Valentine’s Day and shopper expertise do not precisely go hand in hand. Each couple is completely different, however in case you’re getting a liked one a present for the vacation, it ought to come from the center. A brand new smartphone or moveable onerous drive is good, however it does 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 typical 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 individuals however towards the tech of their lives that they recognize essentially 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 However within the yr since I despatched my outdated iPad mini 2 to the large closet within the sky, Apple’s 9.7-inch pill has simply develop into the piece of tech I exploit most frequently.
To peel again the curtain a bit: Ars is a distant operation, so all of us make money working from home. I’ve used this freedom to experiment with my workflow. As a substitute of sitting in entrance of a laptop computer all day, I break up my duties between a Mac mini in my residence workplace and the iPad in every single place else. Once I really want to hunker down for one thing, the outdated desktop-monitor-mechanical-keyboard triptych remains to be essentially the most highly effective method to plow via a venture.
Once I get inevitably bored with being chained to a desk, although, the iPad takes over for mild writing, be aware taking, and Internet shopping. Running a blog will not be essentially 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 yr’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. For the reason that 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 exploit the superb Bear and Ulysses apps for be aware 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. Internet shopping and YouTube watching on its great-for-an-LCD show is extra gratifying than utilizing a smaller cellphone display screen and fewer unwieldy than plopping a laptop computer on my legs. When my girlfriend takes management of the TV to look at This Is Us, I can simply hearth up YouTube TV and watch actually anything. (Love you, pricey!) Earlier than mattress, the iPad turns into an opulent software for studying, the odd informal sport, and podcasts. For me, this 9.7-inch type issue is the candy spot: something smaller would make work inconceivable, whereas something greater 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 like it. That it price lower than $350 is only a sweetener.
—Jeff Dunn, Tech Author
Sort my final title and “Koss” into any search engine, and you will seemingly discover me gushing concerning the firm’s headphone line. I have been hooked on Koss’ wares since I bought my first dirt-cheap KSC-75s in November 2007, which I sought out as a result of I bought bored with ill-fitting earbuds after I turned 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 moveable 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, notably within the Bluetooth period. Koss’ snug FitClips collection—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 moveable tea, the BT190 line wedges contained in the ear with a grip not like anything available on the market. (I am a very sweaty gymnasium 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 moveable 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 possibly $120 on Koss merchandise over the previous decade, and I plan to proceed for one more 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