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Features we initially mocked, but then came to love

Many tech products are introduced with great fanfare and excitement. Customers flock to buy them, even sometimes standing in line for hours. But some products, and in particular, features, just don't inspire the same kind of buzz. In this gallery, we'll look at a bunch of features that inspired more "why" than "wow," but proved to be beloved by ZDNet's contributors and editors.

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Topic: Innovation
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1 of 17 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

USB charger in couch - David Gewirtz

Why David mocked it, then loved it:

"Look, I'll be the first to admit that it doesn't feel like home until my La-Z-Boy is properly situated in front of the TV. But when the last couch we bought came with USB chargers built into the couch seat, we felt the whole digital revolution went one step too far. But guess what? We love it. We use these every day. It's incredibly convenient (and a bit decadent). Lazy boy, indeed."

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2 of 17 Photo by Tim Foster on Unsplash

Apple Watch - David Gewirtz

Why David mocked it, then loved it:

"First, I don't like wearing watches, so getting a gadget that I know I don't like wearing was odd. I also thought checking notifications could not be a justification for purchasing an Apple Watch.

"I found that the camera feature to help me frame video was invaluable. And the notifications grew on me. When I'm out and about, it's often inconvenient to dig out my phone, especially constantly on a busy notification day. With the watch, a quick glance lets me know if I need to give something more attention. It's been a surprisingly big win."

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3 of 17 General Motors

Heated seats (in Florida) - Jason Perlow

Why Jason mocked it, then loved it: 

"I loved the idea of AC seats, use them all the time. But rarely use heat in Florida. But man, in a convertible Camaro, when the temperature drops to under 70?"

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4 of 17 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

Apple CarPlay - David Gewirtz

Why David mocked it, then loved it:

"CarPlay was brutally expensive and painful to install. But as I've grown to use it, I've really come to enjoy it. I recently had to take my wife's car (sans CarPlay) for a ride, and even though my iPhone does everything (and more) that my CarPlay head unit does, I missed CarPlay. It's incredibly convenient for a few things: navigation, text messaging, and tunes."

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5 of 17 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

Amazon Prime - David Gewirtz

Why David mocked it, then loved it:

"When introduced, Amazon Prime was $79. Nobody, I thought, needs to buy so much that they'll use up $79 in shipping. The price has since gone up to $119 and it's so worth it. We shipped tables and other very heavy objects and spent nothing on shipping. We love it."

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6 of 17 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

Toto Washlet - Jason Perlow

Why Jason mocked it, then loved it: 

"An entire product I mocked but now love is the Toto Washlet. Used to make fun of them all the time until I had stomach surgery. Now I own two, thinking about a third, and when I have to use the facilities anywhere else I think I'm in the dark ages."

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7 of 17 Jason Cipriani

Amazon Echo - Michael Steinhart

Why Michael mocked it, then loved it:

"I never thought I'd need a voice-activated virtual assistant in my home. There's a timer on the oven. My phone can tell me the weather and play my music. I remember when I needed to turn on a radio and insert a cassette into said radio in order to hear my music. But I have an Echo now and I love it. And I don't even worry about AWS listening to every conversation in my house, because my kids have fed Alexa with so much garbled input that we've set their algorithms back 10 years."

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8 of 17 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

Echo Dot - Andrew Brust

Why Andrew mocked it, then loved it:

"Beyond the obvious appeal of the Alexa platform itself, having these smaller units in each room in a 3-bedroom Manhattan apartment seemed absurd at first, but now it's really nice.

"The one in the kitchen works great as a voice-controlled multi-cooking-timer and lets me add things to my shopping list. The one in each of the boys' rooms lets them check the weather in the morning and dress themselves appropriately. All of them provide voice control for my older Sonos units that do not themselves have Alexa onboard."

Nest E thermostat
9 of 17 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

Nest thermostat - Charlie Osborne

Why Charlie mocked it, then loved it: 

"I had the kit for years but only installed it when I moved to my current house, and as someone who used to always turn on the heating manually via the boiler (and on an I-am-going-to-freeze basis), I thought the mobile control element was going too far. 

"However, this feature is now in constant use and comes in incredibly handy when I'm out of an evening and the temperature has plummeted, as I can turn on the heating before I reach home. Love it."

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10 of 17 US Army

AirDrop - Adrian Kingsley-Hughes

Why Adrian mocked it, then loved it: 

"AirDrop is great when it works, then if it lets me down once and I resort to emailing myself, it takes me a few weeks to regain trust in it, but it's been a lot better lately."

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11 of 17 OviiTech

USB wall outlet - Adrian Kingsley-Hughes

Why Adrian mocked it, then loved it:  

"Early USB wall outlet plates were nasty, with poor isolation between the high and low voltage sides, and prone to nasty tracking in the event of a surge or lightning, but the newer ones are quite handy."

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12 of 17 Image: Google

Android Auto - Ed Bott

Why Ed mocked it, then loved it: 

"I initially saw Android Auto as just a gimmick, but after using it in my car for the last year or so I'm a convert. The best part is that it replaces the clunky built-in navigation system with the far superior Google Maps and gives me a consistent interface to music and podcasts even when switching cars."

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13 of 17 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

MagSafe Adapter - Adrian Kingsley-Hughes

Why Adrian mocked it, then loved it: 

"Initially the MagSafe power adapter annoyed me because it worked exactly as it was supposed to and wouldn't let me put stress on the power socket. Then I learned to use it right, avoid stressing sockets (that's not good for cables anyway). Now it's gone from Apple's machines and that makes me sad."

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14 of 17 Instant Pot

Instant Pot yogurt function - Rachel Perlow

Why Rachel mocked it, then loved it: 

"I didn't think I'd use the Yogurt function of my Instant Pot, but now it's one of its main uses."

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15 of 17 Case-Mate

iPhone kickstand case - Greg Nichols

Why Greg mocked it, then loved it: 

"I was mad I hadn't realized it was there (and never would have ordered the case if I had). But since I got it, my kickstand case has become indispensable on trips."

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16 of 17 Photo by Ralph Kelly on Unsplash

Internet-connected garage door opener - Rachel Perlow

Why Rachel mocked it, then loved it: 

"Our first thought was 'Who needs this?' But we found we like some of the automatic features, like the fact that we can set it up to close automatically after a few minutes. We can also check to make sure it's closed when we're out."

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17 of 17 Apple

iPhone 3D Touch - Jason Cipriani

Why Jason mocked it, then loved it: 

"3D Touch. Yup. The feature that no one uses, or realize they use, until it's taken away on the iPhone XR. I now realize I use it alllllll the time."

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