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But how many of them are willing to spend the money it takes to ensure that their products hold up after the sale has been made, and to service the product if it breaks?

Those are important questions for customers to ask before they buy–and the key questions of our annual Reliability and Service Survey. Each year we survey thousands of our readers to find out which hardware manufacturers have the best–and worst–product reliability and customer service and support.

This year’s response was unprecedented: 79,000 of you rated the tech products you use. With such a large pool of survey data, we learned a great deal about the companies that make laptops, desktops, smartphones, HDTVs, cameras, and printers. Here’s the mile-high view of what we found.

–Put simply, products made by Apple, Asus, Brother, and Canon are typically reliable and well supported.

–Products made by Dell and Hewlett-Packard often aren’t, especially if you’re a home user.

–Laptops are slightly more reliable than before, and have fewer serious problems than desktops.

–Business PC customers are generally more satisfied than their consumer counterparts.

And there’s much, much more.

After you read this article, you may want to jump to PCWorld’s Facebook page, where readers can add their own stories of product reliability and vendor service.

Winners and Losers

Apple once again smoked the competition in the desktop, notebook, and smartphone categories, winning high praise from customers in all reliability and service categories. The Macintosh and iPhone maker did so well that virtually all its scores were above average. Apple’s only average scores were related to the company’s deftness at replacing failed notebook components, and in two areas pertaining to serious problems with the iPhone, the latter perhaps stemming from the iPhone 4’s well-publicized antenna issue that resulted in dropped calls for some users.

Asus did well in ratings among both desktop and laptop owners, though it is best known in North America for its low-cost netbooks. These mini-notebooks have often been the target of derision over the past two years, with critics calling them cheaply made and hard to use. While some netbooks may fit that description, our readers say that Asus portables are, in general, highly reliable.

Canon, which like Apple, is a perennial favorite of PCWorld readers, again rocked the printer and camera categories. It’s not alone at the top, however. In our survey, Panasonic has surpassed Canon in camera reliability, and Brother is gaining popularity among printer users.

Panasonic, the biggest proponent of plasma HDTVs in a market increasingly dominated by LCD models, has a slight edge over LG and Sony. And smartphone users, in addition to praising the iPhone, are particularly happy with Verizon Wireless cell service and with handsets built by HTC. Research In Motion’s BlackBerry phones, however, get low marks for ease of use.

Dell and HP, two of the tech industry’s largest hardware manufacturers, disappointed us this year, particularly in desktops and laptops for home use and (in HP’s case) printers. (We address these two companies’ dismal showings below.)

Overall, it’s clear that many reliability and service problems persist, including defective components that fail out of the box, as well as poorly trained customer service representatives who are incapable of departing from a script.

Golden Apple

Can Apple do no wrong? Indeed, 2010 was a remarkable year for the world’s highest-valued tech company. In addition to unveiling the iPad, a touchscreen tablet that launched a new genre of mobile computing devices, Apple enjoyed record sales and profits. And now it’s won the trifecta by smoking the competition in our reader poll.

IDC computer analyst Bob O’Donnell attributes Apple’s popularity to the company’s stylish, well-made computers and its easy-to-use operating system. “It’s a combination of having high-quality hardware–you pay a premium for it–and a software experience that’s more straightforward,” he says. “And if you have fewer questions, you typically have fewer problems.”

Apple is very good at offering extras too. “You have things like the Genius Bar at all the Apple stores. People literally walk in with their systems, and the [support] guy sits there and says, ‘Oh, yeah, you’ve got to do this, this, and this,’” O’Donnell adds. “It gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling: ‘They’re taking care of me.’ Nobody has anything close to that on the PC side.”

Asus Ascends

The impressive showing by Asus caught our attention as well. This Taiwan-based manufacturer sells an assortment of desktops, such as its all-in-one EeeTop models, and full-size notebooks. But its Eee PC family of mini-notebooks “pioneered the whole netbook concept,” according to ABI Research, and remains the company’s claim to fame, at least in North America.

