If I had a few thousand dollars for each gadget, and I was starting out with nothing, what would I buy? If you are looking for some technology for this fall, or are just curious about what I think the latest and greatest things are, then you’ll hopefully enjoy this post.
I’ve owned laptops from various manufacturers. I’ve owned two Dells, two MacBook Pro’s, an IBM and a Lenovo laptop, and used an ASUS, HP and LG laptop. My current machine is a 13-inch MacBook Pro, and the only thing wrong with it for my needs is the operating system. I think I would be happier if I had installed Windows 7 Pro on it natively. I should mention that I bought the base model and upgraded the RAM to 8GB myself.
So if I was going to buy a new laptop today, I would purchase another MacBook Pro. Ideally, I would go for one of their 15-inch options so that I could get a discreet graphics card to better play the odd game. I would also install Windows 7 Pro or Windows 8 on it and be able to play most of the games I enjoy with my family and friends.
The reason I like the MacBook Pro over other hardware manufacturers currently is because of the durability. The unibody aluminum construction is amazing. The keyboard feels nice. The touchpad works well, and unlike almost all PC manufacturers trackpads, I am not moving the mouse all over the place or accidentally clicking in random spots as I type on the keyboard. It works really well, and the screen looks great.
The 15-inch: 2.4GHz with Retina Display is $2200 currently while the base model 13-inch (non-retina), similar to what I have is $1200. I would then have to pay another $200 for a license of Windows and about $100 for a RAM upgrade to get the base model from 4GB to 8GB. I highly recommend this if you are a million-tab web browser user like myself.
My Choice: MacBook Pro
For me, the answer is custom. Why would you go for anything else? Shop the sales and get yourself something that fits your needs and budget. I understand that you could save money by buying an OEM grey box machine, but they always cut corners somewhere. The only outside that rule would be some of the machines that NCIX builds specially. They have some computers they’ve put together that would be really nice to own.
If I couldn’t buy a custom machine or for some reason I couldn’t purchase through NCIX, I would probably go with an HP Envy Phoenix 800-089 right now. It is $1400, and includes Windows 8, Intel Core i7-4770K, 12GB RAM, 2TB hard drive space, and the Nvidia GeForce GTX 645 graphics card with 2GB dedicated memory. It would be good enough for most of what I would do. I find that like many OEM’s they cheap out on the power supply and the video card, so I would probably replace those as soon as my budget allowed.
My Choice: HP Envy Phoenix
This is probably the hardest item on this list because it is so personal and I am not really happy with any of the options currently available in the cell phone market. I have a Samsung Galaxy S3 and it is fast, easy to use, and customizable, but like with most non-Apple smartphones, the battery life sucks.
After using Annie’s iPhone fairly often, I know I wouldn’t be happy with that device. Almost all the things I do are linked to Google and so it just works better having their phone operating system. Also, I don’t think I could live without some kind of Swype style text input at this point.
I would probably select the Samsung Galaxy S4. It is $200 on a two year contract or $700 if you don’t want a contract.
It is a nice upgrade to the device I purchased. It has many gimmicks that I’d suggest turning off in the settings once you get comfortable with the device, but that’s almost another article. If you can get a Google Play Edition of the phone, then you’ll be running stock Android OS and get updates faster than those that don’t have the Google Play Edition.
One thing that anyone looking for a cell phone this fall should consider when heading towards an Android device is if it has an SD card slot. Expandable storage is super nice. It is like getting more phone than you originally paid for at a very low cost.
My Choice: Samsung Galaxy S4
How could I not pick the Canon 70D? I haven’t even really seen any real reviews or image samples from the camera, but it seems like something I’d really enjoy taking pictures with. Not that my current Canon T3i is any slouch. At the end of the day, I would probably pick the Canon T3i, T4i or T5i right now and spend any extra left over cash on getting lenses. Lenses are the most important part of DSLR photography.
A Canon T3i with kit lens, 75-300mm USM starter lens and a small kit bag can be had for as low as $750. A Canon T5i with a kit lens and a 40mm f/2.8 prime lens can be had for $900. These are some great cameras.
For those that are curious, the Canon 70D with 18-135mm IS STM kit lens is $1650.
My Choice: Canon 70D
Despite reports that they are having some software driver issues, I would probably purchase the Google Nexus 7 32GB 2013 edition. It has some nice hardware, in a small package.
I’m tied to the Google ecosystem, like most people are tied to the Apple one, and so it makes sense for me. It probably wouldn’t be a popular opinion with my boss, and I have nothing but good things to say about an iPad and a bluetooth keyboard, but I’m just more of an Android guy. I say this despite mostly enjoying my time on Annie’s iPad over the last two weeks. It is super durable, but just too costly.
A 32GB Nexus 7 would set you back $270 currently.
My Choice: Google Nexus 7
I hope you enjoyed my quick look at the gadgets I’d buy today. Of course, none of these are pie in the sky, crazy choices. I could have looked at computers worth upwards of ten thousand dollars, or high end camera equipment priced the same, but how would that help anyone?