What I use

PC

Recently, I migrated my PC into a small form factor case, the Silverstone SG13. It is really small and weighs only 5.4kg. It is not shabby at all when it comes to its performance, with its overclocked quad core Haswell chip and GTX 970 card, although there is more room for improvement without putting on weight. (eg: upgrade the GTX 970 to a GTX 1080 FE) 

The main reason why I wanted to make it smaller is so that I can carry it inside the checked in baggage when flying back to my country. Or maybe even in carry on luggage, because it is well below the 7kg limit, though I have to count the weight of the bag and might have to get rid of the all-in-one water cooler. Checked in baggage it is then.

This is my first PC without any internal mechanical hard drive. And I do not plan on installing any in the future. This does not mean that I do not have mechanical hard drives. I do, 2x4TB drives in fact, but they are in a separate NAS.


Specs

CPU:Intel Core i7 4790K @4.5GHz / 1.20V
CPU Cooler: Antec Kuhler 620 
Motherboard:Asus Z97I-Plus
RAM:16GB A-DATA XPG V2 DDR3 2400 CL11
Video Card:MSI GTX 970 Gaming 4G @1500MHz/8000MHz
SSDs:Samsung 850 Evo 500GB
HDDs:Western Digital Green 4TB WD40EZRX (NAS)
Display:Qnix QX2710 Evolution II 2560x1440 @96Hz
Case:Silverstone Sugo SG13
PSU:Silverstone SX500-LG
Mouse:Logicool G602 Wireless Gaming Mouse
Mouse Pad:Razer Mantis Speed Edition
Keyboard:Logitech Easy Keyboard Deluxe PS/2
Headphones: AudioTechnica ATH-AD500X
Speakers: Edifier Exclaim E10
Webcam: Logicool C910

Laptop

I had an Asus UL20A laptop earlier and I sold it to get the 2011 MacBook Air. I did not have to pay the whole price, because I bought it with a new internet connection. I got a JPY35,000 discount. It's a pretty big deal. That was about $435 back then. It is a different story now.

We also had an Asus T100TA tablet, and when I had it I hardly used the MacBook Air. But now that I do not have it anymore, I use this when my wife uses my Desktop PC - especially feeding my kid, as he won't eat his meals without watching cartoons. My wife uses the MacBook Air

The specs (given below) are still decent for a Ultra Book class laptop. It used to get hot and noisy even when watching a YouTube video, however after several OS updates, the fan doesn't seem to spin up as aggressively as it used to. However, after 4 years of usage, the battery is showing some serious wear. I can replace it at a cost of JPY 14,000 or so, though I am not sure if I should spend that much money on a 4 year old laptop. On the other hand, the only reasonable upgrade to this laptop is a MacBook Pro Retina 13.3 inch model or a 15 inch model.

This is currently running the latest version of OSX, El Capitan. I also have Windows 10 Pro running using Bootcamp and I use it to test the Insider Previews. 

I did not use a protective shield or skin on the laptop, however the body has held up very well. There are couple of tiny scuff marks on the edges and that is about it. There are no scratches on the body nor on the screen. It probably is because we hardly took it out of the house.

Specs

Dimensions:    H: 0.11-0.68" (0.3-1.7cm)
W: 12.8" (32.5cm)
D: 8.94" (22.7cm)
Weight:2.96 lbs (1.35kg)
CPU:           1.7GHz dual-core Core i5
Graphics:      Intel HD 3000
RAM:           4GB DDR3-1333
SSD:           128GB SSD
Display:       1440 x 900
Ports:         Thunderbolt
2x USB 2.0
SDHC slot
Composite audio in/out jack
OS:            Mountain Lion


Phone



When Optus dropped a $20 discount on their standard $85 per month plan, I took the plunge and bought a Samsung Galaxy S7 Onyx Black model on a 2 year contract. I don't know how practical it would be to be stuck with a Samsung device for 2 years because Samsung is known for being reluctant to update their older devices, but at least with this plan, I can return the phone and get a brand new model for $99 after 12 years. It probably isn't straight forward as it may seem, but at least the option is there if I need to use it.

I have had the phone for less than 1 week and I haven't had to test it properly. But it feels very snappy. It does reload the apps once in a while, but less often than on the Nexus 5, but it hasn't bothered me much because the reload is pretty fast. Reloading was very slow on the Nexus 5 which is why I was in the opinion that an Android phone needs more than 4GB RAM for my usage patterns.

I am using the Google Now launcher because I have gotten used to it. And it is simple. But Google hasn't updated it in a long time and I wish they would make it more functional. But TouchWiz isn't unusable either. The other thing I thought I would hate is the hardware shortcut buttons (Back and Recent apps) being on the wrong side, but the transition wasn't hard. Now I cannot use my Nexus 5 anymore. That phone is with my father and he seems to be enjoying it a lot.

But there has already been a problem but it is more of a network issue than an issue with the phone. I still haven't had a chance to test GPS with it because I did not want to mount it in the car without a case.

Camera

I recently bought a Canon EOS 70D-W DSLR with the 18-135mm IS STM lens kit. I used to have a Canon PowerShot S95 camera and loved it for the compactness, but it wasn't doing anymore.

For me, there have been two issues with DSLRs. First one is the size and the second one is the need for change lenses. The first one is pretty hard to avoid. There are a lot of compact DSLRs coming out, but they are not as good as the big guys when it comes to the feature set and the image quality. But I could avoid the second issue by going with a zoom lens that has decent range. Eventually I might want to get another lens or two. But I don't see that happening anytime soon. I can manage with this 18-135mm lens.

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