Mike B’s Geek Life Essentials [Holiday Guide 2015]

It’s 2015 and we use gadgets everyday. Everyday. As a tech nerd and gadget lover I find myself using a mulititude of different gadgets. While everybody has their own tastes, the gadgets they use tend to be a direct reflection of how they live their lives everyday. Whether it be professionally or recreational, our gadgets also speak to who we are as individuals. It isn’t just the clothes we wear or the kicks we rock daily anymore.

Last year I gave you guys a list of the things that I personally used the most in my daily life and you can check that out HERE. This time around I’ve got new stuff and instead of just showing you what I use everyday, Gstylemag and myself are giving you a guide to the gadgets you should get and use everyday if you wanna live the Geek life. Before we get into it, I just want it to be known that this is only my opinion. You’ll probably see things differently and that’s totally fine but for me these are the essential Geek life must haves for the holiday season and in general.

Moto 360 (2nd Gen)

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Earlier this month I wrote my experience as a first time smartwatch owner. Coincidentally that smartwatch happened to be the Moto 360 2nd Gen by Motorola. It’s a great functional piece of tech and also a great looking watch. It’s fully customizable in the Moto Maker on Motorola.com and available in two sizes for male and female at 42 and 46mm respectively, as well as a sport version for the more active person. The Moto 360 can be either a classy watch or a sport watch. Once you connect it to your phone it now becomes an extension of your phone giving you all of your notifications on social media, emails, weather and if you want you can even use Google Now for voice interaction. It’s my personal favorite smartwatch. Sure, there are other notable and comparable smartwatches such as the LG Urbane, Huawei watch, Samsung Gear S2 and the Apple Watch but again the Moto 360 is my favorite. I just like how it looks on my wrist. You sync it to your Android phone or your iPhone (as of recently) via the Android Wear app and you’re good to go. Simple. It starts at $299 and your add-ons add to the cost but you won’t feel cheated. A must have for a smartwatch.

Samsung Note 5 and the iPhone 6S Plus (Rose Gold)

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Ok, this may be a bit cliche but let’s be real. What’s wrong with having the two best smartphones on the market today? Nothing at all. There’s a reason why everybody is walking around with these two phones. They look the best, have the best internal hardware and they’re just premium phones. You can look at the reason to have any one of these phones many different ways but, if you want to look at it just from the just specs we can compare.

20151014_190413The Note 5 has (Android OS, v5.1.1 (Lollipop), 32/64 GB, 4 GB RAM, 16 MP rear camera with OIS, Quad core Exynos processor, Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors, 5.7″) and the iPhone 6S with that beautiful Rose gold has (iOS 9, upgradable to iOS 9.0.2, LED-backlit IPS LCD, capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors, 5.5″, 16/64/128 GB, 2 GB RAM, 12Mp rear facing camera). Both have cameras that take great photos and shoot 4K video. Both phones utilize the best of their respective ecosystem with the Note 5 having the Android Lollipop OS (v5.1), Android Play Store, Android Pay and all of the Google apps (Maps, Music, YouTube). The iPhone 6S is running iOS 9 which is arguably the better ecosystem especially if you have any accompanying Apple products like an iMac, iPad or a Macbook. You can pick up any one of these great phones with your cellphone provider or if you got it like that buy it outright. Typically a contract will start between $199 – $249 and if you buy it outright off contract then the Note 5 will run you $699 for the 32GB model and the iPhone 6S will run you $799 for the 16GB base model

Bowers and Wilkins P5 headphones

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I’m not an audiophile. I’m not. I do know good sound when I hear it though. If you travel as much I do or even leisurely, then you’ll need a good set of headphones that will make your trip a good trip or at the very least make it not so bad. The Bowers and Wilkins P5’s are some of the best headphones to listen to music to.

I’m not going to make the claim that these are the best headphones ever because that’s relative but since I’m giving you my recommendation then I recommend you go out and get these. They’re a bit on the expensive side as far as headphones go with a cost of $299 but when you see the quality in the design and feel the weight and hear the sound then it’ll all make sense. These headphones are very well balanced with just the right amount of bass. Whether you’re listening to Coldplay or the Purple Tape, these headphones give you great sound all of the time. There are other headphones that I rock as well and you may also want to consider, like the Audio Technica ATH-M50X, V-Moda m100 or my sleeper pick the Bose Quietcomfort 25’s.

Chromecast and Chromecast Audio

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This year Google updated the hugely popular Chromecast and then gave us a bonus by creating the new Chromecast audio device as well. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Let me tell you, the Chromecast is Google’s media streaming dongle that allows you to stream Netflix, Youtube, HBOGo and other streaming apps directly to your TV from your phone or PC. Just this month, Google changed the design, upped the specs and made the device a lot cooler and more supportive to higher speed internet. Just connect it to the back of your TV and you’re ready to go.

The Chromecast audio is a unique way to stream your music via wifi to any speaker setup in your home that doesn’t utilize bluetooth or WiFi. So don’t throw out those computer speakers just because you can’t use it with anything else except your PC. Now you can stream your Spotify, Pandora and Rdio playlists to those old speakers or any speakers you like for that matter with the Chromecast Audio. You can pick either device up at any of your favorite retailers or in the Google Play Store for only $35 bucks. Think of it this way, you spend $70 and you can have your whole house connected to great video streaming and music.

Nvidia SHIELD TV

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Just to stay on topic with streaming I’ll take it to the next level of streaming. Then you should seriously consider the NVIDIA SHIELD TV streaming device.

