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Author: Andy Slye (page 2 of 12)

Model 3 Secret: What Tesla Isn’t Telling Us

Let’s talk about the Model 3 and why its possibly the most mind blowing futuristic car on the market right now.

Back in August a member of Tesla Motors Club forum wrote a very interesting article about this Model 3 theory that I want to explain in this video and what it means for car owners going forward.

Last week Tesla had their best event ever in my opinion when they announced the new Tesla Semi and the 2nd Gen Roadster. Since these are two very cool new products, as expected Elon seemed happy and excited when he was announcing the Semi and the Roadster. Compare that to the last Model 3 event, which was probably the least climactic Tesla event where it was short and some parts were a bit awkward and Elon didn’t seem very happy and excited.

Why was that? It’s because the Model 3 event was the Anti-Sell. Tesla does not want you to buy a Model 3…yet.

Here’s why.

  1. The Osborne Effect. Tesla doesn’t want the customer to think that the Model 3 is its best car just because its their newest car model, even though the Model 3 does have a lot of newer technology in it compared to last year’s Model S which is double the price.
  2. Tesla doesn’t want to sell any more Model 3’s right now. With over 450,000 preorders of the Model 3, Tesla has a huge backlog on their hands, and they would much rather sell you a more expensive Model S or X right now because they can produce those immediately and make an instant profit. If you look at the official Model 3 page on Tesla’s website it’s pretty obvious they’re trying to sell you a Model S instead of the Model 3.

That’s The Anti-Sell.

Now let’s talk about that new tech in the Model 3. It’s actually referred to as Autopilot Hardware 2.5 and its purpose is to provide more computing power for future autonomous driving. Tesla tried to downplay this by saying this:

“The internal name HW 2.5 is an overstatement, and instead it should be called something more like HW 2.1. This hardware set has some added computing and wiring redundancy, which very slightly improves reliability, but it does not have an additional Pascal GPU.”

Some people are saying that Tesla started producing cars with Hardware 2.5 instead of the previous Hardware 2.0 because they had some reason to believe Hardware 2.0 wouldn’t be capable of full self driving in the future.

Starting in July or August 2017 all Tesla cars (S, X, and 3) have Hardware 2.5, and Tesla has said that any previous Model S and X cars with Hardware 2.0 that somehow may not be capable of full self driving would get a free upgrade if the customer paid for FSD feature. Having said that, Tesla still believes Hardware 2.0 is capable of self driving.

Why introduce Hardware 2.5?

The Tesla Network.

This is the name of Tesla’s future ride sharing platform, which works sort of like Uber and Lyft but instead of a human driver, nobody will be driving because the car will be driving itself, picking up passengers and taking them to their destinations without the owner having to be in the car.

Here’s an excerpt from Tesla’s Master Plan:

“When true self-driving is approved by regulators, it will mean that you will be able to summon your Tesla from pretty much anywhere. Once it picks you up, you will be able to sleep, read or do anything else enroute to your destination. You will also be able to add your car to the Tesla shared fleet just by tapping a button on the Tesla phone app and have it generate income for you while you’re at work or on vacation, significantly offsetting and at times potentially exceeding the monthly loan or lease cost.”

So what’s the big “secret”?

The Model 3 is currently the only Tesla vehicle that is capable of joining the Tesla ride sharing Network. Let’s find out why.

The minimalistic interior is one of the most polarizing features of the Model 3. Some people love it (like me) while others hate it. I know some people who reserved a Model 3, but they’re not excited about the interior. And let’s not forget that touch screen. Some people are just infuriated that almost everything in the Model 3 is controlled through the 15” touch display. I mean almost everything, from opening the glove box to setting the direction of the air vents to opening the trunk, it’s all software-based controls on the touch screen.

Why? Because it needs to be, for autonomous ride sharing, that is. Since it’s software controlled, everything is customizable and can be remembered and even better, it can be remembered based on who is using the car.

The Model 3 answers the two biggest concerns regarding autonomous ride-sharing: What if someone steals my valuables, and what if someone damages my car?

The first issue is addressed with the software-controls. You can restrict or grant access to anything, based on your own custom settings.  So if you don’t want anyone to access your trunk, trunk or glove box, you can set it that way.

What about damage to your car? Well, this is where some more new tech in the Model 3 comes into play. The Model 3 has something in it that the S or X don’t currently have: an interior camera. It’s built into the rear view mirror and it can see who is in the car at any given time and monitor what’s happening inside the car.

But with an interior camera how is the car going to be able to handle that new data processing? Remember when Tesla said that the new Hardware 2.5 has “added computing and wiring redundancy”? There ya go.

