We Tested the Absolute Best Hand Mixers

Hand mixers are a no-brainer solution for small kitchens. With a smaller footprint than a traditional stand mixer, not only are hand mixers way more compact and versatile, they’re also generally much more affordable than a clunky stand mixer. Whether you’re whisking eggs, mashing potatoes, or kneading dough for a batch of homemade treats, an electric hand mixer makes those repetitive (and tiring!) tasks way easier.


Well, we decided to take matters into our own hands and have our team of baking-extraordinaire editors put these top-rated models to the test.

Over the course of a 3-week testing period, five of our editors tested the below models by mixing up at least one whipped dish (egg whites, frosting, etc.) and one batch of baked treats (we’re talking cookies, peanut butter brownies, and even focaccia and banana bread).
Breville Handy Mix Scraper Hand Mixer

“This mixer feels really sturdy, so it’s great for pretty much anything. I had no problem mixing up cookie dough, and I think it could easily handle bread dough as well.

“The best thing about this mixer is that it comes with scraper beaters. This is a real time-saver when whipping up icing, brownies, and more liquid batters. Typically you’ll have to stop the mixer, scrape the sides to make sure every ingredient is incorporated, and then turn the mixer back on. I do this process a couple times when baking. With these beaters, you don’t have to do that and can just mix from start to finish.”

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KitchenAid 5-Speed Ultra Power Hand Mixer
“I use this mixer for literally all of my baking needs. I have made pumpkin pie, every kind of cookie and cake, whipped egg whites, melted chocolate for peanut butter balls, pie crusts of nuts and ground wafers, and so much more. If you’re a baker, this is seriously all you’ll ever need.

“Speaking from more than 10 years of experience with this KitchenAid hand mixer, this mixer is plenty comfortable for an entire day of holiday cookie baking and more.”
Cuisinart Power Advantage Plus 9-Speed Hand Mixer

“Honestly, this is a good mixer for just about any baking or cooking task. The nine speeds ensure it’ll stand up to any challenge. I was particularly impressed with how easily this mixer kneaded dough with its attached dough hooks. The dough came to a perfect texture after about 10 minutes of kneading on a medium speed.

“This mixer’s nine speeds range from the slow and steady to is-this-a-jet-engine-type fast. It’s super simple to choose one with the digital reader and easily accessible buttons on the handle. It’s extremely quiet, comfortable in the hand, small, and easily maneuvered. I also really love the storage container that comes with the mixer — it easily and cleanly stores the attachments!”

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BLACK+DECKER Helix Performance 5-Speed Hand Mixer

“I’ve owned this hand mixer since last year, so I’ve had the opportunity to use it a ton! Over the holidays, I used it to make festive cookies and seasonal cakes, but more recently, I tested it out with a batch of peanut butter brownies and a very yummy banana bread.

“I personally haven’t found a task that this hand mixer isn’t good for! It swiftly whips egg whites to firm peaks, effortlessly creams butter and sugar, and thoroughly incorporates wet and dry ingredients without requiring much side scraping from a spatula. From a price-point perspective, however, it’s one of the most affordable hand mixers on the market, so I’d say it makes a great budget buy.”

KitchenAid 7-Speed Digital Hand Mixer
This mixer can handle mixing up most sweet treats, from cake batters to cookie doughs, and it can handle the more delicate tasks like making meringues and whipped cream, too.

“Using this mixer is as simple as popping in the attachments and plugging it in. I had no trouble turning it on and adjusting the speeds as I tried it out for the first time. The two standard attachments handled creaming the sugar and eggs without any issues, and beat the strawberry shortcake mix-ins into the smooth batter I needed. Plus, the whisk attachment made it easy to mix up a big batch of scrambled eggs I made.”

The Best Smart Wi-Fi Air Conditioners to Keep Cool

Cool A Wi-Fi-connected air conditioner will allow you to effortlessly control it via a smartphone app, even if you’re away from home. Many are also capable of responding to voice commands from Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri.


Best Wi-Fi Air Conditioners

Choosing the right Wi-Fi-connected air conditioner can be confusing. A unit too small won’t be able to cool your space properly, while one that’s too large will run up your utility bills. Besides referencing this handy guide, we want to help you keep your cool while choosing the right air conditioner.

