Adam's Favorite Tech: 2013 holiday gift guide

By Adam Zeis on 18 Dec 2013 12:55 pm

While I spend my days scouring the web for BlackBerry news and trying to help our readers any way I can, I also have a slew of other "tech" items that I use throughout my day. They range from high-tech gadgets to low tech necessities. Some of them are for getting my job done, others are purely personal while a few even cross between the two. 

To round out the end of the year a few of us here at CrackBerry will give you a quick look at some of our favorite tech from the past year so you can get a better glimpse into what makes us tick. So here we go ... 


BlackBerry Q10 / Z30

For the majority of 2013 I was kicking it with the BlackBerry Q10. Of course I started the year with a Z10, but as soon as the Q10 was released I made the switch and never looked back. It was only recently that I went back to a touchscreen device with the BlackBerry Z30 (which I love) but I still find myself longing for the physical keyboard of the Q10. 

Buy BlackBerry Devices


Nexus 5

I'm been a dual-wielder for quite some time, and with my trusty BlackBerry as my main device I've always had another phone on hand as well. I've bounced between quite a few second devices this year, but ultimately my favorite has been the Nexus 5. It's available for a great price off-contract, gives a stellar Android experience and just plain works. I can't squeak nearly as much battery life out of it as I can on my Q10 or Z30, but since it's only playing second fiddle that's not a huge issue for me.

Nexus 5 at Google Play



Lastpass, Dropbox and Evernote

None of these are really new for 2013 but they've all received significant updates this year. I'm lumping them all into one since my reasons for using them are basically the same.

My favorite apps for 2013 are Lastpass, Evernote and Dropbox. All I use on a daily basis and all have made my life easier -- no question. They are all for personal and business yet never confuse the two. Lastpass keeps me from using my old "two password" method for all of the sites I use, instead allowing me to create crazy long and complex ones for every site I visit. 

Evernote I've loved for a while but I just keep finding new uses for. I use it to store my recipes and notes, collaborate on articles, as a digital filing cabinet and photo archive. Loads of awesome uses. 

Dropbox is just awesome because I can store whatever I damn well please there and share it with whoever I want, when I want. We have a few CB folders for photos and files, I store all my camera photos, random docs and other goodies there so I can always get to them when I need them.

More information/Download Lastpass
More information/Download Dropbox
​​More information/Download Evernote



I have to give a shoutout to IFTTT. If you truly want to automate things online, IFTTT is the way to go. You can setup triggers for everything from Foursquare to Facebook to RSS that will fire off certain actions. I have recipes to send the weather to my Pebble daily, remind me to take out the garbage, send me instant RSS alerts to Gmail, archive my Tweets and much more. It's free and awesome and there are loads of possibilities. 

More on IFTTT




I could bust out a list with a few games here, but there's really one that's been taking up my time. I haven't been huge into console gaming since I added another kid, but I did pick up GTA V and it's one of my favorite console games to date. I've always been into shooters since the SOCOM days on PS2. I've since migrated to XBOX and while I won't be picking up a new console anytime soon, GTA V is filling my void just fine. It took me just a few days to complete the game but the replay value is always there, especially with the badass online mode.

GTA V at Amazon




Kevin has been praising his SONOS for as long as I can remember. I never took the time to look into it or pick one up for myself, but recently I acquired a Playbar and Play:1 and I have to say that as annoying as he was about it, I'm totally in love with my system. I have an open living area on the main floor of my house so a single Playbar serves both my TV and music needs. I stuck the Play:1 in my bedroom for a second zone and I can't imagine ever living without the setup again. There are controllers available for almost every platform so not matter what I'm using I can access it when I need to. Hopefully I'll add a few more speakers at some point down the road to really go nuts. 

Sonos on Amazon



I love coffee. I'm always looking for new ways to get the best cup and of all the things I've tried, the Aeropress has given me the best results. It's cheap, easy and just plain works. It cranks out a great cup of coffee when you need it. I've even picked up an electric kettle to make my brewing easier (as opposed to boiling on the stove). 

Aeropress at Amazon




My favorite accessory this year is hands-down my Pebble watch. I wasn't quite sure how I would feel about it at first, but I totally fell in love and haven't been able to go more than a day without it. Sure it makes you hyperconnected but at the same time, I check my phone less often and I love the geek factor of it. I've since branched out to even more smartwatches which means even more accessories to geek out on.

