My favorite tech buys from 2017

I haven’t done something like this in a long time, but I thought it would be fin to look back on some of my favorite tech purchases from 2017. Not that it matters, but I loosely sorted these by joy they’ve brought me this year.

AirPods

My review.

These have been totally worth every penny! At $159 they sounded a little too pricy last September when Apple debuted them, but after using them for the better part of a year I can safely say they are the best headphones I’ve ever used. They’re simple, reliable, and are just a joy to use. It would be great if they were less expensive so more people could justify the purchase, but if you can make that justification then I think you’ll love them.

Nintendo Switch

My first impressions.

I love video games, but I kind of despise the video game culture that you see online. I’m also getting burned out on the type of “AAA games” that accumulate tons of attention. Nintendo Switch is a perfect respite from all the junk that I don’t like about the industry, and you should read my first impressions in the link above to see what I love about it, but suffice it to say I love this little console and am very, very happy to have it.

Logitech MX Master S2

This is the newest item on the list, and I just got it a week ago. The mouse feels great in the hand, and it looks very nice in the back and gray model I have (the original’s brown look didn’t do it for me), but the killer feature of this mouse is the Logitech Options app that you can use with it. There are 6 customizations you can make to the behavior of the buttons/wheels on this thing that make it easy to perform many simple tasks. Not only that, but you can set universal rules as well as app-specific rules, so for example the top button will publish an article for my blog in Ulysses, build and run a project in Xcode, and open Chrome in Safari1.

The original MX Master was widely considered to be the best mouse out there, and the follow up is better in basically every way. From my understanding people who own the last model don’t need to upgrade, but it is an excellent mouse in its own right. If you want to get all the features listed above but save a few bucks, the older model is going for $60-70 right now on Amazon.

Sketch (Mac)

I get more use from this $100/year app than I ever expected. I had previously done all my mock ups and wallpaper design in Photoshop, but Sketch has made those processes much faster and have allowed me to do more in less time. I recommend the Sketch Together YouTube channel as a great jumping off point for seeing what makes this app so wonderful.

Lofree Keyboard

My review.

This is one of the few Kickstarters I’ve backed and it was totally worth it. I use this to type up basically everything on my iPad and it’s great. The key layout definitely takes some getting used to, but once you get the hand of it it’s a pleasure to type with.

Newton (iOS, Mac, Android, and Windows)

I never expected to spend $50 on an email app for iOS, but Newton is the first app to combine simple interactions with powerful advanced features when I want them. I used to bounce between Spark and Airmail and Outlook and Mail, and I was never really happy. Newton is the first time I’ve been totally satisfied with what I have. I don’t know if this app really should be $50, but hey, I paid it, so I guess it is to me.

It also helps that the app is available for all platforms I use. Basically, as long as you don’t use Linux or Windows Phone then you’re good!

Google Home

I struggle to decide whether I prefer the Amazon Echo or the Google Home. The Echo is great for performing simple tasks and integrating with third party services, but it’s absolutely terrible at answering general questions or hearing me or my wife’s voice unless we’re quite close to it. The Google Home integrates with far fewer services, but it is generally faster than the Echo at doing the things we ask it, hears our voices better, and is much better at answering random questions we throw at it.

I expect to get an Apple HomePod this winter and then things will really get interesting, but for now I think I like the Home is my pick for most enjoyable smart speaker.

Studio Neat Glyph

This was a purchase I waited far too long to make. This is just a piece of plastic that lets me mount my iPhone to my tripod, but having that ability is priceless. All of my recent videos have been shot on my iPhone, and this tool makes that a lot easier.


Those are the big wins from me this year, but I’m curious what you think I missed. What have you gotten this year and loved? Let me know on Twitter!


  1. For those Google pages that Google blocks other browsers from using.