The technology of the 1990s was about advancing the technological innovations of the 1980s, while making consumers’ lives more convenient and connected to the outside world. There were more screens in the world than ever before and more ways to connect devices such as computers, PDAs and mobile phones.
Yet, just like the technology of the 1980s, many gadgets were introduced in the 90s again to collect dust when a new model came along, despite the older version being perfectly functional. Many gadgets from the 90s could still be used now, but because they don’t have the modern, sleek look of today’s devices, they are seen as useless.
10/10 Digital recorder
Digital recorders replaced the tape recorder of the 80s with their better sound quality, ability to manipulate the audio recording and significantly larger storage space. But as smartphones began to include voice memo apps, the digital recorder fell out of favor even though they have more storage space for audio instead of sharing space with everything on the phone.
Digital recorders are still in use now, but they are larger and much less user-friendly than the 90s version, which was thin, only required a few buttons and didn’t need external storage like an SD card, making it a more functional device.
9/10 Microsoft Natural Keyboard
Microsoft developed their Natural Keyboard to make the daily lives of office workers easier with a keyboard that is intended to allow the hands to rest at a more natural angle when typing for long periods of time. This keyboard can still be used today as there is nothing wrong with the design.
It was only replaced because consumers wanted all their devices smaller and compact, and this keyboard was anything but compact. Today, wireless keyboards are more fashionable, but they do not provide the level of comfort that the Natural Keyboard does.
8/10 Conair Quick Twist
Every ’90s It girl on the best TV shows had her hair styled with little twists, usually secured with a butterfly clip, in at least one episode of the show, and it was probably done with the unforgettable Conair Quick Twist.
The Quick Twist was the fastest way to get the hottest ’90s hairstyles in the shortest amount of time, but was used less and less as hair trends turned to more elegant styles in the 2000s. Now with more intricate hairstyles coming back into fashion, the Conair Quick Twist can be used to shave free from anyone’s morning routine and bring back that casual ’90s style.
7/10 Home cinema system
Home theater systems from the 90s required placing speakers around a room and an extensive setup process, but once in use, there was nothing like the surround sound experience the system provided. Now soundboards are used more often as they take up less space and are easier to set up. However, they don’t provide the same experience that 90s systems did since they focused on optimal soundtrack enjoyment.
Home theater systems brought the cinema home, and with so many movies being released straight to streaming, it’s a wonder more people haven’t gone back to the old ways of enjoying movies at home with a more audio-focused setup.
6/10 George Foreman Grill
Movie fans are excited about the upcoming biopic that will focus on George Foreman, which is likely to touch on how the former Heavyweight Champion created one of the most popular kitchen appliances of the 1990s, the George Foreman Grill.
Foreman Grill brought in grilling and promised to make fatty meat leaner with its specially angled grill plates that would drain fat away from the food. This appliance is still useful as it makes barbecuing less intimidating and doesn’t require gas or fire. The grill is also small and fits on the bench, so people who live in apartments or small living spaces do not have to store a traditional grill when it is not in use.
5/10 Electronic diaries
Electronic diaries were the perfect solution for children who wanted to write down their deepest secrets but didn’t want annoying siblings or nosy parents to read their innermost thoughts. Journals went out of style as social media allowed people to post anonymously or from burner accounts that no one knew about and provided a human connection.
But now, with social media so widely used, nothing remains private, even when users use settings on sites like Facebook that most people don’t know exist. Electronic journals are still good for writing down passwords and keeping them safe if users can remember the journal password.
4/10 Thumb drives
Before the cloud allowed anyone to store videos, photos and documents on a non-physical drive, Trek developed a way for computer users to store important and often private information on a drive they could transport to any computer.
Although the cloud eliminates the need for the drive, it is not error-free, as many cloud programs have limited storage space and charge a monthly fee for more space that can add up to hundreds of dollars a year. Cloud storage can also be hacked, compromising sensitive information, while thumbdrives can’t be hacked and are inexpensive when you fill them up.
3/10 Bose Aviation Headset X
Bose has been an innovator in audio products for years, and even now they are recognized as one of the best brands for speakers and headphones, but in the 90s, Bose changed headphones forever with the Aviation X Headset.
This model focused on functionality and comfort, as the clamping force and ear comfort were crucial to the success of these headphones, but they also sounded great. Now, many headphones are focused on look-over performance, causing them to break or produce less than stellar sound quality, making the Aviation Headset X relevant even with all the new headphone choices.
Tamagotchis were one of the hottest toys that defined the 90s and were one of the best accessories to any outfit that 90s kids wore to school or the mall. Tamagotchis can still be used today to teach children responsibility, but without major consequences if they fail to keep their Tamagotchis alive.
Now, self-care apps work like the Tamagotchi did by letting people take care of little creatures in an app. Still, the Tamagotchi provides a more personal experience, especially when the app can be quickly deleted, whereas the Tamagotchi can’t.
1/10 Digital alarm clocks
Most phones have alarm clocks built into them, but they only work if the phone is charged and on, which isn’t always the case, leaving people late and disrupting morning routines.
Digital alarm clocks solve this problem, whether electric or battery operated, and can be programmed to go off at the same time each day, just like telephones. Digital alarm clocks remove the temptation to keep the phone on after an alarm has been set and reduce the risk of phones disrupting a sleep cycle with alerts waking people up throughout the night.
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