My name is Joe Hindy and I’ve been here for seven years (as of September 2019). I work mostly as a writer, but I also make YouTube videos and co-host the Android Authority Podcast as well. Thus, I have all kinds of equipment laying around that I use almost every day. I might not recommend all of it for various reasons, but the products below are mainstays in my tech life and I would recommend them to basically anybody. Let’s check them out!
The Google Chromecast is kind of an obvious choice. It connects directly into the back of your TV where it sits hidden from view at all times. It’s a fun little streaming stick that always works for me. I purchased my first one a couple of years ago and it works just as well today as it did before. I also appreciate how the Ultra supports 4K, HDR10, Dolby Vision, and all of those modern features, even if I don’t use them very often.
What I like the most about Google Chromecast is how it just works. All of my video streaming apps work with it, as do many sites on Google Chrome. I think the lone holdout is Amazon Prime Video and that shouldn’t be a problem much longer. There will be little reason to go with another device once Amazon Prime Video hits the Chromecast. It’s easy and it costs less than $100 — plus you can control it with your phone, so that’s one less remote on the coffee table. What else could you ask for?
Corsair K95 RGB Platinum keyboard
The Corsair K95 is kind of the centerpiece of my desk. I use it every day and I type out thousands of words per workday. My version comes with Cherry MX Speed switches, which are basically just a slightly lighter version of the Cherry MX Reds. It types quickly and efficiently, without making a bunch of noise. Plus, the wrist rest is removable, which really helps when cleaning it. It’s also reversible with a smooth side and a rougher side for better grip.
I use the six macro keys on the left side for various productivity apps like Photoshop or Premiere Pro, as well as for games when I indulge in such things on my work PC. I owned its predecessor, the Corsair K70, for several years and it’s outstanding as well. If you want to try my favorite RGB effect, you can find the instructions on how to do that here. Corsair’s software for this is quite good as well.
The Fitbit Versa is my method of fitness tracking. I previously owned a Fitbit Charge HR and a Fitbit Charge 2 HR. However, the Charge 3 HR still has some flaws I don’t quite like. I found a Fitbit Versa on sale and went with that instead. While it’s hardly a fully-fledged smartwatch, it has a good set of basic features, with apps for things like streaming Spotify or setting a timer or alarm, and you can even get notifications if you want it. Above all, this watch is a fitness tracker, though.
I absolutely do not recommend this at its full retail price of $199.99. However, you can usually find it on sale somewhere with a little digging. Do yourself a favor and don’t opt for the more expensive version — Fitbit Pay isn’t worth the extra price. A standard Versa works just fine. It tracks my steps accurately enough, and I actually like the band-swapping mechanism and charging dock way better than the Charge HR series.
My podcast audio gear
This little setup has kept up with my YouTube voice-overs and podcasts for a very long time. I use a Behringer Xenyx 302USB Preamp and Mixer with a GLS ES57 cardoid microphone along with a six foot XLR cable. The total cost of all three products is less than $100, though admittedly not by very much. However, the price to performance ratio of these items is utterly ridiculous and I have no plans of upgrading anything until one of them breaks.
According to Amazon, I purchased this equipment on Feb. 14, 2014, or just over five years ago at the time of this writing. All of these things still work with no signs of breaking down, and my audio still sounds outstanding. Of course, your mileage may vary. I would definitely recommend this to people who need a good audio setup on a budget. My only tip is to plug the Xenyx 302USB into a USB 2.0 port if possible. I’ve had some fuzz and noise issues using a USB 3.0 port.
Plantronics RIG 800LX wireless gaming headphones
Admittedly, I received this as a Christmas gift so I can’t come from the perspective of paying for it myself. However, I love these wireless headphones. They are light and moderately adjustable. The suspension style headband, lightweight frame, and cloth ear cups provide a truly comfortable experience — it’s like hammock for my head. In addition, the battery and sound quality are surprisingly outstanding.
The 800LX pair comes with a PC/Xbox adapter (it works on both platforms), and the 800HS comes with a PlayStation 4 adapter. There is no functional difference between the two models aside from their bases. In fact, you can buy the base for the other platforms you own and use the same wireless headset on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC, which is exactly what I do. The extra bases are a bit pricey, but having one wireless headset I can use on all my gaming platforms is quite nice.
There’s a little bit of audio fuzz from time to time and the design of the thing is a little outlandish, but those aren’t even remotely big enough issues for me to care.
Philips Hue LightStrip
Philips Hue is my preferred smart light of choice, but I won’t argue that point in any meaningful way with anybody. If you want to go with Lifx instead, that’s perfectly fine. Still, I’m a massive fan of the Philips Hue LightStrip. I have three of these in my house — one in my office, one in my bedroom, and one in my living room. I have used these lights in tons of my how-to articles and tutorial pieces.
What I like most is the customization. I can set them to turn on and off at certain times of the day and change the color whenever I want. Thus, I only actually interact with these lights a handful of times a year to change the color because they all turn on and off on a sunset and sunrise timer. This set-it-and-forget-it functionality mixes with the admittedly cool mood lighting of the LightStrip, and suddenly my house looks like it’s worth way more than it is. I recommend these to everybody.
Sennheiser HD58X Jubilee Edition
Sennheiser’s HD58X Jubilee Edition headphones are a remaster of a much older pair of Sennheiser headphones. They feature lightweight construction, cloth ear cups, and an open back design. I can feel wind pass through the ear cups and hit my ears with these, which makes them excellent for long workdays and casual listening sessions.
You may notice the photo above has the SoundGuys logo. It’s because the team used my actual headphones for their official review. The sound quality is outstanding with reasonably good bass, mids, and treble response. The upper mid-range is a little hot for my tastes, but it’s a minor complaint. The $160 price tag is a steal and you can use Sennheiser HD600, HD650, and HD660 parts to repair these if they break because they all use the same housing.
Repairable, easy to listen to, comfortable, and it doesn’t make my ears hot during long listening sessions. Plus, the open back nature helps me hear if my dogs are doing something stupid while I’m in the office working. Noise cancellation can be a bad thing when you have animals (or kids).
Would you recommend any of the tech in your life? Tell me about it in the comments!