Thursday, November 23, 2017

thatgeekdad Holiday Gift Guide 2017 part 5: Laptops, Chormebooks, and tips for desktops

For as long as gift-giving has been a tradition, there’s also been the inability to come up with good gift ideas. Whether it’s for your mom, dad, sister, brother, partner, friend, colleague, they, them, him, her, cat, dog, secret Santa, or for a White Elephant party, it can often be tricky to select the perfect present for your recipient. Price can also be a huge factor in holiday shopping — whether you have a tight budget and / or a long list of friends and family members to buy gifts for. This season can make things pretty rough on your wallet.

So as th
e 2017 holidays approach, I have put together a tech gift guide of the many wonderful things that would make great presents for all ages, sizes, genders, and budgets. At the very least, we hope these recommendations spark an idea for what you might gift your loved ones.

Microsoft Surface Laptop

Finally Microsoft made a simple, everyday, portable, reasonably priced, and reliable laptop. Just like Google finally made their own phone is a big deal, Microsoft doing this is a big deal because when you control the software (operating system) and the hardware, you get a smooth experience with solid battery life at 8-9 hours. With the base model at $1000 and good for most people, there are some holiday sales going around that will put this at $100 for $900. It has a Alcantara (really nice high end fabric) laptop deck to place your wrists when typing which might seem weird but comfortably different. The display is also a touch screen. The downside would be the ports. You get one traditional USB 3.0 A port, a mini display port, headphone jack and a proprietary Surface connector for power. A small silver lining is the power brick has a USB A port as well for technically one more port. This is a solid laptop for anyone not doing high graphic gaming and video editing. If you do purchase this, it comes with Windows 10 S. The first thing you should do is immediately upgrade to Windows 10 Pro for free. When you activate the laptop and set it up, it will be just the click of a button.


Dell XPS 13

For those that might be a little nervous on Microsoft first venture into laptops with the Surface, there is the tried and true Dell XPS 13. For the past couple of years this has been my recommendation for a solid daily laptop for most people and still is but I think the if you are going to buy something, buy from the people making the hardware and software. At $900 for the model just above base (DO NOT BUY THE BASE i3 processor model) with 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD for storage, and 7th generation i5 processor from Intel, you will get a good 8-9 hours of use in a light weight and portable design. For ports you get 2 USB A 3.0 ports, USB C Thunderbolt 3 port, SD card reader, headphone jack, traditional Dell power port, and a external battery indicator button that lights up small LEDS to show you battery life without having to open up the laptop. Overall a solid laptop that is great for anyone not using it for high end graphic gaming  and video editing.


Razer Blade Stealth

Easily the best maker of laptops you have never heard. Plus, they have a 14 inch portable version that is great for high end graphic gaming and video editing and is very reasonably priced at $1749. But this is about their 13 inch very mobile and very powerful laptop coming in at $1250. This is for those mobile workhorse people that need great battery life as well as powerful processing that would slow a Dell XPS 13 or Surface Laptop down with a touch screen to boot. You are getting the 7th generation Intel i7 duo core processor, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB SSD for storage. A great unique feature of all Razer laptops are the Chroma (rainbow) back lit keyboards so that even in the dark, you can see what keys you are typing. For ports you are getting an HDMI port, 2 USB A 3.0 ports, headphone jack, and a USB C 3.0 Thunderbolt 3 port. 

ASUS Chrombook Flip C302

For most people in their everyday life, a Chromebook is all that is needed. A bigger screen than your phone, a keyboard, and a web browser to do social media, media consumption, and some documents and emailing. One that stands out that is kinda pricey, just around the $450,  for a Chromebook but supports Android Apps as well and can be flipped in tent and tablet mode (touch screen) is the C302. It has great battery life, a good keyboard and track pad, and as I said before will be able to use Android apps as well to add to the overall experience of Chrome OS. It has a backlit keyboard, 64GB of storage, 4GB of RAM, with an Intel M processor with a USB C 3.1 port (for charging and data access) and microSD card slot. As I said, sometimes you don't need a laptop to do work and take with you out and around in your travels. Sometimes you just want a screen bigger than your phone, a good keyboard and trackpad, and a web browser.


