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One of Android’s most popular features, and undoubtedly a primary reason for its dominance of the smartphone market, is the operating system’s (OS) limitless customization options. Personalization possibilities abound, at both the default OS level or by installing one of the hundreds of launchers (just under 300 at Google Play Store as I wrote this).

You can find launchers that cause your phone to emulate other devices, such as iOS (iPhone) smartphones, or to help integrate your phone into your home- or business-office ecosystem, or even to make your Android device behave more like another Android device. There are a few launchers, for example, designed to give your smartphone a look and feel of the popular (yet costly) Google Pixel.

Table of Contents

All Android smartphones come with their own, or a default, launcher, which is usually the result of the joint effort between the phone manufacturer and the cellular service provider. As you probably know from cruising around in the Settings menus, your Android’s default launcher comes with a lot of its own customization options – so much so that the myriad of choices can be daunting.

If for no other reason than simplicity, often, letting a launcher do the bulk of modifications for you is preferable to trying to customize the phone yourself.

What follows is a list of the 10 “best” Android launchers available. Again, Google Play Store lists over 275 of them. Some are free; some cost a few bucks; all are easy to download and install and just as easy to either deselect and then switch back to your previous launcher or uninstall altogether.

Note: The following list of the 10 best Android launchers, then, is derivative of a combination of user popularity, product circulation, and my experience with each app. Note also that the stats accompanying each launcher is solely Google Play Store data and therefore does not reflect all available info from all the various download outlets; also, install numbers reflect the current version of the app, not its entire history.

Action Launcher 3

User Rating: 4.2 Installs: 93,230 Price: Free w/$3.99 Adaptive Pack upgrade

Easy, quick, and adaptive are three words that aptly describe Action Launcher. It has been around a while and has seen several updates, including v38 at the end of last year.

This launcher comes with numerous attractive themes and a few of its own widgets, including weather, date, and calendar appointments. You can create and color folders, even circular-shaped ones, to your heart’s content, and a smart size icons feature automatically resizes icons to your layouts.

Action Launcher’s Quicks (Quicktheme, Quickbar, and Quickedit), unavailable in most launcher apps, provide a wealth of, well, quick customizable features. Quicktheme, for instance, color coordinates your home screen with the colors from your wallpaper, while Quickbar lets you attach shortcuts and apps to the Google search bar for quicker access.

Quickedit presents, based on an app selection, alternative suggestions, without your having to drill through numerous app packs.

Finally, a Shutters feature allows you to place shortcuts for widgets. When swiping a shutter, the widget (say, for example, your Facebook feed) is revealed, allowing you to preview feeds, your inbox, whatever, without actually opening the app.

There’s a lot more, but I’ve got nine other launchers to talk about.

Big Launcher

User Rating: 4.3 Installs: 10,000+ Price: Free Demo w/$10.99 upgrade

My first impression when I saw this app’s name was that it was, well, big in the loaded-with-features-and-customization-options sense. But that couldn’t be further from Big Launcher’s main focus.

Instead, it’s designed with the elderly, children, and anybody else who might have difficulty navigating and utilizing a standard-size home screen and icons. Oh, it’s big alright, but that means big, easy-to-see-and-touch icons, menu labels, page content, and more.

As you can see from the stats above, it hasn’t, like several of the other apps mentioned here, been downloaded and installed hundreds of thousands of times. Undoubtedly, that’s due in part to its somewhat steep $11 price tag. There’s also a Big Launcher Easy demo, or a free version that has been downloaded a few thousand times, but it has the following stringent limitations:

You can customize only the right column of buttons

Only 5 additional screens allowed

Only 5 most recent items in call log are visible

Only 20 SMS can be written and sent

Password protection of the configuration and the preferences is not possible

In addition to big everything—icons, fonts, text, apps, and so on—you also get an SOS button that makes calling for help and getting located life-saving easy. It also comes in many different languages.

If your senior (child or impaired) smartphone user has trouble navigating and using his or her phone, Big Launcher is a relatively inexpensive way to bring both you and your loved one peace of mind.

Buzz Launcher

User Rating: 4.4 Installs: 254,577 Price: Free

And, if you create a Buzz Launcher theme or wallpaper (or both) you’re proud of, you can upload and share it to the Buzz community via Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

All this is not to say that Buzz Launcher doesn’t come with customization options. You can, for example, create multiple transition effects, edit icons, wallpapers, and home screens, but the real power behind this launcher is the speed and ease with which you can deploy ready-made Homepacks with all new colors, themes, home screens, and so on.

If, on the other hand, you’re more into creating and customizing your own Android launchers and corresponding interfaces, you’ll probably have better luck with one of the other nine launchers in this list.

Evie Launcher

User Rating: 4.4 Installs: 254,577 Price: Free

Light and fast, some of Evie’s features include an Adjustable Grid, Universal Search, Quick Navigation, and Custom Shortcuts.

Universal Search: Search for anything, anywhere, no matter where you are in your phone or which app.

Quick Navigation: Swiping up displays a complete list of your apps, without having to navigate back to the app drawer or dock.

Custom Shortcuts: Make any task a shortcut with its own icon. Do you text a loved one or family member frequently? Turn the task into a shortcut.

In addition to swiping up to display the app drawer, you can swipe down from the top inside app drawer to return to the desktop, or home screen, and there’s also a double-tap-to-lock gesture for handily locking the screen.

But mostly, compared to the others discussed here, this is a lite and fast launcher. Evie has undergone a lot of updates lately, and as a result it becomes increasingly more attractive overall.

