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The best touchscreen laptops

Digital Trends

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***Original post published on Digital Trends***

When we talk about touchscreens, they’re usually in reference to phones, tablets, 2-in-1s, convertibles, and all-in-one PCs. After all, that’s where touchscreens are best utilized, especially when touch-based input is at the forefront of your computing experience. But regardless of how much Steve Jobs hated them, there’s a crowd that wouldn’t mind a traditional clamshell laptop with a screen supporting touch.

Below you will find a mixture of Chromebooks and Windows 10 PCs. Our favorite is the HP Spectre 15 as seen in our recent review, sporting a 13.3-inch screen and an eighth-generation Intel Core i7-8550U processor. We also chose a great option for a premium experience, and a great solution if you’re on a tight budget. Our picks for the best Chromebook and budget-friendly options have locked specifications and prices while our other selections have configurations you can customize through the manufacturer.

Our Pick

HP Spectre 13

best touchscreen laptops

Why you should buy this: This touch-enabled laptop provides excellent performance backed by a solid battery, and a beautiful yet thin and light form factor.

Who’s it for: Customers willing to purchase a laptop above the $1,200 mark.

How much will it cost: $1,249+

Why we picked the HP Spectre 13:

For this model, HP provides two configurations with a starting price of $1,249 although we reviewed the higher-end model. The big difference between the two is the underlying processor: a seventh-generation Core i7-7500U in one model, and an eighth-generation Core i7-8550U in the other. Both provide the same amount of system memory and storage, but the seventh-generation version is slightly bigger in size due to two additional speakers.

As the specifications show, the laptop measures just 0.41 inches thick, and weighs 2.45 pounds. Complementing this thin and light form factor is a cooling system that enables the full potential of Intel’s chip without causing excessive heat and possible performance bottlenecks. The system also includes dynamic power settings that adjusts to the current application, so you get high performance when you need it, enabling a longer battery duration.

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Screen size:13.3 inches
Screen type:In-Plane Switching
Resolution:1,920 x 1,080
Processor:Intel Core i7-7500U
Intel Core i7-8550U
Graphics:Intel HD Graphics 620
Intel UHD Graphics 620
Memory:8GB LPDDR3 @ 1,600MHz
Storage:256GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
Audio:2x Bang & Olufsen speakers
4x Bang & Olufsen speakers
Connectivity:Wireless AC (up to 867Mbps)
Bluetooth 4.0
Bluetooth 4.2
Ports:2x Thunderbolt 3
1x USB-C (Gen1)
1x Headphone/microphone jack
Camera:HP TrueVision HD IR camera
Battery:38.0 WHr (9.75 hours)
43.7 WHr (11.5 hours)
Dimensions:12.80 x 9.03 x 0.41 inches
12.13 x 8.83 x 0.41 inches
Weight:2.45 pounds
Color:Dark ash silver
Ceramic White
Starting price:$1,249

Best 15-inch touchscreen laptop

HP Envy 15t

best touchscreen laptops

Why you should buy this: Here’s another premium touch-enabled laptop manufactured by HP, but at a far lower cost.

Who’s it for: Customers wanting high performance for a reduced price.

How much will it cost: Starting at $1,019 (currently reduced to $719)

Why we picked the HP Envy 15t:

Here’s another touch-capable laptop from HP. This model isn’t quite as expensive, but still provides a premium experience for a lower price. It’s based on two seventh-generation Intel Core i7 processors, and provides two resolution options when purchasing through HP’s website: 1,920 x 1,080, and 3,840 x 2,160. Memory configurations span between 8GB and 16GB using two memory slots.

With the current two, the Core i7-7560U is the newer chip, but has a slower base speed than the older Core i7-7500U processor. Either way, for a starting price of $1,019 (or $719, even better), the HP Envy 15t is a great buy for non-gaming use.

