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Tech

Dec 2019 gadget update

Every 6 months I do an update on the state of my gadgets and what I use. End of 2018 and mid 2019 I did not do one because of my recovery from the QuadrigaCX scam that took the majority of my life savings.

Computers

Porsche Design Book One (2017) – replaces 2016 Microsoft SurfaceBook

The Porsche Design Book One is a laptop I had been eyeing for a long time, but often decided against purchasing since I already had a MS Surfacebook. So why did I decide to switch now? Mainly because I decided the dedicated GPU in the SurfaceBook (965M) wasn’t that powerful anyways, and I had the Asus Zenbook Pro Duo as a gaming laptop already. This was one of the biggest reasons I was keeping the SurfaceBook. In addition, the 3:2 display in the SurfaceBook wasn’t that important to me anymore as I had the 16:10 Onemix Yoga 3 and the 4:3 iPad Pro 10.5. Since those were the two main reasons I chose the SurfaceBook over the Book One, I finally decided to get the Book One. The benefits? Much better design, thunderbolt 3 ports (thank god, I didnt like the Surface connect port at all), and the Yoga design which means I can just flip the display over to watch a movie instead of detach+reattach the display which is what I had to do with the SurfaceBook (much more troublesome).

Alienware M15 (2019) – replaces  2016 Alienware 15 R3, 2016 ThinkPad P70, 2015 Asus G751

I sort of regretted selling my Alienware 15 for a desktop computer (the Cyberpower Syber C) – a few months later, I still pine for a portable gaming machine. Then I saw that the Alienware m15 had been discounted a bit in preparation for the *new* redesigned Alienware m15. The new one however didn’t have a numpad and was much pricier. Since the last gen Alienware m15 wasn’t much more expensive than my old Alienware 15, I decided to go for this one. I originally was looking at some really cool gaming dual screen laptops like the HP Omen X 2S and Asus Zenbook Pro Duo, but they were substantially more expensive, and the dual screen – while cool – couldn’t think of using it all that often as more than just a gimmick. So decided to stay tried and true to the Alienware, which is now my main portable gaming machine – as my old Alienware was before.

CyberpowerPC Syber C Xtreme (2019) – replaces 2015 Asus ROG G751, 2016 ThinkPad P70

The CyberPowerPC Syber C Xtreme is my main desktop gaming computer and the most powerful computer I have. It is essentially a built computer, with an AsRock motherboard, Intel Core i5 9600k CPU, 32gB Corsair RAM, 1TB Intel SSD, 3TB Seagate HDD, Corsair power supply, Zalmann cooler and Nvidia RTX 2070 GPU. This computer connects with my Asus ROG PG27UQ gaming monitor and Logitech G610 mechanical keyboard / Logitech G502 mouse for the ultimate home gaming experience.

Tablets/Phones

10.5 iPad Pro (2017) – replaces 2013 iPad Air

The iPad Pro has replaced my aging iPad Air (which easily is the oldest device I use frequently). Part of the reason why I got it is because it has the capability to be a light portable travel companion. Yes I have the Macbook Pro too – but the iPad Pro is basically a hybrid computer that is both a tablet and a laptop – while it has a mobile OS – multitasking has improved a lot in iOS 11. Its not going to be my main device but as a travel device its great. It has a splendid 4:3 aspect ratio which is better for reading documents and webpages and has LTE (which is WWAN) so don’t need to use my phone hotspot, plus paired with the Brydge keyboard I have it does a neat looking Macbook Pro impression. Plus its way cheaper (I got it for $700 total with the keyboard) compared to Surface Pro or Eve V.

Apple iPhone 11 Pro (2019) – replaces 2017 Google Pixel 2, Sony a6000 DSLR, DJI Osmo+

Back to an iPhone again you say? Well the main reason I went back to it is because of the camera system. I wanted something to replace my bulky Sony A6000 camera + lens + DJI Osmo and this is one of the two best camera phones on the market along with the Google Pixel 4. But unlike the Pixel 4, this has an ultra wide lens in addition to the standard wide lens and the telephoto lens so the iPhone 11 Pro is the best camera phone on the market with 3 lenses (I’m aware there’s the Huawei P30 Pro as well but its quite a big bigger). So this has become my main phone to replace my aging Pixel 2 as well as my main camera as well. 