Our survey doesn’t distinguish between netbooks and laptops, but industry analysts say that any distinction between those categories is irrelevant where reliability is concerned. According to ABI Research analyst Jeff Orr, “Netbooks are made by the same vendors on the same assembly lines as laptop computers. I am not seeing any significant quality differences between netbooks and laptops that use comparable materials. One could argue that lower-cost materials are being substituted, but again this is not being seen.”

Asus shipped 396,000 portable PCs in the United States in the third quarter of 2010, and 201,000 of those were netbooks, according to technology industry research firm IDC. Netbooks may get a bad rap as shoddily built machines, but our survey results suggest this isn’t the case–at least not with Asus gear.

Dell and HP: No More Excuses

Combined, Dell and HP ship nearly half of all PCs sold in the U.S. According to tech industry research firm IDC, HP had just over 24 percent of the American PC market and Dell owned 23 percent in the third quarter of 2010. (Apple and Acer placed a distant third and fourth, each holding 10-plus percent.)

Year after year, readers proclaim HP one of the biggest losers in our Reliability and Service Survey. In 2004, for instance, HP and its Compaq brand were rated last in desktops, and next to last in notebooks and digital cameras. (HP did well that year in printers, however.) The company improved in 2005, earning average grades overall, but then fizzled again in 2007, 2008, and 2009.

Dell’s scorecard has varied over the years, but recent trends are troubling. Its second-to-last laptop ranking in 2009 (only HP did worse) shows a marked decline from 2004 and 2005.

Making Bank on Mediocre?

Although Dell lost $4 million on its consumer business in the first half of 2010, the company made a total profit of $886 million during that time (that’s 16 percent more than it made in the same period last year). Dell’s lines for small and medium-size businesses accounted for much of its total profits: $636 million, a 34 percent increase from the first half of 2009.

Over at HP, the company’s Personal Systems Group–which includes desktop and notebook PCs, workstations, and handheld devices–saw a year-over-year earnings increase of 18 percent to $1.46 billion for the nine-month period ending July 31, 2010, according to an HP filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company’s Imaging and Printing Group, which sells HP’s home printers, had a 1.66 percent earnings boost to $3.19 billion in the same period.

Meanwhile, several of Dell and HP’s smaller competitors have maintained high survey scores year after year, despite competing in the same cutthroat markets as the Big Two. Asus and Toshiba, which duke it out with Dell and HP in the ultracompetitive Windows laptop market, earned high marks from our readers this year.

That raises the question: If Dell and HP have a profitable business model–one that has enabled them to control half of the U.S. PC market–are they sufficiently motivated to improve their support operations?

They should be. PC and peripheral manufacturers sell in a crowded market, and a customer with an unpleasant support experience is soon a former customer.

HP officials we spoke with expressed surprise at its poor showing in PCWorld’s Reliability and Service Survey. The company has shown improvement recently in similar surveys, they say, including one from the American Customer Satisfaction Index, a University of Michigan business school study based on customer evaluations of the quality of goods and services bought in the United States.

“We’re not happy until all of our customers are happy,” says HP customer service executive Cliff Wagner. “There’s clearly a lot of work that we’re continuing to do, and a lot of investments that we’re doing.”

Those investments include two new customer service and technical support centers in Conway, Arkansas, and Rio Rancho, New Mexico, Wagner says, although both facilities won’t be fully staffed for at least two more years.

“We have not lost our focus on making sure that we’re building customers for life,” adds Jodi Schilling, vice president of HP customer support in North America. “We’re continuing to make investments, not only in the support experience but also in product development.”

If there’s a glimmer of hope for HP, it’s that users who bought machines within the last 12 months were much happier with the company’s support of home desktops and notebooks. (Our one-year chart includes only survey respondents who have bought a PC or printer in the last 12 months.)

It’s possible that HP’s service and support operation devotes more resources to newer customers, resulting in higher satisfaction levels for this group.

Dell’s 12-month results show little change, with home desktops and laptops that aren’t particularly reliable, but with printers that are. Dell business laptops did get higher reliability grades on the one-year chart, but not enough to boost Dell’s standing vis-à-vis the competition.

