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1TB SSDs – Your Best Choice Of Storage For All Your Computer Needs

Kingston SSD installed

Solid State Drives (SSDs) are a staple of hardcore computer users from designers to gamers. We are here to help you find 2018's best 1TB SSDs for your needs. SSDs are faster than traditional hard disk drives (HDD) due to their physical design. The faster speeds make booting your computer faster and help the overall performance of your computer.

Even if you are just a typical computer user, watching shows and typing up emails, upgrading your drive to an SSD can dramatically improve your computing experience.

2018’s Best 1TB SSDs FAQ

Before we go into the best 1TB SSDs, we will explain a little bit about what an SSD is, why you would use one, and the various things you need to consider when buying an SSD.

What is an SSD?

A Solid State Drive (SSD) is a form of non-volatile storage technology. Unlike Random Access Memory (RAM) which loses data as soon as you turn the power off to your computer or device, non-volatile storage retains information after the power is turned off.

Why use an SSD over a traditional hard drive?

Traditional hard disk drives (HDDs) and SSDs are both forms of non-volatile storage technology.

An HDD is comprised of a metal disc with a magnetic coating which is then read with a read/write head while it is spinning, like a compact disc (CD).

An SSD has no moving parts, making it less vulnerable to physical breakdown and wear which allows an SSD to consume less power. SSDs smaller than HDDs, making them ideal for use in smaller devices such as tablet and laptop computers. Due to how data is stored and accessed on the drive, an SSD is much faster overall, making it ideal for computer users who access the data on their drives a lot, like programmers, graphics editors, and gamers.

What are the differences in storage technology in SSDs?

SSDs use NAND Flash. NAND is the type of logic gate that the memory uses to store information, in this case, the NOT AND operation.

There are three types of NAND Flash used on most SSDs: Single Level Cell (SLC) which stores one bit of memory in each cell; Multi-Level Cell (MLC) which stores multiple bits of data on one cell; and Triple Level Cell (TLC) which stores three bits of data per cell. The primary limitation of flash drives is the number of programs and erase (P/E) cycles they have.

SLC SSDs are higher in cost but have the highest P/E which translates into a longer useful life. They are also faster read and write speed than MLC and TLC. MLC SSDs are cheaper to produce but also have less P/E and has a slower write speed. TLC wears faster than either SLC or MLC. TLC based SSDs are better for uses that require more reading than writing.

What types of SSDs are available?

Serial ATA (SATA) is a common SSD form factor. They are similar in size and shape to the traditional 2.5-inch hard drive and use the same connections. Desktops, laptops and gaming consoles like the Playstation 4 and XBox One use SATA SSDs.

M.2 (pronounced M dot two) is an interface designed initially for smaller computers like laptops, but you can find them on desktop computers now too. An M.2 SSD looks very similar to a stick of RAM. You can use these on a SATA interface or a Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCI-E) interface.

External SSDs are also available. These types of SSDs connect to the computer via a USB cable instead of being installed.

How we reviewed

When evaluating 2018’s Best 1TB SSDs, we looked at various factors. Aside from the 1TB storage capacity, we also looked at the form factor, interface, and any extras that come with the SSD such as controller software.

Overall Price Range of 2018’s Best 1 TB SSDs

We found a range of a hundred seventy to over five hundred dollars. In general, the more storage capacity an SSD has, the higher the price. For our purposes, we focused on 1TB SSDs. Speed, form factor, and storage technology are all factors on the final price. Lower priced SSDs tend to be SATA form factors with lower read/write speeds while higher priced SSDs tend to be M.2 with higher read/write speeds.

2018's Best 1TB SSDs

Without further ado, here are our picks for 2018’s Best 1TB SSDs, presented in no particular order.


  • Form factor: M.2 2280
  • Interface: NVMe PCIe

The Samsung 970 EVO offers read speeds of up to 3,500 MegaBytes per second (MB/s) and can last up to 1,200 TeraBytes Written (TBW). It comes with SSD management solution software that offers optimization and data security. The Samsung 970 EVO is also available in 250GB, 500GB, and 2TB capacities.

This SSD is extremely fast with a lot of features but also commands a high price tag. This SSD is suitable for heavy computer users such as high-end gamers, 4K video editors, and tech enthusiasts. It has a rating of 5 out of 5 stars on Amazon.

Quality

Usability

Support

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  • Form factor: M.2 2280
  • Interface: NVMe PCIe

The Western Digital NVMe SSD offers read/write speeds of up to 3,400/2800 MB/s and can last up to 600TBW. It is also available in 250GB and 500GB capacities.

This SSD is high-speed but has less TBW than some other competitors. High-end gamers, video editing, and tech enthusiasts would get the most out of this SSD's capabilities. It is rated 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon. As of this writing, there are only two bad reviews out of dozens of positive reviews for the product. One review said they received it in a damaged condition, and the other customer said it lasted less than a month.

Quality

Usability

Support

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  • Form factor: 2.5” SATA
  • Interface: SATA III

The Crucial MX500 1TB offers a read/write speed of 560 / 510 MB/s and up to 220TBW. This SSD is also available in 250GB, 500GB, and 2TB capacities and comes with a 5-year limited warranty. The Crucial MX500 1TB has a self-encrypting drive (SED).

The Crucial MX500 is somewhat slower than its competitors due to its SATA interface. That makes it slower but also more affordable than some of the M.2 SSDs. This SSD is good for gamers and tech enthusiasts. It has a rating of 4.5 out of 5-stars on Amazon. Overall, the reviews were great, but one customer complained it damaged their computer and other said it died within months.

Quality

Usability

Support

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  • Form factor: 2.5” SATA
  • Interface: SATA III

The Transcend SSD 370 offers a read/write speed of 570/470 MB/s. It uses MLC NAND storage technology. The Transcend SSD 370 is also available in 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB capacities. It comes with mounting hardware for 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch drive bays. It is also rated 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon. Unfortunately, while there were a lot of good reviews, some customers complained that it died quickly.

Quality

Usability

Support

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  • Form factor: 2.5” SATA
  • Interface: SATA III

The SanDisk SSD Plus offers read/write speeds of up to 535/450 MB/s. It uses MLC NAND storage technology and is shock resistant. The SanDisk SSD Plus also comes in 120GB, 240GB, 480GB, and 960GB capacities. This SSD is good for typical computer usages such as email, browsing, casual gaming, and video watching.

It has a 4.5 out of 5-star rating on Amazon. While this product has a lot of great reviews, the major complaint was that it did not last very long.

Quality

Usability

Support

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  • Form factor: 2.5” SATA
  • Interface: SATA III

The Samsung 860 Pro 1TB uses proprietary Samsung V-NAND storage technology. It has a read/write speed of 560/530 MB/s with up to 4,800 TBW. The Samsung 860 Pro also comes in 256GB, 512GB, 2TB, and 4TB capacities. This SSD is suitable for typical personal, gaming, and business usages.

