This is my main / entertainment laptop now. I’ve ditched my X240 and Yoga 14 for this basically. A light, convertible laptop, weighs only 2.8lbs (substantially lighter than the Yoga 14 which I previously had), docks with a one link dock connector and wireless dock, has that traditional Thinkpad robust build quality and great trackpoint keyboard, and is convertible which means I can watch movies in 4 different modes, and comes with a gorgeous 1440p OLED screen to boot. Just perfect. It replaces my Thinkpad Yoga 14.
Asus ROG G751 (2015) – replaced my 2011 HP Envy Beats, 2015 Thinkpad Yoga 14
This is my main gaming laptop since August 2015. I hook it up to my Creative T4W speakers, Shure MV51 mic, Asus ROG Gladius mouse and Aorus K1 mechanical keyboard to do some serious gaming and video editing work. The GTX 970M graphics card just screams and it has GSync and cool afterburner LED lights in the back as well courtesy of XoticPC. It is quite heavy though, being a 17 inch gaming laptop, so it basically stays on my desk unless I have to move out.
Vaio S (2016) – replaced my ThinkPad X240
My main travel laptop now, it has everything you want. Only 2.3lbs, 13″ screen, 9 hr+ battery life, VGA, Ethernet, HDMI, 3 usb ports in such a slim and light package, etc the businessman’s laptop for traveling. It replaces my Thinkpad X240.
Mac Mini (2012) – replaced my 2012 MacBook Pro 13
My main multimedia / programming computer.
Tablets/Phones iPad Air (2013)
The iPad Air is my go to tablet for surfing, gaming, music or reading.
iPhone SE (2016) – replaced my 2013 iPhone 5S
The iPhone SE is my main camera and video recorder. No other smartphones can beat the combination of its camera + shutter speed. Plus love the small size which is what cameraphones should be! light and small. It replaces my aging iPhone 5S.
Sony Xperia Z3C (2014)
The Sony Xperia Z3C is my main Korea phone, mp3 player and messenger device as it has been since late 2014.
Blackberry Priv (2015)
The Blackberry Priv is the phone I use in Canada/US and its a great phone for web browsing/surfing, and document editing as well. It replaces my Blackberry Passport.
For playing retro Windows games
For playing DOS games
New Nintendo 3DS
For playing Nintendo Games
Sony PS Vita
For playing JRPGs
Nvidia Shield Portable
The Nvidia Shield is my emulator console and also doubles as a game stream capable tablet for my Asus! Video here:
These have replaced my old earphones (Klipsch X12i, broken) and my now broken Bose Quietcomfort 25s (warranty expired) as my travel headphones. Because they are in-ear headphones they are also easier to carry, and block out some noise passively which is nice.
Denon Music Master MM400 (2016) – replaced 2014 Sennheiser Momentum
Absolutely the best over ear headphones I’ve ever had, these now have replaced my Sennheiser Momentums which were falling apart as well.
These have replaced my Bose Soundlink Mini as my new portable speaker, sounds great and comes with a variety of features like mp3 player, voice recorder, USB DAC etc
Creative T4W (2015)
Its my 2.1 speaker system I use to connect to my Asus, but can also be used for bluetooth, PS4, Mac Mini, record player etc alot of things it has traditional RCA analog input as well as optical in.
Nikon D5100 (2013)
My DSLR camera for serious video making. I usually pair it with my Samyang T1.5 24mm cinema prime lens.
Sony Music Video Recorder (2014)
This camera is mainly used for casual recording video blogs, music videos and video reviews. Basically my youtube camera now.
GoPro Hero3+ Silver (2014)
My camera for action shots like biking, scooter, hiking, swimming, etc
DJI OSMO (2015)
My go to camera for taking cinematic walking shots, party shots, basically it simulates having a DSLR + stabilizer + tripod + glider which is amazing
DJI Phantom 3 (2015)
My drone which is useful for taking aerial footage, personal cameraman, and hooks up to the autopilot app for more modes like orbit, cable cam and follow me.
