#51 – The Authority Hacker Gear And Gadgets Roundup

What you will learn

  • Find out all the gadgets & gear we use
  • Why having a great headset is a worthwhile investment
  • What we use to record our podcast
  • Why Apple isn’t necessarily our favourite anymore

In this episode, Gael and Mark go through all their technical hardware. From Laptops and phones, to mics and headsets. This episode has it all.

Products Mentioned In This Episode

Most of these links are affiliate links. If you buy the product through our link, we earn a commission from the sale.

However, all of the products mentioned in the show are those which we actually own and/or have used so our opinions are as unbiased as possible.

Where a product wasn’t available, we have linked to a newer or similar model.

Full Transcript

Mark: Welcome everybody to the Authority Hacker podcast. My name is Mark and today Gael and I are here to hate on Apple, isn’t that right Gael?

Gael: Well, they did do well lately.

Mark: A lot of people ask us about the hardware we use, gadgets, PCs, laptops, phones, stuff like that, so we’re doing a podcast on that today. If you want to buy any of the stuff we talk about, or get the model numbers, links, stuff like that or just hate on us for our opinions in general, got o authorityhckaer.com/gearpodcast and you can find all the info there, leave a comment.

Gael: Are we going to put affiliate links there?

Mark: Possibly, but this isn’t the purpose of the podcast to be honest.

Gael: Okay, because some people hated on us for putting affiliate links on the Tim’s podcast. At least I am disclaiming it now, there are maybe affiliate links there. But it’s still the stuff we use.

Mark: FTC disclosure out of the way; let’s start off with the big questions. This is November 2016 how many Apple products do you currently own Gael?

Gael: Three. Which is not that bad.

Mark: And they are?

Gael: iMac 5k, MacBook Pro, iPad Pro.

Mark: Okay, so you kind of come away from being the out and out Apple fan boy which you used to be, is that right?

Gael: Well, let’s just say there is a post Steve Jobs period which is not working out very well for Apple in general. The phones are not great compared to Android, in terms of photo quality, in terms of battery life and time to charge a phone, and things like that, and options in general.

Mark: I actually own the same number of Apple products as you do now, I have three iPod shuffles just because-

Gael: Okay it’s probably not the same price stuff. [laugh]

Mark: Yeah. I still think they are awesome products. Okay, let’s get on with the serious stuff, the podcast. Let’s start with something which we both have the same version, I think the only piece of hardware which we both have the same version, which is the phone, so we both have the Google, Huawei Nexus 6P which we got in January, how are you finding that so far?

Gael: It’s the best phone I’ve ever had, it’s really good, super smooth. Google just released the Google Pixel phone, it’s a good phone, but essentially it’s the same phone, just slightly smaller, right. The camera, lens is the same, the camera is the same, the processor is the new version but that’s basically it, there is a little bit more RAM and everything else is the same, right, the touch ID thing is the same, they don’t have the phone facing speaker which the Nexus 6P has. Overall, I am really happy and it keeps being that smooth. Normally the way it works with Android phone is they are all smooth when you buy them, but you really see how good they are one year later.

Mark: Yeah, so I’ve just updated my phone, I think a couple of weeks ago, and I am definitely noticing a slow down now, the Facebook floating messenger thing is just not smooth at all anymore, and it used to be perfect when I first got it.

Gael: I used to have that, and I just did the factory reset and it works perfect.

Mark: I might do that as well, because I am noticing the battery issues. This phone has slightly lower than average, I mean, not that any phone has a good battery life, but it’s slightly lower than average battery, so I think that might be something.

Gael: It’s pretty good for me.

Mark: One thing which I am particularly impressed with is this- I don’t know what it’s called, the touch ID is it, a fingerprint center on the back where you can unlock your phone and conveniently also buy for things in the Google Play store. Without having to enter your password.

Gael: Or LastPass as well, like my LastPass and my PayPal is also tied to that actually.