Pebble at Amazon


Happy Holidays!

So that's just a quick look at some of the gadgets I use in my daily routine. Some make my life easier, some are just geeky and fun, but all of them stuck out to me for 2013. If you have any fun gadgets of your own or thoughts on some of my picks, be sure to hit up the comments and discuss. 



Give some Q10

Posted via CB10


Good thing I ve never depended on a physical keyboard phone as you sacrifice so much of the screen size for a keyboard.

The z10 is so awesome but I just wish the screen was a bit bigger like 4.4" inch. Z30 is with its bigger screen and longer life looks very tempting.

I just don't see the smart watch really taking off or even wanting one. Smartphone (BlackBerry of course) is all I need when I'm on the go.


Good thing I've never depended on needing a larger small screen (I'm a screen snob, NO mobile device screen is large enough for me to watch a movie on) as you sacrifice the accuracy of a keyboard for the larger screen that you'll use a lot less than you would use a keyboard...

With type n go, and the return of homescreen one button speed dial, having this keyboard makes using my phone, as a phone, so much easier and more efficient than a full-touchscreen...

Posted without the aid of AutoCorrect with my physical keyboard via CB10


Good thing I never depended lost it. Darn it! You guys took all the good ones!

Posted via CB10 with my T-Mobile  ‎BlackBerry Q10...SON!


I also now dual wield. Hmm instead of Blackberry trying to get people to come back, they should market that it's cool to have one of each platform. I phones for Candy Crush, Androids for cheap dual sim phones, and BlackBerry for everything else.

Posted Via my second Z10


Candy crush? Really?? Even if that was on BB I wouldn't download it...

Posted without the aid of AutoCorrect with my physical keyboard via CB10


Happy Holidays!!

Posted via CB10 with my T-Mobile  ‎BlackBerry Q10...SON!


Nice article. Definitely have to go and look into a few of your picks. Thx!

Posted via CB10


I agree with the AeroPress. It's quick, convenient, and simple. As a college student, coffee is part of the culture anymore. This has definitely been a cheaper awesome alternative to the expensive coffeeshops.


I have the same coffee mug. Hahaha



Link to Pebble is broken (zorked up the "http://"').


Also, the Sonos links to GTA V.

Check out my AZ MTB Channel C0006F5EB

Adam Zeis

Also fixed. Must have skipped a cup of coffee today.


Get it in son!!

Posted via CB10 with my T-Mobile  ‎BlackBerry Q10...SON!


Great Article! Would like to see more of these from time to time!

Keep The Faith

Richard Devine

The iMore team is also doing a run down of favorite tech from 2013, you should head over and check them out too :) 

*shameless plug over*


Thanks Adam ! Pebble watch is on my list for this Christmas.

jojo beaconsfield

See what you did? I like all your stuff and am going to follow your lead,except for the coffee, get a Kuerig at Costco,the water is always hot and only takes a minute to brew.


I wish you ended your article with Merry Christmas instead of happy holidays :(

Sent from my Z30


He's politically correct. Not all of us celebrate Christmas.

Posted via CB10


So? It's what it is . I don't expect people of other faiths to change the name of their holidays for me lol.

Sent from my Z30


I agree. We get that rubbish in the UK too. Happy Christmas all, whether a believer or not! : )

Whoosh! Z10 in action!


Political correctness is for the fishes. If someone is fortunate enough to land a job writing for a website or some other publicly seen publication, he/she should be allowed to express his/her opinion freely. If you don't like that, start your own website to express your own point of view. Freedom is being able to express your own point of view, not keeping others from expressing theirs simply because not everyone agrees with it... And I'm agnostic, I don't even believe in this stuff but I think people should have the right to express their religious beliefs freely without ridicule.

Posted without the aid of AutoCorrect with my physical keyboard via CB10


I'm agnostic, but I don't mind the Christmas spirit, it's just a time to be festive that's all. But it is true that you shouldn't expect him to say Merry Christmas. That's just as bad as the atheists that expects everyone to never mention Christmas. He will say what he wishes to say and I believe in allowing him the right to whatever he chooses.

