Tech Stuff That You’ll Use

Tech items that I actually own and has made me more productive

With the holidays coming up, you may be in the market for some tech gear.  But wait, how much of this stuff would you actually use?

I buy lots of tech gear (which irritates my wife), but here are the ones that I actually use daily…

Bluetooth (One-ear) Earbuds 

These are perfect for just listening to podcasts or audiobooks — they are also very discreet as well. I bought two so I always have one that’s charged. They run just under $20 each.

These are the ones I got, and it fit pretty well in my ear without falling that easily.

If you don’t already have an Audible subscription, you can use this link to get 2 free audiobooks— one thing you probably didn’t know is that if you try to cancel during your free trial, they give you free credit to NOT cancel 🙂 Not sure if this still works though…

Echo Dot

Most people are confused as to whether they need an actual Echo to use the Echo Dot — the answer is no. The Echo Dot works fine by itself — it may not have the best microphone, but it is only $50 bucks and probably cheaper during Amazon flash sales. There is also the Google Home Mini that was released to compete with this, but I haven’t used it myself.

It can do lots of things, but I just use it to play music for my kids (yes, you can connect it to Bluetooth speakers). 

Shameless plug: Make sure you check out the Orator Skill — which lets you play tracks from articles converted from your bookmarked links.

If you already have an Echo Dot, you may want to consider getting a battery base (it lasts for 10 hours on standby), but it’s great if you want to move your Echo dot around the house without having to restart it. Another first world problem solved!


Bluetooth Mouse

Speaking of first world problems, if you've got multiple devices (computer, laptop, tablet) and want to use the same mouse without moving a stupid dongle around, get the Logitech MX Master 2S - there is a switch underneath the mouse to pair it to 3 different devices.

There is also horizontal scroll as well.  Furthermore, it charges with a Micro USB cable - you can use the mouse and charge at the same time.

Android Smart Watch

If you’re in the market for an Android smart watch, check out the TicWatch E by Mobvoi for $160. It’s got all the bells and whistles for a relatively cheap price. I just received mine, so I can’t really review it yet, but I have tried the Google Keep app and it seems to work well for viewing/deleting/creating notes.

Though you may not have heard of the brand, the company has made watches that received some pretty good reviews.

Cheap Cell Phone That Actually Works Well

Personally, I use a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, but I probably would not get any more curve screened phones because the screen protectors don't fit and I end up not using one.  (then my screen cracks)

But what I was more excited about (strangely) was a cheap phone that runs a relatively new version of Android.  So I got the BLU R1 (2 GB RAM, 16 GB storage), which is the best bang for the buck at $100, however it will remain at Android 6.0 with no updates.  There is now a successor BLU R2 which runs Android 7.0, it costs just $10 more.

It's a great back up phone when you don't want to go downstairs to grab the phone you left on the couch.  Another first world problem solved!

Laptop to replace Desktop

I have an HP Omen 15t which I've purchased at the end of April 2017 - the specs are the best for the money at the time.  

Specs:

  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050Ti 4GB GDDR5
  • i7-7700HQ Quad Core Processor
  • 32 GB RAM
  • 256GB m.2 NVME Solid State Drive
  • 1 TB 7200RPM Hard Drive
  • I got it at $1,254.56

The bad news is that I can no longer find it at this price point, however there is another (cheaper) gaming laptop that is the best bang for the buck - that would be the Acer Predator Helios 300. You get a better graphics card (which is VR ready) 

  • 256 GB SSD, no regular hard drive
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 with 6 GB of dedicated GDDR5 VRAM
  • 16GB DDR4 Memory
  • 6 lbs
  • @ $1050

Laptop that's Portable

If you're looking for something light weight, check out the Surface Pro 4 (which is one model behind the newest one - during Black Friday, you'll see better discounts on the SP 4) - Full Disclosure: I work at Microsoft (but I don't have ties with anyone in the hardware team) - I've used my Surface 3 occasionally and find it very portable.

What about you?

Are there any productivity related tech items that you use on a daily basis?