Launcher iOS 12

User Rating: 4.8 Installs: 135,096 Price: Free

LuuTinh makes a couple iOS skins for Android, Launcher iOS 12 and Control iOS 12. Both are, in a sense, the quintessential poor man’s iPhone. Either one makes your phone look like, and to some degree, act like an iPhone. About that, the publisher says:

“Launcher iOS 12 sets a new standard for the Android mobile operating system. It makes your phone better than before. And now it opens up to amazing possibilities for [a] launcher on your phone. With Launcher iOS 12, Your phone is the most powerful, personal, and intelligent devices they’ve ever been.”

That’s a tall order, and the assumptions are mind-boggling. This launcher simply, wherever possible, makes your Android device mimic iOS 12. Your settings menus are organized into an iOS-like Control Center, and several gestures and other features perform similar to Apple’s Assistive Touch. It comes with the default iOS theme, and like iOS it lets you make various customizations.

You get the rounded-corner icons, animations instead of transitions, and so on. Other than financial considerations, though, I’m not sure why one would buy an Android device and then install software to make it run like an Apple device; that’s like putting a Harley logo on a Honda. But hey, users love it and it’s free. What more can you ask for?

Microsoft Launcher

User Rating: 4.6 Installs: 789,785 Price: Free

If you’re looking for a launcher to help make your phone operate like Windows 10, or Windows Phone, there are other launchers, such as Win 10 Launcher, more suited to that. Instead, Windows Launcher helps integrate your Android phone into your Windows ecosystem.

It works with your Microsoft account and Microsoft apps, such as Office 365, OneDrive, Skype, and so on, to help make all your gadgets and applications sync up and work together. We wrote a full review of Microsoft Launcher here.

This launcher’s features are extensive; here’s a smattering of the more important ones:

It’s All About People: Pin your favorite contacts to your Home screen, your dock, icon folders, or just about anywhere for easy access no matter where you are in your phone.

Continue on PC: Put your phone down, start where you left off on your PC. Edit a document in Word 365 at home; continue on your desktop at work. Take a picture with your phone and edit it instantly on your PC. You get the idea.

Search Everywhere Simultaneously: Search your apps, photos, documents, messages, and web results—everything—with Microsoft Launcher’s universal search bar.

Personalize Your Feed: Set your feed as your default Home screen and populate it your way, with your calendar events, your documents, your contacts, and your designated news topics.

Gesture Your Way: You tell Android how to react to your gestures; double-tap to open Outlook; swipe up to launch Skype, and so on.

Few apps play as nice in an environment dominated by Microsoft than Microsoft Launcher.

Nova Launcher

User Rating: 4.6 Installs: 1, 157,614 Price: Free/$4.99 for Prime version

One of the oldest and most popular launchers to date, Nova Launcher offers so many features and customization options that it’s difficult to know where to start. If you’re into tweaking to get everything just right, Nova is a good place to start. Here’s a sampling of the free version’s features:

Icon Themes: Find thousands of icon themes for Nova Launcher at Play Store

Subgrid positioning: Snap icons or widgets half way through the desktop grid cells, allowing a more finite control over layouts of your screens

Color controls: Use colors to define labels, folders, unread notifications, drawer tabs, backgrounds, and more

Customizable App Drawer: Create custom tabs, vertical or horizontal scrolling, custom transitions and other effects

Backup & Restore: A sophisticated backup/restore system allows you to backup your desktop layout and launcher settings

Scrollable Dock: Create multiple docks and scroll between them

Widgets in Dock: Place any widget in your dock, such as a 2×10 search widget

Adding the Nova Launcher Prime upgrade adds gestures, custom drawer groups, hide apps, icon swipes, and more scroll effects. Nova Launcher lets you do things your way but be prepared to spend a little time doing so, unless, that is you use Nova’s import feature to bring in a layout from another popular launcher.

One Launcher

User Rating: 4.3 Installs: 27,420 Price: Free

According to the publisher, One Launcher is:

An easy-to-use, no-frills launcher for Android. We believe Simple is Beautiful. Our Launcher does not hog your precious memory resources, nor do we use up your CPU cycles. We just give you a highly-optimized, better-than stock Android Home Screen replacement with a clean and polished interface.

One Launcher is similar in features and behavior to the launcher on the Google Pixel and it supports Google Now. One Launcher really is light and relatively elegant.

The home screen replacement is customizable with many theme options, as well as smart widgets, and special effects. If you’re not happy with your phone’s default configuration, One Launcher is a quick and clean replacement.

Smart Launcher 5

User Rating: 4.4 Installs: 519,518 Price: Free/$4.49 Pro

Smart Launcher is another of those themes that has been around for the duration, and this latest update, v5, is loaded with new productivity and convenience features. So, let’s dig right in to see what Smart Launcher 5 can do for you, starting with Ambient Themes, which automatically changes your theme colors to match your wallpaper.

Next up, Adaptive Icons, utilizes the icon format introduced with Android 8.0 (Oreo) that allows you to customize the shapes and sizes of your icons, increasing the attractiveness of your home screen and app drawers.

Automatic App Sorting sorts your apps by categories, and if you upgrade to the Pro version, you can add your own categories, and apps that you use the most are automatically moved to the bottom of the screen for easy access when using your device with one hand.

The Smart Launcher search bar searches and looks everywhere, quickly finding contacts, apps, actions like adding contacts, performing calculations and so much more. You get customizable gestures and hotkeys. Hundreds of theme icon packs are available, and you can hide apps and protect them against launching with PINs (think banking, not necessarily porn).

The Pro version requires fewer resources, adds notifications on your home screen, integrates notifications with the lock screen, increases security, and more. Smart Launcher 5 lives up to its name; it’s truly smart.

ZenUI Launcher

User Rating: 4.7 Installs: 1,165,876 Price: Free

Brought to you by the folks at Asus Computers, at one time ZenUI Launcher was available only on Asus devices, but it has been available for all Android devices for some time now and has become quite popular.

