I firmly believe that technology should enrich and enable our lives, so it’s no surprise that I use a lot of technology in my life. Some of these gadgets are for personal use. Some are for work, and others are just for fun, but here’s a list of the top tech toys that I discovered or started using in 2011.
1. T-Mobile G2 – I got this phone in November of 2010, and it’s been an awesome device. After I rooted it, overclocked it, and put HTC’s Sense user interface on it, it’s been a killer phone. The slide-out keyboard is really what makes it for me, plus having a real camera button.
2. Apple iPad 2 – I tried desperately to use a few different Android-powered tablets, but I just couldn’t. Honeycomb might’ve been built for tablets, but it sucks to use full time. The iPad can’t do half the things I did with my Android tablets, but what it does do is miles better.
3. Apple iPod Classic – I tried for literally years to duplicate two simple functions with various software solutions on various smartphones, and I just couldn’t. Given the size of my music library, I needed a portable solution that can sync playcounts/times and star ratings from desktop to mobile and back again. I finally broke down and bought an iPod Classic and couldn’t love it more. It doesn’t have apps or all that nonsense, but it does precisely what I need it to, and it does that well.
4. Xbox 360 w/ Kinect – after a few years of not even having a TV in the house (no kidding), I finally got one, along with an Xbox 360 w/ Kinect. The media experience with this thing is awesome, especially with the dashboard update that came late in 2011 and brought speech recognition throughout most of the software. I can literally tell my TV that I want to watch Modern Family without ever touching a remote control. Awesome.
5. Nokia BH-905i – these headphones are just plain awesome. Most of the time I use them wired to my iPod or iPad, but they also have stereo Bluetooth, which connects easily to my laptop. They also have active noise-cancellation technology, so I can watch a movie while Reese screams her brains out (or plays noisily with her toys….) and not miss a thing. Even when the house is empty, I’ll put these bad boys on and just disappear into the music.
6. Bose In-Ear Headphones – I got my first pair of these at the Nokia: Go Play event and bought a replacement pair two years later. These are my everyday earbuds, and I love them because I can have my music as loud as I want and no one around me can hear it. They’re brilliant for listening to music in public, as well as at my desk at work. They’re pricey, but I haven’t found any other headphones that fit as good.
7. Angelcare monitor – I lost a cousin to SIDS when I was a kid, so having a good nighttime monitor with the heartbeat pad is priceless. This unit also has video, which is cool. I have a full review coming soon.
8. Enercell Portable Power – this is similar to the Proporta units that I’ve loved for years, but it’s available at any RadioShack, and it’s a bit smaller. Other than that, it’s the same – huge battery cased in plastic with USB-out. I don’t travel with less than two in my bag.
9. Chumby One – I don’t remember how long I’ve had this, but I know I got it off Woot. I didn’t really use it until I talked with the Chumby guy at the NY Maker Faire, who told me I could get it to automatically change ‘channels’ if I used alarms. So brilliant, it now automatically loads Pandora in the morning and Groove Salad when I get home from work. Excellent.
That’s it – I originally started this with the idea to do ten, but I could only come up with nine, so it’s your turn. Let me know your top tech toy in the comments below.