Secret Stage Top Fives: Gadgets and Gizmos

Modern life is largely defined by the technology available to us, the last few decades have been centered around getting as much usable tech in our hands as possible. The Secret Stage staff are all relatively young people, and we've been conditioned all of our lives to keep these devices on us at all times. For this week's Top Five, we ranked our favorite pieces of personal tech, both past and present:

Nick

5. First Cell Phone (Brick) – “I believe it wasn’t until high school that I got my first cell phone. I never wanted one bad enough to pay for it myself when I was younger, so I never had one of the ones where you had to pay for your minutes or anything like that. But being able to call and text people whenever I wanted to was really nice. Funny enough I still have that phone, along with a few other flip phones from high school.”

4. iPod Mini – “This too was a gadget I had when I was in high school. When I had the Mini, it was already old. I remember this because it was a gift from my girlfriend that she gave me when she got the first gen iPod touch. But I thought it was the perfect size and I loved the wheel and the simple display. While going through some old boxes of stuff, I actually found it. No idea if it still works or not, I haven’t bothered plugging it in to charge.”

3. PSP – “Another gadget from high school was my PSP. I bought it for myself with birthday money, and the only games I got for it were the two GTA games. I believe we talked about it on the podcast once, but this is the PSP that Jordan hacked for me so that I had a bunch of themes and other features. If I remember correctly I only had a 2 GB SD card for it and it was constantly full of music and random videos, like Mario Frustration.”

2. iPod Touch – “You guessed it, yet another gadget from high school. After seeing all the games and stuff that my girlfriend had on her iPod touch, I decided I’d ask for one for Christmas. I spent a lot of time in class playing mobile games. Back when you could get games that were just built to be fun, instead of trying to get money. There is some music on there that I lost when I dropped my hard drive, like the whole Led Zeppelin discography, so I keep it in my car if I ever want to listen to it on a long road trip.”

1. Smart Phone – “And here is the combo breaker. I don’t exactly remember when I got my first smart phone, but I do remember being at college and still having a non-smart phone during my freshmen year. You might notice that I didn’t give a specific smart phone, I did that on purpose. My first phone was a hand-me-down from my sister. I don’t remember what it was, but it was a Windows phone. That one broke when I dropped it from the top bunk in my dorm room. I got a replacement Nokia which was also a windows phone. I liked the windows operating system, and if their app selection wasn’t crap I would probably still be using it. I mean, who doesn’t want a 42-megapixel camera on their phone? But I finally switched to an Android phone a couple years ago, and it’s not like it was a huge change for me. I only got it for one specific app to be honest. The majority of the time I only use Facebook, YouTube, and Chrome, and those are available on all operating systems so it really doesn’t matter. But having all the things that the previous four gadgets did in one device, firmly places the smart phone, whichever kind it may be, firmly at the top of my list.”

Zachary

5. Nintendo DS Lite - "It's no secret that I really love Nintendo, but I've rarely been in love with any of their hardware in particular. The Game Boy and Game Boy Color don't age well, and I could never really settle on a Game Boy Advance model I liked best. The DS Lite, however, feels good in your hands, and plays the excellent DS library in addition to hanging on to backwards compatibility with the GBA. It was vibrant, had great battery life, and just looked so sleek!"

4. iPod Classic - "I've had many audio players over the years (iRiver, Zune, iPod Nano, etc), but none accomplished their task as well as my 160GB iPod Classic. It had a slim form factor, hardly ever needed a charge, and I never had to worry about running out of space for the weeks and weeks worth of music on the device."

3. Playstation Vita - "The Vita, simply put, is the best handheld gaming device ever made. It's a very sophisticated piece of tech, and everything I play on it feels right at home. I can Remote Play games from the PS4 if needed, and crossbuy with indie games and PS1 classics is a great feature. It's just a shame that the market hasn't been kind to it."

2. iPhone 5S - "My last phone, the 5S, remains my favorite cellular device to date. It wasn't quite as fast as my 6S is now, but it certainly was speedy at the time, and I prefer the form factor in terms of use."

1. Macbook Pro (Mid-2010) - "The Macbook I bought right out of high school was a beast. The Core i7 was fresh and fast, the high-res, antiglare screen looked great, and over time I maxed out the RAM and storage space. I used the beast for everything; gaming, video editing, Netflix, you name it."

Chris

5. PSP – “Back in the day, this is how I would listen to music. I also had videos and some games on it, but basically every day I would carry around in my pocket what I used as a huge mp3 player.”

4. Keyboard (the Piano Kind) – “This is on the cusp of being a ‘gadget’, but it is electronic. I’ve had my current keyboard for almost 9 years and it’s served me well. I’m definitely due for an upgrade, though.”

3. Tablet – “I use tablet all the time when I teach. It is a valuable tool and it makes a lot of things so much easier.”

2. Phone – “Mobile technology has come so far. There’s so much I can do on my phone, and it’s always on my person.”

1. Laptop/PC – “While there is a lot that can be done with mobile technology, you still can’t do everything. My most used gadget is my computer.”

