Julie’s favorite gear


Updated on 12/18/20

Hello friends, 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 at the top of the list. I also try to post 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.

This update reflects what I am and have been using during my work from home adventures which I’ve been doing since March of this year.

Smartphone and related accessories:

  • iPhone 12 Pro Max – I bought a iPhone 11 Pro Max back in May of this year and have given that one to Jeanne and splurged on an iPhone 12 Pro Max for myself. The upgrade from the iPhone 11 to 12 definiltey wasn’t necessary, but Jeanne had been using a Google Pixel 2 XL for way too long and I wanted us both to be on the same platform. She’s not used to iOS yet, but I am and enjoying it quite a lot. My favorite feature of the iPhone 12 Pro Max is the flat sides. Ha! Not sure if/when I’ll go back to Android at this point.
  • Apple Watch Series 6 – Yes, I’m even wearing an Apple Watch these days and am enjoying it quite a bit. I started wearing the Apple Watch that was included with the Delta Trainer service that I reviewed earlier this year and then when the series 6 watches came out, I bought one mainly for the always on display. I am really surprised by how much I love this watch!
  • KIKR S1 dual wireless charger – I have this on my desk down in my Gadgeteer lair and use it all the time. I especially like how there’s no guesswork as to how to position the phone on the charger. It’s perfectly positioned every single time you use it because you can adjust the “feet” length. I also really like that you can adjust the angle which makes it perfect for Facetime and Marco Polo chats.
  • NoShowCharger – This wireless charger is “invisible”. It installs inside or under a table or cabinet for stealth charging.
  • Moshi 3-in-1 Universal USB Cable – Since switching to the iPhone from Android, I have been using this braided cable. I like it because it easily transforms from micro USB to USB-C to Lightning.

Computers and accessories:

  • TMobile Home Internet – After paying almost $400/mo. for over 10yrs, I finally found an alternative broadband solution with TMobile Home Internet. I’ve now been using this wireless internet router for over a year now and it’s great. For only $50/mo. I have unlimited internet. I get around 30mbps which might not sound crazy fast, but compared to the T1’s 1.5mbps, it’s a screecher! I can surf and stream, so I’ve been beyond happy. [NEW]
  • Apple 13″ MacBook Pro M1 (2020) – I finally replaced my little 12″ MacBook with a brand new Apple silicon 13in MacBook Pro and love it. It’s so much faster than my previous laptop that I feel like I’m flying when I work and the battery life is amazing. Zero buyer’s regret. [NEW]
  • Logitech MX Keys keyboard – This 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 but on my Mac.
  • Logitech MX Master 3– 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 also like that the scroll wheel is super smooth.
  • Logitech MX Anywhere 2S – (not pictured). I use this wireless mouse paired with a Dell laptop (for my day job). It has a very long battery life and is a small mouse that’s comfortable to use.
  • Dell XPS 13″ laptop – I use this small Windows 10 laptop when I need to use Windows software which doesn’t happen very often.
  • 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. I have started using it again to watch YouTube videos while walking on the treadmill when the YouTube app on my Vizio TV flakes out. I forgot how much I liked this tablet. [Updated]

Other home gadgets and equipment:

  • BenQ 27” PD2710QC monitor – I really like this monitor and especially love the built-in hub that works very well with my 12-inch MacBook.
  • BenQ EL2870U 28″ 4K eye-care monitor – I’ve been using this monitor with my laptop for my day job. It’s part of my work from home setup. The only thing I don’t like about it is that the height isn’t adjustable.
  • Neato Botvac D7 robot vacuum – I’ve been using Neato Botvacs for years now. I use this one downstairs and manually run them 3 times a week. I can’t remember the last time I ran one of our other manual vacuums on the carpets and I hope to keep it that way!
  • Roborock S5 Max robot vacuum – I use this one upstairs and like the Neato, I run them manually instead of on a schedule because my older cat sometimes barfs on the floor in the middle of the night and I would not want the vac to run into that mess.
  • Brother HL-3170CDW laser printer – This is my first laser printer and so far I’m very happy with it. The print quality / speed are both excellent.
  • Coalesse Power Pod – This power “strip” is cool enough to put on your desk instead of hiding it underneath.
  • Airdog X5 air purifier – I like this air purifier because it’s quiet and it doesn’t require that you buy special filters. You can wash the collecting plates by hand or even in the dishwasher.