This year we separated Dell and HP business and home users in the laptop, desktop, and printer categories, in order to compare the satisfaction levels of the vendors’ corporate and consumer customers. For a discussion of the results, see “2010 Reliability and Service: Laptops and Desktops.”

It Takes Only One Frustrating Incident

IDC’s O’Donnell points out that the home market is a challenge to support. But home users aren’t simpletons either, and their frustrations are often born from bad support experiences rather than from self-inflicted slip-ups.

Dan Keller, a medical journalist in Glenside, Pennsylvania, bought an HP Pavilion desktop about three years ago. The CD drive faceplate arrived broken, and HP has yet to replace it, despite his many go-rounds with customer support, he says.

“It wasn’t a run-of-the-mill problem, and they said, ‘That part doesn’t exist,’” Keller says with a laugh. “I said, ‘Well, you’re putting them on computers, they have to exist.’”

Despite the unresolved faceplate issue, Keller’s desktop runs fine. But the frustrating support incident, combined with the poor keyboard layout and other design quirks of an HP laptop he bought recently from Costco (he has since returned it), has soured him on the vendor. “At this point, with two goofy machines, I think I would shy away from HP again,” he says.

Survey Methodology

It’s important to note that our survey results don’t necessarily represent the opinions of a given company’s customers as a whole. And because our data comes only from PCWorld readers who chose to take the survey, our results don’t necessarily reflect the opinions of PCWorld readers in general.

What the Measures Mean

PCWorld readers rated hardware vendors in six product categories: desktops; notebooks; cameras; HDTVs; printers; and smartphones. Each category (excluding smartphones) had 5 to 9 measurements, each ranking a vendor relative to its competitors. In each measure, we determined whether the vendor’s score was significantly better (s), not significantly different (u), or significantly worse (t) than the average of its peers.

The five reliability measures spotlighted problems with such things as failed components (e.g., a notebook hard drive) or problems that occurred right away or “out of the box.” Among those measurements are two that score our respondents’ overall satisfaction with their vendors’ hardware reliability and customer support.

If a vendor received fewer than 50 responses in a subsection, we discarded the results as statistically insignificant. This threshold prevented us from rating some smaller companies. The measurements in our smartphones category were a bit more comprehensive. We rated smartphone makers using on four reliability measurements and five ease-of-use measurements. For the wireless carriers that sell the smartphones, we measured five different aspects of their customer support, as well as two aspects of their network performance – wireless internet service quality and voice call quality.

Reliability Measures

Problems on arrival (all devices): Based on the percentage of survey respondents who reported any problem with the device out of the box.

Any significant problem (all devices): Based on the percentage of survey respondents who reported any problem at all during the product’s lifetime.

Any failed component replaced (laptop and desktop PCs): Based on the percentage of survey respondents who reported replacing one or more original components because the components had failed.

Core component problem (laptop and desktop PCs): Based on the percentage of survey respondents who reported problems with the processor, motherboard, power supply, hard drive, system memory, or graphics board/chip at any time during the life of their laptop or desktop PC.

Severe problem (HDTVs, phones, cameras, and printers): Based on the percentage of survey respondents who reported a problem that rendered their device impossible to use.

Ease of use (HDTVs, phones, cameras, and printers): Based on the percentage of survey respondents who rated their device as extremely or very easy to use.

Overall satisfaction with reliability (all devices): Based on the owner’s overall satisfaction with the reliability of the device.

Service Measures

Phone hold time: Based on the average time a product’s owners waited on hold to speak to a phone support representative.

Average phone service rating: Based on a cumulative score derived from product owners’ ratings of several aspects of their experience in phoning the company’s technical support service. Among the factors considered were whether the information was easy to understand, and whether the support rep spoke clearly and knowledgeably.

In-person service rating (phones only): Based on a cumulative score derived from phone owners’ ratings of several aspects of technical support received at a service provider’s retail location. Among the factors considered were the ease of getting a representative’s attention in the store, and the knowledge, fairness, and attitude of the rep..

