My Tech Methods

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Author: Andy Slye (page 1 of 11)

Best Ergonomic Mouse? Logitech MX ERGO Overview!

If you’ve seen my previous videos you’ll know that I love Logitech mice. I still own the Performance MX which is a great video editing mouse, and I’ve always said that the M570 is one of the best ergonomic trackball mice. Well now after 7 years, Logitech has finally released a new and improved wireless trackball which could easily become the best ergonomic mouse on the market. Logitech was nice enough to reach out and ask if I wanted to try an early test unit so here is my hands-on first look at the Logitech MX Ergo wireless trackball.

The MX Ergo costs just under $100 and I’ll leave a link to it in the description below. In the box there’s the MX Ergo trackball mouse, a charging cable, a Logitech unifying receiver, and probably the most important piece, this magnetic metal hinge. This hinge snaps on to the bottom of the MX Ergo and lets you use the trackball at two different angles based on your own personal preference. This is definitely the best feature about this trackball in my opinion because the ability to switch between angles is great for improving wrist posture. The MX Ergo also claims to reduce muscular strain by 20% compared to a standard mouse.

The overall design is excellent. It’s definitely made of high quality materials. It’s big enough and feels solid in my hand. The way it’s sculpted provides full support for the palm to rest on and scrolling isn’t awkward or tiring. The bulk of the mouse is made of a soft rubber which gives a nice comfortable grip. The bottom of the hinge has a good non-slip finish on it which helps the trackball stay in position when using it. It of course has left and right click buttons on top. The scroll wheel can not only scroll up and down, but it can also tilt for left and right scrolling, and it can also be pressed down to click. There’s an Easy-Switch button on top that lets you instantly switch between two computers without re-pairing, and you can also copy & paste data between the two computers with Logitech Flow. Both of these features require the free Logitech Options software. This software is not required to use the trackball, but it does give you more features and customization tools.

The trackball itself has been smooth and accurate so far, and it doesn’t feel loose or anything. But for those of you who aren’t familiar with using a trackball, there is a convenient precision mode button near the ball so you can easily adjust the cursor speed and sensitivity allowing for faster and more precise control.

The MX Ergo is compatible with the latest versions of Windows and Mac, and even though it comes with a USB unifying receiver that allows you to wirelessly connect up to six Logitech devices, the MX ergo does have built-in Bluetooth if you’d rather just use that instead of using the unifying receiver.

It has a rechargeable battery inside that can potentially last up to four months on a full charge, depending on usage. But what’s really cool is that just one minute of charging usually gives enough charge for a day’s worth of work. That is super convenient for a wireless trackball.

So that’s my first look a the MX Ergo. This wasn’t a full review because I’ve only had it for a few days, but so far I’m really impressed and it’s something that I will continue to use as my primary mouse when I’m not using my Apple Trackpad. Let me know what you think in the comments below. Thanks for watching, and I’ll talk to you guys in the next video.

Best USB Microphone: Blue Yeti Review + Test

Buy Blue Yeti on Amazon

Blue Yeti Pop Filter

A good USB microphone should do two things: sound great and have a quick easy setup. For years the Blue Yeti has been referred to as the best USB microphone from many different experts such as bloggers, podcasters, and YouTubers, and it has a nearly perfect 5-star rating almost anywhere you look online. But just like Big L said people are praying on its downfall, hoping it flops, hoping it stops so in this video I’ll put an end to the debate and show you why the Blue Yeti is still the best USB microphone. First I’ll go over the features and then I’ll show you how to get good sound quality every single time from it and I’ll let you hear some sound quality tests, I’ll even rap for you guys, so stick around for that.

The Blue Yeti is currently $129 on Amazon, but some colors are cheaper than others which can bring the price down even more if you don’t care about the color and just want to save as much money as possible. I’ll put the Amazon link in the description below so you can check it out yourself. When you first open the box you’ll notice the Blue Yeti is not a small microphone by any means. It’s made of a sturdy metal and stands almost a foot tall and weighs about 3.5 lbs. The color I have is the Grey model which looks really good and complements my iMac and Space Grey MacBook Pro quite nicely. I think I just realized grey is my favorite color. Hmm is that good or bad? I don’t know. The Blue Yeti comes with a USB cable and is compatible with Mac and PC right out of the box. No drivers or software needed. Just plug it in and start recording. Even though the Yeti can fold down to make it a little better for storing or packing, it’s still mainly designed to stay put on your desk because of its fairly large size and solid build. It’s going to take up a good amount of space in a backpack.

