I have 2 phones I use right now, and surprise neither of them are Apple or Samsung.
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.
it costs less than $400
it has a headphone jack (which Pixel 2 / Essential / iPhone X all lack).
it has expandable microSD storage.
it is IP68 water resistant despite having the headphone jack.
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
speakers are awesome.. they are so loud they put the iPhone to shame
dual front facing cameras – one regular, one wide angle. Great for those wide angle selfie pics!
you can play PS4 on it remotely using remote play.
it charges with USBC. I know, most phones should these days but still! some still came with microUSB
fingerprint sensor on the power button. So convenient
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)
Bang and Olufsen Beosound 1 – (modern/futuristic) wireless speaker
Polk Audio Hampden – current (retro) computer speakers
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.
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.
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!
Tablets/Phones 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.
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!
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 🙂
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!
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.
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.
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)