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 doingsomething. And, living in an age lush with innovation, there’s some system or gadget for seemingly every single something we’re doing. So while there’s still a lot to be said 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 a definite 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 a substantive improvement in everyday life. The resultant list is full of globetrotting gadgets like power banks and compact cameras, as well as more stable fixtures for the home, such as 4K TVs and home speakers; no matter which of the bunch calls to you, there’s something sure to make your life better.

Lightweight Laptop

Thin, Powerful, Long Lasting and (Relatively) Affordable
Counterclockwise from top left:
Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro $1,499
Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 $1,000
Microsoft Surface Pro $800

Compact Camera

Pocket-Sized and Powerful, with Pro-Level Optics
Clockwise from top left:
Leica Q $4,250
Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 V $998
Ricoh GR II $700
Sony Alpha a7 Mirrorless $1,000

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Top-of-the-Line Performance, Top-of-the-Line Photography
Counterclockwise from top left:
Nikon D810$2,497
Canon 5D Mark IV$3,299
Canon EOS 7D Mark II$1,499
Nikon Df$2,747


The One Thing You Can’t Live Without
From left to right:
Google Pixel$649
Samsung Galaxy S8$725
iPhone 7$647

Protect Your Investment With a Proper Case


Smart Watch or Fitness Tracker

Knowing Your Fitness (and Emails) Is Vital
Counterclockwise from top left:
Garmin Fenix 3 HR$600+
Withings Steel HR $180
Apple Watch Series 2$269+
Fitbit Surge$215

Wireless or Bluetooth Speaker

Counterclockwise from top left:
Sonos Play 5$499
Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 3$137
Naim Muso Qb$999
Bowers & Wilkins T7$350

Need Your Speaker Waterproof? No Problem


Noise-Canceling Headphones

When the World Is Distracting, Tune It Out
Counterclockwise from top left:
Audeze EL$699
Sennheiser HD 650 Open Back$316
Denon MM400$399
Bowers and Wilkens P5 Wireless$300
HiFiMan HE400S$299
Grado Professional Series PS500e$595

More Hi-Fi Headphones


In-Ear Headphones

When On the Move, These Keep You Connected


Counterclockwise from top left:
Apple AirPods$159
Etymotic HF3$133
KEF M100$150
Bose QC30$299

Home Speakers

Powerful and Rich Sound for Home Entertainment
From left to right, top to bottom:
Klipsch RP-280F$599
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


Record Player

Because Vinyl Sounds Better
Counterclockwise from top left:
U-Turn Orbit Plus$289
Onkyo CP-1050$327
Project RPM 1.3$370


The Focal Point of Any Entertainment Center
Counterclockwise from top left:
Sony XBR-65X930E $2,998
LG C7 Series OLED55C7P$2,797
Panasonic TX-65DX902B$1,395
Vizio 65-inch P-Series (2017)$1,700

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Integrated Amp

Connect the Speakers to the Source
Counterclockwise from left, top to bottom:
Cambridge Audio CXA60 Integrated Amplifier$749
Onkyo A-9010 Integrated Amplifier$299
Rega Elicit-R Amplifier$1,695


An E-Reader, Laptop and Streaming Device in One
Counterclockwise from top left:
iPad Mini 4$399+
iPad Pro$599
Amazon Fire HD 8$80

Portable Battery Charger

Outlets Aren’t Always Within Arm’s Reach
Left, top, bottom:
Zendure A2$30+
Mophie Powerstation$30
Anker PowerCore 2010$42+

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Gaming Console

A Far Cry from Your Old N64


Left, top, bottom:
Playstation 4 Pro$400
Nintendo Switch$300
Xbox One S$300

Streaming Device

Because Streaming Is King
Left, top, bottom:
Roku Premiere+$92
Google Chromecast Ultra$69
Apple TV (4th Generation)$149

Backup Hard Drive

Back Up Data, Free Up Hard-Drive Space
From left to right:
Lacie Rugged Thunderbolt$150+
Google DriveFree+
SanDisk Extreme 510 Portable SSD$249 for 480GB

Wireless Router

Broadcast the Broadband with Proper Speed


Left, top, bottom:
Netgear AC1750$109+
Apple AirPort Extreme$199
D-Link AC3200$200


We Haven’t Gone Totally Paperless (Yet)
Left, top, bottom:
Samsung Printer Xpress M2020W$101
Brother HL-L2340DW$90
HP OfficeJet Pro 6978$108

And Now for Something “Unnecessary”: a Drone