Back in October, which in the year 2020 feels like a year ago, we got a bit crazy for Prime Day. It came at the perfect time after seven months working from home with at least about the same left remaining, so we knew what our days would be like for the foreseeable future and what things would most impact our daily lives. As always, we went electronics heavy, though ended up with fewer Amazon devices than in years past. A few months later, each of the things we ordered have mostly made it into our lives.
Some of the largest changes to our daily lives during the pandemic are the proportion of time we spend working in our offices and the regular exercise routine we’ve been holding. Thanks to our Peloton bike and membership in particular, we’ve been working out just about every day so some electronics to aide that routine were great Prime Day pickups. In my office, we improved my smart home setup with my first Echo device with a screen and some smart home connected devices for the rest of the house. Beside that, we grabbed a few items to make our newfound home life better. We really didn’t grab anything unexpected, overall we had known to save a few purchases for the kinds of things that normally are on sale during Prime Day from the past and check if they were on sale again.
It’s a ton of fun to get packages delivered every day. Our neighbors must have thought we were nuts. But then I started thinking about the impact of shipping this stuff around the world and how many other doorstops must be in similar shape and it really made me reconsider how much we really needed. This helped kickstart a plan to reduce our consumption and just get the stuff we truly need. That said, these were all items we had been watching for months, waiting for price drops that came on Prime Day.
I’ve been burning through workout headphones pretty quickly these days. With all the training for my 50k out on the trails and woods, sometimes in less than perfect weather, and then all the running I’ve been doing since, it’s been tough on my wireless headphones. While my Jaybird Vista’s are still working, I bought a pair of the Powerbeats Pro wireless headphones as an investment for when they inevitably died. Thanks to the great integration between Apple devices, these always pair easily with my phone and I haven’t had a single connection problem with them yet. While they are a little bigger then the Vista’s, I haven’t noticed any comfort issues yet, though haven’t gone for a run longer than about 1.5 hours with them, and I appreciate the extra space for dedicated volume buttons. I haven’t tried them with my watch for music yet either, but the sound on Peloton runs with music varying from country to rock to EDM has all sounded great. I don’t love the massive case which can’t even charge wirelessly, but the headphones themselves are great. There’s a reason these often appear on best of lists for runners and working out.
Echo Show 8
We’ve had tons of Echo devices in our house for years now. From the original Echo to the dots and Echo Plus we use them all around the house for mostly music. This though was the first time we added one with a screen. We have a Google hub with a small screen that we use for photos and periodic queries, but it mostly sits as a display. For the Echo, I wanted something with a bigger screen for the office as well as something with good speakers so I could use it for music there. When the Echo Show 8 went on sale, I grabbed it, having seen at work how great it can be as a companion device. Now, I use it daily in my office between meetings for music and to bring up our Ring cameras when I get an alert on my phone that someone is around our house.
Amazon Smart Plug
This came for free with the Echo Show, but it’s actually been very useful for controlling lights in the house. Right now, it’s plugged into some of our Christmas decorations so that we can turn them and the tree on and off each nice with Alexa. After Christmas, I might use it to schedule the coffee machine a bit easier each morning or to control my AeroGrow plant garden which is currently growing some lavender and coreopsis flowers to brighten up the office.
Oral B Bluetooth Toothbrush
I had been using a small electric toothbrush from Quip for the past couple of years after my last large electric toothbrush, a Philips from Costco, broke. The Quip one was convenient and portable, but I wasn’t convinced it was doing a great job with cleaning. My dentist similarly recommended an Oral B over it, and when this one went on sale for Prime Day, I grabbed it. It comes with a phone app that connects over Bluetooth to track brushing times and duration and even gives warnings when brushing too hard. I don’t actually use that much, but as just a regular electric toothbrush, it does clean really well and feels sturdy. We’ll see how the durability performs over time, but so far I’m happy with it and tend to wake up with fresher and cleaner feeling teeth.
Apple Watch Series 3
This is the only item we bought that really wasn’t for me at all. My wife moved back to an iPhone earlier this year after her old Pixel started acting up. Now that we are blue bubbles together – just kidding, we are responsible and use Signal – she wanted a better way to track fitness and explore some smart watch features. She had been using a Fitbit for multiple generations, the Zip, Flex, and Alta. With our Peloton workouts, she also wanted something with a bit more in depth tracking and metrics than the simple step counting devices she’d always had. So we got an Apple Watch Series 3 which was on a pretty deep discount just to try it out and see if it worked for her. Since then, she’s loved it. She still hasn’t found a great charging routine since charging at night means no sleep tracking, which was one of the downsides to me plus not being able to go for a long multi-hour run with GPS on. If anything, I’ve realized an Apple Watch, until they come out with a marathoner / trail runner edition, isn’t going to work for me over my Garmin, but I do appreciate the features it offers. She’s been incredibly happy with it so far as both a smart watch and a fitness device.
Ok, maybe it’s not as interesting as the other items I bought, but I did need a new grill brush and it had great reviews. I haven’t been able to use it yet thanks to the weather, but I’m excited to really get those grates clean for some grilled veggies soon. I think it’s also the only thing I bought that doesn’t have Bluetooth, though I do have my eyes on a smart thermometer perhaps for next Prime Day.
These headphones have been both my most practical and most used buy of Prime Day. Obviously they work great with my Apple devices and switch off seamlessly between iPad and iPhone, but I’ve been very happy with how well they work with my windows laptop as well. They’ve quickly become my go to conference call headphones as they sounds great, last for most of my day, and I’m told the microphone sounds good on the other side. I also love the transparency mode which still lets me hear my calls, but doesn’t cut me off from hearing the rest of the house. As much as I like my big over the ears noise canceling Bose headphones, even with noise canceling off, I can’t hear the doorbell or anyone talking to me when I have them on. The Airpods now occupy premium desk space, especially thanks to the wireless charging case, and get hours of use every weekday.
Prime Day was a great day for me to buy some stuff needed to make my work from home life smoother and easier. My Airpods and Echo Show make working from my office and around the house more comfortable. My Powerbeats and my wife’s Apple Watch help keep us motivated to work out and stay active when it’s so easy to just sink into the couch at home. I’ve been using these devices extensively since buying them, and each has found their way into a major slice of my work from home life. Now, I’m hoping to get a long life of use out of each and reduce what I might even consider picking up next year.