Samsung Galaxy S8 Active (2017) – replaces 2017 Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact, 2017 Essential Phone

The Samsung Galaxy S8 Active replaces my former Xperia XZ1C as well as my Essential Phone as my secondary phone, partly because I don’t really find myself needing a small phone to do anything anymore. It’s also my main PMP device, which I use for watching movies and video – the Super AMOLED display, microSD slot and headphone jack definitely helps in that regard. Plus, its rugged and IP68 water resistant, which I find useful in case I drop it somewhere – I’ve always had a fondness for tough phones ever since I used the Kyocera Duraforce Pro as my main phone for a brief 2 months in early 2017. The S8 Active, while it was released the same year as the Pixel 2, XZ1C and Essential and has the same Snapdragon 835 CPU, the fact that it has a headphone jack / microSD / IP68 (Essential and Pixel 2 lacks this), AMOLED display (Essential and XZ1C lacks this) and a better camera than every phone from 2017 aside from the Pixel 2 and iPhone X, makes the S8 Active the best all around phone from 2017.

Music

Astell&Kern a&norma SR15 (2018) – replaces 2018 Fiio M7

A great all around DAP that has replaced my FiiO M7 (too laggy and crashes alot, also annoying UI) and Pioneer XDP100 (battery sucks). Only thing its missing is the LDAC support (which the FiiO models had), but makes up for it with dual Cirrus Logic CS43198 DACs (compared to no dedicated DAC for the FiiO M7 and the single ESS ES9018 in the Pioneer), USB DAC capability, DLNA streaming capability, balanced out (probably not using it but nice to have), Apt-X HD (again no LDAC but good enough), 64GB onboard space (although lacks the 2nd SD card slot of the pioneer), a much better UI interface compared to the FiiO M7 and being perfectly pocketable. It’s also probably the best built out of the 3 as well (made in Korea)!

Astell&Kern Michelle (2018) – replaces 2017 Monster Gratitudes
My main IEMs for listening to music on the go. It’s replaced my Monster Gratitudes (Comply foam tips wore out and weren’t worth replacing), as well as my Fender FXA5s (which were lackluster), and pairs perfectly well with obviously my Astell&Kern DAP, and has a balanced cable to boot!

Sony WH-1000XM3 (2018) – Replaces 2017 Sony MDR-1000X
These are my main closed back wireless/noise cancelling headphones which replaces my Denon MM400 (which were stolen at work) and my Bose Quietcomfort 25s (which broke) and Sony MDR-1000X (my previous NC cans). Compared to the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless and Bose Quietcomfort 35s, The sound quality is comparable to the Sennheisers but the noise cancellation is better. The noise cancellation is on par with the Bose and the sound quality is better, and its a lot more comfortable than the 1st gen MDR-1000X. It’s simply put one of the best wireless NC cans on the market right now.

Bose Soundlink Revolve (2017) – Replaces 2015 Creative Soundblaster Roar 2
This is my portable bluetooth speaker, replacing my Creative Soundblaster Roar 2. It is smaller than the Roar 2, although it lacks alot of the Soundblaster features it makes up for it by looking and being very simple, playing 360 degree audio and being quite loud for its size.

Creative SoundBlasterX Katana (2017) – Replaces 2015 Creative T4W

Now used as my main computer speakers replacing my Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 and Creative T4W speakers. It’s the first soundbar designed specifically for computer use. RGB lighting, bluetooth, 7.1 virtual surround and a bunch of other options, has a lot of inputs etc – what’s not to love? And it gets REALLY loud.

Klipsch the Three (2017)

These stereo speakers are really cool and retro looking especially with the Ebony wood finish. Not only does it support DTS Play-Fi, Bluetooth, phono and AUX inputs but I usually hook it up to my turntable as it has a built in phono preamp! I’ve compared the Klipsches with the Polk Audio, KEF, AudioEngine, Fluance, Focal and other speakers but the Klipsches are definitely the best value for the performance and looks

Audeze EL-8 (2017) – replaces 2011 Audio-Technica ATH-M50X

These open back planar magnetic headphones are my at home studio monitors, replacing my old Audio Technia ATH-M50X for studio recordings (using the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 as a recording interface, Shure MV51 as my mic and FL Studio as my DAW) and hooking it up to a Brave Audio Ocean tube amp for listening to those sweet sweet high res files 🙂

Google Home Hub (2018) – replaces 2017 Yamaha Clock Radio
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The Google Home Hub replaces my Yamaha Clock Radio as a smart alarm clock + digital photo frame.

