Julie’s favorite gear

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Updated on 04/13/18

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.

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.
  • LandingZone 12-inch MacBook Docking Station – I loved the LandingZone docking station that I used when I had a 15″ MacBook Pro and I love this smaller version now that I have downsized to the 12in MB. I recently stopped using this docking station when I received a new Benq monitor to review which has a built-in hub that has the same features. I’m leaving this on my last for now but will remove it as soon as I post the Benq review because I don’t see myself going back to using it at this point.
  • 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.

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:

  • I sold my Canon 70D a few months ago and am now using my Pixel 2 XL for all my photography work. I didn’t think I’d ever not have a dedicated camera, but the Pixel 2 does a fantastic job, so why have redunant devices?
  • 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 or my DSLR. It can even be converted into a selfie stick.

Audio / video / home theater gear:

  • Hisense 65″ H8 series 4K smart TV – Great 4K display at a great price. Best TV I’ve ever had 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 a Chromecast attached to 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 only using these earphones with my day job laptop these days. 

Car gear:

  • 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.
  • Satechi Bluetooth Media Button – I have this button stuck on the emergency brake of my MINI Cooper. It’s easier (and safer) to use it to change volume and move between tracks when I’m listening to music on my way to and from work.
  • Magellan MiVue 658 HD dash cam – Best dash cam I’ve tested so far. It has the best image quality and even has GPS and WiFi built in.
  • iOmount iAuto Pro car mount – This magnetic mount is installed in my MINI Cooper. It works great but does require that you stick a steel disk to the back of your phone. I placed the disk between the back of my Nexus 6P and a case.

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.
  • 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:

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 Double Layered Touchscreen Gloves – Keeps my hands warm while still 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.