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Screen size:15.6 inches
Screen type:In-Plane Switching
Resolution:1,920 x 1,080
3,840 x 2,160
Processor:Intel Core i7-7500U
Intel Core i7-7560U
Graphics:Intel HD Graphics 620
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 620
Memory:8GB DDR4 @ 2,133MHz
12GB DDR4 @ 2,133MHz
16GB DDR4 @ 2,133MHz
Storage:256GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
360GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
512GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
1TB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
1TB HDD (5,400RPM) + 128GB M.2 SSD
1TB HDD (5,400RPM) + 256GB M.2 SSD
Audio:2x Bang & Olufsen speakers
Connectivity:Wireless AC (up to 867Mbps)
Bluetooth 4.2
Ports:1x USB-C (Gen1)
3x USB-A (Gen1)
1x HDMI
1x Headphone/microphone jack
1x SD card reader
Camera:HP Wide Vision HD Webcam
HP TrueVision HD IR Camera
Battery:52 WHr (up to 7 hours)
Dimensions:14.96 x 10.04 x 0.71 inches
Weight:4.8 pounds
Color:Silver
Starting price:$719

Best 15-inch touchscreen Chromebook

Acer Chromebook 15

best touchscreen laptops

Why you should buy this: Acer’s solution is the largest Chromebook to date, and is backed by premium components.

Who’s it for: Customers looking for a premium computing experience outside the Windows platform.

How much will it cost: $399

Why we picked the Acer Chromebook 15:

This is Acer’s largest Chromebook to date, and we thought it was a great. There’s only one configuration available, which consists of an Intel Pentium N4200 processor, 4GB of system memory, and 32GB of storage. That’s not a lot of space, of course, but Chrome OS wasn’t designed to download and install programs. On that same note, the platform now supports Google Play and Android apps, so Acer helps alleviate your storage woes with a built-in SD card reader.

Notable features in Acer’s Chromebook include a 15.6-inch screen supporting wide viewing angles, deep colors, and a Full HD resolution. There are also two USB-C ports, both of which can be used to charge the Chromebook. Meanwhile, all four USB ports are capable of video output and wired networking using a compatible adapter (although Google would likely rather you purchase a Chromecast for pushing your screen on an external display). Other ingredients include a 720p webcam and Wireless AC networking.

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Screen size:15.6 inches
Screen type:In-Plane Switching
Resolution:1,920 x 1,080
Processor:Intel Pentium N4200
Graphics:Intel HD Graphics 505
Memory:4GB LPDDR4
Storage:32GB
Audio:2x speakers
Connectivity:Wireless AC
Bluetooth 4.2
Ports:2x USB-C (Gen1)
2x USB-A (Gen1)
1x Headphone / microphone combo
1x SD card reader
Camera:720p Webcam
Battery:Up to 12 hours
Dimensions:14.9 x 10.1 x 0.75 inches
Weight:4.30 pounds
Color:Silver
Price:$399

Best touchscreen laptop on a budget

Dell Inspiron 15 5567-3655GRY

Best touchscreen keyboards

Why you should buy this: Dell’s Inspiron 15 5567 is a decent touch-based 15.6-inch solution based on a seventh-generation CPU, and a Full HD screen.

Who’s it for: Customers seeking a touch-based laptop for under $600

How much will it cost: $589

Why we picked the Dell Inspiron 15 5567:

Finally, we have a great touch-based laptop for under $600. It’s based on Intel’s seventh-generation Core i5-7200U processor, and the chip’s integrated HD Graphics 620 component. This combo powers a 15.6-inch screen with a Full HD resolution, and is backed by 8GB of system memory running at a decent 2,400MHz and a rather slow hard drive spinning at a mere 5,400 rotations per minute.

As for other features, this laptop provides three USB ports, HDMI-based video output for external monitors and HDTVs, wired networking, an SD card slot, and a 720p infrared camera that supports Windows 10 facial recognition via Windows Hello. Unfortunately, the Wireless AC component is capped at 433Mbps, which is half of what you typically see in most laptops sold on the market.

Note that if you want more oomph out of a laptop, there’s a version with a discrete GeForce GTX 1050 graphics chip for $100 more.