Take a look at our favorite Wi-Fi air conditioner picks, with plenty of range in both looks and price points.

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If you’re looking for a window install, this smart air conditioner by LG is your best bet. It has an elegant design and superb cooling performance, and the model operates more quietly than any competitor, courtesy of LG’s proprietary Dual Inverter tech. It consists of a uniquely designed motor and compressor, which work together in perfect (and quiet) harmony.

The device is compatible with voice commands from both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. You can also control it via LG’s SmartThinQ mobile app, which allows you to control the air conditioner’s settings while also keeping tabs on the exact temperature of the room it’s operating in.

This variant of the LG Dual Inverter smart window air conditioner has a maximum cooling capacity of 14,000 BTU — enough to effortlessly cool up to 700 square feet of living space.
2. Midea Smartcool AC Portable Air Conditioner

Because there’s nothing worse than going from an AC-cooled room to a stuffy and humid one, portability is key. So if you’re looking for a unit that can follow you around an un-air-conditioned apartment, opt for this Wi-Fi air conditioner with dehumidification capabilities by Midea.

The well-priced Smartcool AC will allow you to easily control it via Amazon Alexa voice commands, a mobile app, or the bundled remote control. Its built-in control panel is also impressively intuitive.

The air conditioner has a relatively quiet operation. Its built-in proximity sensor can also adjust the temperature based on your distance from the appliance. Midea has equipped the device with a washable filter for easy maintenance.

The maximum cooling capacity of the air conditioner measures 8,000 BTU, making it suitable for a small room. Like all portable air conditioners, the Midea Smartcool AC is easy to install, so long as you have a proper window opening for its hot air exhaust. You can easily move the device around via built-in wheels.

3. LG LP1419IVSM Dual Inverter Portable Wi-Fi Air Conditioner
A top portable air conditioner pick from Wirecutter, this expensive-but-worth-it model has an understated design, top-notch cooling performance, and a near-silent operation.

LG’s Dual Inverter technology is what makes it so quiet. Available on the LG LW1517IVSM window AC we just mentioned, it also makes this unit incredibly energy efficient.

The LG LP1419IVSM Dual Inverter has a maximum cooling capacity of 14,000 BTU. It has the ability to dehumidify the air as well, and you can even use this feature on its own if necessary.

The air conditioner is compatible with voice commands via Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant. You can also control it using LG’s SmartThinQ mobile app. A bundled remote control with a handy digital display is also available.

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4. Frigidaire Gallery Cool Connect Smart Window Air Conditioner

The Frigidaire Gallery Cool Connect window air conditioner has an elegant design. This smart appliance will blend in better with your home decor than any of its rivals.

This Wi-Fi air conditioner is compatible with voice commands from Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant. You can also control it via a smartphone app or its surprisingly sleek, bundled remote control.

We like that device has a built-in air purifier, as well as the ability to send you mobile alerts when it’s time to clean the filter. Frigidaire has included a handy window-installation kit in the retail package of the Gallery Cool Connect smart AC.

With a maximum cooling capacity of 10,000 BTU, this Gallery Cool Connect variant is perfect for medium- to large-sized rooms.

5. Frigidaire Gallery Cool Connect Smart Portable Air Conditioner
Just like the Frigidaire window AC unit, the Gallery Cool Connect portable air conditioner sets itself apart from its competitors with elegant design.

This smart, portable air conditioner works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice commands. You can also operate the device with a mobile app, a bundled remote control, or via its built-in controls.

The AC is also capable of cleaning the air in the room and it will send you alerts when it’s time to clean its filter. The 12,000 BTU maximum cooling capacity makes this portable Wi-Fi air conditioner an excellent option for medium-sized or large rooms.

10 Luxe Leather Sofas That Dress Up Your Den

The warm, rich look of a leather-upholstered seat is at once both upscale and totally fit for family lounge time. With the proper care, they should break in beautifully over time and become all the more comfy and cozy. Here are 10 top-rated leather sofas that make for sophisticated seating.

1. AllModern Custom Upholstery Foster Leather Sofa

Unlike other materials, leather is actually supposed to wear down to show a more lived-in look over years of use. This genuine-leather seat is available in an impressive array of 15 colors, and all types will develop a slight patina in the back and seat. Though it’s quite roomy at 78 inches long, you’ll want to spread out and claim this couch all to yourself.