It has a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon. However, some customers complained that it was dead on arrival.

Quality

Usability

Support

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  • Form factor: M.2 2880
  • Interface: PCI-E NVME

The Intel 760p Series uses NAND TLC storage technology. It has a read/write speed of 3.15/1.59 GB/s and up to 576 TBW. The Intel 760p also comes in 128GB, 256GB, 512 GB, and 2TB capacities. This SSD is good for gaming and other high demand computing.

It has a 4.5 out of 5-star rating on Amazon with only six customer reviews.

Quality

Usability

Support

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  • Form factor: 2.5” SATA
  • Interface: SATA III

The Silicon Power Ace A55 1TB SSD uses a combination of SLC and TLC storage technologies. It comes with management software that allows you monitor drive performance and health. The Silicon Power A55 SSD also comes in 32GB, 60GB, and 120GB capacities. This SSD is best for typical computer use like video watching, casual gaming, and browsing.

It is rated 4.5 out of 5-stars on Amazon. Overall, the reviews were great, but customers did complain about it failing upon arrival.

Quality

Usability

Support

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  • Form factor: Portable
  • Interface: USB 3.1

The Western Digital My Passport is an external, portable SSD that offers speeds up to 540MB/s via USB Type-C. It comes with It comes with WD Discovery software which includes backup, security, and drive utilities. The Western Digital My Passport is also available in 256GB, 512GB, and 2TB capacities.

It is rated 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon, but that is with only two reviews.

Quality

Usability

Support

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  • Form factor: Portable
  • Interface: USB 3.1

The Samsung T5 is an external, portable SSD uses Samsung proprietary V-NAND storage technology. It offers read-write speeds of 540/515 MB/s. This SSD comes with a USB Type-C to C cable and a Type-C to A cable for connectivity with computers and tablets. It offers optional AES 256-bit hardware encryption.

The Samsung T5 is also available in 250GB, 500GB, and 2TB capacities. It has a 4.5 out of 5-star rating on Amazon. While the ratings are excellent overall, some people did complain that it failed randomly and they were forced to return it.

Quality

Usability

Support

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Comparison Table


Our Top Choice

Amazon Best Seller

Gamer's Choice

Preview

Form Factor

2.5” SATA

Portable

M.2 2280

Interface

SATA III

USB 3.1

NVMe PCIe

Warranty

Price

Verdict

When it comes to 2018’s Best 1TB SSDs, the various top entries have a lot going for them. The Samsung 970 EVO combines fast read/write speeds with overall longevity backed by software management and warranty, making it the top pick. It is one of the highest priced SSDs on our list, but its rating and features make it well worth it if you’re a serious gaming or video editor who needs the speed and performance it has to offer.

For a budget-friendly alternative, the Crucial MX500 is a good alternative. While not as fast as the Samsung due to its SATA design, it still has plenty of speed and longevity for budget-conscious computer users who want a large SSD to upgrade their current hardware. If you are on the go and want a portable SSD with a fast read/write speeds, the Western Digital My Passport 1TB gives you that with optional 256-bit encryption for added security.

It is clear that 2018’s Best 1TB SSDs are available for all needs, in a variety of form factors and price ranges. We hope that this list has helped you narrow down the best SSD for you.

The 2018 PSN Store: Is It Any Better? Should You Use It?

The 2018 PSN Store

The PSN Store (PlayStation Network) store is an online digital media distribution store for both PlayStation and various other Sony devices.

It should come as no surprise when I say this, but online gaming is big news. So is the PSN store. And in case you haven't been keeping up, it’s gotten bigger and better. The PSN (PlayStation Network) store is an online digital media distribution store for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, and PlayStation Portable.

This ingenious invention by the company brings together millions of gamers and Sony device users on one platform. The PSN store offers access to games, music, videos, and updates.

Some you have to purchase, but others are available for free. It was created by the Sony Corporation to support the PlayStation 3 console, but the company was hoping it would continue to support its next console, the PlayStation 4 (PS4), as well as other Sony devices.

The PSN store is owned and operated by SNEI (Sony Network Entertainment International), and its main competitor is Microsoft’s Xbox Live Network.

The Sony PlayStation Network Store

The PSN store has been around since the PlayStation 3 (PS3) debut. It is now the gaming platform's source of downloadable games for the new PlayStation 4.

To be able to gain access to the PSN store, you will need to have an internet connection, a PlayStation console (either PS3, PS4) or any other compatible Sony device, or a Web browser directed to PSN websites.

To get access to this network, Sony PlayStation users also need to set up an online account. PlayStation Network offers both free and paid subscriptions.

You will have to use an email address and a unique identifiable online username. With this, gamers have the opportunity to join multiplayer games and track their gaming statistics.

What is available from the PSN Store?

The PSN store also sells games, music, and videos. Gamers can make these purchases through their standard credit cards or by using a PlayStation Network card. However, you shouldn’t confuse this card for a network adapter; it’s simply a prepaid debit card. Available content on the PSN store includes:

  • Full games
  • Add-on content
  • Playable demos
  • PlayStation UI themes
  • Movies and games trailers
  • Music and video downloads

The PSN store has extension features to it as well, the PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now.

PlayStation Now and Play Station Plus

PS Plus

Image from https://www.playstation.com/en-us/explore/playstation-plus/

The PlayStation Now (PS Now) service is an extension that lets users stream games from the cloud. This service was introduced to PlayStation owners after a public announcement at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show. This service was rolled out by Sony to different markets in 2014 and 2015.

The PlayStation Plus service, on the other hand, offers games and services to those paying an additional subscription fee and offers users exclusive access to:

  • Online multiplayer games
  • Online versions of selected full games
  • Discount pricing on PlayStation Store items

PlayStation Video, Vue and Music

The PS3 and PS4, as well as other PSN store compatible devices, support PSN music. This also includes audio streaming from Spotify. With PSN video service, users get access to online rentals and can purchase digital Sony movies as well as other TV programs.

Pricing and Purchases on PlayStation Network Store

Making purchases on the PS4 has pretty much remained the same since the PS3. The PSN store is the source of downloadable games on the PS4. Currently, users can pre-load games and start playing them immediately as compared to the past where you needed to wait for the downloads to complete.

This feature lets users prioritize certain parts of the game during download, giving them a chance to start playing the game before the download finishes.

Downloading games from the PSN store is easy. From the home screen, users can go to their "Library" and select the "purchase" folder. From this menu, users can select the games they wish to download on the content screen.

How Does the PSN Store Compare to Xbox Live Store?

PlayStation and Xbox are longtime rivals. Just like Ford and Chevy or Coke and Pepsi, each of these two products offers products that are similar in every aspect. This makes it harder for the average consumer to tell them apart. Some critics say it all boils down to preference, however, if you ask me, its hard not to try and figure out the differences.