Problem was never resolved: Based on the percentage of survey respondents who said the problem remained after they contacted the company’s support service.

Service experience: Based on a cumulative score derived from product owners’ responses to a series of questions focusing on 11 specific aspects of their experience with the company’s service department.

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Do You Trust Ai To Do Your Job?

Almost two-thirds of Australians believe there are not enough safeguards, laws and regulations in place to make the use of AI safe in the workplace.

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ChatGPT and the varied offerings from other Big Tech providers have highlighted the transformative power and challenges AI tools can pose at work.

A 17-country study reveals how much and in what ways we trust AI in the workplace, how we view the risks and benefits, and what is expected for AI to be trusted. The Trust in Artificial Intelligence global research study completed by University of Queensland Business School and KPMG surveyed 17,000+ people and indicates that only half are willing to trust AI at work.

The analysis suggests the varying levels in trust and acceptance across countries largely reflect three key factors:

Differences in the perceived benefits of AI and the extent to which they outweigh potential risks: people in western countries and Japan are generally less convinced of the benefits of AI, and together with South Korea and Israel, less likely to believe the benefits of AI outweigh the risks, compared to people in the BICS countries and Singapore.

Perceptions of institutional safeguards: there are differences across countries in the perceived adequacy of safeguards and regulations to make AI use safe, and confidence in the institutions responsible for this. Fewer people in western countries, Japan, South Korea and Israel view current laws and regulations for safeguarding AI as sufficient, and report less confidence in companies to develop, use and govern AI, compared to people in Brazil, India, China and Singapore.

Familiarity and understanding of AI: people in western countries generally report less use of AI at work, and lower use and knowledge of AI in common applications, compared to people in the BICS countries and Singapore.

The findings of this global survey provide a clear overview of the current and future challenges to trust and acceptance of AI systems, as well as opportunities for overcoming these challenges.

“Given the rapid and widespread deployment of AI, it will be important to regularly re-examine public trust and expectations of AI systems as they evolve over time, to ensure AI use is aligned with and meeting changing societal expectations,” the study says.

Florian Douetteau is the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Dataiku, the platform for Everyday AI, democratising access to data science and enabling enterprises around the world to build their own journey with Artificial Intelligence. The company has raised $600 million at a $3.7 billion valuation in their most recent Series F funding round in December 2023.

Douetteau started Dataiku in 2013 out of his passion for data, machine learning and people. He envisioned a future for businesses with AI becoming mainstream through the collaborative effort of everyone in the company, not just data scientists or technical experts.

“We are focused on being the company that helps businesses to get it done,” Douetteau says in an interview with Forbes Australia. “We leverage existing business expertise, only through AI and across a company, not just through a technologist.”

Getty Images

He says the landscape has evolved dramatically over the past 10 years, from big data trying to find capacity to store information to cloud technology that has reduced costs.

“There is a conviction now across all industries that this can be a more efficient way of doing things in some areas of a business. We have the expertise to leverage AI to increase those efficiencies.”

Douetteau says the uses of AI have been “underestimated” and can give back time for the business to be more creative rather than overwhelmed by everyday reporting and researching of data.

How brands are using AI

AI is rapidly changing the way people communicate and create and brands are no exception.

Bain & Company has agreed a services alliance with OpenAI to help enterprise clients identify and realise the full potential and maximum value of AI, with The Coca-Cola Company announced as the first business to use the system.

OpenAI is the research and deployment company behind the AI systems ChatGPT, DALL·E and Codex.

The alliance builds on Bain’s adoption of OpenAI technologies for its 18,000-strong multi-disciplinary team of knowledge workers.

Over the past year, Bain has embedded OpenAI technologies into its internal knowledge management systems, research, and processes to improve efficiency. Given the early successes of those initiatives, Bain and OpenAI are working together to bring OpenAI’s groundbreaking capabilities to its clients globally.

