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Category Archive: Gear

The Ugmonk Gather Desk System: A Comprehensive Review

The more folks push to work from home and the more we switch our time to working at a desk, the more important our desk workspace becomes. Every industry is like this! If you’re a carpenter, your truck, trailer, and tools matter. If you’re a painter, your brushes and paint choices matter. If you’re a developer, designer, or knowledge worker, your workspace matters. »

Knowing How You Work Best is a Cheat Code for Better Productivity

Throughout the years and after countless experiments, I’ve discovered how I work best. This best version doesn’t involve the sexiest setup. It doesn’t involve the nicest mechanical keyboard or the most expensive camera. This version of “work best” is defined more as “more productive” than “more creative.” »

Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best 2024 Planner for You

In this article we are going to tackle the criteria for a good planner. We’re also going to give you some of our favorite planners to recommend and what makes them so great (for both physical and digital planners). »

Setting Do Not Disturb With the Action Button on the Apple Watch Ultra

The Apple Watch Ultra’s Action Button is one of the biggest departures from standard Apple Watch design in, well, ever. Ever since the introduction of the original Series 1 Apple Watch, we’ve only had access to the Digital Crown and the Watch’s side button. The Action Button increases the onboard physical buttons by a full 50%! »

A Quick Review of the Logitech MX Master 3S Mouse

It may be the incremental upgrade of all incremental upgrades: The Logitech MX Master 3S — at least on paper — is one of the smallest gadget updates we’ve seen in recent memory. Put them side by side and you wouldn’t be able to see the difference (unless you were comparing to the newest “Pale Grey” Master 3S color), you probably wouldn’t physically feel the difference, and unless you have a trained eye, you probably wouldn’t notice an on-screen difference either. But rest assured, you’d instantly be able to tell the two top-end mouses apart once you’ve clicked them. »

A Few Weeks With the Always-On Display and Dynamic Island in the iPhone 14 Pro

The iterations are getting smaller, there’s no doubt about it. iPhone 12 Pro to iPhone 13 Pro included a substantially better battery, a smaller notch, and the standard camera improvements. I say “standard camera improvements” because Apple’s largely just playing the physics game here rather than the technology game — take a look at how much bigger the camera lenses are on the back of the iPhone 14 Pro and you’ll see where the year-over-year-over-year improvements are truly coming from. »

Customize Your Stream Deck Using BetterTouchTool

The Elgato Stream Deck is a USB peripheral that gives you a grid of customizable buttons that you can assign to actions on your computer, like controlling Hue lights or muting your audio in Zoom. You can assign individual actions to physical buttons, and an LCD display allows you to customize the appearance of each button with an icon or text that you specify. So instead of trying to perform finger gymnastics to hit the right keyboard shortcut in the middle of a video call, you can just press a physical button instead. »

Elements of a Sweet Setup Part 3: Lighting and Desk Accessories

This is perhaps the most exciting section when building out your setup. Where desks, chairs, and computers are the backbone of many workspaces these days, desk accessories and other elements are key to bringing out your personality and inspiration. You can really venture down the rabbit hole here. »

Elements of a Sweet Setup Part 2: Computers and Accessories

If you’re in the middle of building a new workspace at home or at the office, you know just how many elements there are to consider. Desks and chairs are just the tip of the iceberg — anything from lighting through to plant life has likely played a role in your considerations. »

Some First Impressions of Apple’s Studio Display

The Studio Display is one of the most giddy-worthy Apple products I’ve played with in a long time. Its design is impeccable, speakers deep and thorough, display bright and crisp, I/O usable and manageable. »

AirPods Max: A Parent’s Point of View

In one short swoop, the AirPods Max have nicely fixed my Madhouse distraction-maximalist home and my late evening television entertainment needs. I can now drown out most of the chaos swirling around when it’s time to work and I can enjoy a new level of audio when watching my favorite Disney+ shows. »