All of this equipment can be seen in my camera equipment video here:
25 most awesome gadgets I own:
1. Sharp Zaurus C1000 (2004) – Clamshell Linux PDA
2. Sony Clie UX50 (2004) – Clamshell Palm OS PDA
3. Sony Vaio UX (2006) – Slider UMPC
4. Vulcan Flipstart (2007) – Clamshell UMPC
5. Nokia N95 (2007) – Dual slider Symbian smartphone
6. Archos 7 (2008) – Linux based PMP
7. HP iPAQ 210 (2008) – One of the last Windows Mobile Pocket PC
8. Nokia N810 (2008) – Linux based internet device
9. Sharp Netwalker (2009) – Pocket Smartbook
10. MS Zune HD (2010) – Touch controlled MP3 Player
11. Fujitsu UH900 (2010) – Pocket Netbook
12. Onkyo DX (2010) – Dual screen Netbook
13. Toshiba Libretto W100 (2010) – Dual touch screen Netbook
14. Sony Tablet P (2011) – Dual touch screen tablet
15. Blackberry Porsche (2011) – Ltd Edition Blackberry
16. HP Pre 3 (2011) – Last Palm & WebOS smartphone
17. Open Pandora (2012) – Linux based gaming console / umpc
18. Nvidia Shield Portable (2013) – Android gaming handheld
19. Apple iPhone 5S (2013) – the last great small Apple phone
20. Razer Edge Pro (2013) – most powerful standalone gaming tablet
21. Nokia Lumia 1020 (2013) – 41mp Windows smartphone
22. Sony PS Vita Slim (2014) – current gen Sony handheld
23. Neptune Pine (2014) – Smallest Android device
24. Blackberry Priv (2015) – Touchscreen / Slider Android smartphone
25. Lenovo X1 Yoga (2016) – First OLED Convertible laptop
Haven’t updated in a month, so here it is. I traveled back to Toronto and Orillia (my hometown) for the first time since Dec 2011. I finally got to visit my friends and family again, which was really nice as I haven’t met my friends especially for a long time. Here are some pictures, including some of the childhood pictures that I drew back then. I’m shocked at how much time I had back then. I’ll never forget my roots, that I came from a poor family in a small rural town in Canada.
…Yeah I had a lot of time back then as a child. I even created games back then based on this obscure DOS game called Sir Bombalot but basically I would create “pieces” for the game that had different abilities like mimic moves, freeze other pieces, mind control other pieces, move in different patterns, magnetize pieces, explode, etc. It was cool, unfortunately I couldn’t find those pieces that I made as a kid, but I remember doing that.
“Only after we lose everything are we free to do anything” – Fight Club
Going to Korea really opened my eyes and changed my life. So much so that I realized that the so called “American Dream” is built all on a life of consumerism. Having a big house, a fancy car, the best gadgets and making a lot of money, that is what is advertised to people. I realized that this is all nonsense. Life is all about experiences, not about making money and consuming. To that end, I’ve been trying hard not to spend any more money on what is not necessary, be a true conservative and rein in my spending. Get rid of all the things that I don’t need. Stay tuned… but my future plans involve renting out my place and moving somewhere else to start over. I need to get away from here. It’s ironic saying this as my dream for many years was to come to California, but now my life has turned a different direction. The next step in my life. It’s better I realize this sooner rather than later.
In other news…
I got a job at Walmart. Yes, the Walmart e-commerce division which manages the website. Having this job means I can finally say that I’ve worked at every level of industry (as my former PEY director once said): Government, Startup, Small company, and Corporation. Getting into a big corporation finally is ironic because I’ve been wanting to find success at this level since my PEY days when my friends all got into IBM and I got rejected. Take that! 5 years later and I’m finally there working for the Fortune #1 company. Can’t get bigger than that. Plus, I get to work remotely, which is awesome for my future plans [hint, hint].
