Categories
General

My gadget history

I guess continuing from where I left off at my fashion style, and similar yet different than my semi-annual gadget update posts, I just want to list my main gadgets over the years, the ones I carry and use everyday. I’ll also include vehicles, just for kicks because they are also “gadgets” in a way.

Vehicles
I got my first car in May 2009 when I got my internship at Environment Canada. So because Toronto’s TTC system sucks, I had to buy a car for the commute. I liked small, luxury cars so I eventually ended up with a 2002 Acura RSX, paid $6500 for it, with help of my parents.

Acura RSX

It was a decent car, and I enjoyed driving with the sunroof down, listening to music and cruising a lot. I had it for a little over a year before I sold it in Aug 2010, to help pay for school, at only $3300 (I scratched up the car alot).

My second vehicle that I used from Nov 2012 to Apr 2016 was my 2011 Honda PCX 125 scooter. This was my primary vehicle in San Francisco, and I loved driving around in it. The freedom I had in it was much more than anything I ever experienced from a car.

Honda PCX 125
Honda PCX 125

Bought it for $2500, sold it for $1300 (because again I crashed it and it wasn’t in good shape).

I can also list my parents’ cars since I drove them around before. The first car I remember our family having was an old 1980s Ford Escort, followed by my dad’s 1992 Ford Taurus, and my mom’s 1994 Mercury Topaz. My dad’s Taurus eventually broke down, and my mom’s Mercury was wrecked in a car accident which I was involved in back when I was 12. I was delivering papers back then and my mom went out to drive me and it was a really cold day with a blizzard so the driver t-boned us and fortunately we didn’t suffer any injuries but the car was totaled.

My dad got a new car, the 2000 Ford Taurus station wagon (he likes big vehicles), and my mom got a 2003 Honda Civic (which was new at the time). My dad drove that Taurus for like 15 years up until last year when it stopped working, and my mom’s Civic got totaled by my brother in a car accident in 2011. My brother was not injured fortunately, and my mom replaced it with a new 2011 Honda Civic. My dad just recently got a new 2015 Acura MDX 2 years ago, which was a really good ride. I think our family became more fond of Hondas/Acuras now (my mom had 2 Civics, my dad the MDX and me the RSX and PCX).

My dad's 2015 Acura MDX

2009-2010: 2002 Acura RSX
2012-2016: 2011 Honda PCX 125
2017-: EcoReco Model R

(main) Phones

In 2005 I had my first cellphone (remember, kids didn’t have cellphones that much in those days!). It was a cheap Sanyo flipphone, and I used it sparingly to text or call my friends. In 2007 I upgraded to a Samsung D900 Black Carbon, which was thin, slim, and had a 3.2mp camera. I used that phone from 2007-2010 until I broke the screen.

Samsung D900

Then I had an iPhone 3G from 2010-2011. I got an iPhone 4 after I went to San Francisco in 2011 and used it until it was stolen from me in Apr 2012. Then I upgraded to an iPhone 4S which is still one of my favorite phones, that I would use until Nov 2013, when I upgraded to the iPhone 5S. Because I don’t like big phones, I would stick with the iPhone 5S until Apr 2016, when Apple finally released the iPhone SE. And now the iPhone SE is my main phone. I would also use the Sony Xperia Z3C as my main phone in Korea from Dec 2014 to Aug 2016 when the screen got smashed.

I used the 5S from 2013 to 2016

2005-2007: Sanyo flipphone
2007-2010: Samsung D900
2010-2011: iPhone 3G
2011-2012: iPhone 4
2012-2013: iPhone 4S
2013-2016: iPhone 5S
2014-2016: Sony Xperia Z3C
2016-: iPhone SE
2017: Google Pixel
2017: Kyocera Duraforce Pro
2017: BlackBerry KeyOne
2017: HTC 10

(main) Laptops

In 2003 I had my first laptop, the Dell Inspiron 7500 and it was good for the time even having a dedicated ATI graphics card, although it had heating issues.