Surely one of these products must have an advantage over the other, right? The PSN Store and the Xbox store aren’t any different on the surface. Their subscription rates and offers are almost identical in every way. For example, both the PSN and Xbox Live let gamers play games online with friends, they all offer freebies at the end of each month, they both score consumer discounts in their stores, and both of them have a yearly fee.

What makes them different? Let’s compare the two.

Price

Sony is cheaper compared to Xbox when it comes to a year or three months subscription fee. A year’s membership for PlayStation retails at $49.99, the three-month membership retails at $17.99, and the one-month subscription fee is $9.99.

For the Xbox yearly subscription, users pay $59.99. The three-month membership is available for $24.99, and just like PlayStation, the one-month subscription goes for $9.99.

From the observations made above, it's obvious that the PlayStation store is much more preferable when it comes to pricing since its users have a lot to save from the subscription. And while critics will be quick to map the price tag on functionality or quality of service, the PSN store wins when it comes to pricing. You will agree with me that $10 isn’t anything to scoff about.

Offers

The PSN Store offers six free games every month, if you own every PlayStation device, that’s two for each device. You also need to understand that many of these games are available on multiple platforms as well, therefore, even if you don’t have a PS Vita, you could still pick out a free Vita game for your PS3 or PS4. That’s a nice deal!

With the Xbox store, gamers receive a batch of new games every month. Therefore, in case you own an Xbox 360, you will have access to two games, but each for half a month. If you own an Xbox One, you will receive two games. However, one is usually a carryover from the previous month. This means you will have access to four games in case you own both the consoles. Pretty sweet deal!

The Xbox store simply can’t compete with the PSN store when it comes to free game offerings. Sony gives away so much more, and users also get brand spanking new games that include stellar indie titles. While games on the Xbox store are improving, they don't compare to PlayStation when it comes to quality.

Discounts

Every week, games that go on sale in the PlayStation Store. These sales are usually open to PlayStation users. However, in case you have subscribed to PlayStation Plus, you have the opportunity to get an even bigger discount compared to other subscribers. For example, for PlayStation holiday sales, PS Plus subscribers had a 10 percent discount on certain games.

Just like the PSN store, games regularly go on sale for Xbox 360 and Xbox One, but only for Xbox Live Gold subscribers. These discounts vary, with some as high as 30 percent to even 70 percent. The discounts are for all games including AAA blockbusters and indie titles. While sales are available for non-Gold subscribers, but subscribers get the best of the available discounts.

Both the services offer great discounts for both subscribers and non-subscribers. Therefore, no matter which service you are on, you get a steady stream of discounted games all screaming for your attention. When it comes to subscribers, Xbox takes the day because of their 70 percent discounts on AAA blockbuster games.

Which is cheaper?

In comparison to its competitor, the PSN store comes off like the cheaper option. PS Plus subscribers have access to exclusive programming that offers almost every perk that you would get on the Xbox Live Gold subscription. This is by no means a scientific study. Therefore, its hard to measure if the service offers a much better functionality on a daily basis.

Hackers attacked both services, and PSN still bears the worst security marks after the 2011 attack where thousands of users lost their personal data.

If you are looking to decide on either console based on pricing, discounts and what to get out of your device, you are now able to make a solid decision based on the arguments above. You be the judge.

Pros and Cons PlayStation Store

There is no doubt that the PlayStation has come a long way, and not just in its hardware and software but also with the PSN Store. With the new PS4 comes a new marketplace and as expected, its criticisms.

The new PSN store is very similar to the current PS3 store, which has made tremendous strides over the last couple of years.

However, it still shares some of the discoverability problems that the existing store has. But it's not fair to crucify Sony over this glitch since every single gaming store shares these issues to some degree. Nevertheless, users are still waiting to see if any of these issues can be addressed.

Pros

The Sony PlayStation Store has a good variety of games. As discussed, it offers a much wider selection of games than its closest competitor (for non-subscribers).

The PSN store offers better discounts on games compared to its rivals. PlayStation Plus subscribers get to have a 10 percent discount on already discounted games, which makes it an even better deal. The PSN store offers all its users discounts on selected games.

Unlike any other console, with the PSN, you can text and chat while playing the game. While this might seem like a small victory, it’s really beneficial in gameplay mode, making it more interactive and captivating for users.

You can also stream on other devices during gameplay. This is perhaps one of the better upgrades PSN has made. It makes it possible to stream your PS4 game on your portable device during gameplay. While it doesn’t offer any tangible assistance to the player, it makes for a cool bonus feature.

Remote purchases have to be the best pros on the PSN store. If you have previously owned a PS3, you understand that blockbuster games will take up to a full day or overnight to download. With the remote purchase feature, you can download the game while you are away at work or running your errands. This feature is not available for any of PlayStation's competitors.

Cons

The PSN store could improve on their functionality. Many complaints have been made on the PlayStation forum about this. The interface sometimes glitches, and it drags severely at times when trying to access some of the features. Many Xbox lovers will mention this when asked about the PlayStation Store.

The PlayStation store needs to add to their variety of games on the marketplace. Compared to the Wii and Xbox, PlayStation seems to offer a slightly raw deal when it comes to available games. For instance, with the Xbox Gold membership, gamers get access to AAA blockbuster games as well as stellar indies, which is not the case with the PSN store.

The PSN is also unstable. It is prone to hacker attacks and even periodic shutdown. While this might have happened seven years ago, it’s still a bruise PlayStation has to carry.

Comparing it with its closest rival, such a hiccup could easily make a newbie in gaming choose Xbox over PlayStation. Security of user information is vital, especially in a world of identity theft and credit card fraud. This is a disadvantage of PlayStation, but hopefully, they learned from it.

Final Thoughts on the PSN Store

The PSN store has come a long way, and it definitely hints at plenty of other possibilities. Its local network play via PS Vita is an awesome inclusion, and the PlayStation App will surely offer developers more insights to expand the PS4 appeal. Unlike the PS3 store, the PSN store seems to have been built to evolve. Its simplistic menu offers a much better user experience with less lag as witnessed with previous versions.

However, the PS4's focus on gaming alone might be a severe drawback due to its lack of compelling software. We can only hope that this failing is sure to improve. PlayStation still holds the crown when it comes to gaming, its an undeniable fact judging from its hardcore audience, early adopters, and dense criticism. With all this pressure, the PSN store can only get better!

Why You Should Look Out For These 2018 Belkin Routers

Belkin Routers

One of the most significant challenges when looking at Belkin routers is straddling the line between affordability and quality. In my time as a Best Buy employee, I learned that customers want two things out of any product – they want it to work like they think it will, and they want it in their price range. And we’re going to do the heavy lifting for you.

Belkin is one of the best names in home routers today. With Belkin routers, customers can be sure they’re getting their money’s worth. More importantly, they can be confident they’re buying the router that best fits their internet usage needs.