2. Red Barrel Studio Arine Sofa
The most affordable leather sofa on our list, this three-seater model is 85 inches wide and upholstered with deep-brown bonded leather (which is synthetic and also requires some upkeep so it’ll remain sharp looking). The only assembly required is screwing the sofa feet on, and users tout its supportive seat and well-made look.
3. Mercury Row Northwick Leather Sofa

The soft feel of this lightly pebbled, 82-inch-long leather sofa is enjoyable enough, but the wooden flared legs and high track arms are what make it a stylish standout in your space.

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4. Modern Rustic Interiors Idris Sofa

This 80-inch-long leather sofa may be all angles, but it makes for a cozy and comfy group seat. One long tufted cushion prevents sitters from any awkward middle-seat sinking, and its slim, solid-wood legs give it an elevated, modern appeal.

5. Red Barrel Studio Barnstormer Leather Standard Sofa

This deep-crimson, genuine-leather sofa may not be for the traditionalists out there, but it’s beloved by those who like a little pep in their living room setup. It’s 85 inches long with nailhead-studded arms, and reviewers tout the softness of the leather and easy delivery as a major plus.

6. Wayfair Jesper Leather Sofa
Crafted of genuine cowhide leather, this beautifully tailored 88-inch-wide sofa has low track arms and generously sized seat cushions. Just keep in mind that the pillows are not reversible — the pillow backs are upholstered with cloth, not leather.
7. Trent Austin Design Harlem Leather Chesterfield Sofa

A pick befitting a home library of epic proportions, this reviewer-favorite Chesterfield leather sofa is a total showstopper decor item. Upholstered with genuine leather and accented with button tufting all along the back, this 86-inch-long sofa is an investment piece that’s well worth it.

8. Trent Austin Design Bombay Leather Sofa

ven if your space is sparse, this mid-century-influenced, 88-inch-long leather sofa makes it immediately feel like home. Its angular silhouette is softened by cylindrical bolster pillows, as well as a tufted bench-seat cushion. Its genuine-leather upholstery will gracefully wear over time with the creases and color fade that the material is coveted for.

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9. Orren Ellis Arguello Leather Sleeper Sectional

While you’ll probably be comfortable enough to take a quick snooze on this leather sectional sofa, it actually holds a memory-foam mattress bed under its cushions, folding out into a king-sized sleeper. The sectional cushion also lifts up to reveal secret storage space inside!

10. Red Barrel Studio Asbury Leather Reclining Sofa
How does one improve upon an already perfect leather recliner? Turn it into a sofa, of course! This 80-inch-long three-seater has push-button reclining functionality and is even equipped with USB ports at either end for keeping devices close by and fully charged at all times. Covered with genuine leather, it also comes in red and blue.


It’s About Time you Switched to a Gold Watch

If you’re not decking your wrist out with some gold every now and then, we may have to deduct some style points. That’s because gold — a style no-go for a while — is back and trending, especially for watches.


Timepieces with the attention-commanding finish now deserve a spot in everyone’s watch collection. And luckily, there are options at all price points, ranging from affordably priced gold-accented options, all the way to luxurious time instruments with eye-popping price tags. If you’re looking for something extra, you should know that watches made entirely from gold are considerably heavier than timepieces with a stainless steel finish, supplying a constant reminder of your considerable investment in them.

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Whether you’re picking out your first statement piece or are an advanced collector, here are the best gold watches out there now.
Seiko SNE036 Solar Watch

The Seiko SNE036 gold watch is an excellent sub-$100 option with a reasonably sized, 37-millimeter case that’s water-resistant up to 30 meters. The timepiece comes on a metal bracelet, so it looks considerably more upmarket than its price tag suggests.

Seiko has equipped the SNE036 timepiece with a solar-powered movement with day and date complications, and a 10-month power reserve — so you won’t have to worry about battery replacements.
Zodiac Olympos Automatic Watch

The Zodiac Olympos automatic watch is a nod to one of the Swiss watchmaker’s iconic timepieces from the past. An Esquire favorite, the Olympos has a 37.5-millimeter stainless steel case, shaped like a manta ray, just as the original was from decades ago.

