Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Top 5 ::: Best Gadgets/Devices of 2013

Photos by {accordingtoame}

I am consistently asked by readers and friends and family for a "top 5" and "top 10" of various things I use everyday. Be it apps, gadgets, skincare, haircare, makeup, whatever.  I decided to work on those lists over the last few months and close out the year with those posts and this week marks the last of the lot.

The list of devices/gadgets was actually pretty easy for me to put together, by comparison anyway. Weeding out apps and sites took a bit longer and a lot more weighing of pros and cons.  This was more of a "this is what I use and love" kind of checklist.  I am sure I could've included of a few more, like the Canon I use to take the vast majority of the images I post on this blog, but these are my heavily relied upon go-go gadgets.

Since my phone in the image above is dressed in it's Speck Candyshell Flip, 
I figured a naked photo was in order. Oooh la la!

No surprise to anyone, the top of my device list for 2013 is the iPhone 5S from Apple. I feel like that's kind of an obvious one for most regular readers of this blog, but for those newer to this blog, let me briefly explain why.  This newest iteration of one of the greatest selling devices ever has vastly improved security, incredibly fast processors (including one specific to motion), a killer camera and superior user experience by comparison to prior models. I know a lot of folks weren't really thrilled with iOS7, but what it brought was a lot more control to the user than ever before. 

While some folks choose not to use TouchID (why? please tell me you at least use a passcode?!), everyone benefits from the security features tied to FindMyiPhone and the way AppleID is now locked to each device, making it harder for a thief to get anything out of a stolen phone, and easier for you to retrieve said stolen phone. Why anyone wouldn't use those features is beyond me, especially considering the amount of personal information we pump out through it to mediums like Facebook and Twitter and Instagram.

Besides those reasons, it's also the first time Apple released the phone in more than two colors, and all colors in multiple hard drive sizes. In addition, they also released an additional model, the 5C, for those looking for a slightly less robust option.

Photo: SquareUp

Since setting up my Square account a few years back, it's become a huge resource for my business, in that I am able to accept credit card payments from clients versus only cash and check. It was a big step in making me feel more legitimate, and making my clients feel more comfortable doing business with me.  I have a couple of these little readers with me and at the ready and love that they work with just about any smart device, and the accompanying apps work even without a reader.  I also love the story of this startup, developed by St. Louis native genius Jack Dorsey, and the way it's helped small businesses grow and succeed. 

My stone under the Olloclip, from my old review. 
Pretty snazzy what these macros can do to an iPhone camera, eh? 

I love to take macro photos of things, especially jewelry and diamonds. See above, case in point.  Both the Olloclip (my original review in link) and EasyMacro lens options make taking photos like that incredibly easy.  The Olloclip comes with 3-4 lens options and has a companion app, with 2 of the lenses included being macro, and the EasyMacro is just one macro lens, which you can stack with another EasyMacro for even more closeup viewing pleasure.  

Both work with iPhones, with the Olloclip specifically for iPhone, however the EasyMacro will work with just about any smartphone or tablet and will also work with those smartdevices wearing cases which was why I backed the new version on Kickstarter.  The Olloclip will require a case be removed, or that you use the case specifically made to work with it.  I own both lens options, and love both. I have been a long-time user of the Olloclip (both the iPhone 4 and 5 versions) and it's great to take with you on trips to take wider angle views of things as well. 

A Kickstarter project I backed earlier this year was the Keyprop, and its companion app, KeyCam.  I have been using the KeyProp a lot to watch movies and play games while I eat dinners or lunches out, as well as while traveling.  I am excited to see that the Integral Design team is getting some shoutouts in national publications, too, because it's well deserved! Recently it was in US WEEKLY, and I also spotted it in the December/January issue of People Style Watch.  I keep mine on my O-ring, another in my purse with my earbuds for travel, and I still have two more from my rewards for when and if I kill this one. They're ridiculously tough, because if this thing can stand up to life on my giant mess of keys, it can probably handle anything you can throw at it.

When I finally splurged on my Fitbit One earlier this year, complete with a 4-part series of posts about it, I wasn't sure what impact it would have on my life. I mean, I hoped I would get off my duff more, and maybe compete with myself once in a while.  I literally do wear this little gizmo clipped to my bra every single day, though, and sleep with it on my wrist every weeknight, using the silent alarm most weekday mornings. It hasn't make any impact in how "motivated" I am to do anything physical, because I am still a slug, but I am glad it's keeping track of what I do actually log for the day.  The battery life is still incredible (maybe because I am a slug?), as well. 

What makes your top 5 or 10 for gadgets and devices this year? I'd love to hear about it in the comments!

Also--Just a heads up: there will be no post for tomorrow while I relax and celebrate family holiday festivities and there might be a few random days off in the next couple weeks while I gear up for the new year!  Have a great holiday!

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