Photography gear:

  • Manfrotto tripod (not pictured) – 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.
  • Joby GorillaPod tripod – I like using this bendable tripod on my desk for Marco Polo sessions with my sister and niece.

Audio / video / home theater gear:

  • VIZIO V705x-H1 4K HDR Smart TV – I recently upgraded from a M65-F0 65in Vizio TV to a 70 inch because bigger is always better when it comes to TVs! The new one feels familiar as the interface for the smart features are the same, but the updated remote is an improvement. [NEW]
  • NVIDIA Shield – I got this as a gift from a friend and have been using it to stream Netflix, Amazon Video, Hulu, etc through my TV. It’s the best Android TV box I’ve ever had. I haven’t really been using this since my TV has the same apps built into it. [Updated]
  • TaoTronics Sound Liberty 53 TWS earbuds – These TWS earbuds are comfortable to wear, have touch controls, and sound good. I also like that the left bud is the master bud, so I can take just listen through it if I want to leave my right ear open to hear what’s going on around me at work at home while I’m surfing on the couch with the TV on in the background. [Updated]

Car gear:

I’ve pared down my car gear/gadgets to pretty much nothing lately but have plans to work on a new smartphone powered media setup as I did a few years ago.

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.
  • LeCow Travelers Notebook Cover – I love leather and I love notebooks so having a custom cover made for me was a no-brainer. If you want the perfect leather cover for your journal, you have to check out LeCow. [NEW]
  • Uniball Signo 207 – This is my favorite inexpensive gel ink pen. I have collected almost every color that they make and use them to write and draw in my journal every day.
  • Polaroid Hi-Print photo printer – I’m using this portable printer to print peel and stick pics for my journal. I like to take it with me when I travel to help me remember my adventures. The photo paper/stickers are more expensive than the HP Sprocket portable photo printer I was using before (and gave to my sister), but the quality is noticeably better!


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

  • Tom Bihn Maker’s bag – I’ve been reducing my EDC to just the essentials so I have been able to also reduce the size of my everyday gear bag. Right now the Maker’s bag is perfect for me.
  • Timbuk2 X-Small Classic Messenger Bag – (not shown above) I use this one while on vacation or a day of shopping.
  • Pakt One Carry On Travel bag – My travel bag for road trips.
  • Waterfield Finn Wallet – I’ve been using a Waterfield zippered wallet every day since 2005, but now it lives in my Tom Bihn Maker’s 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. I have a new favorite. Review coming soon! [Update]

Other gear:

  • 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 lightweight but still keep my hands warm while letting me interact with my phone.
  • RoboReel Power Cord System – Power driven retractable extension cord holder.
  • Snap Power SnapRays Guidelight – I have one of these outlet covers in my kitchen and one in the bathroom which provides just enough light to see to get to the bathroom in the middle of the night without having to turn on the ceiling light. I like them so much that I kept it and put it back in the bathroom after we completely gutted it and remodeled it last fall.
  • SnapPower ConnectLight – I like these motion detection lights because they are incredibly easy to install and they are connected without using Bluetooth or WiFi. They are great for lighting a path to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

My most used Apple apps:

  • Marco Polo – I’ve been using this app every single day to video chat with my sister and niece. It’s been an awesome way to stay in touch during the quarantine.
  • Gmail – Duh!
  • Spotify – My current favorite audio streaming app. I switched to Pandora for a while 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 – I mainly use Netflix built into my smart TV, but every so often I watch some content on my phone.
  • Words with Friends – This is pretty much the only game I play. I’m not that good at it, but I still enjoy it.
  • Google Keep – Great little basic note and list making app that syncs across devices and allows for real-time collaboration. Jeanne and I use to collaborate on grocery lists.
  • LastPass Password Manager – 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.
  • Google Play Books – This is the app that I use to read all my eBooks.
  • Libby – I use Libby to check out eBooks and audiobooks from my local library.