Review of all the crabs I bought during quarantine

Over the last few months, I have bought a shit ton of things online, and my brain is happy to supply a tiny dose of serotonin to keep me alive.

This is not an objective review at all. It’s more of a review of how it fits into my life (or not)


Dell U2515H monitor, used: 8/10

Before jumping into it’s pros and cons, funny story: 3+ years ago, when I first moved to Berlin, I bought a brand new monitor (this exact model). And then when I moved into my last place, because of how shallow the table was, I ended up getting selling it for like 200€. And fast forward to maybe 6 months ago, after spending a couple of weeks with the tiny 13” monitor from the company MBP, I decided to say “screw it I need a monitor”. And after way too many research and still found nothing reasonable, I randomly hop onto facebook marketplace, and I saw the same monitor I have 2 years ago :joy: It’s not from the same person, so I don’t know if it could be the exact same one that I owned, but still :joy:

Pros

  • I like the 1440p resolution. More desktop real-estate than 1080p display
  • DisplayPort = I can control the brightness from the computer using some software
  • It’s a pretty good monitor for 200€

Cons

  • It’s definitely not as colorful & accurate as the MBP 16 display
  • I often forgot to switch between Windows and macOS gamma settings
  • The stand is very deep, which force me to get a monitor stand back when I was in a rented room & a very shallow IKEA desk
  • Apparently 1440p vertically is not wide enough for GitHub code review to show side-by-side without wrapping the code

Magic Trackpad: 6/10

After getting monitor, I started to find some way to further improve my posture by using my old K380 keyboard, but the issue is that I can never get used to using mouse with macOS. It feel so much more natural. And when I saw that iPad starts supporting it, I decided to give it a shot

Pros

  • It feels very normal for macOS

Cons

  • It’s really expensive
  • Can’t pair to 2 device, so I just never use it with the iPad

At the end, this is nice to improve my posture, and that’s the only reason why I kept it.


Creative T40 II: 8/10

Shortly after I took the work computer home (which was a MacBook Pro 13 at the time), I realized that the speaker is super crack and sounds terrible. I don’t really know what’s going on, so I was looking for something that can make hours and hours of video call more bearable. At after narrowing down to this, and the one from Bose, I found a great discount and made the purchase.

(But then 2 weeks later, I realized that the cause of the cracking sound is due to a lose screw getting stuck on the speaker, and it went back to normal after I took it out. Also then we got MacBook Pro 16 as replacement)

Pros

  • It does sounds pretty sweet

Cons

  • Now that I use mostly wireless headset, having to find adapter and plug it in to random devices is pretty annoying
  • It’s bigger than I expected

Nowadays I just use the laptop’s speaker, and move the speaker to TV. It could be just placebo, but I think it sounds better than my TV’s speaker. Dialog sounds better, plus it’s easier to adjust the Treble and Base when needed.


Jabra Talk 2: 8/10

I don’t remember exactly why I bought it at this point, but it’s probably something along the line of making it easier to walk around my tiny room and still able to chat. But I didn’t do that a lot, and I almost forgot it.

But then I move to the new apartment, and due to the lack of anything, the echo is terrible, and the fan noise of the computer also got picked up very easily. So I dig it back out and it’s now what I use on a daily basis

Pros

  • It’s super consistent: almost no echo sound, and far enough from the computer to not pick up it’s fan noise
  • Pretty light weight

Cons

  • Not very comfortable
  • Battery is mediocre, definitely at least once a day

And given the fact that it’s not expensive + so easy to use, I would highly recommend Bluetooth headset for home office 👍


New apartment: 8.5/10

I was already looking for apartment back in 2019, but COVID-19 makes it so much easier to spot even more issues with my 2-6 people share flat. I need more space both physically & emotionally.

Pros

  • Finally living alone

Cons

  • It’s expensive AF 💸💸💸💸💸💸💸💸💸💸
  • It took forever to get it furnish to a livable point
  • What if I had a heart attack or something, and no once notice my decaying corpse until 2 years later when my bank account runs out of money?

Joby tripod: 4/10

Pros

  • To be found

Cons

  • I only used it like once
  • I don’t really see myself using it often in the future either

TL;DR: I don’t know why I bought this. At least it’s not crazy expensive


Pixel Slate, used: 4/10

I bought it because I though I am going to get series to build an Android app, but the second I got it I realized how stupid that sounds. Not to mention it took forever to get it ship, and oh god the import tax.

Pros

  • It’s thin
  • It’s speaker is not bad

Cons

  • It’s a terrible tablet
  • Almost no good Android tablet apps
  • It’s battery is not good
  • Why is the entire side load & debug Android app so annoying!?

I am so gonna sell this ASAP, before it’s price drops further.


Alesis Turbo Mesh drum set: 8.5/10

A bit of back story: I kinda had a thing for drums, ever since I was in the marching band back in scout group in Hong Kong. And now that I have space of my own, I can actually afford to fill some of the space with something as my hobby. And one day I was talking to a college, turns out he just got himself a new electric drum set, and I immediately go to the internet to find what’s suitable.

Pros

  • It’s pretty fun so far
  • I can connect it to my computer and record it*
  • (It’s not about the drum set but still) Below me is the mail room, and next to me is a demo unit of the building, so It’s almost perfect to not affect anyone 👍

Cons

  • It feels a bit cheap (because it is)

* When connect to iPad, close high-hat and floor tom does not work with Garageband; and when connect to macOS, close high-hat does not work out of the box, but there are hacks I’ve found online that fixes it.

