CoffeeCakesAndRunning My Top 10 Gadgets

My Top 10 Gadgets

I LOVE technology that helps make my life easier, quicker, faster or is just downright sexy, I’m a sucker for sleek white or shiny things  ….

Here’s my top 10 gadgets non kitchen gadgets,  in no particular order as I love them all :

Kindle PaperWhite Wifi  I’ve been a fan of Kindles since they first came out and recently upgraded to the new Kindle Paperwork. Pros :

  • Gives you the ability to carry lots of books with you on holiday etc without filling half a suitcase
  • Lots of free books on Amazon or other sites, plus if you have Amazon Prime you can borrow books for free too like a virtual library, you can also share with friends too (just follow the rules)
  • With the new paperwhite, the screen is illuminated so you can read in the dark, reading in bright sunlight is excellent too
  • Has fantastic battery power and can last weeks without a recharge
  • It’s portable, handbag size and easy to always have with you, plus light enough to read one handed from a sun lounger etc
  • Price point is good and buying books can be pretty reasonable too with lots of special offers

Cons :

  • I’ve damaged a few screens by dropping the kindle which means the kindle has to be replaced which is a bit expensive, but I’ve managed to upgrade each time, plus on the plus side transfer of library from one kindle to another is extremely easy
  • it’s so easy to spend a fortune on books if you set up One Click – conversely that’a a positive when you want to get a book quickly
  • Not all books are available in Kindle format, and also not all books should be read on a kindle – for instance cook books, PLUS I do miss browsing around a bookshop, thought you can do this virtually online and can get previews of books before buying it’s not quite the same.

MacBook Pro Retina This is now my third macbook and I’m a Mac girl without a doubt. Pros :

  • Great software and plenty of apps to download depending on what you want your Macbook to do
  • Screen is bright with great clarity for photo editing
  • iTunes and iPhoto are my two most used applications
  • Rarely crashes so it’s very reliable
  • Mag power supply connection is so clever
  • Air Play Works with Apple TV so you can share your Macbook screen straight onto your TV (HDMI connection or via a HDMI converter if you have an older style TV as I do)


  • Lack of storage space means I’m always juggling what I keep on the hard drive and using external drives as workarounds
  • They are a little on the expensive side compared to Windows laptops and of course we seem to pay an additional Dubai premium if we buy here on top
  • Mac versions of Word, Excel and Powerpoint don’t seem to be as useful as Microsoft applications which is a bit tiresome
  • The Middle East Apple store doesn’t have as many applications as other Apple stores, but that’s easily remedied

Samsung S5 I’m a converted iPhone user, having made the jump away from iPhone a few years ago now, thought I still use my 4S to stream TV shows through airplay to the TV.  When my Samsung Note III broke recently I decided to bit the bullet and upgrade to the S5 and I’ve not regretted it at all. Pros :

  • Light and a good fit in the hand
  • Processing speed is awesome
  • Ultra Power Saving Mode is amazing for times when you need to keep in touch with barely any phone charge
  • Runs on android so a HUGE amount of apps available in the PlayStore
  • Seems reasonably robust without an external case and is said to be dust proof and water resistant as long as the USB port cover is closed (emersion in water up to 1m deep for up to 30 minutes) so it should work well in the dusty and humid Dubai climate plus stand the day to rigours of my daily routine – sorry I’m not prepared to test this unless someone loans me a spare phone LOL
  • S Health provides new functionality to help monitor health and fitness primarily by pairing with Samsung or Garmin accessories

Cons :

  • It’s a minor one, but I don’t like the charging button being on the bottom of the phone as it doesn’t work so well in the car charger I have (sure I can remedy that with a new phone holder).
  • The dust/waterproof cover is a big tiresome to keep putting back on properly but it’s a minor irritatation
  • I’m unlikely to use the S Health feature (except the heart-rate) as I don’t use Samsung or Garmin accessories
  • The Camera is good, but not as good as the Lumia 1020

iPad 2 My staple ‘go to’ tablet when I’m around the house – I tend to use this a lot of reading newspapers and magazines on-line though of course it can do so much more than that.

Pros :

  • It’s from the Apple family so I’m already in love
  • Beautiful clear screen
  • Easy to set up and use

Cons :

  • Wish it had a USB port so I could use it to stream movies or to transfer files
  • As it gets older the battery seems to hold less charge and it’s too heavy for one handed reading

Nokia Lumia 1020 Nokia was one of the first phones I ever owned, and for a long time, it was a staple replacement as it felt so intuitive to use.  Sadly iPhone leapfrogged ahead of the Nokia and I haven’t used one in a long time, however, after seeing photos of the cover shot of Stuff Middle East being shot with a Nokia Lumia 102o I knew I had to take a peak at the Nokia to see what it could do.

