After literally tens of thousands of new and/or experimental electronics over the years that I’ve handled/tested/owned/broken/disassembled, I’ve distilled this mind-boggling, enormous list down to my not-so-objective “Top Five”, that looking back, improved or changed my life. Each of us could list a few that had that effect, but as card-carrying geeks, “we” are particularly sensitive to world-altering tech changes and have a tendency to look beyond the obvious. Here’s my personal list as of today, and with it, zero promises it will stay that way beyond today.


1)   The Alienware Portable Computer – OMG, arguably the world’s most powerful portable (and not-so-arguably, probably most expensive) leaves any other laptop sucking air as this thing I call the “Beast”, is a sledgehammer of a computer (notice I don’t say laptop) that’s more powerful than anything that I’ve tried to choke it with. I’ve NEVER found a single task that caused it to even slow down. One hundred and fifty tabs open in Chrome? No problem. Video/audio compression and complex editing is simply not an issue … Other than weight, I sincerely don’t know how it could be improved, performance-wise. This unequivocal King-of-the-Mountain monster may be as close to perfect as a computer can be with current technology. Why can it run for so many hours with this much power, is in itself an indication of its dominance.

2)   Samsung Note Phones – IMHO, the “Alienware” of phones. The most coveted of all phones for geeks also has the most fanatical following of any produced today. Stupendously powerful, almost incomprehensively flexible/programmable, that is remarkably tolerant to users that have never used a phone that isn’t dumbed down like an iPhone. Highly programmable, it reeks of an almost Star Trek device with options that make it really the only “phone” to own if you’re a geek. Not designed for the elderly or 12-year old girls, it’s the the 800lb gorilla of phones, that regardless of what difficult task I’ve assigned to it, it crushes it and moves on. You want 8K video or 108 mega-pixel images or the ability to shoot, in color, in almost complete darkness is nothing short of mind-boggling. Extreme is singularly the best description of all the Samsung Note series.  Also, of “note”, I still occasionally use a 2013 Samsung Note 3 for certain tasks. Even by today’s standards, it can hold its own for certain uses. Although Samsung doesn’t make a per-se Note for 2022, the S22 Ultra essentially is a Note … albeit lacking a provision for a micro SD card and the “Note” moniker. Fingers crossed on the 2023 Samsung S23 Ultra having the micro SD card slot reinstalled.

3)  Tesla – While this may seem an out-of-context item, it can be best described as a rolling cellphone … just one that also happens to be the world’s fastest accelerating production car ever tested. I’ve owned fast, and I do mean shockingly fast dream cars … but, Teslas are simply another world. Brutal acceleration beyond almost anything beyond a top-fuel dragster, the safest cars ever tested, contains cutting edge tech that is completely incomparable in the car industry. These “cars”, despite what the ignorant Tesla-hating media portrays, is what every car maker on the planet wishes it were. Gasoline cars are dead and this is what killed them … beyond cool sounds, there is nothing a gasoline-powered car can do that a Tesla can’t do better … in some cases, much, much better. Approaching almost 18 months of ownership on my first Tesla, my maintenance cost has been exactly zero … not because the car company is paying for the first few years of service … but because there is nothing beyond tire pressures, windshield cleaner fluid and cleaning that Teslas require. I have to remind myself to touch the brakes every now and then to knock off the rust on the brake rotors, since the number of times I’ve actually had to use the brakes can be counted on less than ten fingers.

4)  Amazon Alexa –  The original, actually-functioning Swiss army-knife of controlling the modern home. Owning a smart home almost totally controlled by voice isn’t “Blade Runner” future tech. Lights, alarms, locks, timers and even controlling the temperatures inside the parked Teslas can be done purely by voice. And … it’s a useful companion for trivia. I’m always asked about whether or not I’m worried about being monitored or recorded … I always reply if anyone is really concerned about what I’m thinking/saying, I’d have been arrested by the liberal thought police many years ago. That being said and using common sense, I would never have one in my bedroom.

5)   Nest Thermostat – It’s made my home more comfortable, my energy bills less, is totally controllable remotely and thanks to Amazon’s Alexa (or whatever name you’ve programmed it to respond to) it can be controlled by simply talking. Simple, effective and elegant is an accurate description. There are many, many competitors … but there is only one original and it’s still the best. Again, there’s nothing even close to it on the market.

One can never tell what “must to own” is on the horizon, I’ll keep an eye out for you … the 2023 CES is less than a week away.



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