What phone do you use right now?

I have 2 phones I use right now, and surprise neither of them are Apple or Samsung.

  1. Essential Phone (Ocean Depths color)

Previously I was using a Pixel 2 but switched to the Essential because it just looks gorgeous. The bezel-less design, the materials the ceramic/titanium back, its not a very popular phone but it feels unlike any other phone I’ve used. There’s two gripes I have about it: 1) the camera is good but not great, it’s definitely a step below the Pixel 2 and 2) no headphone jack. How many meetings have I had to take on the street while going to work and had to find somewhere quiet all because no headphone jack and all my headphones are wired? I really wish companies would stop doing this. Otherwise, its a great phone. And it comes with 128GB of space standard which is ALOT. As a bonus, this phone costs about $250 on the market right now.

2. Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact

This has replaced my iPhone SE as my small phone of choice. This phone (like many of Sony’s products) is so underrated its ridiculous.

  1. it costs less than $400
  2. it has a headphone jack (which Pixel 2 / Essential / iPhone X all lack).
  3. it has expandable microSD storage.
  4. it is IP68 water resistant despite having the headphone jack.
  5. The battery life lasts for 2 days. seriously. A full day on this with regular usage only takes up around 40–50% of battery life
  6. speakers are awesome.. they are so loud they put the iPhone to shame
  7. dual front facing cameras – one regular, one wide angle. Great for those wide angle selfie pics!
  8. you can play PS4 on it remotely using remote play.
  9. it charges with USBC. I know, most phones should these days but still! some still came with microUSB
  10. fingerprint sensor on the power button. So convenient
  11. dedicated camera shutter button

2 great phones, both underrated.

Interior design for retro/modern styled electronics/speakers

When it comes to furniture and electronics I’m actually quite interested in how things look and are placed. That’s why I like playing The Sims a lot just for the ability to design your own home and place all the furniture and stuff. When I first got my SF apartment I carefully selected the right furniture from IKEA. I wanted to have to a sofa with the one section being a section you could lie down on and convert into a bed. I think I’ll get a massage recliner in the future so that I can pair it with my various HMD headsets for the ultimate relaxing experience.

Since I’m a gadget geek I like to imagine the style and placement of my electronics too. At the moment, the style of my electronics are ‘retro’ styled. What this means is most of my electronics look like something that could be from the 1970s or 1980s. Retro designs, black or woodgrain finishes, etc. There’s also another design aesthetic I like which is modern-futuristic design. I’ll show a few examples of what I’m talking about.

Klipsch The Three – current (retro) wireless speaker (matches well with a record player)

The Klipsch Three Wireless Stereo System - Home Audio That ...

turns into..

BeoSound 1 - Wireless music system « B&O | LuxusSound.com

Bang and Olufsen Beosound 1 – (modern/futuristic) wireless speaker

Polk Audio Hampden – current (retro) computer speakers

Polk Audio Hampden Desktop Speakers - Hey Gents

turns into…

Creative T4W – (modern/futuristic) computer speakers

移动端接入 Creative T4W无线2.1蓝牙音箱_天极网

Denon MM400 – current (retro) headphones

Denon AH-MM400 Test: Over-Ear-Kopfhörer | MODERNHIFI

turns into…

Porsche Design Space One – (modern/futuristic) headphones

KEF x Porsche Design Space One | werd.com

Yamaha B72 – current (retro) alarm clock

turns into…

JBL Horizon – (modern/futuristic) alarm clock

JBL Horizon Alarm Clock » Gadget Flow

AudioEngine B2 – (retro) wireless speaker

Audioengine B2 Walnut Wireless Bluetooth Speaker ...

turns into…

Naim Audio Mu-so – (modern/futuristic) wireless speaker

16 Best High-End Bluetooth Speakers for Unchained Troubadours

Even for smart speakers, you can get retro styled or modern styled ones

Sony S50G – current (retro) smart speaker – good for kitchen use

Sony's smart speaker gives Google Assistant a more capable ...

turns into…

Panasonic GA-10 – (modern/futuristic) smart speaker

JMtech: Así es el Panasonic SC-GA10, el nuevo altavoz ...