Pros :

  • The camera is AMAZING – at 41 MegaPixals it can take some really great photos.  Whether you chose to use it in auto mode and settings, or go behind the scenes and use it in manual it can take some great shots
  • If you are a windows fan, it operates windows and the tile function on the front screen is pretty cool once you get the hang of it
  • Overall it has a great design, feels good in the hand and is fairly easy to use and to set up

Cons :

  • Oh, I’m so sorry, but I just don’t like Windows – the apps are limited compared to the Apple or Play store and I miss that a lot
  • It doesn’t run BBM so it’s a no go for me in terms of an every day smart phone as I use BBM a lot – I keep hearing that BBM is coming, but as yet it’s still not arrived
  • Some of the popular apps – e.g. Instagram work, but have limited functionality compared to the full version – in particular it won’t let you take or upload video clips which is a feature I like using
  • It feels clunky – the camera lens sticking out of the back ruins the design features of the phone

Nikon 3200 My first proper DSLR body and I’m impressed.  By no means a photography expert I wanted a camera which allowed me to take more professional images without being overly complicated for use. Pros:

  • Nice size body with enough functionality to suit me, without being overly complicated
  • Ability to take photos using Auto or Scene mode provides plenty of options at the start of my SLR training
  • Ability to change lenses quickly and easily is great
  • ISO settings can be set reasonably high which is great for dark food shots
  • Battery lasts a good long time before needing to be recharged

Cons :

  • None that I’ve encountered yet, but as I said I am by no means a photography expert

Jawbone UP 24 A wearable gadget that tracks your movement, sleep, nutrition and now even coffee consumption using apps available in Google PlayStore or the Apple Store. Pros :

  • It looks like a piece of chunky jewellery so is easy to wear and comes in some great colours although many people, including me, still opt for black since it goes with everything
  • The Up 24 connects to your smart phone by Blue Tooth so synchs wirelessly which is good
  • You can set it to remind you for specific targets e.g. walk 10,000 steps, move every hour etc
  • It can monitor your sleep and the quality of your sleep which is pretty neat
  • The facility for the band to wake you up when you are in a light sleep cycle is clever
  • You can join virtual UP communities and share information if you choose to do so
  • It links to some great external apps which you may be using already like MyFitnessPal and Runkeeper to name a few
  • The Coffee app is an interesting addition particularly for a coffee lover like me

Cons :

  • Some of the functionality is still very dependent on you entering your own data, so it’s easy to forget to do this and lets be honest do you want to spend a lot of time entering data ?
  • You have to remember to tell the band you are sleeping, which I often forget
  • Band sizing can be tricky at first – I think really I’m somewhere between medium or large
  • It doesn’t link to external heart rate monitors so to log exercise, you have to do this manually

Polar FT4 Heart-rate Monitor it’s not essential to have one of these for exercise, but I like to see how hard I push myself and to challenge myself to do better, work harder or burn more calories.  There are a whole host of monitors on the market, this is a reasonably simple one which delivers in terms of tracking the basics. Pros :

  • Easy to set up and use
  • You can set targets and alerts depending on what you are trying to do
  • Looks are reasonable, although I wish it looked a bit more funky or was slimmer – it feels like it’s somewhere in between
  • Wireless collects data from the chest strap
  • Wireless links to most exercise machines and it’s not often that it gets confused with someone else’s although occasionally it takes a while to monitor a heart rate

Cons :

  • Would love for it to be able to synch with the Jawbone Up 24 or with my smartphone

Apple TV

This is my second Apple TV.  The first release had an internal hard drive, whereas this version streams without storage.  Easy to set up and fuss free, it’s portable and I’ve been known to take it away on holiday with me. Pros :

  • Small, portable and easy to set up – links to your iTunes account and is capable of working with multiple users
  • Thousands of radio stations available from across the World (I often listen to Podcasts too)
  • Ability to like to iPhoto to use photos as screensaver is pretty cool

Cons :

  • Not a fault of Apple, but it’s dependent on internet speed and very occasionally if speed is down then so is its performance
  • As I don’t have an American credit card some facilities such as NetFlix and ** are not available


Slightly cheating now as I’m adding 2 things here but I really couldn’t decide  – it seems that no matter where we go now I’m always searching either for a Wifi signal as I run through data so quickly, or making sure I have charge for my phone.  Small enough to slip into my bag, yet powerful enough to keep my phone recharged I have a Nokia portable recharger plus when I’m on the beach I use a Gorilla solar charger to keep my phone topped up.

And on My wish list :

Macbook Air and iPad Air – swoon,  both so beautiful and light and did I mention sexy ??

Apple TimeCapsule – wireless backing up on my devices would be fantastic along with the router capability

Portable Charger – with more power but equally small – I’m still undecided on which one to get.

I’m not sure what I need yet, but a WiFi storage solution or Cloud Solution for all of my photo images would be good.

A strong WiFi router capable of sending signals throughout my apartment rather than needing 2 routers (maybe the airport extreme?)

Nikon 7000 or similar DSLR – it’s always good to keep pushing myself to develop better skills

iPod Nano (or equivalent) and Wireless headphones

A flat cable, or no cable solution for everything – I HATE power cables trailing across the floor, or the spaghetti mess behind the TV

What gadgets do you recommend? Anything I’ve missed ??