OLED Vs. QLED: Which is Better for You
When shopping for a new TV or monitor, there's a barrage of technical terms and specs to wade through. Terms like resolution and refresh rate can sometimes make the process feel more like a math lesson than a shopping experience.
Yet, even before diving into those specific metrics, it's vital to grasp the foundational technology that underpins them.
OLED and QLED displays, while often found side by side on store shelves, utilize fundamentally different mechanisms for video display and backlighting. These differences not only influence the visual quality but also the size, weight, and overall experience of your display.
QLED vs. OLED, which is the better choice for you? Read on as we delve into the strengths and limitations of each technology to help you make an informed decision.
What is OLED?
OLED, or Organic Light-Emitting Diodes, is a display technology utilizing organic (carbon-based) materials that emit light when electrified. Unlike traditional LCD/LED displays that require a backlight, each pixel in an OLED display produces its own light, enabling true black levels, a high contrast ratio, thinner designs, and potential for flexibility. However, they are susceptible to burn-in when static images remain displayed for extended periods.
What is QLED?
QLED, which stands for Quantum Dot LED, is an LCD (liquid crystal display) that employs quantum dots with an LED backlight to produce brighter, more vibrant colors than traditional LCD/LED displays. Both QLEDs and traditional LEDs are based on LCD technology. The difference is that QLEDs and LEDs have newer backlight technologies than the LCD. With QLEDs having the latest tech.
Now that we've covered the basics, let's dive deeper into the distinct characteristics of each.
OLED vs. QLED
The technology and picture quality
A common misconception is that QLEDs are a type of OLED. While they share some similarities, they are fundamentally distinct technologies. OLED differs from conventional LED displays in that they utilize organic LEDs to create the displayed images, eliminating the need for the traditional light-emitting diode (LED) technology. Each pixel of an OLED display emits its own light, negating the need for a backlight. Whereas the QLED display utilizes quantum dots to enhance the brightness and color of traditional LED LCDs. When hit by light from the LED backlight, these quantum dots emit their own differently colored light, producing vibrant and dynamic images.
Aesthetics-wise, what does this all mean? To help you better understand, we will break down the viewing experience into four categories and explain how they are impacted by OLED or QLED technology:
1. Black Level and Contrast
* OLED: Since OLEDs are self-emissive (each pixel produces its own light), they can achieve true black levels by turning off individual pixels completely. This results in an infinite contrast ratio.
* QLED: QLEDs are based on LCD technology that uses a backlight. While QLEDs utilize quantum dots to enhance color and brightness, they can't turn off individual pixels like OLEDs. However, high-end QLEDs use local dimming to darken specific areas of the screen, improving contrast, but it doesn't match the "true black" of OLEDs.
* OLED: Brightness levels in OLEDs are generally lower than those of QLEDs. While they can produce brilliant HDR highlights, their overall screen brightness can be outpaced by QLED displays.
* QLED: Capable of achieving higher levels of brightness. This can be particularly beneficial in brightly lit rooms or for HDR content.
3. Color Accuracy
* OLED: Provides excellent color accuracy at various brightness levels.
* QLED: Thanks to the quantum dots, QLEDs can achieve outstanding color accuracy and can also cover a significant portion of the color spectrum, especially at high brightness levels where OLEDs might struggle.
4. Uniformity and Viewing Angles
* OLED: Offers excellent viewing angles due to its individual pixel light emission. The self-emitting pixels ensure consistent light, color, and contrast across the screen, allowing for a near 180-degree viewing angle.
* QLED: Traditionally, QLEDs suffered from limited viewing angles, meaning colors and brightness could shift when viewed off-axis. However, newer QLED models have started to address this issue with improved viewing angles.
Burn-in and lifespan
For those unfamiliar with the term burn-in, it refers to a permanent display defect caused by prolonged static content being displayed on a screen. Over time, if static images (like channel logos, news tickers, or user interface elements) stay on the screen for long periods without change, they can "burn in" and leave a ghostly residue or faint image even when the display is showing other content.
OLED screens, which rely on organic compounds to emit light, are particularly susceptible to burn-in. Over time, as these organic compounds degrade, if certain pixels consistently display the same static image, they can degrade faster than surrounding pixels, leading to uneven wear and, ultimately, burn-in. This can manifest as faint but permanent imprints of channel logos, user interface elements, or other static content.
Luckily, for the average user, burn-in issues with OLED screens shouldn't be a significant concern as long as static images aren't displayed for prolonged periods, and the screen is given resting intervals. For a better understanding of how burn-ins on OLED screens can happen, check out RTINGS.com’s 9000-hour test on OLED screens.
On the other hand, QLED screens are a type of LED/LCD display enhanced with a layer of quantum dots to boost color and brightness. Since QLEDs are based on traditional LCD technology and use a backlight, they don't have the same burn-in risks as OLEDs.
When considering lifespan, the organic compounds in OLEDs can degrade over time, potentially reducing their overall lifespan, whereas the inorganic nature of quantum dots in QLEDs offers a more consistent performance over time and may imply a longer overall lifespan.
In terms of design, OLEDs are thinner than QLEDs. Traditional LCD displays, including QLEDs, require a backlight to shine light through the display to create an image. QLEDs use quantum dots to enhance the color and brightness of this light, but they still rely on the backlight. This backlight system adds to the overall thickness of the display. Since OLED pixels emit their own light, the number of layers required in the display stack is reduced.
Additionally, the organic materials used in OLEDs are not only thinner but also more flexible than the materials in QLEDs. This has led to innovations like curved, foldable, or rollable OLED displays.
Generally, OLED displays, which use organic light-emitting materials, have been pricier due to production complexities. In contrast, QLED displays utilize quantum dots to boost LCD performance and come in a broader price range. While lower-end QLED models can be more affordable than OLEDs, high-end QLEDs can match or even exceed OLED prices. Prices for both technologies have been competitive, influenced by brand, features, and marketing dynamics.
OLED vs. QLED: Which is the better choice for you?
The decision between OLED and QLED largely depends on your preferences, viewing habits, and budget. Both have their advantages and potential drawbacks. However, before purchasing, you should consider some essential decision points:
* Budget: If you're price-sensitive, you might get a larger or better-featured QLED for the price of an OLED.
* Viewing Environment: For bright rooms, a QLED might be preferable due to its high brightness. For dark rooms where a cinematic experience is desired, OLED might be the choice.
* Usage: If you plan to use it as a computer monitor or for games/content with static images for prolonged periods, QLED might be safer due to the risk of burn-in with OLEDs.
* Aesthetics: If a super-thin design is a priority, OLEDs have the edge.
Ultimately, both technologies offer excellent viewing experiences, and you can't go wrong with either. It's about weighing what aspects are most important to you.
However, if you are interested in purchasing an OLED product, Acer has a line of OLED devices from laptops, monitors, and gaming TVs.
Computer Basics for Kids: What to Teach and Why?
Tech is all around us. From computers to smartphones, digital advertisements, and game stations, tech seems present in almost all aspects of modern life. Kids today are so-called digital natives, growing up with technology around them. In fact, most kids will not remember a time when computers and tech did not dominate our world. Alongside dance, sports, and band practice, it is important for children to learn how to use computers to remain competitive in a world that seems to introduce new tech products daily.
Why teach children about computers?
Learning about computers is no longer an option — it is necessary to keep up with our modern way of living. Here are some more reasons why computer classes for kids are beneficial.
1. To become digitally literate
Digital literacy helps kids become fluent in using the internet, social media, and other tech, which is now integrated into our modern-day society. Although it does not mean that children should know everything there is to know about computers, they should at least have basic skills to help them survive in a tech-heavy world.
As children grow into adults, they will have to handle an increasing amount of life admin online. As such, becoming digitally literate at a young age will help them thrive in later life. Unlike older generations of so-called digital immigrants, kids have the added benefit of growing up in a tech-based environment, making becoming digitally literate more manageable.
2. To prepare them for school
Chromebooks and other tech devices are being introduced into schools from very young ages, so basic computer skills are required for children to keep up in class. Computers, tablets, and other tech devices are not just exclusively used in computer science or IT classes, meaning kids should be able to grasp technology from the get-go. In fact, 79% of US teachers in a recent survey said that students are able to achieve more by using technology, emphasizing its importance in contemporary classrooms.
3. To create online safety
Social media and other technology are not inherently bad, but they can be dangerous and leave kids exposed to predators if they are unaware of how to protect themselves. Teaching children about the dangers of the internet, cyberbullying, and mental health issues arising from technology may help them identify and overcome such situations before it is too late. Additionally, computer classes for kids can help them become more self-disciplined, understand healthy amounts of tech usage, and be aware of the downsides of tech addiction.
4. To foster cognitive development
Problem-solving skills are an important factor in cognitive development. Interactive computer activities or learning coding skills through games like Minecraft can help cultivate strong cognitive skills. Moreover, computers also nurture creative and critical thinking and allow children to express themselves through music, drawing, or coding applications.
5. To prepare them for future tech-based careers
Currently, over 92% of jobs require computer skills and digital literacy, which may increase as we become increasingly reliant on tech. Encouraging early exposure to computers through coding or computer science classes can spark a passion for tech-related career choices in later life. Moreover, allowing children to dismantle and analyze computer parts can also help shape future careers. In short, a child’s first laptop experience could be the first step toward a promising career in tech.
At what age should children start using computers?
There is some discussion about which age children should start using computers. It can seem like a catch-22 — starting too early risks tech addiction but starting too late risks missing out on cultivating important skills in their early years. The US Government Office of Education Technology recommends that screen time should be avoided for children under two years old, reminding us that technology should not be used for the sake of it. However, this age group may benefit from actively using technology, such as chiming in on video calls to talk with relatives.
Children aged between two and five should have limited screen time to no more than an hour per day. This includes tech usage at home and in educational settings. Similarly, children aged six and above should have no more than two hours of screen time daily.
The specific age at which a child is ready to start using a computer will vary depending on the child's individual development and interest. It also depends on the type of screen time and the conditions under which it is used. Screen time that is more like a stand-in babysitter may be convenient for parents but unstimulating for the child, whereas educationally beneficial apps could complement real-world interactions. Generally speaking, kids above six years old can begin using the internet, allowing them to explore and become young content creators. At this age, children will also start using the internet for school and homework.
Computer basics: what to teach?
Jumping straight to coding or computer science classes may be too overwhelming for children of a young age. So, what are the most suitable basic computer skills to teach kids?
1. Basic computer operations
How does a computer work? How can we safely switch a computer off and on? Although they may be second nature now, we all had to learn these things in the past. Children are no different, and it is crucial to explain basics, like why a computer should be safely shut down instead of simply pulling the plug out. Additionally, this would be a good time to teach children how to use a keyboard and mouse, including left, right, and double clicks, and how to launch applications. It may also be possible to teach them the fundamentals of file management.
2. Internet skills
Once kids have grasped the basics, they can start to learn how to use search engines to find answers to specific search terms. They can also learn about online communication tools like email, investigating how to effectively open, read, and reply to emails. It is also possible to teach them how to use social media at this point.
Just like real-life safety talks include learning how to cross the road and not to talk to strangers, children should also be taught how to use the internet wisely. They should be educated about potential online dangers such as predators, cyberbullying, and sharing personal information. Kids should also learn how to recognize unsafe websites and the importance of strong and unique passwords.
Introducing kids to basic programming concepts through games like Minecraft Education is a great way to stimulate young minds in an exciting way. It encourages collaboration with peers and a creative approach to learning, cultivating communication skills. There are hundreds of classroom-friendly games available to supplement classes and help kids boost their confidence in coding.
5. Hardware basics
Aside from learning coding to communicate with computers, it is also crucial to teach kids about the primary components of a computer. Knowing what CPU, RAM, and hard drives do and how they interact forms an understanding of how computers work and may ignite an interest in a future tech-related career.
Kids are digital natives and have the advantage of growing up in a tech-dominant environment. As such, they should learn computer basics at a young age to give them a competitive advantage at school and in their future careers. Learning about computers helps cognitive development by encouraging creative and problem-solving skills and can benefit them in all areas of life. By teaching children about the dangers of the internet, they can be aware of potential risks and learn how to protect themselves. Moreover, learning to code through applications like Minecraft encourages communication with peers and helps them develop a creative flair. As long as the content they are exposed to is age-appropriate, teaching kids basic computer skills helps pave the way to understanding how technology works.
DisplayPort 2.1 vs. HDMI 2.1: Which is Better for PC Gaming?
The gaming world is filled with debates: PC vs. console, keyboard vs. controller, and, of course, DisplayPort vs. HDMI. While some debates might boil down to personal preference, the battle between HDMI and DisplayPort hinges on cold, hard facts.
Before we jump into the debate, let us cover the basics of DisplayPort and HDMI.
What is DisplayPort?
DisplayPort, developed by the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA), is a digital interface designed primarily for transmitting video from PCs to monitors, although it can also carry audio and data. Since its debut in 2006, there have been multiple versions, with DisplayPort 1.4, a feature-based upgrade, being the most prevalent in modern devices.
The standard DisplayPort connector has a 20-pin design with a lock for secure connection, but there's also a Mini DisplayPort variant without this feature. Recently, Mini DisplayPort has given way to USB-C, which can deliver DisplayPort capabilities via DisplayPort Alt Mode. DisplayPort 2.1 is currently the most advanced version, supporting exceptionally high resolutions and refresh rates.
What is HDMI?
HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface), introduced in 2022, is a digital interface that transmits video and audio signals from a source device to displays, like TVs and monitors. With over 10 billion devices sold, HDMI is widely used in home entertainment systems and computers, HDMI cables combine audio and video into one cable, simplifying connections and ensuring high-quality signal transmission.
The common types of HDMI you will encounter are Type A (Standard), Type C (Mini), and Type D (Micro).
Over the years, various versions of HDMI have been released, each offering improvements in resolution, audio capabilities, and other features. HDMI 2.1 is the latest iteration of this connector.
DisplayPort 2.1 vs. HDMI 2.1: Which is better for PC gaming?
In PC gaming, every component, from the graphics card to the cable, is crucial in delivering an optimal experience. Among the pivotal decisions gamers face is choosing the right display interface. HDMI and DisplayPort, two of the foremost contenders in this arena, often go head-to-head in discussions about visual performance, refresh rates, and audio quality.
At this point, you are probably wondering, “Is DisplayPort better than HDMI, or is HDMI better than DisplayPort?”
To successfully answer the DisplayPort Vs. HDMI question, you must look at four important features of the connectors that play a big impact on PC gaming. These four features are are follows: bandwidth and resolution support, Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), Multi-Stream Transport (MST), and latency.
1. Bandwidth and Resolution Support
Bandwidth dictates the maximum data transfer rate, affecting how quickly and smoothly game visuals and audio are transmitted to your display. Resolution support determines the clarity and detail of game graphics, with higher resolutions offering crisper and more immersive visuals. Thus, higher bandwidth and resolution support directly elevate the fidelity and responsiveness of your PC gaming experience.
DisplayPort and HDMI versions dictate the maximum resolution and refresh rate capabilities. Commonly, monitors and computers support DisplayPort 1.2 or 1.4 and HDMI 1.4 or 2.0.
