Desktops / Laptops
- In this category, you just want to ensure you have at least an i5 CPU (6th generation or better), minimum 8GB of RAM, and a Solid State Drive (SSD) rather than a Hard Disk Drive (HDD). If you have at least these features, you will enjoy using your Windows computer.
- Full general purpose laptop/tablet/stylus (Windows 10) - Surface Pro - Make sure you buy the keyboard too, that is sold separately.
- Full general purpose laptop (Windows 10) - Asus UX305 | Dell XPS 13 | HP Spectre - MacBooks are also nice additions in this category however, since they are twice as expensive, I would not recommend them over something like this ASUS for the same hardware.
- Chromebooks (Internet Browsing Laptop) - I recommend these so much, I dedicated an entire page to them. Check it out HERE.
- Budget Windows Laptop - If you ABSOLUTELY NEED Windows, most people don't, in fact, if you know you need Windows apps for things like video/photo editing, you would not be buying a budget laptop. However, if you wanted to spend less than $1000 on a decent Windows laptop, just look for a computer with an SSD / solid state drive. That will make the most difference in the speed of a budget laptop.
SmartphonesFor a true guide on buying smartphones, the smart way, check out my article on the Truth about owning Smartphones.
- Budget Class (<$200) - OnePlus One | Moto G5 Plus (2017) | - You will not want to go too cheap here because when you start getting into those no-name brand phones pushed by the carriers as lower cost replacements, you start dealing with devices that lack online support and OEM updates, this leaves them susceptible to malware or security flaws.
- Mid Class (<$400) - Moto X 2015 | LG G6 | Galaxy S7 | - The smartphone market as of 2016 defines large screens by any screen size greater than 5.3in when measured diagonally, while a smaller screen would be anything less than 5.3in. This is clearly exhibited in Samsung's current offerings of the Galaxy S series compared to it's Note series. The S series will stay at around 5.2in while the Note series will hover around 5.7in screen size, sport a stylus, and a bit larger battery. Apple's iPhone in the 6/6S and 6/6S Plus mimic this standard also. Other than those minor differences, they are about the same.
- Flagship Class ($650-$950) - No recommendations are provided for this class because you really cannot go wrong with any of these models, for the most part. These are the newest models of Apple's iPhone, Samsung's Galaxy S series, LG's G series, and HTC's One series. These phones are typically sold by carriers in payments of $30/month for 2 years because they know they would not sell much phones if they offered them to you at face value ranging from $650 to $1000. With this in mind, due to the massive price difference vs performance when compared directly to the Mid Class devices, the optimal phone class I recommend buying is a Mid Class device. I do however will recommend last year's model of Flagship occassionally if it currently represents good value. If this doesn't make sense to you, read this.
- Kids 'WIFI-only' device ($10-$40) - Prepaid Moto E | Fire 7 - The target of this device is as a secondary screen your kids can destroy [instead of yours] that will only be used on your WIFI network and not activated by the carrier that provided it. In addition, you have it just in case of emergency, so feel free to buy the cheapest Moto E from any carrier that is on sale. Since these are prepaid, if you ever needed another phone in a pinch, you just call the prepaid carrier and activate the phone for 1 month on your choice plan. When you are not in need of the device, it can function as an 'safe' alternative to give your kids instead of your own phone or maybe just a device to test out potential apps but do not want to take up space on your own phone. The Fire 7 tablet was added here because it routinely goes on sale for less than $40.
TabletsThe mobile market has exploded with much larger phone screen sizes, causing a sharp slump in tablet sales teamed with the fact that they simply do not need to be upgraded as often as smartphones. It is no wonder Steve Jobs didn't want to make a bigger phone, he knew it would affect his iPad sales, and lo and behold, he was right.
- Budget Class (<$200) - iPad 3 | Fire HD 8 | Nexus 7 - The main thing to keep in mind when buying tablets is the operating system (Apple's iOS, Google's Android, or Amazon's Fire OS). Most people buy tablets for content consumption, so you will have to buy where your content is located. If you are already fully vested in iTunes and normally buy your content from there, the iPad is the obvious choice. If it doesnt matter, meaning you use Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, Plex, or others, you can buy any tablet since you can download apps on any branded tablet since they all support those apps.
