Categories
Tech

June 2020 gadget update

Every 6 months I do an update on the state of my gadgets and what I use.

Computers

Google Pixelbook (2017) – replaces 2017 iPad Pro 10.5, 2017 Porsche Design Book One

I needed a light, portable machine for watching movies and doing media consumption to replace my aging iPad Pro, and yeah surprisingly went for a device made in the same year (2017). Why? because ChromeOS does do more than iPadOS still in terms of behaving as a desktop OS – even though iPads now added trackpad support – and the three main reasons why I bought it was 1) cheap ($500) 2) lightweight (2.4lbs) and 3) 3:2 aspect ratio display. There are many great options for 2 in 1s these days – Dell XPS 2 in 1 (heavier, more expensive), HP Spectre X360 (no 3:2 display, more expensive, heavier), Samsung Galaxy Chromebook (more expensive, no 3:2 display, terrible battery life), Samsung Galaxy Book Flex (more expensive, no 3:2 display), Microsoft SurfaceBook 3 (WAY more expensive, heavier), HP Dragonfly Elite (more expensive, no 3:2 display) and none of them actually matched the Pixelbook surprisingly – and if I found a 2in1 convertible which matched the Pixelbook’s 3:2 display and had similar weight but more expensive, that would be fine too, but everything is more expensive + lacking either the 3:2 display or it’s heavier.

Alienware m15 R2 (2020) – replaces 2018 Alienware m15, 2016 Alienware 15 R3

I got this for a pretty decent price off of the Dell outlet store, so I thought yeah why not, my brother needed a decent gaming laptop so I sold him my Alienware m5 R1 and the R2 while not as expandable as the R1 and missing the extra numpad, does look substantially cooler with the white design, I must admit. Plus, yeah the usual specs: RTX 2060, Core i7 hexa core CPU, 1.25TB SSD, 16GB RAM. A decent secondary gaming computer and main portable gaming computer.

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

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.

Motorola Razr Fold (2020) – replaces 2017 Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact, 2018 Astell&Kern A&Norma SR15

The Google Pixel 2 is actually my main secondary phone due to the Project Fi compatibility mostly, but the Motorola Razr has become my main music player device – I know, it’s an extremely expensive music player since it cost me even more than the iPhone 11 Pro – but its a really cool device, being the first vertically folding phone. I know many people will prefer the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip instead as its much more capable and spec wise much better, but Motorola has the better design for me, it’s a retro-futuristic implementation of an iconic device, and has a much bigger front touch screen than the Z Flip, which is important when using as a music player device. Since I mostly use my bluetooth Sony WF-1000XM3s now, not having a headphone jack is fine – and also makes my AK A&norma SR15 not that great of a device to use just for the bluetooth. I was using my Sony Xperia XZ1 compact as my main music player phone (which it was very capable at doing) until I got the Razr Fold.

Music

Sony WF-1000XM3 (2019) – Replaces 2018 Astell&Kern Michelle

Believe it or not I have begun to embrace Bluetooth finally – and these wireless noise cancelling earbuds have replaced my A&K Michelles. Now do they sound as good? Of course not. But they are more convenient than having to unravel a messy amount of tangled wires every time to listen to something. And they are noise cancelling to boot. But it still has issues. Instead of having skipping sound issues with wires, now I have skipping sound issues with BT connection. Meh.. there’s nothing perfect out there I guess.

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

LG SL10YG + SPK8 (2019) – replaces 2018 Sony HT-ST5000 Soundbar

Focal Elear (2016) – replaces 2015 Audeze EL8

These are simply put, better than the Audeze EL8s in every way, so.. yeah, it’s replacing them.

Google Home Hub (2018) – replaces 2017 Yamaha Clock Radio

The Google Home Hub replaces my Yamaha Clock Radio as a smart alarm clock + digital photo frame.

Cameras

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.

