Abigail BanerjiDec 31, 2020 21:05:06 IST
Editor’s Note: This story is part of a series about tech gadgets and devices that helped Team tech2 and some of our friends through the pandemic, lockdown, and the year 2020, in general.
The pandemic is a black swan event; unbeknownst to us it has changed our lives in the most unexpected way. But with everyone bemoaning their fate – stuck at home, cut off from their routine and life in the city – I was maybe one of the few people that actually didn’t have much to say about the entire sordid saga that has become our ‘new normal,’ A homebody by nature and as someone who dreads the four hours of travel to work, I revelled in the fact that I could stay home (away from people), wake up 10 minutes before work and when I left work, I had hours to get back to old hobbies or binge-watch all the new shows Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+Hotstar was coming out with.
Even as a predominantly science writer at Tech2, I am surrounded by all the latest gadgets and phones and our tech humans are very kind enough to allow us to take them for a spin. With that in mind, let’s jump right into my small but mighty lockdown legends.
Dell Inspiron 14 laptop
Way before Corona, or as I like to call her, Miss Rona, came crashing our way, two of my laptops – a Samsung and my second-hand MacBook – crashed on me. So in January, I made my first big purchase since I began working and bought myself the Dell Inspiron 14 3000. With the 10th-generation Intel Core i5, it was only supposed to be used for binge-watching and doing the bare minimum of work, but that changed in March. I began to use her every day, at all odd hours and since then, she has not failed me. From dealing with some 20-odd tabs opened at once to attending webinars and Zoom calls and watching movies or falling into the deep pit of YouTube, this laptop has gone above the call of duty to get me through these months.
Asus X01 phone
As our tech hoomans have mentioned in this series, phones are fickle, impermanent things in our life. The Asus X01 is nothing to write home about. It is a decent phone with a semi-decent camera and a very simple/easy to use user interface. It has clean lines and is so lightweight, with pretty impressive battery life.
I would not have paid too much of heed to it if I wasn’t stuck with it from the past nine months. The X01 has no airs, but I have dubbed it the ‘Netflix phone’ (for obvious reasons) and has become a trusty steed that is reliable, uncomplicated and extremely durable. Since it is so light, your fingers don’t hurt from holding it for long binge sessions ,which is such a bonus.
iQOO 3 phone
Don’t judge it too harshly (like I did), the ‘i Quest On and On’ 3 or the iQOO 3 is the most underrated smartphone I have used in my short stint here at Tech2. It has an unimaginable camera, a superb battery life and gives you a user experience that will leave you comparing all other phones to it. It is supposed to be a gaming phone with a special gaming mode and extra buttons to make your experience impeccable. I am no gamer, however; but you can read the review here.
The one downside to this phone is that you cannot download Netflix. It kind of soured my experience initially, but with the X01 standing in as my Netflix phone and my laptop furthering my streaming experience, I soon got over that hurdle.
With no other way to explain the incredible image quality, and since pictures speak a 1000 words, here are some samples that I took on my little excursion to Alibaug recently.
JBL and Boat wireless earphones, Juarez JRM50 lapel mic
As someone who has grown up in a rambunctuous family, I am used to studying/working in noise. But I do need to block them out and having some lo-fi or instrumental piano music playing in the background is a must for my optimal working conditions.
While travelling in pre-Corona days, I usually reached for my Boat wireless earphones for one reason only – they would not get tangled up when boarding or exiting the Mumbai local trains during rush hour. They have a reasonable battery life but I usually end up forgetting to charge them and they end up dying at the most inopportune moments. The sound quality of the earphones isn’t the best, but it isn’t bad either. However, what really impressed me about the earphones is that while using them for my home workouts, they would stay snugly inside my ear, even during some of the rigorous workouts sessions.
My JBL earphones, on the other hand, I have used every day during the lockdown. With three people working at home and constant phone/video calls and webinars, I needed something with a lot more noise-cancelling, but this did the job as well. Where they really shined was during our newly-launched Tech2 Science podcast recording. Paired with the Juarez JRM50 lapel mic, it really made my DIY at-home setup not too shabby, if I do say so myself.
Does a simple lapel mic and mini tripod count as tech? Not really; there are more hi-end gadgets around the office. But they sure did play an integral part in this lockdown – the mic along with the tripod helped me face my fears of being in front of a camera and made me realise that I had something important to say, and a platform to do it.