If you’re wondering what Robey would put on his Christmas wish list this year... let’s just say that I asked, and it was a long list.
So, I’ve taken upon myself to break down that conversation into a few different categories to outline the official “Favorite Things” list of 2023 from the jolly old elf himself... Robey, not Santa. The latter and I still have some leftover beef from the Christmas of ‘95.
As we looked down at this list, we thought you might enjoy some of these things, too. If you happen to be in the holiday spirit yourself, the items I’m about to share with you will make incredible gifts. Along the way, I’m going to give you a gift, too: a pro tip for gift-givers to make this season even more jolly... we might even break out into song!
Before we get too far though, I have to acknowledge that this has been an incredible year of PC hardware releases! Between AMD’s latest X3D CPUs, Intel’s 14th Gen launch, the ever-growing lineup of viable gaming GPUs from NVIDIA, AMD, and Intel, and the awesome new cases we’ve seen, it's hard to pick favorites.
But as much as we love building PCs here at Robeytech, it might surprise you to know that none of those parts made this list! Now, don’t get all concerned on me – no one is holding us hostage. We're multi-dimensional people with several interests outside PC build. For example, some of us on the team love to cook, play instruments, and even write non-techie things.
Who would have thought? That’s not to say that some of these “favorite things” aren’t still tech-focused; they’re just tech-focused in other areas.
Alright... on with the show!
For Gaming on the GO
I love exploring new places, but sometimes travel can get a bit on the long side. Thanks to the growing number of portable handheld PCs like the Steam Deck from Valve, the Lenovo Legion Go, and ASUS ROG Ally, the distance between places feels a bit more like quick travel when you have your favorite games right there with you.
If you have seen these things and wondered which one might be right for you, we’re working on a more detailed video for that one, but I’ll break down some basics here:
Other handhelds in this space like the ROG Ally and Legion Go are great all-around units if you want access to games on platforms like the Epic Store, Battle.net, or even Xbox Game Pass for PC. Both the Legion Go and Ally have the same powerful AMD Z1 Extreme processor, beautiful displays, and incredible controls.
The Legion Go does have a neat feature the other handhelds don’t: removable controllers. Users can flip a switch, converting the right controller into a mouse. Or, you can do what some of the Robeytech team did: lean the Legion Go’s screen back on its kickstand and using the controllers detached as normal.
This mode can also be really helpful in those moments when you’re a big guy in a small, middle airplane seat... and you want to be courteous with your elbows.
To the folks in 26A and 26C: I am so sorry...
For Immersive Experiences
Now, when travel is out of the picture, I love to have immersive experiences. And, if that’s you or someone you know loves exploring digital worlds, you might want to check out some VR and AR gear.
The only experience I’ve had with VR is the old View-Master Classic, but Robey was really excited about the Meta Quest 3. You should have heard him talk about the resolution and depth of color – it was great. Also, as a completely wireless system, the Meta Quest 3 gives users the freedom to use it wherever I want... well, almost wherever.
While VR isn’t my jam, Augmented or Mixed Reality is! And, when it comes to AR, the XReal AIR 2 AR glasses are worth checking out! While they look like a simple pair of sunglasses, they can connect to your phone or gaming handheld to serve as a floating display or a place to watch content (like Robeytech livestreams) wherever you go.
Super neat stuff – and they can be really practical, too. If you are doing something like building a PC or referring to a recipe while you’re cooking, the eye tracking in the XReal glasses can help you follow along without having to use your biscuit-dough-covered hands to scroll down that cooking blog for the rest of the recipe.
Now, we were also pretty geeked about the Apple Vision Pro... until we saw the price tag. I guess we’ll have to wait until 2024 or beyond to see how we like it. Until then, we’ll have to settle for “Actual Reality” glasses.
But, if headsets aren’t your speed, LG’s recent lineup of OLED TVs has been great. If you’ve been around these parts, you know how much the Robeytech team LOVES OLED. What I love is that LG has options at multiple price points to bring this technology to more people. Not only that, but most of these options are also Smart TVs, too.
Aside from that, the depth of color on these TVs can really draws you into what you’re watching. And, if you pair it with gaming consoles like the PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X, features like HDR just really make the game experience super immersive on the big screen.
Now, I want to offer a quick tip here:
If you are going to give the gift of tech – whether it’s a handheld gaming PC, a console, or, heck, any connected electronics for that matter, I urge you: update these devices before you wrap it up in a neat bow! If you are a parent giving the gift of tech to a child or teenager, this is a great time to set up parental controls and user accounts, too.
Seriously, as “first world problems” as it sounds, trying to download updates and firmware on Christmas day has made more than one person want to “Deck the Halls” during the most joyous season... if you know what I mean.
For Staying Connected to People
While the list up to this point has largely included isolated experiences to explore, giving the gift of personal connection is probably one of the most important gifts you can give... but that doesn’t mean it can't be fun, too!
Apple's new iPhone 15 just hit the market a few months back and Robey has been really pleased with his experience with it so far. Not only is it a great pairing with Apple devices like Apple Watch and AirPods, the crisp Super Retina XDR display and Dynamic Island take the distract out of FaceTime calls with the family.
If you’re more of an Android fan, there are a number of incredible options, but the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5 has to be one of the cooler devices in this space. As the name suggests, this cell phone has a 7.6-inch screen foldable display. Not only that, the camera is great for taking pictures of the kids (or dogs) to make calendars for the grandparents.