LG WK9 – current (retro) smart display

LG Smart Display ThinQ WK9 Review: Hand-on with the Echo ...

turns into…

JBL Link View – (modern/futuristic) smart display

Best Android announcements at CES 2018

Lenovo Thinkpad 25 – current (retro) laptop

Lenovo ThinkPad 25 review: An anniversary gift for ...

turns into…

Microsoft SurfaceBook – (modern/futuristic) laptop

Microsoft Surface Book Unveiled | Gadget Review

There’s lots of cool and interesting designs for other speakers as well like

Harmon Kardon Allure (modern/futuristic) smart speaker

Harman Kardon Allure smart speaker Review

Bowers and Wilkins Zeppelin Wireless (modern/futuristic) wireless speakers

Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Wireless Review - Reviewed.com ...

Porsche Design Gravity One (modern/futuristic) portable speaker

KEF Porsche Design Gravity One Speaker Price in Pakistan

Definitive Tech W9 (modern/futuristic) wireless speakers

Definitive Technology W9 Enceintes sans fil - Son-Vidéo.com

Devialet Phantom (modern/futuristic) wireless speakers

Test Devialet Phantom : présentation : notre avis - CNET ...

Sony LSPX-S1 (modern/futuristic) speakers

Image result for SONY LSPX-S1

Jamo by Klipsch (modern/futuristic) speakers

Image result for jamo DS6

Master & Dynamic MW60 (modern/futuristic) headphones

Master & Dynamic Unveils MW60 Bluetooth Headphones

I think we live in a time where the choices for speakers and headphones and design is endless so we can model our furniture and electronics setup however we like, and that’s great. These are just a few ideas I have. Right now my home is more ‘retro’ styled than modern but that may change in the future.

June 2018 (Final SF) gadget update!

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


Lenovo Thinkpad TP25

The 25th anniversary edition of the ThinkPad is almost a perfect balance a laptop as you can get. It doesn’t have the OLED display or convertibility of the X1 Yoga, and its not meant for heavy gaming or workloads (which is what I use my Alienware for), but it is still one of the most balanced laptops. Let’s see the comparisons here.

-compared to Razer Blade / MSI Stealth / Gigabyte Aero / other slim gaming laptops – the TP25 obviously does not match the power aspect but makes up for it by being lighter and having better thermals as well as business features like WWAN and removable battery.
-compared to Porsche Design Book One and Microsoft SurfaceBook 2 – the TP25 is not a hybrid and you cannot detach it and use it as a tablet – but it does have way more ports and business friendly features. Also it is about $500 cheaper than either of those laptops.
-compared to XPS 13 / Asus Zenbook / HP Spectre / X1 Carbon / other premium ultrabooks – the TP25 is not as thin and light as some of those but makes up for it with its array of ports, business features and dedicated graphics.

The TP25 is almost the perfect laptop:
-3.5lb weight – perfectly portable
-three input options (touchpad, trackpoint and touchscreen)
-fingerprint reader, removable battery and WWAN – crucial business features
-retro 7 row keyboard and trackpoint – a feature not found in virtually any other modern laptop. The keyboard is the best in the business.
-16GB RAM and 512GB SSD – this is top end features
-i7 7th gen CPU and Nvidia 940MX graphics – sure its not the latest 8th gen processors or MX150 – but its still way better than integrated graphics and beats most business laptops in its size
-14″ 1080p IPS – yeah its not the 1440p OLED like the X1 Yoga but it is still a touchscreen. 4:3 aspect ratio would be nice but thats a pipe dream (that itch is scratched by my iPad Pro anyways).
-a perfect array of ports. 3.5mm combo jack, full size SD, T3, HDMI, 3 USBA ports, full size Ethernet. The only thing arguably missing is miniDP and VGA but thats handled by the T3 port anyways. Plus a mechanical docking port as well.

Microsoft Surface Book

This has replaced my Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Yoga as my main convertible / multimedia laptop. Why? Well it weighs only slightly more (3.6lbs vs 3.1lbs for X1 Yoga), and loses the OLED screen, but makes up for it by being way more powerful (CPU is about the same, but GPU is way faster with the 965M, RAM is double with 16GB and storage space is triple with 512GB SSD), and better battery life due to not using an OLED screen, and a slightly higher resolution (3000×2000 vs 2560×1400), and the tablet detaches in addition to having the same modes the Yoga did. The OLED screen sucked the battery life big time, which gave the X1 Yoga I had very limited use, as the main point of having that screen was to watch movies on the go but if it can’t handle 2 full length movies then what’s the point? It also loses some ports (one USB, HDMI is missing) in exchange for full size SD. That’s ok, because the TP25 is the laptop I do most of my business on, which has all the ports I need, and I have USB3/C docks anyway. Oh, and the 3:2 display is a nice plus (much better than 16:9 for reading text)