DisplayPort 2.0 and 2.1, boasting nearly three times the bandwidth of DisplayPort 1.4, offer the potential for up to 16K resolutions using compression or high refresh rates at lower resolutions. HDMI 2.1 only offers up to 10k, so based on numbers alone, DP 2.1 beats out HDMI 2.1.
However, in the current gaming market, DisplayPort 2.0 and 2.1 have limited support with GPUs from both Nvidia and AMD. As of September 2023, only the AMD Radeon™ RX 7800 XT with AMD RDNA™ 3 architecture supports DisplayPort 2.0 and 2.1. Nvidia GPUs, at the time of the posting, do not support DisplayPort 2.1 or 2.0.
Considering G-SYNCS's rapport with DisplayPort, it is very likely that Nvidia will follow suit and eventually announce support for Display Port 2.0 and 2.1.
In comparison, both HDMI 2.1 and 2.0 are currently supported by both Nvidia and AMD.
Winner: HDMI 2.1 (but not for long)
2. Variable Refresh Rate (VRR)
Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) is a technology that allows a display to dynamically adjust its refresh rate to match the frame rate output of a content source, like a gaming console or PC. By synchronizing these rates, VRR reduces visual artifacts like screen tearing and stutter, providing a smoother visual experience. This technology is especially beneficial for gaming, where frame rates can fluctuate frequently.
Two primary VRR technologies dominate the market: FreeSync and G-SYNC. For users with an AMD graphics card, FreeSync is the go-to choice, and it's compatible with both HDMI and DisplayPort connectors. On the other hand, if you're using NVIDIA's graphics solutions, you'll want G-SYNC, which currently only supports DisplayPort. Thus, NVIDIA users should prioritize a DisplayPort connection.
Winner: DisplayPort 2.1
3. Multi-Stream Transport (MST)
MST is a technology incorporated into the DisplayPort 1.2 standard and later versions. Its primary purpose is to allow a single DisplayPort connection on your computer to handle multiple video outputs simultaneously; this official term is called Daisy Chain. This technology can allow for expansive game views or simultaneous multitasking, such as gaming on one screen while monitoring streams or chats on another. MST's efficient bandwidth use ensures that each connected display delivers optimal gaming visuals without compromising performance.
MST theoretically supports linking up to 60+ displays from that single connection. You can achieve this by 'daisy-chaining' monitors directly or using an external hub. Though HDMI doesn't inherently support MST, a DisplayPort to HDMI hub can simulate this function, provided the source device has a DisplayPort output.
Winner: DisplayPort 2.1
Latency denotes the delay between sending a signal from a source device and its display on a target device. Measured in milliseconds, it impacts synchronization and real-time interactions, especially in gaming. Lower latency means faster response and smoother experiences.
The latency of HDMI 2.1 and DisplayPort 2.1 is quite similar (0.01 milliseconds). However, some factors can affect the latency, such as the length of the cable, the quality of the cable, and the specific devices that are being used.
In general, the latency of HDMI 2.1 and DisplayPort 2.1 is low enough that it is not noticeable for most gamers.
While HDMI 2.1 has its merits and is a versatile connector found in various entertainment setups, when it comes to PC gaming performance, DisplayPort 2.1 edges out as the champion. Its superior bandwidth and resolution support, exclusive compatibility with NVIDIA's G-SYNC, and the daisy-chaining capabilities of MST offer gamers a higher tier of immersion and flexibility. Unfortunately, DisplayPort 2.1 and 2.0 have limited support with Nvidia and AMD GPUs, which means that in terms of resolution, HDMI 2.1 is still king. However, when DisplayPort finally gets full support from both AMD and Nvidia, those seeking the pinnacle of PC gaming experiences should look towards the benefits of DisplayPort.
Acer Nitro vs. Predator: What is the Difference?
Some of the most popular gaming laptops fall under the Acer Nitro and Acer Predator brands, with several different monitors, desktops, and peripheral devices also being sold under these brands. The Nitro series is known for offering good performance for its price range, whereas the Predator series offers superior technology.
Most people struggle to pick between the two brands because several of the laptops from both series share similar price tags and specs. With some of the models containing very high-end components, it’s important that you pick the right machine. So in this article, we’re going to explore these two popular gaming laptop series.
The Acer Nitro is a series of budget gaming computers that first launched in 2017 and that is marketed to gamers looking for high-performance machines at a reasonable price point. The Nitro series includes desktops, laptops, monitors, and other accessories and competes with other midrange computers. The series was introduced with the Nitro 5 laptop, which featured a 2.50-GHz Intel Core i5-7300HQ, a 4-GB NVIDIA® GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, and 8 GB of DDR4 SDRAM. Since 2017, Acer has released several iterations of the Nitro gaming laptop series, including the Nitro 7, 16, and 17. Acer also has a wide range of gaming monitors and a desktop machine under the Nitro brand.
Best options for Acer Nitro (for budget gamers)
* Acer Nitro 5
* Acer Nitro 7
* Acer Nitro 17
The Acer Predator series offers high-performance gaming laptops and monitors designed to deliver exceptional gaming experiences, with powerful hardware and advanced features. Acer Predator has a strong presence at a number of major international gaming tournaments and hosts the annual Predator League, which is an international event held by Acer every year to reinforce the commitment of Predator in supporting the gaming industry, particularly in the Asia Pacific region. Predator’s “It Lies Within” website even won the prestigious Webby awards in 2023 for its impressive design. There are currently two laptop families under Predator: Triton and Helios. Triton is lightweight, slim, and sleek, designed for gamers and prosumers who are always on the go, whereas the Helios series consists of midrange and premium laptops with stellar specs that can replace desktop computers. Predator also covers a series of monitors that deliver exceptional visual fidelity and can support games with the most demanding conditions, with refresh rates of up to 360 Hz. Predator is an excellent choice for serious gamers who demand the best possible visuals.
The Predator range also includes mice, headsets, keyboards, routers, desks and even a backpack.
Best options for Acer Predator (for hardcore gamers)
* Acer Predator Helios 300
* Acer Predator Triton 500 SE
* Acer Predator Connect Wi-Fi 6E Router
Nitro vs. Acer Predator: What is the difference
Predator is Acer’s high-end gaming brand, and Nitro is its budget gaming brand. The Acer Predator series provides the best of modern computing technology, regardless of whether you're looking for a laptop, monitor, or other device. By contrast, for Acer Nitro, it’s all about bringing modern technology down to a reasonable price. You’ll still find the latest components, but they will not be the most powerful. Acer Nitro has long been the go-to choice for those looking for the best value when shopping for laptops and desktops, whereas Predator is the premier brand for serious gamers. Let’s take a look at some of the differences between these series in more detail.
Design and build quality
Predator laptops have magnesium chassis and better cooling systems than Nitro laptops. The Nitro series, being the budget-friendly option, are usually inside a plastic case with a similar fan setup as the Predator but containing less sophisticated cooling technology. Both the Predator and Nitro have RGB lighting in their keyboards that is customizable with the Sense software.
Nitro uses Intel core i5 or i7 or the latest generation AMD Ryzen™ 5, 7, or 9 CPUs. It also uses RTX™ 30 and 40 series GPUs from NVIDIA®. Midrange Predator Helios 300 laptops have almost the same specs as the top Nitro 5 laptops but are packaged in premium chassis and have better cooling systems. Top-tier Predator laptops like the Helios 500, Helios 700, and Triton 500 to 900 have far superior hardware than Nitro laptops. Predator also uses a vapor chamber in its cooling system to better handle the heating. Predator laptops use only the latest Intel CPUs.