Dell Inspiron 7500

When I went to university, I changed to the laptop I would use the most, the Gateway CX2724, which I bought in 2007. It was a convertible tablet, and had a digitizer and pen with it, wayyy before Windows 8 came back. It was running Windows XP tablet edition!

Gateway CX2724

I used this laptop until 2008, when I switched to the Dell Latitude E4200, which was a very small, portable, light (only 2.2lbs!) laptop that was very versatile. I would dock it in the docking station and use it with my monitor at home, and it was easy to carry at school.

Dell E4200

I would use this laptop until Aug 2011, when I got my HP Envy Beats edition. This laptop had dedicated graphics, which I hadn’t had since my first laptop, so I could finally play games on it!

HP Envy Beats

I would use this laptop until I felt that it was rather heavy to carry around all the time, and made me wish I had a notebook like my Dell again. The screen on it also later broke and doesn’t work anymore. That’s when I got my Lenovo Thinkpad X240 in Jan 2014, which then became my main laptop. I also had a Macbook Pro Retina 13 from 2012-2014 that I used mostly for programming or recording.

Lenovo X240

I used this until the screen started malfunctioning around Jun 2016. From then on, I used my work Macbook Pro Retina 15 as my main laptop until I got the Lenovo X1 Yoga to finally have my own personal laptop again. It now remains my main laptop as of Dec 2016.

2003-2007: Dell Inspiron 7500
2007-2008: Gateway CX2724
2008-2011: Dell Latitude E4200
2011-2014: HP Envy Beats 14
2012-2014: Macbook Pro Retina 13
2014-2016: Lenovo Thinkpad X240
2015-2016: Lenovo Thinkpad 14 Yoga
2015-2017: Asus G751
2016-: Lenovo X1 Yoga
2016-: Alienware 15 R3

Categories
General

New May 2016 Gadget Update

Here’s my tech gadgets as of present (May 2016):

Computers

Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Yoga (2016) – replaced my 2015 Thinkpad Yoga 14

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.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JtpXyh542L4

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.

Gaming

Vulcan Flipstart
For playing retro Windows games

OpenPandora
For playing DOS games

New Nintendo 3DS

For playing Nintendo Games

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcfZbkm_CZo

Sony PS Vita

For playing JRPGs

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWD3YqPrTMo

Nvidia Shield

The Nvidia Shield is my emulator console and also doubles as a game stream capable tablet for my Asus! Video here:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qnc8GjUmd68

Music

Master & Dynamic ME03 (2015) – replaced 2014 Klipsch X12i, 2014 Bose Quietcomfort 25

Master & Dynamic ME03

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

Denon MM400

Absolutely the best over ear headphones I’ve ever had, these now have replaced my Sennheiser Momentums which were falling apart as well.

Creative Soundblaster Roar 2 (2015) – replaced 2013 Bose Soundlink Mini

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mymjz8z9fWc

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)

Creative T4W Creative T4W

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.

Cameras

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:
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtzPo8qwzLE

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

Categories
Tech

My search for a gaming laptop has finally ended + UMPC collection

Ever since I moved to Korea, I’ve been missing my PS3/PS4 and all the gaming sessions I used to have with my friends back in SF. Here, everyone is busy and no one has time to just come over and play a few games. So I’ve been left to my PC games. Unfortunately my main laptop (a Thinkpad X240) comes with a woefully inadequate integrated Intel graphics card for gaming. Thus this whole year I’ve been searching for the right gaming laptop. Something that would play dota, I recently started getting into the dota championships and found out you can go to rivalry.gg/matches/dota-2-betting and bet on your favorite dota teams.

