This has been one crazy year as I have been changing my gadgets like how women change their shoes and purses! I would say that in the past 6 months, almost all of my gadgets have been refreshed and a lot of it has to do with the way I work. I used to work at home and in the office more often but now I’m out in the field quite a bit so I need a lot of power (I’m talking both batteries and system performance) on the go these days. 2011 wasn’t really an impressive year, but 2012 has been a great leap for mobile tech for both work and play. This is what I have been working with recently…
Note: Some of the excerpts have been taken from the The Geeks Top Gadgets of 2011 article.
MacBook Air 11″ 2012 i7
Up until recently, I was working with a MacBook Pro 15″ at home connected to an Apple Thunderbolt Display, a MacBook Air 11″ 2010 C2D when I’m on the go, and an iPad 2 while in bed or when I have to do some quick work on the weekends. I really loved my MacBook Pro for it’s power when I had to do some large encoding projects and for playing games. I also loved the MacBook Air when I need to do some work on the field or when I’m traveling. With Apple’s recent release of their notebook product lines that are running on Ivy Bridge and USB 3.0, it was time to consolidate my equipment. I was really tempted to go for the new Retina MacBook Pro 15″ which was thinner than its predecessors and has a screen that is second to none but in my situation, I needed something even more portable without too much sacrifice in power.
The Ivy Bridge MacBook Air 11″ i7 is the solution to my needs since it is a notebook small enough to go traveling with and powerful enough run applications such as Aperture, PhotoShop, Final Cut, and Parallels with Windows 7. The design hasn’t really changed much since 2010 but that’s not really a bad thing at all. Under the under the hood we have an Intel Ivy Bridge chipset with a 2.0Ghz Processor, 8GB of RAM at 1600mhz, 256GB SSD Hard drive, USB 3.0, Thunderbolt Port, and an Intel HD 4000 Graphics card that’s decent enough for some gaming. I also have the Air hooked up to my Thunderbolt Display at home so it works perfectly fine as my main computer. I do indeed miss my MacBook Pro at times but I never really utilized all of it’s raw power and to me portability is a priority and the MacBook Air i7 has both for my needs.
iPhone 4S 32GB
Let’s not beat around the bush. The iPhone 4S has set the bar for smartphones these days no matter how much you love or hate Apple. A lot of us are bored with iOS and quite a bit of us are disappointed that the upcoming iOS6 is somewhat of a lame upgrade that should have been called iOS 5.2! I’ve played with the Samsung Galaxy S3 and the HTC One X / Evo LTE which are both excellent products (HTC is better in my opinion) but find myself coming back to the iPhone for it’s build quality, apps, and integration with the OSX and iOS ecosystem.
Just about everything that I do on my Mac, I do on my iPhone when I don’t have it with me. A lot of the apps that are available on the iPhone these days can substitute and are very close to replacing the functions of a computer. I use the iPhone to send off quick e-mails, update reports, and stay in touch with my staff when I’m working. The iPhone 4S also provides a lot of entertainment with all the apps available for it with games such as Angry Birds and it functions very well as a media player. I also use this for day to day things such as an alarm clock, a navigation device, calendar, etc. The camera on the iPhone 4S has completely replaced my trusty shoot camera because of how good it takes photos.
Armed with a faster dual core A5 processor, excellent 8MP camera, and of course the voice operated assistant Siri, the iPhone has set the bar for other competitors to
iPad 3 16GB 4G/LTE
The iPad does just about everything a netbook could do and surprisingly better. Now with the ultra-sharp high resolution retina display, the screens of other devices look like garbage. I have the iPad on my nightstand to surf the web and read the news in bed. I used to use my notebook and netbook to do that but it was awkward and cumbersome. Powered by the A5X chip, the iPad3 can run intense games and blazing fast speeds. I also use the app Stream to Me to watch all my downloaded media such as movies and anime on the iPad. I love how it supports just about all video formats from Xvid to MKVs with subtitles! On weekday mornings, I use the iPad to take to the dining table to send off e-mails while I’m eating breakfast. This is also great to take on the plane as well especially with the great battery life to read eBooks and magazines. Plus the fact that it weighs about a 1lb and it’s very thin, I can toss it into a notebook bag or backpack to take anywhere.
After two iPad generations of going WiFi only and using a MiFi on the go, i finally broke down and decided to get the 4G/LTE iPad so I have one less thing to carry.Throw in a Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard and you have the next best thing to a MacBook Air for portable computing especially with the awesome 8 hour battery life, instant on, and mobile internet on the go!
Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation
Don’t you hate situations where your phone or tablet is about to run out of battery and you don’t have an outlet accessible to you where you are? Happens in the worst moments, especially out in the road, in a conference room, on the train, or in flight when you need to complete a project or do something much more urgent than killing pigs in space. The Mophie Juicepack Powerstation can get you extra hours out of your phone or tablet and it’s about the same size and weight of an iPhone. Simply plug in the USB cable to charge and you’ll be able to watch a couple of episodes of Game of Thrones. The Juicepack rtails for $79.99 and yes I know that there are a lot cheaper solutions but so far this is the most stylish and conveniently design battery pack out there so it’s worth paying the extra $20 dollars for it.
Apple Thunderbolt Display 27″
Last year, I had my MacBook Pro on a Henge Dock which was connected to a 22″ HP LCD Display which worked great but was always impressed with the Apple Thunderbolt Display and the iMac 27″ at the Apple Store. I finally got a great deal on the Thunderbolt Display on Craigslist and after using it for almost half a year already, there’s just no way I’m going back to any other monitor lower than 2560 x 1440 resolution. I’m so spoiled by this that now every other computer monitor I look it feels small and has inferior display quality! The Thunderbolt Display is also the best docking solution money can buy as you can hook up your Thunderbolt capable Mac and have it charged and get extra USB, Thunderbolt, and Firewire ports! The built in 2.1 speakers also have decent sound quality so if you are limited on space, this is definitely the way to go. If you can afford the premium price or find a deal on this display, I highly recommend it!