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Spotify Duo vs. Family vs. Individual: Which Premium Spotify plan is best? – CNET

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At this point, I’ve used Spotify for several years, and can’t imagine switching to any other service for my music streaming needs. The app is one of the most used on my phone and laptop. I’d tried Pandora and Google Play Music back in the day, but never felt compelled to invest in their premium features. When I finally gave Spotify a chance, I was quickly won over by the personalization — the curated playlists, the radio stations and the fact that the app was constantly improving itself. My only qualm — the library song limit — was resolved earlier this year.

I’m not alone. Since launching back in 2008, Spotify has become one of the most popular music streaming services, building on its features and expanding to more than 50 million songs and 286 million users. Spotify’s flexibility and free tier give it a competitive edge over Apple Music. Over the last year, the music streaming platform has added Spotify Connect for more listening options and Spotify Duo, another subscription offer between Spotify Premium and Spotify Family.

Read more: Best music streaming service for 2020: Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, Tidal and YouTube

For a while, I used the free version of Spotify, but there are restrictions. Thirty-second audio ads play between songs every so often. Sticking with the free version also meant seeing display ads. I was unable to choose individual songs to play — every album, playlist or radio station must be played in shuffle mode, and you can only skip songs six times in one hour. There’s also no offline listening. Finally, I decided to make the upgrade to a premium account.

Upgrading your Spotify plan or swapping between plans is pretty easy. Open Spotify in a web browser or in the desktop app. Click on your profile icon and choose Account in the drop-down menu. In the sidebar, click on Available Plans and from there, you can select a new plan and switch over. (And if you’re a college student, you’re in luck: Spotify offers a $5 ad-free plan that includes both Hulu and Showtime, too.)

If you want to upgrade to Premium, here’s how to pick between Spotify’s three paid subscription plans.

Spotify Premium

Angela Lang/CNET

Spotify’s Premium subscription covers one account for $10 a month. There are no ads, and you can skip songs as much as you want. If you’re listening in the mobile app, you can download content to listen to offline. If you use Spotify often, hate ads and only need one account, this is your best option.

If you’re not sure about switching, you can try Premium free for 30 days before you’re charged anything. The only downside is that the free 30 days doesn’t extend to the Family or Duo plan if you’ve already used it once.

  • How much it costs: $10 a month
  • What you get: One account, no ads, skip songs, curated playlist, download songs
  • Free trial: 30 days

Spotify Family

Angela Lang/CNET

Spotify Family supports up to six accounts — making it a good choice for roommates, friend groups and, well, families. The subscription costs $15 a month and offers ad-free, on-demand playback and offline listening, plus unlimited song skipping. Splitting the cost of a Premium account among at least a few people will definitely save you some money each month. Plus, a playlist called the Family Mix curates from everyone’s listening choices, which could make long road trips a bit more bearable.

If you’re sharing with your family, you can set up the app to block explicit music for younger users. Check out Settings on mobile, desktop or tablet and toggle the option on or off. And if you’re sharing your account with younger users, you can check out Spotify Kids, an ad-free companion app for kids ages 3 to 12 and up with child-friendly songs and playlists, singalongs and audiobooks. Spotify Kids is free, but only if you subscribe to the Family plan already. Just log in with your main Premium Family account. A kid’s profile on the app counts towards one of the six on your main account.

  • How much it costs: $15 a month
  • What you get: Six accounts, skip songs, download songs, shared curated playlist, Spotify Kids app access
  • Free trial: 30 days

Spotify Duo

Angela Lang/CNET

Spotify’s newest plan, Spotify Duo, lets two Premium accounts merge for $13 a month. This is a good option for couples, as well as roommates. You still get to keep the premium features: no ads, on-demand playback, offline listening and unlimited song skips. But you don’t have to pay $10 a month each for separate accounts, or upgrade to a full Family plan for $15 a month.

Users also get a Duo Mix playlist — like the Family Mix on Spotify Family — that automatically generates music based on shared preferences.

  • How much it costs: $13 a month
  • What you get: Two accounts, skip songs, download songs, shared curated playlist
  • Free trial: 30 days

Once you’ve decided on the right plan for you, you can also check out how to connect your Spotify account to your Google Home device, and how to use Spotify Connect to bring your music to your home stereo system.

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The Apple Watch Series 6 Is Already $20 Off

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Best Tech DealsBest Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.

Apple Watch Series 6 (44mm) | $415 | Amazon
Apple Watch Series 6 (40mm) | $385 | Amazon

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It’s only been out a week since launch and we’re already seeing discounts on the Apple Watch Series 6. Amazon has some 40mm models down to $375, while the 44mm falls to $415, both about $20 off and shipping anywhere between 1-4 weeks out.

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The Apple Watch Series 6 runs laps around the competition as far as technology is confirmed. It features everything you love about the Series 5 watch like an ECG heart rate sensor, and also adds new tricks like a blood oxygen sensor and an always-on altimeter, making it more ideal than ever for fitness buffs.