And I think I’ve finally found it. I was looking for a 17inch gaming laptop, preferably with Nvidia Gsync, so I did a few hours of research to dig into all these laptops, and found all the issues:

Razer Blade Pro: Thin and great design, but has heating issues, like other thin gaming laptops, plus too expensive.
Aorus X7 Pro: Very powerful for its size including SLI graphics, but again, seems to have heating issues, and too expensive.
Alienware 17: this was one of the strongest contenders because it had a good display, good design, price is reasonable, sound is good, except it was missing Nvidia Gsync… and that may seem like a small picky issue, but it matters when all these laptops are so close in competition. Oh, and the RAM maxes out at 16GB. Hmm.. not that futureproof.
MSI Dominator GT72: Also a very strong contender, good keyboard and speakers and Gsync, but has some minor heating issues and display is not that great.
Lenovo Y70: Cheap, but the GPU is a generation behind, plus no Gsync, so nay.
Acer V Nitro: Cheap, thin, good design, but just not powerful enough, and no Gsync either.
HP Omen: I appreciate HP for making a thin, light gaming laptop, but no 17 inch screen size and lack of expandable RAM is a no no.
Sager NP9773: Sager/Clevo/Gigabyte laptops have incredible specs including a full desktop processor, but the build quality of the chassis is just mediocre.
Boutique makers (OriginPC,Maingear,Puget,FalconNW,AVADirect,Digital Storm,Cyberpower,Ironside,etc) are nice and you can customize literally everything, but the prices are outrageous and they use modified Clevo/Gigabyte chassis, so similar mediocre build quality.

So… notice that I’m leaving one major PC manufacturer from this list. In the end, I decided on:

Asus ROG G751
Asus ROG G751

Yes, the Asus ROG G751. Why? Because all the reviews I read of this laptop seemed to indicate little to no weaknesses at all. Great cooling, no heat issues, great display (w/Gsync), great keyboard, great design. Everything is good, except for mediocre speakers and the bulk (8.6lbs), but thats to be expected of gaming laptops anyway. I do also have a Creative E5 USB DAC/Amp and Sound Blaster Roar 2 speakers, so sound shouldn’t be an issue.

All in all, the Asus seems to be a perfect gaming laptop.
On a side note, my UMPC collection is almost complete.

So far I have:
-Sony Vaio UX280 – Win XP
-Sony Vaio P – Win 10
-Fujitsu U820 – Win 7
-Fujitsu UH900 – Win 10
-Open Pandora – Linux
-OQO Model 2 – Win XP
-Toshiba Libretto W100 – Win 7
-HTC Shift X9500 – Win XP
-Samsung Q1UP – Win XP
-Viliv S5 – Win XP
-Vulcan Flipstart – Win XP

Non-UMPC:
Dell E4200 – Win Vista
Fujitsu P1630 – Win 7
HP Envy 14 Beats – Win 10
Lenovo Flex 20 – Win 8
Razer Edge Pro – Win 8
Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga 14 – Win 10
Lenovo Thinkpad X240 – Win 7
Asus ROG G751 – Win 10
Mac Mini – OS X Yosemite

Total: 6 Win XP, 1 Vista, 4 Win 7, 2 Win 8, 5 Win 10, 1 OS X, 1 Linux

All of these I reviewed on my youtube, and all of them run some version of Windows XP or Vista or 7. I am closing in on getting a Vulcan Flipstart (after months of scouring eBay). Then I’ll only be missing a few, the Asus R50A (hard to find), and a few other Korean/Japanese ones, Gigabyte M705, Wibrain, Raon Digital Everun, Hanbit Pepperpad, Kojinsha, Sharp D4, etc.
But I can say now I have the vast majority of UMPCs in my collection 🙂

edit: I now have the Vulcan Flipstart in my collection which runs Windows XP and is the only UMPC with less than 1GB that I have which means it will stay on Windows XP :). Review will come up eventually.

Fun fact: All of the UMPCs I listed above all come with 1GB of RAM or more, so they can all potentially run Windows 10 (provided I can find working drivers of course). I’m probably going to upgrade all the Atom UMPCs which run Vista to Win 7, and keep the rest (A110/Via/Core Solo) on Win XP. I might upgrade some of them to Windows 10 if the drivers for Win 7 work for them.

Videos: