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Best Bluetooth Speakers of 2020

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A Bluetooth speaker is a reliable companion to any party or outdoor gimmick. Speaker sets are a thing of the past. And with the rise of smartphones and connectivity, you need to adapt to these new technologies. So, listen to your favorite tunes by getting one of the best Bluetooth speakers of 2020.

1. Anker Soundcore Flare 2

As one of the best Bluetooth speakers of 2020, Anker Soundcore Flare 2 has become an audiophile’s favorite. It’s hailed as one of the best outdoor speakers because of its 360° audio, 20W of sound, and bass. 

The lights of the Flare 2 are a plus because it follows the beat of any song. You can even customize the lights on the Soundcore app to match the mood.

Other than that, the speaker is also waterproof, so you don’t have to worry about bringing this to a pool party or the beach. 

Have any friends with the Soundcore Flare 2 and bring more life to your party? Easily connect to all those speakers and party harder. You can connect to over 100 Flare 2 speakers, thanks to the PartyCast technology.

Pricing: $69.00

2. Sonos Move

Here’s another Bluetooth speaker perfect to use for outdoor parties. One of the many cool features of the Sonos Move is the built-in virtual AI integration. You can connect either Alexa or Google Assistant. Most speakers in this list don’t have that.

Prone to dropping things? Don’t worry when the Sonos Move slips from your hand. It has a shock-resistant case protecting it from any damages. Perhaps you’re worried that it might fall into your pool? It’s also water-resistant. Not only that, it’s even weather-resistant. It withstands harsh climates, dust, UV rays, and salt.

Plus, enjoy listening to your favorite tunes for up to 11 hours!

Pricing: $399.00

3. JBL Clip 3

The JBL Clip 3 is a favorite by many users. This one’s perfect when you’re camping and hiking with friends. It’s portable, and you can clip the speaker anywhere. The carabiner will keep it from falling off your backpack. Plus, it’s also waterproof! So, whenever you’re out on the beach, you can keep it close to shore or as you swim. That’s why many consider this as one of the best Bluetooth speakers of 2020.

Pricing: $39.95

4. JBL Flip 5

This may not be pocket-sized like the JBL Clip, but the JBL Flip 5 can bring life to your small gathering or when you’re doing outdoor activities. This is also great when you’re on the beach, or it suddenly rains because it’s waterproof. Not only that, its fabric and rubber housing keeps it in good shape for a long time.

Connect the JBL Flip 5 with another JBL speaker thanks to their PartyBoost technology. So, you can blast the bass and all your favorite music with friends.

You can have this on with all your favorite jams for 12 hours.

Pricing: $69.95

5. Tribit Stormbox Micro

The Tribit Stormbox Micro is a formidable competitor against the JBL Clip. Even if it’s $10 more than the JBL, it still packs a punch. Even if it’s small, it brings out the boom and bass.

The speaker has a strap you can secure on your bike handles or your wrist when you’re outside. As with most speakers, it’s water-resistant and dust-proof!

As for battery life, you can use this all-night-long as it can play up to 8 hours of music. And if you want to crank it up, connect with other Tribit speakers as you enjoy your favorite tunes with friends.

Pricing: $49.99

6. Tribit MaxSound Plus

If the Sony or JBL options for a portable speaker seems much more expensive, the Tribit MaxSound Plus is the best alternative. It has 24W of sound. This reduces any distortion and provides clarity. Plus, as with other Bluetooth speakers, it’s also waterproof. You could also enhance the bass by pressing the built-in XBass button.

Juice up this one and listen to your favorite songs for up to 20 hours. 

Pricing: $55.99

7. Sony SRS-XB23

The Sony SRS-XB23 isn’t as large as the Soundcore and Hyperboom, so that you can bring it anywhere with ease. Aside from that, its shape allows sound to be clearer and won’t have any distortion.

Apart from that, you can expect to have the speaker for a long time because of its durability. If you drop it accidentally many times, it will remain working. Plus, it’s also dust-proof and waterproof. You can even wash it before you go on your next adventure.