At its price range the Blue Yeti is the absolute best choice for most people. If you look at mics below $100 you’ll see they lack a key feature that the Blue Yeti has, and if you want something that sounds better than the Blue Yeti, you’ll most likely need to spend a lot more money on a complicated setup consisting of an XLR mic with a separate audio interface. The advantages of having a USB mic like the Yeti are: one, USB mics are much cheaper, and two, USB mics are much simpler. The Blue Yeti already has an internal preamp and analog-to-digital converter that takes the incoming signal, amplifies it, and converts it to digital, and sends it directly into your computer. That means you don’t need any other gear to start recording. The Blue Yeti does a great job at fusing simplicity with just enough pro features, along with high quality sound and physical aesthetics all in one single microphone which is why it’s the best.

On the front of the mic there is the Blue logo, a Mute button which is solid red when the mic is powered on and connected to your computer and it will flash red when the Mute is enabled. I kind of wish the Mute button wasn’t lit up the entire time, but I guess that’s the only way to know it’s powered on. Under that there is the headphone volume knob because when you look on the bottom there is a headphone jack that allows latency-free real-time monitoring of your microphone so you can make sure your recording levels are just right and you’re not peaking, which is a clutch feature to have on a microphone. What’s also cool about the headphone jack is you can not only use it to monitor the mic but you can also use it to listen to your computer’s audio because of the dedicated amp and converter that’s built into the Yeti. There’s also the USB cable port and a standard thread mount for if you ever want to unscrew the side screws and remove the Blue Yeti from the included stand you can use the standard thread mount to put it on a standard microphone studio mount. The bottom of the mic stand has this firm foam on it that allows the mic to stay in one place really well and doesn’t allow it to be moved or slid around easily which is nice. Under the mesh top there are actually three condenser microphone capsules which make the Yeti extremely versatile for almost any recording situation. On the back there is a gain control knob which is a hugely important feature, and this is how you can adjust the sensitivity of the mic or how loud your recording is. Below that there is the pattern selector where you an choose up to 4 different recording settings.

Cardioid
Probably the most popular setting on the Yeti, cardioid mode records sound sources that are directly in front of the microphone, delivering a rich, full bodied sound and it minimizes the pickup of noise from the sides and back of the microphone. It’s perfect for recording your voice, whether it’s a voiceover for a video, a podcast episode, gaming commentary, singing vocals, or rapping. So if I were to hit you with something like “(RAP)”. Or if you’re musically talented unlike myself, cardioid mode is also great for recording solo instruments.

Stereo
This uses both the left and right channels to capture a wide, realistic sound image so it’s good for when you want the listener to hear the movement from one ear to another and also ideal for recording things like acoustic guitar or a choir.

Omnidirectional
Picks up sound equally from all around the mic. It’s best used in situations when you want to capture the ambient noises and want the listener to have the feeling of “being there”—like recording a band’s live performance, a multi-person podcast or a conference call.

Bidirectional
Records from both the front and rear of the microphone while the noise from the sides are not picked up. It’s good for recording a duet or a two-person interview or two-person podcast episode. So it comes in handy when you don’t have multiple microphones for multiple people.

So now let’s talk about how to get great sound quality the Blue Yeti. It records in 16-Bit at 48 kHz and when it comes down to it, the Yeti is perfect for the following uses: Voiceovers (any type of voice recording), podcasts (podcasters), videos (YouTubers or any other audio for video), video chats or live streams (Skype/YouTube Live/FB Live/Hangouts/FaceTime), musicians (vocals/instruments, singing/rapping). The Yeti just does an excellent job at capturing a voice the way it sounds in real life with all the different pitches and tones, but with clarity as well. I mainly use it for video voiceovers for YouTube so let me show you how I set it up and let you hear how it sounds.

First thing you want to make sure is that you’re speaking into the front of the mic and not the top, that’s a common mistake that beginners make. So be sure you’re speaking into the front when you’re in cardioid mode for recording your own voice. I like to use ScreenFlow to record my audio, but you can use any recording software of your choice. GarageBand is a very popular choice for Mac users, and Audacity is very popular free program for Windows and Mac users.

