Apple iMac – February 2010
I finally decided to part with my much-loved G5 iMac at the start of the year, and went on an eBay selling spree to raise funds for a replacement. I opted for the 21.5″ Intel Core 2 Duo iMac, and I’ve been incredibly pleased with it. Admittedly, every time I see a real-life 27-inch model I covet it greatly, but the 21.5″ is fine for my purposes. It’s a massive leap in performance from its predecessor, and I’ve not regretted the purchase one bit. (Original post here)
Firestone Audio Fubar IV DAC – March 2010
After getting a pair of Grado SR80i headphones for Christmas, I was looking for a way of combining them with my existing Apple Airport Express to give a proper high-fidelity listening experience. I decided the best way to do this would be via an offboard digital-to-analogue convertor and eventually plumped for the Fubar IV. I fell in love with it straight away – superb sound, compact size, built-in headphone amplifier. Perfect. (Original post here)
Firestone Audio Supplier – May 2010
Following the success of the Fubar IV, I went one step further and purchased the matching dedicated power supply, The Supplier. Connected up to the Fubar IV, it just took all of the things I already loved about it and improved them. I think the Fubar/Supplier combination has been my best gadget purchase of 2010. Brilliant. (Original post here)
HTC Legend – May 2010
Also in May, I decided to stop procrastinating about getting a new phone and decided to take out an 18-month contract on an HTC Legend. Running Android and sporting a very fetching all-aluminium body, it has recently been updated to 2.2 Froyo and has proved to be a brilliant little phone. I see my friends toting their new iPhone 4’s, but I think the Android/HTC combination can match the iPhone almost every step of the way. I will admit that I would love the iTunes integration of the iPhone, but other than that for the money I’m really pleased. I still have another 11 months to live with it, and I hope it’ll continue to go from strength to strength. I’m wondering if it’ll ever see 2.3 Gingerbread though… (Original post here)
WDTV Live – July 2010
A cracking deal from eBay meant that I took the plunge on a Western Digital TV Live media streamer for the bedroom TV, and on the whole I’ve been quite impressed with it. Since getting the new AppleTV (see below) my enthusiasm has been tempered somewhat, but for less than half the price of the ATV it has proved more than capable. I don’t like the interface, and if there was better integration with iTunes (rather than just SAMBA sharing) it’d be much better, but generally it’s pretty good. Wouldn’t buy one for the full £90 RRP though – that’s AppleTV money.
I got a bonus at work and promptly blew it all on these new bits of home cinema kit. I managed to resist the urge to start replacing all my DVDs with Blurays, and I’m glad I did because I’ve discovered that on my 720p 32-inch TV, there’s really not a lot to be gained in terms of picture quality. HD audio is nice, but I’m still fairly impressed with Dolby Digital 5.1 to be honest! I do like having the convenience of HDMI switching on the receiver though, and having automatic sound calibration is superb. Although I’m not using the player for Blurays, the DVD upscaling is excellent and the network features are a nice touch.
2nd-Gen Apple TV – September 2010
After the new Apple TV was unveiled at the beginning of the month, I immediately preordered one. It was exactly what I was looking for to bridge the gap between iTunes on my iMac and the TV in the lounge. And, having used it for a few months, it does this job admirably. I haven’t bought or rented anything from the iTunes store, I’m just watching my own content on it. The whole experience is very “Apple” – simple and slick, and using it alongside my iMac and Airport Express makes for an excellent multi-room music solution too. (Original post here)
Amazon Kindle – December 2010
Having only got this a few days ago, I can’t write anything particularly in depth about the Kindle, other than on first inspection I think I’m going to really like it. Some people have bemoaned the fact that it’s “just” an e-book reader (apparently I should have bought an iPad at five times the price) but ever since I first clapped eyes on the new model, I’ve wanted one. If it gets me back into reading again, it’ll be a superb gadget. Full opinion to follow, once I’ve actually used it in anger…
All in all, it has been a year of very satisfying gadgets. I’m hoping that 2011 will be more of the same.