The Model 3 solves the two biggest concerns with autonomous ride sharing by giving the owner complete control via software settings based on who is using the car, and the ability to monitor the interior.

But there’s one more piece to the puzzle: The Entry

The Model 3 doesn’t come with a car key or even a key fob. It comes with a key card that uses NFC to unlock and start the car. But this is just the backup entry method.

The real entry method to the Model 3 is a smartphone. With the Tesla app utilizing Bluetooth LE, it sends an encrypted signal to the Model 3 as your get near it so in theory when you have your smartphone in your pocket and walk up to the Model 3 it will unlock and start when you get in. But not only will it do that, it will also know exactly who is getting in the car and it will set the car settings based on who the person is.

To recap, the Model 3 has:

  • New autopilot hardware
  • New interior camera
  • Full software controls
  • Automatic entry via a smartphone

So what does this mean? It means The Model 3 is not just another electric car built for the mass market. It’s not even just about a car capable of driving itself.

The Model 3 is the first car ever to be designed for autonomous ride-sharing.

Tesla is trying to downplay the significance of the Model 3, for now at least, because they are still in production hell. But there’s no denying that the Model 3 may be the most technologically advanced car ever to be built. Of course, autonomous ride sharing is entirely dependent on whether or not the Model 3 will even be capable of full self driving if and when it is made legal.

But from Elon himself:

“There will be a shared autonomy fleet where you buy your car and you can choose to use that car exclusively. You can choose to have it used only by friends and family… or other drivers who are rated five stars. You can choose to share it sometimes but not other times. That’s 100 percent what will occur. It’s just a question of when.”

What do you think about this? Do you think that this will happen and if so, when?

Does Antivirus Slow Down Your Computer?

HP Pavilion Power 15 Laptop on Amazon

Webroot Internet Security Complete on Amazon

Trasnscript:

A popular question I see is “Does Antivirus Slow Down My Computer” and I’ve been wanting to do a video about this for a long time because it’s been almost 2 years since my last antivirus video so for this one I’ve teamed up with HP and Webroot so I can finally answer this question once and for all and find out how antivirus software really affects a computer’s performance and if it’s even worth having security software on your PC. For this test I wanted to use a laptop that was pretty powerful but also fairly affordable at under $1000. This HP Pavilion Power 15 was a perfect fit. It’s currently $950 on Amazon for this particular model. Let’s go over the specs and features so you can get an idea of what kind of machine this is.

