Dec 2023 gadget update

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

Computers

HP Dragonfly Elite G3 (2020) – replaces 2020 HP Dragonfly Elite, 2017 Google Pixelbook, 2017 Porsche Design Book One

My old HP Dragonfly Elite had heating issues, so I was finally forced to replace it after almost 3 years of service with.. what else other than another Dragonfly Elite? The G3 has some enhancements, better speakers, a 3:2 display, quieter keyboard and more powerful processor, but loses the convertible hinge.

Alienware M15 R5 (2021) – replaces 2023 Asus Zenbook Pro 15, 2020 Alienware m15 R2, 2016 Alienware 15 R3

I fixed my Alienware M15 R5 (the issue turned out to be a loose battery connector) and it’s good to go again as my main gaming PC! Although the Zenbook Pro had a nice OLED display, I still prefer having the mechanical keyboard on my Alienware it’s that much nicer when typing or playing games.

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.

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 -> Asus ROG Strix Z790-i
CPU: Intel Core i5 9600k -> AMD Ryzen 7 5800X -> Intel Core i7 12700k
GPU: 8GB Nvidia RTX 2070 -> 8GB Asus RTX 4060Ti
RAM: 32GB DDR4 Corsair Vengeance -> 32GB DDR5 Corsair Vengeance
Storage: 1TB Intel 660P PCIE + 1TB Samsung 970 Evo PCIE + 3TB Seagate Barracuda Hybrid HDD
PSU: Corsair 600 80 PLUS Gold SFW -> Corsair 850 80 PLUS Gold SFW
CPU Cooler: Zalmann CNPS8900 -> Noctua U12A
Fans: -> Cooler Master Sickle Flow x3

My CPU had issues so I was forced to upgrade my CPU, which then necessitated a opportunity upgrade for a lot of other parts as well. I took a look at Intel’s latest CPU offerings and decided to change back to blue team with the 12700K, which also necessitates a motherboard swap. I also upgraded the aging 2070 to a 4060ti GPU, DDR4 RAM to DDR5 RAM, and upgrading the PSU from a 600W rated to a 850W rated to be safe. 

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.

Sony Xperia 5 IV (2023) – replaces 2021 Galaxy Z Flip 3, 2021 Google Pixel 4, 2020 iPhone 12 mini, 2019 iPhone 11 Pro, 2017 Google Pixel 2, 2016 iPhone SE, 2014 Sony Xperia Z3C

Going back to a Sony as my main phone after all these years. It has everything that I want in a phone, the old school headphone jack, 2 day battery life, microSD, stereo front facing speakers, water resistance, and even the camera is impressive given that Sony has historically had below average cameras.

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. 

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).

Bowers&Wilkins Px8 (2023) – replaces  2023 Bowers&Wilkins Px7S2, 2018 Sony WH-1000XM3, 2017 Sony MDR-1000X

I loved my B&W Px7S2 and since I was upgrading all my headphones thought why not I’ll upgrade these too and went for the top of the line Px8 model, which sounds just a bit better overall while keeping the same high end NC tech and great design of the Px7s.

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. 

Monitor Audio Bronze 50 + DALI Oberton 1 + 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 decided to stick with these two speakers. Why two? Because my Rotel A12 has 2 speaker terminals and can drive two sets of speakers. And I found the price of the MA Bronze 50s combined with the DALI Oberon 1s ($900) is actually cheaper and better sound quality overall than a standalone upgraded pair like the MA Silver 50s or KEF LS50 Metas. 

Neat Acoustics Ministra / MartinLogan 8i / MartinLogan 2i / MartinLogan Dynamo 400 + Marantz Cinema 60 – replaces 2020 MartinLogan 15i / Marantz NR1510, 2019 LG SL10YG + SPK8

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.

Ruark R1 Deluxe Mark IV – replaces 2017 Yamaha Clock Radio

The Ruark R1 Deluxe replaces my Yamaha Clock Radio/Alarm

Cameras

DJI Pocket 3 – replaces 2023 DJI Osmo Action 3, 2021 DJI Pocket 2, 2016 Sony HDR-AS300

The Pocket 3 improves everything I didn’t like about the Pocket 2 and I got a wireless mic with it too, so far no complaints and it’s pretty much replaced my Action 3 in most instances except for athletic events as well.

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. 