Mark: I am too cheap to spring for the LastPass premium that comes with the phone so I don’t use that but yeah. I have my phone in front of me, I am just looking at it now, I’m noticing it’s quite scratched up at the moment, I have the black version so maybe-

Gael: Yeah, overall, it’s a good phone. What I like is it’s pretty cheap now, it’s actually 399 dollars, I don’t know if it’s 32 or 64 Gb I don’t remember but convert to the new phone that costs double that now, it is a strong phone still and I would actually recommend it to people, if you want the newer version, essentially that’s the previous version of the Google Pixel, it just has a different name because Google changed their branding, but overall, it’s a good phone.

Mark: Yeah. And do you think you will get a new one next year?

Gael: Right now it’s really smooth so probably no, unless the battery, like the only problem with phones is they work well until the battery just goes to shit completely, and so if it happens, then yeah, I’ll get a new one, I’ll probably get Pixel or I would get a Samsung but I would lean more towards the Pixel. Overall I’ll just keep going with that, it’s really strong. Otherwise, a really strong phone I would recommend is OnePlus 3. If you want a cheap phone that is powerful this is the best value for money.

Mark: Is that out yet or-

Gael: OnePlus 3 is six, eight months old or something like this. It’s a really strong phone, here it costs 400 dollars or something and it’s a phone model from this year and it’s a whole metal phone with a 5.5 inch screen, it’s faster than my phone, my girlfriend has it and it’s really good.

Mark: Yeah, I almost bought the OnePlus 2 I think it was, but I couldn’t find the code, I couldn’t order in time…

Gael: Yeah, now they don’t have this stuff anymore, now you can just buy right away from the store, they don’t have this invitation system anymore. So it’s pretty good, Shall we move on to the laptops and PCs?

Mark: Sure, so you have an iMac, right?

Gael: Yeah. iMac 5K, it’s the first generation so it was completely overpriced, I paid almost 5,000 dollars for it, like here come the haters- [laugh] and, I don’t regret it actually, if I didn’t buy it, I don’t think there would be Authority Hacker Pro today, and the fact that I have a really strong connection at home together with the fact that this thing renders really fast for the videos, like, it allowed me to record entire blueprints of 15, 20 videos in 36 hours, and to be frank, when I used to render videos on my laptop, it would overheat after 2 or 3 hours of rendering stuff etc, and sometimes even shut down.

Mark: You had a pretty good laptop before as well, right?

Gael: Yeah, I had a 15 inch MacBook Pro, but just laptops overheat, it’s compact, a processing power just gets hot… It was a lot of money but the truth is, we made that money back many, many times. So, I am definitely happy about it, the specs are it’s an intercore 7, 4 GHz , [07:11 inaudible] GB of RAM, AMD Radeon online 295X 4 GB of RAM, SSD512. So, overall, very happy about that.

Mark: Can you see yourself upgrading that any time soon?

Gael: No, I don’t need to, honestly, it’s still as smooth as it was on day one. So it just turned two years actually last week, and it literally feels like it’s still new, so I am pretty sure it’s going to last another three or four years at least. Which is a lot for PC.

Mark: You just have the one screen on that, do you miss having dual monitor setup?

Gael: Okay, so if I need the second screen I actually use my iPad as a second screen, and the iPad it fits under, it’s like the height of it when it’s in [07:56 inaudible] mode is exactly the height before the screen on the iMac, so I can actually have two screen on top of each other. And the iPad is slightly angled up, but is on the desk, so it’s perfect to look at it, and that’s the setup I use for webinars, for example, my notes are on one screen and I share my screen with the, I share my iMac screen or when I do sales webinars I do the opposite, I actually share the iPad screen and I have my notes on the iMac really big in front of me, so that works really well. And the same thing if I do some tedious work I am just going to plug the second screen and watch a tv show on the iPad below and I am working above, I don’t turn my head, it’s really good, I really like that setup.

Mark: That’s cool. And do you use the, is it Magic Mouse the Apple call it?

Gael: Yeah. I use the Magic Mouse to work, which I think is better, the trackpad is like because on the desk it kind of like hurts your wrist in the long run if you are working for 8 hours, it’s not a very natural position, you need to keep an angle on your wrist, whereas you can just rest your hand on the mouse. So I prefer the mouse, I have a mouse to work and I have a mouse to play games actually, so I have a gaming mouse and i have a magic mouse.

