Working at The Verge, it’s easy to get caught up in the latest and greatest gadgets dominating the tech news cycle. But sometimes, locked in our own tech bubbles, we tend to miss out on things. Everyone has a blind spot. You can only read so many online reviews, and the best way to see the actual products people are using in their daily lives is to ask around.
That’s why I asked my non-tech reporter colleagues at The Verge, along with a few of my friends from our sister sites Eater and Polygon to tell me: what’s your favorite gadget you’ve bought in the last year that’s made the biggest impact in your life? Did it live up to the expectations you read about online? And how much do you still like it?
I’m extremely impressionable, and I’ll buy anything if there’s so much as a gentle breeze in the air suggesting I purchase the item. I don’t understand why websites have to disclose they may be receiving a commission through affiliate links. Girl! I should be thanking you for giving me something to buy. I love being a cog in the wheel of capitalism.
Anyway, let’s move on to what my co-workers bought:
Who bought it? Michele Doying, post-production specialist and stop-motion artist extraordinaire
Her review: “The smart plug has revolutionized my life. Since the twinkle lights are my room’s main light source, I appreciate not having to walk across my room to plug them in. I just have Alexa do it before I even walk through the door. And I don’t have to climb down my bed to unplug them. Before, I can’t tell you how many times I got into bed and forgot to unplug my twinkle lights and then had to climb back down to yank the plug. Now, I can climb up, read a bit, and tell Alexa to turn off the lights. It’s amazing.”
Do I want it? Yeah, but maybe I’ll hold out for the Ikea smart plug coming out soon. It’s about $20 cheaper.
Who bought it? James Park, editorial assistant at Eater and mukbang champion
His review: “I like it except that it can be really loud. I saw that it had above a 4-star rating out of 5, and a lot of people said it was great for the price! So I just went for it. I use it almost once a week to do everything from chopping vegetables to making ice cream! If you put frozen fruits into this food processor and run it like for three minutes, it becomes this smooth sorbet-like ice cream!”
Do I want it?
Who bought it? Devon Maloney, internet culture editor and owner of the cutest dog I have ever seen in my entire life
Her review: “I resisted for a long time because I actually love physical books, but I knew at the time that I might be moving back to New York and that physical books can be unwieldy on subway commutes. Generally speaking, my default state is hate-loving my tech, and I hate-love this Kindle. Buying books from Amazon makes me feel like a traitor, but also it makes it sooo much easier to read books.”
Do I want it? I already have a five-year-old Kindle that I’ve nicknamed Kindle Jenner and it’s still kickin’ it, so no!
Who bought it? Patrick Gill, video producer at Polygon and one-half of Gill and Gilbert
His review: “I just upgraded to a PS4 Pro at home because I thought seeing a few extra frames per second in video games would fix my broken soul. It did not fix me! But we have a PS4 Pro at the office, and I was tired of going home and playing the same games that did not run as well on the base model PS4. So it’s nice to play games now without feeling like I’m playing the worse version.”
Do I want it? I have five consoles at my house including a PS4, so no.
Who bought it? Dilpreet Kainth, Social Media Manager and Cat Hero
Her review: “Universal remote! This has been life-changing for our home. Before we used to lose our multiple remotes left and right. We have about 4 remotes that we were using. The universal remote has totally changed that and made it so much easier for us to switch between devices and view content on different platforms like Netflix, Xbox, and live TV.”
Do I want it? I’m currently just balancing my regular TV remote and Roku remote, so I’m good for now!
Who bought it? Loren Grush, space reporter who is constantly Grushin’ it
Her review: “I really dig my Apple TV. We just got rid of cable and I barely noticed. My family pretty much trusts Apple for everything; I think my dad got it first, and he said I should get it.”
Do I want it? I already have a Roku, so no!
Who bought it? Alex Castro, illustrator and secret musician?!
Cost: “I bought it used on eBay. These things can run up to $900, and I was able to snag it for just over half that price.”
His review: “It’s a great piece of gear: extremely solid build quality and great layout. The pads feel great, and the LED screen is gorgeous. The only things I can say is that the bottom left corner drum pad tends to stick and plays longer then it should. Also, it triggers when I’m pressing the buttons around it, which can be pretty annoying.
Also, this thing is pretty big and a little heavy (the downside of it being solid), so it’s kind of annoying to move around in my Brooklyn apartment. It’s probably best to designate a place for it to live, so you won’t have to deal with clearing space and rerouting cables on your desk.”
Do I want it? It seems pretty complicated, so no!