Main Computer collection
12.3″ 2400×1600 – Google Pixelbook (2017) – 7th gen Core i5, 8GB, 256GB SSD, 2.4lbs – light tablet/convertible
15.6″ 1920×1080 – Alienware m15 R2 (2020) – 9th gen Core i7, 16GB RAM, 1.25TB SSD,  4.7lbs – main gaming laptop
CyberpowerPC Syber C (2019) – 9th gen Core i5, 32GB RAM, 4TB SSD+HDD, 20lbs – living room gaming pc

Main Phone collection
5.8″ 1125×2436 OLED – 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/camera
5.0″ 1080×1920 OLED – Google Pixel 2 (2017) – Snapdragon 835, 4GB RAM, 64GB Flash, Android 10, 8MP F/2.4, USBC – secondary phone
6.2″ 876×2142 OLED – Motorola Razr Fold (2020) – Snapdragon 710, 6GB RAM, 128GB Flash, Android 9, 16MP F/1.7, USBC – music player

Other devices

Backup phones: LG G8X (dual screen / rugged / media), iPhone SE (small compact), Blackberry Key2 (physical keyboard)

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, Atari VCS, 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, King Jim Portabook

Backup Laptops:  iPad Pro 10.5 (tablet), Porsche Design Book One (convertible), 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, Bulova Joseph Bulova, Seiko Cocktail Time Honeycomb, Orient Sun&Moon LE, Junghans Meister Calendar, Frederique Constant Slimline Moonphase, Oris GMT, Pebble Time Steel, Fossil Abacus, Casio DBC32 DataBank, Motorola Moto 360 3rd gen, Apple Watch Series 3, Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

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, Cowon V5W

Flip Phones: Samsung Galaxy Folder 2, Samsung Alias 2

Vertical Sliders: Sony Ericsson W995, Nokia N95, Samsung Exclaim, Samsung U900, Blackberry Torch 2

Horizontal Sliders: HTC Dream (Tmobile G1), HTC Touch Pro2, Nokia N900, Sony Xperia Play, Samsung Exclaim, Motorola Sidekick, Samsung Sidekick, Sharp Sidekick

Unique form factor: HTC Universal, Motorola Flipout, Nokia E70, HTC Advantage X7500, Nokia E90, LG EnvTouch, Jelly Phone, Palm phone, Nokia XpressMusic 3250, Nokia E72, Motorola V70, Sony Ericsson P990, Toshiba G910, Nokia N93i, Yotaphone 3, Neptune Pine

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, Nokia E7, HP Elite X3, Palm Treo 700p, Sony Xperia XA2 (Sailfish), LG Nexus 5 (Ubuntu Touch), Essential Phone (Lineage)

Displays: LG C9 OLED TV (main TV), Asus ROG PG258Q (gaming monitor), LG 29WK600 (ultrawide work 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/JH Audio Michelle (IEM), Fender FXA5 (IEM), Sony WF-1000XM3 (wireless earbuds), Sony WH-1000XM3 (wireless/NC/closed), Focal Elear (studio/home/open)

Speakers: LG/Meridian SL10YG + LG SPK8 (home theater soundbar), Yamaha TSXB72 (alarm), Google Home Hub (picture frame/assistant), Creative SoundBlasterX Katana (Alienware), Klipsch the Three (turntable), PreSonus Eris (monitors), Bose Soundlink Revolve (portable), Sony LFS50G smart speaker (Kitchen), Sony Smart Bluetooth Speaker SP60 (alarm), Google Home Mini

Misc Audio Electronics: Creative X3 (PC amp/dac), Behringer Xenyx Q502 (Mixer), Fluance RT85 w/Ortofon Blue cartridge (turntable), Cambridge Audio Solo (phono preamp), Schiit Vali 2 (headphone amp)

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

Storage: 1x Synology DS412+, 2x Synology DS416j, 1x Synology DS418j, 2x Synology DS416slim, 1x Synology DS419slim, 3x Patriot Memory USB sticks, 1x Porsche Design LaCIE external HDD

