Dec 2022 Gadget update

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

Computers

HP Dragonfly Elite (2020) – replaces 2017 Google Pixelbook, 2017 Porsche Design Book One

The HP Dragonfly Elite is the lightest convertible laptop on the market, and replaces both my Porsche Design (much heavier) and Google Pixelbook (runs ChromeOS, less ports), and compared to the PD Book One I lose the detachable capability and microSD, compared to the Pixelbook I lose the 3:2 aspect ratio, compared to the HP Spectre X360 I would be losing the 4K OLED display, the better Ice Lake GPU and microSD slot, but in return I have the lightest convertible on the market which is very well built with very good battery life and a very good keyboard, and a lovely blue (my fav) color. Plus I got it for $1k which is actually cheaper than the Spectre and $800 off the MRSP, so I’m ok with that.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZnGoVPBGVI

 

Alienware m15 R5 Ryzen (2021) – replaces 2020 Alienware m15 R2, 2016 Alienware 15 R3

I’ve decided to go back to Alienware once again for my main gaming laptop – this time I got the slightly cheaper Ryzen edition with a better processor, RTX 3060 GPU (which should be fairly futureproof), the return of RAM sockets (yay) and a mechanical keyboard (co-designed with Cherry) which is probably the best I’ve ever used on a laptop. 

https://youtu.be/gMoW_5moZIQ

Macbook Air M2 (2022) – replaces 2020 Macbook Air M1, 2016 Macbook Pro 13

Just overall a very convenient laptop to use. It’s got a smaller footprint than the M1 Macbook Air (almost as small as the HP Dragonfly Elite in fact), weighs only 2.7lbs, increased the RAM to 16GB so its snappier, and has a faster processor and new increased display size 13.6″ and upgraded design to boot.

https://youtu.be/vr_Hp1mPa-Y

Custom Lian Li case gaming PC – replaces 2019 Cyberpower Syber C Xtreme, 2015 Asus ROG G751, 2016 ThinkPad P70

Parts: 
Case: Cyberpower Syber C case -> Lian Li TU150 case
Mobo: ASrock Z390M -> Asus ROG Strix B550-i
CPU: Intel Core i5 9600k -> AMD Ryzen 7 5800X
GPU: 8GB Nvidia RTX 2070
RAM: 32GB Corsair Vengeance
Storage: 1TB Intel 660P PCIE + 1TB Samsung 970 Evo PCIE + 3TB Seagate Barracuda Hybrid HDD
PSU: Corsair 600 80 PLUS Gold SFW
CPU Cooler: Zalmann CNPS8900 -> Noctua U12A
Fans: -> Cooler Master Sickle Flow x3

Decided to move to the AMD AM4 chipset to upgrade my performance, going from 6 cores with no hyperthreading on the Intel to a massive 8 cores 16 threads on the Ryzen 7 3800X. This is mainly to speed up things like video editing which I do a lot of. I also added some more storage, changed the CPU cooler to something a bit more high end and changed out the case to be the Lian Li TU150 as I think it’s the perfect balance between portability (aluminum so it only weighs 3.6kg), size (its not the smallest case but it supports a lot of configurations and has good thermals), affordability (only $100 USD), and appearance (very minimalistic). Also looked at ITX cases by FormD, NCase, Cooler Master, NZXT, Fractal Design, BeQuiet, Razer, Corsair, Thermaltake etc but Lian Li had the best balance for me. 

https://youtu.be/yaS3UvtRF8o

Tablets/Phones

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 (2022) – replaces 2021 Galaxy Z Fold 2, 2020 MS Surface Duo

I like the Fold4 as it’s a vast improvement over the Fold2 with a bigger front display, better camera and lighter weight, which were my three main concerns with the Fold2. In addition it has water and dust resistance so overall it’s a massive upgrade over my Fold2 and serves as my main everyday phone now. It’s so nice to be able to just unfold into a bigger display for looking at maps, reading webpages and watching videos.

https://youtu.be/kyKA9katLGk

iPhone 12 Mini (2020) – replaces 2016 iPhone SE

https://youtu.be/chJwVRfXWjg

Went back to the mini because it’s an all around great phone. Portable, easy to carry, great camera, OLED screen and easy to use. The only issue is the small battery life, but thats mitigated by the fact that I’m constantly carrying around 2 phones (my Z Fold 4) anyways.