Mark: What kind of gaming mouse do you have?

Gael: I still have the old one from the office, so the Logitech one, MX 518.

Mark: Classic.

Gael: It works well.

Mark: I’ll get to that in a second. I still use that mouse for everything, and they actually stopped producing them, so you can’t buy them anymore, but because they are so good, people are selling like boxed ones on ebay for hundreds of dollars, because people just love them. We bought like 20 of these at once when we had our office and I don’t know where half of them disappeared but I wish I could get my hands on some more of those. Yeah, so I am basically completely the opposite of having a Mac, I am PC guy through and through, I have I think it’s coming up for five years old now, my desktop PC. I honestly couldn’t tell you what specs it has, because I took it from our old office, so it’s like run-of-the-mill kind of five year old i5 processor, I think it does have a graphic card in it but it’s not a very good one, I don’t play that many like crazy games, I tend to play older games like Age of Empire and stuff, so I don’t really need it anyway. One thing I don’t really think I could live without is dual monitor setup, so I have two 24 inch monitors, I don’t even know what make they are, LG monitors, again I think 5 years old and i bought this, it was about 30, 40 dollars, it was like dual monitor stand, so it clips to your desk and it has these two sort of flexible arms that come out and you can just basically align your monitors up much higher, so like at eye level, and put them right close together so there is very little gap between the screens and you don’t need the stands, this holds them up as well.

Gael: We should definitely put a picture of the setup by the way in the podcast notes, because it’s going to make more sense for people.

Mark: Yeah. We’ll do. I think it’s absolutely awesome, I am very happy, I use dual screen setup for everything I do, I’ll either have my notes, to do list, or if I am uploading the podcast I’ll have the page somewhere and I’ll be writing the notes somewhere else, and then maybe load up Photoshop to make the featured image, that kind of stuff, I couldn’t really live without dual monitors to be honest with you.

Gael: Yeah, I mean, I have one big and one small and because you have two times 24 inches I have one 27 inch and one 10 inch monitors. It’s different, I just have this app on Mac that snaps the apps to the corner of my screen etc, so I can actually run two, three apps at the same time. Also, on Mac you use a lot of multiple desktops, so basically you just swipe with your fingers left and right and it just swaps all this things, so like I have a lot of apps full screen, so for example my Asana which has all my to dos is like a full screen desktop and I just swipe to it and tick stuff and go back. I understand why like the real estate space but, I also think one strong high resolution screen can fit a lot of content too on it.

Mark: Yeah, I think for my next setup I’ll probably go for three monitors, because I don’t know if this is just me but I use the left one a lot more and I kind of twist my neck just a tiny little bit but sometimes I want to have one in the middle which is my main one and then two more, one on each side. I am pretty sure that’s like quite easy to do these days, when I got this computer it was like, I think it only has two display ports so it wasn’t possible, but yeah…Okay, cool, so let’s talk about our laptops. Do you still use your laptop that much?

Gael: A lot less. I don’t travel much lately and I work from home, I usually use my laptop in the evening when I am tired from working on my desk, I just go on the sofa, I have a really nice sofa at my place, I just go there and do some kind of planning for, kind of like long term projects work, and this I work on my laptop.

Mark: Do you still have the Pro or you use MacBook Air?

Gael: No I have a MacBook Pro 13 inch. I have the entry model MacBook Pro 13 inch not the new one that just came out, the last year, with 16 GB RAM, but it’s an i5 processor not an i7, 256 GB of SSD so it’s a pretty good computer, I am actually considering using it a lot more when I am dona with all these programs, and I am pretty sure, this is going to be fine as a computer to do all of my work when I don’t just produce videos. I can even do some, a few, like I can do one or two videos on it no problem, just like I wouldn’t do that for 10 hours a day. So, it’s a good computer, I like that it’s compact enough, it’s not too big, I just have a backpack and throw it in there, good computer overall, I think it is good value, I think the new MacBook Pros it’s more debatable they are smaller but they don’t have enough ports, you can put an SD card in it.

Mark: Yeah, they got rid of USB ports, is that right?

Gael: Yes, there is only 4 USB-C ports on it, so basically all your stuff you need [14:13 inaudible] to plug it.