Even though HP doesn’t officially label this as a gaming laptop, I like to label it as a budget gaming laptop because it can easily handle the majority of your gaming and media creation needs with no problem but it doesn’t have that crazy bulky gaming laptop look to it. And it doesn’t have a hefty price tag like actual gaming laptops. It looks like your normal everyday notebook but as the name implies, it packs some power. The exterior and interior of this laptop are pretty much blacked out which gives it a cool stealthy look to it. Inside the laptop there is a 7th Gen Intel Core i7-7700HQ 2.8Ghz processor, and having that kind of CPU will definitely help out when running apps in the background such as an antivirus. It has a relatively fast 7200 rpm 1TB hard drive. I usually always prefer solid state drives over hard disk drives, but for most users who are buying with a budget in mind it almost always makes sense to get a machine with a hard disk drive because they are a still more affordable for the amount of storage space you get in return. And if you do end up getting a hard drive in a laptop, always make sure it’s 7200 rpm because anything lower like 5400 rpm is going to be much slower and it will make you pull your hair out. So at the very least I’m glad this has a 7200 rpm drive in it. It also has 12GB DDR4 RAM inside along with a dedicated AMD Radeon RX 550 graphics card with 2GB of memory which really comes in handy if you are gaming or doing any type of HD video editing on this machine. Even though it’s not 4K, this laptop has a great looking 15.6” WLED-backlit Full HD 1920×1080 anti-glare IPS display which is another highlight for gamers and anyone who watches videos or movies. I actually had 3 different screens up on Saturday with a football game playing on each one, and I really enjoyed the display quality on this HP laptop. The viewing angles were great and it was doing a good job at avoiding frame drops. It’s got a nice full-size keyboard with chicklet style keys that can be backlit which is a useful feature for night owls. It’s sporting dual speakers that have a decent sound, basically the quality of what you can expect out of a laptop in this price range. The trackpad is a nice size and is pretty wide. And last but not least it has an HD webcam, 3 USB ports along with a USB-C port, an HDMI port, an Ethernet port and a media card slot. Now you’re seeing why its slogan is “Creativity by day, high gear by night” because it’s this unique blend of business productivity mixed with performance for basic gaming and digital creation.
So to answer our question “Does Antivirus Slow Down Your Computer” I am using the free PCMark benchmarking test. This tool tests a bunch of different components and scenarios and spits out some scores, and it’s a pretty good indicator of overall system performance. I ran the PCMark test on this HP laptop with no antivirus running and it scored a 3939. What were are going to do now is install and test out Webroot Internet Security Complete then run another PCMark test with Webroot running and see what the second score is compared to the first score.
Before we start talking about antivirus, just know that your best line of defense against viruses start with your own actions. So no matter what antivirus you use I always tell people to follow these basic tips: Always make sure your computer and software are up to date (set Windows to automatically install updates/patches and regularly update your software), always backup your data to a secure offsite location, and don’t click sketchy links/pop-ups/ads (consider using an adblocker). But even if you do all of those things right, it’s still a good idea to have antivirus software as your second line of defense. Antivirus or any type of security software is just there to add that extra bit of protection because it’s still easy to accidentally click on a malicious link or download a malicious app or connect to an unsecured Wifi network.
Literally right before I started working on this video project, my soon to be in-laws called me on a Sunday night and said that they just got a pop-up on their laptop saying that it was talking to them and claiming that their laptop had the Zeus virus and that if they shut off their computer it would wipe out all their data, and their identities would be stolen and all their bank accounts would be hacked. So they were freaking out, and of course this pop-up was just a phishing scam, but for older people who aren’t the most tech savvy when they see a popup like this it genuinely scares them. That’s what these scammers do. They put instant fear into the victims and this causes the victims to make decisions based on emotions, based on fear, which is always a bad thing. So they called the number on the screen thinking that they were calling Microsoft support but really it was a scammer, and they actually talked to him for about 10 minutes, he got them to install software that allowed him to remote into their system, and when he finally told them they would have to purchase software they finally were like “Hold on you’re not getting any money from us.” So that’s when they called me and long story short, it’s all ok now. I cleaned their laptop up and explained to them basically what I said earlier about basic safe computing practices. But that got me thinking, a full security software suite should be able to help in some way to prevent something like that from happening, right? So I’m actually going to try to recreate that scenario and see if Webroot Internet Security Complete can thwart off that phishing scam.
Let’s quickly go over why I think this security software a good choice for this test. First, it’s affordable, currently only $36 on Amazon for a 5-device 1-year license. For an all-in-one security software solution, that’s a pretty good deal. Second, it’s gotten great reviews not only from customers on Amazon but from the professional testers at PCMag who gave it an “Excellent” rating.
Webroot claims it installs 8x faster than its average competitor so let’s see how fast this installs on the HP Pavilion Power 15 laptop. The process is simple, just visit the Webroot download page and it will download a small file then just run the installer. Total install time: 3:30. 2:16 of which was used for the initial scan so it only took about 1:15 to download and install on the HP Pavilion Power 15. All of its main features should address everything that I’ve discussed so far. So:
Security: It guards your personal information by blocking the latest malware and phishing attacks. It scans billions of apps, files, and websites continuously to determine what is safe online. It has comprehensive, real-time protection against the latest threats. It provides login protection by encrypting passwords, usernames, and credit card numbers. It even gives you an option of mobile security to protect your smartphone or tablet.
Speed: It has fast scans with no abrasive interruptions. It’s cloud-based so it automatically stays up-to-date in real-time and doesn’t bog down your computer. Compared to its average competitor, Webroot claims it is 35x smaller, can scan 60x faster, and uses 15x less memory. So if this is all true then it should keep users safe without slowing them down which is the key for this video.
Backup: It comes with 25GB of secure online storage to backup your important data.
Now do not try this next thing at home. I’m going to see if Webroot Internet Security Complete can prevent malware by doing a simple test. Hey Cortana “Search Yahoo.com for free Facebook game download”. I figured that’s a great way to find a malicious site so if we click on one of these sketchy search results and of course it takes us to a scam and asks us to download a piece of malicious software. And there you go Webroot has instantly detected that this is an unsafe site and tells us to take us back to safety. That’s exactly what we wanted to see. It kept us safe in an unobtrusive way. I think that gets a thumbs up from me.
Now finally let’s see what the PCMark score is when we leave Webroot running during the benchmark test. Ok the test is complete and it has scored a 3878. So it took a very tiny hit, only a 61 point difference which is about a 1.5% impact based on the original score of 3939. So that brings us back to our main question: Does Antivirus slow down your computer? Well it honestly depends on what kind of antivirus or security software you are using. Obviously a computer’s performance will be at least somewhat affected by any active antivirus running in the background but the big question is does the antivirus slow down your computer in a such a way that negatively impacts the user’s experience? With something like Webroot Internet Security Complete as you’ve seen, one of its main selling points is how lightweight and unobtrusive it’s designed to be. So the best advice is: Yes it’s always a good idea to run antivirus, but try to make sure that antivirus is not going to take up a lot of your computer’s resources. And if it does, it’s always nice to have a powerful enough machine like this HP Pavilion Power 15 to handle it so that you get a good balance of protection and performance for what you’re trying to do specifically on your computer.

