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, a handful of devices follow me just about everywhere. I’m Eric Zeman, Reviews Editor here at Android Authority, and these are essential everyday carry items that make my life easier.
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
We all need a main device, something that serves as the core of our personal tech universe. The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is my most vital tool. It has been my daily driver for much of the last year, and has served as an incredibly reliable workhorse when I needed it most.
The Note 9 is just about a year old now, and it’s a beast of a phone from market leader Samsung. It boasts a massive screen, generous battery, and the best processor of 2018. Moreover, it has a dual-camera setup on the rear with an advanced set of imaging tools.
How do I use the Galaxy Note 9? Literally for everything.
I use the Galaxy Note 9 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 and take advantage of the excellent battery life to power from morning to night.
I’m looking forward to upgrading to the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 when it arrives in a few short weeks.
Apple iPad Pro
Apart from the Note 9, no other device in my arsenal is as versatile and powerful as the Apple iPad Pro (2018). Many may disregard the iPad as a productivity machine, but nothing could be further from the truth.
The secret is the connection. I opted for the LTE-equipped model, which means my iPad is connected wherever I go, whether or not Wi-Fi is available. This has saved my tail dozens of times when Wi-Fi crapped out during press conferences or simply wasn’t available at all.
Paired with the Zagg Rugged Book Go, a Bluetooth keyboard and case combination, the iPad lets me do nearly everything a full laptop does. It goes with me everywhere.
Jabra Elite 65T 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 like Jabra have nearly perfected them. That’s why I use the Jabra Elite 65T Bluetooth headphones constantly. These little buds have it all: a comfortable fit, excellent battery life, and good music reproduction.
It helps that the charging case fits into most pockets and keeps the earbuds powered up. The only detractor is the Micro-USB charging port. When the Elite 65T launched in 2018 they cost about $170, but you can find them on sale no for $150 or less.
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.
Casio Pro-Trek WSD-F30
The selection of Wear OS smartwatches varies from classic-looking timepieces to dedicated fitness wearables, with lots of options in between.
I prefer watches that can tough it out no matter the environment, which is why I use the Casio Pro-Trek WSD-F30. This colorful watch from Casio is perhaps your best option for GPS tracking in a smartwatch. Not only does the GPS continue to work when cell networks have vanished, but you can download maps and use them for offline tracking.
The watch is rugged, waterproof, and replete with workout software. In other words, it’s a great outdoor companion.
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 penny of the $100. 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.