We tech writers like to focus on the nicer things in technology. We obsess over the littlest details in $700 smartphones and write long reviews about why it's totally worth paying $20 for an app when there are free alternatives out there. Because of this, I worry a little about leading people to believe they always need to spend a good deal of money on everything they get "because only the best will do". Today I'm going to direct you towards some of the cheap tech that I use and love on a daily basis.
3M Precise Mouse Pad - $7
There's probably nothing less exciting than a mouse pad, so bear with me here. This is the mouse pad for people who don't like mouse pads. I didn't use a mouse pad for a few months with my new desk, but then noticed that my mouse was scraping the desktop ever so slightly. I had to get something, but thought everything I saw was either too stupid (you can buy some truly stupid and surprisingly offensive mouse pads), too big, or too cheap.
This mouse pad great because it is really as thin as a piece pf paper so you don't even notice it and it has an adhesive back1 so it doesn't slide all around the desk like most mouse pads with rubber backs. I've never been that happy with a mouse pad, but this one won me over.
At just $22.99, you might expect this to be a pale imitation of Apple's $150 Milanese Loop, but I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by how close this band feels to the real deal despite costing just 15% as much.
I've only had this band for a week at this point, but so far my experience has been great! Just like the official band, this is a lightweight, soft to the touch band that looks simultaneously subtle and classy. The magnet holds strong, and I have not noticed it getting loose on my wrist as the day goes on.
I have heard a couple people complain that the paint wears off faster than they would like, and I don't know how my band will do in that regard. At $23 though, I can deal with that complication if it comes up.
AUKY Sport Bluetooth Headphones - $19.99
The iPhone 7 may not have a headphone jack, so you may want to start looking into some Bluetooth headphones sooner rather than later. You can spend well over $100 to get a pair of really good Bluetooth earbuds, but what if you have simple needs and don't want to drop that much cash on headphones?
This pair from AUKEY is the best really cheap pair I have used. While they have the best sound of any sub-$30 Bluetooth headphone I've used they are still pretty tinny, so these are more suited to people who listen to podcasts and audiobooks, not music.
They also look pretty decent for the price and have very respectable battery life.
Dragonpad Pop Filter - $5
You have so many better things to spend your money on than a god damn pop filter. I use this every week for my podcast, and it works perfectly.
NYKO PS4 Controller Charger - $19.99
Charging your game controllers is a hassle, and this makes things easy. This low-profile addition to your PS4 lets you charge your controllers every time you're done using them by simply resting them on top of the console.
I've been using this for about a year and it works great. Because I always put my controller back when I'm done, it's always fully charged. No USB cables cluttering up my living room, thank you very much.
- It's easy to remove though, don't worry. ↩