My wife and I have been living here almost 6 years and two things all expats can agree on.
- Electronics are 25% – 30 % more expensive in Ecuador. Even more if you lived in a state with no sales tax.
- This is a subjective matter. Some of us are geeks and need the latest and greatest. Others, especially on a retirement budget need the basics.
I have added some new items and subtracted some others. As always I encourage your feedback.
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 priced 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 . I have since sold the iPad and my tablet of choice is an 8 inch Fire Tablet from Amazon priced at $59
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 *** I have sold the Apple TV since I find the Roku and Amazon TV take care of all my needs ***
- 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 ) wirelessly to your TV. Important note ***. To fully utilize these services you need to purchase a IP address Blocker so you can connect to these services from Ecuador. .
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 second 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 second 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
- IP Blocker – I use Block US for about $60 per year
- Skype subscription – Free Video Calls to other Skype users.
- MagicJack – Practically free phone calls to any cell or landline in the U.S.
- Wifi Extender – Invaluable for folks living in a house made of Adobe Walls or condo dwellers 30 or more feet from wifi router.
Amazon Echo, Dot or the Google Home Smart Speaker
These gadgets are cloud based devices that will be the next paradigm shift. The Amazon platform has a two year head start. But,essentially both devices accomplish the same goals.
I installed the Echo in the living room next to the T.V. The Echo will pick up our voices from the living room, hall, kitchen, dining room and sun room. So far we have used the Echo to:
- listen to our (separate) Amazon Prime Music collections
- Kitchen timers
- News Updates from local and International sources
- Calendar and todo lists
- Manage our Capital One Account including making payments
- Listen to Podcasts
- Movia Trivia
- Control the lights in our house.
The Dot which is the smaller and less expensive version of the Echo is paired with a bluetooth Speaker and is upstairs in Sharon’s Office. She mainly uses the Dot to listen to her music but she likes the “Good Morning Command” which is has an interesting fact of a synopsis of some famous person’s life usually when it is their birthday.
Ok, do you need all these devices. Of course not. But, I think these devices make life much more enjoyable in Ecuador.
My three favorite devices are:
- Google Nexus Smartphone
- Amazon Dot
- Roku Streaming Device