internal optical drives. Plug-and-play systems should recognize the device and automatically search for the necessary drivers to get the drive installed. If the drivers do not auto-install, then you’re going to have to do a quick Google search to see if you can find them online. In most cases, finding them is easy as pie. Be aware, though, that you want to go to a safe site to get your drivers because if you’re not careful, you could end up accidentally downloading malware. If that happens, you’ve got a whole other mess on your hands.

To help you navigate those waters, here are a few sites that are safe according to Lifewire. They verified all of them. A word to the wise – always try to find the driver you need from the manufacturer’s website first because that is going to be the safest way to go. If that doesn’t work, you can try the following sites.

  • DriverGuide.com – been around for decades and is trustworthy, but requires you to register before downloading.
  • Download.com – organized well and no registration required, but older drivers may not be found here.
  • TechSpot – well-organized, no registration needed, but you won’t find too many newer drivers at this site.
  • DriversBay – registration not required, but the selection is small.
  • DriverPack Solution – user-friendly and searchable by device, but not all drivers go back to the manufacturer.
  • Soft32.com – easy to search, no registration required, but lots of dead links so may not be worth the time to find what you’re looking for.
  • DriverZone.com – registration not required and drivers are easily found, but the drivers are not kept up to date so you may come across some dead links.
  • Softpedia.com – user-friendly, no registration required, but it is difficult to tell if you’re getting an older or newer driver, so it may be best to search for the manufacturer’s driver directly and compare what you’re seeing.
  • NoDevice.com – no user account required, drivers are located directly on the site, and you’ll have to confirm you’re human each time you download something.
  • SoftwareDriverDownload.com – no registration required, but you may have to register at the site where the driver is located, and the site is not well-organized.

Avoid these sites:

  • DriversKit.com – redirects you to a site you’ll have to pay for and you don’t ever need to pay for drivers.
  • DriverFiles.net – does the same thing as DriversKit.com

Before Buying a Blu Ray Player…

Blue Ray player

Don’t forget to read up on your laptop specifications to make sure that the player you’re interested in purchasing is going to work for your system. You may be wondering, ahem, the cat may be wondering, “can laptop play Blu Ray now?” Possibly, but only if you made sure that the player was compatible with your laptop first. Specific optical drives are designed to work with certain laptops, so you can’t just go out to Best Buy and pick up the first Blu Ray drive you see. Also, consider the age of your laptop. If it is considerably older, you may be better off upgrading your laptop first before purchasing a Blu Ray player, mainly because older laptops don’t respond as well to newer technology.

As a bonus, if you buy a newer laptop and you happen to have a newer TV, you may be able to connect the two and watch the movie directly on the big screen. You would use an HDMI cable to connect the two assuming that you had an HDMI port on both the laptop and the TV.

Words of Warning

blue ray player

Do keep in mind that a Blu Ray player is not the same as a DVD player. Yes, the discs are the same size, but they are not entirely interchangeable. In other words, a Blu Ray player will also play DVDs, but a DVD player will not play Blu Ray discs. It’s two different types of tech, and because DVD players are older, they’re not backward compatible. If you’re still not sure about what you have, you can always check with the manufacturer, too, to be on the safe side. Remember, you wouldn’t want to get the wrong drive because it could cause other problems later on.

A Few Final Thoughts

Don’t forget that Blu Ray and DVD are not the same technology, and don’t forget to make sure you get the right drive for your system. If it’s an older system, consider upgrading. An upgrade may be more cost-effective than a drive that could fry your system. If you’re not sure about what you have or what you need to get, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Major manufacturers have a tech support line for a reason – to help you figure stuff out. Plus, they love getting easy calls like “can laptop play Blu Ray” or “what kind of optical drive do I have?” If you’ve ever worked in a call center, you know that easy calls drive your metrics up and everybody loves that. Just make sure you know the make and model of your laptop before you call in and they’ll be happy to help you.

Best Routers – Laptops And Computer Equipment for 2018

best routers

Wireless routers make your life better, so you might say the best routers are wireless, hands-down. A wireless connection makes it easier for you to connect to the web, download, and even save you money because they are far more cost-effective than their older wired counterparts. Chances are that you have a broadband connection at home, and you probably have a wireless router, too. It’s a good thing because wireless routers allow for quick data transportation from the internet straight to your device in an instant.

Of course, if you’re looking at this article, you may also be in the market for an upgrade. Naturally, you’re going to want something that has the latest configurations and supports the newest standards with room to grow.

Wireless Router FAQs

If you’re not familiar with a router, it’s a crucial device that does a lot for the network you’ll have in your home. Simply put, a router allows for your local network which consists of your personal laptop or another device to connect to the internet on the outside. You may have also heard them called residential gateways.

Why do you need a router?

What does a wireless router do?

How does a wireless router work?

What types of routers are there?

Where to Buy Them

The Expected Costs

How Products are Reviewed

All of these routers have been reviewed by comparing specifications, tests that were run on them, in addition to actual customer experiences with these various products. It’s important that you get the correct information, so we work to provide you with accurate and up-to-date information. Since technology is always changing at a rapid pace, we know you want to have the most current specs at your fingertips.

Overall Price Range

Prices range from right around $100 and upwards of several hundred dollars. They do offer multiple configurations which is why the price varies so widely. Some of them have multiple USB ports that allow for direct connectivity to a network printer or other type of box like a media server. Others are very basic and just connect to the modem to provide you with a wireless signal throughout your home or office.