Alienware 15 R3

This is my main gaming and VR computer now, replacing my aging HP Envy Beats 14 and hefty Asus G751. I decided I wanted a 15 inch because of its lightness and portability, yet its still powerful enough to have a GTX 1070, power my Oculus Rift (VR ready), hooks up to my external monitor, plays all the latest games, and looks great at home on a laptop stand. Also I can connect the Alienware graphics amp to pump up the graphics even more in the future.

Macbook Pro 13 (2016)
My replacement for my Mac Mini as a programming/portable computer. It’s light (3lbs) and runs macOS making it great for development and the lack of ports is made up by a USBC hub.

Thinkpad P70
The Thinkpad P70 is the replacement for my dying Asus G751 as my secondary gaming laptop and workstation. It has an astounding 12 ports (almost as much as the most port heavy laptop I ever owned the Dell M4800), and is currently my main computer as the 17 inch screen gives me great real estate for doing crypto trading and watching videos. It’s also perhaps the most traditional Thinkpad out of the P, X and T series. It’s also lighter than the Asus I had, weighing only 7lbs compared to the 9.5lbs my Asus weighed – and is even lighter than my 7.5lb Alienware!

10.5 iPad Pro

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.

Google Pixel 2
Making an already great phone even better. It looks almost the same – except the internals got huge upgrades. It has the best smartphone camera in the business and it got water resistant as well. Shame about the headphone jack but thats why I use the Xperia as well.

Essential Phone
This phone has probably the best design and build quality out of any phone I’ve touched. I got this mainly because I was paranoid about losing the Google Auth keys on my Pixel 2. However, it turns out that the Pixel 2 camera is really the only thing I miss about it! I like this phone better in almost every other way.

Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact
My replacement for my iPhone SE and Xperia Z3C as a small (4.6″), compact water-resistant phone. I’ve been waiting for a good replacement for a small powerful phone for a while now and Sony has finally delivered! This has also replaced my Sony Walkman NWZA17 as my primary music player because – why not? It has all the features built in already only its running Android, its bigger and the battery life isn’t quite as good – but its fine enough. So I went from Xperia Z3C to Pioneer XDP to Walkman back to Xperia again…


Monster Gratitude Earphones
My main pair of earphones for listening on the way to work / at work – tuned by one my favorite bands, Earth Wind and Fire!

Audeze EL-8O

These are my main headphones.. open back planar magnetic headphones, 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 🙂

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). 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, but its slightly less comfortable. Plus I got the Sonys for much cheaper so its win-win all around! Plus it works well with my Sony Walkman + Xperia devices!

Bose Soundlink Revolve
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.

Creative SoundBlasterX Katana

Now used as my computer speakers for my Alienware. It’s the first soundbar designed specifically for computer use. RGB lighting, bluetooth, 7.1 virtual surround and a bunch of other options – what’s not to love?

Sony Dolby Atmos HT-ST5000 Soundbar

These have replaced my Klipsch Promedia 2.1 speakers as this is a 7.1.2 Dolby Atmos soundbar that recreates full range sound with classic Sony styling. The Subwoofer is a beast, the soundbar is a beast, and it has built in Chromecast and Spotify streaming too! I like soundbars because they are compact and easy to setup and overall better for an apartment/condo. I don’t like to live in a big house (where I would probably need to have a full 5.1 surround sound setup + receivers).

Klipsch the Three

This speaker is really cool and retro looking especially with the Ebony wood finish, and pairs well with my Google Home (using Chromecast audio) and my Fluance record player to play some nice vintage tunes!

Yamaha TSX-B72

Yamaha TSX-B72 Yamaha TSX-B72

This is my alarm clock radio that I use by my bedside to wake me up each morning 🙂 and yes it has bluetooth and can charge my phone too.


Sony A6000
My DSLR camera for serious video making which has replaced my Nikon D5100.. it is much lighter easier to carry, and better video quality. I also replaced my Samyang 24mm T/1.5 cine lens (which was bulky) with a great quality and lighter Sony Zeiss 24mm F/1.8 lens. works great.