Both Nitro and Predator laptops come with 15-inch or 17-inch screens, and both series offer high refresh rate monitors, with refresh rates ranging from 60 to 165 Hz refresh. Predator Triton and Helios offer more color-accurate displays than the Nitro series. The Predator series typically offers higher resolution displays, with some models boasting 4K resolution. The Nitro 5 has a Full HD (1080p) display, which is still decent for most games and daily use, and at the top end, a 15-inch Nitro can come with 1440p.
The Acer Predator series has a faster response time, ranging from 1 ms to 3 ms, reducing ghost and motion blur. The Acer Nitro 5’s response time is typically around 5ms, which is still decent for most games but not as fast as the Predator series.
I/O ports and connectivity
Both laptop series house a versatile and diverse set of ports. Nitro, Helios, and Triton are equipped with at least two Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports for display, file transfer, and fast charging. They also support USB-A, with a full range of USB 3.2 Gen 1 and 2 ports, even on the slimmer Triton series. On top of that, they all offer one HDMI port.
Acer Nitro or Predator: which laptop is better for you?
1. Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop
* Intel® Core™ i7-12650H processor (up to 4.7 GHz)
* NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 4050 with 6 GB dedicated memory
* 15.6" Full HD (1920 x 1080) 16:9 144 Hz
* 16 GB, DDR5 SDRAM
* 512 GB SSD
The Nitro 5 series is the one for you if you are on a tight budget yet still want a machine that can deliver outstanding game performance. Acer has given this particular model a powerful graphics card and a decent amount of high-speed RAM, making it capable of running modern games at ultrahigh quality. The price of this machine is kept low thanks to the screen, hard drive, and battery, all of which are smaller than those in similar but more expensive machines, making it excellent value for money. Hogwarts Legacy, God of War Ragnarök, and Valorant will run smoothly on this Nitro 5 without kicking its fans on to full blast. It also has a responsive full-size keyboard and trackpad.
2. Predator Helios 16 Gaming Laptop
* Intel® Core™ i9-13900HX processor 2.20 GHz
* NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 4080 with 12 GB dedicated memory
* 16" WQXGA (2560 x 1600) 16:10 IPS 240 Hz
* 32 GB, DDR5 SDRAM
* 1 TB SSD
For a little bit extra, you can go with the Helios 16, a powerhouse gaming machine of the Predator series. The Helios 16 laptop provides excellent value for money, with a medium-sized display, superior chassis design for excellent cooling performance, and a latest-gen Intel i9 CPU. This machine can deliver excellent performance even with the heaviest games, thanks to the inclusion of the Nvidia RTX™ 4080 graphics card. Notably, any 4080 or above can run games in 4K, meaning this machine will be capable of playing modern games well into the future. If you want to experience the stunning graphics of Immortals of Aveum in 1080p at 60 fps or if you want to play Diablo IV, Hogwarts Legacy, or Resident Evil 4 Remake at the highest settings, this top-level Helios 16 is the one to get.
3. Predator Triton 17 X Gaming Laptop
* Intel® Core™ i9-13900HX processor Tetracosa-core (24 Core™) 2.20 GHz
* NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 4090 with 16 GB dedicated memory
* 17" WQXGA (2560 x 1600) 16:10
* 64 GB, DDR5 SDRAM
* 2 TB SSD
The Acer Predator Triton series is for serious gamers who want high performance, stunning display quality, and excellent design in a powerful yet portable device. Triton is a sleek laptop that doesn’t come in a traditional bulky gaming laptop design. The Triton 17 X has a latest-gen Intel i9 CPU with 24 cores and a high-definition display, offering 1600p in a 16-inch screen. The display is powered by the new Nvidia® RTX™ 4090, which has been very popular. Although one of the most expensive gaming laptops on offer by Acer, this machine has been assembled with the highest quality components and will deliver exceptional performance for years.
In summary, the Acer Nitro brand can be trusted to provide the perfect balance between affordability and performance, whereas the Acer Predator series offers superior gaming performance in a well-engineered chassis, with the Helios brand giving heavyweight, desktop-level performance and the Tritan brand giving powerful yet sleek computing capability. Nitro laptops are more affordable than other gaming laptops, making them an appealing option for gamers on a tight budget, and Predator laptops are the best option for hardcore gamers looking for the most powerful pro-level gaming machines.
A Preview of Payday 3
When the Payday franchise began in 2011, it was a treasure chest for their developer Starbreeze. Though the bank heist has been a common theme in film for several decades, there were few video game adaptations of it until Payday came along. The thrill of being able to play the villain appealed to a lot of gamers and the game’s success brought a wave of prosperity to the game’s developer.
After Payday 2 (2013) was released, however, Starbreeze’s luck seemed to have run out. The studio was close to going bankrupt after the release of Overkill’s The Walking Dead due to a higher than expected share of sales in countries where the game carried a lower price tag, such as China and Russia.
Rumors of insider training even led to a police raid at their company headquarters in downtown Stockholm. Though the charges were later dropped, it took some time for the studio to recover from its financial and legal woes.
Ten years after the release of Payday 2, the Payday 3 game is finally coming out! Whether you’re a newbie or a longtime fan, keep reading to learn about Payday 3’s release date and platforms, its graphics and design engine, and the Payday franchise as a whole.
The Payday franchise
Payday is a franchise developed by Starbreeze Studios that is well known for its action and flexibility, allowing players to choose whether they want to do a heist in stealth mode or go in guns blazing (literally). The first installment, Payday: The Heist, was released in 2011 with four original characters: Dallas, Hoxton, Chains, and Wolf.
This criminal quartet, infamous for their creepy clown masks, started their professional careers at the First World Bank, where they got away with stealing a ton of cash by using thermite attached to a photocopier to enter the vault. The seven different missions in the first game provide a certain level of randomness that make the game a high-octane joyride.
The second game, titled simply Payday 2, featured the four main characters terrorizing Washington D.C. with the help of two new characters, Pearl and Joy. Since the game was released in 2013, a slew of updates have increased its replayability and allowed the franchise to attract and maintain a steady fanbase. Though the release of Payday 3 comes an entire decade after its predecessor, there are still active communities of players looking forward to the launch.
Payday 3: Graphics, design, and gameplay mechanics
Now that we’ve talked a bit about the Payday franchise, let’s get into some specifics about Payday 3, including its graphics, design, and mechanics.
The game takes place in New York. It features the same characters from Payday 2, that is, Dallas, Hoxton, Chains, Wolf, Pearl, and Joy. As with the previous games, the game is focused primarily on pulling off bank heists through any means necessary.
As to which engine the game is being released on, the studio will release the game on Unreal Engine 4 but plans to update to Unreal Engine 5 sometime after launch. When this switch will take place and what impact this could have on game specs is still an open question.
In terms of actual gameplay, Payday 3 will have four different difficulty modes. While players will face the same enemies, SWAT and Heavy SWAT units, the number, accuracy, and damage of enemies will increase as the difficulty level goes up. However, enemy health will stay consistent across each difficulty level.
Although Payday 3 offers both single-player and multiplayer modes, the game will require Internet access to run. In multiplayer mode you can team up with others either locally or online. Luckily, Payday 3’s multiplayer mode is cross-platform, so you can play with any of your friends no matter which device they’re using.
There is also the option to choose an AI companion, but according to preliminary reviews, the AI characters aren’t very helpful and it’s best to choose human teammates.
Payday 3: Release date, platforms, and pricing
Payday 3 is set to come out on September 21st, 2023 with early access on September 18th for those who purchase a Silver, Gold, or Collector’s edition. It will be available for PC, Playstation 5, and Xbox Series X. Because it was designed using the Unreal Engine, the game will be identical on PC and consoles, so PC users need not worry about having a second-rate gaming experience.