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Screen size:15.6 inches
Screen type:Twisted Nematic
Resolution:1,920 x 1,080
Processor:Intel Core i5-7200U
Graphics:Intel HD Graphics 620
Memory:8GB DDR4 @ 2,400MHz
Storage:1TB 5,400RPM HDD
1x DVD burner
Audio:2x Waves MaxxAudio Pro speakers
Connectivity:Wireless AC (up to 433Mbps)
Bluetooth 4.2
Ports:2x USB-A (Gen1)
1x USB-A 2.0
1x HDMI 1.4a
1x SD card slot
1x Ethernet
Camera:720p IR camera
Battery:42WHr
Dimensions:10.20 x 15.35 x 0.92 inches
Weight:5.19 pounds
Color:Fog Gray
Price:$589

Editors’ Recommendations

***This post originally published on Digital Trends***

Digital Trends is a leading consumer technology publisher helping people navigate an increasingly digital world. With easy-to-understand product reviews, entertaining news and videos, Digital Trends serves more than 30 million unique visitors each month. Digital Trends reaches 90 million tech influencers through their own media network, and its syndicate partners include Yahoo!, FOX News and more than 200 broadcast news stations. Digital Trends is headquartered in Portland, OR with offices in New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Detroit, and Chicago.

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Outfit the athlete in your life with one of the best gifts for runners

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***Original post published on Digital Trends***

Tis the season for hanging mistletoe, listening to holiday carols, and shopping ’til you drop. If you still have a runner on your list to find a gift for, you may be scrambling to try to track something down they’ll actually like. If you don’t run yourself, this daunting task is even harder — how are you supposed to know exactly what a runner wants for the holidays? You’re still trying to get your head around the fact people find it fun to jog in circles until they collapse.

Fear not, we’re here to help. We’ve rounded up the latest gadgets, coolest gear, and sleekest apparel in the running world to give you a hand with your shopping woes. Below, you’ll find the products we thought were the best gifts for runners this season. Whether they’re into trail running, road races, marathons, triathlons, or just jogging around the block, we found something for everyone.

best gifts for runners fuelbelt ultralight belt lifestyle

This amazing little hydration gadget has the ability to revolutionize anyone’s running game. The extremely lightweight belt features two ergonomically shaped plastic bottles which sit smoothly against the fabric and fit perfectly into the curve of their hand when they go to have a drink. With Helium Hex airflow, the water is easy to drink and its clip-lock security bottle holster keeps the dishwasher-safe bottles free from bouncing around during a run. Featuring a unisex design, its fits runners of any size.

Buy it now:

Amazon

best gifts for runners night trek shoe lights lifestyle

If the person you’re shopping for is someone who likes to run at night, these LED shoe lights will help keep them visible while also allowing them to avoid rocks, ruts, and sidewalk cracks. The water-resistant contraptions blast 150 lumens up to 30 or more feet ahead of the runner, offering light to illuminate whatever surface they’re jogging on. Rear-facing red tail lights also let drivers know where they’re at and the whole unit offers 270 degrees of visibility. The devices clip on securely, delivering three to five hours of light in one stretch of battery life.

Buy it now:

Amazon

best gifts for runners arc teryx norvan sl jacket lifestyle 1

This lightweight trail running jacket is constructed with ShakeDry, a type of Gore-Tex technology that doesn’t have face fabric, allowing it to weigh less than similar Gore-Tex shells. The breathable, packable jacket clocks in at just 4.2 ounces and can be compressed into a tiny ball. Lastly, the waterproof hood rolls back and snaps together so it doesn’t flap around when not in use.

Buy it now:

Moosejaw

best gifts for runners balega silver ion socks lifestyle

They will never experience softer, more securely fitting training socks than Balega’s Silver Ion line. Unlike many runner’s socks which constantly slide down and bunch up around the heel, these offer compressive arch support bands that keep them fitting snugly — there’s even a high heel tab that hugs the inside of shoes and an extra deep heel pocket to prevent sliding. The design also encourages a more natural foot movement and improved circulation. This line of Balega socks uses technology that encapsulates the sock fibers in silver ions to create enhanced antibacterial properties which, paired with the fabric’s Drynamix moisture management, keeps the runner’s feet dry and odor-free.

