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15 products we love (or the geekiest Valentines ever)

Products that inspire passion

By Pc World Staff, PC World
February 14, 2013 03:15 PM ET

PC World - You don't have to hug your hardware to know that there are certain bits of tech you can't live without. It could be a keyboard or a mouse. It could be an app, a game, or a cool gadget. Whatever it is, it makes your life easier or more fun. It makes you feel smart or incredibly productive. If this product ever broke or otherwise left your life, you would be sad.

If that's not the geekiest kind of love, we don't know what is. Here's our collective Valentine to the tech products we love most.

[ GIFT IDEAS: Treat your techie lover ]

Jawbone Up

The Up is a 24/7, lifestyle-monitoring ring of awesomeness. Packed with a wee motion sensor and a teeny-tiny battery good for ten days of use, the Up records your sleep cycles at night, and how many steps you've taken during the day. Other fitness gadgets perform the same tricks, but the $130 Up earns my love for its incredibly engaging and easy-to-use iOS interface. I'm a fool for killer infographics, and Jawbone has absolutely nailed the way it reports the Up's data. --Jon Phillips, PCWorld editor

Livescribe Sky

For tracking to-do lists and brainstorming, nothing feels mightier than a pen in hand--especially a pen with a brain. After all, brain research proves that writing by hand boosts your memory. Livescribe's Sky Wi-Fi Smartpen ($170 to $250) adds intelligence by recording audio along with your notes on paper, and then uploading it all via Wi-Fi to Evernote so that you can access it anywhere. If you can't remember the details of yesterday's meeting, just hit Play and watch your doodles draw out in sync with the conversation. --Elsa Wenzel, senior editor

CPU-Z

I couldn't live without the CPU-Z freeware system-monitoring application. It provides a real-time glimpse of your computer's CPU, RAM, and motherboard configurations in nitty-gritty detail.

The software really shines when you dive into the exotic world of component overclocking. Being able to easily verify your RAM's tweaked timings or your CPU's multiplier and voltage is a major boon for die-hard tinkerers. (For overclocking graphics cards, turn to GPU-Z.) --Brad Chacos, senior writer

Steam

There's no better platform for playing games than the PC, and there's no better place to get PC games than Steam, Valve's premier digital-distribution platform. It's free, and it provides instant access to a huge community of gamers and an unparalleled library of PC games for purchase at regularly discounted prices. Steam's forums and game-specific community hubs let players share their favorite mods, strategies, and stories. You'll even find machinima-making software available on Steam for free. Download Steam. You won't be disappointed. --Alex Wawro, associate editor

Razer Blackwidow keyboards

My Razer Blackwidow keyboard ($100) offers a tactile bond that physically merges my will with the computing power hidden inside my lovingly built PC. The soft-touch mechanical keys feel wonderful, and they utilize Cherry MX Blue switches, whose clickity-clack-clacking reminds me of the trusty typewriter I slaved over in my younger years.--Brad Chacos, senior writer

Originally published on www.pcworld.com. Click here to read the original story.

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