First Things First, What to Keep in Mind

But before we show you your ideal Belkin routers, here are four criteria to keep in mind:

  1. Speed: My mother likes to check her email and Facebook. I like to play my PS4 online. The wrong router would be too expensive for her for no reason, or would not meet my usage needs.
  2. Wireless Standards: This has to do with both the speed and the amount of interference in your network. Think about whether you mind waiting for the internet to load or whether you need it right away.
  3. Maximum Coverage Area: If you have a celebrity mansion, you’re going to need a router that can reach you from the basement to the tennis court. If you live in a studio, you might not.
  4. Wireless Security: If you live in the middle of nowhere, you might not need the highest security. If you live in an apartment building, you’ll want security to keep your speeds high and your network secure.

And with that, here’s a breakdown of the best Belkin routers they have to offer in 2018, in no particular order:

Belkin AC1900 Wi-Fi Dual-Band AC+ Gigabit Router (F9K1124)


This router is pretty standard for the market and super affordable on Amazon. The easy functionality and setup, combined with the low cost and fast delivery make this a perfect router. The average person not looking for all the bells and whistles will settle in well with this equipment.

However, consumers do have some complaints about the firmware of the device. If you’re looking for something a little more advanced, this might not be the router for you. There are also reports about the quality of delivery on this router. Be careful when ordering online and note any special requirements for shipping. When in doubt, you can find it at Walmart, Best Buy, or similar brick-and-mortar stores.

Quality

Usability

Support

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Belkin F5D8230-4 Wireless 802.11x Pre-N Router


Similar to the AC1900, the Belkin F588230-4 Pre-N has an easy setup. The price is hard to beat. However, it doesn’t seem as if you’ll be able to maximize its potential without additional purchases.

The product description boasts an easy setup and a Network Status Display that allows for monitoring of all connected devices. With smart-antenna technology, the router can send and receive data from multiple devices simultaneously. The Intelligent Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) assist in supplying speeds of up to 300Mbps with greater range.

Amazon customers, for the most part, rated this router high and many reviewers like the product. The majority of the reviews are several years old and may not represent current manufacturing standards. There seem to be those that loved it and those that hated it, with only a few people in the middle ground area. Based on reviews, this router, coupled with the N technology, means that you may be disappointed if you expect too much from it.

Quality

Usability

Support

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Belkin AC 1750 DB Wi-Fi Dual-Band AC+ Gigabit Router (F9K1115)


A more premium model of Belkin routers is the AC 1750. You’ll see more missing from your wallet with the purchase of this router. 

Belkin lists an impressive array of specifications. Dual bands allow uninterrupted streaming with multiple devices in use. Compatibility with Wi-Fi N and Wi-Fi G technology, places this router a step-up from the others.

However, the product does sport quite a few negative reviews on Amazon. The most common complaint seems to center around a limited range. The range problem might not bother you if you plan to use it in a smaller home or office. If not, you might consider a different purchase.

Quality

Usability

Support

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Belkin AC1000 Dual Band Wireless AC Router + Gigabit (Latest Generation)


The AC1000 “delivers good wireless performance, especially when operating at the 5GHz frequency.” Along with the standard features of Belkin routers, this one has some special ones.

Installed features on this router make it great for families. It has built-in parental controls powered by Norton. The downside is that commands can only be set up for the entire network. Not allowing parental control for each device connected to the system limits functionality.

The router incorporates Intellistream, which optimizes bandwidth for uninterrupted streaming, but setting up the interface must be done manually. Also included is a self-healing mode, which can be enabled to reset the router at periodic intervals automatically. An ECO mode allows the unit to be automatically turned off at specified times to preserve energy. Because of its focus on newer, wireless technology, this router isn't rated well with older devices requiring wired connectivity.

With Dual-Band Technology and up to 2x faster than N technology, Belkin’s AC1000 might be your go-to router if your internet needs are higher than usual.

Quality

Usability

Support

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Belkin N600 Wireless Dual-Band N+ Router (Latest Generation)


If gaming is your thing, or maybe just a night of Netflix and chill, you might consider the N600. According to its Amazon description, the N600 provides optimized service for gaming and video streaming, along with a Self-Healing feature that will detect and resolve network issues on its own.

The router was given a rating of “passable” with an overall score of 7.0 by CNET. Their primary complaint revolves around Belkin's outdated User Interface (UI). CNET's assessment declares that tech-savvy users will be right at home with the UI. Unfortunately, as a brand that targets itself to home users, CNET rates the UI as “hostile” and challenging to navigate. They state that critical features seem hidden under nomenclature names that are not applicable in the current market.

It sounds like this model might be best for someone who’s already a little more familiar with Belkin interfaces. If you are someone looking for a new router with the most straightforward setup, this UI might be a deal killer.

Quality

Usability

Support

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Belkin AC750 Wi-Fi Dual-Band AC+ Router (F9K1116)


With availability at anywhere between $19.99 and $30 on Amazon, the Belkin AC750 is a steal. Not only that, but it provides Belkin’s very own Intellistream, which automatically prioritizes video and gaming, to keep that nasty lag at bay. Another feature of the AC750 is “simultaneous Dual-Band with speeds up to 300Mbps + 433Mbps improve movie streaming and online gaming.”

However, that low price tag might deliver a sacrifice of quality. Out of over 700 reviews, 400 of them are negative. User MDK described their experience like this:

EXTREMELY DISSAPOINTED [SIC] WITH THE QUALITY OF THIS PRODUCT AND THE CUSTOMER SERVICE..IF I COULD GIVE THIS ROUTER 0 STAR RATING, I WOULD BECAUSE IT NEVER WORKED NORMAL, CONSTANT DROPPED SIGNALS FROM THE DAY WE GOT IT…SOMETIMES SEVERAL TIMES A DAY. DRIVES THE WHOLE FAMILY CRAZY…NEVER HAD THIS KIND OF BAD EXPERIENCE WITH ANY OTHER ROUTERS WE HAD BEFORE. THIS WAS A FIRST PURCHASE FROM BELKIN AND WILL BE THE LAST.”

Several other customers have reported problems with Belkin customer service.

Quality

Usability

Support

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Belkin N450 Wireless N+ Router with Self-Healing (Latest Generation) (F9K1003)


One of the great things about the Belkin N450 is dual networking. This means that you’ll be able to use different networks simultaneously with other people that share your space. Many people prefer to put their phones on a network with a lower bandwidth, like their 2.4 GHz, and their computers on a higher one, like 5 GHz.

While this router has moved off the top 10 list, it is still touted as a cost-effective and reliable system. It includes the standard ease of set up that most Belkin routers have. Installation does not require an installation CD. The pricing on this dual networking router is lower than many routers currently on the market.

If money is your number one concern, the N450 is a great way to get what you need on a budget. Especially since the latest generation, you will be able to use this router as a suitable stand-in for Belkin routers more connected to current AC technology.

