Top 3 Backup Hard Drives

Backing up your important files is a must do task. There is nothing worse than losing your important business documents or personal photos. I have heard many sad stories, including one family member who lost years of personal memories, when their laptop hard drive failed. Another professional music producer lost years of work when their main desktop computer got fried and the data was corrupted.

There is no one fail-safe way of backing up your files, so I always suggest having three backups in total. One local backup to keep on a shelf or in a cupboard, which can be handled by the hard drive recommendations in this article. In addition to this, I suggest having an off-site backup, whereby you could use one of the portable hard drives below and then ask a family member to store at their house in a safe place. And finally, a cloud backup … there are many good services available now, some costing as little as £5 per month for unlimited data. Hard drives will fail at some time, so at least with a few backups in place, you shouldn’t lose everything. All links in this article are affiliate links, they do not cost you a penny extra, but do earn Geekanoids a small commission on purchases.

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In top spot is the Seagate Backup Plus Slim portable hard drive, which is available in various capacities from 1TB to 5TB. This earns my top spot as it has proven itself to be reliable and is also very affordable, quite often with discounted pricing. This is a portable hard drive, which means you can easily store at home, or indeed backup and take to another off-site location for storage. It also includes some software on the drive. The included Seagate Dashboard software provides you with the tools to backup your data from local PCs, mobile devices, cloud storage providers and even your social media accounts. Backup of your files can be scheduled to run continuously, at specific times, or on-demand using the Dashboard software's one-click functionality. On top of all this, it's available in a variety of colours to suit your preference and is Mac and Windows ready.
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Next in line is a desktop hard drive, which has a faster 7200rpm hard drive inside. This would reside on your desk next to your computer and allow you to backup your files faster. The
WD Elements Desktop External Hard Drive is available in 2Tb to 10TB capacities and comes formatted as NTFS for Windows 10, Windows 8.1, and Windows 7. It will still work with Mac OS X once you reformat it.
You also get a free trial of WD SmartWare Pro Back-up Software. This back-up software allows you to back-up your files to your WD Elements drive or to the cloud using your Dropbox account.
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A really good option if your data is super important to you and/or your business is the QNAP TS-251 Network Attached Storage enclosure. This comes supplied with no hard drives, you have to add you own, but has some distinct advantages.
Firstly, the two previous hard drives I recommended are connected to one computer at a time, which is great in plenty of scenarios. A "NAS" connects to your network via an ethernet cable. It acts as a central storage location for all your files. This would allow you to backup your desktop and laptop with ease and access your files on either, or even from your smartphone or tablet. Many NAS products, including this one, also allow you to install applications on the device to make backing up and other tasks a lot easier.
Secondly, a NAS like this has room for two hard drives. You can get other models that accommodate even more. This allows you to have data redundancy, which means one hard drives data is mirrored (or copied) to the second hard drive. If one fails, then you have a mirror image of it, so your data is still safe. Of course, both hard drives could fail, but it is very rare for this to happen at the same time.

The main features of this particular model from QNAP are;
- Centralize your file storage, sharing and backup with excellent performance
- Run multiple Windows, Linux, UNIX and Android based virtual machines with the Virtualization Station
- Operate multiple isolated Linux systems as well as download containerized apps with Container Station
- Enjoy the best audio-visual experience with HDMI output and the free remote control
- Transcode Full HD videos on-the-fly or offline* Stream multimedia files via DLNA, AirPlay, Chromecast and
- Bluetooth with multi-zone multimedia control
- Scale up to 12 drives with QNAP UX-800P expansion enclosure

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You do need to buy hard drives separately to install in a NAS and my recommendation is the WD RED range, also listed below.
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Top 3 USB Microphones

If you create any sort of visual or audio content online, making sure your voice is crisp and clear is very important. Maybe you produce a podcast for your audience to listen too, or perhaps you stream on Twitch, or live broadcast on YouTube. With all these things, your audience can sometimes forgive if you miss focus with your camera, but audio is key to them sticking around.

I have been a long-time YouTube content creator and also created a few podcasts too. Here are my top picks for USB microphones that will deliver on the quality front. All links in this article are affiliate links, they do not cost you a penny extra, but do earn Geekanoids a small commission on purchases.