To get good sound quality from the mic you should do the following:

First you want to be fairly close to the mic for it to capture that richness of your voice. I like to be about 3-4 inches away from the mic when recording voiceovers. If you do get pretty close to the mic, you may want to invest in a pop filter like this one. This prevents the loud popping noise you get from when you say certain words like Powerful Puppies on Picnics, or something like that. These are pretty cheap, I’ll leave a link to the best selling pop filter on Amazon in the description below.
Next you want to set the correct gain level using the knob on the back. The more gain, the louder and more sensitive the mic will be. So do a couple test recordings or monitor your audio levels and make sure your levels are high enough but not peaking into the red levels on your recording software.
Also if you’re in cardioid mode you’ll want to eliminate as much background noise as possible. The Blue Yeti does a fairly good job at not picking up a lot of background noise, but no mic will absolutely eliminate all background noise. So just keep that in mind when recording.
Lastly, once your recording is done you can use your audio software to raise the levels if needed or edit the recording in whichever way you want to improve it ever so slightly. I usually record with a lower gain, and then using Final Cut Pro X I will use the Louder feature to raise the audio levels to the correct level and it does a fairly good job at increasing the loudness of my voice while keeping the room hum at a minimum.

Before we get into the last audio test, even though I think the Blue Yeti is the best USB mic overall because it has professional studio sound quality, has a very solid and attractive design, along with the multi-pattern recordings and tri-capsule microphone array, having said that if your budget isn’t enough for the Yeti, you should look at the Audio Technica ATR2100. That is my 2nd recommendation because it’s almost half the price of the Yeti and it is one of my all time favorite USB microphones for under $100. I’ll leave the link to my full review of that in the description below if you want to check that out.

Tesla Model 3: Complete Guide to the World’s Most Hyped Car

The Tesla Model 3 is changing the auto industry as we know it. It’s a relatively affordable and attractive mass-market electric car that has taken the world by storm. It was announced on March 31, 2016 and deliveries to non-employee customers will start in October. This video is my complete guide to the Tesla Model 3 so you can learn all about it in case you’re trying to decide if it’s right for you, and I’ll also explain why I chose the Model 3 to be my next car.

Tesla is not just a car manufacturer. They’re mainly a tech company with a heavy focus on energy innovation. Their official mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.

The Model 3 is Tesla’s newest addition to their all-electric vehicle lineup which now consists of the Model S (premium sedan), Model X (premium SUV), and now the Model 3 (smaller, more basic sedan for mass market). The Tesla Model 3 has sparked a lot of demand across the entire globe.

One of the biggest selling points for all Teslas including the Model 3 is Autopilot. This is a combination of drive-assisting software combined with 8 cameras built into the car that provide 360 degrees of visibility around the car, 12 ultrasonic sensors allow for detection of objects, and a forward-facing radar that provides additional data and is able to see through rain, fog, dust and even the car ahead.

Enhanced Autopilot costs $5,000 for the Model 3 and adds these new capabilities to the Autopilot experience. Your Tesla will match speed to traffic conditions, keep within a lane, automatically change lanes without requiring driver input, transition from one freeway to another, exit the freeway when your destination is near, self-park when near a parking spot and be summoned to and from your garage.

Autopilot is the precursor to what will eventually become full self-driving cars (which costs another $3,000 and requires the $5,000 EAP). The hardware required for full self driving comes standard on all new Tesla vehicles, but of course until the software is validated and legalized, the hardware is currently only used for Enhanced Autopilot.

Other than Autopilot and future full self-driving capability, I think the biggest factor for Tesla’s success and what separates them from all the other electric cars is their Supercharger network. The Tesla Supercharger network enables long distance travel when you’re in an electric car.

Superchargers are like gas stations for Teslas. It’s the world’s fastest charging station. With the Model 3 standard battery you can get 130 miles of range per 30 minutes of charge at a Supercharger, and with the Long Range option you can get 170 miles of range per 30 minutes of charging at a Supercharger.

Tesla designed the Model 3 with one thing in mind: simplicity. This car definitely strikes a cord with minimalism. Sometimes less is more, and in my opinion, simplicity wins.