Like the Anker Soundcore, it has its party technology: Party Connect, so you can connect with other Sony speakers during a party.

Pricing: $79.99

8. UE Hyperboom

The UE Hyperboom is the biggest out of the bunch here. And as the biggest one, you can expect louder sounds and so much more bass.

You can play songs from four different devices and switch between them too. Or, if you have the other BOOM devices from UE, you can connect them and pump up the crowd.

Party getting rowdier than ever thanks to spilled drinks? Not to worry, it’s splash-proof.

This is the only speaker on the list that has 24-hour battery life. So, you can play your favorite tunes all day and night.

Pricing: $399.99

9. UE Wonderboom 2

If you’re a fan of the Hyperboom but want to have a portable version, the UE Wonderboom 2 is the right speaker for you. It’s bigger than its predecessor, the Wonderboom. However, you can expect bigger sounds, longer playing hours, and more bass. And it’s why many think this is one of the best Bluetooth speakers of 2020.

Plus, it’s water and dust-proof. And it has an Outdoor Mode, too. This means you can still hear that bass even when you’re in a crowd.

Pricing: $169.99

As compared to small portables like the JBL Clip and the Tribit, the Bose SoundLink Micro is much more expensive. However, what makes it stand out is its AI integration. Connect Siri or the Google Assistant to relay your commands. Not to mention, you can download the SoundLink app, too, so you can customize listening settings.

Don’t worry about getting wet too, since it’s waterproof. And you can bring this anywhere since it has a clip you can secure on your bag or bike. Plus, it’s durable, too, because of its silicone rubber. So, if you accidentally drop it, it won’t break or scratch easily.

Pricing: $99.95

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Business

How My 7-Day, $7 GraphicsZoo Experience Went

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The luxury of an on-demand graphic designer is a recent one. Gone are the Mad Men days of walking into a glamorous, sexy office building to hire a firm to do design work for you. Now, if you need a design completed, all you have to do is log on. GraphicsZoo is one such on-demand graphic designer. 

For a flat, monthly rate you can have all the designs your mind could dream of. So, I decided to see what was up with them. I signed up for their 7 Day $7 Trial. Not a bad deal, right? Here’s how my experience went. 

Logging On, Part One

When I first signed up for GraphicsZoo, I didn’t actually sign up. Not yet anyway. I had filled in and submitted the necessary log-in information. Next was the payment information. I paused on that for whatever reason, got distracted and closed the window. I would take care of it the next day when I had a moment. 

GraphicsZoo, however, took the initiative. I received this email the following day:

I hadn’t given them any money yet. Seems a little odd for a company to get the ball rolling when a customer has knowingly not handed over any kind of payment information. They sure seemed eager to get started, so, why not? Let’s get to work. 

Except, when I clicked on “Post a New Project,” I was sent to this page: 

You may be asking yourself, “what the hell is Laravel?” Because I sure did. Laravel is a free, open-source PHP web framework. It’s a website programming tool. That’s the best way I can explain something I don’t fully understand in layman’s terms. 

Why was I sent to this page by an official GraphicsZoo email? 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Logging On, Part Two – The Sandwich Shop of My Dreams

Now ready to hand over proper payment information, I signed up a second time. Again, GraphicsZoo sent me an email about starting a project before I had submitted the payment information. But this time, they didn’t even give me time to walk away. 

I get it, you’re Eager McBeavers. Let’s wait until I hand over payment information, yes? 

Once I got settled in, I submitted my design request. Since high school, I’ve had a very silly dream about opening up a sandwich shop. So, to make a younger me excited, I decided to create a logo for this dream sandwich shop. 

My nickname in high school was Blondie, so I decided to stick with the theme and name my dream shop “Blondie’s Sammiches.”

Now, I had plenty of ideas as to how I wanted a logo or a label to look for this dream shop. But I wanted to see what GraphicsZoo designers could do with minimal direction. I gave them the initial freedom to decide for me. Let’s see what kind of raw talent they got. 

