Each geek value their (Taco Bell) salt has a stash of tech gear they will’t stay with out. And it’s not only a pile of high-priced stuff: old-school gaming consoles, a stack of laborious drives, or a forgotten drawer of outdated smartphones. There are many necessities which can be value packing into your toolbelt, fanny pack, or backpack—or at the least having available for these few, important moments if you want a selected merchandise to perform a technological activity.
I lately stumbled throughout a nice Reddit thread of tech product suggestions—higher nonetheless, as a result of the main target of the thread was on superb gear which you can get for underneath $50 (and in some instances, manner underneath $50). I’ve gone by way of each upvoted advice to provide you with a listing of things value contemplating in your personal setup, and added a number of of my very own private suggestions to the combo that didn’t appear to get any Reddit love.
Because the Redditors’ suggestions cowl a variety of things, I’ve additionally grouped them into classes to make all of it simpler so that you can scan. And earlier than I get to the checklist, I’ve one additional caveat: I’m not going to advocate particular merchandise so that you can buy. I haven’t examined lots of them and I don’t need you to purchase one thing that seems to be horrible. As an alternative, I’ll discuss in regards to the product’s kind and why it’s vital. (The photographs are meant to function visible examples, not product suggestions.)
Tiny, annoying tech necessities
I’ve baggage and baggage of varied cables—and even backups—as a result of I do know the minute I throw one away, I’m going to wish it for some challenge the next week.
Everybody has totally different units they want to hook up with one thing else, I get that. Have been I amassing cables (and I do!), I’d concentrate on these, at minimal:
- USB Kind-A to mini-USB (USB three Kind-A, ideally)
- USB Kind A to micro-USB (USB three Kind-A, ideally)
- USB Kind A to USB-C (USB three Kind-A, ideally; additionally, USB-C for many newer non-Apple units)
- USB Kind A to Lightning (USB three Kind-A, ideally; additionally, solely relevant to Apple followers)
- USB Kind A to USB Kind B (for units like your outdated printer)
- USB-C to Lightning (for charging your iPhone out of your Macbook)
- USB-C to USB-C cable (getting costly!)
- Thunderbolt three cable (although most likely not relevant to most individuals)
- Customary three-prong energy cable
- DisplayPort to DisplayPort or Mini DisplayPort cable (these connecting displays to desktops or laptops)
- HDMI cable (no matter’s most cost-effective that helps the most recent HDMI normal)
- three.5mm male to male audio cable (you by no means know!)
- Flat Ethernet cable (cat 5e, at the least, and flat as a result of it’s so much simpler to take care of and retailer than a daily one, particularly at larger lengths)
What good is a good cable in case your gadget doesn’t help it? Solely you’ll know what awkward mixture of cables and dongles you want in your units. Some that may be value choosing up embrace:
- A USB Kind A to USB-C dongle (or vice versa, relying in your setup)
- A Lightning to three.5mm audio dongle (which I steadily lose)
- A USB Kind A or USB-C to Ethernet dongle (in order for you a candy wired connection in your laptop computer)
You may also choose up a extra badass hub containing a bunch of ports that you just hook as much as your laptop computer by way of USB (doubtless USB-C). Get a kind of, and also you’ll be set for absolutely anything you must do.
Longer cables in your favourite gadget
Even when you have already got many of the cables you want for the units you cost or join at dwelling, think about upgrading the tiny little cables that got here in your favourite gadget’s packaging.
You’ll be able to most likely discover a low-cost model of the identical cable from Amazon (the AmazonBasics model, that’s) or Monoprice—and get one thing so much longer than what you have already got. That gives you the flexibleness to, say, cost your smartphone in new and thrilling places that your shorter charging cable couldn’t attain.
An influence financial institution
The very first thing I take into consideration packing at any time when I’m occurring trip is my trusty moveable smartphone battery—massive sufficient to energy my laptop computer and Nintendo Change as effectively, in case of emergency. I by no means have to fret about discovering a spot to cost up once I’m no journeys, nor do I’ve to waste treasured time plugging in at a neighborhood Starbucks, since I can simply cost my cellphone in my pocket whereas I stroll round.
The particular moveable you get relies upon vastly on the units you’re seeking to cost—how a lot charging they’ll want, in addition to how briskly you need them to cost. For instance, you don’t want to hold round a heavier, bulkier moveable battery that may energy a laptop computer in the event you’re simply seeking to stuff one thing in your pocket that may successfully double your smartphone’s battery life.
