Updated on 01/17/22
Hello friends, here’s my ever-evolving listing of the gear (and other favorite things) that I use on a daily basis. This will be my last update for 2021 and I can’t wait to find out what changes are in store for 2022. The category lists are in no particular order. 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.
Smartphone and related accessories:
- iPhone 13 Pro Max – I’ve been using an iPhone for over a year now which is surprising to me. I had a brief fling with the OnePlus 9 Pro but it didn’t make me want to switch back to an Android phone. I had been using the iPhone 12 Pro Max and in all honesty, the 13 Pro Max isn’t a huge update except for one thing… macro photography. This is a big deal to me since my iPhone is my one and only phone. I use it for all my review product photography, so I’ve been happy with that one particular improvement over last year’s phone.
- Pitaka MagEZ Case 2 – I love Pitaka’s products and this case is a must-have for my super slippy iPhone. It’s not bulky and the matte texture adds just the right amount of grip.
- 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!
- Benks Aluminum 2-IN-1 Magnetic Wireless Charging Stand – I keep trying MagSafe compatible wireless chargers and this one is the current one that I’m using. I like it well enough but do wish that I could adjust the screen angle to a 90 degree angle from the base so that I can use it easier with Marco Polo video chats.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Dell XPS 13″ laptop – I use this small Windows 10 laptop when I need to use Windows software which doesn’t happen very often.
- iPad Pro 11in (2021) – Yeah, I did it again. I bought another iPad Pro. I’m obviously insane because I keep buying one, try to find a way to fit it into my workflow, get frustrated, and sell it. This time, I’m just using it for fun stuff. Reading ebooks and comics and not pressuring myself to make it a laptop replacement.
Other office equipment:
- Dell Ultrasharp curved 49in monitor – This was one of my recent work from home upgrades. I had been using two BenQ monitors, one for my MacBook Pro and one for my Cummins day job Dell laptop. I decided to simply with this crazy huge monitor that can display both computers in side by side windows. It’s pretty awesome!
- 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.
- EGO EXINNO USB charger – I removed the Coalesse Power Pod from my desk and replaced it with this charger since I very rarely need an actually 2 or 3 pronged outlet. NEW
- 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 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.
- Apple TV 4K – I’ve been a DirecTV customer for probably 30 years and I’m finally ready to cut the cord. I paused my DirecTV service last month to see if we (mainly Jeanne) could get used to only using streaming services. It felt a little weird not being able to easily channel surf live TV but after a few days, it’s become a n0n-issue. At first we used the smart TV apps built into the Vizio TV, but the Smartcast service really isn’t very stable so I bought an Apple TV and it is flawless. We have been streaming using apps like Apple TV+, Netflix, Hulu, ParamountTV, Philo, and Amazon Prime video. Cutting the cord will save us about $150 a month. NEW
- Apple AirPods Pro earbuds – These are my first Apple AirPods and I am really loving them. They aren’t the most comfortable earbuds that I’ve used, but the noise-canceling feature and the fact that they pair perfectly with my iPhone and MacBook Pro make them so convenient to use.
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.
- 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.
- Nextbase 622GW 4K dash cam – This dashcam has all the bells and whistles but it’s much bigger than my previous favorite Garmin Dashcam Mini.
- 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.
- Pilot Juice Up 0.4 gel pens – These are my latest favorite inexpensive gel ink pens. I use the black ones to write and draw in my journal every day. NEW
- Denik pocket notebooks – I really love these 3.5 x 5 inch pocket notebooks. The paper is bright white, is available in dot grid (my favorite) and the Pilot Juice Up pens and other gel pen ink pops on the page. NEW
- 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!
- Olight Warrior Mini Seasons flashlight – I was previously using an Olight S2R Baton flashlight and just recently switched over to this new one which I am enjoying because it has 2 switches. one in the tail and one on the grip. I also like that its rechargeable.
- 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!
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. Granted, I haven’t been using it since March of 2020 because I have been working from home that long. UPDATE
- Pakt One Carry On Travel bag – My travel bag for road trips.
- Bolstr Aux Pocket – I like this super minimal shoulder bag because it doesn’t get in the way while holding my bare essentials. It’s great for using while on vacation.
- 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.
- AKEENi XSTO wallet – This is my new favorite minimalist wallet because it’s small, lightweight, and it’s easy to remove and reinsert cards. It also can hold several folded bills under the cards
- 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.
Home and kitchen:
- Roborock S5 Max robot vacuum – I used Neato Botvacs for years until I started reviewing Roborock vacs. Now I’m switching over to Roborocks because they work better. I use this one downstairs and manually run it 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 S7 Max robot vacuum – I use this one upstairs and like the other Roborock, 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.
- ChefWave Milkmade – This is my most used kitchen gadget right now. It can quickly and easily make almond milk, soy milk, oat milk, and more with absolutely no mess and only the ingredients that I want in it.
- 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.
- 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.
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!
- 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.
- 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.