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Amazon

best gifts for runners yaxtrax run traction device lifestyle

There are fair-weather runners and then there are die-hards who get outside to train in the rain, sleet, snow, and hail. If you’re shopping for the latter runner, YaxTrax’s device is a game changer for them. The anatomically designed product fits snugly on their shoe and is built with strong rubber, 1.4-millimeter steel coils, and carbide steel spikes, allowing them to winterize their running shoes and train more safely on snow and ice. It offers traction for temperatures as low as ‑41 degrees Fahrenheit and, as a bonus, has a reflective heel tab for night training.

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Amazon

best gifts for runners katadyn befree collapsible flask lifestyle

This lightweight, award-winning water flask has a built-in filter, allowing runners to “be free” of the hunt for hydration, filling up their bottles virtually anywhere and letting the flask’s EZ-Clean Membrane clean it up for them. It features a gentle-squeeze top and a removable filter that easily pops out for a quick rinse. The collapsible design even allows it to fit into small backpacks and some pockets.

Buy it now:

Amazon

best gifts for runners scarpa spin lifestyle2 1

The Spin is a sleek trail running shoe that offers high-level performance without the cumbersome bells and whistles. The shoe performs fabulously on technical terrain, allowing runners to tackle hills faster and enjoy precise foot control. It features a Vibram outsole with Megagrip technology, a high-density rock plate, and a mesh upper with welded PU overlay. All told, it’s a great running shoe that offers superior stability in a simple, minimalist package.

Buy it now:

Amazon

best gifts for runners aftershokx trekx titanium lifestyle

When they’re out jogging around, they need music to get in the zone and this gadget from AfterShokz is essentially the Cadillac of running headphones. The wireless, open ear design showcases bone conduction technology, a method which delivers music through someone’s cheekbones, allowing their ears to stay open to their surroundings. This maintains their situational awareness, keeping them safer while also allowing them the ability to listen to their favorite tunes. The Bluetooth 4.1 offers perfect syncing to a smartphone, the sound quality is stellar, and the titanium wraparound headband keeps the device securely in place.

Buy it now:

Amazon

best gifts for runners garmin forerunner 935

Garmin’s Forerunner 935 is one of the best sport watches available for runners, particularly those who regularly participate in races, marathons, and triathlons. The device tracks heart rate, sleep, calories burned, personal records, steps, and other fitness metrics while they run. The lightweight watch also delivers smart notifications, allow for automatic workout uploads and syncs with Strava Live Segments to let them compete with their friends. With interchangeable bands, they can swap out a variety of options for a different style, making it a versatile, top-of-the-line running accessory.

Buy it now:

Amazon

best gifts for runners spy hunt sunglasses lifestyle

Happy runners are fast, effective runners. This cool pair of shades from SPY boasts Happy Lens technology that filters out bad short-wave blue light, allowing more long-wave blue light to penetrate the lens. The idea is that with more of this type of ray — which has been connected to improvements in mood — it will theoretically boost their happiness and make for a more enjoyable run or outdoor activity. The lens technology also offers stellar visual clarity, enhancing colors and contrast to make training safer and more effective. These “trail to tavern” sunglasses even have a stylish, casual frame with sturdy Grilamid material which allows them to look as good as they function.

Buy it now:

Amazon

Editors’ Recommendations

***This post originally published on Digital Trends***

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Verizon will help you watch the NFL … even if you’re not a Verizon customer

Digital Trends

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***Original post published on Digital Trends***

Verizon and the NFL have been bedfellows dating back to 2010, and until now, only customers of Big Red — the largest mobile service provider in the country — were able to stream pro football live from their mobile devices (categorized as devices with screens smaller than 7 inches).

