TR’s April 2014 peripheral staff picks

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When we introduced our new System Guide format in February, we cut out peripherals in order to focus more closely on internal PC components. Our plan was to revisit keyboards, mice, displays, and such things in a separate guide, which we would be free to flesh out a little more and update as needed, independently of the already lengthy System Guide.

Today, that plan comes to fruition. Welcome to our first peripheral staff picks.

Our aim here is a little different than with the System Guide. Rather than provide an exhaustive overview of the entire market, we’ll mostly tell you about the products we, TR’s editorial team, personally like—or would purchase for ourselves.

We’ve chosen this focus partly because our editorial work tends to center on internal components, and the breadth of our experience with the myriad peripherals and accessories out there isn’t all-encompassing. Also, in many ways, peripherals are more a matter of personal preference than internal PC parts. We can benchmark things like graphics cards and make very specific recommendations based on the results, but we can’t guess what kind of mouse you might like, what brand of headphones you prefer, or what type of external backup solution would best suit your needs.

Finally, you might notice the “powered by Newegg.com” logo at the top right of this page. As with the TR System Guide, Newegg is the sponsor for our Peripheral staff picks. When possible, we’ll link to Newegg listings for the products we recommend. Newegg still has no input on our actual recommendations, nor does it have any say in the editorial content of this article. If we want to recommend a product Newegg doesn’t carry, we’ll simply link to another e-tailer. That’s the same deal as with our System Guide.

All right. Now we’ve explained everything, let’s look at our recommendations.

Keyboards

We like keyboards here at TR, probably because we spend quite a few hours each day typing up the stories you see on the site. We particularly like mechanical keyboards, which have a discrete switching mechanism with a metal spring under each key. Mechanical keyboards tend to provide better response than the more commonplace rubber-dome offerings.

Lately, the mechanical keyboard market has seen something of a renaissance. Many vendors have come out with mechanical offerings of various shapes and sizes, with a wide variety of different key switch types. We’ve singled out a few of our favorites for the staff picks:

Product Price
Rosewill RK-9000 series $74.99-$149.99
Corsair Vengeance series $89.99-$149.99
Cooler Master QuickFire XT series $89.99-$119.99
Unicomp buckling-spring series $79.00-$109.00
Vintage Model M $90.00-$105.00
Topre Type Heaven $150.00

The Rosewill RK-9000, Corsair Vengeance, and Cooler Master QuickFire XT series are all based on Cherry’s MX series of key switches, and they’re each available with different versions of that switch type. Before we talk about the keyboards themselves, let’s introduce the switches briefly.

The most common Cherry MX switch types are the blues, browns, reds, and blacks. In short, the blue and brown switches provide tactile feedback when the key reaches its actuation point, and the blues also generate an audible click. The reds and blacks, by contrast, have no tactile or audible feedback whatsoever. They’re smooth and silent all the way down to the bottom-out point. The only difference between them is that the blacks are stiffer.

We prefer the brown switches for typing. The blues are a little loud for our taste, and the lack of tactile feedback on the reds and blacks can lead to inadvertent double keystrokes. Some gamers like the reds and blacks for that very reason, however, since it’s possible to repeat keystrokes quickly without a tactile bump or a dead zone getting in the way.

This article provides more detail about the main Cherry switch types. You might also encounter Cherry MX green and clear switches. Those are pretty much just stiffer versions of the blues and browns, respectively. We haven’t used any keyboards with MX clear switches, but you can read about the greens right here.

Rosewill’s RK-9000 series (pictured above) and Cooler Master’s QuickFire XT are both relatively plain, no-frills designs. They have no extra macro or media buttons, and some variants of the QuickFire XT even lop off the numeric keypad altogether. Gamers may appreciate the extra mousing area that compromise affords.

Corsair’s Vengeance keyboards, meanwhile, are more stylish and full-featured, with aluminum surfaces, volume control knobs, and special media keys. The Vengeance K95 is probably the most tricked-out of the bunch, since it’s got a block of 12 macro keys for MMO games. The Vengeance K70 lacks those extra keys, and the Vengeance K65 also does away with the numpad. Corsair also includes LED backlighting in select models. Just make sure you avoid the K60, which is an older version of the K70 with rubber domes under some of the keys.

What about those Unicomp and vintage Model M keyboards? They’re based on old-school buckling-spring switches. Those of us who were around computers in the 1980s and 1990s likely remember them. Quite a few mechanical keyboard purists prefer buckling springs, even though the keyboards based on them lack many of the bells and whistles of newer designs—and aren’t particularly pretty to look at. We’ll concede that buckling springs do feel extremely satisfying to type on.

Finally, there’s the Topre Type Heaven, which is outfitted with electrostatic capacitive switches. You can read all about this keyboard and its rather unique switch type in our review. In short, it’s not a mechanical keyboard in the strictest sense of the term, but it provides smoother, quieter action than conventional mechanical designs, yet it lacks the mushiness of classic rubber-dome offerings. The downside is the price: $150, which is rather onerous for a keyboard without media or macro keys.

Mechanical keyboards aren’t really appropriate for use on the living-room couch. There, light and wireless options are ideal. Here are a few we like:

Product Price
Enermax Briskie combo $11.99
Rii N7 $35.38
Logitech K400 $39.99

Enermax’s Briskie combo is a very affordable, laptop-style solution with a nice and snappy key feel. It even comes with an optical mouse in the box. Thanks to its full-sized layout and light weight, the Briskie should be equally at home on a coffee table and in front of a desktop PC.

Logitech’s K400 is more couch-centric. It fits comfortably on one’s lap, and instead of a numpad, it features a laptop-style touchpad. We’re not all that thrilled with the key feel on this thing, but it should be fine for the kind of typing required to control a home-theater PC—mostly quick Netflix and YouTube searches.

Last, but not least, there’s the Rii N7. This keyboard is similar in concept to the K400, but it’s much smaller: the size of a remote, in fact, with BlackBerry-style keys.

Mice and controllers

Most of us are less particular about our mice than about our keyboards, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have our preferences. For the most part, we’re quite keen on comfy gaming mice with high-precision sensors and other perks, such as on-the-fly DPI adjustments, macro buttons, and software that supports custom bindings and profiles.