Features include, of course, changing wallpapers and widgets, applying transitions and special effects, swiping up to reveal all customization options, and organizing apps and folders in layer modes so that all apps are available from the home screen or from a single icon.

The list goes on and on; you can, for example, apply effects, such as Blur, to your wall papers, change icon size, alignment, and scrolling effects, as well as fonts and colors. Live previews allow you to see apps and widgets before you install them, and Contextual App Discovery helps you find apps by what they do. You can lock apps, hide them, and secure them with PINs.

While looking at this list of launchers, I saw many good-looking home screens, app drawers, and docks, but few were as simple and sleek-looking as ZenUI, the launcher that lends truth to the euphemism that simple is usually best. It may be too simple for some users, but ZenUI certainly has its own feel-good Feng Shui.

Hopefully, you enjoyed this list of the best Android launchers! I’m sure some readers will have a different launcher in mind as their best choice, which makes sense if it works better for your workflow. These are just the most popular ones, so be sure to check out others if none of these fit your needs. Enjoy!

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5 Of The Best Bundles Of Widgets For Android

Android Pro Widgets Beautiful Widgets

Beautiful Widgets, as its name suggests, provides a number of bold, colorful widgets to choose from. It encourages users to have fun, splashing weather widgets and toggles across their homescreens however they see fit. With the included customization options, multiple people can have Beautiful Widgets installed and walk away with setups that look completely different from one another. The app is free to download, but there are some in-app purchases to keep an eye on.

DashClock

Despite how DashClock looks, it’s actually a single widget. It places clean white text and icons against the homescreen that display a wide wealth of information. Out of the box you can see email, the weather, alarms, and the like, but there are no shortage of extensions out there. With the right combination, you can track FitBit data, keep up with Hangouts messages, and see which Wi-Fi networks you’re connected to. It also has the added benefit of working on the lockscreen as well. To make things sweeter, DashClock and most of its extensions are available for free.

Fancy Widgets

Fancy Widgets hasn’t changed all that much over the past several years, so if you like Android’s old look and feel, this may be the way to go. It offers an assortment of snazzy homescreen decorations that come in many shapes and sizes. It’s not enough that you can add a clock that tells the time – you can pick from many different styles. There are widgets for the weather, naturally, as well as an option to view the current phase of the moon.

Fancy Widgets has its own marketplace that’s filled with options, so if there isn’t something here you like, keep searching. Something is bound to turn up, though many of the widgets may require the $2.59 unlock key.

HD Widgets

Similar to Beautiful Widgets, HD Widgets makes quite a bit of information and functionality available at a single glance. In addition to weather forecasts that extend out several days, the app also provides widgets for toggling Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, Airplane mode, and other features it’s nice to have quick access to. There are many themes to choose from and an extent of customization options. The app goes for $1.99

Conclusion

It’s possible to mix and match a few of these bundles, so feel free to experiment. While there is a certain amount of variance between each collection, some of them aren’t all that different from one another, meaning you don’t have to sacrifice much in the way of looks to get the functionality you want.

If you know of a bundle of widgets that wasn’t mentioned here, feel free to share it with us below.

Bertel King, Jr.

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The 15 Best Android Apps Released In 2023

The best Android apps of 2023

Adobe Photoshop Camera

Price: Free

Adobe Photoshop Camera was one of the bigger Android app releases this year. It’s a camera app mixed with a photo editor. The camera portion includes filters, real-time effects, a portrait mode with bokeh controls, and over 100 lenses with varying effects. The editor side of the app lets you control all of those filters and effects. You also get an auto-tone feature and other fun stuff. It’s relatively new so it’s a bit one-dimensional, but it definitely has a lot of potential. We hope Adobe keeps making this one better over the course of the coming year.

Joe Hindy / Android Authority

Bazaart

Price: Free trial / $3.99 per month

Bazaart is a new photo editor app. It originally launched on iOS eight years ago and finally made its way to Android this year. It has a decent number of tools, including various stickers, basic tools like rotation, a manual background eraser tool, and other basic amenities. The app’s big feature is its automatic background removal tool. You use it to remove a photo’s background or you can substitute it with one from the app. There is even an option to export the photo with a transparent background and add your own later. Unfortunately, the removal tool is a subscription-only feature. The app isn’t nearly as good as the iOS version yet, but as long as the developers keep at it, this should be a good photo editor in the future.

Cubasis 3

Price: Free trial / $38.99

Cubasis 3 is an audio DAW and the mobile version of Steinberg’s popular Cubase audio editor. It’s a full DAW with support for unlimited audio tracks, 550 audio loops, support for various MIDI keyboards, and cloud storage. You can likely record, mix, and export an entire music album in this app. I didn’t personally go that far because I have the music skills of a small woodland animal, but this thing has more tools and functions than most other audio editor apps on Google Play. It’s a bit pricey, but you can restart the trial over and over until you’re sure you want to buy it.

Dolby On

Price: Free

Dolby On is a surprisingly excellent (and free) audio and video recorder. You can use it for music, lectures, podcasts, meetings, or any other instance where an audio recorder is useful. This one differs from most with a noise reduction tool, de-essing, volume tweaking, an EQ, and other audio editing tools. The feature list is so much longer than most similar apps. The video recorder is a little less impressive, but it’s definitely good enough for something like Facebook or TikTok. It’s also entirely free, making it an easy recommendation. I’m just as shocked as you are that something like this made it to the list, but it’s actually that good.