“AI has reached an inflection point and we foresee a huge wave of change and innovation for our clients across industries. We see this as an industrial revolution for knowledge work, and a moment where all our clients will need to rethink their business architectures and adapt,” says Manny Maceda, Bain & Company’s Worldwide Managing Partner.

Maceda says that by collaborating with OpenAI, there will be “unmatched access to state-of-the-art foundation AI models, so that we can create tailored digital solutions for our clients and help them realize business value”.

Zack Kass, Head of Go-To-Market at OpenAI says, “Coca-Cola’s vision for the adoption of OpenAI’s technology is the most ambitious we have seen of any consumer products company.”

James Quincey, Chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company says the company sees opportunities to enhance its marketing, along with exploring ways to improve business operations and capabilities.

Smaller e-commerce businesses are finding ways to use AI in their own way. Kayla Houlihan, tribe skincare founder, detailed five ways she was using ChatGPT this week on a LinkedIn post: product descriptions, creative names for a secret project, PR/media pitches, employment contracts, brand bible revisit.

Houlihan describes the tool as “surprisingly good” and “great for writer’s block”, but adds it needs fact checking and doesn’t have an accurate tone of voice.

Look back on the week that was with hand-picked articles from Australia and around the world. Sign up to the Forbes Australia newsletter here.

How Financial Services Can Turn To Tech

Large companies are reexamining their operations to work toward more sustainable solutions in all aspects of their business. One critical way financial firms can make these sustainable changes company-wide is by reassessing the technology and digital solutions they use.

Financial firms are deeply involved with the broader global efforts to fight climate change. For example, more than 450 financial companies are members of the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative, which aims to align private money with UN Sustainable Development Goals to achieve more than a dozen critical social and environmental targets.

Generating ROI from sustainability

Beyond helping society, focusing on sustainability can bring savings to a firm and increase its appeal to consumers and other businesses looking to partner with sustainable firms. Companies no longer need to choose between sustainability and focusing on profitability — firms can combine these goals. The majority of public companies will include sustainability as a part of the ROI analysis by 2026, according to consulting firm Gartner Inc. That change indicates a shift toward viewing sustainability as a driver of returns, not just a source of risk management.

One way a firm can increase its sustainability is by reexamining the tech it uses. According to Ernst & Young, leadership should integrate technology more closely with their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) activities, including considering whether their existing technology infrastructure is sustainable. Firms should also invite technology leaders to participate in strategic conversations around ESG.

Customers express their desire to purchase products and services from companies with sustainable practices, but they may not feel financial firms are providing that to them. For example, though consumers are looking to work with sustainable retail banks, in a McKinsey survey, consumers didn’t rate any bank highly on their green credentials. So, there is an opportunity for firms to increase their green efforts and then educate consumers so they are aware of the progress.

Making sustainable choices in sourcing technology can also help financial firms cut costs. For example, Samsung Certified Re-Newed devices give businesses a like-new phone experience running on the Android operating system with a guaranteed warranty at a lower price. And Samsung ENERGY STAR® certified products help reduce firm energy usage.

What financial institutions can do to be more sustainable

There are many ways financial institutions can leverage technology to increase their sustainability. Here are just a few:

Replace cash with digital transactions. According to a study by Tufts University, digital transactions are generally better for the environment because they remove the environmental impact needed to manufacture and transport metal coins and paper money, including material inputs like cotton paper and ink. Digital transactions can also limit the need for ATMs, which must be powered by electricity 24 hours a day to dispense cash at a moment’s notice.

Turn to virtual cards instead of plastic debit and credit cards. So-called virtual cards, which can be used to make purchases online and through mobile phones, eliminate the need for a physical card. According to industry estimates, about 5 billion payment cards are manufactured each year. Most payment cards are manufactured using polyvinyl chloride (PVC), derived from oil, and ultimately end up in a landfill.

What’s next for the future of finance?