I’ve also got a Korean tutor now. That’s not to say going to Sejong Institute was a bad thing, it is a good place for Korean beginners, but I’m at the point where I really need to work on my conversation skills, listening and speaking, and a personal tutor is the best for that. I feel like it really makes a difference as now I can understand what words Koreans are speaking at a fast pace now, just need to work on the vocabulary part so I can translate it in my head.
I’ve been playing some pretty good Japanese fighting games recently. No not Dead or Alive or Tekken, but ones that focus more on story than fighting. Both BlazBlue Chrono Phantasma and Persona 4 Ultimax are pretty amazing games, both capable fighters but with pretty good stories underneath. They are 2 of the few games that I actually beat. They might be my favorite storyline games since Yakuza 4‘s amazingly twisted storyline and Catherine‘s morally twisted storyline.
I also played Xblaze Code Embryo, my first graphic novel, and it was pretty fun but frustrating when you don’t know why you got a bad ending.
…and I’ve finally switched to Android!! I’ve only used Apple iPhones for 2 reasons: 1) because they are small and compact and 2) because it has a good camera, and now that Apple has switched to larger phones just like Android devices and the cameras for Android devices have gotten better, I’ve finally made the switch.
Yup, I’ve decided NOT to support my beloved Korean companies Samsung and LG this time in favor of the Sony Xperia Z3C because: 1) its got the same footprint as my iPhone5S, 2) 20.7MP camera, 3) waterproof and dustproof, 4) HD audio decoding, 5) microSD slot, 6) 2 day battery life, 7) PS4 remote play
I mean need I say more? This is hands down the best compact Android phone out there right now, better than the Galaxy, LG, HTC One, Huawei, Xiaomi, Lenovo, ZTE, Archos, what have you.
Sony needs to advertise this more. 2+ days of battery life!
As always, I try to be productive all the time to record videos, and I’ve retired my faithful Canon HFM40 that I’ve been using for over 3 years for outdoor recording and music video recording in favor of my iPhone 5S for outdoor recording and the Sony Music Video Recorder for music video recording. Here’s some gadget reviews and music videos I’ve recorded.
As people who know me may find out, I really love gadgets. An example is my purchase of the Sony HMZ-T1, which I reviewed Here. I love the quirky, niche gadgets and here’s a chronicle of my gadget obsession since I was young. In case you’re wondering btw, these recollections are all from memory, so don’t expect in depth reviews of something I had when I was 15.
2002-2006 Gadget collection Sharp Yo-190
This is a mini computer PDA/Organizer that I had back in middle school and was probably my first gadget. It had a calendar, memo, email, web browser, converter, clock, and calculator. With computer linking capability, a backlight, and 256k of RAM, it was amazing for a small kid like me. I took it to class and used it to store all my friends phone numbers and stuff. I probably didn’t use it to its full extent as it was designed for adults, but it was my first taste of gadget goodness.
This is such a niche device. But I had one of these things. It was kind of like a PDA or a game boy, but not. It had a bunch of downloadable games, and this chat thing, which I guess the makers expected this to be really popular, because that chat was only to other Cybiko users. I used it to play alot of cool games, it even had two players games in it, but eventually it got bricked when I reset it while playing a game and it didn’t turn back on after that. Eventually Cybiko realized it was a niche product and so the number of actual applications were really low. It was a cool device for the time though. ‘
Yay, the $300 PDA I had when I was a kid. You know, back before smartphones, people had these devices called Pocket PCs, which are like the precursor to today’s smartphones. And I had the Casio Cassiopeia, cause I was the nerdy kid on the block. It was a good device – it had a number of cool apps and games for it, and no other 15 year old kid had something like that. Unfortunately, it got bricked when I tried to root it and install another OS on it, lol.