Firefox’s Daylight update

Price: Free

Firefox was always a good substitute for Chrome, but it got better in 2023. It introduced its Daylight update, a major revamp to the browser and its features. It received many of the best security features from Firefox Focus (Mozilla’s privacy browser) along with Enhanced Tracking Protection to better secure your privacy. The UI was revamped for a lighter, cleaner look too. Additionally, Firefox received a light and dark mode, picture-in-picture support, better extension support, and tons of under-the-hood changes. I’ve been using Firefox as my daily driver browser ever since, and it’s been a delightful experience. It even uses less battery than Chrome. You can read more about the Daylight update here.

GitHub

Price: Free

GitHub is one of the most popular open-source developer platforms on the internet. The service launched a new app earlier this year after launching the beta in 2023. The app lets you read, reply to, and react to issues and pull requests. You can also read and write code, merge pull requests, organize issues, and more. The UI is clean and there is a dark mode as well. There are some complaints that the app doesn’t have enough features, like push notifications for inbox messages. However, we expect it to improve over time so we’ll see how it turns out.

Joe Hindy / Android Authority

Microsoft’s three big app releases

Price: Free

Microsoft had a pretty big year in 2023. First, it re-launched its Microsoft Edge browser with Chromium. The new browser works with the revamped versions on macOS, iOS, and Windows with features like syncing. A few months later, it re-launched its new Microsoft Launcher. It integrates Microsoft’s to-do list app, calendar, and other services under a single roof, and it works quite well if you use all of Microsoft’s tools. Finally, Microsoft launched a math solver app (linked at the button below). It lets you scan in math problems and solves them for you. The app features step-by-step instructions on solving each problem and works with most high school level and some college-level math. All three Android apps are good.

Olauncher

Price: Free

Olauncher is a minimalist launcher. It omits many features like icon packs and graphics in favor of a simpler approach. There are some light customization options, but otherwise, it’s basically just a list of all of your apps. Even the app drawer is just another, longer list of your apps. There is a free version right now, with a premium one coming eventually. The premium version should have some extra features as well. For now, it’s a refreshingly light take on the Android home screen, and it still looks pretty good.

Oto Music

Pokémon Home

Price: Free trial / $2.99 per month / $15.99 per year

Pokémon Home was one of the bigger app releases in 2023. Pokémon Home lets players upload their collections from various games, transfer them to other titles, and perform some additional functions. You can even trade Pokémon with other players around the world, receive Mystery Gifts, and view the National Pokedex. This is obviously only useful for people who play the core Pokémon games, but it’s still a big release nonetheless. For more on Pokemon Home check out our guide.

Socratic by Google

Price: Free

Google purchased Socratic back in 2023. It eventually pulled it from the Play Store and re-launched it as a Google AI product. The re-launch was mostly the same as the original app. The only difference is that it now gets new updates from Google. The app works like Microsoft Math Solver but with more than just math. You can also take pictures of literature, biology, chemistry, and history problems as well. We’re sure more subjects are coming eventually. This might also end up as a Google Assistant feature someday.

Joe Hindy / Android Authority

Vivaldi Browser

Joe Hindy / Android Authority

Third place: Plexamp

Second place: Zoom

Price: Free / $149.99-$300 per year

Zoom technically wasn’t launched in 2023, but it was arguably the most popular and influential app of the year. It had a ton of issues and we outlined all of them in our list of the most controversial apps from this year. However, Zoom ended up fixing basically all of its problems. It reigns supreme as the most popular video conferencing app in a year where social distancing became really important. It boasts a user base of over 300 million users as of a few months ago.

The app lets you have conferences of up to 100 people. It also includes a whiteboard, a screen share function, a chat, and you can choose to go with or without video. There is also end-to-end encryption as of October 2023. Most complaints revolve around connection issues but when you go from a few thousand active users to hundreds of millions in a short time, that’s gonna happen. Zoom is one of the most memorable apps of 2023 no matter who you ask.

App of the Year: The Exposure API by Google and Apple

Price: Free

The biggest innovation in Android apps in 2023 was the Exposure API from Google. Apple has a similar one for iOS as well. The API lets apps track you without actually knowing who you are. When you come into contact with someone with COVID, the app can tell you without destroying anybody’s privacy. You can also report your COVID-19 diagnosis so other people can be warned if they came into contact with you. It’s quite the innovation especially when you consider how reactionary it was to a global pandemic. Unfortunately, a lot of regions around the world don’t have an app that uses this yet. Many with it didn’t do so well either. Here’s hoping it’s more useful in the next pandemic.

Joe Hindy / Android Authority

The best Android apps of 2023: honorable mentions

Every year we identify some apps that easily could’ve made this list but the article can only be so long. Here are ten more great Android apps that we wanted to mention but didn’t have space for in the list above:

Autosync 

Autosync is a universal cloud sync. You choose the cloud storage service of your choice, and then pick the folders on your phone you want to be synced. The app ensures everything in the folder is uploaded to the service. It works with Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, Box, MEGA, Nextcloud, ownCloud, Yandex Disk, and many others. It’s still in beta, but it works pretty well.

Barre 

Barre is a yoga app released in early 2023. It’s by the developers of Down Dog, another very popular yoga app. It blends yoga, ballet, and pilates to form a different kind of exercise routine. The app has done very well for itself and people seem to really like it.

Citra Emulator 

Citra Emulator is a Nintendo 3DS emulator and, as of the time of this writing, the first one on the Play Store. It launched to heavy fanfare in the emulator community. The developers are taking their time to fix bugs before announcing a full release. When it does, it’ll be the best in its class.

Epic Privacy Browser 

Epic Privacy Browser is a new browser with a heavy focus on privacy. It uses Chromium as a base so it works pretty well out of the box. It also has an ad-blocker, a proxy with a strict no-logging policy, and it blocks most trackers. There is also a video downloader and some customization elements. It’s definitely a good browser.