Samsung surveyed 1,000 finance professionals about the future of mobile tech. Here’s what they said. Download Now

Samsung’s commitment to sustainability

Beyond their own actions, financial firms can also partner with technology firms acting against climate change, such as Samsung. As part of our commitment to improving the future for people and the planet, here are some of the ways Samsung is reducing its footprint and those of our clients:

Investing in recycled paper and bio-based materials for products and packaging. Samsung products are made in part with a range of recycled plastics, bioplastics and sustainable materials. And we continue to reduce and replace plastic packaging in favor of recycled materials and sustainable paper.

Certified Re-Newed devices that reduce e-waste. Samsung Certified Re-Newed devices give businesses a like-new phone experience with a guaranteed warranty, all while saving the business money and reducing waste. All Samsung devices are powered by the open and flexible Android OS.

Using 100% renewable energy throughout U.S. facilities. All Samsung’s facilities in the United States, including its manufacturing and distribution sites, use renewable energy. We currently source 100% renewable energy from sources like Wind, Solar, Biomass, and Green-e® certified Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs).

Increasing energy efficiency in our products to help save power and lower bills. We’re improving energy efficiency in our products to help corporations reduce power consumption, lower bills, and increase sustainability. That includes ENERGY STAR® certified products such as power-saving monitors, Galaxy Chromebooks and Galaxy Tab S8. This saves power and helps firms lower their carbon footprint.

Financial services firms have committed to sustainability but can’t get there alone. Technology product innovations can help drive ROI for firms while making a meaningful impact on our planet’s future.

For a complete overview of all Samsung technology solutions for the finance industry, please visit this page. Also, discover more ways Samsung is putting the planet first on our Sustainability page.

The Best Suunto Watches You Can Buy

All Suunto watches focus on fitness and sports tracking above smart features. In this respect, you can’t really go wrong with any if you’re seeking a training companion. You can find a heart rate sensor on every watch listed below. They all feature water resistance to some degree, and each uses Suunto’s mobile health, training, and planning app. Fitness tracking for a dizzying number of activities, from fishing to skiing, is also a common trait. While battery life will differ between these devices, all feature battery-saving modes for use with GPS.

However, the models do differ in some key areas. As with any product, finding the right Suunto device is about weighing up the features you need against the device’s value. We break down the key differences below to help you find the best Suunto watch for your needs.

See also: The best fitness trackers you can buy right now

The best Suunto watches

The Suunto 9 Peak Pro is the best Suunto watch you can buy. It crams the best of the Peak and Baro into a slightly slimmer, tougher body and then some. It’s also the best-looking Suunto you can buy for the boardroom but will serve a hiker or mountain climber just as well.

The Suunto 9 Baro is the best Suunto for multisports enthusiasts. It packs a kitchen sink’s worth of features into a stocky, hardy outdoor versatile watch.

The Suunto 7 is the best Suunto smartwatch. Powered by Wear OS, this is the best option for those wanting a more familiar smartwatch experience with the usual Google services.

The Suunto 5 Peak is the best Suunto for most people. The newest watch in Suunto’s range includes the core traits of the Baro and Peak but ditches some specifics and pricier features.

The Suunto 3 is the cheapest Suunto watch on this list. It sheds several features but makes up for it at a lower price. It’s the best gateway Suunto you can buy.

Suunto 9 Peak Pro

Suunto’s very best just got better

The Suunto 9 Peak Pro builds on the Peak’s solid foundation with better battery life, a stronger body, and improved user interface.

See price at Suunto

See also: The best Garmin watches you can buy

Suunto 5 Peak

Suunto 5 Peak

Long-lasting battery life • Sleek and stylish • High-quality craftsmanship

MSRP: $299.00

A sleek multisports watch with battery life to spare

Lightweight and hardy, the Suunto 5 Peak tracks over 80 sports modes, monitors heart rate, and also tracks sleep. Built-in GPS, Suunto’s unique Heat Maps feature, and 100 hours of GPS usage in Tour mode makes this a great multisport watch for those who also value style.

See price at Amazon

Save

$130.00

See also: The best running watches you can buy

Suunto 3

The budget option

By shedding several features present on its pricier siblings, the Suunto 3 comes in at a much lower price. If you can look past the lack of a built-in GPS or smaller battery, it’s the watch to get on a budget.

