Mobileread
Favorite Gadgets of 2019
#1  leebase 12-19-2019, 03:43 PM
Time for those "year end" wrap up stories. I bought a few tech things this year...and was pleased by all of them.

The new (5th gen?) iPad Mini is my favorite of the year. I'd been hanging onto my iPad Air 2 for long enough that the battery was down to "needing to be charged every night". And while I liked the 9.7" form factor, I hadn't been developing any iPad apps and really didn't need full size any more. Reading, watching YouTube, photo editing, social media and web browsing. So I decided to go for the mini because it had just been upgraded.

Super nice screen...very light....and I got it with 256gig which is one step up from the base. Now I have plenty of storage for when I go on trips...to download movies and tv shows. So much so....that I've pretty much eliminated the use case I had for my Amazon Fire HD 8. A device I bought last year and is still going strong...and wasn't updated this year.

But I did pick up the Walmart ONN 8" tablet for $64 (regular price, no ads). It comes with Stock Android 9.0 plus a few Walmart apps. I've been very pleased with it. It's pretty much the same experience as the Amazon Fire HD 8...only cheaper price, no ads...and no "Amazon Fire" skin. I'd be really thrilled if I hadn't bought the iPad Mini which, like I said, kinda took away my need for a cheap android tablet with memory expansion.

The thing that would keep me in the Amazon tablet camp would be the option for 32gig ram. There is only the 16gig version for the Walmart ONN. And I've learned that having an external memory card slot doesn't mean as much as you might think.....as not everything can be installed on the external card. And anything that is installed on the external card runs slower. It's best if you just put media (books, music, movie, tv shows) on the card and buy enough internal storage to allow you to install all the apps you want. Still, $64 for an Android 9.0 device was worth it.

Bought the Airpods Gen 2. I love these. Not surprising as I loved the originals and my battery in those was already compromised. However....if I had known that Airpods PRO were going to be released in the fall, I would have waited. Still...next to my iPhone and iPad mini, my Airpods are my most used device. Great for calls...'just fine' for sound quality....and super convenient.

Visible mobile service. It's a $40/month "all you can eat" mobile service that uses Verizon. I have Sprint on my phone, but it doesn't work everywhere....but I can't afford Verizon all the time. So when I go on a trip or vacation, I turn on Visible (it's pay as you go). I got a cheap Android phone with it for $19 that I use solely as a hotspot (though it works just fine as a phone.

I got a HooToo portable router/battery all in one. Very nice. I don't use it a lot...but when I do, it's great to have. The Visible service only allows you to connect 1 device to it's hotspot. I connect this router and then can share that one connection with my iPhone and iPad and laptop.

It's also nice for connecting to a hotel wifi....and then I can use my Raspberry Pi 4 headless.

Which brings me to the Raspberry Pi 4....a "computer on a card" device that costs $35-$55 depending if you want 1,2 or 4gig ram. $99 for a kit that has everything you need except a monitor, keyboard and mouse. Which is a real problem when you travel without a monitor because you can't see to setup with wifi. But with Hootoo portable router, I've already setup the Raspberry Pi at home....and so once the HooToo is connected to the hotel wifi, so is the Raspberry Pi. And I just remote in from my laptop.

What is it? It's a linux computer...with 40 pins that you can use in all kinds of DIY electronics projects. I just use it as a computer. A test bed to play with Linux and any time I might want to do something that I wouldn't want to expose my regular computer to danger. You can use your imagination.

You have young people that you can't afford to give a computer too...but you can afford $100 and have monitor/keyboard laying around....it's a great tool for introduction to computers and programing.

And then there's the iPhone 11 Pro. It is a nice camera upgrade. Super great screen. A little heavier than before which I notice when reading books. Fantastic battery life. Was it worth upgrading from the iPhone X? Only if you care enough about the photography. Which I do. I definitely have gotten shots I could not have with an older iPhone. I think most people would be phone with the iPhone 11 at $300 cheaper and missing the third (2x telephoto) camera. For me....$300 for a telephoto lens is something that's in the ball park from a photographer's pov (I've spent more on some of my lenses than I spent on the iPhone).

I didn't get any Android phone this year, opting for the Walmart tablet to get an Android 9.0 device.

I bought a second HomePod but I don't get to open it until Christmas. I love the first one which I bought for $350. I got the new one on black friday special for only $199. They are supposed to be much better as a pair. Looking forward to finding out.
Reply 

#2  CWatkinsNash 12-19-2019, 04:23 PM
Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8" - Purchased because I love my 10" Tab A and wanted to add a smaller version for convenience when traveling. This is the 2017 model, which I bought before the 2019 models came out. And I'm glad, because the new ones are designed to hit a lower price point and they just aren't as strong as the previous gen, spec-wise. They're still good tablets, but I did better getting the previous gen tablets on sale than buying the new ones.

Seagate 1TB portable hard drive - As it says on the tin. Not exciting, but I was due for a new portable HDD.

KZ ZSN Hybrid Driver Earbuds - I LOVE these! They aren't to everyone's taste but they're perfect for me, as they actually stay in my ears (something I've always struggled with) and they have a nice, clear sound.

Letsfit Rechargeable Sound Machine - a white noise machine with 8 different sounds that have sliders so you can mix them. I like the rainstorm mixed with a little bit of bubbling brook. Charges in a couple of hours via USB, runs for about 8 on a charge.