Best Wireless Security Camera System: Arlo Pro Review

You may have remembered that I bought a house last year and after doing a lot of research I finally bought a security camera system for it. And if you know me well you’ll know that I always prefer wireless over wired. I hate cords and I avoid them at all costs when possible. So that’s why I chose to go with the Netgear Arlo Pro because it’s one of the few security camera systems that is completely wireless. No power cords or data cables. I’ve had this for over a month, and now I want to share my experience with you. This is my review of the Arlo Pro wireless security system.

This is not a sponsored video. I bought this with my own money, but even if it was sponsored I do always give my own honest thoughts and opinions. I will leave a link to the Arlo Pro on Amazon in the description below for your convenience. If you do choose to buy it please consider using that link as it does help out the channel a tiny bit at not extra cost to you.

At of the time I made this video, the 3-camera Arlo Pro system which is what I have is a little over $530. So it is a bit expensive compared to ordinary security systems, but you are getting way more features with it being a smart security system along with the convenience of it being completely wireless. There are options for a 1-camera system all the way up to a 5-camera system depending on your needs.

All the systems come with the free basic plan from Arlo but if you do happen to need more than 5-cameras on a single base station you can add up to 10 cameras and upgrade to the premium plan. The free basic plan supports up to 5 cameras and includes free cloud storage for up to 7 Days. The Premier plan is $100/year and supports up to 10 cameras and includes free cloud storage for up to 30 days. I’m currently on the free basic plan so that’s what my review is going to reflect.

Included in the box are: the base station, the base station power adapter, an ethernet cable, the Arlo Pro cameras along with a rechargeable battery for each, a power adapter and cable to recharge the camera batteries, and magnetic wall mounts with mounting screws. A nice perk is that all the batteries are fully charged when they arrive.

For me the setup was very smooth. The included guide was easy to follow. It doesn’t take long at all and basically consists of downloading the free Arlo app which is compatible with iOS, Android, and Amazon devices. Creating your free Arlo account, connecting the base station to your router, then syncing and mounting the cameras, and you’re done.

Just last week Arlo announced the Arlo Pro 2 which is the newest version of Arlo Pro, and even though it is slightly better in a couple of ways, a lot of the new features depend on the Arlo Pro 2 camera being plugged into power and being indoors. So that’s why I do still recommend just getting this original Arlo Pro system because it is cheaper and you’ll get the essential functionality and features that most people need in a security camera system.

The Arlo Pro cameras are built for indoor or outdoor use. They have a 300-ft line of sight range from the base station. They are IP65-certified weatherproof so they should be fine even in the snow, rain, or heat. It’s been very mild weather since I’ve installed mine so I don’t have any experience through winter but I suspect they’ll be fine here in the Midwest. And since the cameras are completely wireless and have rechargeable batteries inside, they connect to the mounts via the built-in magnets. So all you have to do is install the mount and the cameras just snap to the magnetic mounts which allows you to easily adjust the camera angle and quickly remove the cameras whenever you need to recharge them.

As far as battery life goes, Arlo says a camera battery can last 4-6 months but it really just depends on the camera settings and how much it is recording and detecting motion or sound. Mine have been installed for about 7 weeks, and they’re all right below 60% so if they continue like this they should last around 4 months total on a full charge, and that’s right at the 4-6 month prediction that Arlo has claimed which is good.

The way Arlo Pro works is it’s not designed to be constantly recording and saving video 24/7 nonstop. Instead, Arlo Pro is meant to record short video clips only upon motion detection or sound detection. So even though it’s not constantly saving video, the cameras are constantly active and you are able to live stream any camera at any time from your smartphone or device of choice as long as your device is connected to the internet. That’s another reason I went with Arlo Pro because all the cameras can be managed and viewed via the free app wherever I am.

Here’s a quick overview of how the app and camera system work together.

