With most of us stuck at home practicing social distancing (unless you’re a health worker, in the military, or a journalist), now’s a great time to think of ways to spruce up the home office. Although they tend to be expensive, Apple products offer top-notch quality and are built to last. You won’t need to replace them for years. Need a pair of earbuds for your next meeting or just want to listen to music minus the hassle of cords? The AirPods are a great true wireless option. How about a powerful desktop alternative that’s way more portable? Choose between the iPad Mini and iPad Pro, two of the best tablets that you can buy. But if you’re sticking to a good old laptop, you can never go wrong with the MacBook Air. Save up to $200 when you get them on Best Buy and Target today.
Apple AirPods — from $140
What’s the difference between the first and second generations of AirPods besides the wireless charging case upgrade? Not a ton at first glance, although there are some notable improvements underneath the hood, including the H1 chipset, longer talk time, and support for voice-activated Siri. They also remain ridiculously easy to operate and set up for iOS devices, although they lack waterproofing and workout features. Right now, you can get the AirPods for $140 (down from $160) at Best Buy and the souped-up AirPods 2 for $170 (down from $200) at Target.
The second-gen AirPods rock the same golf-tee shape of their predecessors and given how immensely popular they are, a lot of people seem to like this design. The wireless charging case now has its LED lights on the front, which allows you to see charging status when the case is placed atop a Qi charging pad. Apple claims that the case offers up to 24 hours of extra life, which still beats most competitors.
The onboard controls are the same as the previous generation. Each AirPod works autonomously, which means they don’t run out of juice at the same time. They auto-pause audio immediately when you take one out — but only when paired with Apple devices. They don’t have volume and song-skipping default controls, but offer play and skip forward with a double-tap. You can also assign play/pause, next track, and previous track controls in your iPhone’s Bluetooth settings on either earbud. To change the volume, you can simply ask Siri to turn it up or down for you, though if you have an Android phone, you have to do it manually.
— $350, was $400
The iPad Mini sports a nearly identical design to its predecessor. While the bezel is as chunky as ever, the iPad Mini is still the best tablet that you can get for its size. It offers speedy performance, fluid software, and a gorgeous display. It’s also the most affordable option in Apple’s tablet lineup. Right now, you can purchase the iPad Mini with 64GB of memory on Best Buy for $350 instead of $400 –- a cool $50 savings.
Despite the lack of an edge-to-edge screen, the iPad Mini’s Retina display with a 2,048 x 1,536 resolution looks great, with sharp details and vibrant colors, and images appear completely natural, thanks to Apple’s True Tone technology. The home button below also serves as the Touch ID lock, and it’s very responsive even for users who have already gotten used to the convenience of Face ID. This tablet is powered by the same chip that’s inside Apple’s latest iPhones — the A12 Bionic processor — one of the fastest mobile processors on the market. It won’t perform as well as the latest iPad Pro’s A12X Bionic chip, but it’s still impressively fast. If you’re looking to do some light editing work on Adobe Photoshop or Premiere Rush, you won’t encounter any problems, although the small screen might be an issue.
Unfortunately, the iPad Mini lacks Smart Keyboard support, which means you’ll need to buy a third-party keyboard case (or a detached Bluetooth keyboard) if you want to use it for writing, but it now supports the first-gen Apple Pencil, which was previously only compatible with the iPad Pro (the second-gen remains exclusive with the iPad Pro). This makes the iPad Mini great for work, learning, and play.
With a tiny 7.9-inch screen and a product weight of just 0.66 pounds, the iPad Mini is ideal for those who travel a lot and don’t want their hands to grow weary with prolonged use. Get one for $350 on Best Buy today.
iPad Pro — from $700
If you’re looking for something powerful to replace your laptop, take a look at the iPad Pro, our choice for the best tablet of 2020. It has a lot going for it, including a drop-dead gorgeous screen, aesthetically pleasing slim bezel, and nearly desktop-grade performance (although this model isn’t the brand-new one).
This tablet comes in two sizes; the 11-inch model and the massive 12.9-inch model. Naturally, the larger iPad Pro costs more but it’s essentially the same as the smaller one underneath the hood (same processor, specs, battery life, etc.). Although it is unwieldy, we do love using it for drawing and watching movies. Right now, you can get the 11-inch iPad Pro on Best Buy for $700 instead of the usual $800. The 12-inch version costs $200 more.
Appearance-wise, the iPad Pro keeps up with the current design trend seen in most electronic devices. The iPad Pro’s bezel is slim and symmetrical and following the path of the iPhone, the home button is now missing. Unlocking the screen is done through Face ID, and you have to navigate the interface through swiping and gestures. In portrait orientation, you’ll find the power button and the volume rocker on the right edge. Unfortunately, just like the latest iPhone, this one doesn’t have an audio jack.
Its Retina LED display has a 2,388 x 1,668-pixel resolution and is breathtaking. Images look super sharp, colors are vibrant, and it gets plenty bright even when outdoors. It supports HDR content and has a 120Hz screen refresh rate, so watching videos and working on this tablet is an absolute blast. Battery life is one of its strong suits. On a single charge, the iPad Pro can easily last the whole day with normal usage.
The iPad Pro is a workhorse of a portable device. It is powered by the powerful A12X Bionic processor. Playing graphically demanding games was fast and fluid, and Apple even claims the chip can process graphical input better than the Xbox One. Multitasking won’t be an issue, as the iPad Pro can deftly handle heavy programs like Photoshop with relative ease.
— $900, was $1,100
The MacBook Air is now thinner and lighter than ever, yet still possesses the same power and solid build quality typical of Apple devices. This is one sleek-looking laptop, with the same clean aesthetic as the rest of its MacBook kin. The latest version of the MacBook Air normally retails for $1,100, but right now you can purchase it on Best Buy for $900 — a huge $200 off.
The MacBook Air looks almost exactly like the previous one, with a few significant hardware and software upgrades. The older version is outfitted with a single Thunderbolt 2 port and two USB 3 ports; the latest one has two Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports instead. Although both models have a 13-inch LED-backlit screen, the newer MacBook Air’s display is made better thanks to Apple’s True Tone technology. The screen now has the power to adapt to your environment’s ambient light to make images appear more natural, with accurate colors that aren’t oversaturated.
Working alongside an Intel i5 processor, this MacBook Air has 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal memory. It proved speedy and performed well when tasked with normal daily workflow, like streaming videos, working in Photoshop, word processing, and web browsing. While there may be a bit of a slowdown with multiple browsers, apps, and programs open simultaneously, overall performance was still solid.
If you’re keen on getting a MacBook but don’t want to shell top dollar, then the MacBook Air is for you. It’s a well-rounded portable laptop that boasts a solid performance and premium build quality. Get the latest version of the MacBook Air for $900.
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