To make up for the lack of physical buttons, the 15” touchscreen display in the center is really the main control hub of the entire car. It serves as the speedometer, so your speed will display in the top left of the screen. The touch screen also serves as your way of controlling the air vent. The Model 3 just has one long air vent across the dash, and using the touch screen you can manipulate where you want the air to come out of. The screen also controls the radio, music streaming, GPS navigation, and more.

The Model 3 doesn’t come with a key fob, but instead it comes with an NFC keycard. To unlock the car, tap the card to the B-pillar and tap between the front seats to start the car. This keycard is actually the backup method to unlocking and starting the car. The main way will be done through a unique Bluetooth signal from your smartphone that will unlock your car as you approach it, and then automatically start it when you get inside.

The Model 3 has built-in WiFi so when it’s charging at home, it will be connected to your WiFi and will automatically download free software updates as Tesla releases them. This is what makes Tesla ownership really enticing for me because with software updates, the car is constantly improving without having to add any hardware.

Not only did Tesla make this car simple because they needed to produce them as fast as possible to keep up with demand and to also keep them affordable, but the overall minimalist nature of the car plays into the fact that this car was designed to become a self-driving car at some point in the future.

I think the Tesla Model 3 is the iPhone 3G of cars. It has everything needed to move the auto industry forward to sustainable energy and new technology, but also keeps the excitement and sleekness of fast sporty cars from the past.

$7500 EV Tax Credit (US): https://www.irs.gov/businesses/plug-in-electric-vehicle-credit-irc-30-and-irc-30d

My Tesla Project Loveday submission:

Reserving my Tesla Model 3 (vlog)

Ultimate HP Setup Under $1,000! Pavilion x360 + 27xw Monitor

Did you know last year I reviewed the 13″ HP Pavilion x360 which was one of the best budget laptops for students? Well for this video I’ve teamed up with HP to showcase the new 15.6″ HP Pavilion x360 laptop along with the HP Pavilion 27xw monitor, and this particular combo is what I like to call the ultimate HP setup for under $1,000 because it’s not only great for productivity but it’s also a lot of fun. Let’s get right into it and I will show you what each item in this setup brings to the table, or desk. Literally.

The main piece of equipment is obviously the star of the show, the new 2017 HP Pavilion x360 convertible laptop, and more specifically this model is the 15-br010nr in the silver finish and it’s a great looking laptop.

I’m primarily a Mac user, but I wanted to try the HP Pavilion x360 because 1. It is a way more budget-friendly option especially for those of you who are students, saving money is a priority. And 2. there are no Mac convertible laptops or Macs with touch screens, and Windows 10 on HP touch screens works really well for productivity which you know I’m a huge fan of. For example if you have a compatible digital pen like this HP Active Stylus you can write with it using Microsoft inking, and the Pavilion x360 (like the name suggests) has a 360 degree rotating screen which is in fact its primary feature. So you can use it like a normal laptop when you want to type, but you can also flip it into Tent mode when you want to utilize the touch screen more or if you just need a break and want to watch some YouTube videos, and you can also flip it all the way into Tablet mode for when you want to use it like a tablet for something like games or reading.

The Pavilion x360 offers pretty good performance while only sacrificing a couple of features that higher-end laptops have, mostly hard drive speed. With this being budget-friendly, it’s not going to come with a blazing fast solid state drive. Instead it has a 5400RPM mechanical hard drive that is slower than an SSD, but based on my benchmark tests it does read and write at around 100MB/s which isn’t bad and since it is a hard disk drive you’re able to get a lot more storage for the price. This model has a 1TB hard drive which can store almost double of what my MacBook Pro can store, but at a much cheaper price point.

It’s also sporting a 7th generation Intel Core i5-7200U Dual-Core Processor at 2.5GHz with max turbo up to 3.1GHz so it’s been able to handle a lot of tasks that I’ve thrown at it such as having multiple browser tabs open while listening to Spotify and typing a document which is a normal work day routine for me. And if you’re into numbers, on the official GeekBench test it scored 2997 for single-core and 6613 for multi-core. For things like HD video editing it’s not as fast as some other quad-core i7 laptops, but it does have 8GB of fast and efficient DDR4 SDRAM which helps out a ton so it certainly is capable of editing videos, something that I personally love doing.

Now if you’re not doing intensive tasks that require a lot of CPU rendering, you can expect to get very good battery life from the Pavilion x360, usually around 8-9 hours on average for me, possibly 10 if you’re very conservative. Long battery life is a very important factor for laptops these days, and it seems to be a nice benefit of this laptop.