Samsung's Chromebook Plus

Another Chromebook option that has slightly better hardware and design than the ASUS C302, but also reflected in the price as well. While it doesn't have an Intel processor, it has a ARM processor so it should run Android apps better with less stutter. A good display, with good battery life, 32GB of storage, 4GB of RAM, a touch screen that comes with a stylus (and a place to put it!), no backlit keyboard, and the ability to go into tent and tablet mode, this is for someone who wants to get some stuff done, use social media, and consume media around the house whether it be a desk, couch, or lying in bed. With 2 USB C 3.0 ports (one for charging), microSD card slot, and a headphone jack. So why pick this over the ASUS 302: you want to use the touch screen without fingerprint due to the stylus, want a great quality screen, and a less plastic like design and more aluminum body. 


Apple Macbook Pro 15

This is only reason this is here is because out of all the very recent disappointing MacBook Pro and MacBook releases, this one is the most powerful for powerful video and high end photo editing. If you can hold off until next year, or maybe even the following then do so. I do own this version but that is because of one of the reasons above. It is very powerful, very capable, but also very expensive with the base model being around $2700. Two reasons why this might be more inconvenient than convenient: the only ports it has are 1 headphone jack and 4 USB C ports and the mushy keyboard that is now standard on any MacBook and MacBook Pro 2016 and older. With 4 USB C ports, you will almost definitely be buy an adapter (dongle) to plug in your iPhone and use a SD card. The keyboard you can get use to but it takes a while. There are less expensive MacBooks, not the Pro line, but they have the same mushy keyboard and only 1 USB C port with a headphone jack. So with one USB C port, you definitely need an extra dongle that could run you an extra $50 on top of the $1100 for just the MacBook. 


Extra tips when buying laptops (not Chromebooks) and desktops

  • Don't ever get a device with an Intel i3 processor. Aim for i5 for regular everyday use or i7 if you are planning on making it a workhorse device.
  • Aim for a 7th generation processor from Intel (Kaby Lake). If you can get a good deal with 8th generation processor (Coffee Lake) then do it. But don't go below 7th generation
  • NEVER buy a hard drive in your laptop or PC (HDD). They break and crash more than a SSD. Yes a SSD is more expensive but what if you lose those family photos you didn't back up some where else. Also, don't go lower than 128GB of storage for an SSD. Try to aim for 256GB.
  • 8GB of DD4 RAM or more, never less. 
  • Don't ever get a device from Target or Walmart. The reason they have the same model as Best Buy or Newegg is they use less reliable hardware on the inside (RAM, motherboards, storage, etc).
  • Yes there are some employees of tech stores that know what they are doing and saying, but always go in with the mind set that this is their job and not their hobby / passion until they prove otherwise. Always try to go in know more of what you want than don't. 
  • Always test out the keyboard and trackpad.
  • Ports are important. Think about on a daily basis what you would need and a few extreme examples of how many you would need. Think charging your phone while charging the laptop and maybe having a USB flash drive plugged in, all at the same time.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

thatgeekdad Holiday Gift Guide 2017 part 3: Smart home assistants

For as long as gift-giving has been a tradition, there’s also been the inability to come up with good gift ideas. Whether it’s for your mom, dad, sister, brother, partner, friend, colleague, they, them, him, her, cat, dog, secret Santa, or for a White Elephant party, it can often be tricky to select the perfect present for your recipient. Price can also be a huge factor in holiday shopping — whether you have a tight budget and / or a long list of friends and family members to buy gifts for. This season can make things pretty rough on your wallet.

So as the 2017 holidays approach, I have put together a tech gift guide of the many wonderful things that would make great presents for all ages, sizes, genders, and budgets. At the very least, we hope these recommendations spark an idea for what you might gift your loved ones.

Google Home Mini

Last year the perfect tech gift was the Echo Dot by Amazon. Small, easy to use, and low cost, it got a lot of people into the smart home movement in a very simple to use and comfortable way. This year Google is getting into the game in the very same way. Easy to step up, use, and inexpensive with some Black Friday deals as low as $29 and $10 gift card with each purchase (see Target) when normally $49.99. Start small with setting alarms, timers, asking for the weather today and tomorrow, asking simple search questions. Next thing you know you will be pairing the Mini with smart lights and asking Google to turn on the bedroom lights or turning off the living rooms lights. Only down side is because of how small it is, the speaker is ok, but not something to use to play music at a party or small get together.

Amazon Echo Dot

Last year's last minute Holiday gift champ is back and for good reason. Inexpensive, very useful, simple to use, and like all successful tech, waits for you to use it, not the other way around. Very very similar to the Google Home Mini, it's better in that it has more skills available to you to use and a 3.5mm headphone jack so you can plug in a better speaker since, like the Mini, this speaker is not the greatest. The downside of the Dot, more so Alexa, she doesn't have the knowledge base of the Mini so if you ask her something simple like "How tall is the Empire State building?" she might not respond with the right answer. But, the Dot is compatible with a lot of other smart home systems if you want to get into security cameras, smart lights, smart doorbell, and more.

