Micro Center is known for a lot of things. Great laptops, desktops, PC parts, gaming equipment, computer repair, and a whole range of maker equipment. But we also carry a lot more than just those things. Things you might not think about when you think Micro Center. So, we asked some of our Champions about some of their favorite lesser-known bits of tech we carry!
For the first time since the late 1980s, vinyl record sales have overtaken CD sales. And while streaming still makes up 84% of all music revenue, you may have begun to notice that LP records are starting to become more and more prevalent again. Even new, modern-day albums are being released to vinyl, bringing with them a new wave of nostalgia and incredible album art.
As an avid AV geek – and a professional AV system installed on the side - I’ve been looking to build a new audio system for my own house. So imagine my surprise and joy when I was walking our aisles and discovered that we have a number of very nice, prosumer-level vinyl turntables. Lesser known indeed!
While we do carry several turntables from a few different manufacturers, the one I particularly want to focus on is from Audio-Technica.
Audio Technica was founded in 1962 in Japan with one goal: to create a high-fidelity turntable that anyone could own. Not much has changed since then, as Audio-Technica is still releasing high-quality audio equipment that can fit in any house.
What has changed since 1962 is the addition of USB connections to turntables, so if you want to convert some of your LPs into MP3 you can. And even more recent is the addition of Bluetooth connectivity. And while I prefer the good ol’ phono line out into a receiver and amplifier, I can appreciate how useful these are to a newer generation of audiophiles.
But what has surprised me the most?
This model, this AT-LP120XBT-USB-BK. This is a direct drive table that supports 33 1/3, 45, AND, 78 RPM records. It outputs to both USB and Bluetooth using the Qualcomm aptX codec, or an RCA with a built-in preamp. Many of the features on this turntable are found on high-end DJ equipment, including a die-cast aluminum platter with felt mat, pitch lock with pitch change slider for +/- 10% adjustment, stroboscopic platter with speed indicator, and removable plug-type stylus target light. Micro Center also offers a great selection of replacement needle cartridges for the AT turntables. This model comes very highly rated and is something I can easily recommend to my other audiophile friends.
While everyone knows about internal SSD storage, I’ve spoken to a lot of people who did not know that there are blazing-fast external SSD options as well. External SSDs take everything great about traditional external storage and then make them even better, with improved read/write speeds and no moving parts, making it less likely to break if it's jostled or dropped!
The Samsung T7 is my go-to for external storage. It boasts a write speed of up to 1,000 MBps and a read speed of up to 1,050 MBps. It even interfaces via USB-C, meaning it is compatible with almost any device that has a USB-C port! (Including Android and Mac products!)
The T7 is built tough and compact, making it extremely convenient to carry around in your purse, backpack, or even laptop carrying case. Samsung has always been reliable when it comes to storage devices and I trust them to keep my stored data secure. If you’re in the market for external storage, this would be my recommendation!
My favorite lesser-known products are from the Anker Brand. All of their accessories are budget-friendly and work fantastically. This time around I want to speak about a newer product we received from them. The Anker 717 Charger is a powerful and versatile charger that can be used to charge pretty much anything and everything, including – but not limited to! - laptops, tablets, and smartphones. It has a maximum output of 140W, which makes it ideal for charging high-powered devices like the MacBook Pro 16". The charger also supports the latest USB Power Delivery 3.1 standard, which ensures that your devices are charged quickly and efficiently.
In addition to its power and versatility, the Anker 717 Charger is also very compact and lightweight. It measures just 2.5 x 2.5 x 1.2 inches and weighs only 6.5 ounces, making it easy to take with you on the go. The charger also comes with a built-in safety system that protects your devices from overcharging, overheating, and short-circuiting.
The Anker 717 Charger is an excellent choice for anyone who needs a powerful and versatile charger that is also compact and lightweight. It is a great option for people who travel frequently or who need to charge multiple devices at once.
As we mentioned in the intro, we’re well known for computers and computer parts. From building one yourself or opting to invest in a prebuilt, Micro Center has the ability to service every type of computer customer. But, with such a heavy focus on computers, there are products that fly under the radar. To me, nothing screams “under the radar” like the Apple TV.
The Apple TV is, at its core, a streaming box. In typical Apple fashion, however, the Apple TV sets itself apart by leaning heavily on the feature set and ecosystem. Like most other devices in this industry, the Apple TV gives you access to services like Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, YouTube TV, and Apple’s own TV service, “Apple TV.” Unlike other streaming devices, the Apple TV streaming box is jam-packed with a powerful processor, the A15 bionic chip., allowing it to run smoothly and respond quickly to commands. It even enables Apple Arcade, a gaming service built into the device!
In addition to the power the Apple TV provides, you get the benefit of the Apple ecosystem. Your iPhone, iPad, Macbook, HomePod, and any other Apple device will work in unison to provide a smooth, interconnected experience. It even comes in two different sizes – 64GB and 128GB with Ethernet – so you can choose the one that best fits your needs. In the age of streaming, I believe the Apple TV to be an effective and worthwhile device for anyone already a part of or looking to get into the Apple ecosystem.
Audio Technica is awesome! Thanks for the recommendations.
The apple TV is great. If you are constantly annoyed with the slow response of your smart tv's menus, this is a resonable alternative😊.
Plus it integrates fantastically with HomeKit
Apple TV is amazing, one of the best streaming devices I've used!
the turntable is awesome we even got the bob marleys in too
Apparently, I should get with the times and get a turntable.
I will have to try some of these products
you're right about that @Lesaol .
Going retro is always cool.😎
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