This setup is perfect for people who are like me and want a lot of screen real estate. It’s definitely not the most mobile laptop. It’s fairly large and is built for getting work done, with its full size keyboard and number pad along with a nicely sized trackpad. It has Bang & Olufsen speakers for some crisp sounding audio, HP wide vision HD webcam with built in microphone, and a super smooth finish on the inside. On the left side there is the power button, headphone jack, and volume rocker, and on the right side there is the charging port, a full size HDMI port, two USB 3.1 ports, one USB-C port, and an SD Card reader so it definitely has a wide variety of ports. But one of its best perks is the beautiful 15.6″ Full HD IPS WLED backlit screen that is of course multi-touch enabled from edge to edge. The touch is responsive and it has great viewing angles. Watching videos and movies is definitely something that this laptop was built for. But since I’m a YouTuber and filmmaker, I probably create more videos than I watch, and that’s where the next item in the setup comes into play. With the HP Pavilion 27xw monitor I’m using this setup as a way to finally learn how to use Adobe Premiere Pro which is something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. When I’m on my Mac I use Final Cut Pro X, but that’s not available for Windows so it’s the perfect time for me to learn a new program.

The Pavilion 27″ monitor is currently on Amazon for just under $200, and it’s one of the best looking monitors in its price range. You can tell that HP took some inspiration from Apple in the way they designed this monitor. It’s sleek, thin, but also simple. It has a white and silver finish and the way the stand is made it gives you easy accessibility to the VGA and HDMI ports on the back. And yes this does come with an HDMI cable which is always nice and to connect it to the Pavilion x360 all you have to do is connect the HDMI cable to the HDMI port on the monitor and the other end of the cable into the HDMI port on the laptop and you’re all set. The monitor can be tilted back and forth and similar to the Pavilion x360 display, this also has In Plane Switching IPS technology for amazing viewing angles.

The Pavilion 27″ monitor is a Full HD 16×9 display with 10,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio and a Technicolor Certification, and only 8ms response time so it’s a great monitor for designers and content creators who are still on a fairly small budget. And the bezels on this monitor are pretty thin, it’s just a very attractive monitor. As a video editor it’s so much easier to edit footage when you have multiple displays because you can have the editor in full screen on one monitor while being able to import or organize your media files on the other monitor. I would highly recommend getting some sort of stand to put the laptop on so it’s more aligned with the monitor, and you’ll also want a Bluetooth keyboard and a wireless mouse, such as this HP Z3700 which is super portable and the battery life is outstanding. And once you have those things you’ll have yourself a fantastic looking dual-screen setup so you can increase your productivity while also being able to kick back and be entertained, all for $1000 or less.

So that’s my ultimate HP setup for under $1,000. I hope you enjoyed it. Thanks to HP for sponsoring this video. If you have any questions, just leave a comment below!

Apple Music vs Spotify Premium: Which is Better?

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Two years ago I published my original comparison video of Spotify vs Apple Music and it has become one of my most popular videos, but it was published right after Apple Music came out and a lot has changed in the last two years. Today, Apple Music and Spotify are the two most popular music streaming services and in this video I will compare both of them in a head-to-head battle to see which is the best music service and to help you make the ultimate choice of on-demand music.

Pricing

Both services have the same pricing structures. They’re both $9.99/month for the all-access individual plan, $14.99/month for a family plan up to 6 people, and $4.99/month for the college student discount. So based on that, they have the exact same monthly plans. However, here are some key differences to keep in mind:
Apple Music is available in many more countries than Spotify so that’s pretty much the decision maker right there if you reside in a country that’s only supported by one of the services, you gotta go with that one. The trials are a bit different too. Apple Music’s 3-month trial is free to try while Spotify’s 3-month trial costs 99 cents. Not a huge deal but it does make it easier to try out Apple Music. Another difference is Apple Music’s secret annual plan so if you’re already an Apple Music member instead of paying $10/month which is $120/year you can switch to a $99 annual subscription which saves you $20/year by drilling down into your Apple Music subscription settings on your iPhone and choosing the 1-year option. I’ll leave the full path on how to do that in the description below. So that’s something that Spotify does not currently offer at the time of this video. I’m subscribed to the $9.99/month plan for both services, and something I noticed is that Spotify only charges me $9.99 per month, without any taxes. Apple Music charges taxes which comes to be $10.59 per month, which will vary based on where you live. But that comes to be 60 cents extra per month compared to Spotify, and hypothetically speaking over the course of 10 years that is an extra $72. Is that a huge deal? Not for most people, but if you’ve ever been to the Frugal subreddit I guarantee there are people who will say that’s why they use Spotify over Apple Music, to save that 60 cents a month baby. Shouts out to my frugal peeps out there, all love. But the biggest difference is that Spotify offers a free plan. It’s shuffle-only and has limits and ads, but it’s still a big advantage to have since Apple Music does not offer a free plan. The only thing that can be accessed for free on Apple Music is their Beats 1 radio.