Quality

Usability

Support

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Belkin N300 Wireless N Router (Latest Generation) (F9K1002)


For an affordable router, the N300 can be a great route for you. But bear in mind that this router might not provide the quality you're seeking. With the Belkin N300, it’s an excellent purchase for users with fewer expectations. The MultiBeam technology will get a high-powered signal throughout your home. It shares capabilities of other Belkin routers, like self-healing and easy setup.

Even though industries are making moves away from N technology, this router can be helpful if you have older devices that you want to keep in the loop. With this router, it’s best to have clear expectations of what you need from a router, or you may end up disappointed.

Quality

Usability

Support

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Belkin N150 Wireless/WiFi N Router (Latest Generation)


For the Belkin N150, you may run into similar problems as with other models around this price range. The consensus seems to be that you can use them, the affordability provides what you need in a pinch, but as far as long-term use goes, you’re better sticking it out if you can until you can grab a slightly better model.

Belkin touts this product as ideal for routine processes like email, general web surfing, and instant messaging. They claim their usual ease of set up and compatibility with G technology. With rated speeds up to 150Mbps and MultiBeam technology, Belkin claims this router will allow connectivity from all rooms in your home.

The reviews on this router are a mixed bag. Some users love it while others hate it. A few are taking the middle ground. The overall consensus chronicles terrible experiences including a variety of issues not easily resolved. Many users related nightmare-proportion headaches resulting from trying to configure this router for optimal performance.

Many users claim that the router works wonderfully, as long as the connected computer or device is in the same room as the router, but that connectivity disappears beyond the threshold. Based on these customer reviews, the money you invest in a router might be better applied to purchase a different model.

Quality

Usability

Support

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The Belkin Routers Verdict

The warranties for these products will be a limited product warranty. That means that Belkin routers come with agreements to cover them over the life of the product (not the life of the owner or buyer!). Even though that means that for five years from the date of purchase, your equipment is covered for service, there are some caveats. Be sure to read the small print.

For my money, I'd go for the Belkin AC1000. With the problems that some other Belkin routers can have, it would be worth it for me to spend a little more for a router that doesn't cost me constant headaches. It's on the pricier side, but the easy setup, parental controls, and eco mode all make it a more natural pill to swallow. Combined with the five-year limited warranty and fast, reliable internet, I would say that the AC1000 gets my vote.

However, as always, the most important thing when choosing Belkin routers or routers of any other kind is to remember your specific needs. This will assure that you find the best possible solution.

Please let us know if you liked this list. Comments or suggestions about 2018 Belkin routers are appreciated, and we'd love to hear them!

DXRacer Review: The Essential and Vital Information About the Brand

DXRacer is one of the most popular brands of gaming chairs, and with good reason! Every gamer has a different body size. Some players are tall, and some are short. Others gamers are skinny while some have a bit more bulk to them. No matter what their body type, though, they should be able to find a comfortable chair.

When most people think of gaming accessories, they think of the peripherals -- gaming mice like the Razer Naga, keyboards like the BlackWidow, and this ridiculously expensive (and powerful) Alienware Area 51. 

What people often overlook is their comfort as they are tackling a new raid for eight hours or working on their headshot game.

DX Racer Gaming Chairs

DXRacer chairs are leaps and bounds above your typical office chair where comfort is concerned. The manufacturer makes the chairs from quality materials. Better yet, they're incredibly comfortable and easily adjustable.

In fact, the chairs can be adjusted down to 130 degrees. You can also lock the chair at any point, so you're comfortable no matter how you like to sit. You can also raise the armrests. The DXRacer chairs feature high backs to enhance comfort further and promote good posture.

The company offers a good deal of selection where color is concerned, so you can always find something that looks good with your other decor. When you're facing down a bloodthirsty enemy squad, there's no room for compromise. Why compromise on comfort?

DXRacer OH

Image from Amazon

So which DxRacer chair is right for you?


DX Racer Valkyrie Series OH/VB03/NA Racing Seat Office Chair Gaming...
  • Quality Comfortable Ergonomic Design with bonus headrest cushion & lumbar support cushion
  • Fully Adjustable Backrest (between 90-135 degrees)
  • Multi-functional control unit and the 3 dimensional armrests fine-tunes your seating experience

The DXRacer Valkyrie series is available on Amazon, and it is well worth the cost. The Valkyrie is huge. Its solid metal frame and high back feel bulky right out of the box. But that's what you're paying for -- a solidly-constructed chair that will withstand whatever you throw at it.

DXRacer recommends the Valkyrie for anyone up to 180 pounds. It is well-padded with high-density foam and covered with beautiful, comfortable leather style vinyl.

As previously mentioned, the seat adjusts between 90 and 130 degrees, and the armrests can be raised or lowered to whatever is suitable for you. The seat rests on a badass-looking spider base with durable 3-inch wheels.

It comes with lumbar and neck pillows to further enhance comfort. If you want to adjust the height, the chair features a gas lift that will ensure you're well within your comfort zone.

Is it worth dropping almost 400 bucks? That's up to you, but there's nothing bad that can be said about this chair.

Pros

  • Awesome chair

Cons

  • Some people had trouble assembling it
DXRacer Formula Series OH/FD01/NR Office Gaming Chair
  • Ergonomic design-- more efficiently and comfortably,Free bonus: headrest cushion & lumbar cushion
  • Patent race car seat breathable material Fabric
  • Extra higher backrest to save neck and spinal, Flexible seat back with adjustment

There are many DXRacers, but this one is mine. I bought my F-Series in early 2015 and described it as "pure happiness." Since then, this chair has suffered thousands of hours of abuse. I like to sit on my knees and move around a lot. While cheaper office chairs I have owned in the past would creak and moan in protest at the slightest movement, my F-Series chair held its own.

It wasn't until May 2018 that the first part died. I wasn't sure if it was the hydraulic piston or the tilt mechanism, so I bought both from Amazon. DXRacer recommends that you replace both at the same time anyway. I could have purchased replacements from the company itself for around the same price.

But I missed my chair and wanted them within a few days. They fit perfectly, and I was back to sitting in my still perfectly comfortable Formula Series chair within 20 minutes of the boxes hitting my porch.

If you manage to break these same parts within two years, DXRacer has a limited warranty on most chair parts. If you miss out on the warranty, don't worry, it only cost me a few bucks to make my DXRacer like new again.

The F-Series isn't as flashy as many of the other DXRacer chairs, but it's perfectly serviceable if you want a chair that will last you a long time and will keep you comfortable.

After years of hard use, the vinyl is starting to crack where my knees usually rest, but the chair is otherwise in superb condition. If you weigh more than 180 pounds and are taller than 5 feet 9 inches, you should probably check out another model. If not, you can find it on Amazon.

