A small mechanical or electronic device or tool, especially an ingenious or novel one.
Perhaps shiny thing would be a more appropriate description for those tech objects we find so useful in our lives. Or maybe not even necessarily useful, but instantly required on first sight.
In no particular order then, these are the shiny things that I’ve acquired in recent times, most of which I use on a daily basis.
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
I wasn’t in the market for a new phone, especially since my Galaxy Note 8 was doing everything I needed and had never let me down. However, I spotted a government-sponsored offer of 18 interest-free payments with a trade-in for an old phone, so I jumped at the chance of upgrading to the latest Samsung flagship, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. It’s very fast, has an incredible camera, 8GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, and a 120Hz screen. Now that I’m riding my bike doing courier work every day, it’s indispensable for both WhatsApp and Google Maps, both of which I use for planning and communication. It’s an expensive phone so I don’t have it strapped to the bike in case it gets stolen but keep it safe in my zipped jacket pocket.
Garmin Nuvi 67
The Garmin is my main navigation system for getting around the city. It’s not as accurate as Google Maps and doesn’t give me live information. However, using desktop software I can update the maps regularly and it always gets me where I need to be. I also like the large 7″ touch screen which is clear, easy to read, and very rugged.
Communication on the go is an important part of my job and whilst stopping the bike to make a phone call is obviously the safest way, being able to communicate hands-free means I never miss a call. The kit comes with a helmet mic, two headphones that get stowed inside the helmet, and a waterproof remote for the handlebar. In fact, all incoming calls are answered automatically after three rings so I don’t have to be distracted in order to take a call. It also has a handy FM radio feature and of course, the unit can be paired with my phone for listening to music on the road.
GoPro Hero 5 Black
A couple of years ago I picked up a used GoPro Hero for a very reasonable price and now use it to film my daily motorcycle courier rides around Buenos Aires. I’ve since upgraded it by adding an external microphone so that I can give a running commentary, which I think makes the final videos a little more interesting. It really is a very rugged piece of kit, being waterproof and having a myriad of options for where to place it on the bike or helmet.
Capable of filming up to 4K, I usually go for 1080p because I only have a 64GB SD card which will take around four hours of video in that resolution. Battery life, if I’m honest, is quite poor, being only around ninety minutes, so I bought a spare battery which I always keep charged up. I suppose the secret to filming everyday events, in the hope of catching something interesting, is just to keep filming and later on just delete what you don’t need, which is exactly what I do.
My Gaming Rig
Not a gadget as such, but many shiny things rolled into one very powerful gaming machine which I recently upgraded quite substantially. Although the PC can also be used for everyday tasks such as email, word processing, and video rendering, its principal use is gaming– a genre that never stands still and continually pushes hardware to new frontiers, hence the regular hardware upgrades. My recent upgrades have been as follows:
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 2600X to Ryzen 5600X
- GPU: AMD RX 580 to RX 5700 XT
- MONITOR: Samsung 27″ 72Hz 1080p to LG 32″ 144Hz 1440p
Strictly speaking, my gaming rig isn’t a gadget, however, it’s what I derive the most pleasure from after a long, hot ride around the city and when I feel like playing a shooter, a flight sim, an arcade racer, or a classic such as Tomb Raider II.
What’s your favourite gadget and why?