2022 Planet Computers Astro Slide

This phone is basically my main PMP (haven’t used this word in a long time since the days of my Archos 7!) device for watching videos now, and what helps it is the ability to prop up the display with a built in mechanical keyboard, a decent OLED display, a headphone jack and microSD expansion.

https://youtu.be/TPv8ETum5YA

Music

ThieAudio Monarch MKII (2022) – replaces 2021 Noble Audio Khan, 2021 AK Solaris X 

After lots of experimentation with different IEMs last year from the $600 Tansio Mirai LANDs to the $1200 AK/Campfire Solaris X to the $2000 Noble Audio Khans, I decided to settle with the $1000 ThieAudio Monarch MkIIs which are fantastic for the price, not quite as perfect as the Khans, but it comes close enough at half the cost of the Khans. 

https://youtu.be/zJNHskpBPjI

Master & Dynamic MW08 (2022) – replaces 2021 Nura NuraTrue, 2019 Sony WF-1000XM3

The MW earbuds are a decent set of wireless earbuds. They’re not going to compete with my IEMs but for something convenient to use with my Motorola Razr Fold or my Macbook Air or my iPad Pro it works fine. Just need something that’s decent sounding and smaller size than the Sony WF-1000XM3s. Would have kept the Nura Buds but they need a specific app in order to work correctly (Which means they have to be used with a phone).

https://youtu.be/lgGnRa5fu7k

Beyerdynamic T1 2nd gen (2022) – replaces 2022 Beyerdynamic DT1990Pro, 2018 Sony WH-1000XM3, 2017 Sony MDR-1000X

These are my main over ear headphones now, although they are open back so they are not for outdoor use. And it was tough, I was comparing this with the Focal Elex and the Beyerdynamic DT1990Pro. With the xDuoo TA-26 tube headphone amp, these 600ohm headphones are easier to drive, and it’s got very detailed mids and a very wide soundstage. However, I have to say the Focals might be a touch more detailed but with smaller soundstage and the Beyers have more exciting highs/lows but more muted mids and also a smaller soundstage as well. So it was tough to pick between them all – for electronic music I think the DT1990Pros can’t be beat but for an all arounder I think the T1s are great and I prefer the soundstage of the T1s over the slightly more detail and clarity of the Elex’s. For soundstage, the T1s are the best by far. For mids, the T1s and Elex are fairly close. For highs/lows, I think the DT1990s take it. The Elex probably has the most balanced sound sig.

https://youtu.be/UdTvI_VSzgk

Hiby RS6 (2021) – replaces 2021 Astell&Kern SE100, 2020 Motorola Razr Fold

This is my main DAP now.. after a comparison vs the AK SE100, it was a hard choice because although the HiBys used a unique and interesting R2R architecture, the SE100 with the Dual ESS9038Pro was also a solid performer as well. the sound quality of both were very similar, the SE100 had a better click wheel, but in the end the HiBy’s more ‘fun’ sound and (much) faster UI won me over and I kept the RS6 over the SE100. 

https://youtu.be/H2ucbveCKbA

Positive Grid Spark Mini (2022) – replaces 2017 Bose Soundlink Revolve (2017), 2015 Creative Soundblaster Roar 2

It’s not more portable nor better sounding than my Bose Soundlink Revolve but when I’m traveling with my guitar, this pulls double duty as both a bluetooth speaker and a guitar amp. 

https://youtu.be/Dp0A3IS2ntk

DALI Oberon 1 + Monitor Audio Bronze 50 + Rotel A12 Integrated Amp + REL Tzero Mk3 – replaces 2021 Neat Acoustics Ministra, 2021 PMC DB1 Gold, 2019 Klipsch R-41PM, 2017 Creative SoundblasterX Katana, 2017 Klipsch the Three, Cambridge Audio Solo Preamp

I did ALOT of speaker comparisons these past few years. And I’ve decided to focus on the combination of the DALI Oberon 1s paired with the MA Bronze 50s. I have two speaker sets because my Rotel A12s actually can drive two sets of speakers at once, so why not? I also have tried out the Neat Ministras, PMC DB1 Golds, Triangle BRO2s and Klipsch R40Ms and I feel that the DALI/MA combination for about $1000 USD combined gives me the best balance of price/performance ratio.

https://youtu.be/ZOsF0BEMuYg

MartinLogan 15i / MartinLogan 8i / MartinLogan 2i / MartinLogan Dynamo 400 + Marantz NR1510 – replaces 2019 LG SL10YG + SPK8, MartinLogan Motion 2i, MartinLogan Motion 6i

I decided to turn in my soundbar for a dedicated 5.1 + receiver setup, and yes the audio does sound better! It’s a tradeoff though. The setup is more expensive, takes up more space, and more wires of course. In return for better sound quality.

https://youtu.be/FJ1Bd8NEKVU

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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clzL9rzfqsc

Cameras

DJI Osmo Action 3 (2022) – replaces 2021 DJI Pocket 2, 2016 Sony HDR-AS300

The Osmo Action 3 is a great action camera that replaces my Pocket 2 because it’s smaller than the Pocket 2 and has built in water resistance and cold resistance without using extra accessories. That makes it a lot more convenient and the mics are great too! This is definitely more of a straight up replacement for my older 2016 Sony AS300s. 