The launch price will be $39.99 USD for the standard version, while Silver, Gold, and Collector’s editions will also be available at an additional cost. Xbox Game Pass subscribers, however, will be able to play the game at no extra cost.
Starbreeze also has announced their plans to release “four additional heists, four tailor packs, and four weapon packs” of DLC (downloadable content) within one year of the game’s launch, which should add to the game’s replayability and overall appeal. In addition to the standard version of Payday 3, Silver, Gold, and Collector’s editions will also be available.
Both the Silver and Gold editions are digital only. The Silver edition includes 3 days of early access, 6 months of the season pass and a special Dark Sterling mask. The Gold edition increases the length of your season pass to 12 months, throws in a Skull of Liberty mask and Gold Slate gloves and also includes everything else from the Silver edition. The Silver edition is available for $69.99 while the Gold edition is $20 more expensive at $89.99.
The Collector’s edition is the only one to include physical items. In addition to everything from the Gold edition, you’ll also receive the Collector’s Mask, a custom deck of cards, stickers, and a membership letter to the Collector’s Club. The Collector’s edition will set you back $129.99.
If you don’t need any of the extras, you can enjoy Payday 3’s pandemonium with an Xbox Game Pass, which comes free with the purchase of any Acer gaming laptop. So, if you’re looking for a quality gaming experience using top-notch technology, check out the Nitro 50 Gaming Desktop or the Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop to ensure you’re getting the most out of Payday 3 upon release at no additional cost!
Though Starbreeze, the game’s developer, struggled for some years, the Payday 3 trailer shown at the recent Xbox Games Showcase promises a strong return to all of the antics, fun, and pure chaos that Payday is famous for. Though the differences between Payday 3 and its predecessors may not be huge, the fresh setting of what the developers call an “enormous, living New York” combined with the revamped characters and scenarios should be a treat for fans of the co-op shooter genre.
How to Upcycle Old Tech Products
Most of us know recycling our old plastics and packaging is good for the environment and can help reduce the need for landfills. The recycling process destroys disused paper, plastic, metals, and glass and turns it into something new and usable. Similarly, upcycling is a process by which our old products are taken in their current state and then modified, repurposed, or readapted to create a new and improved product.
Upcycling is hugely beneficial in industries such as fashion, where discarding used clothing contributes to the 92 million tonnes of clothing that end up in landfills each year. Upcycled clothing reduces the environmental burden and saves water and energy, which are used to excess during the production process. Likewise, upcycling is also becoming more and more popular in the tech industry, helping to reduce the annual 50 million tonnes of electronic and electrical waste produced globally.
What is e-waste?
Electronic waste, known as e-waste, describes electronics nearing the end of their useful life that are discarded, donated, recycled, or upcycled. Laptops, cellphones, gaming consoles, home devices, or anything with a cable or cord is regarded as e-waste. Disposing of e-waste is not always convenient, causing many people to simply throw it away with their regular trash. Doing so can leak harmful chemicals and contaminants into the soil, which can end up in our food supplies and water sources via groundwater.
Why is upcycling and recycling important?
From fast fashion to trendy tech, there is no denying that we live in a world of excess. Upcycling and recycling provide savvy ways to use what we already have, reducing the burden of producing new products on our planet. Moreover, upcycling and recycling teach us how to value and get the most out of our beloved items without giving up on them entirely.
Upcycling vs recycling
Recycling breaks used products like plastic into its raw or base materials. In other words, recycled products go back into production and are transformed into completely different items. This process is repeatable, too, meaning items can be recycled again and again. While recycling is a great habit to get into, the process takes time, and we often do not see the direct results of our efforts.
On the other hand, upcycling lets us get creative with our devices. From wood and containers to picture frames or old clothes, upcycling lets us recreate old goods any way we want. It is a smart way to give dated products a breath of fresh air while turning trash into treasure.
Types of recoverable e-waste
Electronic goods are largely made up of plastic and metal parts. They also include hazardous materials such as lead, mercury, and liquids like ink or coolant. E-waste materials all get recycled in different ways, and some are even recoverable.
Ferrous metals: Around 40% of e-waste comprises steel, a ferrous metal that forms the casing or chassis of electronic items. Recovered steel can be smelted and used to make new electronic items, vehicles, machinery, and even food containers.
Non-ferrous metals: Unlike ferrous metals, non-ferrous metals such as aluminum and copper do not contain iron. Aluminum is popular for use in electronics due to its durability and high thermal conductivity. It is largely used in the structural areas of electronics like flat-screen TVs and motor casings. Aluminum can be reused and recycled, so it is important to ensure it remains out of landfill sites. In fact, making aluminum is so energy-intensive that recycling it takes only 5% of the energy required to make it from scratch.
Copper is an excellent heat conductor and can be found in electronics that require thermal conductivity. This includes radiators, compressors, and copper wires used in electric motors and circuit boards. Like aluminum, copper is a valuable metal that can be recycled again and again.
How can you upcycle old tech?
Recycling and upcycling sound good in theory, but how can old electronic products like an old computer or laptop be upcycled? Here are some ideas for your next upcycling projects.
1. Use it as back-up
Nowadays, people take so many photos and videos that it is impossible to store everything on one device. How about using an old laptop or computer as a backup? That way, tired but still functioning devices can still be put to good use by safeguarding surplus files, photos, and videos.
2. Use it as an additional monitor
Working from home, gaming, or keeping track of the latest stocks and shares — it can be tiring to stare at one screen for an extended time. Old screens can be reused as an additional monitor, helping to streamline your workflow and boost productivity. Working across two screens minimizes the need to click between tabs and applications, making it easier to compare and analyze data.
3. Build a DIY Chromebook
Turning an old laptop into a Chromebook may be easier than you think. Chromebooks use a simple operating system and do not require aspects such as driver management and regular system updates, making it a viable option if you want to access the web browser or cloud-based programs. Just make sure your old laptop meets the required specifications to get started.
4. Create a Minecraft server
Put your old laptop to use by inspiring young minds! By creating a Minecraft server, kids can learn how to code in a fun and exciting way. The game is not hardware-intensive so most old laptops or computers should be able to handle it. Minecraft provides a safe gaming option for young users and teaches kids problem-solving and communication skills.
5. Make a retro gaming computer
Those looking for a bit of game nostalgia can consider turning old laptops or computers into retro gaming machines. By downloading and installing emulation software for the gaming platform, you can kill two birds with one stone by reliving your old gaming memories and putting an unused computer to use. Gamers looking to take a walk down memory lane should be mindful that while using and downloading emulators is legal, downloading Roms, i.e. games to play on the emulator, is not.
6. If you can't upcycle it, recycle it
If these options aren’t for you, why not recycle old electronics instead? Acer offers multiple recycling programs that help you get rid of old devices, batteries, and accessories responsibly. Each US state has different recycling rules, so US-based customers should check the guidelines for their respective states beforehand. Do your bit to help the planet and clear out old electronic clutter with Acer recycling.
Electronic waste contains substances like metals, glass, plastics, and chemicals, making it more troublesome to dispose of than household waste. But there are options. Upcycling old electronics by making a second screen or even creating a new Chromebook are fantastic ways to put old devices to good use. Moreover, donating tired electronics to schools or local charities means that they can even be used to inspire future generations. Moreover, Acer’s recycling program also lets users get rid of their old devices without harming the planet.
Why Browser Extensions Could Contain Malware
The Internet is an essential tool for many parts of life in the modern world, but it also implies a wide range of challenges and security threats. Browser extensions are no exception. Though a browser extension may appear to be harmless, it can sometimes contain malware that compromises your personal information and does damage to your devices.
