Latest IDC numbers reiterate Apple’s dominance of tablet market

Earlier this week during Apple’s earnings call, CEO Tim Cook said that the iPad had experienced its most successful June quarter in nearly a decade. And now IDC is out with its latest worldwide shipment figures that underline Apple’s commanding lead over the tablet competition. After refreshing the iPad Air in 2020 and launching an upgraded iPad Pro earlier this year, Apple is next expected to update the iPad Mini.

IDC estimates that Apple shipped 12.9 million iPads in the second quarter. Its nearest competition is Samsung, which hit 8 million shipments. Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S7 tablets offer fantastic hardware and punchy OLED screens, but they remain hamstrung by Android’s less-than-stellar selection of tablet apps. Lenovo, which continues to release well-received Chromebooks and Chrome OS tablets, took third with 4.7M units shipped, and Amazon came in fourth with 4.3 million Fire tablet shipments.

Both PC and tablet shipments have surged over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic as people have adapted to working from home and remote education. IDC’s figures reveal that Chromebook shipments have grown 68.6 percent year over year and reached 12.3 million units shipped in the second quarter. “While this wasn’t a record quarter for Chromebooks, it wasn’t far off the prior two quarters, which shattered previous highs,” IDC wrote.

But IDC does point to a possible slowdown in sales for Chromebooks and tablets due to ongoing chip shortages and an easing of consumer demand as more people return to the workplace or classroom. Apple has said that supply constraints could be detrimental to iPad sales in the coming months, and the iPhone might be affected as well.

Google pairs Stadia Controller and Chromecast as $100 ‘play and watch’ bundle

Google has recently been selling a combo-package of the Stadia Controller and 2020 Chromecast as a limited-time promotion. But as spotted by 9to5Google, the company has now made the pair a permanent bundle that it’s calling the “play and watch” package.

For $99.99, you get both the controller and streaming dongle. That’s a savings of $19 compared to buying both products separately. Google is also promoting the Chromecast ethernet adapter as a recommended accessory; if you want the absolute best Stadia experience, it’s probably a smart buy — and it’s a mere $9.99 ($10 off) when purchased alongside the bundle.

In an effort to clear out inventory of the old, puck-shaped Chromecast Ultra, Google is discounting its Stadia Premiere Edition bundle yet again to $79.99. I’d definitely recommend the newer Chromecast with Google TV over the older one. The streaming experience is much richer and more comprehensive on the newer device. But if you’re strictly using it as a gateway to Stadia, the $79.99 deal might be worth hopping on.

Remember that Google’s game streaming service now supports select Android TV products as well. So if you’ve got a TV running that software, all you really need to get going is Google’s controller or a compatible third-party Bluetooth gamepad.

Thanks to the Rickroll, ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ hits 1 billion YouTube plays

The official video for Rick Astley’s 1987 hit “Never Gonna Give You Up” has surpassed 1 billion plays on YouTube. The song became a lasting part of internet culture thanks to the Rickroll meme and reached the impressive milestone a couple days ago. Astley took to the video’s comments to share his gratitude, saying “amazing, crazy, wonderful!” In a video posted to Instagram, he added “the world is a wonderful and beautiful place, and I am very lucky.”

With some songs having crossed as many as 7 billion views in recent years, the 1 billion club isn’t quite as prestigious as it once was. But the achievement goes to show the staying power of the Rickroll prank. The video hit daily views of 2.3 million on April Fools Day, according to Billboard. Just in the past couple years, there have been Fortnite emotes and fan-made 4K remasters.

Back in 2008, the man himself Rickrolled the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The meme was also put to excellent use when the San Diego Padres trolled the Boston Red Sox just as fans thought they were about to belt out the chorus to “Sweet Caroline.” If you’ve got other prime examples, the comments section awaits.

I’m curious what the average watch time is for “Never Gonna Give You Up.” After being duped, how many people have closed out the window in aggravation within seconds of hearing the drum intro and synths coming in?

Astley celebrated joining the billion plays club by releasing a limited, already-sold-out run of 7-inch blue vinyl pressings of the quintessential ‘80s jam.

Best balance transfer credit cards for August 2021 – CNET

Getting your debt under control is the first step toward achieving financial security. When used the right way, a balance transfer credit card can give you a relatively cost-efficient way to catch up on bills and reduce credit card debt. It can also help consolidate debt into a single payment, giving a person who’s straining to keep up with their bills a singular financial goal. 

If you’re already struggling with debt, you might be hesitant to apply for yet another credit card, but a balance transfer card is a different animal. A balance transfer card lets you transfer debt from an old high-interest card to a new card with a 0% or low annual percentage rate for a specific period of time — usually between 12 and 20 months. This gives you some breathing room to pay off or pay down the transferred balance of existing credit card debt while accruing little or no interest. Here are CNET’s top recommendations for the best balance transfer cards. We’ll update this list periodically.

Best balance transfer credit card overall

US Bank

  • Introductory APR: 20 billing cycles of 0% intro APR for balance transfers and purchases
  • Standard APR: 14.49% to 24.49% variable APR
  • Penalty APR: None
  • Introductory balance transfer fee: N/A
  • Standard balance transfer fee: 3% or $5, whichever is greater
  • How long you have to make transfers: 60 days
  • Credit requirement: 680 to 850
  • Annual fee: $0

The US Bank Visa Platinum offers one of the longest 0% introductory APR periods, at 20 billing cycles, combined with a relatively low 3% fee.

Long balance transfer period

Citi

  • Introductory APR: 18 months of 0% intro APR for balance transfers and purchases. Balance transfers must be completed within 4 months of account opening.
  • Standard APR: 14.74% to 24.74% variable APR
  • Penalty APR: None
  • Introductory balance transfer fee: N/A
  • Standard balance transfer fee: 3% or $5, whichever is greater
  • How long you have to make transfers: 4 months
  • Credit requirement: 670 to 850
  • Annual fee: $0

The Citi Simplicity card is similar to the Citi Diamond Preferred, but the Simplicity has no late fee or penalty APR, while the standard APR for the Diamond Preferred is 1% lower (13.74% to 23.74% variable APR). If there’s any chance that you could miss a payment at some point, the Simplicity could save you up to $40 and the loss of the introductory 0% APR.

The 18-month intro APR period comes with a transfer fee of 3% ($5 minimum), making the Simplicity similar to the US Bank Visa Platinum. The main advantage with the Citi card is the length of time you have to make a credit card balance transfer — 4 months compared to US Bank’s 60 days.

Long balance transfer period

Wells Fargo

  • Introductory APR: 18 months from account opening of 0% APR for qualifying balance transfers and purchases
  • Standard APR: 16.49-24.49% variable APR
  • Penalty APR: None
  • Introductory balance transfer fee: 3% or $5 for first 120 days from account opening
  • Standard balance transfer fee: Up to 5% or $5, whichever is greater
  • How long you have to make transfers: 120 days
  • Credit requirement: 680 to 850
  • Annual fee: $0

The Wells Fargo Platinum offers an introductory 18 months of 0% APR for qualifying balance transfers (16.49-24.49% variable APR thereafter), but with a higher balance transfer fee after the first 120 days of card ownership than the Citi Simplicity. In most circumstances, you’ll transfer a balance at the beginning of the period to qualify for the introductory 0% APR; as such, the higher standard balance transfer fee is less consequential. 

Low interest rate for an extended payoff period

SunTrust

  • Introductory APR: 3.25% for 3 years on balance transfers
  • Standard APR: 11.24-21.24% variable APR
  • Penalty APR: 11.24-21.24% variable APR
  • Introductory balance transfer fee: $0
  • Standard balance transfer fee: 3% or $10, whichever is greater
  • How long you have to make transfers: 60 days
  • Credit requirement: Good to Excellent (680 to 850)
  • Annual fee: $0

The SunTrust Mastercard Prime Rewards credit card is different from the other balance transfer credit cards profiled here. Instead of an introductory 0% APR, SunTrust offers new cardholders three years of a low APR — 3.25%. (The average standard APR for credit cards is usually somewhere between 12 and 25%.)