Keyboards: Corsair K63 wireless (Syber C), Syber Keyboard (extra), Logitech G610 (Alienware), Lenovo Wireless Keyboard (Lenovo Flex), Mini Keyboard (Nvidia Shield)

Mice: Corsair Dark Core (Syber C), Syber Mouse (extra), Logitech G502 (Alienware), Logitech MX Anywhere 2S (travel), Microsoft Surface Mouse (Porsche Design/Macbook), Lenovo Wireless Mouse (Lenovo Flex)

Guitar Amps: Milkman 1W+ (main), Boss Katana Mini (mini), Vox Mini5 (travel/busking)

Guitars: Fender Stratocaster w/Rumpelstiltskin pickups (secondary electric), Martin OMJM (main acoustic), Gretsch G502 (travel acoustic), Duesenberg Alliance Joe Walsh (main electric), Bohemian TNT w/Lollar Gold Foil pickups (travel electric), Yamaha P121 (digital piano)

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)

Categories
Music Tech

Choosing a new portable digital audio player (DAP) and Lasik Surgery

As people who read my blog know, and who watch my youtube, I’m a semi-audiophile, and I’m a musician. I care alot more about audio than most people do. I don’t care that much about having super high resolutions on my displays, and I think 1080p is fine for me. I still export a lot of my youtube vids in 720p still because of the space requirements of FHD. I can’t fathom making any 4K videos. I’ve always thought the display technology (IPS, IGZO, OLED etc) was more important than the resolution.

Anyways, I’m in the market for a new digital audio player (DAP). Most people just use their phones to play music these days, but I long for the days when I had a Creative Zen Vision M and people had their iPods and stuff to play music… what happened to those days? Those players were dedicated audio players, and they have discrete DACs to play music with. I feel because I play FLACs and lossless files a lot, I am best served getting a stand alone audio player.

Note that I already have a Soundblaster E5 DAC/Amp but thats more for home use… the device is kind of bulky to carry around in my pocket.
I’ve also upgraded to a pair of Denon MM400s over my Sennheiser Momentums for home use, and Fender FXA6 over my Master&Dynamic ME03s for portable use.

I’ve been using my Sony Xperia Z3C as my audio player up until now, and that is actually better than most phones due to high res / flac capabilities, but I’m about to retire that phone soon as its getting some technical issues.

So I’ve been shopping around with DAPs as there is a lot ranging from $100 – $1k+ and I’ve been looking for one around the $500~ mark. Here’s my considerations.

Shure SHA900 – is a portable DAC/Amp, but is not a player in itself. Its probably the best portable Amp out there, but its really expensive ($1k) and I would have to carry an extra device in my pocket.
Astell&Kern – have a strong lineup of dedicated audio players which sound great and are nicely designed, but most of them have a steep price, and I prefer having an Android interface so I can access my music apps. (DAC: Wolfson WM8740)
Onkyo DAP-X1 – is pretty nice, runs Android lollipop and has dual DACs/Amps and a balanced out and 2 microSD slots, but a bit expensive considering I don’t even use balanced headphones. (DAC: 2 ESS Sabre ES9018K2M)
Sony Walkman ZX2 – is now much cheaper online due to its age, but its still a good one to think about. Sony has always been renowned for its products and I am a acknowledged Sony fan, but to nitpick a little here – the Android OS version Jellybean is kind of outdated and it lacks some features the other DAPs have like having a DAC, and for the price, there could be better.
Colorfly C4 – looks hands down the coolest DAP I’ve ever seen, complete with built in RCA inputs and switchable SRC, but is a bit bulky and the controls while very retro, don’t look the easiest to use. Runs its own OS as well. (DAC: Cirrus Logic CS4398 the exact same one as my Soundblaster E5)
Acoustic Research M2 – looks great, slim, runs Android, etc but price point is a bit high, and only available in Europe it seems. There are cheaper players with the same specs. (DAC: Burr-Brown PCM1794A)
Hifiman HM802S – having a balanced out is nice, as well as a retro clickwheel and has a modular amplifier card that can be replaced. However the bulk and lack of Android means this suffers from the same issue as the Colorfly C4. (DAC: Wolfson WM8740)
FiiO x7 – FiiO has always been a brand for good value, affordable yet good quality. And I was really drawn to this player. It’s got everything the expandable storage, good price, slimness, running Android lollipop, and swappable amp modules. (DAC: ESS Sabre ES9018S)
Pioneer XDP-100R – this is basically the Onkyo DAP with one less DAC and amp chip and no balanced out and as a result its slightly cheaper. I like this one a lot too, it runs Android lollipop, slim enough, has a speaker surprisingly, and has 2 microSD slots for expansion. (DAC: ES9018K2M)