Music Collection

At the time of this post:

Spotify offers 30 million+ songs
Apple Music offers 40 million+ songs

(Will change after time; Song availability depends on region)

Sound Quality

Spotify lets you choose between 96Kbps, 160Kbps, and 320Kbps which is nice because you can save data when streaming and have high quality for the songs you download.

Apple Music streams at 256Kbps.

Offline Listening

Both services offer the ability to download music and listen to it while you’re disconnected from the internet.

Library Limit

Spotify: 10,000 song limit in library
Apple Music: 100,000 song limit in library

Supported Devices

Spotify is more “open” and cross-platform friendly. PC/Mac/Web, Spotify Connect lets you switch between devices seamlessly. It works with a plethora of devices like Samsung Gear, Amazon devices, Alexa integration, PlayStation, Smart TVs, Roku, and many more.

Apple Music is more of a “closed” environment like most Apple products: PC/Mac (requires iTunes; no web player), is supported on Android but works best with iOS; Seamless integration with Apple TV, Apple Watch, Apple CarPlay, and the HomePod, Apple’s new smart speaker. Supports Siri so you can say things like “Play the #1 song from 2004”. So it makes a lot of sense to go with Apple Music if you’re heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem but that’s not necessarily always the case.

Exclusive Content

Apple Music seems to land more exclusive deals with big artists where certain albums are released first to Apple Music then later to Spotify (Drake’s Views and Frank Ocean’s Blonde are examples of this). Some albums and artists choose to only be on Apple Music. Taylor Swift was the most notable example of that, but she is now back on Spotify.

Both services offer their own exclusive content. For Example, Apple Music has exclusive video shows like Planet of the Apps that are only available to Apple Music members. Spotify has things like Spotify Sessions which are studio and live recordings of a wide variety of artists.

Lyrics

Apple Music shows full lyrics of a song in the app itself. Spotify has an integration with Genius, which shows some of the lyrics mixed in with fun facts about the song or the meaning of certain lyrics but it doesn’t show full lyrics like Apple Music, and the Genius lyrics integration is only available for certain songs. You can use a free third party app like MusixMatch and it will recognize whatever song you’re playing on Spotify and show you the lyrics in real time which is cool, but I think Apple Music gets the nod if you want the quickest access to full lyrics of the current song playing.

Existing Library

Apple Music syncs your existing iTunes library pretty effortlessly. Spotify syncs your existing iTunes library too, but it’s a bit more of a complicated process and it’s not as seamlessly integrated as it is with Apple Music. So they both do it, but Apple Music does it a little better.

Radio

Radio is very subjective so here’s how I personally feel about the radio stations. Both radio stations created from artists are pretty similar, it’s kind of what you expect. However, Apple Music radio stations created from individual songs seem to be a little better than Spotify. It seems to play more new music. Spotify radio stations created from individual songs seem to play more of that artist of the song that the radio was created from. It doesn’t suggest as many new artists or songs as Apple Music.

Apple Music has Beats 1 radio which is a popular feature that users love, but they also have these really cool on-demand radio stations from certain artists so you can listen to music and also listen to commentary like a normal radio show.

Even though I think Apple Music radio is better, I do prefer Spotify’s interface with Radio stations because you can see the list of songs that it’s going to play next. On Apple Music you can only see the next song.

Playlists

Playlists are also subjective, but in my experience Spotify has a better selection and layout of hand-curated playlists along with algorithm-based playlists. Both services have a large number of playlists based on things like Mood and Feel, or Genre but I think Spotify really gets Playlists right since they have way more experience with it. But the two big advantages of Spotify playlists are Daily Mixes and Discover Weekly.