That 3.25% APR functions similarly to a flat 3.25% transfer fee — you’re just paying it over the course of the year. And it’s worth noting that the effective rate should end up being lower than a flat 3.25% fee, since your balance will decrease as you pay it off, lowering the principal.

If you need more time to pay off your debt, the SunTrust Mastercard Prime Rewards may be your best bet. You can see how it compares to the US Bank Visa Platinum in the chart above. 

Another card worth considering

Discover

  • Introductory APR: 14 months of 0% APR for balance transfers and purchases
  • Standard APR: 11.99% to 22.99%
  • Penalty APR: None
  • Introductory balance transfer fee: 3% for first three months
  • Standard balance transfer fee: 5%
  • How long you have to make balance transfers: No limit
  • Credit requirement: 680 to 850
  • Annual fee: $0

One more card worth considering

HSBC

  • Introductory APR: 18 months of 0% APR for balance transfers and purchases
  • Standard APR: 13.99-23.99% variable APR
  • Penalty APR: None
  • Introductory balance transfer fee: None
  • Standard balance transfer fee: 4% or $10, whichever is greater
  • How long you have to make transfers: 60 days
  • Credit requirement: 680 to 850
  • Annual fee: $0

In the table below, we’ve broken down the key features of each card to help you determine the best balance transfer credit card for your needs.

Best balance transfer credit cards compared

Best card overall for balance transfers Long balance transfer period Long balance transfer period (runner-up) Best card for an extended payoff period Another card worth considering Another card worth considering
US Bank Visa Platinum Citi Simplicity Wells Fargo Platinum SunTrust Mastercard Prime Rewards Discover it Cash Back HSBC Gold Mastercard
Balance transfer annual percentage rate (APR) 0% 0% 0% 3.25% 0% 0%
Intro balance transfer APR period (months) 20 18 18 36 14 18
How long you have to make transfers (months) 2 4 4 2 3 2
Standard APR 14.49% – 24.49% variable 14.74% – 24.74% variable 16.49% – 24.49% variable 12.74% – 22.74% variable 11.99% – 22.99% variable 13.99% – 23.99% variable
Balance transfer fee 3% ($5 minimum) 3% ($5 minimum) 3% for 120 days from account opening, then up to 5% ($5 minimum) 0% 5% 4%
Annual fee $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0

Choosing the best balance transfer credit card depends largely on how much you owe and how quickly you can pay it off. With a balance transfer card, the goal should always be to pay off the credit card balance by the end of the introductory APR period, which can have a huge impact on your ability to achieve or maintain a good credit score.

For example, if you have a $6,000 credit card balance on a high rate card and you can afford to pay $309 each month, US Bank Visa Platinum’s 20-month 0% APR period would do the trick. With its 3% transfer fee, you’d end up adding only $180 to your transferred balance — compared to $1,221 with your old card, which is likely bogged down by a standard 22% APR. (See table below.)

Sample balance transfers, compared

US Bank Visa Platinum Citi Simplicity SunTrust Mastercard Prime Rewards
Starting balance $6,000 $6,000 $6,000
Balance transfer APR 0% 0% 3.25%
Monthly payment to pay off balance during low APR period $309 $343 $175
Months 20 18 36
Total fees and interest paid $180 $180 $305
Monthly payment with standard card (22% APR) $361 $394 $229
Total fees and interest paid $1,221 $1,099 $2,249
Amount saved with balance transfer card $1,041 $919 $1,944

If you can only afford to pay $150 each month, however, you’d need a card with a longer low-interest period. The SunTrust Prime Rewards card, for example, offers 36 months at 3.25% APR and no transfer fee. At the end of three years, it would have cost you a total of $372 in interest — far less than a new card that offers 0% to start but then balloons to 20% or higher after 18 or 20 months. (See table below.)

Sample balance transfer, compared (part 2)

US Bank Visa Platinum Citi Simplicity SunTrust Mastercard Prime Rewards
Starting balance $6,000 $6,000 $6,000
Balance transfer APR 0% 0% 3.25%
Monthly payment $150 $150 $150
Special APR payment periods 48 50 43
Total fees and interest paid $1,178 $1,483 $372
Standard payment periods (22% APR) 73 73 73
Total fees and interest paid $4,913 $4,913 $4,913
Amount saved using balance transfer card vs. standard card $3,735 $3,431 $4,541

Using a balance transfer credit card correctly requires some math — but paying close attention to the numbers can ultimately save you many hundreds or thousands of dollars. And even though some banks have recently shortened or eliminated their introductory low-APR periods for balance transfers (due to increasing economic uncertainty), there are still plenty of good options in the market. Each balance transfer offer is different though, so be sure to vet each potential card and card issuer carefully before applying for a new credit card. Even if you have pretty good credit, your existing credit card debt could throw a wrench into your plans.

And when choosing the best balance transfer credit card, there are a few things you should keep in mind:

  • Though some cards offer sign-on or introductory bonuses or cash rewards, they’re mostly a distraction from the primary goal: paying down your balance.
  • Some balance transfer cards charge an annual fee — but I don’t recommend any of them.
  • You can’t transfer balances between cards from the same issuer, so you can’t transfer a Chase balance to another Chase card.
  • The maximum amount you can transfer depends on a variety of factors, including your credit utilization ratio, the qualifying balance transfer, your minimum payment, and whether you already have good credit or even excellent credit. Each card and credit card company is different, and each factor is determined by the card issuer after assessing your specific creditworthiness.

Glossary of terms

Introductory APR: The interest rate that’s applied toward your balance transfer amount and any purchases during the initial period of card ownership (usually 12 to 20 months).

Standard APR: The interest rate applied toward balances and purchases after the introductory period ends.

Introductory balance transfer fee: The fee charged on a balance transfer during the initial period of card ownership (usually 12 to 20 months).

Standard balance transfer fee: The fee charged on a balance after the introductory period ends.

What are the best balance transfer credit cards right now?

The US Bank Visa Platinum Card is our current pick for best balance transfer credit card right now, thanks to its long introductory APR period and low balance transfer fees. The Citi Simplicity and Wells Fargo Platinum cards are also good options — while they have slightly shorter introductory APR periods, they also have longer balance transfer periods, which is the period of time you have to initiate a balance transfer.

How do balance transfer credit cards work?

Though balance transfer credit cards are technically credit cards, they’re more like a debt-financing tool. They’re better used to pay off existing credit card debt instead of as a payment method.

A balance transfer is when you take the debt, or balance, you owe on one card account and transfer it to another credit card account. Usually this is done with the goal of saving money, transferring debt from a high-interest account to one with lower or no interest. 

While many credit cards allow balance transfers, those primarily designed for the purpose all share one main feature: an introductory 0% APR period on balances transferred to that account, typically applicable to transfers made within the first 60 to 120 days of card ownership. The introductory APR period generally lasts between 12 months and 21 months, giving you a significant period of time to pay off your balance interest-free. 

While a few credit cards offer no-fee transfers, most balance transfer cards charge a fee to transfer your debt, usually between 3% and 5%. Broadly speaking, the longer the introductory 0% APR period, the higher the fee, and vice versa. So the best cards without a balance transfer fee have a shorter introductory APR period, and those with the longest introductory APR period have a 3% to 5% transfer fee. 

If I still have a balance after the introductory APR period is over, can I just keep transferring my debt to a new balance transfer card?

Technically, yes. In some cases, transferring your balance two or three times might even be what’s necessary to finally pay off your debt. But unless you have a firm understanding of how you got into debt in the first place and a plan for getting out of debt, you won’t be working toward a solution. 

While transferring your remaining debt to a second balance transfer card may allow you to pay off your balance without monthly interest or a fee, it’s important to note that there are too many variables for multiple balance transfers to be a fail-proof debt strategy. For example, your card application could be denied, your credit limit could be much lower than you anticipated or your transfer request could be denied. Credit card offers could also change, making it difficult to plan ahead. For this reason I recommend selecting a card that allows you to pay off the full balance after one cycle if possible. 

What’s the maximum balance I can transfer to a new credit card?

The balance transfer limit is determined by the card issuer, on an individual basis. Some cards may take into account your creditworthiness and account history (if applicable) when determining this amount. 

The same goes for determining your credit limit. The card issuer will take into account factors like your credit score, credit utilization, income and housing payments when establishing your credit limit. Remember that the credit limit may be less than you expected and therefore less than your current outstanding balance. To successfully raise your limit, you usually need an adjustment in your financial situation, like increased income or lower housing payment, or an extended period of paying your bills on time, which obviously isn’t a great option if you’re qualifying for a balance transfer to take advantage of an introductory 0% APR period.

What is an introductory APR? And what is an introductory balance transfer fee?

The Introductory APR is the APR applied toward your balance (including balance transfers and purchases in most cases) for the first 12 to 20 months of card ownership, depending on the card. The Standard APR is the APR applied toward your balance after the introductory period ends. The Penalty APR is applied toward your balance if you miss more than one payment in six months, usually, but depends on the individual card and your card issuer.

The Introductory Balance Transfer fee is the fee charged for transfers made during the first 30 to 120 days of card ownership, depending on the card. The Standard Balance Transfer fee is the fee charged for transfers made after the introductory period. Note that some cards only allow balance transfers for a certain period of time. 

How long will it take to complete a balance transfer?

It may take anywhere between 10 days and six weeks to complete a balance transfer, after receiving your new card and cardholder agreement. It’s also important to note that some card issuers, such as Citi, make balance transfers available at their discretion, and could therefore decline a transfer request. And you should probably still pay the minimum on the old card’s balance until you’ve confirmed that the transfer was completed, so you don’t run the risk of fees or penalties. 

What do I do if I have sub-par credit?

Unfortunately, most of the cards recommended above require good to excellent credit scores, meaning above 660 or so. If your credit score is lower than that and you’ve been unsuccessful securing one of the cards above, there are alternative methods for refinancing your debt. You can call your current card issuer and try to negotiate a lower APR or explore a debt consolidation loan, which could allow you to gather all of your debt under a new, lower APR.

Can I use a balance transfer credit card to buy things?

While a balance transfer credit card certainly works like a normal credit card, it’s generally not a good idea to use it to make new purchases. If you currently have credit card debt, your primary goal should be to get out of debt and avoid paying interest. When you purchase something and add new charges to your balance transfer account, you’re moving in the wrong direction, especially if you’re only able to make the minimum payment.

A debit card or cash is better for any new purchases while you pay off your debt, thus leaving your balance transfer account only for debt repayment. This will also help you track your progress more clearly. And keep in mind that some balance transfer credit cards still charge interest on new purchases until you pay off the entire balance (the new purchases plus whatever balance you transferred), which will only compound your debt problem. 

How I picked the best balance transfer credit cards

To select my recommendations above, I primarily looked at two features: The length of the introductory 0% APR period, and the balance transfer fee. Those two factors determine the majority of the overall cost of paying off a balance when using a balance transfer card. 

Given that the average credit card debt for US households is about $6,200, I used a $6,000 hypothetical balance to calculate which cards make sense in certain situations, depending on how much you can pay back each month. 

List of cards researched

  • Amex EveryDay® Credit Card 
  • Chase Slate 
  • Citi Simplicity 
  • Citi Double Cash Card 
  • US Bank Visa Platinum Card 
  • Discover it Balance Transfer
  • Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card
  • BankAmericard Credit Card for Students 
  • Citi Rewards Plus Card
  • Chase Freedom
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited 
  • BankAmericard 
  • Wells Fargo Platinum Card 
  • Simmons Visa
  • SunTrust Prime Rewards
  • Indigo Mastercard
  • Milestone Mastercard
  • Applied Bank Secured Visa Gold Preferred
  • Surge Mastercard
  • OpenSky Secured Visa 
  • Green Dot Primor Secured
  • Fit Mastercard
  • Reflex Mastercard

More personal finance advice

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.

A starter pack of Nanoleaf’s stunning canvas panels is $50 off at Costco today

If you like your lighting to be on the adventurous side, rest assured that Nanoleaf’s canvas light panels aren’t made to be subtle. The touch-sensitive squares are flashy and versatile, with the ability to display more than 16 million colors and a modular design that lets you place them in a variety of patterns. The bright LED panels also work with all the major smart home platforms, and can cycle through a number of preset colors or respond to sound when in “Rhythm Mode,” a feature that’s just as suited for the ambient noise outside your bedroom as your favorite record. Right now, Costco members can purchase Nanoleaf’s Canvas Light Panel smarter pack with nine panels and everything needed to get started for $50, one of the better prices we’ve seen on the intuitive lighting system.

Nanoleaf Canvas Light Panel smarter pack

  • $150
  • $200
  • 26% off

Nanoleaf’s colorful, touch-sensitive LED panels support all major smart home platforms and can cycle through more than 16 million colors, making them the perfect accent piece for any room in need of a little flair.

The Razer Nari Essential is by no means a groundbreaking headset, yet, for the price, it’s an admirable entry-level model that will appease most gamers, especially on the PC side. The jet-black wireless gaming headset features an adjustable headband, a sturdy build, and support for both PC and PlayStation consoles, with THX Spatial Audio simulated surround sound available on the former. Normally $100, it’s currently available at Woot for $55, more than 45 percent off its typical list price. If Razer’s budget-friendly Nari Essential doesn’t offer what you’re looking for, however, we’ve also rounded up the best gaming headsets overall, including multiplatform models and both wired and wireless alternatives.

Razer Nari Essential

  • $55
  • $100
  • 46% off

At $55, the Nari Essential is hard to beat. It’s one of Razer’s more affordable wireless headsets, with 16 hours of battery life, a well-made build, and simulated surround sound on PC, a feature that lets you pinpoint enemies before sneak up on you.

Good noise-cancellation can be hard to come by for $100 — just look at the Nothing Ear 1s. Fortunately, there’s the second-gen Amazon Echo Buds, a pair of true wireless earbuds that churn out satisfying sound while benefitting from improved comfort and noise cancellation over their first-gen counterpart. Amazon’s mid-range earbuds, which are now on sale for a limited time at Best Buy for $80, also feature IPX4 water and sweat resistance, and allow for hands-free voice commands via Alexa, meaning Amazon’s virtual assistant is always available at the tip of your tongue. Read our review.

Amazon Echo Buds (second-gen)

  • $80
  • $120
  • 34% off

Amazon’s Echo Buds 2 improve upon the originals with a more comfortable design, improved ANC, and a more natural ambient sound mode. They still offer hands-free Alexa voice commands as well.

Other deals of note

James Bond movies ranked: The best and worst of 007 – CNET

James Bond actors portrayed at Madame Tussaud's wax museum: Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Daniel Craig, Sean Connery, George Lazenby and Pierce Brosnan

Armed and dangerous, and stylish too: This lineup at the Madame Tussauds wax museum in Berlin presents all the actors who’ve played James Bond in the legendary Eon Productions movies. From left: Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Daniel Craig, Sean Connery, George Lazenby and Pierce Brosnan.