In top spot is the Rode NT-USB. I should mention that Rode to sponsor Geekanoids, but have not asked me to include their mic in this roundup. This particular mic is my top pick because I have used it for a couple of years now and it delivers great quality audio and is super simply to use. As with all the USB microphones mentioned here, there is no need for an audio interface, you just plug in and you’re ready to go.
The Rode NT-USB features a Large 1" capsule with gold-plated membrane and an internal rycote lyre capsule shock mounting system. It’s ultra-low noise too, so even in those quiet moments you don’t hear the hiss that’s sometimes associated with cheaper mics. There is an on-mic mix control and the NT-USB is also compatible with the Apple iPad. The package includes a tripod stand, pop shield and ring mount.
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Next up is the Blue Microphones Yeti. This is available in a range of colours and is a very popular choice. Not only does it look great, it sounds superb too. I have personally used one of these too and can definitely recommend this for being a very sturdy option with an excellent and very heavy stand. It features a tri-capsule array whereby the three condenser capsules can record almost any situation. There is a multiple pattern selection knob on the back of the mic, where you can choose cardioid, bidirectional, omnidirectional & stereo patterns. You also get gain control, mute button, zero-latency headphone output.
This is perfect for podcasting, voiceovers, interviews, game streaming, vocals, musical instruments, field recordings, conference calls, and more.
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Last but not least is the AmazonBasics Professional USB Condenser Microphone which I have not personally used, but heard good things about. It's a professional USB condenser microphone with excellent sound quality when recording and zero latency output for clear, instant audio. Ideal for recording vocals, instruments, podcasts, home movies, and more. It features 3 condenser capsules and 4 pick-up patterns: cardioid, bidirectional, omnidirectional, and stereo. It also includes a 1.49-m USB cable and an adjustable stand. Sometimes this goes on a deep discount, so can be picked up for a very good price.
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Top 3 Products for Twitch Streaming Pros

Live broadcasting or streaming on Twitch is not only great fun, but can also allow creators to share their passion for gaming (and sometimes other subjects) with really loyal fan bases. Sharing video gameplay online can be quite daunting when it comes to the gear required. Assuming you already have a computer and web camera of some sort, improving the quality of your streams is always very rewarding.

Here’s our top 3 products that will take your Twitch streams to the next level. Of course, this can be applied to other live streaming platforms such as YouTube and Facebook. All links in this article are affiliate links, they do not cost you a penny extra, but do earn Geekanoids a small commission on purchases.

In top spot is a very cool product from Elgato. Their Stream Deck connects to your computer via USB and is a bank of buttons that each contain a tiny screen. The buttons allow you to automate actions, for example “starting a livestream” or “tweeting out a message” and some more complex actions too. The screens are full colour and the clever software allows you to customise them with your own designs, making them easily recognisable. This is a superb piece of kit and very worthy of the number one place here.
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Next up is the Rode NT-USB microphone. I personally use one of these and it is a very high quality microphone that simply plugs into your computer USB port. There are some rotary controls on the side of the mic too that allow you to control your audio and monitor levels. You will also find a headphone port on there too. One really nice touch is the custom shaped pop shield, which will help with your audio quality. This is one quality piece of kit and it must be said that audio is a very important part of your live broadcast, so should not be overlooked.
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Last but by no means least is another product from Elgato. If you have even seen a video or livestream where the presenter seems to be floating on top of their game, they are using a green screen. The software you use allows you to “key” out anything in your camera frame that is green, so that it becomes transparent. You can then position yourself on top of any background, but we often see gameplay presenters on top of the game itself, normally in the bottom corner of the video frame. Some green screens are really cumbersome to set up, but this Elgato Green Screen is pre-tensioned in its own case. Pull the screen up, attach and you are ready in under five minutes. Then when you are done, it packs away easily for storage. This really will help take your streams to the next level.
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Top 3 USB Audio Interfaces

Whether you are a podcaster, music producer or any type of content creator that includes audio, an audio interface should be top priority. The likes of USB microphones are fine, but an interface will give you much more control and open up a wider selection of mics to use. If you want to start recording instruments and/or have some MIDI control, then this is the only way to go.

USB Audio Interfaces allow you to connect the likes of XLR microphones and instruments into a box of tricks and in turn this connects via USB to your computer. There are plenty of USB audio interfaces on the market, but they all vary in quality. It is important to have excellent quality pre-amps, so not to introduce background noise to your recordings. Let’s take a look at our top 3.