Amazon Echo

It's the Amazon Echo Dot but bigger and with a better speaker, even better than the original Echo. Literally. That is it. Oh and in different materials to look nicer in your living room. The speaker on this is definitely one you can host a party or small get together with. It also has a 3.6mm headphone jack so if you want to hook it up to an even better speaker, go for it. 

Google Home

It's the Google Home Mini but bigger and with a better speaker. Literally. That is it. The speaker on this is definitely one you can host a party or small get together with. Yes it does like look an air fresher from a company you know and it is about the same size. Retailing for $129 but with Black Friday deals coming soon, it could become much cheaper. A fun feature with Google Home and Mini's is Broadcast. This turns 2 or more Home or Mini into a speaker system for your house. You can tell those in other rooms that dinner is ready or wake everyone up.

Amazon Echo Spot

Think Amazon Echo Dot with a screen and a front facing camera. Retailing for $130 and just bigger than a Magic 8-Ball, Spot can give you a visual look at information you ask for like weather, news, and your upcoming schedule. You can also make video calls to someone with another Dot or the bigger Echo Show.

Amazon Echo Plus

If you have see the original Amazon Echo then you know what the Echo Plus looks like it, except it will come in a gun metal grey and white this time around. The changes are in the inside. With a better speaker than the original Echo, louder, and with an integrated smart home hub, the Echo Plus aims to be the central smart home assistant in your home. With the integration of a smart home hub inside this time around, it does away with the need for smart hubs from other companies to control things in your house, like Phillips' Hue smart lights. In the past, you need to but Phillips' smart hub to control their smart lights. But with the new echo plus, you don't need to spend the extra $60 to get their smart hub. It will also control ZigBee lights, locks, and plugs that you have installed in your home. This would be for someone who is already into smart home automation, but would like some of the clutter reduced. 


Google Home Max

(While this is not out yet, it is still suppose to launch mid December so that is why I am including it here. I didn't include the Apple Home Pod, which is a direct competitor to the Google Home Max as it's release was recently pushed to second quarter 2018.) 

First let me say that is product could be a little on the beta testing side for whoever you buy this for. It will also be $399. I say beta because while Google had an event showcasing the Max, there wasn't a proper hands on demo of it, not even for tech journalists. It suppose to be a Google Home with a massive speaker tuned to make music sound amazing and perfect in your home. It uses Google's AI (Machine Learning) to feel out, a kin to sonar, where the walls are around the device to know how to properly project the sound from the speaker while using the volume you want it at. Sound complicated? I think so as well. But that is machine learning for you and why this device is $399.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai pushes vote in December to destroy Net Neutrality and pave the way for AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, and Spectrum

The Federal Communications Commission will vote to put an end to its net neutrality rules next month, commission chairman Ajit Pai said today. The proposal will reverse the Title II classification of internet providers, which allows the agency to put strict limits on their behavior, and replace it with the old “information service” classification, which a federal court has ruled is less comprehensive, weakening any protections that might replace those currently in force.

That is, if the agency even wanted to replace them: it sounds like this proposal will leave the internet without any sort of net neutrality protections. The full text of the proposal will be released tomorrow — for now, we only have a summary from Pai.

“Under my proposal, the federal government will stop micromanaging the internet,” Pai said in a statement emailed to reporters. “Instead, the FCC would simply require internet service providers to be transparent about their practices so that consumers can buy the service plan that’s best for them and entrepreneurs and other small businesses can have the technical information they need to innovate.”

The FCC’s goal is to set up the Federal Trade Commission to handle all anti-competitive disputes, and the idea is that if ISPs violate their stated policies, the FTC will be able to take action.

This is a puzzling plan and one that the FCC has to be well aware will not offer any legitimate consumer protections. Companies’ terms of service and related policies aren’t meant to protect consumers, they’re meant to protect companies — and they can change at a moment’s notice. While it’s entirely possible that a company could violate its own policies and get in trouble with the FTC, a company could also just promise open internet protections until it doesn’t feel like following them any more, rewrite its policies, and then implement new and potentially discriminatory practices.

And while this all might work out if American consumers had several internet providers to choose from at home, so that they could switch away from a bad provider and over to one that values an open internet, that’s far from the case. Less than a quarter of the country has two or more home internet providers that offer basic broadband speeds — so if you don’t like what your provider is doing, you’re stuck.