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Samsung thinks its new 85-inch Interactive Display is the digital whiteboard for the COVID-19 classroom

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Samsung would like you to believe its new 85-inch Interactive Display can bridge the gap between students in the classroom and students studying at home, now that blended-learning is the new normal across the country. In reality, it’s just a slightly bigger digital whiteboard — but assuming it doesn’t cost too much, the tweaked vision does sound intriguing.

Now that COVID-19 has swept the country, some students are huddling around tiny Chromebook screens at home while others stay in class, and Samsung’s internet-connected digital whiteboard promises to let students and teachers collaborate with each other, whether they’re in that classroom drawing on the board or adding to it in real-time from their laptop at home. The goal here isn’t to necessarily connect everyone better – they’ve had a few months to get a handle on that over Zoom – but rather to let the kind of collaboration that can happen when everyone’s together, happen while students are apart.

Samsung’s 65-inch Flip 2
Samsung

While the Interactive Display is mostly just a larger version of Samsung’s existing Flip 2 digital whiteboards, the 85-inch size means it’s as large as an actual school whiteboard (though it weighs far more at 164 pounds). Compared to the previous 55- and 65-inch models, more students could theoretically use the board at once. Samsung imagines the display primarily mounted in a classroom where they can use its 4K touchscreen and support for four pens (it comes with two) to write and draw; it supports up to 20 fingers (and pen tips) simultaneously. Teachers might be able to hook up multiple computers or other video sources to the display, too, with two HDMI 2.0 ports compared to the one on the Flip 2.

But before you petition your school for one, it’s worth mentioning that the device has no announced price. The 65-inch Flip 2 comes in at $2,599.00, and Samsung’s 85-inch TVs start at $1,799.99, so perhaps the Interactive Display won’t cost too much more than those? Still, most schools are even more constrained during the pandemic than they would be normally, and this screen doesn’t even come bundled with some of the education software Samsung is advertising. I think it would be great for these to be used in schools, but to me, Samsung’s framing for the Interactive Display sounds a little more opportunistic than realistic.

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How to enable dark mode on all of your essential apps

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Welcome to TNW Basics, a collection of tips, guides, and advice on how to easily get the most out of your gadgets, apps, and other stuff.

Ah, dark mode — the charcoal gray color palette associated with night time and eyeball-saving. It’s not without its detractors, not even among my own colleagues. But there are plenty of people, including me, who can’t get enough of the dusty-colored theme. Luckily dark mode is available on just about every device and app — so we’ll walk you through how to make your digital life just a little bit darker.

Note that we’re going to show you how to enable dark mode on several of the most essential apps and services — there isn’t enough time or space on our servers to show you how to enable dark mode everywhere, as it’s a very omnipresent theme. But these will make a good starting point.

Social media

Most social media apps have added dark mode to make late-night browsing easier. Facebook, of all sites, is one of the latecomers. It only added dark mode with the latest redesign, which you can read about here. The dark mode toggle is in the main drop-down menu of the site. While Instagram doesn’t have an in-app dark mode option, it syncs to your phone’s dark mode — you can read about how that works here.

Twitter has a similar setting to Instagram, in that you can sync its color palette with the system settings — meaning, if your phone is already in dark mode, it’ll go dark automatically. You can also manually set it to dark mode by going to the settings, and looking for the dark mode toggle under “Display and Sound. You can read more about the options here.

Messenger originally only had dark mode via an emoji-based Easter egg, but it has since joined the bandwagon for real. In order to switch on dark mode, you just have to tap your profile picture and the toggle is right there at the top of the options. You can read more about it here.

Workplace apps

It’s not just social media that wants to spare your eyes. Several of your favorite workplace apps have also added dark mode settings, so even your work computer can look as sooty as a fireplace. For starters, Slack now has a dark mode available on its iOS and Android apps (which you can read about here) as well as its desktop client (which you can read about here).

Dark mode selection on Slack for desktop

WhatsApp has also added dark mode to its web and mobile version, albeit at different times. You can read about how to enable dark mode on the web client here, and on Android here. As with other apps mentioned here, WhatsApp will automatically go into dark mode on iOS when iOS itself is set to dark mode.

Google has also added dark mode to its Docs, Sheets, and Slides on Android, which you can read abut here. Also, it’s not a workplace app per se, but Google Play also has dark mode — in order to switch it on, you just need to go to the app settings and look for the Theme menu. You can read about it here.

Operating systems

Just like all of the above, the different operating systems for phones offer dark modes for you to turn on at night to make browsing or working easier on your eyes. Apple added dark mode to iOS 13, and as mentioned, turning it on will kick most apps into dark mode if it’s available. You can read about how to turn it on here. Similarly, Android introduced a Dark theme in the Android 10 update, which you can find in the Display settings.

Enable dark mode on iOS 13 from settings

If you want some variety, Windows 10 also has a light mode in addition to dark — you can find both in the personalization settings. You can read more about it here.

And that’s it! While this won’t necessarily make your whole life an obsidian paradise, it’ll at least put dark mode on all of your favorite apps. Good luck!

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