Here at Android Authority, we have a diverse staff. We come from all over the world and we use all kinds of technology. The Staff Picks series shows you what tech we use for work, play, and health.
Tech comes and goes in the life of a gadget reviewer, but some of it becomes essential to what we do every day. Getting attached to one doodad or another is easy, but it takes something special to earn a permanent place on my desk or in my bag.
Every time I leave my house I’m sure to have some gear with me. Whether I’m headed to a day full of meetings or the local coffee shop, I rely on a handful of items to get the work done. I’m Eric Zeman, Reviews Editor here at Android Authority, and these are essential tech tools that make my life easier.
Google Pixel 4 XL
We all need a main device, something that serves as the core of our personal tech universe. The Google Pixel 4 XL has replaced the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus as my most vital tool. It has been my daily driver since it went on sale in August, and has served as an incredibly reliable workhorse when I needed it most.
The Pixel 4 XL may be a bit of an uneven entry from Google, but it has it where it counts: The best camera in the market. Simply put, no other phone comes close to the Pixel 4 XL when it comes to photo quality. Some may decry the lack of a wide-angle shooter, but few phones offer telephoto shots as good. It has the rest of the goods, as well, including a 90Hz screen, good-enough battery life, and, of course, the quickest software updates from Google.
The Pixel 4 XL's camera is unparalleled, even seven months after launch.
I use the Pixel 4 XL for literally for everything. It’s my everyday camera, my entertainment screen, my music player, and of course a trusted tool for getting work done. I often use the phone as a mobile hotspot with my Pixelbook Go.
Apple iPad Pro (2020)
Apart from the Pixel 4 XL, no other device in my arsenal is as versatile and powerful as the Apple iPad Pro (2020). Many may disregard the iPad as a productivity machine, but nothing could be further from the truth. It is still a Pro at nearly everything.
The generous screen is basically laptop-sized, which really helps when multitasking, and it’s still thin and light. The iPad Pro can handle word processing and spreadsheeting no problem, as well as all my work communications, and even tasks such as photo editing thanks to apps such as Adobe Lightroom.
Paired with the lightweight Apple Magic Keyboard and case combination, the iPad lets me do nearly everything a full laptop does. It goes with me everywhere.
Jabra Elite 75T Bluetooth headphones
No one needs their tunes to keep them company while writing more than I do. There’s rarely a moment throughout the day when I’m not rocking out to the latest rock or metal track.
I jumped aboard the true wireless headphone train as soon as it left the station, and let me tell you, those early models were pretty rough. Now that the form factor is several years old, companies have nearly perfected them. That’s why I use the Jabra Elite 75T Bluetooth headphones constantly. These little buds have it all: a comfortable fit, excellent battery life, and good music reproduction. It helps that they pair easily with most smartphones, such as my Pixel 4 XL, thanks to the latest app. They don’t look half bad, either. Perhaps my only complaint is that they don’t offer active noise cancellation.
The USB-C charging case fits into most pockets and keeps the earbuds powered up. With total playback time in excess of 28 hours, there’s nothing not to like.
Google Nest Hub
More and more often, today’s smart home requires a beating heart to keep everything running smoothly. For my household, that’s the Google Nest Hub.
The Hub sits on my kitchen counter where I can easily call upon Google Assistant to set timers, check calendar items, turn on smart lights, and play music. It’s also one of the best photo frames ever, and it comes in handy when I want to follow a recipe from start to finish.
Sony A7 III
All the lovely pictures I’ve taken for Android Authority over the last year? The Sony A7 III. It’s a mirrorless powerhouse. This compact camera captures 24MP images at up to 10fps and has all the controls and capabilities of a larger dSLR.
Battery life is one of the best features of the Sony A7 III. I can easily shot 700+ pictures on a single charge. More importantly, I’ve covered entire trade shows, such as CES 2020, without worrying about the charge.
It’s pricey at $1,998, but it’s worth every penny, and the lens family is always growing.
My go-to lens is the Tamron 28mm – 75mm f/2.8. It’s a fast lens with a solid zoom range for product shots.
LifeProof LifeActive Power Pack 20
Without power, none of our battery-supported gadgets work. You never know when you’ll need to power up, so it is best to be prepared. Having access to a charge 24/7 is vital.
I keep the LifeProof LifeActive Power Pack 20 nearby at all times. This portable battery may be bulky, but it is waterproof, drop proof, dirt proof, and snow proof. It packs 20,000mAh, which is more than enough capacity to recharge a phone, tablet, pair of headphones, and even a laptop — with juice to spare. It includes USB-C and USB-A ports for charging.
Bonus, the battery includes a flashlight that doubles as an emergency beacon. It’s worth every cent of the $100 asking price. A 10,000mAh version is also available for $80 if you want to save a few bucks.
Anker PowerPort Atom III
When all the batteries are dead and they need to be plugged into the wall, it’s clutch to have a versatile, portable charger that can handle practically anything.
Enter the Anker PowerPort Atom III. This compatible charger uses Anker’s PowerIQ 3.0 tech to charge batteries rapidly. With 60W from which to draw current, it automatically adjusts to match the fastest supported charging speed of the battery or device in question. What’s more, it is powerful enough to recharge laptops, tablets, phones, and just about anything via USB-C. It costs an affordable $40 and it’s very useful. Smaller versions are available if this particular model is too big for you.