Apps and Gear for the Holidays, 2021 Edition

It’s that time of year once again when we like to bring you a few of our top app and gear picks to get you through the holiday season in one piece. This handy list has a little bit of everything, whether you’re looking for some neat gift ideas or you’re simply in need of […] »

One Month with iPad mini

When it was announced during the September iPhone event, I immediately thought that the sixth-generation iPad mini was the star of the show. New iPhones are cool and all, but this iPad mini seemed like it was tailor-made for how I was (and wasn't) using my iPad Pro. I ordered one before the end of the event, and having used it for a month now, I have to say this is by far the most fun I've ever had with an iPad. »

The iPhone 13 Pro Camera Review

This is the first year that my entire photography workflow can be handled by my iPhone on its own, which has been quite empowering. »

Automating my video lighting with HomeControl + Stream Deck

I wrote previously about my video setup and mentioned that I had a couple of LED lights I used to improve the background lighting and eliminate shadows for my video. They're pretty basic, but you can adjust the color with an included remote. I used it initially to set the color where I wanted it, and now just use it to turn the lights on and off individually. But I've always been slightly bothered that I didn't have a way to control them all with the press of a single button from my Stream Deck »

A Review of the Twelve South HoverBar Duo

There are a few moments in Twelve South’s HoverBar Duo marketing video that surely garner a “wow” moment. The video starts out showcasing a multitude of ways you could use Twelve South’s new stand (like shooting a culinary video, recording an aesthetic video, or working at a desk with an iPad at an ergonomic height) and finishes off showcasing how easy it is to swivel, rotate, and maneuver the stand to fit your needs. »

How I Time-Block and Plan in a Traveler’s Notebook

When the group at The Sweet Setup suggested we'd be talking about knowledge and idea workflows in the early part of 2021, I couldn't pass up the chance to talk about my analog adventures that live alongside all the apps I use each day. We can't do everything on our iPhones, after all. »

How to Run 2 Displays From an M1 Mac Mini

Editor’s Note: The LG 4k monitors used for this article are model number 22MD4KA. Some readers have reported that the newer model (24MD4KB) does not work with the mentioned adapter because it requires Thunderbolt 3 instead of USB-C. The Siig adapter mentioned here will ONLY work with a USB-C monitor. I’ve always been a laptop […] »

iPhone 12 Pro Max, a Photographer’s Perspective

It’s that time of year again: I’ve traded in my iPhone for the newest version, played with it, and now I’m here to tell you what I think of the camera on iPhone 12 Pro Max. So, is it a much better camera than my 11 Pro? Yes, and also no. Let me explain, but first I want to address the phone in the room. »

iPhone 12 Pro First Impressions

Though the iPhone 12 Pro is the most premium iPhone I've ever held, it's also clear this iPhone is meant to be used. It's been a fun weekend watching my wife discover new ways to use her iPhone. »

A Month with Apple Watch Series 6

I've been wearing an Apple Watch all day, every day since the launch of the original Apple Watch in April of 2015. I wear it around the house. I wear it when working out. I wear it to church. Even more than my iPhone, my Apple Watch is the thing that I always have with me. »

Staedtler 0.05mm Pigment Liner Pens

I love a good, fine-tipped pen for writing in pocket notebooks or doing clean detail work while sketching. Staedtler's 0.05mm “Pigment Liner” pens are just the ticket, with their long, needle-like tips that create crisp and precise lines (without bleedthough), which dry almost instantly and are then waterproof. »

RØDE VideoMic Pro+ On-Camera Shotgun Condenser Microphone

Look, I won't sit here and pretend to be an expert about on-camera shotgun microphones, but I do know that the RØDE VideoMic Pro+ is a beast of a mic that will make your vlogs, films, and interviews sound exceptionally clean and crisp. »

“8pxl” HD Pixel Art Wallpaper Packs (Desktop & Mobile)