Main Computer collection
Lian Li Custom Desktop (2021) – AMD Ryzen 5800X, 32GB RAM, 5TB SSD+HDD, Geforce RTX 2070, 20lbs – main gaming pc
13.5″ 1920×1280 – HP Dragonfly Elite G3 (2023) – Intel Core i7 1265U, 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 – Alienware M15 R5 – AMD Ryzen 7 5800H, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD, Geforce RTX 3060, 4.8lbs – main gaming laptop

Main Phone collection
6.1″ 1080×2520 (2023) – Sony Xperia 5 IV, Snapdragon SM8450, 8GB RAM, 128GB Flash, Android 12, 12MP F/1.7 – main phone
7.6″ 1812×2176 OLED – Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 (2021) – Snapdragon 865, 12GB RAM, 256GB Flash, Android 12, 50MP F/1.8 – main tablet / secondary phone

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 Mini, Nvidia Shield Portable, PSP Go, Razer Edge, GPD Win 4, Steam Deck OLED, AyaNeo Air Pro, Lenovo Legion Go

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

Backup Laptops:  Porsche Design Book One (convertible), Panasonic CV7 (business laptop), 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), Alienware m15 R5

Watches: Nomos Tetra 406 (dress/casual), Junghans Meister Calendar (everyday), Farer Burbridge Moonphase (dress/everyday), Oris GMT (travel), Pebble Time Steel, Fossil Abacus, Casio DataBank, Motorola Moto 360 3rd gen, Apple Watch Series 3, Bulova Computron, Citizen Star Wars, Nixoid Nixie Tube watch, Seiko Presage SPB399 (dress/everyday), Raymond Weil Beatles (dress), Corniche Heritage Bleu Ardoise (everyday), Atowake Spaceship (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 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, Planet Computers Astro Slide

Unique form factor: HTC Universal, Motorola Flipout, Nokia E70, HTC Advantage X7500, Nokia E90, Palm phone, Nokia 3250, Nokia N-gage, Motorola V70, Sony Ericsson P990, Toshiba G910, Neptune Pine, Blackberry Key2, Unihertz Titan Pocket, LG Wing, Planet Computers Cosmo Communicator

PDAs: Palm TX, Sharp Zaurus, Sony UX50, Zipit Z2, 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), Essential Phone (LineageOS)

Displays: LG C9 OLED TV (main TV), Acer Predator XB271HU  (gaming monitor), LG 27LQ625S (bedroom TV), Viewsonic VP16 OLED (portable monitor), Meta Quest 3 (VR), Xreal Air 2 Pro (video glasses), Goovis G3 Max (HMD)

Cameras: DJI Osmo Action 3, DJI Pocket 3, Sony ZV-1

Headphones: Monster Gratitude (earphone), ThieAudio Monarch MKII (IEM), Master & Dynamic MW08 (wireless earbuds), Audio Technica TWX9 (wireless earbuds), Final Audio ZE3000 (wireless earbuds), Bowers&Wilkins Px8 (wireless/NC/closed), Razer Anzu (smart glasses), Beyerdynamic T1 2nd gen (open back), DCA Aeon 2 (closed back), Audio Technica AP2000Ti (closed back), Hifiman Arya Stealth (open back)

Speakers: Monitor Audio Bronze 50 + DALI Oberon 1 + REL Tzero Mk3 (desktop), Neat Ministra + MartinLogan Motion 8i + MartinLogan Motion 2i + MartinLogan Dynamo 400 (home theater), MartinLogan 15 (bedroom), Klipsch the Three II (living room), 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), FiiO K7 (headphone amp/dac), xDuoo TA-20 Plus (headphone amp), Behringer Xenyx Q502 (Mixer), Rega P3 w/ Hana SL cart (turntable), Marantz Cinema 60 (receiver), FiiO KA5 (phone DAC), Leak Stereo 130 (turntable), Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (USB interface)

Microphones: Audio Technica AT2020 (condenser), Shure SM48 (dynamic), Blue Yeti Nano (USB)

Storage: 1x Synology DS420j, 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), Ducky 2 SF Blue (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 Nightsword (desktop), Razer Viper (backup), Logitech G502 X (backup), 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, Switch), Hori Arcade Pro Stick (PC, Switch), Hori Split Pad Compact (Switch)

Guitar Amps: Milkman 1W+ (main), Swart Atomic Jr (bedroom), 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), Magneto Starlux (secondary electric), Gretsch Electromatic Center Block Jr (secondary electric)

Pedals: Boss TU3W (tuner), Catalinbread Epoch Boost (preamp/boost), Tubesteader Lightkeeper (Boost/OD), Fender Marine Layer Reverb (reverb), BBE Wah (Wah), G-Town Holy Grail (D type OD), Xotic Compressor (Compressor), Wampler Tumnus (K type OD), Boss RC5 (Looper), Maxon AD9 (delay)

 


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