See price at Amazon

See also: The best cheap fitness trackers you can buy

That’s it for our list of the best Suunto watches you can buy, but it’s only a taste of what’s out there. We also want to give an honorable mention to these products:

Suunto 9: Even though it’s a little long in the tooth, there’s still plenty going for the original Suunto 9. It lacks the integrated weather features included with the Baro and Peak, but it still packs 100m water resistance, a tough shell, and a claimed week’s worth of battery life with GPS training modes. Thanks to its age, it’s also fairly affordable.

Suunto 5: Outclassed and replaced by the new Suunto 9 Peak, the original Suunto 5 could still be a good pick if you’re looking for a watch with a chunky build and oodles of battery life. You might find it on sale more regularly now, too.

Only the Suunto 7 supports onboard music storage/playback, streaming services, and pairing with Bluetooth headphones. Suunto’s other watches do not. Notably, watches that do not support music playback can act as music remote controls for tracks playing on a smartphone.

Yes. You can use Suunto’s watches if you own an iPhone or an Android phone.

Suunto sells its own Smart Heart Rate Belt that’s compatible with the vast majority of its watches.

Yes. All Suunto watches are water-resistant to at least 30 meters. The Suunto 9 series can withstand depths up to 100 meters.

You can find a host of replacement Suunto watch straps here.

The Best Macbook Pro Cases You Can Get

See also: 16-inch MacBook Pro review

We also have an in-depth guide to MacBook accessories, which you can check out right here. Also, check out a few of our favorite stands if you still find yourself working from home. Now for the list!

The best MacBook Air cases:

Editor’s note: We’ll be updating this list of the best MacBook Pro cases regularly as new options launch.

Speck Smartshell

Speck

If you want to throw your MacBook Pro back to the days of the classic iMac G3, the Smartshell from Speck is a great pick. It comes in a rainbow of familiar transparent shades as well as black and clear — although the latter two are currently sold out. Speck’s case is a simple hard shell with redesigned corners that should handle bumps and drops better than previous versions. In addition, the matte finish and rubberized feet should help you keep a solid grip on your new machine.

UAG Plasma

Amazon

Urban Armor Gear is one of the toughest customers around, and its Plasma case for the MacBook Pro is as durable as they come. It’s MIL-STD 810G certified for drops, and the rubber bumpers lock to keep the lid closed tightly. Each rubber bumper element is also coated in a tactile honeycomb pattern, so you probably won’t lose your grip no matter what. The UAG Plasma is a heavier option, but it adds 13mm to the overall footprint.

UAG Plyo

Amazon

Another option from UAG, the Plyo is ready for your massive 16-inch MacBook Pro. It’s a slightly slimmed-down version of the Plasma, and the rubber bumpers are transparent rather than matte black. UAG kept the tactile honeycomb pattern, and the Plyo is MIL-STD 810G certified to withstand drops and falls. Both front corners also feature the same locking mechanism to keep your lid squared away. The case comes in a transparent gray color that UAG calls Ice.

Twelve South Book Book

Amazon

If you want to make your MacBook Pro feel like a master of disguise, the Twelve South Book Book case is your best bet. It looks like a well-aged novel, thanks to the full-grain leather construction. You can either trust the case as a sleeve or strap your laptop in for full protection. Twelve South’s Book Book is available for any sized MacBook, though it looks very similar to a library book, so you may not want to leave it unattended.

Fintie MacBook Pro case

Amazon

There are tons of high-end, feature-packed cases on the market, but a simple hard shell is often all you need. The Fintie case is a perfect example, and it doesn’t come close to breaking the bank. It offers 360-degree protection with just two snap-on pieces, and you can choose from four sleek finishes. A fully ventilated bottom panel should keep you working hard for longer, but you’ll have to make sure you grab the right size case. Check out each option carefully:

Mujjo sleeve

Amazon

Hardshell cases aren’t for everyone, and if you’re just looking for protection while you travel, then a sleeve might be a better fit. This option from Mujjo is a luxurious felt and leather creation, and it’s sized for the 15-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros. You can choose from either brown or black leather to pair with the black felt. The durable snap should keep your laptop safely inside, and a handy storage pocket is perfect for your charger or other accessories.