I'm a bit of a sucker for high-quality pixel art, especially if it's got a calming, Studio Ghibli-esque atmosphere. These high-definition landscape/cityscape wallpaper packs by an artist who goes only by the name of Jubilee have exactly the right kind of vibe. »

Focusrite “Scarlett Solo Studio” USB Audio Interface

Focusrite's Scarlett Solois a super simple USB audio interface for getting studio-quality recordings at home. Whether you're a musician, podcaster, vlogger, voice actor, voice-over artist, or have any other high-performance recording needs, it's a reliable and intuitive piece of hardware that always captures clear, detailed audio. »

Lamicall Adjustable Laptop Stand

Lamicall’s adjustable laptop stand is a solidly constructed and nice-looking way to elevate your laptop off a desk to a more ergonomic position. It’s made from thick aluminum with a sturdy base, is height adjustable (between 5.7″ and 8.1″), can be angled up or down (from 45° to 180°), and it can rotate a full […] »

A Review of the Vortex ViBE Mechanical Keyboard

Aside from the unique layout, I *really* fell for the ViBE's physical design. The floating keycap look is my favorite keyboard design so far, while the aluminum tray is both flashy and sturdy. The off-white keys have a retro vibe, while the keycap type face is easy to read and unique from the old-fashioned keyboards I associate with 90s-era computers. In short, the ViBE looks incredible. »

Brother HL-L2300D Monochrome Laser Printer

Sometimes you just want a printer that works. You're not interested in fancy features, wireless connectivity, ink colors, scanning, or special paper sizes. All you need is the ability to print in black ink on 8x11 white paper — that's it. »

PITAKA Air Case for iPhone 11/Pro/Max

We've always had mixed feelings about iPhone cases. You want to protect your expensive investment, of course, but what's the point of having such a gorgeous, svelte device if you're going to cover it up with some chunky, heavy thing? The question then becomes, can you keep the phone safe *and* slim? »

Magic Keyboard: Turning the iPad Into Something New

Our accounting office is right next to a Telus store full of Android and Windows fanatics. I haven’t been able to get any person in the store to even consider an iPhone or Mac for themselves, let alone convince them the iPad is a great business device. The Magic Keyboard is the first accessory that […] »

The Desks of The Sweet Setup

Here's Blanc Media's work-from-home setups, complete with a list of the main items in each setup. If you're anything like us, you're sure to be curious about a few of the coffee cups gracing these tables. »

One Week With the New 2020 iPad: Moving Back to Small

The 2020 iPad Pro marked the opportunity for me to try out the smaller of the two iPad Pros. I’ve been using the 12.9-inch iPad Pro since debut day in 2018, and I know how that shoe fits after a few years. Throw that large iPad into a dock on a desk, connect a Smart Keyboard Folio or external keyboard, and hammer away to your heart’s content. With iPadOS 13.4, an external mouse or trackpad make the 12.9-inch iPad Pro really feel like a MacBook replacement. »

AirPods Pro vs. Powerbeats Pro

Both the AirPods Pro and the Powerbeats Pro are amazing pieces of gear in their own regard, but it ultimately comes down to what your everyday needs are. My search for wireless headphones that were not over-the-ear came down to two contenders: the AirPods Pro and the Powerbeats Pro. After browsing a handful of articles and watching a video or two, I knew I was going to need to try them for myself. So I got both. »

First Impressions of the Canon EOS R

After spending the better part of a month with the EOS R and the RF 35mm ƒ/1.8 IS STM Macro lens, I have some impressions on what it’s like to move from 2016 camera technology to 2018 camera technology, as well as some thoughts on the significant mindset change when flipping from the Fuji X-T2 to the EOS R. »

The iPhone 11 Pro Battery Case Review

Despite the massive year-over-year improvements in battery life of the latest iPhones (all three, the 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max), there are still those who somehow find a way to crush their battery on a daily or semi-daily basis. »

