My Tech: January 2017

Technology has become an integral part of day-to-day life. No matter what we do or where we go, technology is present. Phones, tablets, watches, home appliances and even cars all seem to have smart technology in them. The type of tech you use and how you use it is a personal thing. We choose products that work best for us, and what we like and use may be totally different to what someone else chooses. I thought it would be a cool idea to share what I use and why I use it. This is: “My Tech: January 2017.”

Let’s start with mobile. This is the tech I’ve chosen to rely on when I’m out and about with nothing else to fall back on. For something that evolved from a relatively simple device, something that made and received calls, the mobile phone has become one of the most popular devices you can buy! They’re used not just for personal communication, but computing as well. Almost all the tasks once performed on a PC are now done on a smartphone or tablet.

 

Phone

My current daily driver is the Google Pixel XL. Android has, is and always will be my operating system of choice. It suits my needs better than any other OS could. The Pixel has certainly been a controversial device. Some love it, others hate it. It’s the marmite of the Android world. Personally, I love it. I upgraded from a Nexus 6P and this experience is on a pixelxlwhole new level. It isn’t just fast, it’s consistently so! I have almost 300 apps installed on mine and it hasn’t slowed down one bit.

It has the best camera I have ever used. It takes amazing shot after amazing shot with great detail and stunning dynamic range. The unlimited original quality backup is a plus too! Battery life is insane, even with my heavy usage I still get close to 6 hours screen time
and plenty of standby. In the few months I’ve used it, there has been only one time that I’ve charged it before going to bed. You can read more on my Pixel experience here.

 

Smartwatch

Android is at home on my wrist as well as in my hand. I don’t want a watch that performs all the functions my phone does. That’s not the point of a smartwatch for me. I want it to be an extension of my phone, not a replacement. Android wear brings all the important information I need and makes it available at a glance. I don’t want to get my phone out every time I get a new message. Wear allows me to read the message easily and either send a quick reply, or instruct my phone to open it for a more detailed response. That way I only get my phone out when I need to. This applies to so much more than messages. Music, navigation and fitness tracking are so good on Android Wear.

psx_20160706_114444My Wear device of choice is the 2nd gen Moto 360. I could’ve gone with the Huawei Watch, but having to manually adjust screen brightness is a big turn off for me. I prefer living with the “flat tyre.” The battery life is pretty good on the 360. I have the screen set to always on, and I get to bed with around 50% left. I’ve never been one for wearing watches in bed so putting it in the cradle at night is no big deal for me. I like using it as a bedside clock when I’m in bed. The performance has always been good and having it keep track of my heart rate as well as steps is something I wouldn’t give up.

 

 

Tablet

Tablets are a touchy subject. Many people view them as a total waste of time, something that should die. I’m in the minority who love using a tablet though. I find the form factor is invaluable for jotting down some article ideas, or even writing the whole thing when I’m out and about.

pixelcMy tablet is the Pixel C with keyboard. I love it in the same way I love my Pixel XL. It’s fast, even after a year. I get over a week standby time with light use, maybe 5 or 6 hours screen time. If I do push it hard, I’ll get 9 or 10 hours screen time in a day. The deciding factor with this tablet is the software though. While Android isn’t perfect on tablets, it’s nowhere near as bad as people claim. The apps have gotten a lot better and the multiwindow built into Nougat is amazing! I get so much done with that device including; Blog maintenance, image editing, gaming, movie watching and reading. Honestly it is one of the nicest tablets I’ve owned, especially compared to the Nexus 9! Now we’re done with mobile, so let’s move on.

 

Computing

When I need something bigger or more powerful workstation than the Pixel C, I have a trusty HP laptop running Windows 10 and Ubuntu. We got it 2012 so it’s old, but it’s still powerful enough. It was their flagship laptop upon release and it survived the upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10!

It’s a 17” laptop with a full island keyboard, fingerprint scanner and Beats Audio as HP owned Beats back in the day. Unlike Beats headphones, these aren’t overrated at all. It has six speakers dotted around the sides, front and bottom as well as a full on subwoofer! The bass on this thing is unbelievable.

Those things, as well as reasonably solid gaming quality mean I am loathed to get rid of it. Instead, I’d like to get something a little smaller and lighter for less demanding tasks. I mean, this laptop weighs 6.5lbs!

 

Gaming

I’ve always been a bit of a gamer, more so now than ever before. I started with the original PlayStation and now I’ve owned every generation of it. I love my PS4. I love the sleek, angular design. I love how fast and smooth it is. I love the controller. I could carry on for at least an hour. The only thing I don’t like it how loud the fan can be. They clearly sacrificed cooling for the small body. But that’s only a small niggle. My main games are Star Wars Battlefront and No Man’s Sky. Horizon Zero Dawn will likely make that list as well next month.

I game on the laptop as well. Mainly old titles like KOTOR and KOTOR 2. Then there’s the Nvidia Shield TV that I have in the living room. Although it has great gaming potential, I only use it for Android TV honestly. I do have the controller, but it came with it and I wouldn’t have bought it separately. I do love Android TV  though. The way it integrates with services like Spotify, Play Movies and Netflix is great.

 

Music

Most of the time I listen to music in the car, using my phone as the media player. It might be an old Vauxhall Corsa B, but it was one of the top models in 2000 and came with an expensive stereo upgrade. It actually sounds better than the system in the family’s 2009 Passat, so that’s saying something.

When I’m not in the car, I use various headphones. Mostly I use my Sennheiser earbuds around the house and a cheap pair of bluetooth buds when I’m out walking. They don’t offer the best quality, but they’re more than adequate for casual listening. If I want to experience something at the best quality, then I use the laptop.

 

Photos

img_20160224_165431I take quite a lot of photos. Most of the time I use the trusty Pixel XL which, as I’ve said, has a killer camera! But when I need something that has a proper zoom or a higher megapixel count, I use a Sony QX10. It snaps on the back of my Pixel and connects via WiFi. It has a great 18mp sensor with 10x optical zoom. It isn’t the best camera in the world, but it does everything I need it to!

So that’s it! That’s the tech I use on a daily basis. Nothing too fancy, but it suits my needs just fine. Some things might be due an upgrade this year, but we’ll take that as it comes. What do you think of the devices I’ve mentioned? Do you think there are better alternatives, or do you want to know anything about them? Be sure to get in touch through one of the social links!

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