https://youtu.be/icHcnM4p4LI

Sony ZV-1 (2020) – replaces Sony A6000, DJI Osmo+

The best camera for Youtube videos and Vlogs, it’s such a good value for the quality as it comes with a lens very similar to the 24mm Zeiss 1.8 prime I had before except this one is a 24-70mm zoom, making this one a great all around camera for everything, especially paired with a Zhiyun M2 for moving stability, plus 4K and HLG (HDR) capability so it’s a strict upgrade over my old Sony and DJI Osmo (with the Zhiyun). Also, the microphone is great, so I don’t need to use a dedicated Sony X/Y mic or my Shures anymore. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0CN_TWXLss

Main Computer collection
Lian Li Custom Desktop (2021) – AMD Ryzen 5800X, 32GB RAM, 5TB SSD+HDD, Geforce RTX 2070, 20lbs – main gaming pc
13.3″ 1920×1080 – HP Dragonfly Elite (2020) – Intel Core i7 8565U, 16GB, 256GB SSD, 2.4lbs – main portable laptop
13.6″ 2560×1440 – Apple Macbook Air M2 (2020) – Apple M2, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 2.7lbs – secondary portable laptop
15.6″ 1920×1080 165hz – Alienware m15 R5 Ryzen (2021) – AMD Ryzen 5800H, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, Geforce RTX 3060, 5.6lbs – main gaming laptop

Main Phone collection
5.4″ 1808×2340 OLED – iPhone 12 mini (2020) – Apple A14 Bionic, 4GB RAM, 64GB Flash, iOS 14, 12MP F/1.6, Lightning – secondary phone
7.6″ 1812×2176 OLED – Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 (2021) – Snapdragon 865, 12GB RAM, 256GB Flash, Android 12, 50MP F/1.8, USBC – main tablet / secondary phone
6.39″ 2340×1080 OLED – Planet Computers Astro Slide (2022) – MediaTek Dimensity 800, 8GB, 128GB, Android 11, 48MP, USBC – secondary phone, main PMP

Other devices

Video game systems: PS3, PS4 Pro, PS5, PSTV, Nvidia Shield Pro, Cybiko Xtreme, Nokia Ngage, PS Vita, New Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Switch OLED, GPD Win 2, Nvidia Shield Portable, PSP Go, Razer Phone 2, GPD Win 3, Steam Deck, AyaNeo Air Pro

UMPCs: GPD Micro, Toshiba Libretto W100, Vulcan Flipstart, Sony Vaio UX280, Sharp Netwalker, OpenPandora, Fujitsu UH900, Fujitsu U820, OQO Model 2, Samsung Q1, King Jim Portabook, Astro Slide, GPD Pocket 3

Backup Laptops:  Google Pixelbook (light use laptop), ThinkPad TP25 (business laptop), Onkyo DX (dual screen netbook), ThinkPad X240 (Win 7), Thinkpad X61 (Win XP), Dell Latitude D600 (Win 98)

Watches: Nomos Tetra 406 (dress), Junghans Meister Calendar (everyday), Frederique Constant Slimline Moonphase (dress/everyday), Oris GMT (travel), Pebble Time Steel, Fossil Abacus, Casio DBC32 DataBank, Motorola Moto 360 3rd gen, Apple Watch Series 3, Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2, Nixoid Nixie Tube watch, Tutima Fleiger Automatic (everyday), Raymond Weil Beatles (dress), Atowak Ettoire Drift Lite (everyday), Corniche Heritage Bleu Ardoise (everyday)

Tablets: iPad Pro 10.5, Sony Tablet P, iPad Air, Lenovo Flex 20

PMPs: Philips PMC, iPod Nano, MS Zune, Creative Zen vision m, Archos 7, Cowon V5W, Hiby RS6

Flip Phones: Samsung Galaxy Folder 2, Samsung Alias 2, Motorola Razr Fold

Vertical Sliders: Sony Ericsson W995, Nokia N95, Samsung Exclaim

Horizontal Sliders: HTC Dream (Tmobile G1), Nokia N900, Sony Xperia Play, Samsung Exclaim, TMobile Sidekick 3, TMobile Sidekick Slide

Unique form factor: HTC Universal, Motorola Flipout, Nokia E70, HTC Advantage X7500, Nokia E90, LG EnvTouch, Unihertz Jelly 2, Palm phone, Nokia XpressMusic 3250, Nokia N-gage, Nokia E72, Motorola V70, Sony Ericsson P990, Toshiba G910, Nokia N93i, Neptune Pine, Blackberry Key2, Unihertz Titan Pocket

PDAs: Palm TX, Sharp Zaurus, Sony UX50, Zipit Z2, Casio BE300, HP iPAQ 210, Psion 5MX, HP Jornada 720, MS Kin 2, Sony Mylo 2