Even browser extensions that improve our browsing experience can contain malware lurking beneath the surface. In a digital world where risks are present at every corner, how can we protect ourselves? What are some guidelines for safe use of browser extensions so that we can take advantage of their strengths while also protecting ourselves? Read on to learn some actions you can take today to strengthen your cybersecurity approach as it relates to browser extensions.
What is a browser extension?
A browser extension is a piece of software that modifies the existing capabilities of a web browser. They extend the capabilities of our browser through unique functions that aren’t supported by the browser itself. This means they perform a lot of useful functions: ad blockers prevent pesky ads from cluttering our browsers, while a translator extension like Google Translate can translate any web page as you navigate.
Browser extensions range from commonplace to very niche. For example, language lovers can use Toucan to translate a certain amount of words on each webpage into their target language and learn while browsing. Browser extensions can be used on various browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, and Edge.
Are browser extensions safe?
Though browser extensions perform a lot of useful functions, malicious browser extensions can infect your computer with browser malware without your knowledge. Google removed 30 malicious extensions from the Google Play Store, all of them with legitimate functionality. One of the removed extensions, AutoSkip for YouTube, works in the way it advertises, but has harmful code written within it.
The difficult part about detecting a malicious browser extension, however, is that you can’t always tell immediately, or at all, whether or not it’s harmful. While some extensions may steal personal data directly after installation, others appear innocent and conceal their activity in such a way that you don’t realize your data is at risk. They can do this by monitoring your keystrokes, obtaining valuable personal information such as credit card numbers and passwords along the way.
This doesn’t mean that all browser extensions contain malware, though - many browser extensions are legitimate and well-intentioned. The problem lies in being able to tell the difference. Let’s take a look at some ways that computer users can protect themselves from malicious browser extensions.
How can I protect myself from malicious browser extensions?
Though you can’t take all of the inherent risk out of using browser extensions, you can take certain steps to minimize your exposure. That way, you can continue to block ads and optimize your browsing experience with peace of mind. Check out the list below:
1. Download from reputable sources
Before you download a browser extension, you should always take a look at the developer’s information. If they’re legitimate, they should have a website or social media presence. Make sure that the information presented on the app store matches the information you find on their other public profiles.
In addition to the developer, you should trust the marketplace you’re downloading from. It’s safest to use an official store, like the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store. You can also download an extension directly from the developer’s website, like the popular browser extension Grammarly.
2. Review browser permissions
Another factor you should take into consideration is the browser permissions that the application requests. These permissions should always make sense according to the functionality of the extension. An ad blocker, for example, should not need to access files on your device. If you see anything that is suspicious or seems unrelated to the extension’s apparent purpose, don’t take the risk of downloading it.
3. Read reviews
Reviews are a great way to see what experiences others have had with the extension. Besides usability and interface design, you should also take a look at what others say regarding the legitimacy of the app. Previous reviews can warn you if an extension contains dangerous malware that you should steer clear of.
4. Limit the number of extensions
Limiting the number of extensions on your browser reduces your risk purely due to the rules of chance: the more extensions you download, the higher the chance is that one of them contains malware. Erring on the side of caution is the best mindset when deciding which browser extensions to download. Instead of downloading any browser extension that could potentially be useful, you should only download those which you find to be essential.
If you need to download an extension, you should first go to the Chrome Web Store. On the homepage, you’ll see a variety of extensions available for download. If you have a specific extension in mind, navigate to the search bar and type in the name of the extension you’d like to install. Before you click “Add to Chrome,” don’t forget to review the browser permissions and read the user reviews.
5. Update your extensions & your browser
Another step you can take to protect yourself against malicious browser extensions is to update your extensions and your browser. With each browser update, browsers improve in their ability to recognize and combat malware, so it’s important to keep your software up to date.
Updating your extensions, on the other hand, refers not simply to updating to the latest software version, but reevaluating which extensions you have installed. Ironically, to discover which of your extensions have malware, you might need a separate extension to tell you which are malicious.
Once you find out which, if any, of your browser extensions contain malware, you can remove those malware extensions from Chrome or a different browser. By disabling and deleting those browser extensions, you won’t be exposed to malicious software any longer.
To do this on Chrome, click on the puzzle piece in the upper right hand corner of the browser window, next to the star. Then, navigate to the bottom of the list where you’ll find the option “Manage extensions.” From there, you’ll find a list of all the extensions you have installed, and you can remove any of the extensions by clicking on the “Remove” button.
Though the use of the Internet implies various risks, with knowledge of these risks and containment strategies, we can benefit from the Internet with peace of mind. Because cybersecurity threats are constantly evolving, it’s imperative to stay informed and update your knowledge. Whether you’re worried about the impact of AI on your children or IT challenges in education, adopting a growth mindset towards cybersecurity protection can protect you and your family in the long term.
How to Connect Your Laptop to a Projector
Ever fumbled with cables minutes before an important presentation? Or wished your movie nights felt like a cinema experience? Connecting your laptop to a projector can expand your screen and project your ideas onto a bigger canvas.
Why you'll love a bigger projector screen:
* Ace your presentations: Take complete control of your presentation and nail every pitch.
* Collaboration: Easily share your screen in team meetings, making brainstorming more effective. No more "Can you see my screen?" woes.
* Entertainment: Who needs a big-screen TV when you can project movies or games on a wall?
Ready to elevate your screen game? Dive into our step-by-step guide to connect your laptop to your projector.
Is your projector wireless or wired? Know your options
Before diving into cables and adapters, figure out what kind of projector you have. Is it wired or wireless? Knowing this helps set up smoothly.
1) Wired projectors
Wired projectors often provide more stable connections. The downside? You'll need to fuss with cables and potential adapters.
2) Wireless projectors
Wireless projectors make life easier—no cables to tangle or trip over. You can connect using:
But a weak Wi-Fi signal can throw a wrench in your presentation.
Do you need an adapter to connect? Here's how to check
Connecting your laptop to a wired projector isn't tricky, but you must ensure your ports align—or have the correct adapter to make it work. Here's your quick guide.
Check your laptop and projector ports
First, look at your laptop and projector. What ports do they have? If unsure, Google the model or check your user manual to determine its connector specs. Here are the usual suspects:
1) HDMI Port:
HDMI Type A Connector is the standard and can carry HDTV, UHD, 4K, and 8K modes. It's the simplest way to connect a projector to your laptop as it transfers audio and video signals between your laptop and devices. You won't require an adapter if your computer and projector have full-sized HDMI ports. Just plug and play.
2) Mini HDMI (HDMI Type C)
Smaller than HDMI but works the same. You'll need a cable with an HDMI plug on one end and a Mini HDMI on the other, or get an adapter.
You'll find these more on desktop video cards, but some laptops have them, too. This port has a 20-pin connector that sends video and audio signals to external display devices. Use an HDMI-to-DisplayPort cable or adapter to make the connection.
Laptops with USB-C output video through this port. You'll require a USB-C dock with an HDMI port or a USB-C to HDMI adapter. Some newer projectors support USB-C input, so your laptop can connect directly to the projector via a USB-C cable.
Older standard with a limited 640x480 resolution. Connects with a VGA cable if both devices have VGA ports. The port is trapezoid-shaped, with 15 pins in three rows. Note: VGA only transmits video, not audio, so you'll need a separate audio connection.
No adapter is required if your laptop and projector ports are the same. Just plug and play. They don't match? You'll need an adapter or cable with the right connections on each end.
Before you dive in, know your ports - check your user manual or simply Google search (model number + ports). Knowing your specs and having an adapter on standby will prepare you for a stress-free presentation.
How to use a projector with a laptop
To connect your laptop to a projector, you'll need:
* Connector Cable (HDMI Type A, DVI, VGA)
* Any necessary adapter.
