Valentine’s Day and client expertise do not precisely go hand in hand. Each couple is completely different, however should you’re getting a beloved one a present for the vacation, it ought to come from the center. A brand new smartphone or moveable arduous drive is good, nevertheless it does not all the time scream “romance.”
For the tech-obsessed robots at Ars Technica, although, good gear will all the time 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 a good time 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 admire essentially the most.
Right here are some things we love.
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Apple iPad (9.7″)
I totally 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 However within the yr since I despatched my outdated iPad mini 2 to the large closet within the sky, Apple’s 9.7-inch pill has simply change into the piece of tech I take advantage of most frequently.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 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 house workplace and the iPad all over the 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 Once I really want to hunker down for one thing, the outdated desktop-monitor-mechanical-keyboard triptych remains to be essentially the most highly effective solution to plow by means of a mission.
Once I get inevitably uninterested in being chained to a desk, although, the iPad takes over for mild writing, observe taking, and Internet looking. 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 lots 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. Because the iPad can solely show one or two apps at a time, it forces me to concentrate on what’s on the display at any given second. I take advantage of the wonderful Bear and Ulysses apps for observe 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 priceless comes after work, although. Internet looking and YouTube watching on its great-for-an-LCD show is extra pleasurable than utilizing a smaller cellphone display 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, 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 not possible, whereas something larger 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 like it. That it value lower than $350 is only a sweetener.
—Jeff Dunn, Tech Author
Sort my final identify and “Koss” into any search engine, and you may possible 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 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 moveable 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 by way of inexpensive, high-quality choices, notably within the Bluetooth period. Koss’ snug 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 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 verify 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 really like these issues.)
—Sam Machkovech, Tech Tradition Editor