Everybody has a handful of items that they simply couldn't do without — whether tech or otherwise. I'm a writer and videographer by trade and a musician by hobby, and the things I use on a daily basis reflect that; from my backpack to my headphones of choice and various music equipment, these are the material objects that I cherish most.
- The bag of my dreams: Peak Design Everyday Backpack 20L
- A camera that makes phone calls: Google Pixel 3
- Silent bliss: Sony WH1000XM2
- Track song ideas from anywhere: Apogee Jam+
- Tiny, portable MIDI controller: ROLI Lightpad Block M
- Console-grade gaming from anywhere: Nintendo Switch
This might sound familiar if you've read one of my gear guides before, but even though it was released back in 2016, I'm still in love with my Everyday Backpack. It holds everything I need for a work trip, including all of my video gear, and I love the convenient side access. I'm also not sure how I ever lived without side handles on my backpacks. This bag is expensive, but it's well worth the investment if you ask me.
The Pixel 3 has gotten a lot of early flack, but it's still my favorite phone of the year. I love the size, and I'm so glad Google is finally back to embracing wireless charging. Of course, the biggest reason to buy a Pixel is for the cameras, and they're exactly as good as you've been told. The ultra-wide front camera is great for group selfies, and features like Night Sight make the rear camera just staggering.
I never got around to grabbing the newer 1000XM3s, but Sony's last-gen noise-canceling headphones are still an absolute must-have for me. Having great Bluetooth headphones is always a plus, and the noise-canceling is a godsend on long flights and train rides. I do most of my writing in coffee shops, and they do a great job at blocking out background noises there, too. I've probably used my 1000XM2s more than any other piece of tech this year.
Most of the time when I'm not working, I'm playing guitar, and while I have a nice stationary recording setup at home, you never know when a great idea will hit you. I try to make sure I always have an easy way of tracking songs from anywhere, and the Apogee Jam+ has been essential to making that possible. I can plug my guitar directly into my computer and record straight into Logic, using plugins for amps and effects. I'll usually re-record those tracks with better equipment later, but honestly plugins have gotten so good lately that I'm pretty happy with this setup on its own.
Keeping with the goal of portable music production, I absolutely love my ROLI Block M. It's a small, pressure-sensitive touchpad that acts as a MIDI controller with your DAW of choice. ROLI includes a pretty big library of preset sounds that are specifically made to react to different velocities, and it's my favorite creation tool when I'm on a long flight. Best of all, it uses USB-C, so I don't have to bring any special cables with me to use it.
I'm not a hardcore gamer by any means, but I've fallen in love with my Switch over the last few months. It might not be as powerful as my Xbox One, but that doesn't bother me in the slightest when the tradeoff is that I can take Skyrim, Zelda, or my most recent nostalgic obsession, Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu, with me anywhere. Ever since the most recent Nintendo Direct, there's a huge influx of major titles coming to the Switch that I couldn't be more excited for, and it's quickly become my favorite console of recent memory.
I've gone through a lot of tech in the last year, but these are the things that have stuck with me and become a major part of my daily life. They all serve different purposes, but they're all equally important to me — though if I had to recommend just one item to people, I'd strongly suggest considering Sony's noise-canceling headphones. I love my 1000XM2s, but the newer 1000XM3s are even better.
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