- Mid Class (<$300) - Nexus 9 | NVIDIA Shield | iPad Mini 3 | Galaxy Tab S2 - People that spend more for tablets typically use them daily for various reasons. Since phones are increasingly becoming larger in screen size, it makes less and less sense to have a similar screen size for your tablet, you will want something larger, like an 8in to 10in tablet size. What you look for in higher end tablets are screen size, screen quality, and speaker quality. All of these devices meet those specs, my favorite is the Nexus 9 with HTC's boomsound front facing speakers.
Broadband Modem / Wireless RoutersThese two products are first and foremost the most important pieces of hardware in your home when it comes to internet usage. With that being said, if you are currently using the equipment your cable company gave you for internet access, you are not only getting ripped off up to $15/month to use their trash equipment, but you are sacrificing network speed and inefficiencies with your home wireless network. Do your self a favor and buy your own modem and wireless router, you will be glad you did. If you need help with installation, contact us.
- Basic Time Warner compatible Broadband Modem - DCP2100 - If you do not know how fast your internet speed is, get this one. You will likely not notice any differences from one modem to the next.
- High Speed Time Warner compatible Broadband Modem - SB6141 - If you are currently subscribing to internet speeds greater than 15mbps, get this modem. Also get this modem if you are a cord cutter and primarily consume mostly internet media or have tons of devices in your home that are connected to the internet.
- Basic Wireless Router - Netgear WNR1000 | TP-LINK WR940N - Similar to the modem, if you just need basic wireless internet, get one of these routers.
- Full Performance/Featured Wireless Router - Netgear Nighthawk N7000 | ASUS AC68U - Also similar to the high performance modem, without a high performance router, all those devices streaming video wont do much good with a cheap router. Get one of these if you are a power user.
- Full Performance/Wireless Mesh Router - Google Wifi | Eero - These are a new category of wifi routers that aim to eliminate dead spots using multiple hotspots that work natively together to give you the best possible signal no matter where you are in your home or business.
PrintersIn general, printers are becoming more and more scarce. There is less and less need to print with so many screens all around us for presentations, sharing images, and official busines done via electronic signature. However there will still be those that cling to this aging technology, for those few, here are a couple of recommendations. TIP: If you are a business and are still giving out a fax number as primary correspondance, good luck staying competitive in this highly digital age.
- Wireless Brother Black & White Laser Printer - HL-2270DW | Toner Cartridges - This is a simple, no-fuss, inexpensive, blank & white laser printer. Toner can be bought cheap on Amazon, easy to swap out, lasts a long time.
- Wireless Epson EcoTank (Cartridge Free) - ET-2550 - The beauty of this printer is the sustainability. Most printers come with enough ink to print for a month or 2, this printer comes with enough ink to print for a couple of years. And the best thing about it, when you do run out, you buy inexpensive bottles that you just pour into the large ink tank and you are on your way.
Other Useful Tech Reccs
- Stopping Telemarketers and Spam Calls - Jolly Roger Telephone Service - This hilarious chat bot handles the telemarketers for you. You receive the call, transfer it to a Jolly Roger Bot, then wait for the comical email results of the call that just transpired. The bot responds to anything they say just to keep them on the line as long as possible, thus effectively neutralizing the affect of the telemarketer. By wasting their time, you are lowering their productivity as they cannot call someone else if they are on the phone with your Jolly Roger bot. A simple hang up won't work because they could just call one of the millions of other phone numbers they have access to wasting little to no time at all. The more that people use this service, the less telemarketers make calls, beating their system and destroying their bottom line.
- Smartphone addiction / Overload of business calls - Android Wear Smart Watches - Smart watches connect to your smartphone via bluetooth to enable all your many text messages, notifications and phone calls to route first to your wrist to allow you to take action or not based on priority. This really frees you from phone addiction because with a simple wrist glance you can dismiss a quick Facebook status update or those annoying private phone calls you have been receiving.