The gold dial of the watch has a quarter finish, which we really like as it’s accented perfectly by the elegant Olympos leather strap. It’s as durable as it is beautiful, as it’s water-resistant to 50 meters.
Victorinox Swiss Army Maverick Watch

In case you find all-gold timepieces a tad overwhelming, consider this Victorinox Swiss Army Maverick variant. Its high-grade stainless steel case and bracelet have a two-tone finish, which includes eye-catching gold accents. The hands and dial indexes of the watch are also treated with gold.

The Maverick has a top-notch quartz movement with a date complication. It’s water-resistant up to 100 meters, and it comes backed by a 3-year warranty.

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Casio G-Shock GMWB5000GD-9 Gold Watch

This all-metal Casio G-Shock pays homage to the brand’s iconic first offering from well over three decades ago. The timepiece is high-tech and fashionable in equal measure.

The gold-plated, attention-commanding watch is packed with features, headlined by a solar-powered movement. In addition to the usual long list of handy timekeeping features, the latter can sync with atomic clocks worldwide, as well as connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth.
Timex Marlin Automatic Watch

The Marlin automatic watch is easily the nicest watch Timex currently offers. With an elegant 40-millimeter case and a domed crystal, it pays homage to a 1960s timepiece from the popular maker of affordable watches.

We like that Timex offers the Marlin watch in a multitude of case and dial finishes. Each option comes paired with a well-crafted leather band.
Casio Vintage Series F-91WM-9A Gold Watch

The Casio Vintage Series F-91WM-9A is an incredibly affordable digital pick that’s full of character. Its key features include a compact and lightweight case that weighs less than an ounce, a comfortable resin band, and a digital movement with a host of built-in features.

We like that the timepiece has a built-in LED light for viewing time in poor lighting conditions. Overall, given its impulse-buy pricing, it’s totally worth your attention.
Apple Watch Series 4 with Gold Stainless Steel Case

Yes, today’s best smartwatch is also available in gold! This particular Apple Watch Series 4 variant has a stainless steel case with a striking gold finish, coupled with a matching Milanese Loop bracelet.

The smartwatch has an excellent OLED display and optional cellular connectivity among its key features. Other highlights of the wearable gadget include an ECG-capable heart-rate sensor, GPS, and top-notch battery life.

5 Tech Toys Your Office Needs for 2016

What would the new year be without new toys? Luckily, in 2016, you can take your toys to the office. Simple, functional design combined with high-tech capabilities make this new year an awesome time to go to work.


Nendo Data Clip Flash Drives

Want to add a  touch of tech to a paper report or your next networking event? Try these sleek, 4GB flash drives from Oki Sato’s nendo design studio. They clip to a stack of papers as a digital backup, and they also hook together for safekeeping.

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Phree Mobile Input Device

Phree uses infrared laser technology to record data input on virtually any surface. That means the entire world becomes your notebook! Store ideas for later, or watch them instantly appear on your chosen screen. No more drawing on cocktail napkins, and this pen won’t leak through your shirt.

swivelCard Smart Business Cards

The swivelCard is a physical business card that stores digital information by folding up and plugging into a USB port (what!?). It’s perfect for social media marketing, trade shows, and more. Moreover, it combines the technical and the tangible, a unique mark of modern business interaction.

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Buro Office Tools Blocks

Nothing clutters up a desk faster than a collection of misshapen objects. These sleek office tools from Yanko Design line up in a neat, pleasing, and colorful block that you’ll want to display, keeping them within easy reach and leaving drawer space less cluttered as well!

KeyFolio Tablet Keyboard Case

This Sleek ipad kickstand case stand up with a backlit keyboard and charges your iPad and your phone while it’s in use. In an age of BYOD (bring your own device) business, This handy gadget can help you feel at home anywhere–day or night, in the office, or on the go. Your front desk deserves a new tech toy, too! Make it happy with a free 14-day trial of The iPad Receptionist.

A Smart Display Is Essential for a Connected Home

Display Looking to upgrade your smart-home setup even more? Consider a smart display, which allows users to manually control all of their connected devices from one convenient place. You might be wondering what a smart display can do that an Amazon Alexa- or Google Assistant-powered speaker can’t.


