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Tech that stole our heart or broke it

With Valentine's Day around the corner, ZDNet's contributors and editors were reminded of all the technology they were infatuated with, either in their past or present, as well as anything that might've left them bitter and broken-hearted.

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Topic: Innovation
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1 of 24 (Under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 France license.)

PalmPilot - Denise Amrich

Why it broke Denise's heart: 

"The PalmPilot stole my heart, and broke it. I fell in love with the convenience of a separate device to organize my life. I loved how it enshrined the Big Four apps in simple buttons. It was easy and understandable and convenient. And then everyone went to phones and instead of something always there for me, it now seems like I'm always required to be there for my phone. It's heartbreaking."

Also: Stephen Curry brilliantly shows what the new Palm phone is for

More for Valentine's Day:

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2 of 24 (Image: CNET)

TomTom GPS navigator - Denise Amrich

Why it broke Denise's heart:  

"The TomTom GPS navigator, which is also a separate does-one-thing-and-does-it-well device. It navigated us across country with only one sketchy moment were it put us on a dirt road on the way into Bend, Ore. But now it's failing. It's dying, and I'm not able to get it to work reliably. It's breaking my heart."

Also: Microsoft and TomTom are working on location-based apps

More for Valentine's Day:

smart screen with smart home with modern living room
3 of 24 (Image: iStock)

The smart home - Jason Cipriani

Why it broke Jason's heart: 

"Despite smart thermostats having some utility, I've yet to find a smart home platform that just works. Most of the time, there's some form of tinkering and troubleshooting to get things to an acceptable level of use."

Also: The best IoT, smart home gadgets

More for Valentine's Day:

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4 of 24 (Image: CNET)

Nintendo Switch - Jason Cipriani

Why it stole Jason's heart: 

"I grew up playing video games, but after getting married and having kids, the amount of time I had for gaming on a TV was minimal. With the Switch, I can play docked or in handheld and still get in a round of Fortnite or wonder around in Zelda. Versatility is key."

See it now: Nintendo Switch on Amazon

More for Valentine's Day:

Disclosure: ZDNet earns commissions from some of the products featured on this page.

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5 of 24 Image: Angelica Mari)

Motorola Pager - Angelica Mari

Why it stole Angelica's heart: 

"It was 1998 in Brazil, I was yet to get my first mobile phone, and the only tool I had to get in touch with my first boyfriend, who lived in another city, was a Motorola pager. He had a pager as well. We had to call a number, get an agent to write down our messages then wait for them to arrive. In retrospect, I realize how sending rather personal messages via a human intermediary didn't seem to be a problem for us at all! The only real problem back then was being told by the agent that we had used up all our allowance and having to buy extra there and then, because we never ran out of things to say!"

Also:  Mobile phone memory lane: What was your first device?

More for Valentine's Day:

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6 of 24 (Image: CNET)

Sony PlayStation Classic - Andrew Brust

Why it stole and broke Andrew's heart: 

"Twenty classic games in a cute little miniaturized version of the original PS 1, and it's only $60 at Best Buy (and -- this just in -- $53.99 at Amazon)!  But: 1) The controllers are wired, and the wires are relatively short, so you either have to buy USB extension cords -- adding perhaps 20 percent to the cost of the console -- or sit on the floor, close to the TV. I suppose that's retro, but it still sucks. 2) It doesn't include a power adapter, so you have to rummage through your own boneyard of USB chargers and squint at the black-on-black writing to make sure you find one that's 5V and 1A. 3) As reported by our colleagues at CNET, Sony used PAL/European images for 9 of the 20 games on-board so the scan rate doesn't match up correctly with North American TVs (and others than use the NTSC system)."

See it now: PlayStation Classic on Amazon

More for Valentine's Day:

Disclosure:ZDNet earns commissions from some of the products featured on this page.

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7 of 24 (Image: Microsoft)

Microsoft OneDrive - Ed Bott

Why it stole Ed's heart:

"It took a long time to mature, but today OneDrive is hands-down the best of the major cloud services, especially for someone like me who spends most of their day working Microsoft Office apps."

See it now: Office 365 Business Essentials 

More for Valentine's Day:

Disclosure: ZDNet earns commissions from some of the products featured on this page.

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8 of 24 (Image: CNET)

Windows Phone - Ed Bott

Why it broke Ed's heart:

"It was a genuine alternative to the smartphone duopoly, and Nokia made some remarkable hardware, including a smartphone with the best camera of its generation. But it was doomed from the start."