Big change is on the horizon. On Monday, December 11, Verizon has announced the completion of a previously rumored deal that gives the company exclusive rights to stream in-market games live to any device, regardless of size (!) or mobile carrier (!!). The most obvious beneficiary of the deal — reportedly worth $2 billion over five years — is Yahoo, which Verizon purchased last year for nearly $5 billion (though the sum was reduced earlier this year following a series of hacks at Yahoo). In addition to the NFL mobile app and the go90 app, a Verizon property, fans will be able to stream games live via Yahoo.com or the Yahoo Sports app, even if they’re not Verizon subscribers.

The deal will take effect in January 2018, and includes the following contests, regardless of network: In-market Sunday games, nationally televised games (Sunday, Monday, and Thursday, preseason and regular season), playoff games, and even the Super Bowl, which is scheduled for February 4 this season. To view out-of-market games that aren’t nationally televised, you’ll need to go through a different channel.

Interestingly, Verizon has decided to sacrifice its exclusive rights to streaming NFL content in favor of a more holistic approach, perhaps designed to drive traffic to Verizon’s Oath subsidiaries (including Yahoo and AOL; Yahoo’s traffic has declined considerably over the past few years) while simultaneously building good faith among non-Verizon football fans. Given the NFL’s ratings crisis — the media-averse league (which still doesn’t allow highlights on YouTube) seems to be on the decline, compared to millennial-friendly leagues like the NBA — this could also signal intentions to reach a younger, more smartphone-dependent market.

The Yahoo Sports app is available on both iOS and Android devices, as are the go90 app (iOS here, Android here) and the official NFL mobile app (iOS here, Android here). You can also watch via the Yahoo or NFL apps on various streaming devices, like any Roku or the Amazon Fire TV. In addition to live game streams, the deal grants fans access to NFL highlights, weekly coverage, and “a robust set of jointly developed original content.”

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***This post originally published on Digital Trends***

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The best ad blockers for Chrome

Digital Trends

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***Original post published on Digital Trends***

If you’ve decided once and for all that you can’t stand another video pre-roll commercial or flashing and blinking advert on the side of the article you’re reading, it may be time to install an ad blocker. But which one? There are plenty of apps and extensions that block pop ups, so we dug through them all to pick out the best ad blockers for Chrome.

It’s important to note when you install an ad blocker though, that many of the world’s free websites, Digital Trends included, rely on advertising revenue to operate. If you want your favorite sites to continue working as you see them now, make sure to whitelist the ones you love.

AdBlock

best ad blockers for chrome adblock01

As one of the most widely used ad blockers in the world, we would be remiss if we didn’t at least give a passing mention to Adblock. With its very on-the-nose name and long-running availability, it’s often what people turn to when they consider blocking adverts online today.

The AdBlock extension for Chrome works automatically, blocking adverts on static web pages and online video sites like Youtube. It also lets you set up whitelists of sites and advert types to allow through the filter if you so choose. Through its filter list subscription system, you can customize your web browsing experience so that only ads you like are shown, or untick everything and have just about everything blocked.

You can even have it remove other web-page aspects you find distasteful, like social networking links, and protect you against some malware attacks.

Adblock does participate in the “Acceptable Ads” initiative, so there are adverts it allows through (if you choose) that meet certain requirements. AdBlock is also known to a be little resource heavy too, especially if you like to have a lot of tabs open at one time and there have been some claims of it not blocking Youtube adverts particularly well.

Arguably not the best ad blocker on our list, AdBlock remains a solid choice, but don’t be afraid to look elsewhere.

AdBlock Plus

best ad blockers for chrome adblockplus01

AdBlock Plus is the original granddaddy of blocking adverts online and it’s still just as popular today as it was when it first took the web by storm. Combining blocking technology that takes out banner adverts video pre-roll ads, social networking ads, and popups, it offers a comprehensive ad blocking service to all who install its Chrome extension.

With an easy-to-navigate interface and customizable filter list, you can decide exactly what adverts you want to see and which ones you never want to see again. Its whitelisting function lets you make sure your favorite sites still display ads so they can continue to operate and if you allow acceptable ads you can let a few through automatically to help sites that stick to the rules.

One problematic element of AdBlock Plus is that reportedly it accepts payments from some advertisers to automatically whitelist their adverts. You can still opt-out of them, but it is an opt-out, rather than an opt-in system.