Sale
Google WiFi system, 3-Pack - Router replacement for whole home...
  • A new type of connected system for seamless Wi-Fi coverage throughout your home, helping eliminate dead zones and buffering
  • Replaces your current router, and works your modem and internet service. It's compatible with major internet service providers including Comcast, Time Warner, and Verizon Fios
  • A single Wifi point covers up to 1,500 sq. ft, a set of three covers homes up to 4,500 sq. ft. Wifi points work together so you can add more if you need additional coverage

Super simple to use and very inexpensive by comparison, you can find a set of three different mesh access points for under $ on Amazon. There might not be any bells and whistles on this setup, but you’ll love how much faster your internet gets if you have lots of walls that get in the way of your wireless signal. You’ll also be happy to know that you can monitor your network from your phone or your computer relatively quickly as needed. You can also limit kid device access, and see who is logged on at the click of a button. Google Wifi has decent connectivity speeds, too, although they don’t report specifications. CNET tested the speed and found that it was capable of sustaining a top speed of 470Mbps, and you connect to each device seamlessly as you wander around your home.


Sale
NETGEAR Orbi Ultra-Performance Whole Home Mesh WiFi System - fastest...
  • Ultra-performance Mesh WiFi network blankets every inch of your home in super fast and seamless WiFi connectivity - room to room, wall to wall, floor to floor
  • Up to 161% faster than the leading brands, as certified by an independent study, makes Orbi the highest performance Mesh WiFi system on the market
  • Eliminates WiFi dead zones and buffering - 5,000 square feet of consistent coverage - with speeds up to 3.0 Gbps

Also known as the Netgear Orbi Home Mesh Wifi System, this router offers some amazing features that will remind you of the Nighthawk line, also by Netgear. It’s simple to set up and get working, plus they claim 5,000 feet of coverage with the two that come in the initial package. The package includes the router unit and a satellite unit to expand the reach of your home network. This setup is a bit larger than some of the other mesh network offerings like Google Wifi, but if that doesn’t bother you, then you’ll be supremely happy with the overall performance.


Sale
ASUS Gaming Router Tri-band WiFi (Up to 5334 Mbps) for VR & 4K...
  • Tri-band (dual 5 GHz, single 2.4 GHz) AC5300 wireless router with the latest 802.11ac 4x4 MU-MIMO technology for maximum throughput (5334 Mbps) and coverage (up to 5,000 sq. ft.)
  • 1.8GHz 64bit Quad-Core processor maximizes data throughput from 8-ports and dual USB 3.0 for optimizing network traffic and connectivity speeds 3. VPN Fusion enables you to run a VPN and ordinary internet connection simultaneously, effectively maximizing your connection speed to gaming servers (available via firmware update)
  • VPN Fusion enables you to run a VPN and ordinary internet connection simultaneously, effectively maximizing your connection speed to gaming servers (available via firmware update)

If you’re into gaming, then this is an excellent choice of router. The speed is fantastic, and it supports plenty of ports, too. There are almost too many features to name, but we’ll try. Part of the Republic of Gamers collection, this tri-band router has two bands at 5GHz and one band at 2.4 GHz with a combined throughput of up to 5300Mbps. Yeah, it’s fast. You’ll also find eight antennas, two USB 3.0 ports, two dedicated gaming ethernet ports, and six other ethernet ports you can use to link to improve your data connection. Are you drooling yet? It gets even better. Inside, you’ll find a 1.8GHz quad-core processor, AiMesh support, built-in malware protection, Game IPS, Range Boost capabilities, and so much more. The price is quite a bit heftier than most, but you’ll certainly get what you pay for with the AC5300.


Sale
ASUS Whole Home Dual-Band AiMesh Router (AC1900) for Mesh Wifi System...
  • Dual-band with the latest 802.11ac 3x3 technology for combined speeds of up to 1900 Mbps. Internet connection type- Automatic IP, Static IP, PPPoE(MPPE supported), PPTP, L2TP, WAN Bridge support, Multicast Proxy support, Multicast Rate Setting support
  • 1GHz Dual-core CPU enables smart multitasking by dedicating separate lanes for Wifi and USB data. Network Standard : IEEE 802.11a, IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11n, IEEE 802.11ac, IPv4, IPv6
  • Effortless router setup with the ASUSWRT web-based interface. Dual-band connectivity for compatibility and performance. OS Support: Windows: 10,8.1, 8,7,Vista,2000,ME,XP,Server 2003,Server 2008,Mac: OS X 10.1,OS X 10.4,OS X 10.5,OS X 10.6,OS X 10.7,OS X 10.8,OS X,Linux Kernel (Support Ubuntu only),Linux

This router is an excellent option for just about anyone. The wireless is fast, and it supports a dual-band configuration. You can’t mount it on your wall, though, but you should be happy with the overall performance.

Top 5 Best Routers of 2018

​Product

Features

Price

Google WiFi system, 3-Pack - Router replacement for whole home...
Google WiFi system, 3-Pack - Router replacement for whole home coverage (NLS-1304-25)
NETGEAR Orbi Ultra-Performance Whole Home Mesh WiFi System - fastest...
NETGEAR Orbi Ultra-Performance Whole Home Mesh WiFi System - fastest WiFi router and single satellite extender with speeds up to 3 Gbps over 5,000 sq. feet, AC3000 (RBK50) 
ASUS Gaming Router Tri-band WiFi (Up to 5334 Mbps) for VR & 4K...
ASUS Gaming Router Tri-band WiFi (Up to 5334 Mbps) for VR & 4K streaming, 1.8GHz Quad-Core processor, Gaming Port, Whole Home Mesh System, & AiProtection network with 8 x Gigabit LAN ports(GT-AC5300) 
ASUS Whole Home Dual-Band AiMesh Router (AC1900) for Mesh Wifi System...
ASUS Whole Home Dual-Band AiMesh Router (AC1900) for Mesh Wifi System (Up to 1900 Mbps) - AiProtection Network Security by Trend Micro, Adaptive QoS & Parental Control (RT-AC68U)