So Many LCD Displays (AMOLED Too)

I like to call myself a professional gadget geek. I do review a lot of gadgets and all of this technology has very much become an ingrained part of my everyday life, as I’m sure technology has become an important part of yours too. It got me thinking, though, about what gadget or consumer electronic device has the biggest impact on my life.

Let’s preface this with a couple of fundamental caveats. First, I’m not going to name something that is a part of my basic infrastructure. It’s not terribly interesting to say that the modem is the most important gadget in my life or that the lightbulb in my ceiling is the most important gadget of my life. Second, I’m going to eliminate the two most obvious candidates for the title: my computer and my smartphone. Without these, I couldn’t possibly do my job. Given those two ground rules, let’s get started.

Is It My Camera?

Both for this blog and for other sites where I write, as well as for my own personal collection, I take quite a few photos. These are used for the restaurant review posts here on Beyond the Rhetoric, for example, as well as some of the product reviews that I do for places like I’ve had my Olympus E-PL1 for over three years now and it is my primary camera for these purposes.

Yes, my camera absolutely plays an integral role in both my professional life and my leisure time, but I’m not so certain that it is the gadget that I can’t live without. It would be far from ideal, but if we assume that I still get to keep my smartphone, I could take many pictures using the integrated camera there instead. The quality and versatility would surely suffer, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world. I do love my camera though.

Is It My Nintendo?

Video games have always been a big part of my life, from the old Atari to spending countless Saturday afternoons at the arcade. I’ve had everything from the Super Nintendo to the Xbox 360, plus a few handhelds along the way too. That being said, I don’t play as much anymore. I still have an Xbox and I still have a Nintendo 3DS, but realistically, I probably play more Words with Friends on my smartphone than anything else. And I can always play PC games on my computer too.

Is It My Smartwatch?

One of the newer additions to my life is the Sony SmartWatch 2 SW2 that I received for my birthday two months ago. It’s a fun extension to my smartphone and I don’t doubt its potential utility, but for the most part, it’s just a toy. I lived without a smartwatch before and I’m sure I could live without one now if I wanted.

I Can’t Live Without My Speakers

Sonos PLAY:1 Wireless Speaker

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that the gadget I can’t live without is a decent and relatively small speaker. Yes, I listen to music on my headphones, I have speakers with my computer and there’s audio in the car, but I still want a relatively small (but decent quality) speaker for other purposes.

For quite a while there, I was using the Antec AMP SP1 Bluetooth Speaker, either connected to my phone or my iPod, but I have since switched over to using the SONOS PLAY:1 . It’s connected to my home network, which allows it to tap into my network drive, as well as Internet radio stations via TuneIn. What this means is that I can stream audio to my living room, bedroom or even to the bathroom.

Music isn’t really there for a utilitarian purpose. It’s not there to help me with running my business, per se, but rather it plays a far more important psychological role. It allows me to maintain some semblance of sanity. It exercises parts of the brain that may otherwise get neglected, opening up creative opportunities and ideas. It makes life more interesting to live.

What Gadget Must You Have to Live?

There are no right or wrong answers here, of course, as each element in this broad spectrum of technology can help to enrich our lives or make them just a little easier to manage. If you follow the same assumptions that I’ve laid out — you can’t name your smartphone or PC and you can’t pick basic infrastructure type items — what would you select as the gadget that you can’t live without? I’m actually really curious to hear what all of you have to say.