Daily Mixes are custom playlists of songs that you have listened to a lot with some new songs thrown in and they’re automatically updated for you multiple times per week. So it’s a great way to listen to a specific genre of songs that you know you already like. Discover Weekly, in my opinion, is the best way to discover new music that you’ve never heard before that you’re almost guaranteed to like. It’s automatically updated every Monday and it’s something that I can throw on and listen to any time and I’ll almost always end up saving a song to my library form the result of discovering it on my Discover Weekly playlist.

For some reason Apple as a company just doesn’t do Social very well. The only social aspect of Apple Music is the Connect feature that lets you follow your favorite artists. Spotify has way better Social features. For example you can create, share and follow playlists made from any Spotify user who makes them public which makes their playlist selection way more extensive than Apple Music. For example: if you search Productivity on Apple Music it doesn’t give any results for hand-made productivity playlists, but if you search Productivity on Spotify there are tons of playlists, some made by Spotify, but most created and shared by Spotify users. Another great Spotify feature is Collaborative Playlists which lets you and your friends add songs to the same playlist. So Spotify has the advantage when it comes to playlists.

App Experience

I’m using an iPhone 7 so that’s what I’ll be basing the app experience on. Both app layouts are very similar, with the menu at the bottom and the player bar on top of that then the main window above that. Apple Music menu items consist of Library, For You, Browse, Radio, and Search. Spotify has Home, Browse, Search, Radio, and Library. So they have pretty much the same exact options because we can assume Apple’s For You section is the same as Spotify’s Home section.

I think the Spotify app has a better design and layout than Apple Music. I prefer Spotify’s dark theme, and their overall design is friendly allowing more items on the screen compared to Apple Music which seems to like to showcase individual selections that almost take up the entire screen. I like how Spotify shows the number of monthly listeners for an artist, just for the fact I can gauge to see how well known an artist is in comparison to other artists in the same genre. It’s not a game changing feature but I do like it, and I do wish Apple Music had something similar or maybe even display the average rating for albums like it does on the iTunes app.

One thing I wish Spotify did was display the Featured Artist on songs. It’s weird because some songs have that info, but most songs do not display who the featured artist if the song has one. It’s really annoying. Apple Music seems to always show the featured artist info on the song that’s playing which is what Spotify should do.
When you search on Spotify, the search suggestions are split into different categories like Songs, Artists, Albums, Playlists, Podcasts, and even Profiles instead of one big list of suggestions like on Apple Music. Some people might not like this, but I think it’s way better than Apple Music’s search design and Spotify’s search algorithm does a good job at suggesting some of your most visited songs, albums, and artists. And with Spotify you’re saving a step because when you tap on a song in the search suggestions it starts playing it. On Apple Music to start playing the song, you have to tap the search result and then tap the song to play it. It’s just an extra step that you have to do.

Both apps allow you to edit the queue of the current songs or playlist that you’re listening to which is good, but neither app has a functionality that I’ve been wanting for years. I really want to be able to tap the Artist name of the current song that’s playing and have it take me directly to the Artist page. Right now on both apps, you have to tap the album first, then go to the Artist. Not a huge deal but it would definitely be a convenient feature to have. As many things that I loge about Spotify, their Shuffle sucks. It’s really bad. When I want to shuffle my music library I want a completely random order, but Spotify’s shuffle algorithm is skewed and tends to play more songs by artists that you listen to a lot or have a lot of songs saved by them. Apple does their Shuffle the way it’s supposed to be, completely random or at least way more random than Spotify.

Spotify does have some functionalities that I’ve grown to love that Apple Music doesn’t have. For example on Spotify you can hold down on a song and it will preview the song. Spotify also has convenient ways to add songs to the queue or save to your library by swiping left or right on any song respectively. It’s these little details that make Spotify’s user experience better than Apple Music in my opinion.

So after all that, which is the best music streaming service right now? Spotify or Apple Music? Well, for me, I’m going to stick with Spotify as my premium music streaming service. Even though I’m pretty invested in the Apple ecosystem, at the end of the day I prefer Spotify’s features and user experience more than Apple Music. Does that mean Apple Music is not right for you? Of course not, this is a very subjective decision and my best advice for you would be to sign up for the trial versions of both services and try them out yourself.

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