I use various forms of technology on a daily basis, so I thought I’d put together some recommendations for some of the tech-related things I’ve recently used.
I won’t be reviewing any of these items, but simply letting you know some of the reasons why I recommend them, as well as providing links for additional information and pricing.
When I’m on the go
iPhone X: I was an iPhone user from the 3GS to the 6S and decided to try something different, so I spent the last couple of years using Samsung’s Galaxy S7 Edge and S8+. I actually really like Android, but since my computer is a MacBook Pro, I decided to go back to the iPhone so all of my notes, reminders, and other apps were more accessible and stayed in sync throughout my devices.
AirPods: I’ve been a long time user of the free earphones that come with each phone I buy, whether Apple’s EarPods, or the AKG earbuds that came with my Samsung Galaxy S8+. One thing that was always a hassle for me was, of course, the long wire that would catch on things or get tangled up when I stored them. Since getting back into the Apple ecosystem, I decided to try out their AirPods and have been extremely satisfied. Having the ability to easily carry them around in their own self-charging case, and being able to put them in without any wires or tangles, has been a game changer. I use them along with my Apple Watch when walking on trails, which makes everything much less cumbersome and bulky. If someone starts talking to you while you’re listening to something, you can simply take one out and it will automatically pause whatever you’re listening to until you put it back in. These magical little things remind me of my car’s run flat tires because I don’t think I’ll ever be able to go back to wired earphones or regular tires again!
Apple Watch Series 3: I’ve tried several smart watches over the last couple of years, and since I was using Android phones, they were the Huawei watch, Samsung Gear S3 and Gear Sport, as well as several different fitness trackers. FYI, I really liked Samsung’s Gear S3 and Gear Sport watches a lot! Since moving back to an iPhone, the only real option was an Apple Watch, so I got the GPS version. This is the first smart watch that I actually use on a daily basis, and the battery easily gets me through two full days. Some of the things I use regularly are setting cooking timers, controlling my music while connected to my AirPods or car, tracking activities and workouts, texting, paying for things with Apple Pay, and of course asking Siri questions.
Spigen Slim Armor credit card case for the iPhone X: For the last four years, I’ve been using some type of credit card case for all of my phones, and the Spigen Slim Armor brand has always been my favorite. It comfortably holds 2 cards—I have my drivers license and credit card—but it can hold up to 3 cards if you don’t mind a tight fit.
MacBook Pro: This is my daily driver for all of my work and personal computing needs. Having been a Windows PC user for as far back as I can remember, I bought my first Mac at the beginning of 2015 and have never looked back. Most of my Windows laptops would die after the first year or two, but this thing is still going strong after being used extensively almost every day.
Nintendo Switch: I used to love playing Mario games back in the day, so on a whim last Christmas, I decided to buy this game console along with Super Mario Odyssey, Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and a few other games. It’s pretty amazing because it works as a handheld gaming device and can be docked to a TV for traditional big screen gaming. It’s basically two systems in one, letting you start a game on the TV, and then undocking it to take on the road for a seamless mobile gaming experience.
When I’m at home
Apple HomePod: I recently decided that, since almost all of my portable devices were now Apple products, I would swap out my two Google Home smart speakers for a more seamless experience. This way, all of my stuff is everywhere I need it to be at all times. Sometimes when I have ideas, it’s nice to be able make notes or set reminders without having to have my phone nearby. With my Apple Watch, and now my HomePod, I can document and access my inspirations from just about anywhere.
Google Home: For the last couple of years, prior to getting the Apple HomePod, I was using the Google Home as my living room smart speaker. Since I was also using Android, this worked well as an extension of my phone, allowing me to set reminders, take notes, play music, and all of the normal things you would do with a smart speaker. Last Christmas, the Google Home Mini went on sale, so I got one of those for my bedroom, which allowed me to stream music in there or my living room, or both at the same time. It was a great experience to be able to walk around from room to room and be able to access the same music and features. Those of you who prefer Android and the Google Assistant will feel right at home (no pun intended) with these smart speakers.
Philips Hue smart lightbulb starter kit: When I started getting interested in smart home automation, one of the first things I looked into were colored lightbulbs. While there’s nothing groundbreaking about any of these bulbs, it is nice to be able to change the mood of your rooms by changing the colors of your lights. Using the Philips Hue app on your phone, or Apple’s Home app, you can change the colors of your bulbs, create color scenes, and set up automated routines to do things like make the lights turn on at sunset or when you arrive home, for example, or to be able to control them with your voice by asking your smart assistant (Siri, Google Assistant, Alexa, etc…).
Because I just recently switched back into the Apple ecosystem, this list is very Apple-centric, but I hope you find something interesting just the same. I will likely continue to update this list over time and create additional lists of non-tech-related recommendations in the future, so stay tuned.