Product Price
Logitech G500s $59.99
SteelSeries Sensei Raw $59.99
Corsair Vengeance M65 $69.99
Logitech G700s $79.99
Cyborg Rat 7 $99.99
Cyborg Rat 9 $139.99

Among wired gaming mice, we’re partial to Corsair’s Vengeance M65. We reviewed the M60, a slightly older version of the same rodent with a lower-precision sensor, and we liked it a lot. Its wide shape is particularly nice for those of us with large hands.

Logitech’s G500s is another tethered option, and it’s also priced around the $60 mark. Logitech gaming mice tend to have narrower shapes that suit some mousing styles better. The G500s—and its wireless sibling, the G700s—also have some handy macro buttons just above the thumb rest, which can always come in handy. I use the G700, the predecessor of the G700s, for day-to-day mousing, and I’m quite pleased with it. Plenty of other folks swear by Logitech’s gaming mice.

A nice wired alternative for lefties is SteelSeries’ Sensei Raw, which Geoff uses in addition to a right-handed mouse in order to avert RSI during long work days. The Sensei Raw has a symmetrical design with thumb buttons on both sides and the requisite on-the-fly DPI adjustments. Geoff digs the soft-touch coating and the fact the LED lighting can be toned down, as well.

Moving a little upmarket, we have Cyborg’s Rat 7 and Rat 9. Geoff gave the former our Editor’s Choice award a few years back. The Rat 9 is the same thing, but wireless. These mice are completely adjustable, from their width and length to the height of their palm supports, so they can be tailred to match the shape of the user’s hand. That perk comes at a price, though. These things aren’t cheap.

Don’t need a fancy gaming mouse? We also like a couple of Logitech’s no-frills rodents:

Product Price
Logitech M510 $34.99
Logitech M505 $44.99

The Logitech M510 has a full-sized, ambidextrous design, while the M505 is smaller and meant to cater to laptop users. Both of these mice are wireless, too. For everyday desktop tasks that don’t require an extreme amount of precision or speed, they’ll do just fine.

Finally, we’ll throw in a recommendation for Microsoft’s Xbox 360 controllers:

Product Price
Xbox 360 USB controller $39.99
Xbox 360 wireless controller for Windows $49.99

You can get ’em in both wired and wireless flavors. (The wireless one linked above is marketed toward Windows users, and it comes with a wireless receiver in the box.) We won’t debate the superiority of keyboard and mouse control in games. However, we will say that some games, especially racing titles, can be a lot more fun to play with a controller. Some cross-platform games just have crummy mouse and keyboard controls, too.

Whatever the reason, having an Xbox 360 controller around is always handy. Windows has drivers for them out of the box, and most cross-platform games will support them with no setup required. The same isn’t necessarily true for other PC gamepads.

Displays

There was a time when buying a budget display meant putting up with a TN panel. These days, IPS-based monitors are available almost at every price point. The most affordable ones only have six bits of color depth per channel (rather than the usual eight bits), so their color reproduction may not be much better than that of TN solutions. Nevertheless, they have considerably wider viewing angles, so you won’t see hues shift too much when viewing the screen off-center.

Though IPS panels are more widespread than ever, TN panels still rule in one notable market segment: high-speed panels. 120Hz and 144Hz offerings can refresh the image twice as fast as conventional, 60Hz displays. That higher refresh rate can produce visibly smoother animation, provided your graphics card can keep up.

Some high-speed displays can also sync up with active-shutter 3D glasses. These glasses work by shielding each eye from every other frame on the screen, so that in practice, one’s left and right eyes each get their own, 60Hz image feed. The effect is stereoscopic 3D imagery not unlike what one might see at the movies (albeit implemented differently). The only catch is that a rather powerful graphics card is needed, since each frame must effectively be rendered twice—once for each eye. For graphics card recommendations, check out our main System Guide.

Product Type Price
Acer H226HQLbid 21.5″ 1920×1080 IPS $129.99
Asus VS239H-P 23″ 1920×1080 IPS $159.99
Asus VG248QE 24″ 1920×1080 TN $279.99
Asus PA248Q 24″ 1920×1200 IPS $319.99
Achieva QH2700-IPSMS 27″ 2560×1440 IPS $389.95
Dell UltraSharp U2713HM 27″ 2560×1440 IPS $699.99
Dell UltraSharp U3014 30″ 2560×1600 IPS $1,099.99

Among $200 monitors, there are options aplenty. We don’t have first-hand experience with either the Acer H226HQLbid or the Asus VS239H-P, but those displays have solid specs and encouraging user reviews on Newegg. We think they’re safe bets for folks seeking a budget-friendly 1080p monitor with a 6-bit IPS panel.

Above $200, we have a few favorites. There’s the Asus PA248Q, which is a 6-bit model with more inputs, more adjustments, and a taller (16:10) aspect ratio than the sub-$200 options above. Geoff has a couple of older versions of this display, and he likes them well enough. Shoppers with a little more scratch can spring for a 27″ Korean monitor like the Achieva QH2700-IPSMS, which has an 8-bit IPS panel with a 2560×1440 resolution. Korean monitors like these are cheaper alternatives to full-featured models like Dell’s UltraSharp U2713HM. They tend to have less connectivity and either minimal or no on-screen controls, but they’re also a good bit more affordable.

Then there’s the Asus VG248QE. This 24″ display has a 144Hz refresh rate and supports Nvidia’s 3D Vision stereoscopic glasses. We tested a larger predecessor to this model, the VG278H, and were quite impressed by its image quality and color reproduction—despite the TN panel. If you’re looking for the smoothest gaming experience possible, or you must have stereo 3D support, the VG248QE is a great choice. The Newegg user reviews bear that out.

At the higher end of the spectrum, it’s hard to go wrong with a 30″ Dell display. The UltraSharp U3014 is the latest revision of this imposing classic, which features a humongous panel with a 2560×1600 resolution (and thus a taller, 16:10 aspect ratio than typical 27″ screens). Dell has also built a plethora of inputs—even a card reader—into this thing.

Some folks with deep pockets might also want to explore the nascent 4K category. These newfangled high-PPI monitors all have a resolution of 3840×2160, which is equivalent to four 1920x1080p frames put together. There are some associated challenges, though, not least of which is the fact that all the 4K monitors we’ve seen present themselves to the host system as dual-display setups. Not all games handle multi-display configs well. On top of that, some Windows apps have inadequate support for such high pixel densities, and encountering the odd firmware kink isn’t unheard of.

No doubt about it, there’s a price to be paid for being an early adopter—not just figuratively, but also literally. 4K monitors are pretty darned expensive.

