It’s that time of year where I share my list of the gear and gadgets that I recommend for the holidays. As in past years, this is not a shopping list based on suggestions given to me, but based on products that I actually own and have used extensively throughout 2022. So without further ado, here are Dave’s Takes on gear that I can’t live without:
Gry Mattr Passport Holder
From Staples, I obtained the Gry Mattr Passport holder for $29.99. As someone who travels as many as 50 trips annually, I need something to ensure my passport stays presentable yet at the same time, I don’t want something that’s ultra-fancy that attracts attention or theft. Made of premium looking vegan materials this passport holder protects my passport and looks professional.
Gry Mattr Tech Case
Because of the type of travel that I do (reviewing, AV calibration, AV consulting), I need a lot of charging cables, chargers, USB dongles, etc. I need to keep these accessories organized, tangle-free and all in one place so nothing will go missing. For that I use another product from Gry Mattr called the Tech Case for $49.99 and again from Staples.ca to keep everything together. As a pro tip, I also include the list of every item I put in the case so I can easily tell if I missed something along the way.
Gry Mattr Carry-on Luggage
At the risk of sounding like an ambassador for Gry Mattr, I would be remiss to not mention the company’s carry-on luggage that sells for a steal at $140. It’s so light, I thought I received an empty box when the package from Staples arrived. The wheels move freely and pushing the case around feels more like hovering than simply rolling it. Considering the price I don’t know of any other carry-on luggage to be as perfect as this, even when compared to my (a lot more costly) Samsonite and Tumi cases that I also own.
Aukey 10,000mAh Rechargeable Battery
One of the items I put in my gadget bag is a 10,000 mAh rechargeable battery from Aukey. This unit allows me to charge up to three devices at once through its two USB-A outlets and one USB-C outlet. The beauty of it is that I don’t need to bring multiple chargers… Oh and it’s very light, too! I charge the battery during the daytime and use the battery to charge my Apple Watch, my iPhone, and my 1More Aero all at once, overnight. The Aukey Basix Slim 10,000mAh power bank can be purchased online for around $35.
Sennheiser Momentum 4 Active Noise Cancelling Headphones
Still in the context of travelling, this year I have been relying on my Sennheiser Momentum 4 Active Noise Cancelling headphones. These over-the-ear headphones have an industry leading 60-hour battery life which is so much juice that I don’t even have to bring a charging cable when I am flying. No ANC headphones I’ve ever tested equal let alone, surpass the Momentum 4 in the noise cancelling department, sound quality, or battery life for that matter.
So many of the products that I review and use on a daily basis need to be plugged in and charged and since my travels take me to countries that don’t all use the same power currency, not to mention that I have yet to stay in a hotel that has enough power outlets for my needs, I rely on the Austere VII on-wall surge protector and power conditioner for my travel in 110V-120V countries. I know it’s designed for home use, but hey… it works well as a travel power conditioner and is a charger too, so why not?
1More Aero Earbuds
While walking around cities and in public transport instread of using my over-the-ear Sennheiser Momentum headphones, I use the more discreet 1More Aero earbuds. The effective ANC buds boast real-time spatial audio head-tracking technology for an incredibly immersive experience. Tuned by 4-time Grammy Award-winning sound engineer Luca Bignardi these in-ear headphones have 10mm drivers with authentic bass and treble sound. They also fit my ears well and sound better than most current offerings even at up to 3x their price. What’s not to love?
MKSound S150 Speakers and V12+ Subwoofer
I finally obtained MKsound’s S150 speakers and a V12+ subwoofer for my home theatre. A legendary brand used in various mixing studios such as Disney, Skywalker Ranch, Sony (for the movie Black Hawk Down, for example) and many more, these speakers were the de facto standard in mixing/mastering high-budget blockbusters. Now I have them in my home theatre.
At an approximate total of $15,000 for a 5.1 configuration, they don’t come cheap. But you have assurances that you are hearing the soundtrack pretty much using the same speakers they were mastered on.
ATOTO Audio CD Drive
New vehicles, except for top-of-the-line luxury ones, usually no longer come with a CD drive. I still use audio CDs quite extensively. So the only way for me to have a CD player is to purchase this ATOTO audio CD drive from Amazon. It is also sold under various other brands on Amazon Canada for around $200 although they are all manufactured by the same company. Plug it into your USB input and there you go! You get yourself a CD player for your car.
2.0 Firmware Update for JVC Projectors
This is not really something you buy because it is free. For anyone who owns a JVC projector, the 2.0 firmware for their current projectors is heaven-sent. It yielded a very visible improvement in its already world-renowned dynamic tone mapping algorithm. It’s like getting a new projector for free! The only caveat is that it takes about an hour or so to install, so grab yourself a gallon of hot chocolate while waiting for it to install. The details of the firmware can be viewed here.