My 3 favorite gadgets of 2011

iPad 1: We got ours the day they came out, and we’ve used them for hours every day since. Primarily I use mine for reading Web articles through a variety of interfaces, mainly the Web browser, Instapaper, and Reeder. I also use the iPad a lot for Twitter and Facebook.

I skipped the iPad 2 because it didn’t seem to offer enough bang to be worth the upgrade. There’s a rumor of an iPad 3 coming in the spring, with a faster processor and Retina display. My mind isn’t made up whether to upgrade; we’ll see what else it offers.

I’d love a 7-inch iPad, about half the size of the iPad’s current 10.1-inch display. There are rumors that’s coming in a year. I don’t know whether to believe the rumors. A year is a long way away; I’m not going to worry about it.

iPhone 4: It’s never far away from me, not when I’m sleeping, not when I’m working at my desk, not when I’m out and about. I use it to track meals and exercise for fitness, to participate in social media, to listen to podcasts and audiobooks, to get directions where I’m going, as a camera, to write notes and to-dos for myself, as an alarm clock and, incidentally, as a phone. I didn’t go for the 4S for the same reason I didn’t buy the iPad 2: Not enough of an upgrade to be worth spending money on.

Kindle 4: I bought one of these in October when they came out, and it’s fantastic. I switched to ebooks when the Kindle app came out for the iPad, and didn’t look back; I’ve bought a couple of dozen ebooks in the past year, but only two print books, in both cases because they weren’t available electronically. The Kindle is lighter and more comfortable than reading on an iPad, plus it holds a charge for about a month. Julie has a Kindle Touch, which is the same as mine but with a touchscreen.

Not on the list: We watch a fair amount of TV at our house, and we have a DVR issued from our cable company, Cox Communications. We loathe that DVR. We miss our old TiVo, which, alas doesn’t support HD programming. And a new TiVo that supports HD would be too expensive. I’m thinking we might want to do something homemade with a Mac Mini configured as a server, either running iTunes or Myth TV. But there’s a question of (a) Time to set it up and (b) Expense.

I suppose I might want to put our new Samsung TV on this list. We certainly use it every day. But it’s just a TV; it’s not that interesting. If we put the TV on the list, we’d have to also add the microwave, toaster-oven, and electric water kettle, and where does it end?

2 Replies to “My 3 favorite gadgets of 2011”

  1. I considered an iPad but waited… now I have a Kindle Fire, and it’s a great size. It’s no iPad, but I have an iPhone and don’t need an iPhone with a bigger screen. It’s also not the price of an iPad. 🙂

    I also just picked up a Vizio 8″ tablet running Droid, and it’s nice too, it was even cheaper (blowout on The Kindle has free tv/movies and you can borrow books if you have Amazon Prime, so that’s cool, but the Vizio isn’t locked into Amazon’s version of the marketplace, so that’s great, and it also has a camera (front only – good enough for Skype video calls), as well as hardware volume buttons, off-screen home and back buttons, a micro-SD slot (up to 32GB), and mini-HDMI output – so it wins in the hardware. Both are WiFi only, so that limits use, unless I pay extra to have Personal Hotspot on my iPhone.

    I’m looking into a new 3D TV (with passive glasses!), not only for awesome movies, but even more so for video games!

    2012 should be an interesting year for fun technology…

  2. I thought about the Kindle Fire and I’m tempted. I’ll have to look into the Vizio.

    You were the first guy I knew to get a tablet, you trendsetter you.

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