Product Type Price
Dell UltraSharp UP2414Q 23.8″ 3840×2160 IPS (8-bit) $1,067.24
Asus PQ321Q 31″ 31.5″ 3840×2160 IGZO $2,999.00

We have two recommendations here. Asus’ PQ321Q is a 31.5″ specimen with an IGZO panel, and we’ve used it for our own 4K testing. This was one of the first 4K panels to hit the market last year, and it wasn’t without rough edges—but it has field-upgradable firmware (via a hidden USB port), which has allowed Asus to roll out bug fixes that users can apply themselves. That perk is one of the reasons this monitor has such good user reviews.

If $2,999 is too rich for your blood, Dell’s UltraSharp UP2414Q squeezes the same resolution into a smaller, 24″ panel priced at just over a grand. We can’t vouch for this monitor ourselves, but user reviews of it are fairly encouraging. Considering the pixel density, it’s almost a bargain.

Before we move on, we should bring up the latest version of Oculus VR’s development kit, which is available for pre-order for $350. If you like to live on the bleeding edge, it doesn’t get much bloodier than this: state-of-the-art stereoscopic VR goggles that track both orientation and position, so one can look around a 3D scene as if one were standing inside it. Oculus VR is about to be acquired by Facebook, so I expect we’ll see more affordable goggles from the company eventually. In the nearer term, though, the development kit is the only way to play the growing list of games that support (or will soon support) Oculus’ VR technology.

Audio

None of us could be described as audiophiles, and we typically don’t review audio gear other than sound cards. That said, we do appreciate high-quality sound, and we have a few speaker and headphone recommendations in mind.

Product Type Price
Cyber Acoustics CA-3602 2.1 speakers $49.99
Creative Inspire T12 2.0 speakers $65.99
Sennheiser HD 558 Headphones $129.95
M-Audio Studiophile AV-40 2.0 studio monitors $149.99
Audioengine A2 2.0 studio monitors $199.00
Alesis M1A Active 520 2.0 studio monitors (USB) $199.00

At the budget end of the spectrum, Scott recommends Cyber Acoustics’ CA-3602 and Creative’s Inspire T12. These are both stereo speaker setups that provide passable, albeit not exceptional, sound quality. Audiophiles need not apply, but those of us watching Netflix shows, listening to podcasts, and enjoying the latest music videos on YouTube should be happy enough.

The most cost-effective way to get high-quality audio is probably to purchase a pair of good headphones. Geoff and I use Sennheiser’s HD 555 and HD 595 cans, respectively. The HD 555 used to be the better deal of the two, but it’s now been discontinued and replaced by the HD 558. The HD 558 is based on a similar design, and judging by the user reviews at Newegg and other places, it delivers an excellent experience for the money. Just be sure to use a decent sound card. (See our System Guide for recommendations on that front.)

Last, but not least, Bruno Ferreira, our resident coder and musician, has some suggestions for stereo studio monitor setups. M-Audio’s Studiophile AV-40 is the least expensive of the bunch, at $150, while the Audioengine A2 and Alesis M1A Active 520 both sell for around $200. The latter has a USB input, so it’s possible to dispense with a discrete card and still get good sound quality. No matter which setup you go with, though, these studio monitors should provide terrific audio fidelity for the money.

External storage and backups

We cover internal storage pretty extensively in our System Guide, but backups and external options are the realm of our staff picks. We’ve singled out a few options here, from a cloud backup service to a drive dock and 5.25″ card reader.

Product Type Price
CrashPlan Cloud backup service $4.00-$5.99/month
Thermaltake BlacX 5G 2.5″/3.5″ USB 3.0 drive dock $40.99
Kingston DataTraveler 128GB USB 3.0 thumb drive $62.99
Rosewill RDCR-11004 5.25″ card reader, USB hub $27.99

The easiest way to back up your data is probably to use a cloud service. Several of us have signed up with CrashPlan, which lets its customers back up an unlimited amount of data to the cloud for a monthly fee of $4 to $5.99. (The exact price depends on the contract length.) CrashPlan locks up data using 448-bit encryption, and it offers the option to set a private password that won’t be kept on the company’s servers. The downside of this, of course, is that losing the password means losing access to the data. But the upside is that nobody else, save perhaps for the NSA, should be able to steal your files.

For local storage, we like Thermaltake’s BlacX 5G USB 3.0 drive dock. Any internal 3.5″ or 2.5″ drive can be inserted in the BlacX and connected to a PC via USB 3.0, which is awesomely convenient. And the BlacX isn’t just handy for backups; it can also help salvage data on hard drives recovered from failing or inoperable PCs.

Need something more portable? USB 3.0 thumb drives have come down in price quite a bit lately. Offerings like Kingston’s DataTraveler 128GB can be purchased for less than $70, and they’re capacious enough to store important files: tax forms, photos, family videos, and so forth. Thanks to their USB 3.0 interfaces, these drives also tend to be much speedier than the sluggish thumb drives of old.

Finally, if you’re building a full-sized desktop PC, chances are you’re going to have some unoccupied 5.25″ bays in your enclosure. It may be a good idea to populate one of them with something like Rosewill’s RDCR-11004, which offers card reading capabilities and a six-port USB hub (including two SuperSpeed ports). I suppose this doesn’t count as external storage in the strictest sense of the term, but hey, it can’t hurt.

Other odds and ends

Product Type Price
Edimax EW-7811Un USB Wi-Fi adapter $9.99
NZXT Sentry 2 Fan controller (touch screen) $27.99
NZXT Sentry Mix 2 Fan controller (mechanical) $34.99

Plenty of folks stick PCI Express Wi-Fi adapters in their PCs. However, few are aware that bit-sized USB dongle adapters also exist—and that they’re tantalizingly inexpensive. Edimax’s EW-7811Un offers 802.11n connectivity for only $10. The small size and lack of external antennae might lead one to think the wireless reception isn’t so great, but that doesn’t seem to be so. Out of over 900 Newegg reviewers, 72% awarded the dongle four or five stars, and only 13% gave it one star. Either way, at $10, it’s not much of a gamble.

Most of the motherboards we recommend in our System Guides have pretty serviceable fan-control features built in, either in their firmware or in the Windows software that accompanies them. The thing is, motherboards only have a handful of fan headers. For systems with more fans than the motherboard can handle, a discrete fan controller is a wise purchase.