Thanks to a touch-screen panel, a smart display is much more interactive than a smart speaker, while keeping all of the same basic functionalities. Learn more about our three top-rated smart display picks below:

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The Amazon Echo Show 8 is the best smart display for most consumers. The Alexa-powered product has a high-quality 8-inch touch screen that’s neither too big nor too small, powerful stereo speakers, a camera with a built-in privacy shutter (meaning you can cover the camera when you don’t want to use it), and a reasonable price. PCMag also concluded that the Echo Show 8 “offers a nearly perfect balance of price, performance, and size.”

The screen of the Echo Show 8 allows users to watch news, get the latest weather reports, follow cooking recipes, keep tabs on your security cameras, and stream Prime Video content, among many other things. Equipped with a duo of 2-inch speakers and passive bass radiator, the smart display sounds surprisingly great for its size.

The built-in camera of the Echo Show 8 will allow you to make free video calls with other Echo Show owners. Amazon offers an optional stand for the device, which allows you to adjust the angles of its display and camera to your liking. If you’re an Amazon user looking to get the most that a smart display can offer, then we think the Echo Show 8 is the best option for you.


The Google Nest Hub Max is the most feature-packed smart display worth your attention today. Key features of the product include a vibrant 10-inch touch screen, powerful stereo speakers, a built-in Nest smart camera, and the tech giant’s fantastic virtual assistant. You can order this smart display in two colors: charcoal and chalk.

The display of the Hub Max has an ambient light sensor, which automatically adjusts its brightness and color temperature depending on the lighting conditions in the room. While testing the product, I enjoyed it for watching news, streaming live games on YouTube TV, and improving my cooking game, among other things.

The big screen also doubles as an excellent photo frame. You can effortlessly sync Google Photos and showcase your favorite memories on the Nest Hub Max.

The built-in 6.5 MP camera is handy for making Google Duo video calls, as well as for monitoring your home while you’re away. The Verge observed that “no other smart display offers this kind of extended functionality.” The Hub Max can also use its camera to recognize the faces of household members and show personalized onscreen content, including notifications. Dubbed Face Match, this feature takes minutes to set up.

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The Amazon Echo Show 5 smart display is a smaller device with a price tag to match. Priced below $100, the gadget not only serves as an intuitive smart home command center, but it’s also a perfect replacement for your old alarm clock.

The 5.5-inch touch screen of the Echo Show 5 is suitable for performing countless tasks, but too small for binge-watching your favorite Prime Video series. The sole full-range speaker of the device is perfect for waking you up and keeping you informed about your daily life, but not for rocking out to your favorite tunes. If you’re planning on streaming music frequently, consider a bigger Echo Show with built-in stereo speakers.

The Echo Show 5 has a camera for making free video calls with other Echo Show owners. We like that Amazon has equipped the camera with a privacy shutter. Thanks to an optional stand, you can easily adjust the display and the camera angles of the smart display.

The 7 Best Wireless Mice Our Tech Editors Swear By

Wireless Mice is an essential computer peripheral that can vary greatly in terms of shape, size, price, and available features. It connects to a PC or Mac via a USB receiver or Bluetooth. Keep in mind that if you go the USB receiver route, the receiver needs to be permanently plugged into your computer in order for the mouse to stay connected.


We’ve researched more than 30 different wireless mice and even tested out a few models ourselves to help narrow down the choice for you. You may quickly notice that the majority of our picks are Logitech branded mice, and folks this is not sponsored content. Our two tech editors both agree that Logitech is the best in this product category.

Check out our favorite picks that will make working at a computer a much more comfortable experience!

1. Logitech MX Master 3 Wireless Mouse

This is the best wireless mouse money can buy. It’s customizable and comfortable, and it works on any surface. Its rechargeable battery lasts for over a month on a single charge, and the mouse can pair with up to three devices. It easily switches from Mac to PC thanks to its nifty

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2. Logitech MX Vertical Wireless Mouse

Tired of wrist and hand cramps after sitting at your desk all day? The MX Vertical fromLogitech may be able to help alleviate your pain! Our senior tech editor, Stefan Vazharov, had nothing but high praise for this odd shell-shaped mouse. Vazharov found the mouse to be extremely comfortable and  easy to use, and it also prevented his wrist from cramping up.

3. Logitech M720 Triathlon Wireless Optical Mouse

A Wirecutter best overall pick, the Triathlon from Logitech connects to your PC or Mac over Bluetooth or an included USB dongle. You can pair it to up to three different devices. It also has six customizable buttons, 2 years of battery life, and a comfortable design.

