Jun 2021 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.

Asus Zenbook UX482EG (2021) – replaces 2020 Alienware m15 R2

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. 

Tablets/Phones

Apple iPhone 12 Mini (2020) – replaces 2019 iPhone 11 Pro, 2016 iPhone SE

The iPhone 12 Mini is the perfect replacement for my aging iPhone SE as a high specced small phone, and also replaces my 11 pro as well since I don’t use the telephoto on my 11 pro that much and the 12 mini has a great ultrawide as well. So it’s a no brainer purchase for me, small portable phone that has flagship specs.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 (2021) – replaces 2020 MS Surface Duo, 2017 iPad Pro 10.5

Google Pixel 4 (2020) – replaces 2017 Google Pixel 2, 2020 Google Pixel 4A

The Pixel 4 ended up costing about the same as the 4A so I thought why not and got the 4 instead. It lacks the headphone jack, fingerprint sensor and slightly larger bezel-less screen of the 4A, but it has better build quality, adds a telephoto lens, water resistance, and a faster processor.

Motorola Razr Fold (2020) – replaces 2017 Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact, 2018 Astell&Kern A&Norma SR15

The Google Pixel 4 is actually my main secondary phone due to the Project Fi compatibility mostly, but the Motorola Razr has become my main music player device – I know, it’s an extremely expensive music player since it cost me even more than the iPhone 11 Pro – but its a really cool device, being the first vertically folding phone. I know many people will prefer the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip instead as its much more capable and spec wise much better, but Motorola has the better design for me, it’s a retro-futuristic implementation of an iconic device, and has a much bigger front touch screen than the Z Flip, which is important when using as a music player device. Since I mostly use my bluetooth Sony WF-1000XM3s now, not having a headphone jack is fine – and also makes my AK A&norma SR15 not that great of a device to use just for the bluetooth. I was using my Sony Xperia XZ1 compact as my main music player phone (which it was very capable at doing) until I got the Razr Fold. And if I want to connect wired headphones, I just use my Shanling UA2 which has a better DAC than my AK SR15 anyways.

Music

Sony WF-1000XM3 (2019) – Replaces 2018 Astell&Kern Michelle

Believe it or not I have begun to embrace Bluetooth finally – and these wireless noise cancelling earbuds have replaced my A&K Michelles. Now do they sound as good? Of course not. But they are more convenient than having to unravel a messy amount of tangled wires every time to listen to something. And they are noise cancelling to boot. But it still has issues. Instead of having skipping sound issues with wires, now I have skipping sound issues with BT connection. Meh.. there’s nothing perfect out there I guess.

Sony WH-1000XM3 (2018) – Replaces 2017 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) and Sony MDR-1000X (my previous NC cans). 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, and its a lot more comfortable than the 1st gen MDR-1000X. It’s simply put one of the best wireless NC cans on the market right now.

Bose Soundlink Revolve (2017) – Replaces 2015 Creative Soundblaster Roar 2

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, playing 360 degree audio and being quite loud for its size.

PMC DB1 Gold + Rotel RA-1572 Integrated Amp + REL Tzero Mk3 – replaces 2019 Klipsch R-41PM, 2017 Creative SoundblasterX Katana, 2017 Klipsch the Three, Cambridge Audio Solo Preamp

After much research, I’ve decided to go with the PMC DB1 Golds as my main desktop speaker as they are light, portable and produce very detailed sound for the size. The other choices I considered were the Monitor Audio Gold 100s, KEF R3s, Dynaudio Evoke 20s, Harbeth P3ESRs, B&W 706 S2, Focal Aria 906s, but the PMCs I got at a discount and won out in the end. Combined with the power of the Rotel RA-1572s (also considered PeachTree Nova150, NAD C658, Marantz PM8006 and Cambridge Audio CXA81s) and the REL Tzero MkIIIs, this is definitely a killer desktop system.

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.

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.

Cameras

Sony Action Camera AS300 (2016) – replaces 2014 GoPro Hero3+
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.