Mark: I am sure they sell those as extras as well.

Gael: Yeah, and most importantly, the price jumped up by like 300 or 400 dollars for the MacBook Pros and the battery life is actually 2 hours less.

Mark: It’s just like typical Apple, like, let’s just make it worse and charge more money for it and people will buy it.

Gael: I mean, it’s still lighter, the screen is much nicer, there is arguments for it it’s basically the size of a MacBook Air now basically. Even smaller. It is pretty nice and it’s really, but like, they always go for the smallest and it’s like Pros don’t want the smallest at all cost computer. Pros want the machine where they can do everything they need to do on a reasonable size. And Apple has gone in the wrong direction where they have just like cut the size completely and sacrificed everything else. That’s just the problem with them, so there is actually a debate on whether I am actually going to switch back to PC for my next computer actually.

Mark: Cool, that is going to be what you call it a deconversion.

Gael: Yeah, I mean, it’s like Windows 10 is a really good operating system, Windows 7 was crap, Windows 8 was crap, but Windows 10 is good actually. So I can switch back.

Mark: So, I am using a Lenovo Think Pad X1 Carbon Yoga. So, Lenovo have had for a few years now, these like X1 Carbon laptops, made of carbon fibre, they are super light, lighter than MacBook Air, but as powerful as MacBook Pro. Being Lenovo, or like an old IBM one, very good keyboard, even for such a thin machine, it’s like quite a lot of travel speed in it, and this newest version they have, the screen actually flips all the way around, turns into a tablet and there is a stylus in there which I find particularly useful; I know in your iPad you’ve been using a lot to sort of do sketch illustrations to send to one of our designers for the Authority Hacker Pro like blueprint outlines and some blog post, right?

Gael: Yeah, my iPad is my second screen both on my laptop and on my iMac, which I like, so when I travel I have two screens, I have a 13 inch MacBook Pro and I have my iPad 10 inch next to it, but yeah, it’s also like a really good drawing tablet for- I’ve done some sketches on the Authority Hacker blog which are particularly bad, but it’s nice to illustrate stuff and it doesn’t feel stuck, it feels like custom made for that purpose and you can really do cool stuff. For the blueprints, I’ve actually just been drawing them and like a designer has been doing them which I hope to bring to the Authority Hacker blog because I don’t think anyone deserves to see my drawings, but it’s also a cool way to just create content overall like visual content, I like it quite a lot. I also like things like editing photos on my iPad, and so on, which is more for personal use but it works really well like stuff like Snapseed is actually easier to use than Photoshop on desktop if you are not a Photoshop specialist. That’s why I like my iPad, it works well with the rest. Apple it makes no sense on paper, but when you use it it’s actually pretty nice.

Mark: That remains to be seen. So, I don’t have a tablet at all, I think I do have like a six year old Google tablet, it probably doesn’t even work anymore, kicking around somewhere but my laptop is essentially a tablet as well, so it fulfills that like dual role in a way, although, to be honest, I don’t really use it in tablet mode that often, just really for doing some sketches and planning out some illustrations. Sometimes I use it to getting ideas down that doesn’t really feel right typing, like write them out, sounds weird but it seems to work well for me. What I will say about this X1 Carbon laptop the Yoga version is it’s the first time they’ve done that in this X1 Carbon which is like the premium range and there is a few build quality issues which is not really deal breaker but I wouldn’t recommend getting this, but I think next year when they come out with like the second generation they will probably fix most of these because Lenovo generally have the highest build quality of almost any laptop out there.

Gael: Yes. I mean, if I had to buy a computer today, I would either get this the new MacBook pro because like I just like my system if I wanted to keep going, otherwise, I would probably get a Surface from Microsoft.

Mark: Yeah, they just came out with some new ones, right.

Gael: Yeah, 16 hours of battery life, and they have doubled the graphic power, so it’s not perfect for video because it’s still a dual core, but it’s quite powerful and quite small and 13 inch, I like the 13 inch size of a laptop.

Mark: Yeah, it’s quite interesting the direction Microsoft is going, they are becoming more and more like Apple every day.