Amazon Basics sleeve

Amazon

Although Mujjo’s sleeve is about as luxurious as they come, this Amazon Basics option might fit your budget a bit better. It’s a simple zipper sleeve that comes in various colors and just about any size you might need. There are no extra pockets or premium materials, but Amazon’s simple case should offer all of the protection you really need. You can also buy the sleeves in packs of up to 10 if you’re shopping for a classroom or another group.

Apple MacBook Pro leather sleeve

Amazon

Apple doesn’t offer its own hardshell cases, but if you want protection from the source, then you’ll have to try the leather sleeve. It comes in three shades of premium European leather with a microfiber lining for added protection. Of course, you’ll have to be ready for the Apple Tax — this leather sleeve costs nearly $180. You won’t find a storage pocket or anything like that, but the case does allow you to charge your MacBook Pro without exposing it.

InCase hardshell

Apple

While Apple skips hard cases of its own, the Cupertino company does offer an option from InCase if you’re interested. It’s a straightforward shell that comes in three shades with a texturized dot pattern. InCase’s offering is well-ventilated and offers easy cutouts for all of the ports and buttons. You won’t be able to grab the InCase shell for your 15-inch MacBook Pro, but it’s available below for both the 13-inch and 16-inch versions.

Tech21 Evo MacBook Pro case

Apple

Tech21’s Evo MacBook Pro case offers slightly more protection than the InCase option, thanks to its hybrid design. It relies on a soft bumper around the edges to absorb impacts, while tough polycarbonate panels sandwich the top and bottom. While it’s slightly more expensive than the InCase option, it’s your best bet from Apple if you have a slightly older laptop. The Tech21 case is crystal-clear and should resist UV yellowing to help show off your device.

How You Can Pick The Best Chat Sdk

If you want to know what to look for when you’re considering your options, and if you’re going to pick the best chat SDK, you’ll want to keep these tips in mind. There are fantastic options out there, and you’ll be able to find them if you stick to your suggestions.

How You can Pick The best Chat SDK Consider Your Needs

You should aim to find an excellent and live chat SDK, but you’ll also need to take your own needs into account. You should think carefully about what is right for your app. You should also consider your skills. Do you need something that’s particularly friendly towards beginners?

Also read: How to Calculate Your Body Temperature with an iPhone Using Smart Thermometer

Set A Budget

You’ll also want to think carefully about what you’re willing to invest in a chat SDK. Your options are going to be limited based on what you’re willing to spend. If you set a budget, you’ll be able to focus your attention on options that fall within that budget.

Also read: Top 3 Lessons I Learned from Growing a $100K+ Business

Look At Your Audience

The best solution for you won’t just vary based on what you need from an app. You’ll also want to think about what your audience wants. Why are people using your app? How do you think they’ll use these features?

You’ve created an app for an audience, and because of that, you’ll want to focus on your audience when you’re choosing a chat SDK. The best option is going to be one that will make both you and your users happy. You should be able to find a solution that gives everyone what they’re looking for.

Read Reviews Compare Your Top Options

Once you’ve narrowed down your options a bit and found a few appealing choices, you can start comparing some of these choices against each other. Once you start doing this, you’ll likely notice that certain options stand out in either a positive or a negative way.

You don’t have to make a decision right away. Take the time to find several options that could potentially work for you. Once you have a list, you can start evaluating these options and contrasting them against each other. As you compare different products, you’ll notice that certain options stand out to you.

Think About Potential Problems

There’s no way to avoid problems in the future completely, but you can reduce the number of headaches you have to deal with if you think about issues before making any commitment. For example, if you notice that a chat SDK could slow down your app, you’ll want to make sure you take steps to keep that from being a big issue.

Test Out Options

In some cases, you’ll be able to test a chat SDK before you make a decision. In other situations, you may be able to get a refund if you choose something that doesn’t work for you.

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