Users who need to zip through long documents will appreciate its hyper-fast scroll wheel. This mouse only comes in black, and it’s powered by an AA battery.

4. Microsoft Surface Arc Wireless Mouse

Available in a number of catchy colors — from basic black to blue, red, pink, and sage — the Microsoft Surface Arc is a thoughtfully designed mouse that’s a perfect match for trackpad lovers.

It works as both a mouse and a touch-sensitive trackpad, so you can easily scroll vertically or horizontally. We love how compact and portable it is. It even folds down for easy transport. It’s great for both left- or right-handed users. Our food and drinks editor, Danielle St. Pierre, used the mouse for a few weeks and said it also is a good option for folks who have small hands.

“It basically has one big button with left- and right-click features (no separation between sides), which took some getting used to,” she added. If you’re looking for a sleek, ergonomic, and modern mouse this one simply can’t be beat!

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5. Logitech MX Anywhere 2S Wireless Mouse

For those in search of a portable, comfortable, and convenient wireless mouse that you can easily toss in your laptop bag, consider this option from Logitech. It’s the perfect mouse for coffee houses and airport lounges because of its compact design and versatility. I work remotely and strictly use it when I work on the go.

The MX Anywhere 2S has both Bluetooth and USB receiver connectivity for up to three computers. Its key features include stylish design, fast scrolling, customizable buttons, and the ability to work on all surfaces. The gadget’s rechargeable battery can last up to 2 months on a single charge. Trust me, I probably have charged it twice in the 6 months I’ve owned it.

8 Mobile Videography Tips for Beginners

Mobile phones are designed for many tasks. In a single, compact device you have a digital camera, MP3 player, video player, and any other services you can think of. Yes, your mobile phone is a jack of all trades and is slowly redefining the photography and videography industry.

Videography 2

Today anyone with a smartphone can effortlessly record a video and broadcast it to anyone. However, it takes a lot more than that to shoot professional footage. Yet with practice and knowledge of a few video production tips and tricks, you can record an award-winning documentary, school project or an indie movie with just your mobile phone. Below are some mobile videography tips used by elite Videographers in Dubai.

1. Shoot in landscape, not portrait

Nothing screams amateur like two black vertical bars along both sides of video footage. Although this is an exception with screens that have a portrait orientation, it’s not for devices such as computers or televisions that have landscape-oriented displays.

The good news is that you can avoid this amateur mistake by turning your phone on its side and recording your footage in landscape orientation. Not only will this format make your video more aesthetically pleasing, but it will also make it more pleasant to watch when viewed on a widescreen. Additionally, proper orientation ensures that your subject completely fills the frame.

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2. Lighting

Smartphones are fitted with LED lights that are incredibly bright and can easily affect the color temperature of photos. Thus instead of rushing to use the flash feature on your phone, consider one of the best sources of light; natural light such as the sun. All you have to do is face your subject towards the source of light. On the other hand, if you need to record a video at night, you may want to consider other sources of lighting apart from the flash feature on your phone.

Moreover, it’s essential to avoid backlight settings. This is because, while it’s possible to see people and their faces when they are backlit, your mobile phone camera can’t, and it will produce footage with bright light haloing a dark figure. Moreover, your subject will not have any visible features, meaning you’ll miss what you were trying to capture. To avoid backlight, consider basic light setup and configuration.

3. Stability is key

Although your mobile phone is small and extremely light, it can be held steadily using both your hands and locking your elbows into your body. Alternatively, you can invest in a tripod to eliminate slight involuntary movements that could potentially ruin your footage. Generally, you’ll need an adapter clip for your smartphone when using a tripod.

4. Avoid using zoom

It may be tempting to use the zoom feature on your mobile phone for a closer shot of your subject. But there’s nothing as unfortunate as using the digital zoom, which is readily available on your smartphone. What this does is basically incorporate a few software tricks that make your subject seem closer without any substantial amounts of pixelation.

If you want to zoom in using your smartphone without losing the vivid, crisp quality you want, simply walk closer to your subject and record your footage. Alternatively, invest in high-tech smartphones that allow you to take tight shots of your subject or object.