Also: Why have I given up on Windows Phone? Blame Verizon

More for Valentine's Day:

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9 of 24 (Image: ZDNet)

iPhone X - Matthew Miller

Why it stole Matthew's heart:

"In celebration of Apple's 10th anniversary of the iPhone, the iPhone X was released in late 2017, and it immediately became my favorite iPhone ever. While I usually move away from an iPhone after a month or two, the iPhone X stuck with me through a full year. I then tried the iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR, before going back to my first love in the iPhone XS. It appeals to me because of the nearly perfect form factor, and I continue to turn it on and be amazed by the extent of the display in the palm of my hand."

See it now: iPhone X at Apple

More for Valentine's Day:

Disclosure: ZDNet earns commissions from some of the products featured on this page.

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10 of 24 (Image: ZDNet)

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 - Matthew Miller

Why it broke Matthew's heart:

"I am a major fan of the Samsung Galaxy Note line and found the Note 7 to be nearly a perfect smartphone, earning a 9.8/10 rating in my review. The problem was that it had a tendency to catch fire so my first one was recalled. I traded it in for another and then that one, and every single one made, was recalled permanently. I then had to wait an entire year for another Galaxy Note to be released and that model didn't live up to the Note 7. It remains a serious heartache to think about that fine and how it burned itself into my heart without burning down my house."

Also: Galaxy Note 7 exchanged: Two weeks without it had me running to the store

More for Valentine's Day:

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11 of 24 (Image: CNET)

Nokia 3310 - Rajiv Rao

Why it stole Rajiv's heart:

"The Nokia 3310 introduced in 2000 and a legend in India -- perhaps the most defining phone of my generation. Indestructible, compact, powerful flashlight, and loaded with the addictive Snake 2 game. I mean, who could possibly want anything more?"

See it now: Nokia 3310 at Amazon

More for Valentine's Day:

Disclosure: ZDNet earns commissions from some of the products featured on this page.

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12 of 24 (Image: ZDNet)

Windows Phone - Mary Jo Foley

Why it stole and broke Mary Jo's heart:

"I'd say it stole my heart and then broke it. I loved my two Windows Phones... The live tiles, easy connectivity to my MSFT services... But then MS threw in the towel on the platform. I've switched loyalties, and am now an Android fan. Pixel 3XL is my newest love."

Also: It's time for Microsoft to bring Windows 10 Mobile back from the dead

More for Valentine's Day:

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13 of 24 (Image: CNET)

Apple Watch - Tiernan Ray

Why it stole Tiernan's heart:

"Apple's Apple Watch was love at first sight and has proven a lasting relationship. I love the industrial design of the thing, the best of any wearable I've ever tried. The software is fast and fluid, something I've found not to be the case on other wearables. I get tons of utility from it on a daily basis, for things such as seeing who is calling me without taking my phone out of my pocket, or dashing off quick replies to email or text. It's become an invaluable tool day in and day out."

See it now: Apple Watch at Apple

More for Valentine's Day:

Disclosure: ZDNet earns commissions from some of the products featured on this page.

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14 of 24 (Image: CNET)

Bragi Dash - Tiernan Ray

Why it broke Tiernan's heart:

"The Bragi "Dash wireless ear buds were heartbreaking. I was super excited to try these out in 2017, before trying out Apple's own AirPods, given Dash was one of the first consumer wireless headsets. The build quality of the device was terrible. Parts broke off. Charging was erratic. I found customer support to be completely non-responsive."

Also: Headphones: Finding the right kind of sound for your ears

More for Valentine's Day:

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15 of 24 (Image: TechRepublic)

Travis the Translator - Tiernan Ray

Why it broke Tiernan's heart:

"I was super-psyched for the Travis the Translator pocket translation gadget in 2017, but it was a giant, heart-wrenching disappointment. The handheld gizmo runs Android OS and has a few function buttons to navigate menus. It does translation from one language to another. The industrial design was so-so, but the real disaster was the user interface on the tiny screen, which was slow and poorly designed. To top it off, results were no better, in my experience, than the average translation app you can get on any Android phone."

Also: 5 Google Translate tips and tricks you need to know

More for Valentine's Day:

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16 of 24 (Image: CNET)

Rind doorbell - David Gewirtz

Why it broke David's heart:

"We bought a new house with no bell power near any door. So I bought three Rings and set them up. Even though we have stellar, rock-solid Wi-Fi, we found the Ring doorbells just didn't get the job done. It would take 10-60 seconds to establish a video link, and by that time, some of the folks who came to the door (particularly, package delivery folk) left before the connection established. Because we have no wired bell power, we also had to constantly charge the batteries, which took hours. It got worse if we wanted to maintain a video connection when expecting someone to arrive. Then, if a connection was kept open for any time, the batteries needing replacing even faster. I eventually removed all of them and returned them, taking (barely) advantage of Costco's 90-day return policy."

