I’m Not A Monolith

How to find the right tech/audio/gaming gear

Alex Rowe
4 min readAug 27, 2021


The SteelSeries Aerox 3 inspired a wild range of reviews, and that got me thinking. Photo taken by the author.

When you’re out there looking for your next favorite pair of headphones, gaming mouse, or keyboard, you should read and watch as many reviews as you can.

I know it’s time-consuming. I know the task can be daunting. But it’s still one of the best ways to get information before making what’s ultimately a very personal decision.

I stand behind my own reviews and recommendations. I’ve been writing reviews since 2005, and I bring a lifetime of gaming experience and almost twenty years of audio editing background to every review I write. But I’d never tell you to only listen to me. I’m just one guy in a room writing up my opinions, mostly for fun.

I’m not in this to make money. Most months, it’s essentially a passion project that I’m doing to express myself and just get my thoughts out there. I’d be having these thoughts and trying out this gear whether or not you happen to stop by and read what I think. And you should absolutely gather as much other information as you can before you decide something is right for you.

I’m not the arbiter of anyone’s opinion other than my own.

One of my own favorite pastimes is to read and watch other tech reviews. I regularly spend my free time looking at what others have to say. Not necessarily to guide my own opinions or buying decisions, but just because I find it entertaining. And once in a great while I learn about a product that I might never have looked at because of my own biases.

I also love to look at official marketing materials for this stuff. The world of tech trailers has become more slick and polished with every passing year. The weirder, the better! It’s not good enough to just show the features of the product anymore. It’s got to have some kind of interview-style talking-head format, or random influencers dancing around for no reason. Or better yet, some slick CG animations with pounding techno music while big flashy text tells you that this is going to be the best-sounding headset or fastest gaming mouse you’ve ever used. That’s the good stuff.

The market has never been loaded with more good options for gaming gear, headphones, or technology in general, and that means the number of choices you have to make as a consumer has gone way up. It’s like shopping for cereal, and it’s only going to escalate as the current tech shortages subside. There are a ton of reviews out there, from basic user reviews on shopping sites to slick YouTube videos put out by huge companies with massive writing staffs which still try to disguise themselves behind a couple of personalities.

Rather than be intimidated, try to dive in. Learning about this stuff is part of what makes it a fun hobby, and part of what makes tech shopping engaging, for me. Sometimes tech companies go too far when crowding their lineups with options to try and hack your need to make the “right” choice, but a little bit of investment helps enhance your passion when you do finally pick a winner.

Shopping for gaming and audio tech is supposed to be entertaining, and most of the people reviewing it try to bring their own enthusiasm to their work. I strive to write some of the cleanest and most honest reviews online by never using affiliate links and always sharing my real, accurate opinions.

I’m proud of the work I’ve done to stay as trustworthy as possible, but you should absolutely still take in as many reviews as you can. I’ve never tried to be a monolith, and if any one person or web site tries to cast themselves as the one-and-only definitive source for opinions about something that’s built to be a fun product…have some skepticism. They’re probably not approaching this from the perspective of an enthusiast and likely have a different motivation altogether.

Photo by Kirill Gurin on Unsplash

I’ve learned just as much from random user reviews and product marketing as I have from the most thorough reviews with huge funding behind them, and part of the fun in this is seeing how one thing can inspire so many different thoughts and emotions. This article was inspired by the SteelSeries Aerox 3, pictured at the top. I’m in the middle of reviewing it right now, and since I’m a bit late to it I’ve already taken in many other opinions.

The mouse has perhaps the most polarized reviews I’ve ever seen, and while some admitted it had clever design points, others spoke as though they were the true authority on this mouse and stated that no one could possibly love it. You can’t read two reviews of this mouse without hitting both ends of the intensity spectrum.

Of course, it’s impossible for any one person to have the “right” opinion about a subjective hobby, and on the internet it’s easy to confuse familiarity and expertise for objectivity. But something about this mouse struck a nerve.

For the record, I’ve been having a blast with the Aerox 3. But you’re free to hate it. I’m just a random guy in a room. An experienced guy, sure. But I’m not a tastemaker and I’ve never wanted to be.



Alex Rowe

Commentary on Games, Music, Tech, Movies | Support Me: https://ko-fi.com/alexrowe | Threads: https://www.threads.net/@arowe31