Sony Action Camera AS300
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.

My go to camera for taking cinematic walking shots, travel video, and completely replaces any camcorder. The Plus model now has optical zoom capabilities with it too.

DJI Mavic Air
My replacement for my DJI Phantom 4 Advanced – sure its not as stable and the camera isn’t as good but the portability was really necessary as I was moving out of the US and the Phantom 4 took up an entire backpack whereas the Mavic Air folds up neatly and can fit into a small purse.

Main Computer collection
10.5″ 2228×1668 – iPad Pro – Apple A10X, 4GB RAM, 64GB Flash, 7MP f/2.0 camera, 2lbs, iOS 11, 2 ports: headphone, lightning – main tablet
13.3″ 2560×1600 – Apple Macbook Pro 13 – 6th gen Core i5, Iris Pro 540, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 3lbs, macOS, 3 ports: 2 USBC, headphone, 3lbs – secondary portable laptop / main programming laptop
13.5″ 3000×2000 Microsoft Surfacebook – 6th gen Core i7, GTX 965M, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, 3.6lbs, Win 10, 5 ports: 2 USB3, miniDP, SD, headphone – main multimedia / portable laptop
14.1″ 1920×1080 – Lenovo Thinkpad TP25 – 7th gen Core i7, GTX 940MX, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, 4lbs, Win 10, 8 ports: 3 USB3, HDMI, T3, SD, headphone, Ethernet, 3.5lbs – main business laptop
15.6″ 1920×1080 – Alienware 15 – 6th gen Core i7 quad, GTX 1070, 16GB RAM, 2TB SSD, 7lbs, Win 10, 8 ports: 2 USB3, 2 USBC, HDMI, miniDP, Ethernet, headphone, 7.3lbs – primary gaming laptop
17″ 1920×1080 – Lenovo Thinkpad P70 – 6th gen Core i7, Quadro M3000M, 32GB RAM, 2TB HDD, 7lbs, Win 10, 12 ports: 4 USB3, 2 T3, HDMI, miniDP, Ethernet, headphone, SD, Expresscard – secondary gaming laptop & workstation

Main Phone collection
4″ 1136×640 – Apple iPhone SE – Apple A9, 2GB RAM, 64GB Flash, iOS 11, 12MP f/2.2 camera, headphone, lightning – secondary camera phone
4.5″ 1080×1620 – Blackberry Key2 – Snapdragon 660, 6GB RAM, 64GB Flash, Android 8, 12MP f/1.8 camera, headphone, microSD, USBC – secondary phone
4.6″ 1280×720 – Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact – Snapdragon 801, 2GB RAM, 16GB Flash, Android 8, 20.7MP f/2.0 camera, headphone, microSD, microUSB, IP68 – main music player / secondary phone
5″ 1920×1080 – Google Pixel 2 – Snapdragon 835, 4GB RAM, 64 GB Flash, Android 8, Dual 13MP f/1.9 camera, USBC – main phone
5.7″ 2560×1310 – Essential Phone – Snapdragon 835, 4GB RAM, 128B Flash, Android 7, Dual 13MP f/1.8 camera, USBC – main phone

Other devices

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

UMPCs: Onemix Yoga 7, Toshiba Libretto W100, Vulcan Flipstart, Sony Vaio UX280, Sharp Netwalker, OpenPandora, Fujitsu UH900, Fujitsu U820, OQO Model 2, Samsung Q1

Backup Laptops: Onkyo DX (duals screen netbook), ThinkPad X240 (Win 7), Thinkpad X61 (Win XP), Dell Latitude D600 (Win 98), Asus G751 (spare gaming laptop)

Watches: Orient Sun and Moon, Frederique Constant Slimline Moonphase, Oris GMT, Huawei Watch, Pebble Time Steel, Fossil Abacus, Neptune Pine, Casio DBC32 DataBank, Vector Luna

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

PMPs: Philips PMC, iPod Nano, MS Zune, Creative Zen vision m, Pioneer XDP100, Archos 7, FiiO M7, Shanling M0