Gael: They are better than Apple now, they do cooler stuff than Apple now. I would definitely give that to them, they are still playing catch up though on a lot of things. They are still figuring it out.

Mark: With mobile, the phone as well, although their apps, like on android for like one note and even excel are pretty good now actually I would say.

Gael: It’s coming back, Microsoft is coming back but they still have two or three years of catch up.

Mark: Yeah. Okay, so we’re recording a podcast right now, let’s talk about how we are doing that. So I am currently using a Blue Yeti, I did double check that for a second, Blue Yeti microphone which is I would say probably the most common mid level beginner mid level podcasting mic, it’s about hundred and something dollars on Amazon. And, yeah, I think it sounds pretty good, the acoustics in my room, it’s like really old building with very high ceilings, lots of corners, wooden floor, it’s kind of echoic, we do very little post production audio work on this podcast, so I think it sounds pretty good.

Gael: Yeah, I am in the same place, my room is even bigger than yours and wider and less stuff in it so it’s even worse. And I am using the Rode Podcaster, which is funny because like the Yeti is more of an Apple person microphone. And the Rode Podcaster is more of a Windows person microphone, but, we kind of swapped here, it work really well as well, I use to have the AT 2020 something like this, Audio Technika 2020 , it was okay but this one is much better.

Mark: Your old one had like some xlr, some weird connection which was causing all sorts of problems I think, right?

Gael: Well, if I knew how to use it properly it would probably be fine, but I am not an audio specialist, so I’ll just move to a USB microphone, it works just fine, and I am happy with it, so Rode Podcaster is really good.

Mark: And, in terms of headsets, we both, it was quite a few years ago, we bought these, and this is the other thing which we both have the same version of, Sennheiser 350 SE gaming headset, so we use this generally for, I mean, I use it for listening to music and just listening to any audio on my PC, plus also when we’re doing Skype calls, or anything that involves speaking which isn’t like production recording, we use that. And I think it’s awesome, definitely the best headset I’ve ever had, super comfortable to use, I think the quality of the mic is amazing, what do you think?

Gael: Yeah, I like it a lot, for traveling, it’s perfect, if you want to record the podcast when traveling- it takes a bit of room, like it’s not so small, but the quality, like there is two microphones, it’s not the quality of the microphones that we use at home, but, when I travel my MacBook Pro and this headset is plenty to record podcast actually.

Mark: Yeah, and I don’t think they make this model anymore, the newer model is quite a bit more expensive, it’s like 2 or 3 hundred dollars, so not quite sure what I would do when it comes the time to upgrade, actually the volume control on the side of mines has fallen off like a year ago, but it still works, so it’s fine.

Gael: I mean, I would probably still buy it for me, if I am given the amount of time I have it, I’ve already had it for two years plus and it’s going to last another two I would say at least, even 200 bucks for 4 years of my headset is not that bad. I would take it.

Mark: One other thing I bought earlier this year was a both noise canceling qr 35 I think it is, headphones, this is really, they are not that great for using in your office or whatever, but on a plane or on a train, wow, what a difference it makes. I’ve been taking like an absurd amount of budget flights this year, on like Wizz Air, it’s a discount airline and the seats don’t recline super uncomfortable, but having these on, you just feel like you are in your own sort of cocoon, and you hardly feel like you are on the plane, highly recommend these if you travel a lot and the new QR 35 ones are wireless as well, but like 20 hour battery so, pretty good.

Gael: Yeah, I am using something much more classic, I am using also Sennhiser it’s like MM30I it’s just like the Apple headphones but nicer, and it’s not like they are proper headphones that actually hold to your ears, and they also have a pretty good noise cancelling microphone built in but it’s really small, it fits in your pocket so if you want a more pocket version of the headset that we have, Ii recommend it and I think it’s something like 35 bucks or something.

Mark: Those are earphones, not a headset, right?

Gael: Yeah, earphones. So that’s what I am using, and but like they are good quality, like it’s like you could record, it wouldn’t be great, it would be okay if you are in a small room, but you could record a podcast on it and the sound would be quite clear.