5. Focus and exposure

Mobile phones will automatically detect and adjust focus and exposure accordingly, which is excellent when taking quick snaps. However, when it comes to recording a video, you require more manual control to lock this feature and avoid leaving your footage overexposed and out of focus.

To control this, simply tap on your subject using your mobile phone’s default camera app to manually lock the exposure and focus of your video. Moreover, you can adjust the exposure and focus of your footage while filming. Nonetheless, manually setting the focus is an excellent technique that allows you to get close to the subject or object and need your camera to focus on a specific area.

6. Audio recording

It’s no secret that good quality audio is essential for a powerful and professional video. The good news is that the microphones on mobile phones can get the job done. You can invest in audio accessories such as Bluetooth microphones to improve the audio of your footage. Alternatively, you can use external professional microphones that can be connected to your computer to record audio.

7. Try out slow motion and time-lapse, but don’t overdo it

The majority of mobile phones come with inbuilt slow-motion and time-lapse features in the default camera application.

The slow-motion mode allows you to capture videos at an accelerated frame rate, which, when played back at normal speed, the action in the footage appears much slower than real-time. On the other hand, time-lapse allows you to record footage at a lower frame rate, which, when played back at normal speed, the action moves faster than in real-time. Although these modes are great for capturing excellent footage, it’s essential not to overuse them. For instance, the slow-motion feature is fantastic for capturing unusual movements that the naked eye can’t see, such as action shots. On the other hand, time-lapse is great for footages that span over some time such as moving clouds, people walking or the sun setting, among others.

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8. Edit

A little editing here and there goes a long way in making your footage as professional as possible. The best part is that you can do this on your mobile phone, so you won’t need fancy or expensive gadgets to get the work done.

Generally, you can perform necessary trimming, adding transitions, effects, or titles using your smartphone. Whether you’re shooting an indie film or a school project, your mobile phone can streamline the process from beginning to end to ensure you get the best results.

Today, recording a professional video is smooth and effortless, considering you have all the tools you need within the stretch of your hands. Thus, if you are considering leaving a mark with your next vlog, film, or documentary, apply some of the tricks mentioned above for more powerful and professional footage.

11 Gadgets That Just Might Save Your Life One Day

Save A modern person is thought to be completely reliant on gadgets like smartphones or laptops, but that’s a far cry from the truth. Below are some devices a person’s life can truly depend on.


Bright Side gathered several modern inventions that can help you out in a difficult situation.

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11. A venom extractor

The Sawyer extractor pump kit will help you remove venom left by insects or snakes. The name says it all: it’s a powerful and convenient vacuum pump that can extract venom from a wound. Apart from the pump, the kit includes a razor, sterile tissues, and Band-Aids.

10. A pocket slingshot

The Pocket Shot allows you to shoot diverse projectiles, from metal balls to stones or bolts, with just a slight effort and hardly any special skills. Just put your projectile into the rubber sling, pull it back, aim at your target, and release. Perfect for small game hunting. And what’s more, you can easily make one yourself! Here are the instructions.

9. An anti-attack ring

This Go-Guarded anti-assault ring will perfectly suit active women that like to hike, walk or jog alone, especially before sunrise. It can be worn on any finger and can be taken out easily if a sudden assault occurs. Go Guarded has a jagged edge that increases a person’s chance to successfully fight off an unexpected attack.

8. A self-propelled float lifesaver

U-Safe is a smart float with an electric engine and remote control. It’s made for use on ships and in coast guard teams. The remote control lets you guide the float to a person who has fallen overboard and safely get them to the shore or the ship’s hull. Developers also plan to add a multiple-person option and increase the distance it can travel.

7. A shark repellent

Sharkbanz is an indispensable device for divers and surfers. Just clasp the bracelet on, activate it, and it will start emitting ultrasound signals that will make you an undesirable object for sharks. By the way, even if you aren’t going to get acquainted with sharks, the startup’s Instagram account is still quite interesting to follow.

6. An alarm ring

Nimb is your personal guardian angel,” its creators say. All in all, it’s a simple concept of a portable alarm button you can push quickly and discreetly. The alarm is sent to your close ones’ smartphones or to rescue service. Those with chronic diseases and lovers of night promenades will appreciate this device. And as a side note, it also looks quite stylish.

