Computer hardware has been evolving at a breakneck pace for as long as many of us have been alive, with new inventions and innovations seemingly always around the corner that promise to reshape our experience of our connected lifestyle. In this list, we separate the wheat from the chaff and look at five computer accessories that have the potential to be more than just promises:
HTC VIVE PRO VR HEADSET – $799 US
Though uptake has been slow, advances have been swift in the world of virtual-reality gaming. The HTC Vive Pro is the gold standard in VR, with integrated stereo sound and multiple modes that allow users to play seated or standing in an area as large as 20×20 feet. The screen is small but powerful, boasting a maximum resolution of 2880 x 1660 at 615 PPI. Its ergonomic design and 360 degree field of vision allow the most immersive gameplay to date – we look forward to seeing what software developers have in store now that hardware like the Vive Pro is available.
With the climbing popularity of streaming services like Twitch and the ubiquity of podcasts, the market for affordable, high-quality microphones has become somewhat saturated in the past decade. Blue set the standard with its Yeti microphone and once again leads the pack with its newest offering, the Spark SL 0137. The Spark is a marked improvement over tradition computer microphones, with a large diaphragm cardioid design matched with a low-frequency cutoff and proprietary internals to guarantee crystal clarity and minimal interference.
ACER EI1 MONITOR – $973 US
At a time when gamers have hesitated to embrace VR headsets and immersive gaming, Acer EI1 series monitor offers a stunning compromise between immersion and multipurpose functionality. With an aspect ratio of 32:9, the monitor is twice the width of a conventional widescreen monitor for every inch of height, measuring a full 49” from corner to corner with a 4ms refresh time and a maximum resolution of 3840×1080.
ANKER POWERCORE 26800 – $69 US
While mobile USB power banks are nothing new, most of us are accustomed to using them on our cellphones or other small
portable electronics – not our laptops. The Powercore 26800 packs enough punch to charge a Macbook three times, and that number doubles if you’re using it charge a late model energy hog smartphone. The powerbank is built with Anker’s quick charging technology, promising up to 8 hours of usage on some devices with a 15 minute charge, and comes with an 18-month warranty for those among us who are suspicious of things that seem too convenient.
JABRA ELITE 65t BLUETOOTH EARBUDS – $199 US
Move over, Apple! The Jabra Elite 65t earbuds offer the same convenience as the Airpods, but with even greater
flexibility. These high-quality earpieces come with integrated Alexa voice command capabilities, and can also be used with Siri or Google Assistant for a handsfree connection to the entirety of the internet. If that’s not enough, they boast a five hour battery life and sportier versions of the Jabra are IP67 certified to keep dust, sweat and water from ruining your investment. Accelerometers and heart rate meters are available in the sport models as well.