We’ve singled out a couple of recommendations here, both from NZXT. The Sentry 2 is the lower priced of the two; it supports up to five fans at 10W per channel, can monitor internal temperatures, and has a fancy touch screen. The Sentry Mix 2 doesn’t have a touch screen (fan speeds are controlled with mechanical sliders), nor does it sense temperatures, but it supports up to six fans at 30W per channel.

Conclusions

And that brings us to the end of our very first TR peripheral staff picks.

We haven’t covered everything, but that’s okay. Again, this is a list of staff picks, where we talked about the products we know and care the most about. We think that’s more valuable to you guys than a lengthy attempt at exhaustiveness.

Not that we’re not open to suggestions, of course. If there are products you’d like us to include in the next edition of our peripheral staff picks, hit up the comments section below and let us know. Assuming we haven’t already tried them, we’ll try to get our hands on those items and see for ourselves whether they belong here. We can’t guarantee that we’ll agree with you, but we promise to hear you out.

Finally, if you enjoyed this article, don’t forget to check out our main System Guide, in which we recommend internal components and custom PC builds, and our how-to-build-a-PC guide, where we walk readers (and viewers) through the PC assembly process with plenty of helpful tips, photos, and video footage. Finally, if you need other folks to chime in on your tentative hardware selections, our forums are always a good place to start.

Comments closed
    • mongoosesRawesome
    • 6 years ago

    Would love to see some headset recommendations. I find it hard with so many options out there to discover something relatively cheap (around 50) comfortable fitting over the ear and sturdy with quality microphone

    Perhaps the better solution is to use a separate microphone and headphone setup? What are people using?

    • Major-Failure
    • 6 years ago

    [b<]For displays[/b<] I highly recommend the [b<]Dell U2414H[/b<]. It's 24 inch, IPS, 1080p resolution, great stand, all positive reviews. I'm completely satisfied with it. [b<]Keyboards[/b<]: Logitech Illuminated Keyboard (wired). It's not suitable for gamers though, due to certain restrictions Logitech put in.

    • crabjokeman
    • 6 years ago

    I had my eye on the BenQ BL2411PT (maybe my poor experience with Asus mobos makes me skeptical about the PA248Q). I wish it was more available in the U.S. and/or reviewed by TR.

    • WulfTheSaxon
    • 6 years ago

    They’re a good bit more expensive than the recommendations here ($80), but has anybody tried a [url=http://shop.lenovo.com/us/en/itemdetails/0B47189/460/60AC6A0372B14F5BA7B12F1FF88E33C7<]ThinkPad Bluetooth keyboard[/url<]?

    • UltimateImperative
    • 6 years ago

    I have the Sentry Touch, and I don’t use it anymore; it looks neat, but in practice it’s not super usable. It would start beeping for no apparent reason and the interface was not very responsive or intuitive. I replaced it with a Bitfenix Hydra, which works fine. I’m sure the NZXT analog unit is just as functional, but their touchscreen controller isn’t all that useful.

    For audio, I personnally really like my AKG K172 headphones. I’m thinking of buying an AKG or Audio-Technica broadcast headset to get top-notch headphones with a very good directional microphone.

    • flip-mode
    • 6 years ago

    Meh.

    • GeForce6200
    • 6 years ago

    Decent overall guide but I think that the audio section could use some work. I would like to point out that one can get so much better quality sound by picking out some nearfield or book shelf speakers and an amp to go along with their needs. The lower end speakers, while easy to setup are really just cheap crap. I’m, not advocating that good sound must comes from $500 and up system. Even a class t-amp and some Micca bookshelf speakers would be better than most boxed setups. Throw in a small Dayton audio sub for the low end and you’ve got a very potent and multiple use system for less than $200. Heck for <$100 just get some larger bookshelf speakers that have a lower response and less need for a subwoofer. Having heard the AV40s they are not worth the money. Pretty lackluster in terms of overall sound. Nothing against M-Audio, have BX8a Deluxe monitors that I love. So if TR could do some searching or post a thread in Echo Vale about the best audio configurations I think it would really help each other and really get good sound at different price levels.

    • oldog
    • 6 years ago

    I know you can only get them from the QPAD website and they are expensive but the QPAD MK-80 keyboard is hands down the best mechanical keyboard in the world!

    They are completely configurable with any Cherry Switches you prefer. The keys are fully and individually backlit. They support N-key rollover and the back-lighting is beautiful. They also have a removable wrist rest all the ports you could want. I have a couple of them and they are rock solid.

    Besides, they only run 1299 Sek. Well actually they are about $200.00 shipped to the US although I got mine on their site for much less last year.

    Support the Swedes!!!

    • Rectal Prolapse
    • 6 years ago

    Too bad there aren’t enough reasonably-priced gaming keypads like the old Belkin N52 Nostromo. Razer has the Orbweaver, but a little too pricey for my tastes, even though it has Cherry MX switches. Bring it down to <$50 and improve the software and it’ll be a winner!

    I modded one of my Belkin/Razer N52TE keypads – replaced the cheap and stiff rubber-domed keys with cherrys, using switches from a cannibalized Rosewill RK9000. Works well, particularly for FPS games.

    • sparkman
    • 6 years ago

    No mention of G-Sync displays?

      • sparkman
      • 6 years ago

      P.S. I love the new article otherwise.

      • Airmantharp
      • 6 years ago

      There’s only one, and it isn’t worth it for non-competitive gaming :/

        • sparkman
        • 6 years ago

        I see. Thanks for the info.

        Are you referring to the ASUS VG248QE? [url<]http://www.geforce.com/hardware/technology/g-sync/where-to-buy-g-sync-monitors-and-modules[/url<]

    • Chrispy_
    • 6 years ago

    Gamepads. No, screw that – game controllers of any ilk.

    More people are using PC’s as HTPC’s doubling as games consoles these days;

    I roll with a couple of wireless XB360 pads, but if you guys have other preferences I’d be curious to hear them in your next peripheral picks article.

    • Deanjo
    • 6 years ago

    [quote<]Logitech's K400 is more couch-centric. It fits comfortably on one's lap, and instead of a numpad, it features a laptop-style touchpad. We're not all that thrilled with the key feel on this thing, but it should be fine for the kind of typing required to control a home-theater PC—mostly quick Netflix and YouTube searches.[/quote<] As an owner of one of the K400's and as an owner of a TK820, spend the extra money and go for the TK820. Sure it is twice the price but it is well worth it and actually feels like a quality keyboard.