Facebook Gaming 

Facebook Gaming has an interesting history. It’s technically just a mobile app portal for Facebook’s existing live streaming platform for gamers. Facebook Gaming also swallowed up Microsoft’s Mixer community shortly after it shut down. It gave Facebook Gaming a bit of a boost in numbers.

HEY Email 

HEY Email made quite the splash this year when it launched. It focuses heavily on anti-spam and privacy. HEY has a neat feature where you can screen emails the same way you can screen calls. You can also do the usual email stuff, and the app does it rather well. It’s quite pricey so it’s only good for people who lean heavily on their email.

NVIDIA GeForce Now 

After a long beta period, NVIDIA officially launched its GeForce Now service in early 2023. It streams games online similar to Google Stadia. NVIDIA is a leader in gaming hardware, but the software is still in need of some polish. The most common complaints are the long queues and load times. It plays pretty well once you actually get into it.

TruePick’s 

TruePick’s is an Android customization app. It has a catalog of home screen set-ups for you to scroll through. It then links you to the proper wallpaper, icon pack, and KWGT widgets (when applicable) to recreate the experience on your phone. It’s had some ups and downs this year, but it seems to have hit its stride. We hope the developer continues to improve it.

Wavelet 

Wavelet is a pretty neat equalizer app. It not only equalizes your music, but it does it in such a way that it emulates other headphones. Wavelet has an auto-EQ mode, a nine-band equalizer, and some of the usual stuff like a bass booster. Poweramp also put a good equalizer in beta, but we’ll likely talk more about that one next year when it leaves beta.

Yuka 

Yuka was out in Europe for a while before its launch in the US earlier this year. The app lets you scan barcodes on food products and see an analysis of the product. It shows things like additives, calories, sodium, and other basic stats. Yuka focuses a little more on accessibility than in-depth analysis. It still works really well.

The Best Headphone Stands Of 2023

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Written By Dan Bergstein

Updated Jul 26, 2023 3:33 PM

You don’t park a Porsche on the lawn, you don’t keep a Tom Ford suit in a gym bag, and you shouldn’t place headphones on your desk like a half-empty bag of Doritos. The best headphone stands not only give your hi-fi cans a safe place to rest comfortably, they also add instant style and luxury to even the most ordinary desks. Some stands are gorgeous wooden statues. Some headphone hooks are designed for tight spaces, and others are equipped with USB ports and audio jacks, becoming a convenient hub for all of your office equipment. Whether you use headphones for games, conference calls, live streaming, home studio recording, or just to tune out the world while you work, the best headphone stand makes life easier. Of all the cool desk accessories, it’s a must-have for modern workspaces.

The best headphone stands: Reviews & Recommendations

Start with a style and then seek out the best headphone stand for your budget. Do you want to go big and bold with an impressive wooden stand, or do you only need a plastic hook on the side of the desk? Or, perhaps you need the safest of safe spaces for home studio equipment. Browse your options and find the best stand for your headphones. 

Best for gamers: Razer Base Station V2 Chroma

Gaming stands can be bulky and intimidating, but the Razer stand is a simple design hiding all the features you need. Dual USB 3.1 ports, 3.5mm audio jack with 7.1 surround sound, and RGB lighting are all crammed into this seemingly simple stand. The programmable light show syncs up to most games for impressive immersion. For gamers who want all the bells and whistles in a sleek stand, the Razer Base Station is the answer.

Best for creatives: Lamicall Desk Earphone Stand Best for kids: Havit RGB Dual Gaming Stand

Keep competitive kids happy with a double-headphone stand. The stand has impressive RGB lights to make it feel like a high-end gaming rig, but it won’t break the bank. Two USB ports keep phones and tablets charging. And the cord hook maintains all the wires… until the kids untangle it. The stand can safely support two pairs of headphones and holds up well against normal wear and tear. For anyone with kids — or a rowdy deskmate — this dual stand is a solid organizer. 

Best for gig workers: Brainwavz Hengja Desk Stand Hanger Mount

If you bounce around from office to office and project to project, you need a quick and secure way to store headphones in all types of environments. The metal Brainwavz Hengja headphone hook can be quickly attached to the edge of a desk or table that’s up to 1.5 inches thick. The clamp can hold every headphone type you use. However, there are recessed screws where the head band rests, and they could potentially scratch the headphones. This is great for people on the go, and it’s not ideal as a permanent stand solution for those with very expensive headphones. Best of all, at less than $15, it doesn’t matter if you forget and leave the stand at an old worksite. 

Best design: Grovemade Wooden Headphone Stand What to consider when shopping for the best headphone stands

No matter what type of desk or headphones you use, there’s a stand designed to fit your space. Materials vary from hardwood to plastic with every type of finish and color imaginable. Prices can skyrocket past $100 if you’re looking for an elegant desk accessory. But you can also find stylish stands and headphone hooks for less than $15. Think about your workspace and explore your options for the very best option. 

Do you have the space for a headphone stand?

Looking at pictures of headphone stands, you may think they’re all big, beefy blocks that eat up your workspace. But the best headphone stands are designed to keep things clean and organized, just as any good piece of office equipment should. While some may seem imposing, they can actually give you even more room to work. Lifting the headphones up and out of the way clears space, and some stands’ cord organizers and USB hubs add even more ways to manage your work area. 

If you have zero square inches of free space on the desk, consider a headphone hook. These handy holders easily attach to the sides of any desk or flat surface, and the headphones hang down from the desk and stay out of your way. This is a great solution for shared desks and open offices.

Are you worried about damaging your headphones?

