It’s now a year since I wrote Part 6 and my wife and I have lived in Ecuador for 4.5 years. This post is largely subjective based on my usage and mistakes in Cuenca. The commentary is also geared to people moving to Ecuador for the first time.
This advice is meant for those on a limited budget and not bringing a container to Ecuador. I am going to start with the most important device and work by way down to the small items that you can’t find or that are expensive in Ecuador.
Computer: When we first moved here I rented space in another person’s container and brought down a desktop computer with a 24″ monitor and and oversized keyboard. I sold that computer in less than a year and that is why I am recommending a laptop or notebook computer.
- I have a Macbook Air – Moderately price and extremely simple to use
- Chrome book -Inexpensive and uses mostly cloud storage
- Microsoft Surface Pro – combines a tablet and computer and an affordable price
Tablet: When we first moved I owned an iPad 2. I have since sold that I my tablet of choice is an iPad Mini 2 with a portable bluetooth keyboard. Other viable choices are:
- Kindle Fire Tablet 7 – Extremely affordable at $50
- Nexus 9 Table – A contender to the iPad that uses the Android OS
- Samsung and Asus also have affordable and powerful Tablets
Smartphone: Personally, this is my most used piece of electronics. I now own the Google Nexus 6. I have a $32 a month data plan that gives me the convenience of being connected all day but also the ability to connect via magic jack to my business contacts and family back in The States. I also use my Smartphone for:
- Maps and Navigation
- Free Worldwide texting via What’s Ap
- Photos- I sold my DSLR and now use my Smartphone as my only camera
- 4K Video
- Podcasts – PBS, NPR and tech shows
- HBO, Netflix
- Social Media
- Audio Recording
- Skyping and Magic Jack
- Remote Controls For TV
I highly recommend the Google Nexus but would also highly recommend the iPhone
Streaming Boxes: These hockey puck devices will be your night time companions if you enjoy watching movies and TV series. You can’t go wrong with the ones below:
- Apple TV Version 3 – $150
- Roku 4 – $130
- Amazon Fire TV $100;
Basically you can watch TV series and movies with these devices connected to your TV. They also have the added advantage of wirelessly connecting some of your devices ( computer, iphone tablet ) wirellessly to your TV. Important note ***. To fully utilize these services you need to purchase a VPN (virtual private network) Router. I use the Sabai Cisco router because of the excellent technical support. I go to great lengths to describe the challenges of watching TV/Movies in Ecuador. I recommend using the search facility on this blog and typing in “VPN” and you will see several posts with recommendations.
All three device have voice search and the Roku and Amazon devices have lower priced stick versions that have less power but basically give you the same services.
Printer: This is the first year I am not recommending a printer. Unless you are using the printer for business then it’s easier and cheaper to put your document on a thumb drive and bring it to and easily available copy shop.
Camera: This is the first year I am recommending using a Smartphone instead of a point and shoot camera.
- Netflix subscription- $9 per month – Invaluable
- Amazon Prime subscription $8.35 per month – (Music, Movies, Books, Unlimited Photo Storage)
- Bluetooth keyboard for your tablet or smarthone
- Thumb drives (32 gb) for transferring information or bringing data to be printed
- VPN subscription – I use Strong VPN and it’s about $8 a month
- Skype subscription – Free Video Calls to other Skype users.
- MagicJack – Practically free phone calls to any cell or landline in the U.S.
- Router: I use a Sabai VPN Cisco router $130. A much needed device in Ecuador if you’re going to watch movies and tv programs outside of Ecuador.