UBlock Origin

best ad blockers for chrome ublockorigin

Entirely free and open source, UBlock Origin is another popular ad blocking extension for Google Chrome because it does a great job at blocking the ads without taxing your system in the process. With more than 10 million users as of 2017, it remains one of the most well-used ad blockers out there today.

Utilizing similar block lists to AdBlock Plus, UBlock offers comparable blocking capabilities but by leveraging surveying what style resources are required for individual web pages, it is able to be more efficient in its operation. It has also been noted for its specific ability to counter pesky pop-under adverts which have become more common as more browsers come with their own pop-up blockers.

Users can also leverage UBlock’s own filters for ads, badware, and privacy concerns, as well as their own custom created filters. Individual sites can be whitelisted by hitting the big power-button inside the tool itself, and there are detailed stat breakdowns to let you know how effective a tool it has been since installation.

AdGuard

best ad blockers for chrome adguard01

Another popular ad blocker for Chrome is AdGuard. Capable of effectively blocking almost all kinds of ads across static web pages, video streaming sites, and social networks, AdGuard even keeps an eye out for pop-up and pop-under ads too.

The lightweight Chrome extension has additional options for blocking tracking and the installation of nefarious software like dialers, adware and other malware. One of its biggest claims to fame is its ability to speed up your web browsing experience and reduce your bandwidth by cutting back on all the needless clutter that comes along with some ads and trackers.

Some users have reported annoying notifications that try to encourage you to purchase the premium version, but other than that, AdGuard has near universally positive reviews from its millions of users.

Ghostery

1286004 autosave v1 ghostery01

Although it operates a little differently to some of the other ad blockers on this list, Ghostery is still a very useful tool for customizing your web browsing experience to how you like it. Its primary function is blocking web trackers and analytics tools that harvest information about you, but it also has its own effective ad blocker.

What really draws people to Ghostery over some of the other available alternatives is its deeper options for users. If you want to block specific trackers or advert types, you can. To make that easy, even for those new to the idea, Ghostery breaks down every page you visit with detailed information of the types of trackers and adverts being employed by that particular site. You can then remove elements at will, or make wider, sweeping blocks.

The only real drawback of Ghostery is that you do need to spend some time to tell it how you want it to operate. While other ad blockers function well enough all-in, if you try to do that with Ghostery you may find many aspects of the web non-functional. Take a little time to get it right though and Ghostery may become your favorite tool for customizing your web browsing experience.

Other considerations

Pi-Hole

If you want to go well beyond just blocking adverts in Chrome, Pi-Hole offers an advanced solution that will block adverts on all devices browsing the web in your home. You’ll need a Raspberry Pi to do it and some measure of technical expertise, but it works by funnelling all your internet traffic through the Pi and filtering the content that reaches your devices.

Using the web-interface you can manage your browsing experience on any device, monitor traffic and ads blocked, as well as reduce the load on your network by blocking ads before they’re even downloaded. It’s an advanced solution but one to consider for those really fed up with the modern state of internet browsing.

ScriptSafe

No ad blocker is 100 percent effective. Sometimes those little videos buried somewhere in a tab you’ve forgotten about sneak through and sometimes a script runs in the background without you even knowing. One of the most effective ways to stop them in their tracks is to use ScriptSafe. Although it’s not quite as effective as the likes of NoScript on Firefox, ScriptSafe does an excellent job of blocking most Java, JavaScript, and other scripts that run automatically on websites you visit.

Do take note however, that it can be a little heavy-handed and block content you legitimately wanted to view. Fortunately, there are customization options and manual commands for running them as and when you like.

Malwarebytes

If you’re looking to block adverts because you are concerned about their potential to spread malware as well as annoyance, a standard advert blocker may not be enough. Tools like MalwareBytes with active real-time protection against redirects and malicious sites can go a long way to protecting you online and can augment already installed advertising blockers like the ones recommended above.

Editors’ Recommendations

***This post originally published on Digital Trends***

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