Republicans have argued that the FTC is the expert agency on anti-competitive practices and ought to be in charge here, but that obfuscates what’s really happening. The FTC is a single agency tasked with protecting consumers across a wide range of industries — it simply doesn’t have the focus of the FCC to narrow in on just internet providers. Nor does the FTC have the ability to proactively set tough rules. The FTC can only establish guidelines, which gives internet providers a lot more leeway to experiment with practices that work to their own advantage.

In reality, the FCC is trying and will likely succeed in giving internet providers the leeway to try whatever policies they want over their own networks. Pai’s argument has been that by giving internet providers this flexibility, they’ll be able to make money in new ways, which they could then pour back into building out their network. The theory is that they could then bring service to areas that wouldn’t be profitable enough to reach today. Since the agency wants to get more and more Americans connected, that could be considered a win — though the service may look different than what we receive today in some very important ways.

Net neutrality supporters are already fearing the worst based on what Pai has announced. Democratic FCC commissioner Mignon Clyburn said the rules (or lack thereof) “would dismantle net neutrality as we know it by giving the green light to our nation’s largest broadband providers to engage in anti-consumer practices, including blocking, slowing down traffic, and paid prioritization of online applications and services.” And fellow Democratic commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel described the same fears, saying this proposal “hands broadband providers the power to decide what voices to amplify, which sites we can visit, what connections we can make, and what communities we create. It throttles access, stalls opportunity, and censors content.”

ACLU policy analyst Jay Stanley issued a similar warning, saying, “Gutting net neutrality will have a devastating effect on free speech online. Without it, gateway corporations like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T will have too much power to mess with the free flow of information.”

The rules go up for a vote next month, on December 14th, when they’re almost certain to pass. The FCC is majority Republican right now, and Republicans have been calling for the end of net neutrality ever since the policy was first put in place. There’s also no reason for Pai to put the measure up for a vote unless he knows it’s going to pass.

After the vote, it’ll take a month or so before the new policies appear in the Federal Register and go into place, overwriting the only net neutrality rules. That doesn’t mean everything will be all over, though: there’s certain to be a court battle — or two, or three — to follow. Net neutrality advocates will take the commission to court, likely claiming that it failed to find enough evidence to warrant overturning a decision made just two years earlier. Advocates may also say the commission ignored process, having made up its mind from the start and ignoring millions of comments from the American public in support of net neutrality.

Supporters of net neutrality have long argued that the rules are necessary to protect consumers’ from price gouging and protect small companies from anti-competitive behavior. Paid fast lanes could allow wealthy companies to pay for better service, giving them an edge over upstarts (say, YouTube vs. a brand new streaming service). A lack of discrimination rules could let internet providers like Comcast and AT&T advantage their own content — like NBC and HBO — over others’, by making it stream faster or not count toward data caps. And an absence of no blocking rules means that internet providers could stop apps that compete with their own from reaching consumers.

Monday, November 20, 2017

FCC and Chairman Ajit Pai to release their plan to eliminate net neutrality just before Thanksgiving so consumers won't see it coming

While Americans are busy traveling, paying attention to Black Friday deals, and spending time with family, the Federal Communications Commission will be rolling out its least popular proposal of the year: its final plan to dismantle net neutrality — the set of rules that prevent internet providers from giving some websites and internet traffic an advantage over others (Think Spectrum forcing you to use Yahoo search and blocking Google because they have a contract with Verizon, the owner of Yahoo). According to The Wall Street Journal, the FCC is expected to unveil its proposal this week, less than three months after the public comment period ended on the initial proposal. The process generated 22 million comments for the commission to read and consider.

The FCC’s final proposal is likely to completely undo the strict net neutrality rules that the FCC enacted just two years ago. To do that, the proposal will have to reclassify internet providers as information services, under Title I of the Communications Act, instead of common carriers, under Title II of the Act. This seemingly dull legal distinction is the difference between giving the FCC some oversight of ISPs (Title I) and the ability to place rigorous consumer protections on them (Title II).

Republicans at the FCC, who are behind this proposal, argue that the stricter rules enacted two years ago have hampered investment in broadband and caused internet providers to slow the expansion of their networks. This is a problem, given that the FCC is tasked with ensuring the entire country gets connected. But there isn’t a ton of data to back this up. It’s only been two years, and though there was a small dip in investment, it was also attributable to factors like high oil prices and costly acquisitions. The Republican commissioners also just generally believe that making companies fill out compliance forms and follow rules is onerous and prevents innovation.