I asked for a classic New York deli-style design, and the rest was up to them. At least to start. 

Once submitted, I happened to notice the expected delivery date. September 6. That date would seem arbitrary, but I signed up on September 1. Kinda funny that the first expected delivery date is just under the 7-day mark, no? 

I see what you’re doing, GraphicsZoo. 

Design First Draft

To GraphicsZoo’s credit, they delivered the first draft ahead of schedule. For minimal direction, they delivered a half-decent design. 

I asked for a classic New York deli-style design. I think, despite the super-dated early 90’s color scheme, they did pretty okay. 

Now, I wanted to see how they would take direction. I preferred the first design with the text wrapped around the sandwich logo. I only wanted to change the color. I asked for a variety of text options (black, white, and colored) and that the sandwich be filled with “sandwich colors,” for lack of a better description. 

We all know what “sandwich colors” are, right? 

Turns out, GraphicsZoo designers did. 

The Waiting Is The Hardest Part

We were approaching the 7-day mark, so I was hoping to get a revision on the design before that mark. 

I would periodically check-in, but I would have a difficult time navigating the site. Upon checking in, I would see this page: 

If I were a less patient person, I would have been irritated. If I was paying regular, non-$7 prices, I would be furious. My inner Karen would be roaring. 

After some digging and clicking, I would eventually find my project. But, frankly, I shouldn’t have to do that no matter how little I’m paying. If I’m about to open my dream sandwich shop, I want to be able to find my potential logo with absolutely no issues. 

Seeing empty folders on an initial log-in is, well, not good. 

Design Second Draft

Thankfully, one day before the end of the 7-day trial, I received a second draft. To my delight, they had followed my directions well. 

Sure looks like “sandwich colors” to me. 

If I had more time to work on this, and if I were actually opening up my sandwich shop, I would have more revisions to make. But, considering the quality of design in the brief time allotted, I think this is a solid design. 

What is “solid” in terms of an academic grade? A “B?” A “B-?” Either way, my mother would tell me to do better. 

Cancelling The Trial Before The Real Charges

I was now in a time crunch. Considering I don’t want to pay over $300 for a service I won’t be returning to anytime soon, I wanted out and fast. I mean, look at these prices. 

Not exactly in my budget. So, it was time to cancel. I requested a cancellation and then… well, I waited. 

But, I don’t want to wait to see if my cancellation goes through or not. When you go to cancel your Netflix subscription, they cancel it. There’s no suspense. And when there’s that amount of money at stake, suspense is not the emotion I’d like to be feeling in the moment. 

I reached out to GraphicsZoo’s support team. I had asked for a confirmation of cancellation. But they had something else in mind, at first. 

And so, our dance began. 

There was a decent amount of back and forth. “How about this subscription plan?” No, just cancel, please. “Well, how about this one?” No. Just cancel, please. “Consider this plan!” I said NO. No means no! 

Eventually, my persistence and complete and total unwillingness to pay a single cent more won out. Grace, my support … person, finally conceded. 

She was doing her job. Can’t sneeze at that. I can sneeze at the practice of hounding someone not interested in paying a single cent more. If I were running a business, however, I’d insist on that policy. 

I may have been mildly annoyed about that process, but ultimately no harm was done. The cancellation went through. 

Conclusion

All in all, I would call my 7-day $7 trial experience with GraphicsZoo mediocre. I found the initial signing-up experience to be bizarre and unintentional. There’s no way GraphicsZoo meant to send me to a web programming tool when asking me to start a project. 

That’s the kind of whoopsie-daisy that really needs to be rectified, and immediately. 

I was slightly irritated by the persistence of a support coordinator to get me to keep paying them, but that’s the nature of business. There’s nothing wrong with that. 

I was mildly impressed with the designer’s ability to deliver a decent design in a short amount of time with minimal direction. What they delivered was fine, but given the circumstances, I think it was solid. 