5. A multifunctional key ring

Nothing too smart here – just a set of important tools and that’s it. But this tiny monster can get you out of many extreme situations. It’s comprised of 9 tools that include a hammer, a flashlight, a strap cutter, an alarm beacon, and several more. We do hope, though, that you won’t need them at all.

4. An emergency beacon

Rescue Me Balloon is made to mark the location of people in distress. It’s a compact orange box that you can easily take with you on a hiking trip. To mark your location, tear off the cap. An air balloon will rise up 150 ft (45 m). At night, the balloon will flicker thanks to a light ring that accumulates solar energy during the day.

3. An external antenna

A stylish gadget, goTenna will help you when mobile networks are of no use. The device allows smartphone and tablet users to stay online even when there’s no link. It creates a private network that lets you send messages and your GPS coordinates with the help of low-frequency waves for up to 50 miles (80 km).

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2. A universal water filter

Anyone who’s been in the wild knows that the issue of drinking water is crucial. The Sawyer charcoal filter allows you to quickly filter any water, making it fit for drinking. Its convenient shape lets you not only use it as an attachment to a bottle but also drink right from the body of water.

1. A charming protector

CAMP/y is made for all those who like camping with a tent and a cozy fire. This charming “beast” uses its sensors to watch over important parameters nearby. It can detect wild animals or people, a gas leak, a change of weather, and a number of other factors. The data is sent to a smartphone, and, in case of danger, the device can sound an alarm. In addition, CAMP/y can act as an electronic repellent for mosquitoes in a 6-feet (2 m) radius. An important skill!

Smart Speaker Market explodes in Popularity

Smart speakers are seeing increased adoption in WiFi-enabled houses across the country. In fact, these Internet devices now reside in over twice as many homes compared to one year ago, according to data from the media analytics company, ComScore. 20 percent of American households with WiFi include some form of the smart speaker.

Smart Speaker

We covered this voice-activated technology ever since the Amazon Echo first hit the marketplace in 2015. Now let’s analyze this latest information to help you decide on purchasing your own smart speaker. Maybe your house even needs a second or third unit?

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A Closer Look at the Expanding Smart Speaker Market

After Amazon garnered a surprise hit with the Echo, many other technology companies joined the fray with similar devices. The Google Home and Apple’s HomePod, powered by Siri, are two obvious examples. The speaker from Cupertino is known for its superior sound quality, but suffers from being tethered to the Apple “walled garden.”

For its own part, Amazon released a cornucopia of variants on the Echo. These include the Amazon Tap, the smaller Echo Dot, and others. A few third-party units, like some Sonos models, even add voice control using Amazon’s Alexa.

All these options for consumers led to an explosion in the smart speaker market over the recent Holiday season. The comScore data nicely illustrates this massive growth. According to the company, the market grew 50 percent in the three month period from December to January.

18.7 million homes now use at least one smart speaker. 30 percent of those households own more than one. The demographics for this market transcend all age groups and income levels.

Susan Engleson from comScore commented on this massive market growth. “Driving this uptick in adoption was a larger variety of devices as well as lower price points. Google released the Home Mini on October 19 and kept the price at $29 for the holiday season. Amazon expanded its lineup prior to the holiday season with new devices – Echo, Echo Plus, Echo Show, Echo Spot and Echo Look – and also offered its entry-level device, the Echo Dot, for $29,” said Engleson.

Bandwidth Considerations for a Smart Speaker

So does a smart speaker use a large amount of your Internet bandwidth? Thankfully, voice-activated speakers consume a similar amount as any audio device, like Internet radio. In short, you won’t need a Google Fiber account to get the most out of your Echo, Tap, or HomePod.

If you want the best sound quality for using your smart speaker to stream music, the Apple HomePod received the best reviews. Sonos provides another worthy – possibly even superior – option with its Alexa voice control features. Still, even the best smart speaker doesn’t equal a fully appointed 5.1 home entertainment system to play music.


Most music streaming services, like Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, and Google Play are able to be managed using voice commands. This serves well as an alternative to a Bluetooth speaker or other wireless speaker option.

Obviously, it serves an expanding niche in the American household. Everything from checking the latest scores to the local rush hour traffic is possible. You are also able to control your smart home. Simply use your voice to ask a question, whether it’s Siri, Amazon Alexa, Cortana, or another voice assistant.