Also: Ring Alarm review: An affordable home security system

More for Valentine's Day:

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17 of 24 (Image: CNET)

TCL Roku TVs - David Gewirtz

Why it stole David's heart:

"I wrote about the first one I purchased last year. It's got a perfectly simple Roku UI with the best implementation of inputs I've seen on a TV. Plus, they're incredibly affordable. I subsequently bought a 65-inch screen from Target for something around $500 for our living room. That's insanely inexpensive for a TV of that size and quality. The 49-incher went into my wife's craft room and she loves it."

See it now: TCL Roku TVs on Amazon

More for Valentine's Day:

Disclosure: ZDNet earns commissions from some of the products featured on this page.

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18 of 24 (Image: Bosch)

Bosch laser measuring tool - David Gewirtz

Why it stole David's heart:

"Bonus long-term love: The Bosch magical measuring machine. I've written about various versions a bunch of times, but here's the latest, with iPad and Bluetooth connections. I love this thing."

See it now: Bosch leaser measuring tool on Amazon

More for Valentine's Day:

Disclosure: ZDNet earns commissions from some of the products featured on this page.

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19 of 24 (Image: CNET)

Apple Watch - Adrian Kingsley-Hughes

Why it stole Adrian's heart:

"I didn't immediately jump onto the Apple Watch bandwagon because initially I was confused about its place in the ecosystem -- was it a fashion accessory (as Apple initially placed it) or a fitness and health gadget? As it transitioned away from fashion and toward health and wellbeing, it began to make sense. Right now, it feels well integrated into my day, and I use it for exercise and sleep tracking, as well as a way to get notifications for important things without constantly having to be checking my iPhone."

See it now: Apple Watch at Apple

More for Valentine's Day:

Disclosure: ZDNet earns commissions from some of the products featured on this page.

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20 of 24 (Image: Public Domain)

Orange SPV - Adrian Kingsley-Hughes

Why it broke Adrian's heart:

"It's going back years, but the tech that disappointed me the most was the Orange SPV. This was the first Windows-based smartphone, and I remember being so excited for it to hit the streets. But it was a total mess. The operating system was flakey, performance was abysmal, battery life was terrible, and it was essentially unusable. What made it worse was that I was initially offered free unlimited data, but thanks to a mistake in the way the account was set up, the first month I ended up being billed close to $500! That was the end for me. I boxed it back up and sent it back and never looked back (although it's clear to me now that I'm still not over it!)."

Also: Buyer's remorse: Phones, tablets and more tech purchases

More for Valentine's Day:

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21 of 24 (Image: CNET)

iPhone 6 Plus - Greg Nichols

Why it broke Greg's heart:

"I had skipped a couple iPhone generations and was so stoked to get my hands on the big screen of the 6 Plus. In fairness, that's my bad, not Apple's. I just never could get used to the huge form factor. When my contract was up I went with a smaller phone. Now the lunge into my truck in (admittedly skinny) jeans doesn't feel like a flirt with catastrophe."

Also: The absolute best iPhone deals

More for Valentine's Day:

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22 of 24 (Image: CNET)

Scrivener - Greg Nichols

Why it stole Greg's heart:

"I'm endlessly hunting for ways to stay organized, and that's doubly true when it comes to keeping my writing and reporting straight. I've never found a better desktop management system for keeping research and writing organized than Scrivener from Literature & Latte. It's simple, intuitive, and its cascades of endless hierarchies seem custom made for my particular brain mess. I use Evernote for other things, but when it comes to writing books and complex articles, Scrivener stole my heart."

See it now: Scrivener on Amazon

More for Valentine's Day:

Disclosure: ZDNet earns commissions from some of the products featured on this page.

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23 of 24 Image: Public Domain)

Magnavox Odyssey - Scott M. Fulton, III

Why it stole Scott's heart:

"In 1972, this was the very first US game console, capable of playing a rendition of Pong (but not keeping score) on home TVs. As a child, the idea that I could not only own a Pong machine in my house, but also conceivably figure out how that 1K game cartridge worked, shaped my life."

Also: Best Video Game Consoles for 2019 CNET

More for Valentine's Day:

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24 of 24 (Image: CNET)

Microsoft Windows 8 - Scott M. Fulton, III

Why it broke Scott's heart:

"I had been on record as saying I would support Windows in principle, as long as Microsoft continued to show faith and trust in its users. When Windows 8 emerged, it showed how the company had lost that faith, and I've had a hard time reconciling ever since."

Also: Saying goodbye to Windows 8: Where did it all go wrong?

More for Valentine's Day:

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