Mark: Yeah. So, when I am walking around, I always scrunch up a cheap pair of earphones and put them in my pocket, if I am out and I want to listen to some music or something, and I have, I forgot the model, they are basically the cheapest Sennheiser earphones, they are like 15 dollars or 10 pounds or something like that on Amazon. I actually go through maybe like one a year, they always end up going through the washing machine at some point. So I just bought like three at one time, because I know I am going to-

Gael: Although Sennheiser for sound is always amazing, it’s not the cheapest but they beat anyone else in terms of quality.

Mark: Alright, we don’t really use webcams or cameras too much, although we, I actually just thought about it, that’s another thing, we both have the same picture taking camera, right?

Gael: No, I sold mine, I just use my phone now. There is actually a comparison where phones are as good as it now almost. Like, accepting like very low light situations actually our phone is as good as RX100.

Mark: Wow, okay. I must admit, I probably used it last month when I was away, but, I hardly ever use it anymore just because it’s just so much more convenient taking a phone around you, than even a small compact camera. So I think in lesser like a photography junkie than-

Gael: Yeah, I use the DJI Osmo mobile which is like my new toy, essentially it’s like something for your phone, but it’s a hand stabilizer so it’s like electrical stabilization so your camera is always steady, you can take pictures, there is no shaking, you can take videos and it’s really smooth, you can take-

Mark: It look, it has that like similar effect where like a camera man is kind of following the object of like in a movie or something and it’s just like he is walking up some steps but it’s not like jumping up and down it’s smooth. I saw it yesterday for the first time, it’s like super impressive actually.

Gael: Yeah, it’s a simple way to like not deal with the big camera, but still have some decent memories. I just throw it in my bag, if I want to take a picture with just my phone i can, if I want something nicer I just snap my phone in it and I just take photos. I like it. That’s not cheap though, it’s like 340 dollars or something. Not the cheapest, there will probably be cheaper stuff, it’s like Osmo is like the Apple of drones and stuff, so a little bit overpriced, like nicer for now, they’ve destroyed GoPro actually. GoPro, the Share just tanked because of DGI. I am pretty sure in a year there will be 99 dollar versions of that.

Mark: Cool. So let’s talk about our actual office spaces, so we both work from home, if I take co-working spaces I get distracted too easily so I need to be like quiet-

Gael: I would not pot the 5000 dollar iMac into co-working space.

Mark: Are you still sitting to the same desk, I mean, I know the answer.

Gael: Yes. I am still using my old desk from the old office, so it’s something like 5 years old now, 4 or 5 years old, this desk. I am looking to upgrade actually, it’s something I need to do.

Mark: Why do you want to upgrade it?

Gael: Mostly I want to upgrade my office space, like a have a desk behind me that is like useless, and I want to put all my gear on it organize everything so I can pick up whatever I need whenever I want etc, and I am thinking about the desk you have, the one that is like electrical standing sitting desk as well.

Mark: Also an Ikea desk, I think it was like 300 dollars which isn’t actually too much more expensive than the regular. It’s really heavy, it’s very difficult to put together actually, much more so than a usual Ikea product, so I don’t know about that, but yeah, I will say though, when I first used it I was standing two hours a day at it, so just to explain, it has a little motor on the side and you can press up and down and it will raise or lower the desk, like from normal height all the way up to standing height, so you can stand up, I am standing up on it right now, but to be 100% honest with you, probably this is the first time in about 2 months that I have actually done that.

Gael: Is that because you prepared the notes and you had to justify that you had a standing desk?

Mark: Yep, that’s it. 100% exactly why it is, I am not going to lie about it. So the thinking is, that it’s better for your back, better for your posture, and something like you burn more calories standing up, so it’s healthier, but, I think it’s one of these things you need to really set as a habit and do for a specific amount of time every day, and then it just becomes normal, because yeah, it’s a little bit less comfortable I think at least, so yeah, just be aware of that, I think a lot of people probably bought these and then used it for a bit and then just used it like a regular desk after that, so I need to force myself to use it as a standing desk.

Gael: Okay. I just have a normal no story desk, so not worth talking about it.

Mark: Yeah, and we both have these Ikea Markus chairs, I think they are. The most common ones you see in basically every tech company has these-

Gael: It’s like the nicest one they have, but it’s like an Ikea chair, it’s not like a every luxurious thing, it’s good for back support but that’s it.