Britta Pedersen/Getty Images

Count ’em: There have been 26 James Bond movies to date (24 canonical, plus two rogues), coming out every few years over the course of six decades. That’s quite a legacy, and while the legendary secret agent franchise has brought us countless thrills, it’s had some dud moments, too. So what’s the best Bond movie? Glad you asked. We’ve got answers.

And soon — we hope — we’ll be able to add another film to the list: No Time to Die, likely the final one to star Daniel Craig as 007. It’s scheduled to hit theaters Oct. 8, after its theatrical release was bumped back several times, and many months, by coronavirus concerns.

While you’re waiting for No Time to Die, aka Bond 25, you can satisfy your Bond cravings by revisiting the older 007 movies, from Sean Connery‘s debut in Dr. No in 1962 all the way to Craig’s most recent outing, Spectre. It’ll be a fun look back, seeing how Eon Productions made the superspy an emblem of the times, an avatar of style and a man of many gadgets, with six different actors taking their turn as Bond.

See also: Being James Bond: How 007 movies got me into intelligence work

The latest plot twist for the long-running Bond franchise: In May, tech titan Amazon ponied up $8.45 billion to buy MGM, the venerable Hollywood studio that oversees the 007 movies.

If you don’t know where to start with the Bond films, be sure to check out our recommendations and full rundown on big-screen Bond.

Or you can check out the James Bond movie rankings below, from worst to best. It’s based on an aggregate of movie reviews, specific to when the movies came out, as compiled by CNET sister site Metacritic. The list accounts for every theatrical 007 release, not just the two dozen from Eon Productions but also two noncanonical entries — the 1967 version of Casino Royale, a trippy turn with multiple actors playing Bond (David Niven chief among them), and 1983’s Never Say Never Again, with Connery in his second comeback.

See also: James Bond villains build the best lairs, from volcanoes to space

It doesn’t, however, include the 1954 version of Casino Royale, a 50-minute TV playhouse production that introduced Ian Fleming’s hero to the world as “Jimmy” Bond, an American secret agent. You can find that on YouTube, if you’re curious. 

Otherwise, we’ve got the whole litany of actors who’ve played Bond in the official franchise — besides Connery and Craig, that’s George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan.


James Bond movies ranked, from worst to best


26. A View to a Kill

Keith Hamshere/Getty Images

According to the critical consensus, Roger Moore isn’t just the star of the worst James Bond movie — this snowboarding 1985 entry — he’s the star of the worst James Bond movies, period. When combined and averaged, his 007 films produce a franchise-low Metascore of 53.7.

A View to a Kill was Moore’s seventh and final 007 movie. His co-stars included Christopher Walken as gleefully murderous villain Max Zorin and Grace Jones as Bond baddie (and eventual ally) May Day. The plot that Bond has to foil: Zorin’s scheme to destroy Silicon Valley so he can control the market for computer chips.

“The James Bond series has had its bummers, but nothing before in the class of this one,” Pauline Kael wrote for The New Yorker.

Metascore: 40

25. The Man With the Golden Gun

MGM

As far as critics are concerned, this 1974 installment, Moore’s second outing as 007, is another bottom-dweller in the James Bond franchise. “If you enjoyed the early Bond films as much as I did, you’d better skip this one,” Nora Sayre wrote in The New York Times.

The Man With the Golden Gun, featuring Christopher Lee as the Bond villain and rival marksman Scaramanga and eventual Fantasy Island star Herve Villechaize as his henchman Nick Nack, grossed $97.6 million worldwide, the weakest box-office performance by any of the Roger Moore 007 films.

Metascore: 43

24. Casino Royale (1967)

LMPC / Getty Images

This offbeat, comic entry features a multitude of actors as James Bond. But more 007s do not make things merrier — or better. Variety called this version of Casino Royale “a film of astounding sloppiness” and “an insult to the Bond name.” 

This is one of the two noncanonical, non-Eon films in our rundown. (And for Bond completists — sorry, we’re not including the 1954 television production of Casino Royale, which portrayed our hero as Jimmy Bond, and an American to boot.)

1967’s Casino Royale, featuring David Niven, Peter Sellers and Orson Welles, grossed a Bond-worst $41.7 million worldwide.

Metascore: 48

23. Tomorrow Never Dies

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

The first of the four Pierce Brosnan Bond movies in this list gets credit for giving Michelle Yeoh an early Hollywood showcase — but for little else. According to Salon’s Charles Taylor, this 1997 movie “scores zero in suspense, wit or class.”

When averaged, Brosnan’s four James Bond movies post a 57.5 Metascore, the second-lowest among 007 actors who have starred in at least four movies. 

At the box office, Tomorrow Never Dies, featuring Jonathan Pryce as villain Elliot Carver, grossed $339.5 million worldwide. That’s on par with, but on the low end of, the other films of the Brosnan era.

Metascore: 52

22. For Your Eyes Only

MGM

Critics are kinder, if still cool, to Roger Moore’s fifth 007 adventure. In the Chicago Sun-Times, critic Roger Ebert wrote that the 1981 film “is a competent James Bond thriller …[b]ut it’s no more than that.”

Aside from its reviews, For Your Eyes Only is a success of the Roger Moore era: It earned an Oscar nomination for its Sheena Easton-crooned title song, and it grossed $195.3 million worldwide — the second-best box office showing for a Moore installment. 

Metascore: 54

20 (tie). The Spy Who Loved Me

LMPC/Getty Images

Nominated for a franchise-best three Oscars, this 1977 Roger Moore adventure nonetheless rated mixed reviews from critics. “After the opening sequence,” Newsweek’s Maureen Orth wrote, “much of the action in The Spy Who Loved Me … is somewhat downhill.”

The Spy Who Loved Me, featuring the first of two franchise appearances by Richard Kiel as the villainous Jaws, grossed $185.4 million worldwide, making it one of the biggest box office hits of its release year.   

Metascore: 55

20 (tie). Live and Let Die

MGM

Roger Moore’s first James Bond movie is, well, another middling effort — at least per the critics. In retrospect, this 1973 film may have suffered by comparison with the just-concluded Sean Connery era.

“[E]ven the art direction — long the Bond films’ real secret weapon — seems to have fallen to a shrunken budget,” the Chicago Reader’s Dave Kehr wrote. “Not much fun.”

At the box office, Live and Let Die, co-starring Geoffrey Holder as the voodoo-practicing henchman Baron Samedi and Yaphet Kotto as head bad guy Katanga/Mr. Big, and featuring the hit title song by Paul McCartney’s Wings, was a big step up from the Sean Connery film that preceded it, Diamonds Are Forever. Live and Let Die grossed $161.8 million worldwide.

Metascore: 55

19. Die Another Day

MGM

The final Pierce Brosnan James Bond film may have introduced the invisible car, but critics think of this 2002 film as a retread, not an innovator. “Surely it will not be giving things away to tell you there’s absolutely nothing new about the latest episode,” Desson Thomson wrote in The Washington Post.

Co-starring then-reigning Oscar winner Halle Berry as Bond girl Jinx Johnson, with Monty Python’s John Cleese as Q, and featuring the hit title track by Madonna, Die Another Day grossed more money than any other Pierce Brosnan 007 film: $431.9 million worldwide.

Metascore: 56

18. The World Is Not Enough

Keith Hamshere/Sygma/Getty Images

This 1998 film is the third Pierce Brosnan James Bond film. “This keeps one reasonably amused, titillated, and brain-dead for a little over two hours,” Jonathan Rosenbaum wrote in the Chicago Reader.

The World Is Not Enough grossed a solid $361.7 million at the worldwide box office. It co-stars Robert Carlyle as the villain Renard, who feels no pain; Sophie Marceau as the strikingly conflicted Elektra King; and Denise Richards as a nuclear physicist. 

