June 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.

https://youtu.be/6QrZO_6Za4o

 

Asus Zenbook Pro 15 – replaces 2021 Alienware m15 R5, 2020 Alienware m15 R2, 2016 Alienware 15 R3

Unfortunately my Alienware m15 R5 had lots of issues, the battery doesn’t work anymore and it overheats, so I was forced to get another gaming laptop and settled on the Asus Zenbook Pro 15 which although not meant for gaming, is very capable of it thanks to a decent RTX 3050 Ti in it, but the main reason why I got it over the ROG Strix or Zephyrus is due to its gorgeous 1080p OLED display.

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

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.

https://youtu.be/4gOXo0vPvBo

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

Bowers&Wilkins Px7 S2 (2023) – replaces 2018 Sony WH-1000XM3, 2017 Sony MDR-1000X

These are my main over ear wireless headphones now, I did a headphone shootout with a few other over ear wireless headphones, and these won. They have great sound, noise cancelling, are comfortable and look great to boot.

https://youtu.be/n_Y85Kai3sc

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

 

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 MA Bronze 50s. I also have tried out the Neat Ministras, DALI Oberon 1s, PMC DB1 Golds, Triangle BRO2s and Klipsch R40Ms and found the MA Bronze 50s the best price/performance for me.

https://youtu.be/ZOsF0BEMuYg

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.

https://youtu.be/Qpw2rwBV92Q

Ruark R1 Deluxe Mark IV – replaces 2017 Yamaha Clock Radio

The Ruark R1 Deluxe replaces my Yamaha Clock Radio/Alarm

https://youtu.be/JOtU23Juoxc

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
13.5″ 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 OLED – Asus Zenbook Pro 15 – AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD, Geforce RTX 3050 Ti, 4.4lbs – 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 2, Nvidia Shield Portable, PSP Go, Razer Phone 2, GPD Win 4, Steam Deck, AyaNeo Air Pro, Asus ROG Ally

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, Onemix Yoga 3, 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), 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, Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2, Nixoid Nixie Tube watch, Seiko Presage SPB399 (dress/everyday), Raymond Weil Beatles (dress), Corniche Heritage Bleu Ardoise (everyday), Atowake Ettore Lite (everyday), Casio Oceanus OCW-4000 (everyday), Orient Star RK-AT00015L (dress)

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, Planet Computers Astro Slide

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

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 29WK600 (ultrawide work monitor), Gaems Sentinel Pro XP (portable monitor), Royole Moon (HMD), Oculus Quest 2 (VR), Viture XR Glasses

Cameras: DJI Osmo Action 3, Sony ZV-1

Headphones: Monster Gratitude (earphone), ThieAudio Monarch MKII (IEM), Master & Dynamic MW08 (wireless earbuds), Razer Hammerhead TW Pro (wireless earbuds), Final Audio ZE3000 (wireless earbuds), Bowers&Wilkins Px7 S2 (wireless/NC/closed), Razer Anzu (smart glasses), Beyerdynamic T1 2nd gen (open back), DCA Aeon Closed X (closed 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), Creative X3 (headphone amp/dac), Behringer Xenyx Q502 (Mixer), Rega P3 w/ Hana SL cart (turntable), Marantz Cinema 60 (receiver), FiiO K7 (desktop dac/amp), Shanling UA2 (phone DAC), Leak Stereo 130 (turntable), Focusrite Scarlett Solo (USB interface)

Microphones: Shure SM48 (dynamic), MXL50 (condenser), 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 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, Switch), Hori Arcade Pro Stick (PC, 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), G-Town Holy Grail (D type OD), Xotic Compressor (Compressor), Wampler Tumnus (K type OD), Boss RC5 (Looper), Maxon AD9 (delay)

https://youtu.be/0pVHHdiEtyY

https://youtu.be/f7Ke8BxfVtg

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

https://youtu.be/KhkzK42-shY


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