Dell Inspiron 7500
The Dell Inspiron 7500 was my first laptop, which I got in 2003. It was quite powerful for the time, having a dedicated graphics card (ATI Radeon 7500), and cost over $2000 I think. Ah yes I remember the days when 256MB RAM was alot, and everyone had a sound blaster card. And these days we take built-in Wifi for granted, but back then laptops didn’t have it built in! I needed to use a pcmcia wifi card to have it! (remember pcmcia/express cards?) and it also had legacy modem & s-video ports which are not found anymore… I had good memories with this laptop, and especially the overheating issues, due to Intel having not invented mobile processors yet. The Pentium M hadn’t arrived yet, so it had a full Pentium 4 processor in it, which isn’t efficient, and often overheated the laptop. My dad and I had to put it on some homemade pieces of wood as a cooling solution, lol.
2006-2011 Gadget collection
I had several gadgets when I was in university, including several laptops. Among the ones I had was:
You know how all these Windows 8 convertible ultrabooks are coming out?? Well back in 2006, Gateway had a convertible notebook, the same kind!! 4 years before the iPad came out. And I was carrying this 7lb behemoth to classes. Despite the heavy weight, I loved using it. A screen that can rotate?? A Wacom digitizer?? That was cool stuff back then, and although it wasn’t particularly powerful on specs (an original Core Duo and GMA 950), it was a unique laptop.
Asus EEEPC S101
My next laptop was when netbooks were all the rage… and this one really catches my eye. It only had 16GB of storage, sure. And had an underpowered Atom processor. But, the brushed aluminum lid and Swarovski crystals… they were a good touch. Ok, so I bought it based more on looks, but it was decent for what netbooks do – browse the internet. Netbooks have been replaced by Tablets and Chromebooks now, but they all serve the same purpose, to be mobile and browse internet.
Dell Latitude E4200
My last laptop in college is still one of my favorites. This was in 2008, before ultrabooks came out. But this essentially is an ultrabook. A powerful laptop that is thin and light. It was only 2.6lbs!! and had a Core 2 Duo ultra low voltage CPU, which was good for its time, and I had a port replicator as well, so I could connect it with 3 externals and a 22″ Samsung display at home. It was very durable, I think I dropped it a few times and even spilled drinks on it before and it kept working. It served me well – I gave it to my parents after I retired it, and I will always remember playing Starcraft 2 lagging the hell out of games with it on that integrated GMA 4500.
Yes, the same one I reviewed, and as I mentioned – 320GB of storage space, plays movies without a hitch, and recording PS3 gameplay, it still holds up to the tablets of today despite having an outdated TFT resistive touch screen.
Yes – I’ve had several HMDs before. The Myvu is actually quite good, when I hooked it up to my Xbox 360/PS3, I was able to play many games quite smoothly on it. Of course, my current Sony HMZ-T1 beats it hands down, but the Myvu was pretty decent for its time, plus the company is out of business, so they might be hard to find.
My cellphone of choice during university. Remember flip phones and slider phones? This was the slimmest slider phone when it came out, and its one of the best non smartphones out there. 3.2MP camera with an autofocus and flash was good for its time, and sending text messages isn’t great as the iPhone of course, but it does its job well. And remember when batteries lasted weeks instead of days?? yeah…
Creative Zen Vision M
This was my mp3 player of choice during university, and it stills holds up pretty well to the iPod Classic, even now. It stored 30GBs, which is actually more than most phones these days can store. Remember when people carried a dedicated mp3 player back before smartphones? Not to mention, it played alot of photo and video formats, could record radio and voice, and had some pretty good sound quality as well.
Canon Powershot 300
I recorded all of my old videos, and took all of my old pictures on this baby. Before I got my new Canon and iPhone. It was – and remains – decent at what it does.
Flip Video Mino
The Flip Video Mino was the GoPro before GoPros. A pocket camcorder that can be taken anywhere easily and record from your pocket. It was innovative for its time, before smartphones had good cameras, and unfortunately, I didn’t use it as much as I should have.