Cameras

Apple iPhone 11 Pro (2019) – replaces 2017 Sony A6000, 2016 DJI Osmo+, 2016 Essential Phone
Yes my main camera is no longer a DSLR but a phone instead! The new iPhone’s triple lens system makes it the best camera phone on the market – obviously it’s still not as powerful as a DSLR or mirrorless or even the Sony RX100 but at the same price it packs a lot of punch for recording videos – especially in combination with the DJI Osmo Mobile 3 gimbal + Shure MV88 mic. Another key factor in why I got this as my main ‘camera’ is the size – it doubles as a secondary phone which means I can take it everywhere with me which I can’t say about my Sony alpha camera or my DJI Osmo.

Sony Action Camera AS300 (2016) – replaces 2014 GoPro Hero3+
Replaces my Sony Music Video recorder and GoPro Hero 3 as both my action camera and my wide angle camera that I can use for blogging, travel videos, action videos, etc and has optical image stabilization which no other action camera has! Also waterproof/dustproof as well and quite small, making it great for situations where my Osmo+ would be too heavy.

Displays

Asus PG27UQ (2018) – replaces my 2016 Dell InfinityEdge monitor, 2013 Panasonic Plasma TV
This is the display that does it all. 4K, Quantum dots, P3 color gamut, 144hz, Gsync, HDR, it does it all. I use it for everything since I dont have enough room in my room to put a TV. It’s the main display for my Asus Zenbook Pro Duo, as well as my display for my PS4 Pro, Nvidia Shield, Nintendo Switch, Panasonic UB820 UHD Blu-ray player, and PSTV. Thats a lot of responsibilities its carrying! But since it can do everything, short of having a TV and a separate monitor, this is the next best option for a do-it-all display.

Main Computer collection
10.5″ 2224×1668 – iPad Pro (2017) – 2.4Ghz A10X, 4GB RAM, 64GB SSD, 12MP camera, 2.2lbs – main tablet
13.3″ 3200×1800 – Porsche Design Book One (2017) – 7th gen Core i7, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, 3.7lbs – main convertible/portable laptop
15.6″ 1920×1080 – Alienware m15 (2019) – 8th gen Core i7, RTX 2060, 16GB RAM, 2.25TB SSD, 5lbs – main gaming laptop
CyberPowerPC SyberC Xtreme (2019) – 9th gen Core i5, RTX 2070, 32GB RAM, 3TB HDD + 1TB SSD, 25lbs – main gaming computer

Main Phone collection
5.8″ 1125×2436 – iPhone 11 Pro (2019) – A13 Bionic, 4GB RAM, 64GB Flash, iOS 13, triple 12MP F/1.8-2.4 13mm-52mm cameras, Lightning – main phone
5.8″ 1440×2960 – Samsung Galaxy S8 Active (2018) – Snapdragon 835, 4GB RAM, 64GB Flash, Android 9, 12MP F/1.7 camera, microSD, USBC – secondary phone/PMP

Other devices

Backup phones: Google Pixel 2, Essential Phone, Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact, iPhone SE, Blackberry Key2

Video game systems: PS3, PS4 Pro, PSTV, Nvidia Shield Pro, Cybiko Xtreme, Nokia Ngage, PS Vita, New Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Switch, GPD Win 2, Nvidia Shield Portable, PSP Go, Razer Phone 2

UMPCs: Onemix Yoga 3, GPD Micro, Toshiba Libretto W100, Vulcan Flipstart, Sony Vaio UX280, Sharp Netwalker, OpenPandora, Fujitsu UH900, Sony Vaio P, Fujitsu U820, OQO Model 2, Samsung Q1, Gemini PDA

Backup Laptops:  MacBook Pro 13 (macOS), ThinkPad TP25 (business laptop), Onkyo DX (dual screen netbook), ThinkPad X240 (Win 7), Thinkpad X61 (Win XP), Dell Latitude D600 (Win 98)