In top spot is the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (2nd Gen) audio interface. This is a very popular choice as the manufacturer uses top quality components in here. The preamps deliver a nice clean sound which has a very low noise floor. This is important for when you have quiet moments in your audio and don’t want any background hum or hiss creeping in. This is all thanks to the two natural-sounding Scarlett mic preamps which also offer plenty of even gain. There are two microphone / instrument inputs and class-leading conversion and sample rates up to 192kHz/24-bit. There is also a headphone output with separate gain control. You get some extras included in the package too (see below). On the back you will also find outputs for your active studio monitors (speakers). If you need MIDI there is none, please look further up the range.
Includes Pro Tools | First Focusrite Creative Pack, Ableton Live 10 Lite, XLN Audio Addictive Keys (1 of 4 instruments), Softube Time and Tone Bundle, Focusrite Red Plug-in Suite, Focusrite Plug-in Collective, 2GB Loopmasters samples.
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Next up is a serious piece of kit if you need more inputs and outputs. The PreSonus Studio 192 is a USB 3.0 audio interface and studio command centre with up to 24-bit, 192 kHz conversion. It features eight XMAX remote controllable mic preamps, 2 instrument inputs and 6 balanced line level inputs. You also get zero-latency monitoring with Fat Channel processing, preamp control, Talkback routing, and speaker switching from included UC Surface software for the Apple Mac, Windows PC, or even the iPad.
It is tightly integrated with included Studio One 3 Artist DAW software and includes 6+ GB of third-party resources (free download after product registration). Rest assured it does not just work with their own DAW, it’ll work in pretty much any audio application.
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If you want to buy wisely and save some money, then the Behringer UMC404HD Audio Interface might be for you. Even though this is a much cheaper offering, you still get four mic/instrument inputs and MID support too. There is support 24-bit/192 khz resolution which delivers professional audio quality. This interface is compatible with all the popular recording applications including Vvid ProTools, Ableton Live, Steinberg Cubase, Apple Logic Pro X and so many more. The icing on the cake is four state-of-the-art midas designed mic preamplifiers with +48v phantom power for your XLR microphones on tap.
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Top 3 Computer Mice

The mouse, your little rodent friend, this is your interface between your hand and the computer. Having a mouse that tracks smoothly, has great buttons and a nice ergonomic comfortable shape is essential. There are also some great deals around now, so it’s not always necessary to spend lots of money. Check out our top 3 picks below.

In the Top Spot is the Logitech MX Master Wireless Bluetooth Mouse. I have personally used one of these and the ergonomics are superb. It is very comfortable to use for prolonged periods. There is also multi-device pairing, allowing you to pair up to three different devices and easily switch across computers with the touch of a button. The adaptive scroll wheel is very cool too, it automatically changes from click-to-click to hyper-fast scrolling. You also get up to 40 days of power from a single charge and just four minutes of quick charging will last all day. Worth noting, if aesthetics are important, the MX Master is available in different colours. This is very deserving of the top spot.
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The Microsoft FTW-00002 Surface Precision Mouse is a very similar shape the the Logitech MX Master, but a bit of a smoother finish. One thing I noticed about this mouse is how nice and soft it feels in the hand, Microsoft chose well with the materials used to build this one.
You get really smooth scrolling and three customisable buttons. You can also use it either wired or wireless with a rechargeable three month battery life. This also connects via bluetooth and you can pair and switch between three different computers. The Surface Precision mouse is available in a very nice light grey or black.
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In third place and by no means a lesser choice is the Logitech G502 Proteus Gaming Mouse. As the name suggests, this is more suitable for gaming, but can still be used for regular computer sessions too. It connects via USB and is a very comfortable shape, with textured grips on the side. You can also rely on the optical sensor to deliver very responsive and smooth tracking. An important feature to gaming mice is the weight and this is adjustable in the G502. You can customise the lighting to match your rig and you get a generous 2.1m length cable. For gamers, this is a great choice.
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Top 3 Ergonomic Office & Computer Chairs

If you work at a desk or indeed spend time at your computer as a evening hobby, then one of the wisest investments you can make is in a decent chair. Having personally used a Herman Miller Mirra 2 chair for many years, it is both extremely comfortable and well built. The hurdle for most is the price, but think of it this way, buy a new £100/$100 chair and have to replace it every couple of years, or invest in something with better build quality and it’ll most likely last longer than ten cheaper chairs. Let’s check out three of the best chairs at various budgets.

