Julie’s favorite gear

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Updated on 12/06/18

Hey folks, here’s my ever-evolving listing of the gear (and other favorite things) that I use on a daily basis. Each category has been sorted in order of usage. The most used item is on top. I’m also posting regular gadget diary posts and EDC updates where I talk about the gadgets I’m using and adventures I’m having on any particular day.

Smartphone and related accessories:

  • Google Pixel 2 XL – I bought this phone back in October 2017 and I am still very happy with it. There’s nothing about it that I don’t like but I wouldn’t mind if it had wireless charging but that’s just a small wish because it charges quickly and lasts me a whole day on one charge. If I had to buy a brand new phone today, I’d still go with the Pixel 2 XL because I like getting super fast OS updates and the Pixel’s camera is fantastic. So much so, that I sold my Canon 70D which I used for all my Gadgeteer product photography, and now I use the Pixel 2 XL exclusively.
  • Pitaka Aramid Pixel 2 XL cover – This is a thin cover that adds just the right amount of grip to the phone without much added bulk or weight.
  • Huawei P20 – This phone has become my product photography camera. I use it to take almost all of my pics for reviews.

Computers and accessories:

  • Apple 12″ MacBook with Retina display (2016) – Instead of going up in power and screen size, I have down sized my computer over the years. I went from a 27 inch iMac to a 15″ MacBook Pro, to a 13″ MacBook Pro, and now I’m down to a 12″ MacBook. I don’t think I can go any smaller at this point, but that’s ok because I find the 12″ MB to be the perfect size for every day lap computing and travel. It doesn’t weigh much, has a great keyboard and touchpad, and the screen size is not too small to do real work. I actually bought the new 2018 MacBook Air, but ended up returning it for a refund because it has a fan and I hate fan noise.
  • Logitech Craft keyboard – I prefer to use my Apple wireless keyboard, but it goes through batteries like crazy. So I pulled out this keyboard to use for a while. The Logitech keyboard is nice and comfortable to type on. I also like that it has a dedicated delete key that works like a delete key on windows. The only downside to the keyboard is that it takes up a lot of space on my desk.
  • Logitech MX Master 2S – (not pictured). I use this wireless mouse at home with my 12inch MacBook when it’s docked to my BenQ monitor which has a built-in USB-C dock. I like that I can pair it with 3 different devices and I like that the scroll wheel is super smooth.
  • Satechi Edge 2.0 gaming mouse – I use this mouse at my day job. It runs for months on a charge.
  • Dell XPS 13″ laptop – I use this small Windows 10 laptop when I need to use Windows software.
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 – I bought this refurb tablet in Dec 2017 to replace my original Samsung Tab. I also purchased the keyboard cover for it with hopes that it might become my travel computer. It’s a nice tablet but when I did try to use it as my only computer, I found the “lapability” issue to be a problem.
  • Huawei Mediapad M5 – I like this Android tablet better than the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 which I purchased for myself because it feels nicer in hand and has a bigger display. That said, I barely use either tablet these days.

Other home gadgets and equipment:

  • BenQ 27” PD2710QC monitor – I have a full review coming soon of this monitor but I can already say that I really like it and especially love the built in hub that works very well with my 12-inch MacBook.
  • Brother HL-3170CDW laser printer – This is my first laser printer and so far I’m very happy with it. The price was very affordable at under $200 from Amazon and the print quality / speed are both excellent.
  • Coalesse Power Pod – Power “strip” cool enough to put on your desk instead of hiding it underneath.

Cameras and related gear:

  • Huawei P20 – This phone has become my product photography camera. I use it to take almost all of my pics for reviews.
  • Manfrotto tripod – I’m not sure if they still sell the one I have, but I’ve been happy with Manfrotto products.
  • SHOTBOX portable photography light box – This light box is GREAT. I love it and all the backdrops that make my review images look excellent.
  • MeFoto Sidekick360 Smartphone Tripod Adapter – I bought this tripod because I like to use my phone to record video clips demonstrating things for reviews. This small holder works great with my Manfrotto tripod and holds my phone securely.
  • MeFoto Backpacker Air tripod – I really like this tripod because it comes with everything I need to use it for my smartphone. It can even be converted into a selfie stick.

Audio / video / home theater gear:

  • VIZIO M-Series (M65-F0) 4K HDR Smart TV – This Vizio TV is currently my all-time favorite TV as far as the picture quality. Easy to use interface too.
  • I ditched the Roku and am now streaming video from Netflix using my Pixel 2 XL and the Chromecast built into my TV. I’m considering connecting a dedicated Android device (old TV or tablet) to the TV and using a Bluetooth keyboard to control it from my couch. The only reason why I ditched the Roku is that I’m using a T-Mobile based internet and have to take advantage of the free video streaming. This only works through a phone or laptop. It apparently isn’t supported when you use a Roku, Apple TV, or Fire TV.
  • WyzeCam – At only $20 per camera, this is my favorite low-cost home security camera. I hope they make a weatherproof version soon so I can put a few outdoors.
  • DUNU TITAN 1 in-ear earphones – I’m very rarely using these headphones now that I’ve found the TicPods Free which I have paired with my work laptop (Dell). I still carry them around just in case though.
  • Mobvoi TicPods Free wireless earbuds – I love the fit, comfort, and sound of these earbuds. The only issue is that they have a slight audio delay when I use them with a Windows laptop to watch Youtube videos.