What can I say? I went through 22 years of my life without needing this phone. And yet now I can’t live without it. It’s the perfect phone. I’ve never wanted an iPhone 5, or a Galaxy SIII or a Nokia Lumia, or a Blackberry, simply because the iPhone 4S has everything I need. It has a ton of apps, it has a small enough screen to be portable (I don’t like the big screens on the iphone 5 or samsung galaxy), its replaced my main camera, and its great at texting. I’ve never wanted anything more.
I reviewed this before and my thoughts haven’t changed. It’s a simulated 100″ screen with the best 3D you can get, and virtual surround sound. The only downside being the comfort and lack of two-player convenience. I’ve also upgraded to an HMZ-T3, which is much lighter than the T1 and has wireless HD transmission, but still requires you to carry around an HD receiver.
I recorded all my videos and trips with this thing, and its pretty decent at that. Full HD res, multiple recording modes, and a better low light performance than many other video cameras out there. It continues to be my main video camera.
HP Envy Beats edition
My current main laptop. The one I use for everyday computing. Its my first laptop with a quad core processor and a dedicated video card (Radeon 6630) since my Inspiron 7500, and I loved being able to play games at high framerates again. Also, the beats audio is quite good when using external speakers or headphones. Its also got a hybrid SSD-HDD drive system which is great for fast bootup of applications, and I still get alot of storage space. I don’t really appreciate the low resolution 768p screen though, but it is still a very functional laptop with 3 USB ports, an optical disk drive and full HDMI port. Eventually the display broke when it slipped off my desk and fell on the floor, but the HDMI output still works so I can still hook it up to a display and it functions.
Macbook Pro Retina 13
This is my first macbook – and its mainly used for work purposes. For many years I never got a Mac – but I realize its faster for development, and less riskier for viruses, so I’ve been using it as my main work laptop now. Its fast, the screen is gorgeous, and its a Mac – I wouldn’t say its better than windows, just different. I also use it as my main recording tool after installing Pro Tools on it – for some reason Windows just isn’t as good for audio recording and video editing as a Mac. I’ve since sold this laptop due to using my iPad Air a lot more.
The Nikon D5100 is my DSLR. I don’t use it too much for general photography use, as I use my iPhone for taking most pictures due to the wider lens. The DSLR lens I use is more for taking close up pictures, portraits, and video recording, of which the quality is much better than my Canon but requires another cameraman to hold. It is a pretty decent value too; I acquired it at only $400.
Audio Technica A900
These are my go-to headphones for recording, studio monitoring and anything else requiring little to no noise interference. They are excellent closed back headphones, and for the price of $150, very good value for what you get. They are one of the best sounding headphones I’ve owned (and I’ve owned many), so I’ll probably keep these for many years 🙂
Audyssey Wireless Speakers
These are my computer speakers, and they are pretty decent at all around performance. I am impressed at the level of bass they offer despite not having any subwoofer. They are bluetooth enabled, so other than my computer, they also double as speakers for my iPhone and tablet as well.
Sorry Samsung, but Panasonic makes better Plasma TVs at the medium range segment, and hence I opted for them. This is a 3D Plasma TV, which means uniform viewing angles, deeper blacks, and pretty thin too… all in all, one of the better TVs I’ve used, though I wish the interface for youtube and video browsing was done better.
Samsung E450 Sound Bar
This is the soundbar for my TV, and its a pretty good value as well, being only $150. It takes in the regular HDMI and optical connections, but also comes with Bluetooth and AUX and a wireless subwoofer. Many soundbars at this price doesn’t have bluetooth, hence I went for this one.
This thing is pretty cool, its a portable second monitor that displays a nice HD+ resolution, and can be used in various configurations, standing up, swiveling, etc. It also supports being used as a secondary display for an iPad, iPhone, or anything with an HDMI connection. I’m currently using it paired with my Mac for work, and the DisplayLink technology works flawlessly.