If you spent a lot of money on a great set of headphones, you don’t want anything to ding or damage your beloved gear. Over time, hard hooks made of metal can create dents and creases in the padding of headphones with a cushioned or leather head strap. You’ll need a more delicate model made of softer material—a well-designed stand with a gentle curved hook will help eliminate unwanted marks. Avoid anything with sharp angles and boxy corners. The headphone stand should look organic, sturdy, and smooth, not like a flimsy wire coat hanger. And make sure the stand has a nonslip base with a low center of gravity to avoid potential tumbles.

Do you want USB and aux ports?

Most stands are simple, freestanding units that don’t need to be plugged in. But if you like your stand feature-rich, get one with USB ports and audio jacks that help tame a jungle of wires. Plugging your headphones directly into the stand is easier than stringing the cable directly to your computer every time you want to listen to music. And USB ports turn the headphone stand into a charging hub for other gadgets. The extra features don’t add much to the price of the stand, so picking a stand with lots of options isn’t a matter of cost — it’s about personal taste.

What style speaks to you?

Every stand makes a statement. Sleek wooden stands show the world that you’re an audiophile who takes the art of sound seriously. RGB stands equipped with color-changing LED lights scream to the world, “Fun!” and are great for gamers and streamers who love electric flair. If you’re not sure how to define your style, a classic metal headphone stand is the perfect all-around desk accessory. Keep an eye on the price tag, as stylish, designer stands can quickly fall into the luxury price category. But these more expensive stands not only look sharp, but they are also built of high-quality material sure to last decades. If you need a practical stand for the crowded shared office, you may not want to spend a lot. If the stand is for your home office or gaming rig, it may be worth the extra money to get yourself a top-shelf stand that makes a bold statement.    

How many headphone stands do you need?

A dual headphone stand can safely manage two sets of headphones. Why would you have two headphones? First, these are great pieces of office equipment for shared workspaces. Second, they are great for families. And third, they are handy for audiophiles and home studio engineers who use headphones on a daily basis. Dual stands save space and prevent headphones from getting lost. And they often don’t cost more than a single stand. Plus, there’s no law that says you can’t use the additional hook for watches, ID lanyards, sunglasses, or fedoras—or even as a perch for a well-trained parrot. 

FAQs

The Best Heated Vests Of 2023

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Written By Jackson Cooper

Updated Jan 28, 2023 8:09 AM

Innovations in winter weather gear like heated vests and clothing are designed to bring amazing warmth without cumbersome extra layers. The best heated vests will give you an extra boost of warmth and comfort, and even allow you to customize the temperature and locations where you feel the heat. And, they will fit well, promote overall well-being by harnessing heat to improve circulation, and relieve back and shoulder tension with their comforting warmth.

Designed using low voltage, they are safe and cannot cause any serious injury to the wearer. They use lightweight wiring and rechargeable lithium-ion batteries to discreetly warm your core while appearing to look like a typical, stylish outdoor vest. The thin heating elements are fully concealed within the garment and are protected by a waterproof membrane, so you don’t need to worry about rain. Keep reading for the best heated vests that are warm, safe, lightweight, and will work for hours, allowing you to work and play outdoors this winter in style.

How we chose the best heated vests

While some people use the cold as an excuse to spend months mostly inside, this is not the case for all. Grumble less this winter by investing in the right gear to keep you warm and comfortable. To find the best heated vests, we tested them personally, looked at reviews, recommendations, gathered impressions, and conducted thorough research. The last thing we want to do is leave you out in the cold with a heated vest that gives a wimpy, tepid hug instead of a warm, cozy embrace.

The best heated vests: Reviews & Recommendations

The best heated vests have strategically placed heat zones to bring warmth to your core, helping you to stay comfortable outdoors longer no matter how cold it gets. We’ve whittled our choices to a select few who bring the heat in the winter. One of these should leave you as snug as a bug in a rug.

Best overall: Foxelli Heated Vest

Why it made the cut: This vest has lots of heating zones, a detachable hood, and is wind-resistant—best of all, it’s machine washable.

Specs

Heat zones: 4

Battery life: 8 hours

Material: Polyester

Temperature settings: Low (95°F), Medium (110°F), High (130°F)

Pros

Detachable hood

Machine washable

Water and wind resistant

Cons

Some reviews note problems with the power bank

This rechargeable heated vest is a good option when you need more hours of warmth. The vest can adjust between three heat settings (low/medium/high) to customize comfort level and save on battery life. The vest offers four heating zones at the collar, back, and core, which are a nice addition for cold walks outdoors.

Best for men: ORORO Men’s Lightweight Heated Vest

Why it made the cut: It’s tailored to fit the body, and can even charge your phone. Plus, it heats up fast and can last for 10 hours.

Specs

Heat zones: 3

Battery life: 10 hours

Material: Nylon

Temperature settings: Low (100°F), Medium (120°F), High (130°F)

Pros

Quick heating

Machine washable

Zippered pockets

Cons

Might be too tight for bulkier jackets

Only a 10-degree difference between medium and high settings)

This heated vest for men is tailored neatly to the body and is machine washable. In seconds, the heating elements warm up the vest, which can be adjusted according to your comfort. It even includes a USB charging port within the vest battery that you can use for your cell phone. The company also sells vests for women, including this quilted heated vest.

Why it made the cut: A combination of nylon and duck down ensures you won’t face any chills this season.

Specs

Heat zones: 5

Battery life: 8 hours

Material: Nylon

Temperature settings: Low (86°F) Medium (113°F), High (131°F)

Pros

Lots of heat zones

Water-resistant

Down adds extra warmth

Cons

Heat can be hard to feel through heavier sweaters on lower tempertures

This women’s heated vest is tailored to fit snugly and uses a combination of nylon and duck down with multiple heating elements to provide long-lasting warmth. There are five heating zones, so more areas of your body will remain warm and you can pick from three heat settings. This vest includes a USB port to charge your smartphone and you’ll get about 8 hours of battery at the low heat setting and 3 at the high heat setting. We’re also fans of the GOBI Heated Vest for Women, pictured below. It’s lightweight, and the wind- and water-resistant material really keeps you warm in the elements.