Pros

  • Less Expensive than all comparable models

Cons

  • The base is plastic
DXRacer Racing Series OH/RB1/NR Gaming Office Chair
  • Ergonomic design-- more efficiently and comfortably, the latest backrest cover
  • Latest backrest cover, Patent race car seat breathable material: Carbon Look Vinyl and PU cover
  • Extra higher backrest to save neck and spinal, Flexible seat back with adjustment

The Racing Series is much like the F-Series but features a fuller seat for gamers who need that little bit of extra space.

It also features turnable armrests and a higher back to support players up to 5 feet 11 inches tall. DX Racer recommends this chair to people 180 pounds or less.

Like pretty much every DXRacer, it features a sturdy steel frame and quality leather style cover.

It's a little pricey, but it's an excellent chair that will leave you with little to no back pain even after a 12-hour gaming session.

Available on Amazon.

Pros

  • Perfect gaming chair that support great posture

Cons

  • Expensive
DXRacer King Series OH/KS06/NW Big and Tall Gaming Chair
  • X Large and wider design
  • Backrest is high and straight for great head support; Flexible seat back with adjustment
  • 360-degree swivel base with smooth 3" double caster wheels, for easy rolling

Got a bit of bulk to you? Then the King series is for you. This chair is super-wide and can accommodate gamers up to 275 pounds and 5 feet 9 inches tall. Its 4D adjustable armrests ensure that your arms are resting not only at the perfect height but the right angle as well.

It is the widest model of chair DXRacer makes, so if you need the extra space, you can be sure it's there.

You deserve something that's fit for a king -- and this is the perfect throne from which to lay waste to your enemies.

Pros

  • This is a very comfortable and supportive chair

Cons

  • Some buyer say has a loud creaking noises any time you move any part of the chair.
DX Racer Valkyrie Series OH/VB03/NA Racing Seat Office Chair Gaming...
  • Quality Comfortable Ergonomic Design with bonus headrest cushion & lumbar support cushion
  • Fully Adjustable Backrest (between 90-135 degrees)
  • Multi-functional control unit and the 3 dimensional armrests fine-tunes your seating experience

The Sentinel series is for gamers who have even more bulk to them. This chair can accommodate you if you're up to 325 pounds and 6 feet tall. It's not quite as wide as the King series, but it still provides maximum comfort if you are a larger individual.

While this chair is built for larger individuals, it manages to stay strong thanks to its solid metal frame and heavy-duty base.

The high-density shaping mold interior ensures maximum comfort no matter who you are.

Pros

  • It's comfortable for both my back and my neck

Cons

  • None so far
DX Racer Valkyrie Series OH/VB03/NA Racing Seat Office Chair Gaming...
  • Quality Comfortable Ergonomic Design with bonus headrest cushion & lumbar support cushion
  • Fully Adjustable Backrest (between 90-135 degrees)
  • Multi-functional control unit and the 3 dimensional armrests fine-tunes your seating experience

Are you extra large? Then you need an extra large gaming chair. This massive beast lives up to its "tank" name. It can accommodate gamers up to 425 pounds and 6 feet 1 inch tall.

The Tank series features 90 degrees 4D adjustable arms and a strong aluminum base. That ensures that it won't fall apart quickly under regular use -- a problem many larger individuals face with standard computer chairs.

If you buy this chair, be warned that it weighs over 75 pounds, so you will probably need help getting it up a flight of stairs. You may even need help assembling it. They also cost a lot of money, but it'll be worth it.

Pros

  • This chair and the materials are of top quality and appear to be built to last

Cons

  • The arms/armrests are not as solid as the rest of the chair

DXRacer Office Chairs

DXRacers aren't just for gamers. In fact, they have an entire line of chairs aimed at people in a more professional setting.

After all, why shouldn't a dentist or bank manager be as comfortable as the guy playing Overwatch endlessly? These chairs are designed to provide the comfort of DXRacer gaming chairs while looking appropriate in a lawyer's office.

No products found.

You can think of the Elite series as the F-series for the office. It's designed for people up to 5 feet 7 inches tall and no more than 150 pounds. The design is less flashy than the F-Series or any of the other gaming chairs, but that's the point. Its minimalist feel will be perfect no matter where you are at.

If you're sitting at a computer for hours a day, this chair will serve you well whether you're headshotting n00bs or discussing the benefits of a life insurance package with a prospective client. Or both. 

You can totally do both if you're on the phone. Don't tell HR, though.

You can purchase the Elite series on Amazon.

Pros

  • Ergonomic design shape for more efficient and comfort long gaming hours

Cons

  • None so far

No products found.

The Drifting series is excellent for those who can't quite fit into the Elite series. If you have a smallish frame and are 5 feet 9 inches or under, you're going to feel very nice in this chair.

Like other DXRacer chairs, this has a durable metal frame and leather style vinyl.

It also comes with a comfortable headrest and lumbar cushion to ensure that you are just as comfortable at work as you are at play.

You can buy this one on Amazon.

Pros

  • Chair sports an adjustable angle and height, a headrest cushion and lumbar cushion

Cons

  • Head rest isn't great and the hydraulic chair lift sags for users over 200lbs
DXRacer OH/CE120/NC Classic Series Black and Coffee Gaming Chair -...
  • Ergonomic design-- more efficiently and comfortably, Free bonus: lumbar cushion
  • Wider seat, Patent race car seat breathable material: Leather Style Vinyl
  • Extra higher backrest to save neck and spinal,Flexible seat back with adjustment

The Work Series is for people who aren't short or skinny enough for the Elite or Drifting series.

The maximum height for this chair is 5 feet 8 inches.

If you're taller than that, you'll want to move along to another model. 

It's more elaborate than the Elite series, but that's OK. If you're spending this much on a chair, people should know that you care that much about your comfort.

Pros

  • Patent race car seat design with higher backrest to support neck and spine

Cons

  • This chair just doesn't adjust upwards far enough
DXRacer OH/CE120/NC Classic Series Black and Coffee Gaming Chair -...
  • Ergonomic design-- more efficiently and comfortably, Free bonus: lumbar cushion
  • Wider seat, Patent race car seat breathable material: Leather Style Vinyl
  • Extra higher backrest to save neck and spinal,Flexible seat back with adjustment

The Classic series features a wider seat and a unique design that will look good behind any executive desk.

This large chair will accommodate anyone as large as 250 pounds and up to 5 feet 10 inches tall.

Like other DX Racer chairs, it has a solid metal frame and comfortable, breathable leather style vinyl.

If you are a slightly larger person, this chair will make your workday feel as much like a vacation as possible.

You can purchase this chair on Amazon.

Pros

  • Very comfortable and easy to build

Cons

  • Skin can stick to the vinyl leather if it’s warm in the room
DXRacer OH/CE120/NC Classic Series Black and Coffee Gaming Chair -...
  • Ergonomic design-- more efficiently and comfortably, Free bonus: lumbar cushion
  • Wider seat, Patent race car seat breathable material: Leather Style Vinyl
  • Extra higher backrest to save neck and spinal,Flexible seat back with adjustment

The Iron series features 90-degree 4D arms and is built for people who are a bit larger -- up to 250 pounds and 5 feet 9 inches tall.