    • anotherengineer
    • 6 years ago

    I don’t mind my Dell P2214H monitor, nice that it has display port.

    I have a mouse on order, it has decent reviews, we’ll see once it comes in.
    [url<]http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16826794006[/url<] I think the type and quality of the peripherals make a big difference in the user experience, probably even more so than a high end cpu or gpu does. I wouldn't mind one of those 'code' keyboards with cherry whites and o-rings, but by the time it made it to Canada it would cost me $250+ unfortunately.

    • someuid
    • 6 years ago

    Recommendation suggestions:

    Desks.
    Chairs.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 6 years ago

      Specifically, chairs that aren’t top-of-the-line $500+ chairs would be nice. Then again, I’ve gotten really good mileage out of a high-back leather office chair from Staples so maybe it’s not as critical as I thought.

        • keltor
        • 6 years ago

        Sit in a $500 quality chair for a month and then you’ll never use a $100 Staples special again. My Steelcase has been around 14 years – that’s a lot of mileage out of a $700 chair compared to my like $20k in computer components.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 6 years ago

          Honestly I’m kind of afraid to for that reason…:lol:

            • superjawes
            • 6 years ago

            Don’t be afraid of more expensive chairs. Honestly, the chair I sit in at work is probably $500 and it isn’t leather or high backed. Companies spend that much per chair because 1) they get any volume discount, especially if someone else assembles the chairs, and 2) the chairs will last a lot longer than your $100 Staples chairs (like 2+ decades).

            And don’t you work from home anyway, DerFunk? See if your company will comp part of it or just claim it as a tax writeoff.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 6 years ago

            I’m not afraid of them, I’m afraid of liking it. 😆

            I do work from home, but my furniture is my own. And my understanding is that since I wouldn’t be using it exclusively for work I’d not be able to write it off.

            • superjawes
            • 6 years ago

            And I was saying that you would like it, but wouldn’t regret it (which is probably what you really fear).

            And I don’t think that exclusivity matters. If you buy it primarily for work, it should count as a business expense.

            • sjl
            • 6 years ago

            I can only comment on Australian tax law; your mileage may vary by jurisdiction.

            Here, if I buy something for under $300, and it’s primarily (or even just mostly) for business use, it’s a tax deduction. Straight out, no questions asked, as long as I can demonstrate the connection between the item and how I earn my income, it comes out of pre-tax dollars. Eventually.

            Over $300, and the rules get more complicated – what percentage is business use, what percentage personal, depreciation over a period of time, etc., etc. But I can still claim that percentage as a tax depreciation.

            The rules should be similar in other jurisdictions. Speak to a good tax accountant.

        • Ringofett
        • 6 years ago

        I’m sure there must be reasonably affordable equivalents, surely some Chinese factory has copied the design and materials and simply ask half the premium for 98% the quality? (Possibly the same factory that makes the ‘real’ version, lol)

      • bfar
      • 6 years ago

      The ever neglected keystones of a quality desktop build. Deserves an article all on its own.

      • oldog
      • 6 years ago

      My son swears by his Steelcase chair. For myself I prefer this Eames chair…

      [url<]http://store.hermanmiller.com/Products/Eames-Aluminum-Group-Management-Chair[/url<] Let me tell you THE BEST MONEY YOU WILL EVER SPEND is for a very high quality desk chair. I personally own 3 of the Eames chairs. My children already have dibs on their favorite when I die. No doubt my grandchildren (if I ever get any) will also use them. PS - I really like this chair better than the Eames padded chairs. You sit lower in them and they support your spine like a hammock. PPS - The Eames chairs go on sale twice a year.

    • Ninjitsu
    • 6 years ago

    The first two displays are listed as having 6-bit colour, but Newegg says 16.7 million colours, which indicates 8-bits per channel.

    The third IPS display is listed as 8-bit, and Newegg lists 16.7 million colours.

    Am i missing something?

      • anotherengineer
      • 6 years ago

      Marketing and approximation, and people not being technically specific.

      More technically correct is 6-bit + FRC (FRC is basically dithering/interpolation)

      6-bit – 262,000 colours, and 6-bit + FRC about 16.2 million colours

      8-bit = 16.7 million colours

      So as the old quote goes, caveat emptor.

        • Ninjitsu
        • 6 years ago

        I thought it could be something like that, just didn’t know what (regarding this FRC thingy).

        I have a Dell S2240L, now I’m paranoid, is there any way to check whether this hass 6-bit or 8-bit colour?

          • anotherengineer
          • 6 years ago

          I have a Dell S2240M and I think it’s a 6-bit+FRC panel, and more common for e-IPS and IPS types. VA types usually have full 8-bit colour.

          Usually true full 8-bit panels are a bit more money.

            • Ninjitsu
            • 6 years ago

            Thanks, mine must be the same, because the only difference between the L and the M are the ports.

            Hey, i was reading [url=http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/articles/content/6bit_8bit.htm<]this[/url<] article on TFT Central, and there's this colour gradient test at the bottom. I can only see very slight banding towards the darker regions, more prominent in gray-scale. Looking at what a 6-bit+FRC panel is supposed to look like (on the page), we either have a very good 6-bit display with dithering or true 8-bit colour.

    • Wall Street
    • 6 years ago

    I have to disagree with your mouse picks. Especially the recommendation of RAT mice which are garbage. All of the mice you picked have poor sensors. I would recommend:

    1. Microsoft Wheel Mouse Optical ($13 Ebay) – This cheap and cheerful classic has great sensor performance although the 400 DPI and mediocre mouse wheel limit it in 2014. Still can’t beat the price and Quake Live pros still turn to this mouse for its sensor performance.
    2. Logitech G100s ($21 Amazon) – A great little mouse for people who prefer small mice and use a fingertip grip. Cons are that it lacks additional buttons.
    3. Monoprice/Zowie Mico ($28 Monoprice) – A mouse used by a lot of Starcraft pros. Has the classic Logitech Mini Optical shape.
    4. Zowie FK ($54 Amazon) – One of the best simple five button mice. Used by many FPS pros.
    5. Logitech G602 ($59 Amazon) – A wireless mouse with a good sensor, lots of buttons, good battery life, and the ability to operate with one battery to make it lighter than most wireless mice.
    6. Logitech G400s ($45 Amazon) – For those who prefer a palm grip.