In top spot is the Herman Miller Mirra 2 chair. This is a chair I personally own and it really has great ergonomics. It has a tilt limiter, adjustable FlexFront seat and adjustable arms. Please note that there is also a version with a fixed edge to the front of the seat, I tried this one and it is fine for a taller person or longer legs, but the adjustable “FlexFront” is much better. Carpet casters are also an option, so be sure you select a model with these if required. The TriFlex back give you unique zones of back support while allowing maximum breathability, this is ideal for the hot Summer months. The Herman Miller Mirra 2 Chair is also backed by a 12-year, 3-shift warranty.
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Next up is something a little more affordable, the INTEY Ergonomic Office High Back Mesh Chair. Even though there is a big saving here, the build quality is superb. You get excellent ergonomic support and a padded head pillow. There is easy adjustment for the headrest, armrests, back angle, height of seat and also a tilt system. Simple pneumatic controls let you raise or lower your seat and tilt back to relieve the pressure on your spine. The maximum capacity is up to 330 pounds and you get a decent 24 months warranty. I think this chair looks like a very good option and looks aesthetically pleasing too.
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In third spot is the Herman Miller Classic Aeron Task Chair which is more affordable than the Mirra 2, but a great choice if you want something that will last really well. It features Herman Miller's patented Kinemat tilt mechanism which lets your neck, shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles pivot naturally. You get breathable fabric covering that dissipates the body heat that builds up while you work, keeping you cool and comfortable, while providing unparalleled support. The "waterfall" front edge of the seat takes the pressure off your thighs, so your blood keeps circulating, keeping you alert and focused. As with their most expensive offerings, you still get the excellent 12 year Herman Miller warranty.
This chair also looks a little less bulky than the Mirra 2, so if that is important to you it might be a better choice.
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To conclude this article, I am super happy to share a video featuring m very own Herman Miller Mirra 2 chair. It’ll give you a close up look of the features and show it in use.

Top 3 Gaming Keyboards

A decent gaming keyboard is very important if you want to take your experience to the next level. It is the interface between your lightning fast reactions and the game you are playing and when you develop your skills it could mean the difference between winning or losing. Here’s our top 3 picks of the best gaming keyboards available, plus a budget conscious choice thrown in for good measure.

In at number one is the Razer BlackWidow Elite. This is a mechanical gaming keyboard, so has a very tactile response. It features Razer Green Switches and is RGB Chroma Illuminated, so will look stunning on your desk. It also has fully programmable Macro Keys. For quick access to some of the features on your computer it also sports Multi-Function Digital Dial with dedicated media controls.
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The number two spot goes to the ROCCAT Vulcan 120 and this also features mechanical switches. It has different styling to the Razer and features AIMO LED Per-Key lighting and in my opinion looks stunning. The ROCCAT Titan switches are very accurate and great to use during gameplay. The quality is here too with a durable design and aluminium top plate. This keyboard also features a multimedia wheel and detachable wrist rest which works via magnetic mechanism and helps with ergonomics.
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In third place is a keyboard that should not be dismissed. The Logitech G613 Wireless Gaming Keyboard features Lightspeed Wireless technology which is more responsive and faster than most wired gaming keyboards. The Romer G mechanical switches deliver a quiet, precise mechanical performance. The short-throw actuation at 1.5 mm is 25% faster than the competition's standard key travel.
The G613 is nice and configurable too, with six programmable keys that can be assigned commands per profile and have been positioned for optimal speed and accessibility. Logitech certainly make some great gaming peripherals and claim that the G613 is the world's first high performance wireless mechanical gaming keyboard, designed for a wireless world.
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Last but not least is our more affordable wildcard and still a great performer. The Logitech G213 Prodigy Gaming Keyboard allows you to personalise five individual lighting zones from a spectrum of over 16.8 million colours, so will look great whilst performing admirably. It has a slim body that is built for gamers of all levels with a durable construction that repels liquids, crumbs and dirt. The anti-ghosting gaming matrix on this keyboard is tuned for optimal gaming performance, keeping you in control when you press multiple keys simultaneously. It also features dedicated media controls that can be used to play, pause and mute music and videos instantly.
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Top 3 Monitors

A good quality monitor is a very important buying decision for your computer setup, as you are likely to look at this for many hours per day. Things like screen size, resolution, refresh rate and colour accuracy all come into play here. Check out our selection of the top 3 monitors for January 2019, there certainly is something for everyone and for different use case scenarios too.