Metascore: 57

16 (tie). Licence to Kill

MGM

The second — and final — James Bond movie of the Timothy Dalton era gets good marks as an action movie, but not necessarily as a 007 movie. “James Bond might as well be any of a dozen movie cops,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Joe Pollack wrote of this 1989 entry.

Licence to Kill, featuring Robert Davi as the drug lord villain Sanchez, Carey Lowell as Bond girl Pam Bouvier and a young Benicio del Toro as a henchman, grossed $156.2 million worldwide — a big drop at the box office compared with Dalton’s debut 007 film.

Metascore: 58

16 (tie). Quantum of Solace

MGM

To date, this 2008 film is the worst-reviewed of the 007 Daniel Craig era. “Quantum of Solace may be explosive with images of fiery infernos,” Film Threat’s Jay Slater wrote, “but it’s convoluted and confusing.” 

On the whole, the Craig-led Bond films boast a Metascore average of 69.8, making his movies the second-best reviewed 007 movies of all time.

On one hand, Quantum of Solace, co-starring Mathieu Amalric as Bond villain Dominic Greene, is the fourth-biggest-grossing James Bond movie of all time, with $591.7 million in worldwide ticket sales. On the other hand, the film is the lowest-grossing James Bond film starring Daniel Craig. 

Metascore: 58

15. Diamonds Are Forever

MGM

The lowest-ranked Sean Connery film in this rundown is the Scotsman’s sixth Bond project — and the last one that the iconic star made before taking a 12-year 007 hiatus. According to critics, Diamonds Are Forever was evidence of a franchise in need of new blood. 

The New Yorker’s Pauline Kael called the film an “unimaginative Bond picture that is often noisy when it means to be exciting.”

Diamonds Are Forever co-stars Charles Gray as arch-villain Blofeld and Jill St. John as Bond girl Tiffany Case, and features Putter Smith and Bruce Glover as the archly menacing Mr. Kidd and Mr. Wint, respectively. Among the Sean Connery 007 installments, the movie grossed a middling $116 million worldwide.

Metascore: 59

13 (tie). Spectre

MGM

This 2015 Daniel Craig adventure, the most recently released James Bond movie, is “filled with big sets, big stunts, and what ought to be big moments,” Matt Zoller Seitz noted for RogerEbert.com, “but few of them land.”

Spectre co-stars Christoph Waltz in a new take on the old reliable Bond villain Blofeld, with Ralph Fiennes taking over as M, and like Skyfall, delves deeper into Bond’s origin story. It grossed a whopping $879.6 million worldwide, the second-biggest take for the franchise.

Metascore: 60

13 (tie). The Living Daylights

Keith Hamshere/Getty Images

This 1987 Timothy Dalton entry, the first of his two turns as James Bond, wins points from critics for not being a Roger Moore entry. “After the fizzle of the later Roger Moore Bonds,” Empire’s Kim Newman wrote, “The Living Daylights brings in a new 007 … who manages the Connery trick of seeming suave and tough at the same time.”

The Living Daylights outgrossed its predecessor, Roger Moore’s A View to a Kill, by nearly $40 million, for a worldwide box office total of $191.2 million.

Metascore: 60

11 (tie). On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

Sunset Boulevard/Getty Images

This 1969 film, which marks George Lazenby’s lone outing as James Bond, is a pretty good 007 entry, per critics. While the New Yorker’s Pauline Kael found its star “quite a dull fellow,” she called the movie “exciting.”

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service broke new ground: It featured a James Bond wedding, with Diana Rigg as 007’s feisty but ill-fated bride, Tracy di Vincenzo. At the box office, though, the film fell flat with an $82 million worldwide gross.

Metascore: 61

11 (tie). You Only Live Twice

Express Newspapers/Getty Images

This 1967 entry marks Sean Connery’s fifth outing as James Bond. Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert saw signs of wear: “Connery labors mightily,” Ebert wrote.

For a Sean Connery James Bond movie, You Only Live Twice grossed a so-so $111.6 million worldwide. The film is nonetheless influential: Its cat-petting iteration of Blofeld (played by Donald Pleasence), complete with villain’s hideaway in a volcano, inspired the Austin Powers franchise’s Dr. Evil.  

Metascore: 61

10. Octopussy

MGM

According to critics, this 1983 film is Roger Moore’s second-best James Bond movie. “It soars, all right, but it does it on automatic pilot,” wrote Jay Scott for Toronto’s Globe and Mail.

Octopussy, co-starring Maud Adams in her second franchise outing (after The Man with the Golden Gun), as the titular character, grossed a solid $187.5 million worldwide.

Metascore: 63

9. Thunderball

LMPC/Getty Images

According to critics, this 1965 film is a lesser Sean Connery 007 entry, but a worthy entry overall. “[It] still effortlessly plies the glory Bond years, concluding with a stunning underwater battle,” wrote Empire’s Kim Newman.

Thunderball is the top-grossing Sean Connery 007 movie of the 1960s and 1970s: It took in $141.2 million in worldwide ticket sales. It also provided the template for Connery’s final James Bond outing nearly two decades later, Never Say Never Again.

Metascore: 64

8. GoldenEye

MGM

The first Pierce Brosnan Bond movie is the best Pierce Brosnan Bond movie, per critics. “New Bond man Brosnan can’t be faulted for much,” Desson Thomson wrote in The Washington Post. “In this new venture, he’s appropriately handsome, British-accented and suave.”

GoldenEye featured Sean Bean as a double-0 agent turned bad guy, Famke Janssen as Bond girl Xenia Onatopp and Judi Dench in her first turn as Bond boss M. It grossed a then-huge $356.4 million worldwide. Pent-up demand may have helped: The 1995 film was the first James Bond movie since Timothy Dalton’s License to Kill, released six years prior.

Metascore: 65

7. Moonraker

MGM

Released in 1979, two years after Star Wars changed just about everything in Hollywood, the fourth Roger Moore James Bond film sees 007 sent to outer space. Critics non-ironically cheered. “Moonraker is a satisfying blend of familiar ingredients,”  wrote The Washington Post’s Gary Arnold.

Moonraker, co-starring Lois Chiles as astronaut Holly Goodhead (yes, really), is the ninth-biggest-grossing James Bond movie of all time, with $210.3 million in worldwide ticket sales. 

Overall, Moonraker is the best-reviewed Bond movie of the Moore era. 

Metascore: 66

6. Never Say Never Again

Sheila Penn/Getty Images

The top-grossing Sean Connery Bond movie, this 1983 film is also one of the better-reviewed Bond movies. 

Never Say Never Again marked Connery’s final 007 appearance and, from a critical standpoint, seems to have benefited from having been released during the reviled tail end of the Roger Moore era. 

“It is good to see Connery’s grave stylishness in this role again,” Time’s Richard Schickel wrote. “It makes Bond’s cynicism and opportunism seem the product of genuine worldliness (and world weariness) as opposed to Roger Moore’s mere twirpishness.”

Despite the presence of Connery, who first embodied Bond on the big screen, this movie wasn’t from Eon Productions, making it the second of the two non-canonical films in our list.

Metascore: 68

5. Dr. No

Andrew Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images

The first James Bond feature film, released in 1962 (though it didn’t arrive in the United States until 1963), is one of the best James Bond movies, per critics. “Sean Connery excellently puts over a cool, fearless, on-the-ball, fictional Secret Service guy,” Variety praised.

Dr. No, featuring Ursula Andress as original Bond girl Honey Ryder (yes, really), was one of 1963’s Top 10 box-office hits. It grossed $59.6 million worldwide.

Metascore: 78

4. Casino Royale

MGM

The first Daniel Craig James Bond movie, Casino Royale blew away critics with its new take on the spy saga. “[Craig’s] Bond is at least the equal of the best ones before him, and beats all of them in sheer intensity,” The Wall Street Journal’s Joe Morgenstern raved.