Mark: Yeah, it has holes in the back, it gets quite hot here in the summer so you don’t get sweaty back or whatever.

Gael: Yeah, it’s a good chair, it’s good value for money.

Mark: It certainly lasts ages, this one is like 5 years old or something, so yeah.

Gael: Yeah. I am really happy with it, I’ll buy the same one if it breaks, for sure.

Mark: So what else you’ve got going on in your office then, what other gadgets?

Gael: For the winter, because now we just changed time, it’s basically literally, it’s 3.30 and I can already see the sun go down, that’s how bad it is in Hungary because we are at the end of the time zone. Well, I have these SAD light, which is essentially SAD stands for seasonal affective disorder, which doesn’t mean i have any emotional problems, it means that, it’s when you lack of daylight, you are tired, you are depressed etc and so this SAD light is essentially replacing the daylight that you are missing, you turn it on in the morning for like half an hour, and it really wakes you up a lot, like it really kind of destroys your eyes for two minutes but then it’s okay to work with it, and it really wakes you up and it really feels like you’ve been working like half an hour in the sun to go to the office. That is one cool gadget I have.

Mark: That’s even more reason for you not to go outside then, yeah?

Gael: Exactly. The thing is if I go outside it’s usually dark or it’s cloudy right now, so, it’s more for the morning stuff, so like I wake up at like 7.30 am and like there is light right now because we just changed time, but give it a month and there would be no light, and that is going to be really useful, otherwise, I would start waking up later, do less stuff etc. Which I believe a lot of people that work from home, you know, you are struggling with motivation when it’s dark when you have to wake up and stuff, if you want to keep like proper wake up time, sleeping time etc, so how much was it, it was like a 100 pounds I think, this light, so not the cheapest, but once again, if it makes me gain even like an hour a week, it’s pretty cheap actually.

Mark: Yeah. It’s a return investment there.

Gael: Exactly, that’s more like how I am looking at it.

Mark: So, I don’t have these lights, because I go outside, I have recently bought few of these Philips Hue smart lights, so there is two things, I often use them, so I have them in the bathroom, like the colored ones and it’s just like quite relaxing, like take a shower at night or something but I also have two of the just the white ones, next to my bed and the bedside lamps, and I use those to sort of wake up in the morning and I find those a massive difference, like there is two things, so waking up to like gently increasing the light is way better than a sudden alarm, but, often when the alarm, even my alarm has like a math problem we have to solve on it, I like solve it and I just go straight back to sleep again. But, now, when you solve it, it turns the lights on full blast so if I really need to get up for something, than it’s perfect for that, absolutely perfect.

Gael: You are using sleep for Android right, as an app?

Mark: Yeah.

Gael: Now there is s new way of stopping your alarm where you have to shake your phone but it’s like you don’t have to shake it a lot, but you have to shake it, it’s like if you put it to medium you have to literally shake it for like a minute before it stops, you know. That is even stronger than the math problem, because, literally you have to move your body to move the phone for like the whole minute, so if you want to improve that process, try the shaking thing and remove any kind of snoozing. That is how it works. And then at the end, it turns the light on full as well.

Mark: One thing I will say, first of all, these lights are really expensive, like absurdly expensive, so it’s not really possible to kit the whole house out with them, but, I like setting them up and if you have a fairly standard setup it’s fine but as soon as you start adding complexity to it, like my wi-fi doesn’t go all the way to the other end of my apartment, because I have really thick walls, so I have like a repeater but the lights don’t work if they are under repeater, they only work if they are on the main router, so there is a bunch of small issues like that and so I end up using this like out of home connection and it’s like a bit delayed, so I am not like a 100% sold on this like smart lighting concept yet, but I’ve only like just got them up and running so I need to play around with them for a little bit longer I think.

Gael: I like it. In the bedroom I only have them though.

