Which Gadgets?

As a self confessed gadget person, I’ve spent many years trying to find the right gadgets for me – the ones that just work, do what I want and let me enjoy the technology I have. While I’ve long since realised the ultimate goal is just too demanding, in recent months I’ve made great progress towards the goal.

I get asked quite often what I’m using and what I would recommend, so I figured I’d blog about it to save me time in the future :-)

Today the main gadgets in my ultimate “tech lineup” includes:

– Motorola Atrix

By far the best mobile phone I have ever owned. Solid, reliable and tough. It survived numerous occasions of being dropped on the pavement, and only took a hit once it fell out of a window – from 4 floors up. The damage? Broken screen – but otherwise working phone. One repair later and good as new. As well as coping with “life”, it is also one seriously fast mobile. It’s the first time I’ve not spent all of my time wondering when it will get around to doing things I’ve requested.

If that wasn’t good enough it’s also crammed with stuff to make it “cool” and dependable. From the huge (but light, good use of Li-Polymer folks!) battery that actually lasts long enough not to drive me to distraction even with heavy use, to the incredible multimedia features – it has a media centre facility, and with the dock has a remote so I can just use it as a music source. Then there is the ultimate bit of cool. Actually there are 2 – the fingerprint reader – everyone loves that little feature that discovers it has it, and the incredibly cool and actually quite handy Linux OS option when connected via HDMI or plugged into the “Lapdock” so I can literally work from one device all day using it as a laptop, and not just a phone.

– Motorola Xoom

Bizarrely enough there is a second Motorola gadget that hits the mark. After years of finding Motorola to be pretty poor – it all went downhill in the post-Startac era, they’ve recently woken up and started throwing out great kit. The Motorola Xoom 3G is a brilliant tablet, and as someone who already uses Android on the Atrix, it also makes sense to keep on the same OS (buy apps once, easier transition between them, less brain capacity used remembering the different layouts). The Xoom comes in handy for all sorts, from wireless surveys at work to watching Netflix in bed or in the kitchen. Like the Atrix, it’s Dual Core too so never leaves me waiting. If only Spotify would release a proper tablet optimised version of the Spotify Mobile client…

– Blackberry Playbook

Having mentioned a tablet above, you might be thinking “sorry what has he got 2 tablets for” – well actually they perform 2 pretty different functions for me. The playbook is amazing for video and has the smoothest playback by far. Its smaller size also makes it “handy” for use as a general web browsing device, and someone at blackberry clearly wasn’t stupid as they realised speakers are best on the FRONT of the device. Good job. The playbook also makes a nicely sized remote for my Squeezebox system and makes it far more user friendly than logitech’s own efforts. Since I also own a blackberry, the blackberry integration is pretty neat as well (they’ve released software so you can have e-mail without a blackberry now I realise, but that doesn’t bother me). It’s quite nice having photos in my e-mails on the blackberry display on the playbook, or reading e-mail on the better screen of the playbook without needing to pick up (or even find) the blackberry, and having zero setup of each e-mail account to do to get started.

– Blackberry Curve 9300

The blackberry was originally something I hated. The first blackberry I tried made me want to cry. It felt horrible. I couldn’t get on with the keyboard. Now you’d be pressed to get me to get shot of the blackberry. The real QWERTY keyboard is amazing and makes a huge difference to how easy (and accurate) it is to use a phone for various tasks – and since the rise of services like Facebook and Twitter comes into its own every day. By far the best bit of the blackberry is the “it just works” factor. You set it, then forget it. It will just keep streaming your e-mail in, and it is still my preferred tool for using with twitter (I use the Ubersocial client). Since the blackberry also has respectable battery life, I can not worry about charging it daily even with reasonable usage, so it is also the trusty standby for those times where I do defeat the already brilliant Atrix battery.

– HP Elitebook 8530w

Technically a work laptop, rather than mine, but it gets used a LOT. Pretty much every single day, and I’ve had it for years now. Still rock solid, fast as you like and copes with my demanding needs. By current standards it is a bit out of date – it doesn’t have any of the “i3/5/7” series of processors, and is currently sat on 4GB RAM with no SSD. But there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it – it runs day in, day out. It’s taken flights, it has been dropped, but it works just fine. The saddest thing is that HP don’t have an equivalent I can look at right now – the last 3 times I’ve tried to replace it, I’ve sent the new laptops back as they’re just not as robust. Oh and if you care, I run Windows 7 Enterprise on it, alongside the usual Office 2010 and then quite a lot of other tools, from Adobe Creative Suite to Music Editing software, it’s all crammed on.


Before anyone worries, that’s not the entire collection, just the items I thought I’d highlight :-)

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