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
13.3″ 1920×1080 – HP Dragonfly Elite (2020) – Intel Core i7 8565U, 16GB, 256GB SSD, 2.4lbs – main portable laptop
Lian Li Custom Desktop (2021) – AMD Ryzen 5800X, 32GB RAM, 5TB SSD+HDD, Geforce RTX 2070, 20lbs – main gaming pc
14.0″ 1920×1080 + 12.65″ 1920×515 – Asus Zenbook Duo UX482EG (2021) – Intel Core i7 1165G7, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD, Geforce MX450, 3.6lbs – main gaming / multitasking laptop
13.3″ 2560×1440 – Apple Macbook Air M1 (2020) – Apple M1, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 2.8lbs – secondary portable 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 – main phone
5.7″ 1080×2280 OLED – Google Pixel 4 (2020) – Snapdragon 855, 6GB RAM, 128GB Flash, Android 10, 8MP F/2.4, USBC – secondary phone
6.2″ 876×2142 OLED – Motorola Razr Fold (2020) – Snapdragon 710, 6GB RAM, 128GB Flash, Android 10, 16MP F/1.7, USBC – music player
7.6″ 1768×2208 OLED – Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 (2021) – Snapdragon 865, 12GB RAM, 256GB Flash, Android 11, 12MP F/1.8, USBC – main tablet

Other devices

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

UMPCs: Onemix Yoga 3, GPD Micro, OneNetbook A1, Toshiba Libretto W100, Vulcan Flipstart, Sony Vaio UX280, Sharp Netwalker, OpenPandora, Fujitsu UH900, Fujitsu U820, OQO Model 2, Samsung Q1, King Jim Portabook, Cosmo Communicator

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

Watches: Seiko Kinetic, Nomos Tetra 406, Orient Sun&Moon LE, Junghans Meister Calendar, Frederique Constant Slimline Moonphase, Oris GMT, Hamilton Ventura Elvis80, Pebble Time Steel, Fossil Abacus, Casio DBC32 DataBank, Motorola Moto 360 3rd gen, Apple Watch Series 3, Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

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

PMPs: Philips PMC, iPod Nano, MS Zune, Creative Zen vision m, Astell&Kern A&Norma SR15, Archos 7, Cowon V5W

Flip Phones: Samsung Galaxy Folder 2, Samsung Alias 2

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

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

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: Sony HDR-AS300 Action Cam, Sony ZV-1

Headphones: Master and Dynamic ME03 (earphone), Monster Gratitude (earphone), A&K/JH Audio Michelle (IEM), Sony WF-1000XM3 (wireless earbuds), Sony WH-1000XM3 (wireless/NC/closed)

Speakers: PMC DB1 Gold + REL Tzero Mk3 (desktop + 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 RA-1572 (integrated amp/dac), Creative X3 (PC amp/dac), Behringer Xenyx Q502 (Mixer), Fluance RT85 w/Ortofon Blue cartridge (turntable), Marantz NR1510 (receiver), Shanling UA1 (phone DAC), Shanling UA2 (phone DAC)

Microphones: Shure SM58 (dynamic), MXL50 (condenser), Razer Seiren Mini (USB), Blue Yeti Nano (USB)

Storage: 1x Synology DS412+, 2x Synology DS416j, 1x Synology DS418j, 2x Synology DS416slim, 1x Synology DS419slim, 3x Patriot Memory USB sticks, 1x Porsche Design LaCIE external HDD

Keyboards: Roccat Vulcan 121 (desktop), Corsair K63 wireless (backup), Cooler Master SK622 (work Macbook), Logitech G610 (Alienware), Lenovo Wireless Keyboard (Lenovo Flex), Mini Keyboard (Nvidia Shield)

Mice: Corsair Dark Core (backup), Logitech G502 (desktop), Logitech MX Anywhere 2S (travel), Microsoft Surface Mouse (work Macbook), Lenovo Wireless Mouse (Lenovo Flex)

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

Guitars: Fender Stratocaster w/Rumpelstiltskin pickups (secondary electric), Bohemian TNT w/ Tonerider P90s, Martin OMJM (main acoustic), Gretsch G502 (travel acoustic), Duesenberg Alliance Joe Walsh (main electric), G&L ASAT Special (secondary electric), Yamaha P121 (digital piano)

Pedals: Boss TU3W (tuner), Catalinbread Belle Epoch (Delay/Preamp), BBE Wah (Wah), Maxon TOD9 (TS type OD), Wampler Euphoria (D type OD), Xotic Compressor (Compressor), Keeley Omni Reverb (Reverb), Wampler Tumnus (K type OD), Boss RC5 (Looper), BBE Windowpane (Fuzz)