The opening minutes of the film reveal how Bond earned his double-0 rating, and for fans of the Ian Fleming novels, it manages to both stay true to the 1953 book and adapt that story for audiences a half-century later.

The 2006 film grossed a then-franchise-best $594.4 million worldwide. 

Metascore: 80

3. Skyfall

MGM

The top-grossing James Bond movie to date, with a worldwide take of more than $1.1 billion, this 2012 film is, according to critics, the best Daniel Craig 007 movie — and that’s not all.  

Skyfall is one of the best Bonds in the 50-year history of moviedom’s most successful franchise,” James Adams wrote in Toronto’s Globe and Mail.

The film won the series’ first two Oscars since 1964’s Goldfinger; it claimed statuettes for sound editing and for Adele’s title song. 

Metascore: 81

2. From Russia With Love

LMPC via Getty Images

The second James Bond movie is, per the critical consensus, the second-best James Bond movie ever. The New Yorker’s fabled Pauline Kael praised the 1963 release: “Exciting, handsomely staged, and campy.”

From Russia With Love, featuring Lotte Lenya as Bond baddie Rosa Klebb and Robert Shaw as the SPECTRE assassin gunning for Bond, grossed $78.9 million worldwide, a take that represented significant growth over Dr. No, and firmly established 007 as a franchise to watch.

Metascore: 84

1. Goldfinger

Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

Here it is: This 1964 Sean Connery entry is, per the critical consensus, the best James Bond movie. It had all the elements we’ve come to expect: the megalomaniac villain with an outrageous and murderous scheme, the henchman with a quirky method for killing (Oddjob and his hat), big set pieces with extravagant action, Bond in a dinner jacket.

“Larger than life, faintly ridiculous, completely cool, Goldfinger is the quintessential James Bond movie,” Empire’s Ian Freer wrote.

The film grossed a then-franchise-best $124.9 million worldwide, and won the franchise’s first Oscar (for sound effects). 

Metascore: 87

James Bond movies in chronological order

In the official Bond canon — the films made by Eon Productions — there are 25 films, including the upcoming No Time to Die. Because of licensing issues, there were two other, non-canonical movies: the 1967 version of Casino Royale, and Sean Connery’s final outing, 1983’s Never Say Never Again.

Sean Connery

David Niven, among others

George Lazenby

Sean Connery, first comeback

Roger Moore

Sean Connery, second comeback

Roger Moore, still on his run

Timothy Dalton

Pierce Brosnan

Daniel Craig

Telegram’s group video calls can now have up to 1,000 viewers

Telegram has announced the latest new features and improvements making their way to the popular messaging app. Video is the focus this time around. After launching group video calls last month, those sessions are now able to tally up to 1,000 viewers. The maximum number of people able to participate and broadcast to the video call remains at 30, but you can have quite the audience now for “anything from online lectures to live rap battles,” according to the company.

Video messages will also now come through at a higher resolution, and you can tap them for a larger view of the clip. When recording your own video messages, Telegram says that audio from your device will now keep playing as you do so, “so you can now sing along to your favorite songs or reply without pausing your podcast.” You can now zoom in when recording with your phone’s rear camera, as well.

Other additions include screen sharing for one-on-one video calls (with audio from the device of whoever’s broadcasting), the option to auto-delete messages after a month — the longest option was previously a week — and more precise drawing. Telegram has also spruced up the user experience with animations for the passcode screen and when you send messages on Android; iOS users already got these message animations in a previous update. For the full list of changes, head over to Telegram’s blog.

K-pop’s fandom platforms are changing what it means to be an idol

Fandom has changed a lot since I was a kid. As a tween, I had no hope of getting in touch with celebrities I adored like Britney Spears and Whitney Houston. Now, I’ve not only spoken with some of my celebrity favorites on social media, but I’ve even fought with a few.

The technology of fandom is changing, too. Parasocial relationships — a largely one-sided relationship between a fan and a public figure they feel close to due to social media — are everywhere online. And the companies behind some of the biggest acts in K-pop are pioneering a new way to monetize them. They’ve developed online platforms to help K-pop fans feel as though they have direct access to their idol favorites. That access helps shape the way these fans interact with the idol as a form of friendship and how they engage with other fans.

Before the rise of social media accounts and company-run platforms, most fans for Korean artists basically were locked into direct engagement through fancafes — a kind of digital fan club that often required fans to prove their knowledge of a particular artist before gaining access to artists. Initially hosted on platforms like social networking site DAUM, these fancafes allowed fans to connect with idols directly, and they could become even more intimate when connected with the official paid fan club memberships.

While the DAUM fancafes for many idols are still up and running, there has been a shift away from them over the past two years, especially for English-language fandoms. In their place, several companies have created new social apps for their artists, entirely bypassing third-party platforms like Twitter or Facebook. Three main platforms now stand out: NCSoft’s Universe is used by a wide range of groups managed by companies outside of the Big Four of Korean pop music and includes features like a “private messaging” service, exclusive music, and mildly controversial AI-generated voice calls with idols. HYBE’s Weverse is home to mega-groups like BTS and TXT and structured more like the DAUM fancafes. Finally, there’s SM’s LYSN, which includes the truly innovative Bubble app that has found a way to give K-pop groups all of the benefits of Twitter DMs, without many of the problems.

SM is a K-pop-producing powerhouse behind groups like TVXQ and the cyberpunk girl group Aespa. Its platform, LYSN, first launched in 2018 as an “interest-based fan community.” It was a relative failure before the 2020 introduction of its Bubble idol instant messaging service, which kicked profits into the stratosphere. With the different versions of Bubble, fans can contact their favorite idols through partially private messaging, paid for on a subscription basis. The app is designed to look like a one-on-one chat window, but the reality is more like a massive group chat, with the idol dropping in messages for thousands of fans at once and seeing replies as they come in.

Areum Jeong, assistant professor of humanities at Sichuan University-Pittsburgh Institute, says the apps offer fans a real chance to strengthen their relationship with their current favorite idols.

“Fans are fully aware that it is technically a group chat where the idol will receive messages from thousands of fans, although fans cannot see the other fans’ messages,” says Jeong. “Even so, fans enjoy receiving messages where the idol shares his / her daily life and thoughts. And at times, it can feel like you are receiving a personal, private message from the idol because the interface gives an illusion of a 1:1 chat, and some idols will send messages that cater to intimate feelings.”

That faux-intimacy can be a powerful force for fans who use these platforms regularly. “I like using Weverse specifically because I love seeing member interactions in a seemingly authentic way,” says Leigh, a fan of idol group Seventeen who connects with the group through Weverse. “It is fun to see members in basically a glorified group chat that, from time to time, it feels like I am an observer of, but most of the time, I feel like I am a participant in.”

Part of the appeal is that fans can feel as though they’re seeing a different, more personal side to the idol they’re following on less direct platforms like Twitter or Instagram. For Nicole Santero, a PhD student currently doing research on the culture on BTS’s massive international fan base ARMY (and who runs the @ResearchBTS Twitter account), it’s all about the connections that fans can make in their interactions with the artists.

“The relationship between BTS and ARMY never feels one-sided. What has stood out about Weverse is how BTS is so active and often responds directly to fans on the app,” says Santero. “That makes Weverse even more appealing, and there is definitely this greater intimacy and closeness formed between artists and fans through these types of interactions. Knowing that BTS could potentially see your posts makes the experience even more meaningful.”

These company-run apps don’t just offer fans the ability to receive comfort from the artist. For some fans, the appeal is in getting to offer support when an artist is going through a health issue, a scandal, or simply when they’re bored on their rare downtime.