First I love that the app can be configured to log in automatically with Touch ID on my iPhone. All I have to do is open the app and it logs in with my fingerprint. That is very convenient, and I’m always grateful when an app utilizes Touch ID. On the Devices tab you can see all your different cameras and you can view a live feed by tapping the View button. Under the cameras there’s also a button to trigger the base station alarm. If you tap this Alarm button it will trigger a super loud 100 decibel siren from the base station. So the ability to remotely trigger the alarm is a great feature to have in a security system. The Library tab gives you a daily list to view any recorded clips that are stored in the cloud on your account. You can tap on any video clip to view it and on the free basic plan, you can download and save it any time within 7 days of the clip being recorded. You can also quickly share it or favorite it. The filter icon on the top is a quick way to view certain types of clips, so if I want to see all the clips from my indoor living room camera I can filter to just that camera and it will show me all those clips.

The Mode tab lets you choose between 4 modes: Armed, Disarmed, Schedule, and Geofencing. The Disarmed mode cannot be customized, it just disarms your entire system. However you can customize the other 3 modes. You can really drill down and set all the settings however you’d like. In the Armed mode you can customize the rules for each of your cameras. You can set each camera to record upon motion, sound or both or neither. You can tell it what to do when it detects motion or sound, you can configure it to turn the siren on or not upon detection, and you can set your notification settings. That’s another thing I love about the Arlo Pro is that, if you want it to, it immediately notifies you via a push notification, email or both whenever a camera detects motion or sound. And it does work from my experience with it. It seems to be very successful at detecting motion and noise. For example I always get notifications whenever my cat prances into the living room to play, I’ll get notifications of when a package is left at my door so it has been very reliable for me.

The Schedule mode lets you set a custom schedule of days and times that will automatically arm and disarm your system So if you want your system to automatically arm from 6am to 11pm on weekdays and all day on the weekends, the schedule mode lets you do that.

Geofencing mode will automatically arm and disarm your system whenever your smartphone is within a certain radius of your base station so in theory if you get in your car and drive away from your house and you have your smartphone with you, your system will automatically arm your system as you leave that radius area. Then when you arrive back into the radius area it will automatically disarm your system. I’ve tested out both Schedule and Geofencing modes and they do work as expected.

The camera quality is pretty decent. These have a 720p standard HD resolution, and that’s where the new Arlo Pro 2 cameras have the biggest advantage because those are full HD 1080p. But the good news is the original Arlo Pro system is compatible with Arlo Pro 2 cameras so if you really wanted a 1080p camera you could purchase an Arlo Pro 2 camera and add it to your original Arlo Pro system and it should work. For me, 720p is fine for most situations, but 1080p would come in handy if I really wanted to capture more image detail when necessary.

The cameras have a wide 130-degree viewing angle so they are able to capture a lot inside the frame which is nice. They also have 2-way audio so they have microphones to capture the sound as well as speakers that let you speak into the app on your smartphone and your voice will be projected out of the camera’s speaker. So if you see someone on your porch you get on your app and just be like “Hey I’m your guilty conscious, you should really get off this person’s porch. He probably is very handsome and has broad shoulders.”

If you tap on the gear icon next to your camera you can customize the settings for each camera. From here you can name the camera, turn it on or off, view the battery percentage, see if it’s connected to the base station. In the Video settings you can enable night vision which is pretty decent quality even in the pitch dark, you can rotate the image, and you can change your power management. Since these are just standard HD I set all my cameras to the Best Video setting which reduces battery life but I’d rather have the best video quality possible. However there are other options such as Optimized and Best Battery Life if you prefer longer battery life over video quality.

In the Settings tab you can view all your devices, view your Arlo profile, and grant access which is really nice – this lets you give access to your spouse or whoever you choose so they can download and install the Arlo app and view all your cameras too.

Since the cameras are magnetic I do recommend installing them in high places that are out of reach so that people can’t just pull the cameras off so easily. However if you do need to install them in a place within a person’s normal reach, you can purchase screw mounts so the cameras are actually screwed in to the mount which makes it harder for someone to just pull the camera off. I’ll put a link to these along with some other cool Arlo Pro accessories in the description below.

So after using this for over a month I definitely think the Arlo Pro system is the best wireless security camera system for people who want something that’s easy to set up and use, and something that is completely wireless. It has worked exactly as expected for me. The app is intuitive – it hasn’t crashed or have bugs in the software. All the motion/sound detection rules seem to work as expected. I get instant notification on my phone wherever I am, it has free cloud storage with the ability to download and save videos anytime within 7 days. The cameras are weatherproof and work indoors and outdoors, and it comes with a base station with the ability to trigger alarm based on rules or on demand. It’s just a great security camera system and so far I’ve been very satisfied with it. Again, if you want to get this on Amazon I’ll leave the link in the description below. Thank you for watching. My name is Andy, and I will talk to you in the next one.

 

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.

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