Supporters of net neutrality argue that its provisions are necessary to prevent internet providers from squeezing more money out of consumers and destroying small businesses that are trying to compete with established web giants. One fear is that without net neutrality, internet providers will begin offering “paid fast lanes,” which would allow wealthy companies to pay ISPs for a better connection to consumers. That could create real competition problems: Netflix, for instance, can afford to pay these fees and offer a snappy connection to everyone, but it’ll be much harder for a new streaming service to attract customers and get off the ground without a costly investment in delivery speed.

Net neutrality rules also prevent internet providers from advantaging their own content and blocking competitors’ apps and services. Comcast, for instance, might want to deliver video from NBC, which it owns, faster than video from Netflix, which it competes with. It might also choose to exempt NBC video from counting toward a subscriber’s data cap, encouraging them to watch NBC instead of a competitor. Likewise, net neutrality prevents things like Verizon blocking an NFC payments app because it would rather you use an app called ISIS that it had an investment in.

For now, we don’t have a full idea of what the FCC’s final proposal will look like — mostly because its initial proposal was so incredibly vague. It seems very safe to assume that it’ll undo the Title II classification of internet providers and therefore remove all current net neutrality protections, since that’s the crux of the initial proposal. But there are some very big open questions beyond that: namely, what consumer protections will the FCC put in place of the rules that it’s striking down? That is, if it puts in place any new rules at all.

A federal court has already ruled that, under the Title I classification the FCC plans to go back to, the commission doesn’t have the authority to put in place full net neutrality rules. It can put in place some rules, but they can’t go as far as, for example, completely banning paid fast lanes. So when the proposal is released, we’ll be looking to find out how far it goes to restrict paid fast lanes, limit blocking of apps and services, and prevent unfair throttling of web traffic.

FCC leadership seems skeptical that protections around these things are needed at all. And Republicans have argued that restricting them would limit ISPs’ ability to offer new pricing models that could potentially allow them to extend service to low-income and rural communities that otherwise wouldn’t be profitable enough to serve. (There is a tragic irony in Republicans voting to pull back on low-income broadband subsidies just last week.) Because of those concerns, it’s also fairly safe to guess that whatever remnants of the net neutrality protections remain are likely to be much more limited in scope and offer a lot more flexibility to ISPs, even if it means opening up anti-competitive risks.

The FCC’s next meeting, where it votes on proposals, is December 14th. That’s when it’s expected to vote on its plan to reverse net neutrality. There’s no firm date on when the proposal will be announced, but the commission usually details its plans for each meeting several weeks ahead of time, and, as of this year, publicly reveals the text of what it’ll be voting on, too. Scheduling the net neutrality announcement for Thanksgiving week may be a coincidence, but it certainly seems like the FCC is trying to release this plan at a time when it’ll be harder for net neutrality advocates to give it their full attention.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

thatgeekdad Holiday Gift Guide 2017 part 2: Headphones and Earbuds

For as long as gift-giving has been a tradition, there’s also been the inability to come up with good gift ideas. Whether it’s for your mom, dad, sister, brother, partner, friend, colleague, they, them, him, her, cat, dog, secret Santa, or for a White Elephant party, it can often be tricky to select the perfect present for your recipient. Price can also be a huge factor in holiday shopping — whether you have a tight budget and / or a long list of friends and family members to buy gifts for. This season can make things pretty rough on your wallet.

So as the 2017 holidays approach, I have put together a tech gift guide of the many wonderful things that would make great presents for all ages, sizes, genders, and budgets. At the very least, we hope these recommendations spark an idea for what you might gift your loved ones.

Apple AirPods

If you have an iPhone and love to listen to streaming music almost any where at any time, this is a must. With 5 hour battery life and a case that holds 24 hours worth of charge, all in the size of a dental floss case, these are as convenient as it gets. Pairing is as easy as popping open the lid and putting each AirPod in your ear. The only downside is fit. Most people can have these fit in their ears while a small minority will have them fall out with the slightest tilt of their head. While the AirPods work with Android devices as well, they are made better for iPhones. At $159, you are getting good sound in the smallest and most convenient package possible.