For Maxim, an Australian Stray Kids fan who’s been using the Bubble app for six months, it’s been a mix of good times and bad times. “The Great Hyunjin Incident of ’21 was a bit of a tumultuous time for that whole band / fandom, and I do admit that I sent a little buck-up message of encouragement through to Felix,” he said, referring to group member Felix. “Other times, I’ve replied to messages when Felix asks for recommendations and try to sneak my taste onto his agenda. Again, there’s genuinely no way to know if he ever sees it. Would he even watch Yuri on Ice or Sk8 the Infinity?” (I think he probably would.)

Unlike past fan clubs for other celebrities, there’s no guarantee that what happens on company-run apps will stay on those apps. In fact, due to the medium to low quality of in-app translation services to translate from Korean to English, there are translation accounts for many of the artists across these platforms that focus exclusively on Weverse / LYSN and Bubble / Universe. If an idol’s fan base is small or poorly organized outside of the company-run platform, they may have fewer translation accounts. However, that doesn’t stop fans from sharing memes, artist-uploaded selfies, and clips from livestreams everywhere that they can.

There can be a hard edge to that intimacy. “As more fans than ever view themselves as active consumers, they can be unreasonable or even hostile,” says Jeong. Fans of rookie idol group Enhypen have been dealing with a fractured fandom following a member potentially saying the n-word, and much of the conflict between fans stems from interactions on Weverse. Fans on the platform tried to hide violent and racist posts from the artist using an in-app feature for inter-fan communication and ended up attacking Black fans speaking out about the incident and then about the harassment they were facing. Within hours of the initial wave of harassment, Black fans of the group took to Twitter and TikTok to share what they were seeing and how people were talking about them — especially in the face of continued silence from the group, their management, and Weverse moderation. The app they’d been using to connect with other fans and the idols themselves was no longer the safe space it had been.

Still, none of these engagements would have been easy 10 years ago, and most would have been flat-out impossible 10 years before that. These platforms offer an entirely new way for celebrities and their fans to interact, building on conventional social media platforms but increasingly distinct from them. And for better or worse, it’s changing what it means to be a fan — or an idol — online.

Our top picks for the best electric car in 2021 – Roadshow

If you’re here, you’re probably thinking about taking the leap into the work of electric vehicles. You came to the right place because we’ve driven plenty of EVs. These battery-powered vehicles really can serve as a daily driver as the technology gets better, ranges become more livable and charging infrastructure starts to expand.

The problem is figuring out which of the many electric vehicles on sale today will best fit your life and your budget. Do you want something cheaper and with a more limited range, or do you want to pony up some cash for luxury features and enough range for charge-free road trips? How are you supposed to choose the best EV for you?

We can’t tell you exactly which EV is right for your life, but we can narrow your choices down. See, we’ve driven just about every permutation of every current-production electric vehicle on sale in the US today, so we here at Roadshow have a better-than-average view of what’s good and what’s not in EVs right now.

After taking a look at our recommendations, don’t forget to check out our tips afterwards for buying your first EV.

Read more: Here’s every electric vehicle on sale in the US for 2020 and its range

Mini

Mini might be new to the EV game, but the brand’s first effort is a great one. What it lacks in overall range, it makes up for in being fun to drive and great to be in, all at a surprisingly reasonable price. We’re also a total sucker for those electrical outlet-style wheels.

The Mini SE may only do 110 miles to the charge, but with 181 horsepower and a boatload of torque in a small package, they’ll likely be 110 very fun miles. The good news is that on a 50-kilowatt fast charger, you’ll be able to get an 80% charge in around half an hour.

Chevrolet

The 2021 Chevy Bolt is our runner-up thanks to its less-than-exciting driving dynamics and interior quality, but it offers phenomenal range for something in both its size and price classes. The Bolt benefits from a refresh for the 2022 model year, so if you have your heart set on an American EV, maybe wait a few months.

The Bolt is still one of the best bargains on the market when it comes to range versus cost. With a range of 259 miles in a cute-ish hatchback body style, there’s plenty of reason to recommend it. It’s also decent to drive thanks to its 200 horsepower. If you can spare the extra cash and need the range, the Bolt is a good way to go.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Ford is also new to the dedicated EV platform game with the Mustang Mach-E, but it’s a stellar effort. Despite its controversial name, the Mach-E offers good range, a great interior and excellent driving dynamics in an uber practical package that also boasts 29 cubic feet of cargo space with all the seats up.

The Mach-E is currently available in several flavors, with hotter (and more expensive) GT versions on the horizon, but even the base model is pretty fun to drive and deserving of its Mustang badge. With 290 horsepower on tap in RWD form, or 346 hp in all-wheel drive trim, the Mach-E easily gets out of its own way. The chassis is great and the cabin is a pleasant place to be. The Mach-E is one of the best all-rounder EVs on sale now.

Read our 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E preview.

Tesla

Tesla’s Model 3 is a super popular choice among electric car shoppers, and for good reason. It’s great to drive, cool to look at and offers both a killer range and a very, ahem, active community of owners. But because of its higher price tag (when you include the FSD bundle), build quality issues and lack of service centers in some areas, it had to be our runner-up.

While it’s far from perfect, the Model 3 is still a perfectly lovely car to drive. It offers tons of electric power to make passing or merging a breeze and its chassis is way more competent and sporty than it has any right to be. The interior is basic, sure, but it offers plenty of storage space thanks to its two trunks. Being a Tesla, the Model 3 also offers awesome, best-in-class range. The cheapest version will still let you travel 263 miles between charges, but if you move up to the Long Range version, that goes to 353 miles. You’ll be able to skip a few charging stations.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

On paper, the Porsche Taycan is kind of a tough sell. It’s expensive (it’s a Porsche, after all) and its range estimate looks straight-up bad. Driving a Taycan tells a completely different story and we’re confident that this is the best EV you can buy right now. Its real-world range is totally adequate for all but long road trips and its build quality and driving dynamics are basically unassailable.

Presently, the best you’re going to be able to do officially with a Taycan is 227 miles and that’s in the 4S trim with the performance battery option. Even if that were totally accurate in the real world, that’s still plenty for most people on most days. Even the base Taycan offers a driving experience that’s leaps and bounds beyond any other EV on sale right now and does so with just 400 horsepower. Once Porsche figures out the range thing, the rest of the industry better look out.

Read our 2020 Porsche Taycan preview.

Tesla

There’s no arguing that right now Tesla’s Model S is the king of the jungle when it comes to range. It’s also an aging platform with well-known and oft-criticized quality control issues. It’s a great car to drive — in previous forms, since nobody has driven the refreshed version — but it still falls behind the brilliant Taycan in this regard.

While Tesla can’t quite keep up with Porsche when it comes to driving dynamics or build quality, the Model S has the kind of name recognition that it does for a reason. It’s still a comfortable, ludicrously powerful luxury EV and if you’re only interested in doing insanely long drives without too many charging breaks, then it’s the way to go for sure. 

The new Plaid Plus version takes the whole fast EV thing to another level entirely, too. Tesla claims that it will do better than 520 miles on a charge while delivering over 1,100 horsepower and sub-2-second launches to 60 mph. Will this actually play out as Elon Musk says? We don’t know, but it’d be cool if it did.

Hyundai

Many people shopping for their first electric vehicle are going to be looking for something affordable. While EVs still haven’t reached price parity with internal combustion vehicles, there are tons of great examples under $50,000. Our favorite among these is the Hyundai Kona Electric. We picked the Kona because it offers great range, a practical small-SUV-style body and a stellar warranty.  