In the end, I was deciding between the FiiO x7 and the Pioneer XDP and the Pioneer won by a hair. The speaker and 2 microSD slots made the difference. You never know, I might need to show my friend some youtube videos and the speaker comes in handy. They are both at the perfect price points since I don’t use balanced headphones.

Pioneer XDP-100

Anyways, can’t go wrong with any of these, they all have microSD for expansion, some form of DAC to make the music sound a lot better, and support for high res formats like DSD, DXD, PCM, MQA etc although I really only care about FLAC. I think MQA has a good future but it needs more support and if it was widely available I’d use that more.

And.. in other news I got Lasik Surgery in Korea!
My time in Korea is becoming short and I wanted to do surgery here since Korea is world class in experienced surgeons and most Koreans get it done more than other Asians. Maybe 90% of Korean girls wear contacts or did Lasik. Plus, its cheaper, only $1500 for me compared to $3k/$4k/$5k in USA/Canada.
I highly recommend this site Dream Eye Center the staff can speak English, its located in Gangnam, and the doctors and staff are very professional and helpful. Alot of Kpop stars did it there too so you know that have good credentials.

I was a bit nervous at first, but it was ok.. there was no pain, but it was slightly disturbing because I can see the blade come down and cut a flap in my cornea, and theres a suction cup placed on my eye and that was slightly painful for a second. That was about it… and now my vision is a bit blurry especially in my left eye, and I have to use 3 different eye drops a day. But it will get better within a week I heard. Anyways, through the miracle of technology I don’t need glasses anymore after wearing them for 10 years!

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Categories
Tech

I’m a gadget freak (May 2013)

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

Sharp Yo-190
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.

Cybiko

Cybiko
Cybiko

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. ‘

Casio Cassiopeia

Cassiopeia BE300
Cassiopeia BE300

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

Dell Inspiron 7500
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:

Gateway CX2724

Gateway CX2724
Gateway CX2724

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

Asus EEE PC S101
Asus EEE PC 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

Dell Latitude E4200
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.

Archos 7

Archos 7
Archos 7

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.

Myvu Crystal

Myvu Crystal
Myvu Crystal

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.

Samsung D900

Samsung D900
Samsung D900

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

Creative Zen Vision M
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

Canon Powershot 300
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

Flip Video Mino
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.

2011-2013 Gadget collection

iPhone 4S

iPhone 4S
iPhone 4S

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.

Sony HMZ-T1 / HMZ-T3

Sony HMZ-T1
Sony HMZ-T1

Sony HMZ-T3
Sony HMZ-T3

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.

Canon M400

Canon M400
Canon M400

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

HP Envy Beats
HP Envy Beats

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

Macbook Pro Retina 13
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.

Nikon D5100

Nikon D5100
Nikon D5100

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

Audio Technica A900
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

Audyssey Wireless Speakers
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.

Panasonic ST50

Panasonic ST50
Panasonic ST50

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

Samsung E450 Sound Bar
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.

Monitor2Go HD+

Monitor2Go HD+
Monitor2Go HD+

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.

That’s alot of gadgets eh??? Probably not the end of it either… once Google Glasses comes out, as well as the Occulus Rift (A VR HMD) and This awesome quadcopter (which I plan to use for recording) comes out, you know I will be getting them :).