      • Ninjitsu
      • 6 years ago

      The old Logitech MX518, whatever it’s called now. This month marks the third year of trouble free service for my unit.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 6 years ago

        I’ve had an MX518 for about that long as well, and it’s the best mouse I ever had.

        • keltor
        • 6 years ago

        You can still buy new ones from China on eBay. I bought 30 … (the prices are really good too.)

          • derFunkenstein
          • 6 years ago

          I often wonder why hasn’t Logitech re-released the exact same exterior design with updated internals. I looked on eBay and the prices aren’t bad from China – I’m concerned that they’re going to be knock-offs, though.

        • Freon
        • 6 years ago

        The G400 is the same exact shell and buttons, but with double the DPI. I replaced my MX518 with one, works great.

        • Major-Failure
        • 6 years ago

        Still using it as well. Have another MX518 in the shelf. Both units emit a high-pitched whine however.

      • Flatland_Spider
      • 6 years ago

      The Logitech M325 is my go to wireless mouse. It has horizontal scrolling, a middle click, and excellent battery life from a single AA battery, and it slides nicely on all surfaces. It doesn’t have a laser, and it’s not an anywhere mouse.

      • bfar
      • 6 years ago

      Well done for a good response to the article. When I did my own research I was quite surprised at how many supposedly high end mice with big brand names were making mice with poor sensors and/or built in acceleration.

      In fairness to the article, the Logitech G500, G700 and Stealseries Sensei Raw are good clickers.

      I swear by Zowie myself. You simply can’t beat a good simple mouse with a quality sensor.

      • Chrispy_
      • 6 years ago

      I had a RAT7 which was quite possibly the best made and most comfortable mouse ever.

      I agree that the sensor/firmware combo was a bit of a nightmare though. This is why I now use a G9x laser, even though the build quality and feel are nothing like the RAT.

      (and my Wheel Mouse Optical is still my daily-driver at work, has been for 9 years)

      • hiro_pro
      • 6 years ago

      Agreed on the RAT. i got suckered in by the look and feel of the mouse. i have never seen anything close. Unfortunately, the quality control for the RAT mouse is crap. i have to unplug and replug it in once a week when it crashes. i never had an issue with logitech and wish i had stayed with them.

      • zealeus
      • 6 years ago

      For gaming, especially MMOs, I love my Razor Naga mouse. After having used it in Rift, and now FFXIV, I couldn’t go back to a “normal” mouse for MMOs.

    • superjawes
    • 6 years ago

    I think you could use a few more recommendations in the headphone section, and it would probably make sense to have a separate list for them. For consideration:

    [url=http://www.amazon.com/Audio-Technica-ATH-M50-Professional-Monitor-Headphones/dp/B000ULAP4U/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1396869961&sr=8-2&keywords=audio+technica+ath-m50<]Audio Technica ATH-M50[/url<] - $140 [url=http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0042A8CW2/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pd_S_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=1152LTY5PPHO1&coliid=ISFIZE085ZYF5<]Sennheiser HD 598[/url<] - $190 Both of these options still fall below $200 (the highest recommendation for studio monitors in the audio category).

    • just brew it!
    • 6 years ago

    Couple of additional thoughts…

    – Newegg apparently still refuses to ship many of their Rosewill keyboards to Illinois. I wonder if anyone on TR staff has a contact there who could explain whether they ever intend to fix this?

    – I can vouch for that cheap Edimax USB WiFi adapter. I’ve used it to replace the flaky WiFi on an old laptop, and it works great. Furthermore it is very Linux-friendly (no additional drivers required) for the people who care about that, and is even the recommended WiFi adapter for use with the Raspberry Pi!

      • derFunkenstein
      • 6 years ago

      The whole reason I got my QuickFire Pro is because of this stupid shipping issue with Rosewill and Newegg. I do wish they’d fix whatever it is. I just added a Rosewill keyboard to my shopping cart while I was reading the article and just as you say, it’s still a problem.

      • someuid
      • 6 years ago

      [quote<]Newegg apparently still refuses to ship many of their Rosewill keyboards to Illinois.[/quote<] Several internet message board threads point to ewaste fees that states like IL charge to manufacturers. Since Rosewill is Newegg's house brand, Newegg feels it is easier to not ship to IL and avoid the ewaste fee. Same issue for NY and CA shoppers.

        • just brew it!
        • 6 years ago

        Yes, I realize it is an e-waste issue; we had a rather lengthy forum thread about it when it first started. I was just wondering if they ever plan to do anything about it.

          • keltor
          • 6 years ago

          I thought there was a catch-22 issue with it being a house brand and them being the e-tailer.

            • just brew it!
            • 6 years ago

            I believe there was some speculation that this was the part of the e-waste law that tripped them up. I don’t recall if it was ever confirmed.

            There are also *some* Rosewill keyboards that they are willing to ship to IL. Not sure if this is a database glitch, or if it depends on who the OEM for the keyboard is.

            Heck, this is *Illinois* we’re talking about here. They probably just need to figure out who needs to be paid off! 😉

    • HisDivineOrder
    • 6 years ago

    Still no recommending receivers instead of sound cards?

    For shame, TR. Creative’s got their long, storied history of horrible drivers. Asus has slowly, but surely built up their own absolutely stunning history of horrible driver support over the last few years. (Especially with the Xonar Phoebus.)

    Why even bother processing audio in a DAC in your PC anyway? Just output that digital to a DAC made for doing the job well (ie., receiver) and skip the noise, the crap, the horrible drivers, etc. Get yourself some quality speakers and bada boom, bada bing.

    Better audio. Tailored to how you want it. No need for silly PC speaker setups with problems of their own (ie., the best PC speakers ever made are either the Klipsch Promedia 5.1 Ultra or its Logitech counterpart, neither of which were without major manufacturing flaws that have led to problematic lifespans), either.

    Just the quality of a home theater of whatever cost you like. HDMI audio out is just SO much better than any sound card can do. It’s ridiculous. Bonus: Your receiver acts like an amp for headphones, too.

      • Prestige Worldwide
      • 6 years ago

      Its not 2006 any more. Creative’s drivers are fine.

      • Ninjitsu
      • 6 years ago

      Could you suggest some that take S/PDIF input?

      EDIT: Or something equivalent.

