Decision used to be plain simple - buy an laptop, wireless router and an smartphone. Lots have changed over the years and an buying gadgets is no longer simple.
Owning two wireless router already buying another one isn't an option for another couple of years. With the smartphone there isn't much of an option either, upgrade every 2-3 year to stay relevant. Only part most have to decide is on buying an tablet, laptop or an desktop. Laptop/Desktop is definitely an overkill 80% of the time for checking Reddit, Facebook or Twitter. Tablet feels natural for such tasks. Tablets suck when they come to internal storage. So it leads us to network storage. Leisurely read on tablet and stream music from network storage via wifi.
Given the above, thought what would I be buying if I had a chance to do this from scratch.
My home gadget plan would be,
1. Main wireless router in hall. Apple Airport Express so I can Airplay from laptop to external speakers. Cost: $99
2. Secondary router in bedroom which acts as an repeater but I would prefer an extended LAN from hall to bedroom. Linksys router running dd-wrt should do well. Cost: $40-50
3. Any decent smartphone should do, right now it's Galaxy Nexus. Almost beats iPhone. Cost: $400
4. Macbook Air 13", right now have an 15" Macbook pro which was based on the display resolution available 2 years back. Now 13" Macbook supports 1440*900 resolution and as powerful as my old 2010 15" MBP which serves my need very well. And cheaper. I prefer extending the use of my existing laptop and would suggest the same to others for simple reason CPU speed, RAM & HDD requirement has saturated and does;t need frequent upgrade as smartphone. Cost: $1200
5. Nexus 7, for the simple reason I already own Nexus phone and Android has got awesome and doesn't burn my wallet. Cost: $199
6. D-Link or Buffalo 2-bay NAS, this would costs around $200 without the drives. Supports backup for Macbook and can stream music to phone/tablet. Idea is to use two 2TB drive as RAID mirror for redundancy. Already got an 750GB WD external HDD which will transform to TimeMachine backup and all other stuff which doesn't need redundant backup. Cost: $150-200 and drives cost additional 2 x $130
Overall cost if one had to start fresh, $2379. More or less an cost of the new Retina Macbook pro.
If wall between hall & bedroom doesn't degrade wifi signal the secondary router is redundant. And one could wait for hard disk prices to come down or buy one disk now and other when the prices come down. Cost could be managed around $2100.
Any suggestions not compromising the expected functionality?