WILW: Our Favorite Tech
For this What I Love Wednesday, I wanted to share some of the accessories we like to use on a regular basis with our laptop, desktop, and iPad.
What We Use with our MacBook Pro (2018)
Ries and I both had MacBooks from 2010, and unfortunately, they both died this summer. Which was terrible timing, given he was about to start a Master’s Program in Human-Computer Interaction and Design and I was starting an online web development bootcamp. Both of those kind of require a computer, so we found ourselves in a tricky situation.
We did a lot of research trying to decide between a new MacBook and a PC laptop, and asked a lot of people what they thought of their devices. To be honest, no one was happy with their laptop, but the PC laptops really seemed to fall apart after a year.
We bought our MacBook with the student bundle, and ended up getting a pair of BeatsX earphones with it for free. I’ve heard mixed reviews on the BeatsX—I’ve heard they don’t last very long and stop working after a couple months or don’t hold a charge very long, but we’ve had ours since September 2018 and haven’t had any issues with them.
They are our first pair of “wireless” headphones and I have to say that I really like them. I primarily use them while studying, which doesn’t require wireless headphones, but they have also been really helpful for phone calls (so you can move around with both hands free) and the first time I went on a run with them was actually life changing. (Wrapping my wired headphones in a specific way around my clothes into a zippered pocket is a ritual that usually takes at least four minutes to get right.) So these guys have my vote.
Logitech MX Anywhere 2S Wireless Mouse
I’m not a big fan of track pads. Ries has an easier time using them than I do, but we both prefer having a physical mouse. This mouse can connect to your computer via USB port or Bluetooth and is compatible with both Apple and PC computers. We’ve been really happy with it so far.
Procase Hardshell Cover
I bought a Speck shell for my first MacBook, and it really protected my laptop and kept the exterior looking nice. I really rely on user review ratings when purchasing an item, so when I went to purchase a shell, I was disappointed in the Speck shells and ended up going with ProCase instead.
If you get a new laptop, I highly recommend it, especially if you want to deck your computer out with stickers. It might be okay to put sticker directly on your computer for college, but if you take your computer to an interview or work, it may come off as unprofessional. If you apply the stickers to the shell instead, you can pop this sucker off when it’s time to make a good impression.
We went with red because it’s Ries’ school color, and we try to keep it gender neutral since we share this laptop. The only thing we weren’t impressed with for this item was the keyboard cover that came with it for free. I still need to find a keyboard cover because that keeps the keyboard in good condition (and protects it from grease, food, and some liquid spills.) It also comes in a variety of colors.
What We Use with our 10.5 inch iPad Pro
I bought this iPad back in 2017 when my computer started becoming more unreliable. I didn’t have the money to commit to a new laptop, and I was reluctant to buy one of the MacBooks released at the time, so I ended up trying the tablet route. It’s definitely been useful to have, but I’m unconvinced that a tablet can be used the same way as a laptop or desktop device.
I like this keyboard, but it definitely takes a minute to get used to the compressed keyboard size. I recently saw someone out in town using a regular sized Bluetooth keyboard and had their iPad propped up with a case or stand, and that seemed like a better route if you can find a keyboard that is compatible with the iPad. They have released new keyboards for the larger iPad Pro series, so those may be better than this one (I believe this was the first iteration.)
When I bought my iPad, I had no idea what I was going to use it for, but I knew I wanted an Apple Pencil. I’m really glad I bought it, and I use it for notes and doodles in Adobe Sketch and Procreate.
Because this was the first Apple Pencil, there are a lot of drawbacks to it. It’s completely cylindrical, which means it rolls away easily (mine rolled off my table and onto the floor without my noticing until I was about to leave the cafe I was working in.) and the cap that covers the charging port is not attached to anything and pops off easily, making it easy to lose.
It looks like they’ve addressed both of these issues with the new Apple Pencil that is compatible with the new iPad Pros. But I don’t plan on purchasing a new tablet any time in the near future.
One of the biggest issues with using a tablet in place of a laptop is that the apps are simply not where they need to be right now. A lot of apps are only available for iPhone, while other are available for tablet, but are not functional in the capacity I want them or need them to be. I am going to note that there are a few apps that work really well for iPad.
Google apps. (Calendar, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drive, etc.)
Movies Anywhere. We recently took all those little digital movie slips we’ve been collecting for years and added them to our digital library in Apple, which is then imported to Movies Anywhere, which is an app owned by the Walt Disney Company. We can save movies on the iPad for car rides (Gus doesn’t do well in the car) and we can also stream it to our television using our Chrome Cast. The only issue is that sometimes there is a lag between pausing it on the iPad and the movie pausing on the TV. I’m hoping this improves.
What We Use with our Desktop
Ries bought a custom designed gaming PC when he got back from Afghanistan as a “Congratulations, you’re alive” gift to himself. When we downsized to a smaller apartment, the gaming PC went in storage (in our pantry) and we only got it back out a couple weeks ago when we got a standing desk. The computer tower is currently on our kitchen counter, which is ugly, but it’s out of Gus’ reach. It’s temporarily retired from it’s role as a gaming computer and is serving as a second computer for us to use for class.
LINKSYS USB DUAL-BAND NETWORK ADAPTER
One downside about the gaming rig is that we thought we would always be able to hardwire it. That’s not the case in this apartment, especially with a toddler, so we ended up purchasing a USB adapter that makes the computer Wifi compatible. Most people probably don’t have this problem, but this was our first step to making the PC usable for our needs.
Arteck Wireless Keyboard
The keyboard we had for the gaming PC was quite bulky and we wanted to be able to use the laptop on the standing desk as well, so we decided to purchase a wireless keyboard that we could remove from the desk if we were using the laptop and not the PC at the standing desk. We’ve only had this keyboard for two weeks now maybe, but I really like it, and prefer it to both the Smart keyboard we have for the iPad, and the built in keyboard on our MacBook (we have to take that to the Apple store to be looked at—it has a tendency of throwing extra letters in while we’re typing and if you’re a programmer, you can likely understand the level of fury I experience on a regular basis (like every time I type an r or a vowel.) This keyboard is the closest thing to a real keyboard that I’ve experienced yet. It’s good stuff.
What are some of your favorite tech accessories?
This post is not sponsored. These are items we use and enjoy using.
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-A & R, Intercoastals