        • crystall
        • 6 years ago

        I use a couple of Behringer MS20 speakers, they’ve got both coaxial and S/PDIF inputs:

        [url<]http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/MS20.aspx[/url<] There's a 2x20W model too, the MS40, it's [b<]very[/b<] powerful: [url<]http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/MS40.aspx[/url<] And this Roland model that sits in-between at 15W per speaker: [url<]http://www.roland.com/products/en/MA-15D/[/url<]

          • Ninjitsu
          • 6 years ago

          Thanks. Don’t know if they sell these here. I’ve currently got the SRS-D9 from Sony, they’re pretty decent though I was just wondering what to go for, a sound card or a receiver that receives digital and outputs to speakers…I really don’t understand the entire receiver thing properly, will have to read up, i guess.

            • crystall
            • 6 years ago

            [quote<]I was just wondering what to go for, a sound card or a receiver that receives digital and outputs to speakers...I really don't understand the entire receiver thing properly, will have to read up, i guess.[/quote<] I would suggest going for a receiver or speakers with integrated DAC and digital inputs like the ones I've linked to. With a full digital setup coming out of your computer you get a completely clean audio signal (no electrical / white noise caused by the motherboard or other components) and you won't need to install additional drivers. As a bonus the external DAC / amplifier is going to be quite a bit better than the ones found on a sound card (if you pick a decent one that is) and can be a [b<]lot[/b<] more powerful (if you need it to be).

            • Ninjitsu
            • 6 years ago

            Thanks a lot, will look for this stuff.

      • Kurotetsu
      • 6 years ago

      DACs in receivers are often no better than the ones found in sound cards and integrated audio (which DOESN’T mean they sound bad, its just that they aren’t automatically better in that regard). Yes, they come with a ton more features, but its questionable whether the bulk of those would be of any use away from a home entertainment setup. You could get most of the same benefits by getting a good USB DAC. Yes, you would need extra components (like a headphone amp if the USB DAC doesn’t have one built-in, or a power amp if you’re going to be using passive bookshelves), but you’d still be saving on the size, weight and electricity use of a receiver.

      • davidbowser
      • 6 years ago

      I must admit that I was running analog from my HTPC to a receiver for maybe 5 years and I never really had any issues with the sound. When I tried to simplify and go with the motherboard audio to the speakers via SPDIF, I have run into some weird stuff (loudness, audio artifacts, etc.). I have even run into issues with audio over HDMI (to a TV, not a receiver).

      I have never really read up on best practices or anything, but it is probably worth some time.

      • cynan
      • 6 years ago

      About the noise/interference issue, in my experience, this is generally more of a problem with integrated sound on the motherboard than half decent discrete sound cards with some sort of power filtering. But I do concede this may be a point for preferring an external DAC.

      However, receivers are just not very practical as desktop devices as they take up tons of room, and most of the features are pretty redundant for desktop audio (run off of a PC).

      Furthermore, receivers are (generally) expensive compared to sound cards, etc.

      And just why is HDMI audio the bees knees? Other than being able to carry lossless DD and DTS variants, I don’t see any reason why, say, HDMI would give you better audio than say, coaxial or USB digital interfaces.

      If your home theater/big screen is incorporated into the PC in question, or if you already have a set of passive speakers lying around and have the room, then by all means, get a an AVR receiver. Otherwise, for a desktop PC, I think a sound card is more practical without really sacrificing functionality or quality. If you are only interested in 2-channel, then a lower cost external DAC (with/out headphone amp) is worth considering.

    • crystall
    • 6 years ago

    One monitor that I think is missing from your list is a monitor from Eizo’s FORIS series like the FS2331 or even the FG2421. They are [b<]very[/b<] expensive for their class (23"-24") but they are the only gaming monitors available with a VA panel that I know of. The color reproduction is [b<]gorgeous[/b<] so if you're doing some graphics work but you still want a monitor with good response times for gaming they're the best choice I know of.

      • Ringofett
      • 6 years ago

      $616 at Amazon for the FG2421! You weren’t kidding… I’d rather use the same money for a 30″ IPS Korean, but, an important caveat — I’m not a gamer. At least, not a FPS, super-twitchy gamer.

    • Jon1984
    • 6 years ago

    I recently was searching for a unlimited cloud storage system and I stopped searching after I bumped into Crash Plan. It’s good to see some of you using it to, looks like I’ve made a good choice.

    My only concern is that I’ll take one and an half month for the first backup, upload is a bit slow.

      • Ringofett
      • 6 years ago

      Another vote for Crash Plan, I’ve had good experience with it so far. Software is stable and reliable, which is sad to say not 100% common in the backup/cloud storage arena. Crash Plan doesn’t even try to be another Dropbox, but that’s okay, CP does what it does perfectly, I use SpiderOak for other roles.

      My next PC-related project will be a NAS, and CP will shine there too. All inside one app, I’ll have my cloud backup and my local mirror.

      PS: CP is also the first, and most likely the last, Java-based program I’ll ever recommend. It suffers from its Java roots, all you have to do is spend 10 seconds with its interface and you’ll know its written in Java, but its too stable and useful to really berate it, but it’d be that much faster and smoother if it were C++, etc.

      • davidbowser
      • 6 years ago

      For backups, I have not found anything BETTER than CrashPlan. I have seen others that are OK, but CrashPlan is my favorite.

      For data sync, I use Jungle Disk. I have two desktops and a laptop, and this keeps my files nice and synced.

    • Wirko
    • 6 years ago

    So no love for 1920×1200 displays? They still have some advantage over 1920×1080 for Word/Excel/Photoshop/web design/CAD users.

      • superjawes
      • 6 years ago

      Displays that fall out of the 1080p standard set by televisions tend to have silly premiums attached =(

      • BearThing
      • 6 years ago

      The Asus PA248Q listed in the guide is, in fact, a 1920×1200 display.

      I love mine.

        • anotherengineer
        • 6 years ago

        And I think they made a boo-boo, I think it is a 6-bit + FRC panel.

        [url<]http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/reviews/asus_pa248q.htm[/url<] ewwww PWM backlighting edit 2 - the Dell U3014 I think is a 10-bit panel also. [url<]http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/reviews/dell_u3014.htm[/url<]

          • keltor
          • 6 years ago

          Also no mention of the new 30″ Korean panels which are also 10-bit and only like $100 more than the 27″ displays.

            • anotherengineer
            • 6 years ago

            Indeed, however one has to remember that gaming cards are typically 8-bit output, and typically you need a workstation card for 10-bit output.

          • Cyril
          • 6 years ago

          Checked with Asus, and it is indeed 6-bit. Just updated the writeup to reflect that. Sorry, guys!