Dan

5. Nixon Blaster - "This wireless speaker is probably the best one I have seen. I use it for for trips, showers, when I'm cleaning, or entertaining people. It's super durable too, I've taken it down a river on an inner tube for a few hours, and it fell in more than once, and still worked."

4. Sidekick Cell Phone - "I wanted this phone for so long when I was younger. I never finally got one, but I would totally still rock one. I suppose it was just the flipping screen, track ball, full keyboard concept. It was the coolest phone available at one point."

3. Zune - "I had like 3 of these, and it's still my preferred music playing device. I would still have one, if they didn't stop making them. The zone software was so much easier to use than iTunes, and the original brick, was super indestructible, it survived being run over by a car. With no damage at all. Plus the best feature was wirelessly sharing music with other zunes."

2. Nixon Watches - "I have a little bit of a collection started for these. I couldn't tell you exactly what it is, but the brand and their product are one of my favorite companies. The watches are well crafted, and some of them, pretty durable. It's to the point, where I won't buy another watch brand."

1. iPhone 5S - "I decided to go with this model, cause it's the one I currently have. It just does so much that I couldn't really function as well without it. I use it for personal, secret stage, and work stuff. The capabilities of this phone, over what we could do 10 years ago is incredible, I'm excited for the future of these phones."

Hales

HM. Inspector Gadget - "I had to get in a joke somewhere because this list will be pretty boring. Buckle up."

5. Flash Drive - "Their sole ability to transfer files seems pretty minuscule on the surface, but they're one of the most useful tools when it comes to building a PC. They're also great when you need to get a large file from point A to point B and don't want to go through the hassle of email or transferring to the cloud."

4. Fitbit - "While I don't have one of these anymore (crowdsurfing can be risky), I really enjoyed the short time when I did. They are great for learning more about yourself when it comes to health and helpful at tracking fitness. If they weren't so pricey, I'd totally get another one."

3. Laptop - "I'll be honest. I am not entirely sure if this counts as a gadget, but it's electronic and portable and I use it when I can't access my desktop. Enough said."

2. Headphones - "I need headphones to do my job, and they are great for listening to your favorite tunes or TV shows when you don't want to disturb those around you. Pretty nifty."

1. Cell Phone - "Alright, not MY cell phone. But cell phones in general. I know it's kind of cheap to consider this a gadget as they're pretty much a necessity these days, but I use this handy piece of tech more than anything else."

Jordan

5. Raspberry Pi - "Super cool little piece of tech. I basically have a little computer that I can bring anywhere, and there's so many things that it can do."

4. GoPro - "People who know me know that I enjoy making videos whether it's as big as a montage or as small as a clip of me skating. My GoPro is perfect compact camera for any of these things.

3. Laptop - "I mainly use this at work, but I love having everything with me whether it's music or videos."

2. Game Boy - "I don't want to make this list just full of consoles, but this by far has always been a favorite of mine. A convenient way to enjoy my favorite games on the go!"

1. Phone - "I feel that this will be on most of our lists, but I do everything on my phone, from social media, to work, to actual communication between friends and family."

Allison

5. Hit Clips - "I got one of these for Christmas when I was in first grade. I remember everyone having them and showing each other the different clips they had. Now I think they are stupid. I wish they would've had the entire song on there."

4. Tamagotchi - "Tamagotchis were so awesome. I remember when all of my friends got one and we could all play little games with each other. I think that was like the second edition of them. I told my grandparents I wanted to collect them. Almost every time I came over for a little while, they would take me to Toys 'R Us to get one."

3. Blackberry Curve - "This was my 4 phone. The first one that I actually had internet on. I thought it was super cool. And BBM was a thing for a minute and I had my blackberry right when it was cool so I didn't miss out." 

2. Sidekick Slide  - "This was one of the coolest phones I've had. I almost want to have one again. I liked the keyboard and the way the screen slid up. This was my second phone. My dad gave me his when he got a new one. I was so excited because only one other person at my school had one." 

1. iPhones - "I had an Android for so long. It was cool and everything but it was so customizable. I didn't like how complicated it was. iPhones are so easy to use and I love that. I just broke the screen on mineand I plan on getting another one. I probably won't go back to Android anytime soon."

Keenan

5. Fitbit HR – “I love having this on me all the time. It tracks your HR and how many steps you have taken. I love fitness gadgets. Keeping track of your health is important.”

4. Power Strip – “This is a VERY important gadget for everyone. For me it was used my whole life for gaming. Moving all of my gaming stuff around all the time from place to place this gadget came in handy all the time.”

3. iPod Classic – “Growing up not having a phone this was necessary for music listening. Before the iPod there was burning CDs, so this was a necessary gadget. Whether it be playing music while longboarding with friends or listening to your tunes while going for a run.”

2. iPhone 5S – “This is the best phone I have had. I am a fan of the iPhone even though I own a Samsung at the moment. It had really great features and is the only phone I have owned that hasn’t frozen while using it.”

1. Nintendo Game Boy – “This is my favorite gadgets of all time. This was my first gaming device ever, and still one of my favorites. Playing games like Pokémon was the best!”