Valentine’s Day and client know-how 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 guts. A brand new smartphone or transportable arduous drive is sweet, 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 towards fickle ideas like “human feelings.” So as a substitute of posting a extra typical present information, I made a decision to have a good time 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 12 months since I despatched my previous iPad mini 2 to the massive 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 cut up my duties between a Mac mini in my house workplace and the iPad all over the place else. Once I actually need to hunker down for one thing, the previous desktop-monitor-mechanical-keyboard triptych continues to be essentially the most highly effective approach to plow by a challenge.
Once I get inevitably uninterested in being chained to a desk, although, the iPad takes over for gentle writing, word taking, and Internet looking. Running a blog just isn’t essentially the most processor-intensive job, so the A9 chip and 2GB of RAM in my iPad continues 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. For the reason that iPad can solely show one or two apps at a time, it forces me to deal with what’s on the display screen at any given second. I exploit the superb 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 worthwhile comes after work, although. Internet looking and YouTube watching on its great-for-an-LCD show is extra satisfying 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, 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 kind issue is the candy spot: something smaller would make work inconceivable, whereas something greater could 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
Sort my final title and “Koss” into any search engine, and you may seemingly discover me gushing in regards to 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 uninterested in 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 would like in transportable audio—together with stable 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 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 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 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 alternative 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 examine for roughly $7 to Koss HQ to get a alternative. 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