Watches: Seiko Kinetic, Orient Sun and Moon Heartbeat LE, Junghans Meister Calendar, Oris GMT, Huawei Watch, Pebble Time Steel, Fossil Abacus, Neptune Pine, Casio DBC32 DataBank, Vector Luna

Misc Tablets: Sony Tablet P, iPad Air, Lenovo Flex 20

PMPs: Philips PMC, iPod Nano, MS Zune, Creative Zen vision m, Astell&Kern A&Norma SR15, Archos 7, FiiO M5

Flip Phones: Samsung Galaxy Folder 2, Motorola Razr2, Samsung Alias 2

Vertical Sliders: Sony Ericsson W995, Nokia N95, Samsung Exclaim

Horizontal Sliders: HTC Dream (Tmobile G1), HTC Touch Pro2, Nokia N900

Unique form factor: HTC Universal, Sony Xperia Play, Motorola Flipout, Nokia E70, HTC Advantage 7500, Sharp Sidekick, Nokia E90, LG EnvTouch, Jelly Phone, Palm phone, Nokia XpressMusic 3250

PDAs: Palm TX, Sharp Zaurus, Sony UX50, Zipit Z2, Casio BE300, Sharp YO180P, HP iPAQ 210, Psion 5MX, HP Jornada 720, MS Kin 2, Sony Mylo 2

Unique OS: Amazon Fire Phone, ZTE Open C, Samsung Z1, HP Pre 3, Blackberry Porsche 9981, Blackberry Passport, Nokia N810, Nokia Lumia 1020, Intex Aquafish, Nokia E7, HP Elite X3, Palm Treo 700p

Displays: Asus PG27UQ (gaming monitor), MMT FHD Monitor2Go (portable monitor), Royole Moon (HMD), Oculus Rift (VR)

Cameras: Sony HDR-AS300 Action Cam

Headphones: Master and Dynamic ME03 (earphone), Monster Gratitude (earphone), A&K Michelle (IEM), Fender FXA5 (IEM), Sony WF-1000XM3 (wireless earbuds), Sony 1000XM3 (wireless/NC/closed), Audeze EL8 (planar dynamic/open air)

Speakers: Yamaha TSXB72 (alarm), Google Home Hub (picture frame/assistant), Creative SoundBlasterX Katana (PC), Klipsch the Three (turntable), Bose Soundlink Revolve (portable), Sony Smart Bluetooth Speaker SP60 (alarm), Google Home Mini

Misc Audio Electronics: Creative SXFI amp, Creative E5, Behringer Xenyx Q502 (Mixer), Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (USB recording interface), Panasonic UB-820 (UHD Blu-ray player), Fluance RT85 w/Ortofon Blue cartridge (turntable), Cambridge Audio Solo preamp

Microphones: Shure MV51 (PC), Shure SM58 (dynamic), MXL50 (condenser), Shure MV88 (iPhone)

Storage: 1x Synology DS412+, 2x Synology DS416j, 3x Synology 416slim (48TB all in RAID 1), 3x Patriot Memory USB sticks, 1x Porsche Design LaCIE external HDD

Keyboards: Logitech G610 (Alienware), Syber mechanical keyboard (CyberPowerPC), Lenovo Wireless Keyboard (Lenovo Flex), Mini Keyboard (Nvidia Shield)

Mice: Logitech G502 (Alienware), Logitech MX Anywhere 2S (HP), Syber Mouse (CyberPowerPC), MS Surface Mouse (Porsche Design), Lenovo Wireless Mouse (Lenovo Flex)

Guitar Amps: Milkman 1W+ (Fender partscaster), Boss Katana Mini (Travel Guitar), Vox Mini3 (Bohemian TNT), Vox MV50 Boutique + BC108 Cab (Fender Strat, Gretsch)

Guitars: Fender Stratocaster w/Rumpelstiltskin pickups, Fender Partscaster w/Lollartron pickups, Gretsch G520, Bohemian TNT w/Lollar Gold Foil pickups

Pedals: Boss TU3W (tuner), Boss DM2W (delay), BBE Wah (Wah), Dunlop EP101 (Booster/Preamp), Maxon TOD9 (TS type OD), Wampler Euphoria (D type OD), Xotic Compressor (Compressor), Keeley Omni Reverb (Reverb), Wampler Tumnus (K type OD), Boss RC3 (Looper)

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