Car gear:

I’ve pared down my car gear/gadgets to pretty much nothing lately. I removed the dash cam I was using and haven’t put one back. Not sure if or when I will. I’m tired of wires… I would ultimately love to find one that is solar powered but I don’t think one exists yet.

  • VicTsing Portable USB Bluetooth Audio Music Streaming Receiver Adapter – I am using this adapter to stream audio from my LG G3 to my MINI Cooper stereo. It works great and doesn’t require a 12V power adapter. I can plug it into the USB port in my car.
  • iOmount iAuto Pro car mount – This magnetic mount is installed in my MINI Cooper but I haven’t been using it since I got my Pixel 2 XL. I need to just remove it at this point. There’s nothing wrong with it, it’s just that the metal plate inside the case I use for my phone doesn’t allow the mount’s batteries to hold it very well.

Miscellaneous gear:

  • Homemade leather Field Notes cover – I made this myself. It can hold 3 Field Notes notebooks without needing elastic bands like Midori covers. I’m thinking about making a larger version soon.
  • Uniball Jetstream – My favorite inexpensive ink pens. They put down a smooth thin line that never skips and they don’t cost an arm and a leg.
  • Big Idea Design Ti Click Classic retractable pen – I leave this pen at home on my desk. It has good balance and I like the way it feels and writes.
  • Big Idea Design Ti Pocket Pro Pen – This is my current favorite EDC pen that goes where ever I go. There’s no cap to lose and I can use my favorite Pilot G2 refill in it.
  • X47 notebook – I use a very scaled down version of the Bullet Journal system to keep track of things I need to do. I recently filled up a Leuchtturm1917 and am now using the X47 which I’m liking very much. I just finished this notebook and am looking for a replacement to use starting 1/2019.
  • Roadie 2 Guitar Tuner – I’m using this automatic tuner to tune my ukuleles. Review coming very soon.

Flashlights:

  • Olight S2R Baton flashlight – This is currently my favorite flashlight because it’s small, has an easy to activate switch and it’s rechargable through a magnetic USB charger.
  • Coast LED Lenser LED Lantern (TT7105CP) – I used to grab this one whenever our power went out at home, but now that we have a whole house generator,  I rarely need it. It’s still using the original batteries which is crazy because I’ve had this lantern since 2007!
  • Photon X-Light Micro – Keychain flashlight that I keep in my messenger bag. It’s tiny and lightweight, but very bright!

Gear bags, pouches, cases, wallets and other items of holding:

  • Timbuk2 custom laptop messenger bag – I love Timbuk2 bags, specifically their messenger bags. I’m ready to buy a new bag and am considering trying a backpack for the first time ever.
  • Timbuk2 X-Small Classic Messenger Bag – (not shown above) I use this one while on vacation or a day of shopping.
  • Waterfield Outback Duffel bag – My travel bag for road trips.
  • Waterfield Finn Access Wallet – I’ve been using a Waterfield zippered wallet every day since 2005, but now it lives in my Timbuk2 custom messenger bag with cash and extra cards that I don’t use very often.
  • Identity wallet – This is my favorite minimalist wallet because it’s super small, lightweight, and it’s not a huge pain in the rear to remove and reinsert cards.

Other gear:

  • SCOTTeVEST Hoodie Cotton jacket – After all the years of reviewing SeV gear, I will say that this hoodie is my favorite. It’s comfortable and has just the right amount of pockets to hold my everyday essentials without being bulky.
  • OROS Discovery Jacket – I like this jacket because it’s comfortable and has a special lining that keeps you warm while still remaining lightweight.
  • Mujjo Touchscreen Gloves – I just upgraded to their 2018 gloves and love them because they are light weight but still keep my hands warm while letting me interact with my phone.
  • RoboReel Power Cord System – Power driven retractable extension cord holder.
  • Nest Thermostat –  I love it because it learns how warm or cool I like to keep the house and it does all the work to keep it that way.
  • Switchmate Bright Instant Smart Lighting Switch – I have this switch on my bedroom light switch so I can control the light from the bed. This prevents my cat from stalking me and attacking my feet when I pull them in bed at night when the lights are off. Yes, there really are monsters under the bed!

My most used Android apps:

  • Spotify – My current favorite audio streaming app. I switched to Pandora for awhile but have been really enjoying Spotify because it’s free and you can listen to any song or album instead of a “random” selection of similar songs.
  • Amazon Prime Music – I’ve gotten tired of the ads on Spotify, so I’ve been using Amazon a lot more to listen to music.
  • Netflix
  • Words with Friends – This is pretty much the only game I play. I’m not that good at it, but I still enjoy it.
  • Keep – Great little basic note and list making app that syncs across devices and allows for real-time collaboration.
  • LastPass – I finally started using a password manager after the whole Equifax hack several weeks ago. I have it installed on all my devices and I’m wondering now what took me so long. I don’t even know my passwords anymore, but LastPass does. 🙂
  • OpenSignal – 4G and WiFi signal finder and speed test app.
  • Play Books – This is the app that I use to read all my eBooks.
  • Selfie A Day – Takes a selfie a day and then can string all the photos together to create a time-lapse video.
  • Airdroid – I use this app to wireless transfer the images I take with either Huawei P20 or Pixel 2 XL to my MacBook when I’m working on a review.