Despite the decent work by the designers, I probably wouldn’t recommend GraphicsZoo. The experience with the initial signing up, the difficulty navigating their site, and the over persistence by the support department left me with a bad taste. There are plenty of other services out there better organized with the same quality of design. 

If I could put my experience with GraphicsZoo in a single word, it would be “Meh.”

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Bearaby Tree Napper Review: Is It Worth $299?

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Weighted blankets have gained popularity in recent years for their therapeutic benefits. What used to be therapy for those with anxiety and autism has now become widely available. Weighted blankets come in all shapes, sizes, and price ranges. However, most are the same. They’re simply blankets – weighted with a heavy material, typically beads.

Bearaby introduces an entirely new concept, the Bearaby Tree Napper, a weighted knitted from eucalyptus trees. Like Bearaby’s other weighted blankets, the Tree Napper gets its weight completely from the construction materials instead of relying on beads. It’s a unique concept that’s both innovative and socially responsible. However, is it worth the asking price?

What’s a weighted blanket?

First, let’s start by explaining what exactly a weighted blanket is. It’s a blanket that uses either beads or dense materials to give it a weight between 15 – 30 lbs. The weight is often evenly distributed across the blanket, so the pressure is applied equally. Research has shown that deep pressure stimulation has shown to reduce anxiety and stress. Ever wonder why a massage feels so good afterward?

Weighted blankets offer similar therapeutic effects by wrapping you underneath a 15 – 30lbs blanket. Several studies have shown that frequent use of weighted blankets can also help with chronic pain, osteoarthritis, insomnia, and even ADHD.

What makes Bearaby unique?

Most weighted blankets get their weight from tiny beads evenly quilted into the lining. This method certainly does work to give the blanket its weight, but you’ll often feel like you’re under a sandbag. The Bearaby Nappa is unlike any other weighted blanket. It gets its weight naturally from the dense cotton strands knitted together. This design choice gives the blanket a cohesive structure that’s both flexible and durable. It can stretch and take a bit of abuse. However, it’ll never lose its shape.

One significant advantage of Bearaby’s unique design is that it doesn’t sacrifice comfort for weight. Traditional weighted blankets rely on noisy beaded pockets, and that can often be uncomfortable. The Bearaby’s soft tencel knits are comfortable, soft, and have a natural silk-like texture that makes them cool to the touch.

Are Bearaby Weighted Blankets Washable?

Yes, thanks to 100% of the weight coming from the fibers, all Bearaby blankets, including the Tree Napper, are machine washable. Traditional weighted blankets are much more complicated to wash due to the beads being interlocked in pockets. Machine washing and drying could cause damage to the covering or, worse, to the washing machine should the pockets rupture. 

What is Bearaby made of?

It never fails to draw attention. The Bearaby’s unique look is both captivating and functional. Tencel is claimed to be softer than silk and more relaxed than linen. I can confirm its effectiveness by sleeping with the Bearaby for the past month in 80-90 degree weather. The knits allow me to sleep much cooler than a regular comforter.

Because 100% of the weight comes from the cotton itself, the distribution is more even across my body, giving me the feeling of being hugged rather than held down.

The look & feel

It never fails to draw attention. The Bearaby’s unique look is both captivating and functional. Tencel is claimed to be softer than silk and cooler than linen. Sleeping with the Bearaby for the past month in 80-90 degree weather, I can confirm its effectiveness. The knits allow me to sleep much cooler than a regular comforter.

Because 100% of the weight comes from the cotton itself, the distribution is more even across my body, giving me the feeling of being hugged rather than being held down.

A socially responsible company

Bearaby promises all of its products are sourced responsibly in a closed-loop process that uses 90% less water than traditional fabrics. Their products, including the Tree Napper, are biodegradable and have received sustainability certifications to back up their claim.

It’s easy for brands to claim their sustainability badge by promising to donate money for every purchase. Bearaby does something that few are willing to do – changing their manufacturing practice. It’s not a flashy promise, but it’s an expensive choice with the most significant impact on our environment. This practice alone more than justifies Bearaby’s price tag.