Best for winter sports: ORORO Men’s Fleece Heated Vest

Why it made the cut: This heated fleece vest adds an extra layer of coziness while you’re in the great outdoors.

Specs

Heat zones: 3

Battery life: 10 hours

Material: 50% polyester, 50% cotton

Temperature settings: Low, Medium, High

Pros

Machine washable

Phone charging capabilities

Heats up fast

Cons

Battery is on the heavy side

This ORORO heated vest is a great choice for winter sports enthusiasts as the fleece provides warmth and breathability. Carbon fiber heating elements heat up three areas of the body quickly and temperature levels can be adjusted for your comfort, especially when you start sweating. Added perks: It’s machine washable and includes a USB charger for your phone.

Best for outdoor work: ARRIS Vest

Why it made the cut: The heating material is made from carbon fiber, giving you peace of mind when it comes to safety.

Specs

Heat zones: 7

Battery life: 3-12 hours depending on temperature

Material: Polyester

Temperature settings: 5 heat settings: pre-heat (104°F), low (122°F), medium (140°F), high (158°F), very high (176°F)

Pros

Size-adjustable

Lots of temperature settings with a wide range of temperatures

Controllable heat zones

Cons

Charger sold separately

This Arris heated vest is a great choice for outdoor work as it offers a wide range of adjustable heat zones and temperature settings. Each of the 7 heating zones can be controlled and turned off or on as you move from indoors to outdoors and back again. Additional safety features include powering down if the vest gets too hot.

Best for motorcyclists: Gerbing Men’s 7V Battery Heated Vest Liner

Why it made the cut: This thin vest liner is slim enough to wear under a jacket for hours of comfort while riding around town.

Specs

Heat zones: 3

Battery life: 2-8 hours depending on heat setting

Material: Nylon exterior, polyester interior

Temperature settings: Max heat: 135°F

Pros

Thin and lightweight

Can be worn by itself or with a jacket

Drop tail for better coverage when riding

Cons

Battery short compared to other vests on this list

Don’t let the cold stop you from hitting the road on your motorcycle. This thin, lightweight vest from Gerbing—the OGs of heated motorcycle wear—keeps you warm without the bulk. Three heat zones keep you toasty on the road, and a 2-8 hour battery life means you’ll stay toasty. The company also sells heated jackets in case you’re looking for even more warmth. Passersby in cars will surely go, “That’s a nice motorcycle” when seeing you wear this heated vest while riding your bike.

Why it made the cut: The detachable hood lets you decide how you’d like to keep your ears warm—add a winter hat for extra toastiness.

Specs

Heat zones: 4

Battery life: 6-8 hours depending on heat setting

Material: Polyester, nylon

Temperature settings: Low (77°F), Medium (95°F), High (122°F)

Pros

Machine washable

Mylar thermal lining

Water-resistant

Cons

Runs small

Finding a vest with a hood is hard; finding a heated vest with a hood is even harder. This one from Norwell is an easy inclusion on this list thanks to its long battery life, water resistance, and machine-washing capabilities. Plus, the Mylar thermal lining keep you extra, extra warm—perfect when you run out of the house with a half-charged battery and need to make every bit of heat last.

Best budget: Anbero Heated Vest

Why it made the cut: At around $50, this unisex pick rivals some of its more expensive counterparts when it comes to the number of heat zones and temperature ranges.

Specs

Heat zones: 5

Battery life: 6-12 hours depending on heat setting

Material: Cotton, polyester

Temperature settings: Low (104-113°F), Medium (113-131°F), High (131°F-149°F)

Pros

Inner fleece lining

Lots of heating zones

Heats up fast

Cons

Heating elements on the small side

A great choice for keeping warm outdoors, this Anbero vest offers five heating zones and three temperature settings all with a simple zip-up unisex design. It is machine washable and lightweight, making it a good option for layering.

What to consider when buying the best heated vests Focus on heated vests that recharge fast

When it comes to getting dressed and out the door, we all want to do it fast and without fuss. In the cold winter months, this can inevitably take longer, and you’ll pay the price in comfort when you shortcut this process. With the addition of heated clothing, like heated insoles, you’ll find yourself needing fewer layers, which saves time—but you want to be sure your vest’s batteries are charged and ready to go. The best heated vests will have batteries that are easy and quick to recharge, heat the vest quickly upon wearing, and offer many hours of warmth and comfort between charges.

In order to get more hours of warmth out of your vest, compare vests based on the type of battery and method of charging, as well as the length of time it takes to heat up. Most models will offer adjustable temperature or zone settings, which will save on battery life and allow you to move the heat around the vest at just the right temperature for your comfort. A nice feature to look for is carbon fibers used as heat elements, as they allow for vests to heat up quickly.

Stay warm while engaging in winter sports

As winter sports enthusiasts know—it’s never too cold out, you just don’t have the right cold-weather gear. The best cold-weather clothing can mean hours more of outdoor time, which is essential for winter sports enthusiasts. They can be a critical extra layer that keep your core warm and your muscles relaxed throughout your sweat session. Getting extra warmth without extra bulk—like throwing on a pair of heated socks under your snow boots—will provide a full range of motion and keep you in the game.

The best options for winter sports will be lightweight and breathable with adjustable heat settings. The lighter the materials used, the less fatigue you will feel. After some time spent doing vigorous outdoor activities, you may feel both cold and sweaty, so breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics will be an important feature to keep you warm and dry. The best vests for winter sports will have multiple heating zones and customizable heat so you can warm up or cool down as you see fit. Finally, a securely fastened battery pack is essential when engaging in sports.