It has a very "loud" design for an office chair, but at this price it's okay if it's noticeable.

This chair is spectacularly beautiful, but it might be a bit hard to match with a typical office setting.

Pros

  • 3D straight armrests protect shoulders and wrists

Cons

  • Takes a while to warm up on cold days and isn’t as breathable as fabric

The Boss Series is great for "big and tall" folks. This chair features 4D straight arms and can accommodate substantial individuals.

DXRacer recommends this chair to people who weigh up to 400 pounds.

As for "tall," you'll fit comfortably in this chair even if you are 6 feet 2 inches tall.

If you want to feel like a boss even if you aren't the boss, this monster is perfect for you.

Pros

  • 3D straight armrests protect shoulders and wrists

Cons

  • Takes a while to warm up on cold days and isn’t as breathable as fabric

DXRacer Chairs are Great for Anyone

Whether you're a gamer or a professional, the level of comfort you will find in a DXRacer chair is virtually unmatched. Even the cheapest of these amazingly comfortable chairs is a bit pricey, but you get what you pay for in quality.

If you are looking for something that will make sure your back doesn't feel like someone bludgeoned it repeatedly with a sledgehammer after a long day, DXRacer chairs are the right fit for you no matter how small and thin or big and tall you are. There really is one for everyone!

Featured Image by Marco Verch from Flickr

The Best Selection of Record Players You Can Buy This 2018

record players

Analog vinyl records and record players are back and seem to be back to stay! Vinyl simply sounds better than digitally reproduced music. And it's not just an opinion; it's a scientific fact.

Here’s why -- digital sounds reproduced in formats such as MP3, Wave, and even FLAC, are only as good as the number bits per second used to produce them.

Think of bits as the number of pixels per inch that make up a picture on a television. The more pixels you have, the smaller the individual graphics units and the better defined the image becomes.

But it can still never be as sharp as looking out the window at actual objects.

Sound works the same way. Natural sound, when produced, creates a wave. Analog music has a perfectly smooth wave because it's generated in a continuous wave and not broken up into bits.

Producing digital sound requires a series of small blocks of data or bits. The more bits per second, the smaller they become. The more of them used to create the wave, the smoother the sound.

But, no matter how many bits make up the sound, that wave can never be perfectly smooth. To come close to a perfect wave takes so many bits per second that the size of the file becomes too large to be practical. Otherwise, it will always be a series of steps instead of a true wave and, therefore, never perfect.

The Return of the Record and the Record Player

Many record companies and groups are releasing, and re-releasing, their best works on vinyl. Not just the vinyl you may remember, but on much heavier 180-gram hi-fidelity vinyl, because, as we have seen, vinyl offers the fullest and richest sound reproduction available.

According to Billboard.com, “Vinyl LP sales accounted for 14 percent of all physical album sales in 2017, The Beatles' 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely-Hearts Club Band' being the top-selling vinyl LP. Once again, yearly vinyl album sales have hit another Nielsen Music-era record high, as the configuration sold 14.32 million (up 9 percent) in 2017. That’s up from the previous one-year high, registered in 2016 with 13.1 million.”

Choosing Record Players

With the return of vinyl records, record players seem to be making a big comeback. There are many older, high-quality record players available that have re-sale prices that are even higher than their original MSRP at the time or their manufacture. Manufacturers are also producing new record players that can be connected either by Bluetooth or accessed directly through your desktop or laptop via USB cable.

As with any piece of electronics you purchase, you should first decide what features you want and how much you want to spend.

Are you going high-end and get a belt drive, automatic or a direct-drive manual turntable? Do you want one with an upgradeable cartridge? Do you need a pre-amp to connect it to your system, or do you have an amp with this feature built in?

We will try to clarify these and other questions you may have as we list some of our picks for the best record players of 2018. No matter which one you choose, be prepared to experience music in a way you never have before. Hopefully, you'll gain a new appreciation for the music and the format.

Here are a few examples of the best of the bunch, listed in no particular order.


The Best Record Players

Product

Image

Rating

Price

Audio-Technica AT-LP60BK

Audio Technica AT-LP60BK record players

Sony PSLX300USB

Sony record players

ION Audio Max LP

ION Audio record players

Audio-Technica AT-LP120-USB

Audio-Technica AT-LP120-USB record players

Fluance RT81 High Fidelity

Fluance

Pioneer PL-990

Pioneer PL-990 record players

Audio-Technica AT-LP60BK

Many new companies are suddenly jumping on the vinyl revival bandwagon, but Audio-Technica has been making quality turntable cartridges for over 50 years.

The Audio-Technica AT-LP60 comes in as an amazingly full-featured turntable for the price. It comes with a metal platter, built-in phono pre-amplifier, and a clear dust cover. 

Most record players don't have pre-amped phono outputs, which means you'll need a phono amplifier or high-end AV receiver to use them.

The AT-LP60 features a belt-drive turntable with permanently attached 24-inch-long RCA cables and also has a pre-set tonearm counterweight and a preset stylus tracking force.

The front panel has buttons for Speed (33 1/3 rpm and 45 rpm), Start, Stop, and Cue (to raise and lower the tonearm). The selector switch for 7-inch and 12-inch records drops the needle in the correct place for 45s or LPs. MSRP: $99.00

Pros

  • Low-priced quality unit
  • Belt drive for reduced vibration
  • Built-in phono pre-amp
  • Fully automatic
  • Front panel controls

Cons

  • Can’t play 78 rpm records
  • No headphone jack
  • No built-in speakers
  • Permanent cartridge (but upgradeable stylus)

Sony PSLX300USB

An excellent choice for beginning record collectors as well as old vinyl junkies with stacks of wax, the Sony PSLX300USB has everything you need to get started except a high price tag. 

This low-profile, fully automatic turntable connects quickly and gets you spinning without delay. It has traditional RCA crown plugs to connect to a conventional amplifier (with or without a phono input) and a USB connection to hook it up to your PC.

Although the PSXL300USB doesn't possess a lot of unique features, it has everything you would want in a basic turntable. It plays 33 and 45 rpm records, and the manual auto drop function can accommodate to either one, so the needle drops in precisely the right place for the platter you are spinning.

It has a sleek, black finish and front panel with easy-to-use controls for Speed (33/45), Start, End, and an “Up/Down” button to raise and lower the tonearm manually with the lid closed.

Fully automatic, the drive belt will quickly begin to rotate the turntable when you press the start button, and the tonearm will return. And the system will turn off when your record has finished playing.

The PSXL300USB comes with a permanently mounted cartridge on the tonearm, which you can't upgrade, which is one downside. However, the cartridge comes with a high-quality Sony N-6516 diamond stylus, which you can upgrade if you choose.