A Review of the 16-inch MacBook Pro

As the 16-inch MacBook Pro stands, this is basically a perfect professional laptop. A big, wide color P3 display. Four extra-powerful Thunderbolt 3 ports. The best trackpad in the business. And finally, a physical escape key. »

ElevationLab FamilyCharger

ElevationLab's FamilyCharger gives you one central place to quickly charge all the gadgets in your household, without all the cord clutter you get from most multi-port chargers. »

Peraco Wooden Docking Station & Nightstand Organizer

You know that saying, “A place for everything, everything in its place”? I'm a big proponent of it, as anyone who's ever worked with me in person can tell you. I get real anxiety about things just being left around all willy-nilly with no system. There has to be a system, people! »

Elago AW3 Case for Apple AirPods

As Mac nerds that go way back, Elago’s retro-styled W3 stand for the Apple Watch is still one of our favorite Apple gadget accessories around. Now they’ve released a complimentary product to go with your AirPods: the AW3 AirPods Case. Compatible with versions 1 and 2 of the AirPods, the Elago AW3 makes your AirPods […] »

Dark Noise: An Delightful White Noise App for iOS

Released just over a month ago, Dark Noise is a simple yet powerful ambient noise app for iPhone and iPad created by first-time iOS developer Charlie Chapman that offers exactly what you'd expect: a collection of high-quality ambient noises (38 in all) to help you sleep, focus, or relax. »

Bellroy Premium Sling Review

The Bellroy Premium Sling is a compact everyday carry option that looks great and packs more than you'd think. »

David Smith’s “Moon++” for Apple Watch

Developer David Smith has added another great app to his “plus-plus” lineup: It’s called Moon++ and it’s available only for the Apple Watch and the new watchOS 6. In a blog post, he explains what it does and why he made it (bold emphasis mine): Moon++ seeks to provide a highly accurate, visually pleasing indication […] »

CANSHN Crystal Clear Case for iPhone

I'm the type of guy that puts a lot of thought into the color of any iPhone I buy. For that reason, I don't often like to put a case on the phone — but if I'm going to, it has to be a crystal clear case like this one. »

RegisBox “Sheikah Slate” Zelda-Themed Wireless Phone Charging Pad

Here's one for you Legend of Zelda nerds: Charging accessory company RegisBox has a sweet wireless charging pad inspired by The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild that will make charging your phone feel like inserting the Sheikah Slate into one of the game's Rune Pedestals. »

IKEA & Sonos “SYMFONISK” Table Lamp + Wi-Fi Speaker

Earlier this year, it was announced that IKEA and Sonos would be teaming up to release a Wi-Fi speaker that was also a lamp. (They cleverly billed it as “the best sounding lamp in the world.”) That product, the “SYMFONISK” table lamp speaker, is now available for purchase. The best way to describe it is […] »

Hyleton Universal Travel Adapter

If you’ve ever traveled internationally, you know that not every country in the world uses the same style of electrical outlet. With a universal adapter like this one, you can plug into outlets in more than 150 countries, as long as they’re of the US, AU, EU, or UK socket styles: Using the sliders on […] »

Yicaihong Aluminum Mousepads

You don't have to rely on those flimsy foam mousepads when you have the option to buy an aluminum mousepad. »

The TGT iPad Case

The TGT Wallet (pronounced “tight wallet”) is something we’ve mentioned over on Tools & Toys a number of times over the years. However, they’ve got another product that we think is worthy of The Sweet Setup’s audience’s time: the TGT iPad Case. Introduced back in November, this case fits the standard 9.7″ iPad design and […] »

Bose Noise-Cancelling Headphones 700

For years now, Bose’s QuietComfort 35 IIs have been the industry standard when it comes to noise-cancelling headphones. Back in May, they surprise announced that they’d be releasing something a little different that could potentially unseat their own flagship product: the Noise-Cancelling Headphones 700. As Marques “MKBHD” Brownlee puts it in his excellent YouTube review, […] »