I know I mentioned the Chromecast and you may ask what’s the difference if they both stream, well, here’s the difference. The NVIDIA SHIELD is a powerful game streaming device. It allows you more than just TV and movies. The SHIELD is also an Android device, so you get to also connect with the best elements of your phone as well, such as Google Music and the Google Play Store which lets you port over some of the really cool games that you would normally play on your phone. It’s a great device to have at home for the gamers and streamers. Did I mention it supports 4K? To add to the fun, Nvidia has also added the GeForce subscription service which lets you play even more games for $7.99 a month. SHIELD TV comes in two storage sizes 16Gb and 500Gb respectively and they are priced at $199 (16gb) and $299 (500Gb pro version). Pick one up HERE

Sphero Star Wars BB-8 Droid

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This one isn’t really a device that serves any particular purpose other than to have a little bit of fun and feel like a kid. With a new Star Wars movie coming up in December, everyone is trying to get in on the fan fever and buy their collectibles and costumes but I can assure you that there is NO toy or collectible that is going to have as much value as the BB-8 has. It’s a toy, yes, but it’s also an intricate and complex piece of technology on a miniature scale.

BB-8 uses your phone or iPad’s bluetooth connection to sync and the BB-8 app on your phone (iOS or Android) to give BB-8 it’s function. You can direct BB-8 anywhere either by the app which has a series of commands plus an on screen steering wheel and you can even use your voice. The BB-8 Droid is tons of fun and I have a feeling that if you don’t get one now or soon (meaning before the movie) then you can forget about it. If you do find one after that you can expect pay in the hundreds of dollars for one later on down the line. You can order one here for $149.95 and have your BB-8 at your door just in time for the Star Wars launch.

iMac 4K

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I’m not an Apple fanboy but I am a Machead. I love PC’s as much as I love Macs but for some reason or another I can never resist the allure to keep a Macbook or an iMac on my desk in my apartment. The clean look and design are like no other and although everyone does their best to imitate, it’s never quite good enough. You can imagine my joy when I found out that Apple was finally giving the iMac a 4K refresh. What a way to make the best desktop and all-in-one that much better.

Apple gave the new iMac a spec bump and a newer more refined and lighter keyboard, magic mouse and trackpad with lighting charging now. The new 4K iMac are 21.5″ and pack a 2.8GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost up to 3.3GHz, 8GB of onboard memory, configurable up to 16GB, 1TB hard drive1, Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200, 1920-by-1080 sRGB display, with Mac OS X 10.11 El Capitan at a mid range level for $1299 and a base model with slightly lesser specs starting at $1099. All iMacs are fully customizable if you buy it online and will of course raise your costs but you can’t really put a price on what you get with the iMac. Beauty and brawn with tons to offer towards productivity and function. A Geek life must have. Order yours HERE or at your local retailer.

Speck Products iPhone, Samsung and Macbook covers and cases

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Our phones and MacBooks are expensive. Damages are not what we want to see or have happen to any of the devices that we use everyday and value so much. The best way to make sure that when accidents happen (and they will happen) you’re protected is to make sure that we have the best protection possible. You NEED these.

20151015_192433There are a lot of cases, covers, skins and things like that out in the world but personally I use Speck products cases on my Macbook pro retina and my iPhone. I’ve always done so and I don’t think i’ll change that. They work out well and they give me the most for my money. You get durability and a clean look without your phone looking ugly and bulky. Realistically, we don’t want to put covers on our phones because it takes away from the beauty of the phone itself but we live in a clumsy world

There are so many cool cases to choose from and you can even customize your own with pictures and have a case like no other. Personally, if you have an iPhone I would go with the Jonathan Adler Candyshell series cases and the for the Samsung phones (mostly the Note) it would be the Candyshell Grip and lastly the Macbook I would say the blue or black Seethru hard covers. The prices are good ranging from $39.95 – $49.95 which is right on par with every other case maker out there. If you’re gonna get some covers and cases however, Speck has what you need. Geek life thumbs up. Get yours HERE.

Sony Playstation 4

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Ok, the Playstation 4 is not new. It’s been around for awhile but I believe that having one is just necessary to Geek life. Whether you agree or disagree the PS4 is the best gaming console there is currently. They wowed crowds at E3 this year and they’ll continue to do so with their impressive lineup. Sure, the Xbox One is very close second and a great console but console gaming is about games and the PS4 has the better games and cross platform exclusives that the Xbox One just won’t get the way Sony does. The PS4 is your best bet.

The holidays and black Friday time are the best times to pick up a console especially because you’ll get great bundle deals and great TV deals (preferably 4K) to play that PS4 on so it’s a win-win. You can always get one from your local retailer or online. I’m particularly fond of the Destiny Taken King edition so if you want to play Destiny and get a dope PS4. You can still get one but they’re super limited and it’s only $399.

There’s more but I can’t name them all

The thing about the geek life is that it never stops because technology never stops. Geek life isn’t just about gadgets it’s a culture and every holiday season that comes around is a time when either you’re going to get yourself a new gadget or someone is going to get it for you. Once that happens there’s no turning back, you’re locked in. What I laid out for you was the best and coolest items to have for 2015 thus far and according to me. Of course my list is not the end all tell all and it may be a list filled with things that you may say “WTF?” to. That’s ok. Like I said at the start, it’s based on my opinion and my opinion is not law. I may also have left some things out like a drone, or a self balancing scooter (the incorrectly named hoverboard) but to me those items are fringe items meaning most people won’t have them, just a small group. Either way no matter your taste it’s all good. The holidays are coming and now is the best time to get involved with the rest of us geeks. Happy shopping.