In top spot is a really gorgeous ultrawide monitor from Samsung. Their LC49HG90DMNXZA CHG90 Series Gaming Monitor offers up a 49 inch display, with a 32:9 aspect ratio and a nice curve to help immerse you in the gameplay. It’s not all about gaming though, this monitor is ideal to increase productivity, with plenty of screen real estate for video editing and other applications. It also supports HDR (High Dynamic Range) Technology and a fast 144hz refresh rate.

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Next up is the ASUS ROG Swift PG278QR. This is a 27" WQHD (2560x1440p) panel with a super fast 1ms response time and overclocked refresh rate up to 165Hz. This makes it the ideal choice for high end gaming where minimal lag is essential. Connectivity is great too, with DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 1.4 and USB 3.0 ports.

NVIDIA G-SYNC ensures smooth gameplay by eliminating screen tearing and stuttering. This coupled with the ASUS Eye Care Technology makes gaming marathons even easier with blue light filter and flicker-free backlighting to reduce eyestrain. You can also get the screen in the perfect position too, with tilt, pivot, swivel and height adjustments all available.

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Now for those of you that compute on the move, the ASUS Zenscreen Go MB16AP is a 15.6" Full HD USB Type C Portable Monitor. This is a superb little screen with a hybrid signal solution for compatibility with USB Type-C and Type-A sources (Note: Display Link driver needed for Type-A connection). It weighs in at just 1.87 pounds and 0.3 inches slim to pair perfectly with ASUS and other brand laptops. It also has a 7800mAh battery for ultimate compatibility with both laptops and smartphones.

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Top 3 Cameras for 4K Video

It seems like video content is king at the moment, with the most obvious platform for uploading being YouTube. Even a smartphone is capable of shooting great quality 4K or UHD video nowadays, but to take things to next level a dedicated camera is the way to go. Here are my Top 3 picks for producing great quality video. It goes without saying that you could spend a lot more money than the cameras shown here. These have been selected to suit all budgets and style of camera and proves you don’t always have to buy the latest model to start making great videos.

Sony a7 III Full-frame Mirrorless Camera with 28-70mm Lens
This is the newest camera on the block from Sony and offers up the ultimate of control over your video. It sports and advanced 24.2MP BSI Full-frame Image Sensor and has 693 phase-detection / 425 contrast AF points w/ 93% image coverage. To take the tech-speak out of that, it just means you get rock solid reliable autofocus whilst recording videos. It is great for taking photos too.
This camera also gives you room to grow, with a great selection of lenses available from both Sony and third party manufacturers, such as the awesome Tamron 28-75mm lens.
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PANASONIC LUMIX FZ300 Bridge Camera
This next camera is a bridge camera and is ideal for those that do not want to worry about changing lenses. It has an amazing 24X Zoom (25-600mm) lens built in, with F2.8 aperture brightness across the full zoom range. The sensor is 12.1-Megapixel which might not seem that high, but is perfectly good enough for well lit video and photos. You also don’t have to worry too much about it, due to the splash-proof / dustproof body. It also features 5 Axis Hybrid Optical Image Stabilization which results in steady photos and videos.
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PANASONIC LUMIX G7 4K Mirrorless Camera with 14-42mm MEGA O.I.S. Lens
The Panasonic LUMIX G7 really is a great value choice. There are plenty of lenses available, should you wish to expand your use of this camera in the future and the included lens is great too.. Video features are top notch with crisp quality video capture possible, which you can then edit before uploading to YouTube. The audio capture is great too, with the built in microphones or indeed the capability to add an external mic via the 3.5mm jack.
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Top 5 Tech 2018 Edition

These are the Top 5 products that I have used on a daily basis in 2018. Unlike some “Top 5” videos, these are not just featured in the video and then packed away, they reside on my desk, or more likely in my hand and have been great tools for creating the content you see here on Geekanoids. Check out the video and the links below, where you can pick them up for yourself.

Products featured include … 

Sony AX53
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Elgato Cam Link (new version)
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Apple Magic Trackpad 2
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Fitbit Versa
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