Look for extra warmth while you work

If your work takes you outside or in non-heated areas, you need to protect yourself from the elements with the best cold-weather gear. These vests will protect your core to keep you safe and warm and can easily coordinate with other work clothes or uniforms.

The best vest for outdoor work will be versatile and lightweight. It should be simple and classic in design, with hidden heat elements to make the garment look more work-appropriate. Because the weather can change dramatically when working outdoors, you want to select a vest that features multiple heat zones and adjustable temperature, as well as the ability to turn certain areas off and on. Adjustable sizing is a nice bonus as well, so it can fit under other layers or loosen to wear on top, depending on the day and the nature of your work.

FAQs Q: How much do the best heated vests cost?

Depending on the number of heat zones and other materials used, the best heated vests can cost between $50-$250.

Q: Are heated vests safe?

They are definitely safe to wear. Although there are thin electrical wires running through the vest, the voltage is so low that there is no risk of electrocution. The vest is heated with a removable, rechargeable lithium-ion battery that is discreetly sewn into the garment in an accessible location, and they all include a waterproof membrane to keep the wires and battery safe from water. Still, care should be taken to make sure the battery stays in good working order, discarding and replacing if it becomes damaged.

Q: How do I use a heated vest

?

Using a heated vest is simple and harnesses battery power to keep you warm. They have thin, lightweight wires placed within the garment and use a low charge to warm up. Some have Bluetooth connectivity so you can power up (or down) the heat by using an app on your smartphone.

Q: Can I wash heated vests?

They can be washed safely when following the manufacturer’s instructions. Typically, the first step will be to disconnect and remove the rechargeable battery, and zip away or seal any connector cables. Be sure to wash your vest with cool water with the machine’s gentle setting. Line drying the garment is usually recommended, with care not to squeeze or wring out the vest so as to keep the delicate wiring inside safe for your next use.

Q: Do I need to wear a jacket with my heated vest?

You don’t! You can keep your arms free when it’s not as chilly and throw on a sweatshirt or jacket once the weather starts to drop. How you’d like to wear your heated vest is up to you.

Final thoughts on the best heated vests

The Best Android Smartphones You’Ve Never Heard Of

Xiaomi Mi2

To be completely honest with you guys, I was already done with the article and was going to claim that the K-Touch Treasure V8 (it is detailed below) is the best smartphone that you’ve never heard of. And then Xiaomi has just announced the Mi2, an Android 4.1 JellyBean smartphone that features the best specs in the entire Android ecosystem.

First, there’s the 4.3 inch IPS display manufactured by Sharp, one that works at a 1280×720 pixel resolution. Simple math skills show that the Xiaomi Mi2’s display has Pixel Per Inch (PPI) ratio of 341. By comparison, the Apple iPhone 4S showcases a PPI density of 326, while the Samsung Galaxy S3 features a PPI ratio of 306. Impressed? Wait, there is more!

On to the CPU, it’s a bit surprising to see that the Xiaomi Mi2 is the first smartphone in the world to use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core processor, the fastest smartphone CPU in the world at this moment. The GPU used by Qualcomm in their S4 Pro SoC is an Adreno 320, the fastest smartphone GPU in the world at this moment as well. Add 2GB of RAM memory and 16GB of internal memory, a 2000 mAh battery, as well as the 8MP camera on the back, and it becomes obvious that the Xiaomi Mi2 runs circles around every other Android smartphone in the world.

But the most impressive detail of them all is that the Mi2 will retail in the Chinese market for around 2000 Yuan (roughly $314). It is yet unclear if the Xiaomi Mi2 will reach other markets, but if it does, you better go ahead and grab one, since it offers the best specs in the world for just half the price of other top-end smartphones.

K-Touch Treasure V8

The second best smartphone that you probably never heard of is the K-Touch Treasure V8, a smartphone that K-Touch has shown off since MWC 2012 this February, although the Chinese manufacturer took the prototype back to the bench and has performed some upgrades since. The result is an Android 4.0 ICS smartphone (no updates to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean have been announced this far) that features a 4.5 inch display and looks a lot like some fat guy sat on an iPhone 4S. Running at a 1280×720 pixel resolution, it totals at an impressive 326 PPI ratio.

However, despite the fact the good resolution of the display, the main point of interest here is the Tegra 3 SoC, consisting out of a 1.5GHz quad-core A9 processor, the GeForce ULP GPU and 1 GB of RAM. Other specs include 16GB of internal memory and a 1820 mAh non-removable battery.

Unfortunately, hands-on reviewers have complained about the form factor and the quality of the build materials, but this isn’t something that should surprise you from a no-brand smartphone. In fact, you should expect all the smartphones on this list to feature build materials that are mediocre at best in quality.

The K-Touch Treasure V8 will reach the Chinese market at some point August and will be priced at 3,000 Yuan (roughly $480).

ZOPO Pilot ZP100

The oddly named ZOPO Pilot ZP100 is a global dual-SIM Android smartphone. And by global, I am referring to the fact that it can use both GSM networks as well as CDMA ones. Other than this unique and quite helpful feature, the ZOPO Pilot is your basic, no-name Android 4.0 ICE smartphone.

The Zopo Pilot features a 4.3 inch LCD display manufactured by Sharp, a display that works at 960×540 pixels at 256 PPI.

Internal specs include a 1GHz single-core A9 CPU, a PowerVR SGX531 GPU and 512 MB of RAM. The ZOPO Pilot 100 has almost the exact same specs as the BLU vivo 4.3, minus a processor core. Upsides include CDMA support and a $200 price tag, $50 less than that of the BLU vivo.

Conclusion

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