There's a rotten stereotype out there that high-tech gadgets are for guys. But if you've been reading our Techie Top 5 feature on a regular basis, you know that some of our best and brightest gizmo experts are women, from ReadWrite and Slate contributor Fruzsina Eordogh to CNET's Molly Wood.
Now comes another intelligent, witty, and tech-savvy lady to the Techie Top 5 circle. As an editor at MacRumors and as Editor-in-Chief at AppShopper.com, Marianne Schultz brings style and substance to both online publications, which you can also see in her terrific blog, Musings of a Geeky Girl. When we asked her to contribute to our series, she replied with all the enthusiasm of a top-notch tech gal awaiting a Lightning to 30-pin adapter in the mail. Here's her list of beloved gadgets.
($89 with free shipping, a low by $11)
Here's a miniature device that tracks your steps, distance, calories burned, and stairs climbed each day; come nightfall, it measures your sleep cycle and wakes you in the morning. While Schultz tried Jawbone Up (a similar product) and didn't like it, she has no such reservations when it comes to Fitbit One: "It's tiny, reliable, syncs wirelessly with the Fitbit app on my iPhone, and gives me great information on the number of steps I've taken, floors climbed, and my sleep quality," she says. "Since it clips onto my clothing, it's not in my way when I type, write, or play sports, which was an issue with the Jawbone Up."
Aliph Jawbone JAMBOX Wireless Bluetooth Portable Speaker
($147.98 with free shipping, a low by $31)
Now here's a Jawbone product Schultz recommends from personal experience: a portable speaker that sounds as sleek as it looks. "When using headphones is impractical, I use a Jawbone Jambox to listen to music or podcasts on my iPhone via Bluetooth," she says. "The Jambox has great battery life and its sound quality and volume are surprisingly good for such a small, unassuming device. Friends and family who hear it are always impressed and some attempt to 'borrow' it from me indefinitely."
Apple iPad mini 16GB WiFi Tablet
($329 with free shipping)
Ever the cutting-edge techie, Schultz becomes the first of our guest writers to recommend the iPad mini, which bowed October 23. This 7.9" version seeks to stake the middle ground size-wise between the full-sized iPad tablet and the iPhone 5. "I've heard many people complain about the iPad's smaller sibling and its lack of a Retina display, and while its less-than-crisp display is definitely noticeable coming from an iPad 3, its portability trumps all for me," Schultz says. "It's small enough to fit into most of my purses and it's perfect for traveling. It lets me do even more app testing, game playing, web browsing, eBook reading, and more on the go."
Incase Sonic Around-Ear Stereo Headphones
($66.66 with free shipping, a low by $25; search for "WW22-76876" to find them)
You knew Incase made fancy laptop sleeves ... but headphones? These cool, curvaceous cans won the prestigious Red Dot design award, and feature a snug over-ear design that looks like something from a sci-fi film. "I've tried headphones made by more established manufacturers in the headphone industry, but Incase's Sonic headphones are the ones I've kept," Schultz says. "Their memory foam earpads are super comfortable and their audio quality is clear and balanced across all genres in my music collection. They have a lovely minimalist design and they're also iPhone-friendly with an inline remote." They also come with an extra cable in a different color that's handy as a spare or to change up the look.
($54.75 with free shipping, a low by $11)
The bane of every tech lover is power, especially when batteries run low. "Keeping my phone and tablet charged are absolutely critical and the Zaggsparq 3100 doubles as a portable charger and power adapter with its built-in prongs," Schultz says. "It can give my iPhone 5 almost two full charges or bump my iPad mini's battery more than 50% and it will work with many other portable devices that can charge through a USB port. I carry it with me whenever I leave the house and even use it at home when I want to keep reading an ebook or catch up on Twitter, but don't want to hang out near an outlet to charge up a low battery in my iPhone or iPad mini."
Speaking of the iPhone 5, Schultz also gives the highest of props to this device: "It's the hub of my digital life," she says. "I often joke that if I could attach it to my arm somehow, I would. OK, I'm not really joking."