But with that said, I hope you have a very Merry Christmas dude. :-)

Posted without the aid of AutoCorrect with my physical keyboard via CB10


Woah! This conversation was intense.

Posted via CB10 with my T-Mobile  ‎BlackBerry Q10...SON!

jojo beaconsfield

It's freaking ridiculous,as I was reading the comments my bank manager called me,we spoke,and at the end she wished me Happy Holidays,we are both Italian.It's ok though ,I guess, you have to go with the flow and make everybody feel connected.


Bah Humbug!

Happy Festivus!!


Adam, do you have a SIM card inserted into your Nexus 5? I'm always curious to know how people go about wielding two devices (i.e. one with SIM, the other WiFi only or using the other's hotspot). I carry a Z30 and a Q10 with two SIMs but the Q10 is for work. Does anyone actually carry two personal phones with two separate phone lines?

Adam Zeis

I haven't had one for a while and would just go with WiFi, but AT&T has new value plans so I actually added another line and it only cost me $5, so I'll ultimately have a SIM in each which is nice. 


Upgraded from Z10 to Z30.... "Best New Smartphone on the Planet"... if Z30 "takes off", I think that a 4.65 inch screened phone would be in order - to go with a Q10 phone with a larger screen.... that would sell...


Also, Evernote is a great app and "Password Keeper" is an easy/free one for passwords... find it on BlackBerry World.


Adam - I think you should load Utunba Touch on the Nexus and give us a report.

Shashwat Pradhan

Adam does the pebble work good enough with the 3rd party apps available for BB10 or do you connect it to your nexus?

Adam Zeis

I've been using the Talk2Watch app and it works great. Definitely *way* more functionality w/ the Nexus, but it does just fine on BB10. 


YES, I just purchased the Pebble from BestBuy for the same sale price ($119) as Amazon. It's one of those acessories you don't miss until you have one.


I used "Best Parking" the other night in downtown Chicago. Great app to find lots and prices.

CB10 from the Z30


Lol had to rant. Poor z10s are considered such bottom feeders now. I still love mine!!

Posted via CB10


Hey! Stop that talk! You rock!

Posted via CB10 with my T-Mobile  ‎BlackBerry Q10...SON!


George....Z10 is a great phone... I just needed a bigger screen for my Last scarred eyes.

CB10 from the Z30



CB10 from the Z30


I love my pebble watch

Posted via CB10


Cool article. I had no idea that the Pebble had gotten pretty cheap in a world of smartwatches. Would you recommend getting one for a Q10 user if I wanted a smartwatch for my Q? Is it reasonable functional with it?

Posted Via CB10 using the power of "Q"


Ok just read a few lines up that you pretty much already answered my question for me lol.

Posted Via CB10 using the power of "Q"


Adam thanks for your input. Always great reading what you have to say. Do you still use q10? Or is it mostly z30?

Posted via CB10



Interesting stuff. I did not knew about IFTTT but now I know. And I also signed up & will be trying out some recipes. Browsing thru IFTTT made me think that Blackberry can get BBM added as one of the channel. or add BB Travel in the mix..
Could be a great marketing opportunity.


Love my Q10 and love my Aeropress :)


I'd also recommend Gran Turismo 6 for the games category ;)

Posted via CB10


Does anyone know if pebble works with z 10? And like always go niners

Posted via CB10


C0038297E please follow my BBM Channel Quote of the Day! Thx :)

Posted via CB10


I don't like being overly negative but this is such a poor review. I'm starting to question crackberry credentials :s

Posted via CB10

femi prince

I love that pebble watch

Posted via CB10


QWERTY Keyboard screens have come a long way and I've always had a hard time believing those using their device for a work function, would want to see them disappear. Had BlackBerry gone under you could guarantee a rival would have picked up the mantle and profited from it.

I wouldn't be opposed to operating a Q series alongside my Z30 because as pointed out in the article, some days you just want to play around with a keyboard and no one makes a better keyboard device than BlackBerry.

There's a lot of hidden marketing potential in the keyboard device just waiting for the right person to come along and get that message out all over again.

Sent from my BlackBerry Z30


All I need is my Q10 ;)

C0038297E Quote of the Day (BBM Channel)


Storing ALL passwords in one place i never a good idea,or? You have to trust a website/company a lot to store all you passwords there.they have every password of you,lol