Bearaby’s price

We recommend any Bearaby weighted blankets because it’s a fantastic health product that can add years to your life. Any benefits traditional weighted blankets offer, the Bearaby simply offers more.

The Bearaby Tree Napper starts at $269 for the 15lbs version and goes up to $299 for the 25lbs version. It’s easily one of the most expensive weighted blankets on the market. However, considering the materials, sustainable practice, and fair wages they offer their staff, it’s well worth the price. You’re buying more than just a blanket. You’re supporting a company that takes care of their people and environment.

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The $5-Worth Nintendo Switch Deal: PowerA Joy Con Grip

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nintendo switch

We all know $5 is a tough price to find for anything decent these days. But Amazon offered a Nintendo Switch accessory more than 50% off its original price! With a crisp Abe Lincoln, you can either have a PowerA Joy Con Comfort Grip or Celeste game. It doesn’t sound like a losing deal, right? 

Nintendo Switch PowerA Joy Con Comfort Grip

nintendo switch power joy a con comfort grip

As a boost to your gaming experience, this Nintendo Switch accessory reached its lowest price last week. Alright, we know PowerA Joy Con Comfort Grip isn’t the sleekest Nintendo Switch accessory. But we can admit it does the job. The best part? It’s even a Nintendo-authorized clone for the original Joy Con grip for Switch. 

Although, it’s too bad for those who did not get a chance to buy this accessory for only $5. As they say, “you snooze, you lose.” Compared to last week’s 67% discount, Power-A currently costs $9.88

Product Features:

  • Lightweight and ergonomic for a satisfying gaming experience. 
  • Enjoy the feel of double-injected rubber grips for your optimum comfort. 
  • Keep your Joy Con snug and secure. 
  • It keeps indicator lights visible. 
  • Shock resistant

Review: 

PowerA ranks in the Amazon’s Choice section for the “joycon grip” search. It received a whopping 4.5 stars review with more than 20,000 ratings. This gaming accessory is officially licensed even though a third party makes it. So we can’t expect it to have the same feel, design, and benefits that a JoyCon grip gives you. 

It’s important to remember that PowerA is cheaper, so it’s safe to expect slightly lower quality. 

At the same time, this Nintendo Switch accessory does not have a “charge and play” function. But still, if you’re looking for a cheaper alternative that can provide you comfort while gaming, it can surely deliver. 

Nintendo Switch Game: Celeste

Celeste is the all-time favorite game for Nintendo Switch’s platform. This indie game from 2018 was also available for 75% off its original price. However, like PowerA’s $5 deal, Celeste’s 75% off is a thing of the past. So if you’re like me, who’s living under a rock, you probably missed the sweet double-deal. 

Currently, Celeste costs $19.99. It’s a game that players and critics love because of its heartfelt plot and simplicity. Although it looks simple, it’s a challenging game to play. Its difficulty level is through the roof, which makes some not fond of the game. 

Review:

Overall, Celeste has an overwhelmingly positive review and feedback for players. It can be frustrating, to the point where you want to pull your hair, especially if you keep dying. But it can surely keep you on your toes as you try to clear each chapter. 

This indie game is created with great platforming, aesthetics, atmosphere and even the OST pulls you into game mode. It may look off if you’re not a fan of pixelated visuals. But if you can move past that, the gaming experience will not disappoint. Each chapter has a story behind it. So it can completely immerse and motivate the gamer to move on to the next level.

It’s the go-to game if you like challenging games and pixelated aesthetics. 

Final Thoughts

For those early birds who managed to grab a $5-worth of PowerA grip or Celeste game, great job for landing a low-priced Nintendo deal. However, not all are lucky enough to grab more than their money’s worth. 

On the other hand, both are still great products worth the price, especially if you love gaming. In the end, it’s the gaming experience that’s important. So if you’re still planning to get your PowerA grip, go on while it’s still at 34% off the original price. However, if you’re more curious about Celeste, it’s still worth the splurge!

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