Once you've gathered your equipment, here's how to hook everything up:
1) Connect the cable to your laptop and projector
Take your HDMI, VGA, or any other cable, plug one end into your laptop, and connect the other to the projector. If they don’t sync, use your adaptor.
2) Power up both devices
Switch on your laptop and the projector. Most times, they'll find each other automatically.
3) Remove any lens cap
Remember to remove the projector cap.
4) Troubleshoot any issues
Each manufacturer has different troubleshooting guides. For Acer Projectors, follow these steps:
* If the projector displays Lock or Source icons, it's locked onto a specific source type. It means your laptop's input signal isn't detected.
* If the projector displays No Signal, securely connect the signal cables. Hit the Source button again.
* If you connect to multiple sources simultaneously, use the Source button on either the control panel or the remote control to switch between inputs.
Connect wirelessly to your projector with Miracast
Miracast offers a simple, secure way to connect your Windows laptop to a wireless projector. Running on Wi-Fi Direct, it doesn't need to piggyback on your home or office Wi-Fi. This makes it secure against unwanted intrusions. Let's get set up.
* Check for compatibility: Double-check that your wireless projector supports Miracast.
* Initiate quick connect: Hit Windows + K on your laptop. This opens the Microsoft Windows cast menu - a side panel showing devices available for connection.
* Find your projector: Look for your wireless projector in the list and click to initiate the connection.
* Dial in settings: Press Windows + P to open the Project menu. Here, you can choose how to extend or duplicate your display across screens.
Now, you can enjoy a larger screen for your presentations or Netflix marathons.
Customize your projector display from your laptop.
Your projector’s up and running, but the image isn’t quite right? Maybe it’s distorted, or perhaps it’s mirroring your desktop when you want a separate display. Windows Project makes it easy to tailor your viewing experience.
Trigger the ‘Project’ Menu:
Press the Windows logo key + P to pop up your projection options. You’ve got four modes to pick from:
* PC screen only: Everything stays on your laptop’s screen. If you’re wireless, this option changes to ‘Disconnect.’
* Duplicate: Your laptop screen gets mirrored on the projector—useful for presentations.
* Extend: Spreads your desktop across both screens. Now, you can drag and move items between the laptop and projector. Perfect for multitasking.
* Second screen only: Your laptop screen will turn off, and you’ll see everything on the connected screen.
Pick the mode that fits your scenario, and you’re all set up.
Fine-tune your projection
If the projector image looks stretched or squashed, it's time to tweak. You can dive into your computer's display settings for advanced tweaks, like adjusting the resolution to fit the projector's specs. Here's how to fine-tune your setup
* Click Start > Settings.
* On the left-hand menu, click System, then hit Display.
* Select Scale. Adjust the settings until the projector's screen lines up with your expectations.
Your projector should be all set, whether you want it to mirror your laptop or serve as a second screen. Enjoy your pixel-perfect presentation or movie night!
Ready, Set, Project
From acing presentations to enjoying big-screen entertainment, connecting your laptop to a projector opens up a world of possibilities. Whether it's a wired or wireless setup, you're ready to make every moment larger than life.
Everything You Need to Know About International Power Adapters
Travel adapters are a must have travel accessory if you are going abroad. Although much of our power charging needs, especially for popular consumer electronics, are now covered by USB connectors, for things like hair dryers and travel irons, a plug adapter is necessary. There’s more to international power adapters than meets the eye!
If you’re curious about choosing the right international power adapter, read on. In this article we will help you to make an informed decision when purchasing an adapter. We will cover the basics of electricity, from voltage to hertz, and of course current, and how these are different in foreign countries. We will also discuss different types of power plugs, and where they are used, as well as the difference between a power converter and an adapter, and much more!
The shocking truth about voltage explained
Don’t worry, this isn’t a science class, but we need to briefly explain electricity and some related technical terms, before we go on to choose a travel adapter. Firstly, voltage. Voltage, (V) as you will see it written on devices, is the measurement of electrical pressure, or force (also referred to as potential difference) that pushes electric charges through a circuit. The higher the voltage, the more electricity that flows through an electronic device.
There are two principal voltage ranges worldwide. First of these types of voltage is 110V-120V. This lower voltage is used in electrical networks in the US, Canada, Central America, and parts of South America, as well as Japan and Taiwan. Moving on, 220V-240V is the standard voltage for much of Europe, Asia and Africa. The different voltage ranges used today are the result of several factors, including a spat between Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison over alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC).
Hertz (alternating current)
Easily transmitted over long distances, alternating current (AC) is the standard form of electricity used the world over today. In the electrical context, the term Hertz (Hz) refers to the frequency of AC power, correlating to the number of times AC voltage alternates, or changes direction each second. Globally, 50Hz and 60Hz are used, with most countries choosing 50Hz. The USA and a handful of other nations use 60Hz, thanks to our friend Tesla and his electric power station at Niagara Falls.
Hertz and voltage compatibility is needed for optimal operation of electronic devices, running equipment designed for a 50Hz supply on a 60Hz supply and vice versa can cause overheating, and negatively impact performance. Certain appliances are dual-frequency, while others may require an adapter to work efficiently and safely on a different frequency.
A current affair
Current measured in amperes (A) is the flow of electric charge through one section of the electrical circuit in your device to another. This flow needs to be sufficient to power your device, but not excessive, or problems will occur.
To illustrate the difference between current and voltage, let's imagine a common garden hose. The hose can be thought of as an electrical wire, inside the wire, or hose, the pressure of the water is voltage, and the flow of the water is current. Sticking with this useful analogy, correct current is crucial in safe and efficient operation of electronic devices.
Plugs around the world
There are 15 domestic plug shapes and socket types worldwide. The plethora of plug shapes and sizes are required to fit different electrical outlets and standards in various countries. This makes choosing the correct power adapter something of a location specific exercise, but more about that later.
Plugs of the world have been assigned a letter by the US Department of International Trade Administration (ITA). So, who uses what plugs? Here, we cover the three most common plug types, A,B, and C:
* Type A plugs have two flat pins and are used in North and Central America, as well as parts of Asia.
* Type B plugs are used in the same areas as Type A plugs, and include a grounding pin, for use in three printed outlets.
* Type C plugs, commonly known as Europlugs, have two round pins and are predominantly used in Europe, Asia, South America, and Africa.
Power adapters vs converters
Before purchasing an adapter or converter, check the devices that you plan to travel with to find their UL listing. The UL listing can be found on the back of, or underneath most devices, or on the power adapter. The UL listing contains the frequency, current and voltage required to run your device.
If you’re traveling to a destination with the same voltage and frequency, a power adapter will suffice. Power adapters, or travel adapters as they are commonly known, simply allow you to connect your device to a different socket type. Adapters do not change the voltage or frequency of the supply. For this, you will need a converter. A voltage, or power converter changes the voltage level to meet the requirements of your device. For example, a converter is able to convert 220-240V to 110-120V.
Today's devices and dual voltage
The majority of laptops have converters integrated into the power cord/charger. The rectangular box that connects the cords should have information such as 110-240V. Check with your laptop manufacturer if in doubt, but if you are traveling with a laptop computer, you will most likely not need a converter.
If you are traveling with phones, tablets and other devices that charge using USB connections, then an adapter is all that you will require. USB outlet adapters are an increasingly popular charging choice of late, and the charger will convert the voltage to the USB charging standard that your devices require. Some devices are dual voltage, they can be manually switched between 110V and 220V, for example, while others are compatible with a whole range of different standards. Again, devices vary, so check with the original manufacturer to be sure.
