Modern life never leaves us in one place for long. Racing to work, exercising, grabbing dinner, traveling cross-country or putting our feet up at home — we’re always doing something. And, living in an age lush with innovation, there’s some system or gadget for seemingly every single something we’re doing. So while we don’t endorse staring endlessly into LED screens — there’s still reverence for leaving the phone (temporarily) behind — we are aware that technology can improve our quality of life. Fads and extraneous gadgetry may rule the newsfeed, but there’s still a core cadre of electronics that make life substantially better.

To gather a list of what is truly necessary for the modern man, we pulled our collective resources — Gear Patrol co-founder Eric Yang, staff writers, contributors and steadfast friends like Jeff Carvalho, partner and executive editor at Highsnobiety. We asked them to limit their choices to 20 essentials — those pieces that truly make an substantive improvement in everyday life. The lists came back with globetrotting gadgets, like powerbanks and compact cameras, as well as more stable fixtures for the home, such as 4K TVs and home speakers. For your personal quiver of tech gear, we highly recommend these products.

This list is subjective, so we’d like your input. Submit your own essential tech gear here. If yours ends up being one of our favorite responses, we’ll send a copy of Issue Two of our magazine.

Lightweight Laptop

Thin, Powerful, Long Lasting and (Relatively) Affordable

Clockwise from left:
Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro $1,499
Microsoft Surface Book with Windows 10 Anniversary Update $1,499
Dell XPS 13 with Infinity Display $1,063+

Compact Camera

Pocket-Sized and Powerful, with Pro-Level Optics


Clockwise from top left:
Leica Q $4,250
Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 IV $900
Ricoh GR II $700
Sony Alpha a6300 Mirrorless $998
Going on Vacation? These Are the Best Cameras to Take


Capture your next adventure in high quality with some of the best compact digital cameras. Read the Guide


Top-of-the-Line Performance, Top-of-the-Line Photography


Clockwise from top left:
Nikon D810 $2,497
Nikon Df $2,747
Canon EOS 7D Mark II $1,800
Canon 5D Mark III $2,800


The One Thing You Can’t Live Without


From left to right:
Google Pixel $649
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge $728+
iPhone 7 $647
Protect Your Investment With a Proper Case


Looking to protect your iPhone 6S/SE? We’ve scoured the web to find the best cases for every budget. Read the Guide

Smart Watch or Fitness Tracker

Knowing Your Fitness (and Emails) Is Vital


Clockwise from top left:
Garmin Fenix 3 HR $600+
Samsung Gear S3 $350 (pre-order)
Apple Watch Sport $283
Microsoft Band 2 $175+

Bluetooth Speaker

Tunes Should Go Where You Go


Clockwise from top left:
Sonos Play 5 $499
Bowers & Wilkins T7 $350
Naim Muso Qb $999
Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 3 $200
Need Your Speaker Waterproof? No Problem


The best waterproof bluetooth speakers for portable, durable music wherever you need it. No plugs, jacks or weather reports. Cue adventure music. Read the Guide

Noise-Canceling Headphones

When the World Is Distracting, Tune It Out


Clockwise from top left:
AKG N60 NC $250
Beats Studio Wireless $370
Sennheiser Momentum Wireless $420
Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Headphones $349

Hi-Fi Headphones

Improve Your Over-Ear Listening Experience


Clockwise from top left:
Audeze EL $699
Grado Professional Series PS500e $595
HiFiMan HE400S $299
Bowers and Wilkens P5 Wireless $400
Denon MM400 $399
Sennheiser HD 650 Open Back $340
More Hi-Fi Headphones


When nothing but the best sound will do, these in-ear hi-fi headphones deliver the clearest, richest sound on the market. Read the Guide

In-Ear Headphones

When On the Move, These Keep You Connected


Clockwise from top left:
Apple EarPods $29
Bose QC30 $299
KEF M100 $150
Etymotic HF3 $139

Home Speakers

Powerful and Rich Sound for Home Entertainment


From left to right, top to bottom:
Klipsch RP-280F $479
Bowers and Wilkins 683 S2 $825+
Bowers and Wilkins CM5 $1,600+
Pioneer SP-BS22-LR Andrew Jones $127
Everything You Need to Know About Speakers


A conversation with Sound & Vision editor Rob Sabin, who explains how audiophiles decide what systems to buy to bring the best sound. Read the Guide

Record Player

Because Vinyl Sounds Better


Clockwise from top left:
U-Turn Orbit Plus $309
Project RPM 1.3 $499
Onkyo CP-1050 $299


The Focal Point of Any Entertainment Center


Clockwise from top left:
Sony XBR-65X930D $2,198
Vizio 65-inch P-Series $2,000
Panasonic TX-65DX902B $1,000
LG OLED65E6P 4K Smart TV $4,997
It’s Time to Upgrade to 4K


4K TVs have four times the resolution as full HD TVs. And, in 2016, they’re more attainable than ever. Here are the best 4K TVs under $1,000. Read the Guide

Integrated Amp

Connect the Speakers to the Source


Clockwise from top:
Cambridge Audio CXA60 Integrated Amplifier $799
Arcam A19 Integrated Amplifier $799
Rega Elicit-R Amplifier $1,695


An E-Reader, Laptop and Streaming Device in One


Clockwise from top left:
iPad Mini 4 $399+
iPad Air 2 $399+
Nexus 9 $250
iPad Pro $599

Portable Battery Charger

Outlets Aren’t Always Within Arm’s Reach


Clockwise from top left:
AmazonBasics Portable Power Bank $20+
Mophie Juice Pack Air $88+
Enerplex Jumpr Slate 10K $100+
Anker PowerCore 2010 $40+
Going Off the Grid? Don’t Forget These


Stay plugged in even where you’re on the road. These are the six best portable power banks to take on your next adventure. Read the Guide

Gaming Console

A Far Cry from Your Old N64


Clockwise from left:
Playstation 4 $349+
Nintendo Wii U $341+
Xbox One S $300

Streaming Device

Because Streaming Is King


Clockwise from top left:
Roku Streaming Stick $50
Google Chromecast $35
Apple TV (4th Generation) $149

Backup Hard Drive

Back Up Data, Free Up Hard-Drive Space


From left to right:
Lacie Rugged Thunderbolt $180+
Google Drive Free+
SanDisk Extreme 510 Portable SSD $249 for 480GB

Wireless Router

Broadcast the Broadband with Proper Speed


Clockwise from top left:
Netgear AC1750 $129+
Asus RT-AC88U $300+
Apple AirPort Extreme $199
D-Link AC3200 $250+


We Haven’t Gone Totally Paperless (Yet)


Clockwise from top left:
Samsung Printer Xpress M2020W $79
Brother HL-L2340DW $105
Epson Workforce GT-1500 $210
And Now for Something “Unnecessary”: a Drone


Smart, self-stabilizing, and increasingly self-navigating, drones create dramatic videography and photography. Here’s the guide to the best. Read the Guide

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