Gadgets for humans

These were TNW’s favorite tech purchases of 2019

TNW Buys

Holidays are coming up, so you might be looking for gifts to your loved ones or get the benefit of some great offers to buy something for yourself. Now, there are plenty of great gift guides around on the internet. However, we thought it might be helpful and interesting for you to read about our favorite gadgets we bought here at TNW.

Sony WH-1000xm3

Most of my life, I’ve avoided buying headphones that are suited for travel as I thought they’d be bulky and uncomfortable for long hours. But after working from cafes and co-working spaces for a long time, I grew to realize the importance of noise-canceling headphones. So just before I was heading to my home town for a friend’s wedding, I saw a mouthwatering deal on Amazon – the legendary Sony WH-1000×3 was available for just $279. I bought them in an instant, and I come to cherish its value so much.

I travel a fair bit – for work and to explore places. Those journeys include a lot of flights, buses, and trains. These rides can be quite noisy, and it’d be impossible to take a nap without noise-canceling headphones.

Sony Noise Cancelling Headphones WH1000XM3
THESE ARE SO GOOD UGH.

Also, I listen to a ton of music when I’m at home or when I’m traveling. And while WH-1000×3 are not audiophile-grade cans, they have a great sound for any listening device in that price range. I can’t recommend them enough. (Ivan)

Canon EOS M50 mirrorless camera

I’ve had the same beginner-grade DSLR camera (a Canon EOS 500D) for a decade, and it finally gave up the ghost last month. While it served me well for years, it was rather bulky, to the point that I wouldn’t use it much while traveling and often opted to leave it behind.

 

I’ve since replaced it with Canon’s EOS M50, a mirrorless camera that’s a lot more compact and packed with modern features that make it a delight to use. Since it’s far smaller, it fits in just about any bag I commute or travel with, and the articulating touchscreen allows for capturing shots from many more angles than a fixed one.

Plus, it works with my existing Canon EF and EF-S lenses with the help of an inexpensive adapter, so it’s every bit as versatile as the 500D it replaced. I’ve been using it on the road and to shoot products for reviews, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the results. (Abhimanyu)

De’Longhi espresso machine

Coffee has been an essential part of my daily routine for over a decade now, and it’s pretty much the only thing that gets me out of bed in the morning. I cherish those five or ten minutes spent drinking that first delicious cup.

Throughout my years, I’ve had a range of coffee-creation apparatus. A cafetière, a drip filter, a percolator, and, most recently, a Nespresso machine. Most of them have been good (although I still feel kinda weird about the Nespresso device), but nothing has come close to my De’Longhi espresso machine.

There’s something about the whole process of packing coffee in the portafilter, popping it into the machine, and feeling the handle slot into place. Then, when the steaming coffee dribbles out into the hungry mug, the smell of it filling the kitchen, I know peace for the first time in the day. And it gives me a proper fucking buzz.

So, thank you, De’Longhi Dedica, you make every single day that little bit more special. Money well spent. (Callum)

Anker Soundcore Liberty Lite

Well, it was more of a gift, but I absolutely wouldn’t mind spending $50 on Anker’s Soundcore Liberty Lite wireless earbuds.

Honestly, there are many shortcomings I can think of — like intermittent cutouts and relatively short battery life — but none of them really bother me at this price point. Since I got a pair, I’ve regularly used the Lites at the gym, at work, and during trips. They never disappoint me.

They’re sturdy, water- and sweat-proof, and come in a nice plastic case (which charges them when they’re out of juice). So if you’re looking for cheap wireless earbuds, you can’t go wrong with the Liberty Lite. (Mix)

Anker Soundcore Liberty Lite

Microsoft Xbox Game Pass

When Microsoft’s gaming subscription service — Xbox Game Pass — launched in June 2017 I was overjoyed. But my cheer quickly turned to dismay after a couple of months when I got bored with the limited lineup and scarce hit-or-miss monthly additions.

Image result for xbox game pass

That all changed in 2019. It’s ridiculous how much bang for your buck you get now. Dozens of AAA titles, including everything published by Microsoft and its in-house partners, get added every month. If I could only have one subscription in my life, I’d choose Game Pass – with all due respect to Netflix, Google Music, and The Atlantic. (Tristan)

Apple Airpods

I panic-bought my Airpods at the airport before getting on a flight from Amsterdam to London in May and it’s the best tech purchase I’ve made all year. They look great, they sound good, and they fit my ears nicely.
apple airpods with wireless charging case
You already knew what AirPods looked like, but here they are anyway.
I love the wireless charging case and the battery life is good, too. More importantly, my husband is delighted because I no longer talk to him on flights. I am tempted by the Airpods Pro, though, as active noise-cancellation is the only thing I’m missing. (Yessi)

 

Sony WH-CH700N

A quick Google will return countless results which hail the Sony 1000XM3’s as the best wireless headphones money can buy, but I didn’t have £250 to drop. But think of the CH700N’s like the little brother/sister to the 1000XM3’s. In my opinion, you get 90-percent of the experience at less than 50-percent of the price. 

In February, I had to take my first transatlantic flight from Europe to the Pacific North West. The prospect of spending more than 11 hours in the air like a caged animal was daunting, so I used it as an opportunity to splurge a set of noise-cancelation headphones – the Sony WH-CH700N 

I paid just under £100 for my CH700N’s and I couldn’t be happier. The noise-canceling is good enough to drown out airplane engine noise and annoying office sounds. The sound quality is very good, lows are tight rather than flabby and distorted, mids are articulated, and the highs are crisp and bright without being harsh. They also have a 35-hour battery life, which I’ve found, is an accurate claim. (Matthew B)

These were some of our favorite purchases of the season. What did you buy this year? Did you hate it or love it? Tweet all your rants @ us. Happy holidays!

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Published December 22, 2019 — 08:00 UTC