Safety and Compliance
When it comes to electricity, it's better to be safe than sorry. Ensure that you purchase travel chargers and converters from reputable manufacturers that meet the electrical safety standards of your home country. Products certified by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) guarantee compliance with performance and safety standards. Travel adapters should also meet electromagnetic (EMI) and radio frequency interference (RFI) standards. Finally, read the instructions, and ensure that adapters can handle the voltage range of your destination, to avoid frying your devices.
We hope that you have enjoyed this article, and that you are now able to purchase the correct adapter (or converter) for your travels. If you are in doubt of what adapter or converter to buy for a specific product, please contact the manufacturer for advice. Finally, if you are in need of adapters for your Acer products, please check out our online selection of adapters and power kits, here.
How to Setup Parental Controls on a Windows Computer
Navigating the digital world can be tricky for kids. The internet is a double-edged sword, serving valuable educational resources on the one hand and posing risks like explicit content on the other. Parental controls help you strike a balance, allowing your child to explore safely.
Parental controls let you filter content, set screen time limits, and track activities to create a safer digital environment. It's not about prying; it's about protecting. Here's your step-by-step guide to setting these controls up on a Windows 10 and11 PC.
What are parental controls?
Parental controls allow you to monitor and restrict what your child can see and do online. They put you in control of what content your child can see. Think of it like a digital fence offering protection against:
* Types of content they can access.
* Who they can interact with.
* Screen time limits.
* Unauthorized purchases.
From blocking risky sites to setting digital curfews, parental controls help you build a secure online playground for your kids.
How to set parental controls on Windows 10 and 11
Take control of your family's screen time with Microsoft Family Safety, a free app compatible with:
* Windows 10 and 11
* iOS (limited features)
It's ideal for parents looking for help with:
* Web content and search filtering.
* Screen time restrictions.
* App monitoring.
* Live location tracking.
* Managing purchase permissions.
Microsoft Family Group is a seamless way to set up and manage parental controls across all your Windows devices. From one easy-to-use dashboard, you can create child accounts, track online behaviors, and set digital ground rules. It's your all-in-one remote for a safer family online experience. Here's how to sign up.
1) Establish group roles in Microsoft Family Safety
Inside the Microsoft Family Safety app, you'll set up a family group consisting of two separate roles:
* Family Organizers: Think of these as the group admins. They can add members, set screen time limits, and check activity reports.
* Family Members: These accounts, often for kids, share crucial data with organizers—like location or screen time.
Get the ball rolling by inviting everyone you want to monitor to join your online family. You can invite up to 6 family members to sign up via email or phone, requiring them to have a Microsoft account.
2) Create a family group with members of Microsoft Family Safety
Setting up your family group is the first step in establishing a digitally secure environment for your kids. You want to set yourself up as a Family Organizer so you can manage parental controls and view activity reports. Here's how to do it, either via the web or the mobile app:
* Go to family.microsoft.com.
* Click Get started for free. Sign into or create a new Microsoft account to begin using parental controls.
* Select Create a family group.
* Click Add a family member to add your family members to your family group.
* Enter their phone number or email address. Click Next.
* Decide the family member's role (Member or Organizer), then click Next > Invite.
* You've sent an invitation to join your family group. The recipient receives an email that prompts them to sign into their Microsoft account to accept and join the family group.
Family Safety app
* Download the Microsoft Family Safety app from Google Play or Apple App Store.
* Hit Get Started and log in or set up a Microsoft account.
* Scroll down to tap Add a family member.
* Enter your family member's phone number or email address and tap Next.
* Choose the family member's role (Member or Organizer). Tap Invite to family group.
* Follow the prompts to link devices and set up Family Safety features.
3) Device-specific setup
* Universal syncing: Microsoft Family Safety syncs time limits for games and apps across multiple platforms: Windows, Xbox, and Android. Limitation alert: iOS doesn't work.
* Web and search filters: Work well on Microsoft Edge, whether you're on a Windows PC, Xbox, or Android device. If you turn on Filter inappropriate websites, it will block other browsers from functioning.
* Windows accounts: Ensure your child doesn't have admin rights on their Windows account. If they do, they can install whatever apps they like, dodging your controls.
* Android lockdown: You need to physically get your hands on their Android phone to grant the necessary permissions. Also, set a strong password for settings and deactivate the Guest account; otherwise, your kid can defeat parental controls.
* iOS limitations: The app doesn't do app blocking or web filtering on iOS. But location tracking? It's got that—switch your location settings to Always Allow.
Tighten the reins across multiple devices with these guidelines for cross-platform parental control.
4) Limit web browsing with Windows SafeSearch.
Establishing internet boundaries is crucial to protect your family from inappropriate web content. You can configure SafeSearch to block inappropriate websites and images, making the web safer for your kids. Plus, it features an AI-curated list of educational sites, perfect for homework and academic projects.
Reminder: For all these features to work, ensure everyone uses Microsoft Edge and signs in with their Microsoft accounts. Other browsers won't work by default.
* Sign in: Head to family.microsoft.com and log into your Family Safety account.
* Select family member: Pick the family member's profile you want to safeguard. Your child's account is on the right of yours.
* Access content filters: Activate the Filter Inappropriate Websites toggle.
* Handpick sites: Use the Only use allowed websites toggle to have a say in what gets seen.
* Promote learning: Enable Always allow educational websites to access AI-curated educational content.
* Refine the list: Add undesired URLs to Blocked Sites and preferred ones to Allowed sites.
Family Safety App
* Open app: Launch the Microsoft Family Safety app.
* Select member: Tap your family member's name, then go to Content filters.
* Web control: Toggle on Filter inappropriate websites.
* Tailor access: Flip the Only use allowed websites toggle.
* Study support: Turn on Always allow educational websites for school needs.
* Specify sites: Add bad URLs under Blocked Sites, and good ones under Allowed sites.
5) Screen time controls
Use screen time limits to keep tabs on your child's device use and set app or game limits. The feature syncs data from all devices linked to your child's account. Limits can be as specific as you want - use a different daily schedule or the same one weekly.
How to Set Limits
* Navigate to Microsoft Family Safety in your app or on the web.
* Select Screen time to set screen time limits.
* Toggle Use one schedule on all devices to set a universal multi-device schedule. Or, choose Turn limits on to set device-specific limits.
* Pick a day to set time ranges and total hours allowed.
* Set limits, define active hours, and click Done.
6) Block inappropriate apps and games
Control which apps and games your child can access by setting age-appropriate content filters. You can also safelist certain apps, overriding the age restrictions.
How to filter content
* Head to Microsoft Family Safety, either in-app or online.
* Locate your child's profile and select Content Filters.
* Navigate to Apps and Games and set an age limit under Allow apps and games rated for.
* To unblock specific apps or games, add them to the Always allowed list in Content Filters.
This way, you can tailor the digital environment to be fun and safe for your child.
7) Control Microsoft Store purchases
Prevent unexpected bills by managing your child's purchases in the Microsoft Store. You decide what they can buy—or if they can buy at all.
Enable Ask to Buy to prevent your child from making unauthorized purchases.
* Go to Microsoft Family Safety via the app or web.
* Find your child's name, and then select More options > Spending.
* Switch on the Needs organizer approval to buy things toggle.
* Approve or deny their requests through your email by toggling Email me when they get stuff.
Enjoy peace of mind knowing you won't find any surprise charges on your next bill.
8) Access Family Options from Windows Settings
* You don't even have to open a browser for a quick way to the Family Options page. Get there right from your Windows settings.
How to find Family Options
* Type Family Options in the Windows search bar.
* Click on View family settings when it pops up.
This takes you straight to the Family Options page, making managing your family's online safety easier without the detours.
Your guide to empowering digital parenting is complete. For extra tips, check out our guide on setting parental controls on various devices or Windows 10 and Xbox. Tighten those digital reins and give your kids the freedom to explore safely.