Flip Phones: Lenovo A588, Motorola Razer, Samsung Alias 2

Vertical Sliders: Sony Ericsson W995, Nokia N95

Horizontal Sliders: HTC Dream, HTC Touch Pro 2, MS Kin 2, Sony Mylo 2

Unique form factor: HTC Universal, Motorola Flipout, Nokia E70, HTC Advantage 7500, Sharp Sidekick, Nokia E90, Jelly Phone

PDAs: Palm TX, Sharp Zaurus, Sony UX50, Zipit Z2, Casio BE300, Sharp YO180P, HP iPAQ 210, Psion 5MX, Gemini PDA

Unique OS: Amazon Fire Phone, ZTE Open C, Samsung Z1, HP Pre 3, Blackberry Porsche 9981, Blackberry Passport, Nokia Lumia 1020, Intex Aquafish, Nokia N810, Nokia N900, Nokia E7, HP Elite X3

Displays: Mobile Monitor 2 Go, Avegant Glyph, Royole Moon, DJI Goggles, Oculus Rift, Cinera HMD

Cameras: Sony HDR-AS300 Action Cam, DJI Osmo+, Sony A6000, DJI Mavic Air

Headphones: Master and Dynamic ME03 (earphone), Monster Gratitude (earphone), Fender FXA5 (IEM), Sony WF-1000X (wireless earbuds), Sony MDR1000X (wireless/NC/closed), Master and Dynamic MW60 (wireless/closed), Audeze EL8 (planar dynamic/open air)

Speakers: Yamaha TSXB72 (alarm), Sony LFS50G Google Speaker (clock/smart speaker), Creative SoundBlasterX Katana (gaming), Klipsch The Three (turntable/google mini), Polk Audio Hampden (computer), Bose Soundlink Revolve (portable), Sony Smart Bluetooth Speaker SP60 (alarm), Google Home Mini, Sony HTST5000 Dolby Atmos Soundbar (TV), LG WK9 (smart display), LG PK9 (living room)

Misc Audio Electronics: Brave Audio tube headphone amplifier, Creative E5 Soundblaster DAC/amplifier, Behringer Xenyx Q502 Mixer, Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB recording interface

Microphones: Shure MV88, Shure MV51, Shure SM58, MXL50

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

Keyboards: Logitech Orion G610 (cherry MX brown), Aorus Thunder K3 (cherry MX red), Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard (wireless), Lenovo Wireless Keyboard

Mice: Logitech Proteus Core G502, Asus Gladius, Microsoft Sculpt Mouse (wireless), Lenovo Wireless Mouse, Razer Deathadder, Microsoft Surface Mouse

Gaming setup: Alienware 15 laptop with Alienware graphics amp, Asus Ultrawide 34″ Gsync 144hz monitor, Creative KatanaX Soundbar + subwoofer, Aorus Thunder K3 mechanical keyboard, Asus Gladius Mouse

Production setup: Lenovo P70 laptop, Polk Audio Hampden speakers, Creative E5 Soundblaster amp + Audeze EL8 headphones, X-rite ColorMunki colorimeter, Focusrite Scarlett 2i2o (connected to Shure SM58 + MXL Mic), Logitech Orion mechanical keyboard, Logitech Proteus Core mouse

Travel setup: MacBook Pro 13, Bose Soundlink Revolve, Microsoft Surface Mouse

Secondary gaming setup: Microsoft SurfaceBook, Razer Deathadder/MS Surface Mouse

Turntable setup: Klipsch the Three, Fluance Audio turntable, Google Mini, Chromecast audio

TV setup: Sony A9F 55″ OLED TV, Sony HTST5000 7.1.2 Soundbar + Subwoofer, PS3, PS4, PSTV, Nintendo Switch Dock, Nvidia Shield Pro

Relaxing Home Theater setup: Osaki Massage Chair, Cinera HMD, Sony M1000X Wireless NC Headphones

Guitar setup: Fender Strat, Custom Tele, Martin OMJM, pedalboard with Boss Waza Tuner -> BBE Wah -> Dunlop EP101 Preamp -> Keeley Oxblood Germanium -> Wampler Euphoria -> RambleFX Marvel Drive -> Boss Waza Delay -> Xotic Compressor -> Keeley Omni Reverb -> Boss RC30 -> Milkman 1W+

Bedroom toys: Lenovo TP25, iPad Pro, PS Vita, N3DS, Nintendo Switch, Google Pixel 2, Essential Phone, Yamaha Clock/Alarm/Radio, FiiO M7