The Kona Electric offers a super respectable range of 258 miles and a drivetrain that produces 201 horsepower, all in a package that will work for most families. It has a decent amount of cargo space — 19.2 cubic feet with all the seats up, to be specific — and because it’s a Hyundai, it also has tons of creature comforts as standard equipment. Don’t even get us started on the warranty. If you can live with the styling (we like it) and you can stretch your buck far enough, the Kona is an almost perfect first EV.

Tesla

We’ve talked about our issues with Model 3’s build quality, but what really kills it in this instance is price. The cheapest Model 3 you can buy comes in at $37,990, though it doesn’t include paint that isn’t white or any of the driver aids that are bundled with the now-$10,000 Full Self-Driving package. The range is good though, even in basic form at 263 miles, and so is the driving experience, hence our second place.

The Model 3 offers a lot of practicality despite its sleek shape. Its two trunks mean there’s plenty of room for all your stuff, though some may prefer the big hatch of an SUV or a hatchback. The Model Y could serve this need, but we haven’t driven it, so we can’t recommend it. We also worry about how well the Model 3 will hold up to a family with kids, even with its basic interior.

Porsche

So maybe you’re shopping for your first EV and you have a little more money to spend. In that case we can find no better EV to recommend than the Porsche Taycan. It’s comfortable, fast, practical and highly configurable. The real-world range is much better than the EPA estimate, too, so it’s going to work for most people. This one was a unanimous choice by Roadshow editors. The Taycan is tough to beat.

If you want to live large, the Taycan Turbo S is basically unimpeachable when it comes to its power, chassis and interior quality. With 750 horsepower and a 0-60 time of 2.6 seconds, you’ll rarely find yourself bored behind the wheel. Even if you do get bored, Porsche’s excellent PCCM infotainment system is easy to live with and a delight to look at.

Read our 2020 Porsche Taycan preview.

Ford

Maybe you’re specifically shopping for an electric SUV. There just aren’t that many to choose from yet and many of those that are currently available are kind of small. That’s why we’re once again recommending Ford’s Mustang Mach-E. It offers plenty of cargo space, lots of room for passengers, a good range, great driving dynamics and good infotainment. It’s also priced very competitively.

Nothing is selling like SUVs these days, so Ford’s plan to make its first dedicated EV an SUV was a good one. It works out even better for the Blue Oval that the Mach-E is so damned nice to drive and easy to live with. Despite its rakish shape and sporty badge, the Mach-E should be a super practical midsize EV that almost any family would have no trouble living with. If you need something sporty, Ford even has you covered with a GT model that’s coming soon.

Read our 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E preview.

Tim Stevens/Roadshow

Audi’s E-Tron is one of those EVs, like the Taycan, that doesn’t seem as impressive on paper but once you drive it for a bit, its price seems much more justified. It features great build quality, as befits a German luxury SUV, and a lovely interior. It’s a well-considered first effort from Audi and even though it lacks huge range capability, it’s a compelling car with all the practicality of an SUV. It’s even got 28.5 cubic feet of cargo space with all the seats up. Its cost kept it out of the first place spot.

We also really enjoyed Audi’s E-Tron Sportback, but had to go with the more traditional SUV for practicality’s sake, and practical it is. It’s the right size to fit a family and their stuff while also being easy to get around in a busy city. It looks and feels like an Audi and aside from the amazing Jetsons low-speed noise, you could mistake it for a Q5. For some folks, going under the radar is preferable to shouting things out. It’s also fun to drive thanks to its 355 horsepower and all-wheel drive. If you can afford one, you’ll be happy with it.

Comparison of the best electric cars for 2021

Make Model Range Cost
Best electric small car Mini Cooper SE 110 $29,900
Best electric small car runner-up Chevy Bolt 259 $36,500
Best electric midsize car Ford Mustang Mach-E 211 $42,895
Best electric midsize car runner-up Tesla Model 3 263 $37,990
Best electric large car Porsche Taycan 192 $79,900
Best electric large car runner-up Tesla Model S 412 $79,990
Best affordable electric car Hyundai Kona Electric 258 $39,390
Best affordable electric car runner-up Tesla Model 3 263 $37,990
Best luxury electric car Porsche Taycan 192 $79,900
Best electric SUV or crossover Ford Mustang Mach-E 211 $42,895
Best electric SUV or crossover runner-up Audi E-Tron 222 $69,500

Consider this before buying an EV

Picking a car isn’t the only consideration when making the jump to an electric vehicle. Not being able to just zip over to the gas station around the corner does complicate things a bit, but we can help you with this too.

The first thing you should consider when shopping for an electric vehicle — hell, even before you start shopping — is figuring out how you’re going to charge it. The fact is that while every EV comes with an adapter that will let you plug into any old 110-volt outlet (in the US, anyway), the size of modern EV batteries means that you could spend days waiting for a decent charge.

If you own your own home, you’ll need to look into getting a Level 2 charger installed. Luckily, these aren’t that expensive on their own. While getting one put in does require a contractor’s services (these are dangerous voltages and currents we’re working with here), there can be tax breaks for doing so — especially if you decide to make the jump to solar at the same time.

If you don’t own your own home, you’ll be using a charging network. You should look into which ones are the most well-established where you live and drive most often. If you have a Tesla, this is pretty easy. If you have other EVs, you’ll have to do a little research, but the most common nonproprietary networks are Electrify America, Chargepoint and EVGo. They all have different apps and pricing, but they all work more or less the same. These charging networks will offer Level 2 charging or DC fast-charging. The latter is considerably more expensive, but it’s much faster.

The next thing to think about is maintenance and service. EVs, in general, require a lot less service than an internal-combustion-powered car. Still, if you have your heart set on a Tesla and you don’t live anywhere near a Tesla service center, you might end up in an inconvenient position should something break. In this case, maybe an EV from a more traditional brand would be better for you.

Tax incentives are an important part of many people’s decisions to switch to an EV, and that’s totally valid. It’s important, though, to understand that not all manufacturers qualify for all of the incentives (Tesla, notably), and not all buyers will be able to take advantage of the full federal incentive, even if it’s offered. It’s worth talking to a tax professional before factoring a $7,500 tax credit into your purchase — even if a manufacturer tries to include that in its advertised prices. Also, be sure to look into whether you might qualify for state and local tax incentives — don’t leave money on the table.

Finally, be prepared to talk about your electric car. People will ask you about it — friends, family and strangers — especially if you live somewhere EVs aren’t super common yet. Some of those questions might seem silly or even dumb, but you’re going to hear them, and depending on how you answer, you might just help convince those people that an EV could work for them too.

More for people looking to keep their cars in tip-top shape

2022 Chevy Bolt EV driven, Tesla Cybertruck delay and more: Roadshow’s week in review – Roadshow

It’s hard to believe the month of July is basically over, but here we are at August’s doorstep. The final week of this month was a busy one, and our editors got behind the wheel of numerous cars to share their thoughts. Read on below for all the goods, or we invite you to listen along in a video recap with a click of the play button above.

Top reviews

Reviews Editor Antuan Goodwin drove the 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV and found its improvements and better price add up to one pretty solid EV.

Click here to read our 2022 Chevy Bolt EV review.

News and Features Editor Kyle Hyatt took a ride on the new 2021 Harley-Davidson Sportster S to see what all this change at the bike-maker is all about.

Click here to read our 2021 HD Sportster S first ride review.

Reviews Editor Andrew Krok slid behind the wheel of Mercedes-Benz’s super luxurious EV, the EQS. It’s a really big deal and you’ll want to read all about the slippery sedan.

Click here to read our 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS first drive review.

Top news

Top videos

Now playing: Watch this: 2022 Mercedes EQS drives like the big deal it is


3:44

Come with us on a drive through Germany to experience the new EQS.

Now playing: Watch this: Mini truck battle: Ford Maverick vs. Hyundai Santa Cruz


4:55

It’s a battle of tiny trucks. Which one wins? Press play to find out.