My most important gadget buy this year - I finally upgraded my phone. I bought a Moto G7 Power and they aren't kidding about the battery life. I'm a light-to-moderate user and I only need to charge it about every 9 days. It replaced a Moto G4, which only went around 4 days or so even when it was new. It's also a really solid phone aside from the battery life. Responsive, good camera, good feature set, nice screen, though I'm still getting used to having one this big.

My most recent purchase isn't actually here yet. It's an HP Sprocket portable photo printer that's being delivered tomorrow. I've been wanting to add little photos to my journal so I finally bought one after being indecisive about it for months.
Reply 

#3  tomsem 12-19-2019, 05:28 PM
Ditto on iPad mini 4.

My Fire HD 8 sits idle, but that was true for awhile (since getting iPhone 10s).

I feel like I need some sort of Android device, just to keep up with what it is like these days (my only Android device is 5 years old and running Lollipop I think, and horribly slow at it). The Walmart ONN sounds interesting (and at $60, not much at stake), wonder if it is going to get upgrade to Android 10?

OTOH, can get BLU phone with 6” AMOLED screen for $200, supposed to get 10.0 update. I’d probably use that more.
Reply 

#4  Uncle Robin 12-19-2019, 06:33 PM
(Xiaomi) Pocophone for me and Mi Max 3 for my wife. Both are outstanding value for money, especially since bleeding edge camera greatness is not important to either of us. I'm actively trying to buy less and to decrease my consumerism generally, but my Huawei M3 tablet is starting to show signs of age, so I may need to buy a replacement next year. Probably a Lenovo Tab P10.
Reply 

#5  Sirtel 12-19-2019, 07:24 PM
Three new ereaders: Nook Glowlight Plus, Kindle Oasis 3 and Kobo Libra H2O.

A new Lenovo 25'' monitor with a bluetooth keyboard and a cordless mouse (bought it as a replacement for the monitor I was given from my office a couple of years ago, which had a very poor screen)

A new Western Digital 8TB network drive (a replacement for the one my cat broke this summer).

My laptop and phone got both replaced in 2018, so I expect them to last for a while yet. My Surface tablet was bought in 2016 and is still going strong. I have no need for multiple tablets.
Reply 

#6  ilovejedd 12-19-2019, 08:32 PM
Just received the Kobo Libra H2O and so far I'm loving it. Only wish it came with a 32GB option as I really do like the size for manga. Maybe I'd splurge on a 32GB Forma next year. That one's still lightweight despite its size and weight was really my primary gripe with the iPad mini 5 for single-handed usage (~200g Forma, Libra H2O, Paperwhite versus ~300g iPad mini makes quite a difference).

Did get a new iPad Air 3. Battery life's a very nice improvement over my aged Pro 9.7. That's one awesome side effect of having a relatively low power phone chipset paired with a humongous battery.
Reply 

#7  leebase 12-19-2019, 10:10 PM
Quote tomsem
Ditto on iPad mini 4.

My Fire HD 8 sits idle, but that was true for awhile (since getting iPhone 10s).

I feel like I need some sort of Android device, just to keep up with what it is like these days (my only Android device is 5 years old and running Lollipop I think, and horribly slow at it). The Walmart ONN sounds interesting (and at $60, not much at stake), wonder if it is going to get upgrade to Android 10?

OTOH, can get BLU phone with 6” AMOLED screen for $200, supposed to get 10.0 update. I’d probably use that more.
I doubt the Walmart ONN tablet will get updated. Walmart doesn't appear to be serious about being in the tablet business. Was hard to find a case for it until recently. But, it is Android 9.0.

I have 2 BLU phones. Used to buy one cheap Android phone each year to get the new Android and BLU is nice for that. However, there has NEVER been an update EVEN though they've promised there would be. Buy a BLU phone if it has what you want now...otherwise don't. Look to Nokia for low end Androids that actually get updated.
Reply 

#8  pwalker8 12-20-2019, 08:15 AM
Toys for me this year were an 1 TB iPad Pro 12.9. I got this because I cracked the screen on my old iPad and the battery was starting to not last. I really love it, loads and load of room for all my digital media. The face id is pretty cool as well. I use it for most of my ebook reading.

CarPlay compatible entertainment system for my car. Great for listening to audiobooks in the car. I actually spent more on this than I did my iPad Pro, but I think it was worth it. It's very easy to switch between books and it's not perfect, but it's a lot better than what I was using and is a lot cheaper than buying a new car!

Airpod pros - really nice. I use these mostly when I work out. Very useful, but one does have to remember to be aware of one's surroundings and look behind you when crossing a driveway or street. It's actually effective in a room of screaming 5 and 6 year olds.

iPad Mini - Like Leebase, I upgraded last spring when the new one came out. This is my stick in my Scotte-vest ebook reader. My ebook app lets me sync with my big iPad, so it's all pretty seamless.
Reply 

#9  Edventon 12-20-2019, 10:02 AM
Quote pwalker8
Toys for me this year were an 1 TB iPad Pro 12.9.
1 TB?! Why do you need this volume of storage on iPad?
Reply 

#10  j.p.s 12-20-2019, 10:19 AM
Quote Edventon
1 TB?! Why do you need this volume of storage on iPad?
640K ought to be enough for anybody.
Reply 

  Next »  Last »  (1/12)
Today's Posts | Search this Thread | Login | Register