Unique OS: Amazon Fire Phone (FireOS), ZTE Open C (FirefoxOS), Samsung Z1 (TizenOS), HP Pre 3 (WebOS), Blackberry Porsche 9981 (BB 7 OS), Blackberry Passport (BB 10 OS), Nokia N810 (Maemo), Nokia E7 (Symbian 3), HP Elite X3 (Win 10), Palm Treo 700p (PalmOS), Sony Xperia XA2 (Sailfish X), LG Nexus 5 (Ubuntu Touch), PinePhone (Manjaro Linux), Essential Phone (LineageOS)

Displays: LG C9 OLED TV (main TV), Acer Predator XB271HU  (gaming monitor), LG 29WK600 (ultrawide work monitor), MMT FHD Monitor2Go (portable monitor), Royole Moon (HMD), Oculus Quest 2 (VR)

Cameras: DJI Osmo Action 3, Sony ZV-1

Headphones: Monster Gratitude (earphone), ThieAudio Monarch MKII (IEM), Master & Dynamic MW08 (wireless earbuds), Sony WF-1000XM3 (backup wireless earbuds), Sony WH-1000XM3 (wireless/NC/closed), Razer Anzu (smart glasses), Beyerdynamic T1 2nd gen (open back)

Speakers: Monitor Audio Bronze 50 + DALI Oberon 1 + REL Tzero Mk3 (desktop), Triangle BRO3 + Edifier T5 (turntable), MartinLogan Motion 15i + MartinLogan Motion 8i + MartinLogan Motion 2i + MartinLogan Dynamo 400 (home theater), Ruark Audio R1 mk4 (alarm), Google Home Hub (picture frame/assistant), PreSonus Eris (monitors), Bose Soundlink Revolve (portable)

Misc Audio Electronics: Rotel A12 (integrated amp/dac), Creative X3 (headphone amp/dac), Behringer Xenyx Q502 (Mixer), Fluance RT85 w/Ortofon Blue cartridge (turntable), Marantz NR1510 (receiver), Shanling UA2 (phone DAC), Fosi Audio Box X4 (tube phono preamp), Dayton Audio HTA100BT (hybrid tube amp), Focusrite Scarlett Solo (USB interface), xDuoo TA-26 (tube headphone amp)

Microphones: Shure SM48 (dynamic), MXL50 (condenser), Blue Yeti Nano (USB)

Storage: 1x Synology DS220j, 1x Synology DS220+, 1x Synology DS412+, 2x Synology DS416j, 1x Synology DS418j, 2x Synology DS416slim, 1x Synology DS419slim, 3x Patriot Memory USB sticks, 3x Lexar memory USB sticks, 1x Porsche Design LaCIE external HDD, 2x Toshiba Canvio external HDD

Keyboards: Roccat Vulcan 121 (desktop), Corsair K63 wireless (backup), Ducky 2 SF Blue (backup), CoolerMaster SK622 (backup), Logitech MX Mechanical Mini (work), Lenovo Wireless Keyboard (Lenovo Flex), Mini Keyboard (Nvidia Shield)

Mice: Logitech MX Master 3 (work mouse), Logitech MX Anywhere 2S (travel), Corsair Dark Core (travel/gaming), Logitech G502 (desktop), Lenovo Wireless Mouse (Lenovo Flex)

Controllers: Nvidia Shield controller (Shield), Nintendo Switch Joycons (Switch), Nintendo Switch Pro Controller (Switch), Sony PS3 Controller x2 (PS3), Sony PS4 controller x2 (PS4), Sony PS5 controller x2 (PS5), Sony PS4 controller (PSTV), Razer Wolverine Ultimate (PC), Hori Fighting Commander (Nvidia Shield, PC emulation, Switch), Hori Arcade Pro Stick (PC emulation, Switch), Hori Split Pad Compact (Switch)

Guitar Amps: Milkman 1W+ (main), Vox Mini5 (travel/busking), Positive Grid Spark Mini (travel)

Guitars: Fender Stratocaster w/Rumpelstiltskin pickups (secondary electric), Martin OMJM (main acoustic), Lava ME 2 (travel acoustic/electric), Duesenberg Alliance Joe Walsh (main electric), G&L ASAT Special (secondary electric)

Pedals: Boss TU3W (tuner), Catalinbread Epoch Boost (preamp/boost), Tubesteader Lightkeeper (Boost/OD), Fender Marine Layer Reverb (reverb), BBE Wah (Wah), Wampler Euphoria (D type OD), Xotic Compressor (Compressor), Wampler Tumnus (K type OD), Boss RC5 (Looper)

https://youtu.be/0pVHHdiEtyY

https://youtu.be/f7Ke8BxfVtg

https://youtu.be/QVmiykbxW3U

https://youtu.be/YTo-9vM7pLY


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