Bragi The Headphone

If the AirPods are for iPhone users, The Headphone by Bragi is almost the default option for Android devices when it comes to wireless earbuds. Good sound, different size ear tips to make fit easier for everyone, and a small form factor, these are a great option for $149. One great aspect of these is audio transparency. You can have them in your ears and enable a mode to allow sound from the outside world to be heard through the speakers in the earbuds. The one true downside of these are the charging case. It has no battery to top off the earbuds so to charge them, they have to be in the case and then the case plugged in. 

Bragi website

Jabra Elite Sport

While the AirPods and Headphone are not ideal for working out in due to either fit or water resistances (think sweat!), the Jabra Elite Sport are for the workout and runners of the world. For Android or iPhones, they come with ear pieces for different ear fits and a charging case that will charge your earbuds without having to plug it in. The earbuds get you 4 to 4.5 hours of use while the charging case will top off your earbuds for 13 hours more usage. With the case the size of an Altoids tin box, the biggest downside is the price at $249 dollars. 

Jabra Elite Sport website

Bose Quiet Comfort 35 (Series 1 or 2)

These are the high standard of wireless bluetooth headphones with a high price as well, $350. These are for the people who want to drown out the world, whether it be on an airplane, in an office, or walking down the street. The active noise cancelation are amazing yet tuned so that if someone speaks directly at you at a normal noice with you facing them, you can hear them enough to be able to answer them. With almost 20 hours of battery life per charge, you can drown out the world for a long time. The only difference between the series 1 and 2 is the 2 has a Google assistant button to interact with your phone. So if you can get the 1 for less money, go for it. These come with a great case, are insanely comfortable to wear for hours on end, great sound, and have a auxiliary cable to listen to music if your battery runs out.


Beats Studio Wireless 3 by Dre

Let's get this out of the way, these are for the people in your life that love listening to music but want to be cool, heavy emphasis on cool for $350. That said, Beats have gotten better in the sound department over the years and their style is still nice, no denying that. Comfortable over the ears, 22 hours of battery life with adaptive noise canceling (40 with it turned off), variety of colors, and pairs almost instantly and fast to iPhones like the AirPods because of the Apple W1 chip. They also come with a auxiliary cable but unfortunately they cannot be used with zero battery


Beats X by Dre

Neckbuds. They look strange but are practical in that when you are not using them, they can just hang from your neck until you decide to put them away or use them again. The Beats X paid fast and easily with iPhones because of the Apple W1 chip, have about an 8 hour battery life, variety of colors, but important most of all (in my opinion) is they charge via a lightning cable, just like an iPhone. When you travel with your iPhone, you only need to bring one type of cable. Most other headphones or earbuds still charge via microUSB. Sound is good and they have a magnets on the ear pieces to clamp together when hanging from your neck while not in use. As of this guide, they are less than $100!


Jaybird X2

This might be a surprise but the older model X2 are better than the X3 and that is why I am not recommending the X3. The X2 is still an amazing set of bluetooth earbuds and should be picked up for anyone who loves listening to music without wires while doing any activity or just being comfortable. They are sweat resistant for the runners and workout types out there and provide 8 hours of solid battery life before being charged up. So why the X2 and not the X3? The charging dock. The X3 get 8 hours of battery if you hook up this small battery clip while using them. The problem is this clip latches on with magnets so the first time to spin or whip around too fast, it goes flying off. Your battery life is now 4 hours and you can't charge them without the clip and it will cost you $10 to replace. It's proprietary so they only company that makes them are Jaybird and as of this guide, they are sold out. Looks like a lot of people lost their clips.
Audio Technica ATH-M50x

Can't have a guide about headphones without having these on here. While not the most expensive set of headphones, these are amazing for the price in every way. From design, build, sound, and being comfortable, if someone likes to really listen to music or audio, these are the headphones to have without breaking the bank. When someone who knows sound and music sees another with these on, that unspeakable nod of approval is given.
I can go on and on about these but I don't need too. I will let the 4.5 stars out of 5 after over 4500+ reviews on Amazon do the talking.


V-MODA Crossfade LP2 Vocal LE

You have the ATH-M50x people then you have the V-MODA people. Whether you belong to one camp or the other, you are in great company. I think the only true difference in the camps are one likes one look and the other likes a different look. They are both comfortable, great design, great sound, great look, and all while not breaking the bank. These are for people who love music and sound without feeling the need to get producer executive priced $500 headphones. Again I can go on and on but the ratings and reviews on Amazon speak for themselves.
Koss Porta Pro

These headphones have been around for more than 30 years — and for good reason: they're cheap, super portable, and they sound amazing. Again, let the Amazon ratings and reviews speak for themselves, 4.5 stars with 3300+ reviews.