The holiday season is a good time to buy tech for yourself or someone else. Black Friday has become more like Black Fall, where things are on sale for months! I try hard to not buy anything I wasn’t already planning on buying due to a sale, but I’m not immune to impulse buys. Plus, this is the season for gifts. In this article, I’ll go through the tech haul my family purchased or received this holiday season.
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Chromecast with Google TV
Yeah, I know I already have a Google TV. I reviewed it last year. As I wrote then, it has surpassed Roku as my favorite streaming device. So, I had to get another one for my basement TV. My only issue with the Goole TV dongle is the extremely limited storage space. You can solve this and make it into a more reliable wired streamer with one of these USB-C dongles:
Chromecast with Google TV Remote Attachment
I used to love my Harmony remotes. And, for a while, I was in search of the perfect universal remote. But with smart streaming device interfaces becoming so simple (see the Roku remote or the Chromecast remote above, for example), and HDMI-CEC, I no longer need a remote that can do I lot. I just need one to control a few extra functions on the A/V receiver and the TV. I still don’t want to have to use multiple remotes, however. That’s where the remote attachments below come in handy:
|Wasserstein Universal Remote Attachment Compatible with Chromecast with Google TV||Buy on Amazon|
|Sideclick Universal Remote Attachment for Chromecast with Google TV||Buy on Amazon|
Both of these add-on remotes can learn basic IR commands from another remote. I have the Wasserstein version because it was a lower price when I bought it. But they are pretty similar. I’d just buy whichever is less expensive.
Samsung QN90A Smart TV
This is the crown jewel of my holiday haul. With our family room TV being 9 years old, I decided it was time to get a new TV and get into 4K. I decided to go with the Samsung QN90A because it had great reviews, and I got a great deal from a local electronics store. Most people say the OLED TVs, especially the ones from LG, give the gest picture. But this room has a lot of windows and can get fairly bright, which makes viewing OLED TVs less satisfying. Plus, QLED TVs, as of now, have fewer burn-in issues than OLED. So, I went with QLED. The viewing has been a great upgrade over my old Panasonic plasma.
Here are the TVs I considered:
My old AV receiver does not support 4K. In order to enjoy 4K from dongles, video game consoles, etc., and support the best sound for this room I bought the Denon AVR-S760H. I could technically use the eARC port and connect my devices directly to the TV to get 4K, but I run the wires for my TV behind the wall for a clean installation, and all my dongles are located by the receiver. If I connect them directly to the TV, I’ll have power wires and HDMI cables running on the fireplace mantle, and that’s not a good look. The Denon AVR-S760H also supports HDMI 2.1 to make it a little future-proof.
Google Pixel 6 Pro
It had been three years since I bought a new phone, which is an eternity for me, as you can see from my smartphone journey. In fact, everyone in the house had a newer phone than me! But, I hadn’t seen a phone that made me want to buy it until the Google Pixel 6 Pro, and I pulled the trigger! The phone is awesome. I get Android 12, 5G, a great camera, and many more features to make the upgrade worth it. It also has wireless charging, so I got these chargers (one for work and one for home):
- TWO PACK DESIGN: Two pieces in the package, you place and charge with one stand at home, and one at your office. Or you can take one of them as a backup if you have two or more mobile phones or if it can also work with your wife/husband's mobile phone.
- VERTICAL AND HORIZONTAL CHARGING: It can charge your phone both vertically and horizontally with perfect angle for your eyes, you can watch movies, listen to music, make calls or send message without interruption during the whole charging process.
- INTELLIGENT TEMPERATURE PROTECTION: Exclusive multifunctional intelligent protect technology, protect your phone from overcharging and overheating. For daily use of the wireless charger, please make sure there are no metal objects in the charging area including your phone case.
- SLEEP-FRIENDLY: Yootech smart indicator design is for you to enjoy life better. The Green LED light will keep flashing for 3 seconds When plug in, and will be on for 16 seconds if recognizes your phone well, and then it will turn off to provide you a comfortable sleeping environment.
- PACKAGE & SERVICE: You will get 2 x Wireless Charging Stand, 2 x 3. 3ft USB Type C Cable, 1 x User Manual and reliable 12-hour response service. At Yootech, zero risk purchase is for every customer's smiles.
Tech Haul Odds and Ends
I bought a Blu-ray player! Yeah, I know it’s 2022. But, we still have some DVDs and Blu-rays that we occasionally want to play. My old DVD unit died. I got a Blu-ray player from a local thrift store that was $10 and works perfectly!
I also had to buy some updated cables to run HDMI 2.1 and eARC from my TV to my A/V receiver. The cables are long because I have to run them through the wall to my receiver. These cables work great:
Last but not least, all these remotes and some of the smart home gadgets require batteries. I find over time I save money with rechargeables, so I got a few new rechargeable batteries and a battery charger:
Holiday Tech Haul Final Thoughts
Wow, that’s a lot! I’m very thankful for all of these items, and we put them all to good use. I doubt I’ll get anywhere near this kind of tech haul for the next few years, so I’m really gonna enjoy this one!
What tech did you get for the holidays? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter.