Valentine’s Day and client expertise do not precisely go hand in hand. Each couple is completely different, however when you’re getting a cherished one a present for the vacation, it ought to come from the center. A brand new smartphone or transportable exhausting drive is good, however it would not at all times scream “romance.”
For the tech-obsessed robots at Ars Technica, although, good gear will at all times win out in opposition to fickle ideas like “human feelings.” So as a substitute of posting a extra standard reward information, I made a decision to have fun this Valentine’s Day in a extra Arsian method: by asking my colleagues to level their hearts not towards different folks however towards the tech of their lives that they recognize probably the most.
Right here are some things we love.
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Apple iPad (9.7″)
I absolutely acknowledge that, conceptually, the iPad is boring. However within the 12 months since I despatched my outdated iPad mini 2 to the large closet within the sky, Apple’s 9.7-inch pill has simply turn out to be the piece of tech I take advantage of most frequently.
To peel again the curtain a bit: Ars is a distant operation, so all of us earn a living from home. I’ve used this freedom to experiment with my workflow. As an alternative of sitting in entrance of a laptop computer all day, I break up my duties between a Mac mini in my dwelling workplace and the iPad in every single place else. After I really want to hunker down for one thing, the outdated desktop-monitor-mechanical-keyboard triptych remains to be probably the most highly effective option to plow via a venture.
After I get inevitably uninterested in being chained to a desk, although, the iPad takes over for mild writing, word taking, and Net searching. Running a blog is just not probably the most processor-intensive job, so the A9 chip and 2GB of RAM in my iPad remains to be a lot for me to do the requisite analysis and emailing on iOS. (I’ve the Fifth-gen mannequin from 2017, to be clear; final 12 months’s successor is extra highly effective, and a 2019 mannequin is anticipated someday within the subsequent couple of months.)
If something, I discover the expertise of writing on the iPad to be much less distracting than on the desktop. Because the iPad can solely show one or two apps at a time, it forces me to concentrate on what’s on the display screen at any given second. I take advantage of the wonderful Bear and Ulysses apps for word taking and drafting up posts, respectively, and typing with this good Brydge keyboard turns the pill right into a pseudo clamshell.
What makes the iPad so precious comes after work, although. Net searching and YouTube watching on its great-for-an-LCD show is extra pleasant than utilizing a smaller telephone display screen and fewer unwieldy than plopping a laptop computer on my legs. When my girlfriend takes management of the TV to observe This Is Us, I can simply fireplace up YouTube TV and watch actually the rest. (Love you, expensive!) Earlier than mattress, the iPad turns into an expensive device for studying, the odd informal recreation, and podcasts. For me, this 9.7-inch kind issue is the candy spot: something smaller would make work unimaginable, whereas something larger can be too annoying to hold round.
In different phrases, that is the closest factor I’ve to a 24-hour gadget—and for that, I find it irresistible. That it value lower than $350 is only a sweetener.
—Jeff Dunn, Tech Author
Kind my final title and “Koss” into any search engine, and you will seemingly discover me gushing in regards to the firm’s headphone line. I have been hooked on Koss’ wares since I acquired my first dirt-cheap KSC-75s in November 2007, which I sought out as a result of I acquired uninterested in ill-fitting earbuds once I grew to become a bus commuter. Seems, the KSC-75s make use of the identical audio driver as their inexpensive and generally lauded Porta Professional headphones. The issues I need in transportable audio—together with strong frequency vary, distortion-free loudness, and an agreeably carved bass oomph (learn: not Beats)—do not come cheaper than the KSC-75s.
The Wisconsin firm hasn’t let up when it comes to inexpensive, high-quality choices, significantly within the Bluetooth period. Koss’ comfy FitClips sequence—which relaxation round your ear with a rubber, sweat-friendly grip—now features a Bluetooth mannequin. If that quantity of rubber is not your cup of transportable tea, the BT190 line wedges contained in the ear with a grip in contrast to the rest available on the market. (I am a very sweaty health club rat, and Koss’ fitness-friendly merchandise have by no means confirmed slippery or uncomfortable throughout my grossest duress.)
Better of all, this 12-year love affair has been buoyed by an incredible customer-service promise of substitute cups and buds. Ought to transportable wear-and-tear result in an ear going silent or different points, merely ship the damaged pair and a test for roughly $7 to Koss HQ to get a substitute. I’ve spent perhaps $120 on Koss merchandise over the previous decade, and I plan to proceed for an additional 10 years. (However, whereas I’ve their consideration: can we please get the KSC-35s again? I like these issues.)
—Sam Machkovech, Tech Tradition Editor