Our favorite gadgets of the past 10 years

iPhone 5

I have owned a lot of iPhones over the past 10 years, but the iPhone 5 was the first. Not only was it my first iPhone, but it was the first phone I came out with and intentionally spent money on, period. Until then, I had subsisted on carrier-subsidized Razr flip phones and inherited indestructible Nokia candy bars.

The iPhone 5 isn’t even that remarkable in iPhone history, offering a slightly larger screen than that offered by previous iPhone models. There hasn’t been a big leap in processor, hardware design or display density (like with the iPhone 4) or new software features like Siri (on the iPhone 4S). Touch ID would only arrive with the iPhone 5S a year later, and the really large screen sizes of modern iPhones would only arrive with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus two years later.

Sure, it had LTE, but since it was also the first phone I owned with data (which I would quickly pass by browsing Twitter on the buses between classes), I didn’t really notice a jump. of speed. After years of owning iPod touch models that were only useful near Wi-Fi, any kind of cellular data was a major improvement.

I’ve since moved on to bigger, better phones and swap devices a lot more often than in 2012. But the iPhone 5 still stands out from me after all these years because it was the first phone. which was really mine, and the first “real” phone I ever had. —Chaim Gartenberg


Like Chaim, the iPhone 5 has been my favorite gadget for 10 years, not because it’s the best, but because it was my first smartphone. I had owned Blackberries, but nothing like a phone with features I was used to bragging about only from computers – and with a camera to boot.

This iPhone stands out even more for me because it literally opened up a whole new world for me as I was going through a difficult time. I didn’t have a car or reliable public transportation, so the easy access to the ridesharing apps it offered saved my life. Plus, the easy-to-use camera produced images of such quality that I constantly stopped to take pictures, sparking my creativity. It sounds funny, but it also ended up helping me learn and embrace the concept of mindfulness. The camera literally made me stop and stare to appreciate the beauty of things that I previously considered mundane or never noticed, like flowers.

Make no mistake, I’m far from a professional photographer these days. I am, however, a much more peaceful and conscious person. I think the iPhone 5 helped me become that way. —Sheena Vasani

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