Using a standard moving magnet cartridge, you can upgrade the stylus itself to a higher-quality model, such as the Audio-Technica ATN-91. This turntable looks good, operates smoothly, and sounds great. MSRP $129.99

Pros

  • Low-priced quality unit
  • Sleek design
  • Belt drive for reduced vibration
  • Built-in phono pre-amp
  • Mere 3.5-gram stylus pressure
  • Fully automatic
  • Front panel controls

Cons

  • Can’t play 78 rpm records
  • No headphone output
  • No built-in speakers
  • Permanent cartridge (but upgradeable stylus)

ION Audio Max LP

The name ION has been synonymous with budget DJ equipment for years by providing very nice, inexpensive, reliable equipment. Now, ION produces a very nice turntable with speakers that seems to be getting rave reviews and ratings.

The ION Audio Max LP 3-speed belt drive turntable was designed to be a gorgeous piece of equipment with blond woodgrain finish and a curved, clear plastic dust cover. However, don’t think the ION will settle for the MAX being just a pretty face.

It will not only function as other stand-alone record players, but it can also connect to your PC or amplifier. The ION MAX will handle 33s, 45s, and 78s and comes with a 45 adapter for playing the hits. It even has speed marks around the edge of the platter for checking the actual rotation speed.

The plug and play USB connection for attaching to your PC for transferring vinyl to CD or digital audio files makes this model worth the money all by itself. One of the few record players on this list with a 1/8-inch aux input, it will connect to other devices so they can play through the internal amp and speakers.

The dual stereo speakers sound good, but certainly not great, with virtually no bass. You'll get much better performance running the sound through a PC or amplifier.

More appealing in some ways to the eyes than the ears, the ION MAX shakes out as a serviceable turntable for beginner record collectors or those of you who may have a limited record library. MSRP: $99.99

Pros

  • Beautiful wood finish and clear dust cover
  • Plays 33s, 45s, and 78s
  • Built-in speakers
  • USP output
  • Headphone jack
  • Aux Input

Cons

  • Speakers are weak at high volume
  • Plastic hardware
  • Inferior cartridge and stylus
  • Does not run on 110v power (Requires 5V DC power converter)

Audio-Technica AT-LP120-USB

The Audio-Technica AT-LP120-USB delivers excellent sound quality at a great price. Perfect for starter record collectors and for dedicated vinyl junkies getting back into the mainstream of collecting who want a serious turntable for a serious record collection.

The Audio-Technica AT-LP120-USB will play your 33s, 45s, and 78s and has a built-in pre-amp so you can connect it to any system. While easy to operate for new users, audiophiles will appreciate such advanced features as the vertical tracking angle adjustment, tracking force adjustment, and a 1/2-inch mounted headshell. Both the AT95E Dual Magnet™ cartridge and diamond stylus are upgradeable if you so desire.

The AT-LP120-USB comes with a USB output that allows you to digitize any of your records and save them for playback on any MP3 device. A high-torque direct-drive motor ensures lightning-fast platter response time, which means no dragging when the needle drops.

The cast aluminum platter provides solid and stable performance with no waffling. Other professional quality features are a quartz-controlled pitch lock and pitch control slider and a hydraulically damped S-shaped tone arm with lockable rest. Available in a silver finish (AT-LP120-USB) or black finish (AT-LP120BK-USB), it also features a pop-up stylus light that provides record cueing in low light levels. MSRP: $299

Pros

  • 33/45/78 capability
  • Built-In pre-amp
  • Upgradeable cartridge and stylus
  • USB output
  • Hi-torque direct-drive motor
  • Cast aluminum platter
  • Adjustable pitch and tracking adjustments

Cons

  • Manual control
  • Plastic base not overly solid
  • Function buttons not accessible with the lid closed

Fluance RT81 High Fidelity

The Fluance RT81 comes fitted with a high-performance AT95E Audio-Technica Dual Moving Magnet cartridge, and a diamond elliptical tipped stylus that delivers a frequency response of 20-20,000 Hz.

The cartridge and stylus are upgradeable if you see fit, but the one it comes with should suit you just fine. The chestnut base provides a stable platform to minimize external vibration, and the cast aluminum platter with a rubber slip mat offer reduced reverberation.

This beautiful and responsive belt-driven Fluance RT81 turntable can play 33 rpm and 45 rpm records and has a cartridge weight of only 3.5 grams. MSRP: $249.99

Pros

  • It looks great with any decor
  • Built very solidly
  • Superior and upgradeable cartridge
  • High-quality pre-amp

Cons

  • Reports of rotation speed issues
  • RPM adjustment located on the bottom of the unit

Pioneer PL-990

The PL-990 may have a surprisingly low price tag, but that by no means makes it a stripped-down model. This fully automatic turntable connects to a line input or aux input, which removes the need for an additional pre-amp.

The moving magnet diamond cartridge provides long lasting performance and brings your old dusty vinyl back to life.

Pioneer PL-990 record players

The elegant design of the Pioneer PL-990 provides a throwback to the timeless Pioneer turntable designs of days gone by. The all-black appearance and sleek, low-profile design will enhance any décor. You'll find the easy-to-operate controls located on the front of the case for easy operation with the lid closed.

The Pioneer PL-990 has a belt-drive system that creates much less vibration when compared to direct-drive record players. MSRP: $179.00

Pros

  • Quality Pioneer PZP1001 cartridge
  • A substantial cast aluminum turntable platter
  • Accurate pitch control
  • Fully automatic
  • Built-in pre-amp
  • Very easy to use.

Cons

  • The cartridge cannot be upgraded
  • Only plays 33 and 45 rpm records
  • Plastic construction feels flimsy
  • Susceptible to vibration

The Complete Experience

Once you immerse yourself in the vinyl experience, you may find that digital music seems flat and a bit soulless. The richness of vinyl along with the tactile experience of physically holding your actual music in your hands as you gaze at the liner notes or the album information can make you see your music in a whole new light. 

Granted, nothing can be as quick and easy as downloading MP3s of your favorite songs, but you may now feel something missing when you possess only the song. In some cases, you may only want to download hit songs and miss out on other great songs on that album.

Imagine how many wonderful Beatles songs you would have missed out on if you only downloaded the top 10 hits and ignored the rest.

Take the Pink Floyd album, “Dark Side of the Moon,” for example. Downloading all the songs from that album may cost less than purchasing the actual LP. You'll end up with the songs, but nothing else that makes the album exceptional.

You won't get the two posters, the two stickers, the complete lyrics, the heartbeat graphic on the inside cover, or the iconic prism cover art that folds out into a mini poster. These things made the album iconic. And as you have seen here, it doesn’t cost a lot of money to envelope yourself in the complete music experience, not just the songs.

Hopefully, this list of the best record players currently on the market will help you get started. If you have a favorite model or tips on high-quality cartridges or styluses, please share them in the comments below.

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