"Mobile." Think about that word for a moment, and how just a few short years ago it meant only flip phones with LCD screens. That world has grown immensely in the 21st century, creating entirely new product lines — led by touch-screen smartphones and tablets — and countless products within those two categories alone.
Few can keep up with all the latest developments in mobile with the savviness and stamina of Sascha Segan. He is PCMag's lead analyst for mobile, and one of the nation's top experts on mobile phones and tablets. In almost nine years at PCMag, he has reviewed hundreds of devices, including every generation of Apple's iPhone and Samsung's Galaxy S. With all of his hands-on gadget experience, we're privileged that he's shared the five gadgets that have grabbed his attention and become part of his high-tech arsenal.
Windows Phone 8X by HTC
($432 with free shipping, a low by $118)
As a mobile tech writer, Segan has his choice of smartphone devices. He describes the HTC 8X on T-Mobile as his current "weapon of choice." "It's the perfect size for my hand, beautifully built, and Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 OS has a great balance between elegance and customizability. T-Mobile has solid speeds in New York City, where I live, at a lower price than other carriers."
Samsung Galaxy 16MP Digital Camera
($449 with free shipping, a low by $1)
Ever notice these days how smartphones are starting to resemble cameras, while cameras are starting to resemble smeartphones? Segan loves his Samsung Galaxy Camera because it brings some high-tech savvy to his shooting. "I bring the Galaxy Camera to every press event and trade show now," he says. "It's really easy to set things like aperture and shutter priority - the UI is much clearer than on DSLR cameras - and the 21x zoom lets me capture distant CEOs in the wild. Since it's running Android, I can even Tweet from it, which I did at Samsung's Galaxy S4 launch event."
Tivo Premiere HD Recorder
($134.99 with free shipping, a low by $5)
If you're thinking about cutting as many cables out of your life — including cable TV — then you might want to follow Segan's lead. "I'm a cord-cutter, cable-free for several years now," he says, "and the Tivo HD is at the core of my home entertainment system. Dual tuners record all the standard TV networks through an over-the-air antenna, and it also plays downloads from Amazon and streaming video from Netflix. There are a lot of other streaming boxes out there, but I haven't found another good one which works as an over-the-air DVR."
Plantronics Voyager Legend
($79.95 with free shipping, a low by $10)
In the beginning, Bluetooth headsets looked funny and you didn't see many people using them, but that has changed rather rapidly. Segan favors this set, which features smart call routing and caller announce/voice commands. "If I have to do a conference call out of the office, this Bluetooth headset is a must," he says. "It's comfortable to wear for very extended periods, has seven hours of talk time, and the long boom ensures that whoever I'm talking to doesn't hear a ton of background noise."
Tylt Energi Universal Travel Charger
($39.99 with free shipping, a low by $10)
Digital gadgets require lots of power, and without a "backup" plan, Segan and his devices would be sunk. "I always carry a backup battery to recharge my smartphone," he says. "The Tylt Energi isn't the most capacious, but I always bring it with me on trips because it doubles as a wall charger for any MicroUSB device. That means I can leave another charger out of my bag, and it means I'll always have my spare battery charged."
Front page photo credit: Vimeo