            • anotherengineer
            • 6 years ago

            No worries Cyril.

            The way they put down 16.7 million colours, and lack of a panel part number, it is easy not to know if it’s 6-bit+FRC or 8-bit.

    • allreadydead
    • 6 years ago

    I’m sure you talked about it somewhere and I missed it, but why there are no Razer products in staff picks ? Do they have some kind of “no review unit to TR” policy or something ? Or you just skip them because they are too expensive and not worth the price ?
    They are saying that they are producing only gaming products but razer mices and keyboards are really fit for daily use aswell.
    I’d like to see your opinions about their new switches in blackwidow keyboards.

      • Prestige Worldwide
      • 6 years ago

      The DeathAdder is consistently at the top of gaming mice roundups around the internet, surprised to not see it even given an honourable mention here.

      But again, this is “staff picks” and not a best of list. Things are going to be more subjective in that regard.

      • Damage
      • 6 years ago

      I can’t speak for the other guys, but I’ve never liked the shape of Razer mice–nearly all of them seem wrong for me–and they seem to be overpriced for what they are. I can forgive a price premium for a good product, but the shapes they use don’t make me want to.

        • allreadydead
        • 6 years ago

        You should really try one. I’m left handed and believe me, I can write thousands of pages how wrong ambidexterious mice design are today. No need to mention so-called optimized for right hand usage ones.
        Razer ambidexterious mices were the only ones (espacially copperhead and it’s curved left/right buttons) that fit on my hand and felt comfortable. It has issues as any other products;
        little funky glitches in software that sometimes causes way too much trouble,
        issues with durability of switches and coating in some mices,
        faulty/dead ones etc
        but still, I really enjoyed my years with copperhead until finally its left button switch decided to not work after about 4 years. I tried to swap it with one of the side button’s switch but I accidently completely destroyed it when I tried to do that…
        Now I’m using a razer naga left hand edition after 2 years non-stop bugging Razer CEO and Razer over twitter/facebook/support.It had issues on win 7 with synapse 2.0 software but it works fine in win8. I have Logitech G300 at work (maaany buttons, many shortcuts) and it’s not even close to copperhead let alone be comparable with Naga’s tracking.
        And there is that mechanical keyboard thing. All the Cherry MX switch keyboards has same foundation but now Razer produced it’s own switches. I’m really curious to see how they are compared Cherry MX ones and your opinions are really valuable. Blackwidow ain’t cheap and don’t wanna invest that much if those Razer switches are not worth of the money.

          • JustAnEngineer
          • 6 years ago

          When I got a Razer Imperator mouse for $47 on an Amazon lightning deal, it seemed like a great mouse. At the regular full price of $70+? No, thanks.

            • allreadydead
            • 6 years ago

            Yes, Razer’s prices are a bit high compared to standard mices. However, competitor products in “gaming mouse” segment has similar prices.
            A standard PC user shouldn’t need extra feats (adjustable negative acceleration, DPI Switching, etc) and precision offered by any of the gaming mouses while doing web browsing or working with office programs. I wouldn’t buy a high-end Razer, Mad Catz, Roccat, Logitech gaming mouse for work as I don’t need the precision. If I was doing any CAD, 3D or any drawing related work, I’d get one. What I need at work is, extra customizable keys. Logitech G300 is perfect for that job. I used to get cheapo A4Tech’s but realised that it’s not really “cheap”.

            It’s all about what we need from our mouse. In gaming, I can really feel the difference between normal mice and Gaming Grade ones. In windows, the difference is easily negligable. Still, the enthusiast PC Market is gaming centered and those mechanical keyboards and gaming grades mice needs a bit more attention (preferably, by sources I trust; TR).. IMHO

    • Pax-UX
    • 6 years ago

    Would be nice to see some 7.1/5.1 headset options. Also some network gear like 802.11 AC/AD wi-fi.

    Otherwise some great info… been looking for a monitor for a while. This has helped convince me to pick up a nice 27″ ASUS VG278HR.

    Also am a big fan of programmable keyboards with extra buttons. The Logitech G11 is a great keyboard for productivity and gaming.

    • jibkat
    • 6 years ago

    Oh and as a fellow owner of both A Corsair K60 and Topre Type Heaven, they are both great keyboard but for different usage. The corsair twitchy nature makes it good for gaming, where the Topre is quiet enough to ensure my coworkers refrain from bloody murder.

    • sjl
    • 6 years ago

    One thing concerns me about the headphones: do they have a detachable cable? I’ve had a couple of pairs of headphones that I ended up having to replace, not because they’d outlived their useful life, but because the cable had become faulty (my current pair suffers from audio dropping out of one ear unless I turn the jack [i<]juuuuuuust[/i<] so.) If the cables had been detachable, I could have simply procured a replacement cable and called it good. Instead, I have to buy a complete new set of headphones. (Yes, I could, in principle, solder up a replacement cable myself. I'm not good with that sort of project, unfortunately, and I also don't have the time - it's not entirely realistic to expect the typical end user to be able to do this, and the price to have a shop do it is close enough to a new pair of headphones as makes no difference.)

      • Firestarter
      • 6 years ago

      The Sennheiser HD 518/558/598 have a removeable cable, replacements are available only from Sennheiser as far as I know. They’re not especially cheap.

        • davidbowser
        • 6 years ago

        Most Sennheiser headphones have a 2 year warranty.

        I had a fault in the plug of my Sennheiser PXC 450s. I opened up a ticket on the Sennheiser website and they fixed them for free.

      • HisDivineOrder
      • 6 years ago

      Cheap headphones are cheap.

      News at 11. If you want perks like detachable cables, you spend more. If you want to keep buying cheapo headphones again and again because you use them frequently, well… you can consider yourself on a El Cheapo Headphone Subscription Plan.

      Like Xbox Live Gold or Office 365. Except with the El Cheapo Headphones Subscription Plan, you get to feel like you’re not going to be paying again soon. They hide the fact it’s a subscription from you.

      Think of it like a game where YOU get the OPPORTUNITY to discover you just been played. By a major corporation mass producing crap for your ears.

      Oh wait. I guess I ruined the game, didn’t I? Belated spoilers, everybody.

      • just brew it!
      • 6 years ago

      If the failure is at the plug end of the cable you can snip the old plug off and attach a new one yourself. Yes, some minor soldering skills are required. But it’s not like you’re trying to solder SMT chips.

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