Mark: Yeah, so one other thing, I actually saw, I was at a conference in Bangkok in Thailand last month and this guy was giving out these sleeping masks, it sounds a bit weird, I know, but there is a reason behind this, him and his business partner had started this company and they designed the sleeping masks from scratch. And it is an absolute game changer, I use sleeping mask quite a lot, and I always just use like one I got off an airline or something like that years ago, not particularly comfortable and then this summer I bought one, I bought basically the best one I could find on Amazon, which had good reviews, and it was a step up but it was alright. But this one is like, it’s just so good, it’s like perfectly blackout, it’s comfortable to sleep, it doesn’t slide off, it looks pretty good, yeah, it’s amazing, so I am going to put a link to that, it’s called Mantra Mask, they are not out yet but I think he is going to do a kickstarter next year, so go to mantramask.com sign up for that because if you like sleeping masks you will want to get one of these.

Gael: Cool. I am going to talk about two more things I have, which is how I power all my battery power stuff. I used to be the guy that never charges his phone and never has battery when you want to call him or whatever, I would just forget all the time and phone would take ages to charge back then, now it’s really quick.

Mark: Yeah, that’s the other thing, the Nexus phone, they are quick to charge, it’s first time I’ve had that in a phone, it’s amazing.

Gael: It changed everything, yeah.

Mark: 30 minutes, up to 80% battery is like a game changer.

Gael: So, to be able to plug all my stuff because you usually have one charger and you kind of alternate your stuff etc, well I bought this thing called an Anker Power Port, and essentially it’s like a giant charger with like six USBs on it, including one USB-C for the fast charging on whatever you use with USB-C and I have that on my desk, like right now I have my Osmo plug, I have my kindle plug, I have my phone plug, everything is full battery, it’s really nice and nice addition to your desk. You just need to do a bit of cable management, but it’s not so bad, and then when I am on the go, I have actually a portable charger from RAVPower that has 20100 mAh but now the new version has 26 thousand, it actually charges my phone 5 or 6 times from zero to full and it also has the fast charging built in, so it’s like it’s a little bit larger but otherwise it’s the same size and it has 2 USB ports 1 USB-C and 1 mini USB port and it can charge my phone like up to six times so it’s really quite nice, you just drop that into your backpack or in your laptop bag or something, if you have a USB-C laptop which they are more and more coming up it can also charge your laptop, and that would probably charge like, I can charge an iPad like 3 times, or 2 times, so probably a MacBook Pro, like you can charge it like one time with it which is kind of nice, it really makes traveling not a problem in terms of battery life when you are away from a plug for a long time. The only problem is that itself, this battery takes a long time to charge, like you need to literally charge it all the night, and it doesn’t charge and charge your items at the same time. So you can’t plug everything in one plug, I mean, you can but it will take a very long time to charge everything, so a really good accessory, especially considering that it costs less than 30 dollars. It is pretty cheap. So yeah, I would definitely recommend it.

Mark: Yeah. USB-C battery, I think it’s like 10 thousand mAh it’s quite a bit smaller, but like USB-C one it doesn’t appear to have the fast charge.

Gael: Yeah, you need to check when you buy.

Mark: Yeah, so I was pretty disappointed by that to be honest. I might have to check out this RAVPower ones.

Gael: That one fast charges, like, 40 minutes in my bag and my phone is full which is really good because I use my phone as my camera, remember, so when I travel, battery drains fast because I am using this Osmo thing, I put my phone in, I take videos etc. Battery drains fast so you just put it in when you are having lunch or something, you put it in your bag with the battery, you take it out, you are done and it’s full battery again and you can do it many times, then, there is no pressure on using your phone as your main camera.

Mark: Cool.

Gael: Alright, well guys, thanks for listening, I think the url for the podcast is authorityhacker.com/gearpodcast

Mark: Remember guys, you can go to authorityhacker.com/ask if you want to ask Gael and I any question, in the next few weeks in every podcast episode, we are going to be answering one question, at the end, so if you want to get your question answered, go to authorityhacker.com/ask.

Gael: Cool, that was a bit of enough series, but these are the questions that we get, like a lot of people that buy laptops on Authority Hacker Pro etc try to figure out what to use, we don’t necessarily have the ultimate answer but that is what we use, now you know. And I guess next week we’ll find you again with a more online marketing oriented topics, so thanks for listening guys and we’ll see you next week.