So far online drum lesson is still quite fun, let’s hope I can keep it going, unlike my 200 other hobbies!


TCL C715 TV: 7/10

I bought a TV shelve from IKEA first, and then when on video chat with my family, one of them ask “Why would you get a TV shelve if you haven’t decide if you want a TV or not?”, then I’m like “yeah that’s fair. Time to get a TV I guess”. Next thing I know I am ordering a TV from the internet.

Pros

  • It’s pretty cheap
  • it’s color is quite decent (technically it has HDR but it’s not that bright TBH)
  • Android TV is nice

Cons

  • Turns out 55” is smaller than I expected
  • It’s kinda slow

I am not an AV expert, so I don’t know if it’s good or not. All I care is that it works, it looks not ugly, and has the basic sets of apps (YouTube, Netflix, Spotify)


Fujifilm 50-230mm: ?/10

I think I was watching some YouTube video about landscape photography, and I was hook to the idea that a narrow lens will open a few more ways for me to take photos. Last time I had a telephoto lens was probably 4-5 years ago with my D7000 and 55-200mm back in Hong Kong.

Pros

  • TBD

Cons

  • TBD
  • I haven’t bought it out to take photos yet

The reason why I am giving it a ”?” instead of a low score is that I still see I slight chance that I will like it once I use it, it’s just that I have to actually plan a simple hiking trip


Nikon FM: 6/10

Again, I was watching YouTube videos, and I got myself into a series of analog photography channels, and next thing I know I am looking on eBay for old Nikon camera to pair with my lonely 50mm f1.8/D.

Pros

  • It feels really sturdy
  • It’s also quite small

Cons

  • Some gunk got onto the focus screen thing and it’s kinda pissing me off, and there is no way to take it off from what I can tell
  • I have a roll of film in my fridge for like 3 months now. I really need to take it to get it developed.

So far it’s kinda low score because I have not seen the results yet, so let’s wait and see if the photos can wow me


Logitech K780: 6/10

I have had a Logitech K380 for 3 years, and during my “I need to make my workspace more ergonomic” phase, one of the thing I got my eyes on was to improve my phone holding situation. And when I also saw that K780 supports USB unify dongle, that peeks my interest even more.

Pros

  • It’s a good keyboard

Cons

  • Turns out backlit keyboard is pretty useful
  • The phone holder plan does not work out that well, due to the fact that as an Android Dev, I need access to the USB port
  • Num pad is not as useful as I think. It makes it a bit too wide IMO.
  • The difference between the Windows and macOS keys are constantly pissing me off

If there is a version of K780 that looks exactly the same, but chop off the num pad, that’d be great. But It’s still very nice to have for my office setup.


Twelve South laptop stand: 5/10

Another first world problem: The laptop can’t get close enough to the display without taking up all the space for the keyboard and trackpad. So I guess I will get something to elevating it then.

Pros

  • It does the job

Cons

  • I know it’s like decent quality Aluminum, but that’s still a bit expensive for a banded bar of metal.
  • More flimsy than I expected (or maybe not design for MacBook Pro 16?)

It fits in my current setup, so it’s staying for now.


Tristar Rice Cooker: 9/10

Now that I am stuck at home most of the days, the ability to cook carbs other than pasta easily has been crucial. Is the rice cooker perfect? Of course not, but since it’s cheap & easy to use, I am not gonna complain at all

Pros

  • It works perfectly

Cons

  • The non-stick is kinda sticky

If you cook rice more than 3 times a month and you don’t have a rice cooker, go get one.


Some random monitor stand: 8/10

Again, “ergonomic office” phase, shallow desk, deep monitor stand

Pros

  • It get’s the job done

Cons

  • The one I got is not that flexible, esp. lacking height adjustment

It serves me well back in my old apartment, but in this new one, I went out of my way to make sure I don’t have to get monitor stand through the cable hold on a particle board desk. So overall recommend only if you have similar space issue.


Polaroid Impulse AF: ?/10

I just got it last week, and so far haven’t taken a lot of pictures yet. Although the 1 selfie I took got a lot of likes on IG, so there’s that. My original idea is that it would sit on my dining table or shelve, and act as the memory capture device when I have friends over. So far that has not happen yet, so we’ll see how that goes.

Pros

  • It does feel kinda magic
  • It’s mind-blowing to see a 30+ years camera works that well

Cons

  • It’s not exactly the cheapest hobby over time

Let’s try to invite people to my place soon (and in a safe way), and before I do that I need to clean up the place again 🧹


reMarkable 2

I bought and return the first generation about 2 years ago, and somehow what’s my most read article on Medium. I guess I accidentally did a great SEO on that article and it’s now one of the top search result I guess. The TL;DR of that article is that I like it a lot, it’s just really expensive for what it cannot do. And when I saw reMarkable 2, I know I have to give it a chance. And sure enough after months and months of waiting, I got my delivered yesterday.

Pros

  • Still the same almost magical writing experience

Cons

  • Some things from my wishlist did not get fullfill, like front-lit
  • Cheaper but still more expensive than an iPad, which still sounds kinda insane

Right now I am trying really hard to find a system that I can incorporate it into my work (or daily life), and I really hope to keep it. Let’s see if the honeymoon phase will end before the return period


Wow that’s a lot of crab I bought in the last few months. I really got to get better at managing my finance.

Louis Tsai

Louis Tsai

if someone can give me a lesson of how to adult that’d be great thank you.
Berlin