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Technology can get expensive, but even the most useful tech doesn’t have to cost that much.
Strip away a bunch of bells and whistles and you have products that can provide a tremendous amount of value without breaking the bank.
These 10 products will keep your devices charged and safe, while also keeping you entertained and free from clutter.
You’d be surprised at what you can get for less than $15.
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If you use a lot of accessories, chances are you'll probably run out of USB ports. This is especially true with notebooks, which have fewer USB ports to begin with. If you don't want to go all out and get a dock for your computer, this 4-port USB hub will probably do the trick. I like this hub because these are USB 3.0 ports, which are significantly faster than older USB 2.0 ports. You'll notice that difference the most if you connect an external hard drive to this hub for backups.
Because Apple has removed the headphone jack on the iPhone 7, this multiport car charger is next on my to-buy list. It's great if you want to charge multiple devices at once, but I'm going to use it to keep my phone and Bluetooth audio adaptor charged. That way I can listen to music through my car's stereo, and make sure my iPhone has enough juice to get me to my destination.
If you argue with roommates or family members about who gets to charge their phone next, save yourself the aggravation and pick up one of these power adapters. Two people can charge their devices at once, and at 20W this adaptor may charge your devices more quickly than the one that comes in the box. It probably won't be unplugged often, but if you want to grab this adaptor when going on a trip, it has a foldable plug to keep it from getting damaged.
The world of phone cases is huge. You can get them in any shape or size, but I typically prefer slim, clear cases like this one. They're not the most protective, so if you're accident-prone, it might be better to get something beefier. And if you care about aesthetics at all, this is my current case. That said, a case like this will keep the back of your phone from getting scratched without changing how your phone fits in your hand and pocket.
I'm just getting into the idea of screen protectors. For a while they were super thin and didn't seem to do much, but I understand their appeal now, especially if you use a slim case. Instead of a film, these screen protectors are made of glass, so they will be able to withstand a small drop and keep your phone's screen from getting scratched by keys.
If you'd like some added protection when carrying your laptop around in a backpack or messenger bag, the easiest way to do that is put it in a sleeve. I like this one from Targus because it has a zipper up front to hold your laptop's charger, and possibly even an external battery pack.
If you keep your phone or tablet sitting on your desk, it's worth investing in a stand. I've gone through periods of using and not using a stand, and in my experience using one has two benefits.
The first is I end up using my devices more, because they're right there. That's especially true of a tablet, which I can use for research while typing on my computer (at least that's how I used to do things). The other is that if you keep your devices in one spot, you're more likely to keep a charging cable nearby so you'll always have a full charge. This stand even has a hole you can thread a cable through to encourage that.
Speaking of cables, it's always good to have a spare or two around just in case. Cables have a tendency to fray, or get left at a friend's house or hotel room. I like this AmazonBasics cable, in particular, because it's made well and is six feet long. I string a cable up between my wall and bed to charge my devices at night and this has worked perfectly in that case. Plus, this cable is MFi-certified, so you know it will work with all your devices.
Don't expect audio miracles in this price range. But for a pair of headphones that cost under $6.60 people seem to be pretty pleased.
They have gummy tips, and three different sizes come in the box so chances are you'll find a set that fit. These are barebones headphones, there's no micrphone so you won't be able to play or pause your music without taking out your phone. You also won't be able to take calls.
Still, if you're looking for a super cheap pair of earbuds to throw in your pocket without worrying, you could do worse than this pair.
I hate cord clutter. We're not in an entirely wireless future yet, but I started using a wireless mouse exclusively in 2008 and haven't looked back. This wireless mouse isn't truly wireless, it still requires a small USB receiver to be plugged into your computer. But it's small enough that it won't be a nuisance -- even on a notebook.
Wireless mice are great to use whenever, but they're especially useful when you travel. If you've ever tried to use a wired mouse on a tray table in coach (guilty), you'll know it's an experience you don't want to repeat.
This article was originally published on 9/20/2016.
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