A lot of Redditors referred to as out a more moderen kind of moveable charger—newer to me, at the least—that doubles as each a wall charger and a conveyable gadget. I really like the idea, because it kills two nerdy birds with one stone. Plug it in, and you’ve got a helpful adapter for charging a number of units without delay. And whereas it’s doing that, it’s additionally charging itself. Unplug it from the wall, and also you now have a useful charger you may carry round with you.
Low-cost backup earbuds (or headphones)
What number of occasions have you ever misplaced earbuds? Damaged (or forgotten) your favourite headphones? It by no means hurts to have an affordable backup pair which you can depart in your bag or backpack. Purchase one thing cheap—no Beats—and also you received’t really feel dangerous in the event you lose or break these ones, too.
Secondary to this, quite a lot of Redditors really helpful choosing up an affordable pair of Bluetooth headphones. No wire; no fuss.
Wall retailers with USB charging ports
As an alternative of choosing up some sort of multi-port adapter that you just plug into an outlet, why not substitute your wall outlet with one which comes with built-in USB ports? Whilst you received’t need to use these for, say, your energy-sucking laptop computer, they’re a terrific possibility in your smartphone or pill. Plus, you’ll nonetheless have the ability to use the precise energy retailers, too.
An LED headlamp
Flashlights are old fashioned. And whereas the “flashlight” constructed into your smartphone is extremely handy, it might nonetheless be a ache within the butt to carry that and a device when you’re fixing one thing—or no matter it’s you would possibly want some additional gentle to see. Decide up an affordable LED headlamp, and also you’ll be set. Because it’s hands-free, it’ll be as handy as it’s vivid.
A magnetic screwdriver
That is my addition, so I’ll be transient. When you’ve witness the facility of a magnetic screwdriver, which holds your screw in place when you place it over no matter it’s you’re engaged on, you’ll by no means return.
Bonus factors in the event you discover a magnetic screwdriver that’s additionally a kind of loopy six-heads-in-one sorts of setups, which supplies you numerous flexibility if you’re engaged on one thing.
Bulkier (or dearer) gear in your geek den
An incredible energy strip or surge protector
Surge protectors received’t defend your electronics towards a lightning strike, however they will help hold your electronics protected from less-intense energy fluctuations that may nonetheless hurt your gear.
And will an enormous storm roll into your space, it’s so much simpler to drag a single surge protector (or energy strip) out of the wall—which you’ll need to do, in case lightning does strike—than must unplug and plug in a bunch of separate units.
If you happen to’re nonetheless utilizing an older mechanical laborious drive in your laptop computer, desktop, or gaming console… don’t. The pace increase you’ll get from switching to an SSD is noticeable and price each penny, particularly in the event you get a smaller-capacity drive that doesn’t price very a lot. To essentially get your cash’s value, spend a while at Storage Evaluate to ensure you’re getting the speediest SSD in your funding.
Movement-Sensing Gentle Switches
I’m a sucker for automation. Have been it as much as me, I’d wire each room in the home with good plugs and good lights, so I might management numerous “units” of units by way of a voice command or smartphone faucet.
If that sounds a bit a lot, you may at the least automate your house or residence a little bit bit by changing your common gentle switches with motion-sensing gentle switches. This spares you the minor annoyance of getting to show the lights on if you enter a room, and ensures you received’t by chance depart something on if you depart the home—until you could have a pet, after all.
An honest desktop microphone (or headset/mic mixture)
Whether or not you’re a gamer, an aspiring podcaster, otherwise you similar to chatting with individuals across the internet, it’s time to improve your earbuds—or that crappy business-themed over-one-ear microphone you’ve been utilizing for years. Get a superb, cheap desktop microphone, or a brand new headset+mic all-in-one mixture, and your folks and guildmates will probably be thrilled that they will lastly perceive half of what you’re saying.
A Chromecast (or comparable stick-sized streaming gadget)
When you have an older, crappy TV—however can get an HDMI streaming stick working with it—you’ve abruptly turned an antiquated artifact into a wise TV. The identical is true in case your “good TV” is beginning to present its age a bit, and its interface is clunky or in any other case now not being up to date by your producer. One Chromecast later (or Roku, or Nvidia Protect, or Apple TV, or no matter), and it’ll really feel like a brand-new gadget.
USB soar starter
If you wish to get a daily soar starter in your automobile—and may discover it for underneath $50—nice! Nevertheless, a kind of big-as-a-toolkit units are a bit cumbersome to lug round, even in the event you stuff it within the trunk and by no means give it some thought till you really want it. As an alternative, attempt going for a handheld soar starter that may cost by way of USB and doubles as a conveyable energy financial institution in your different USB units. Not solely will you could have an additional battery which you can carry round on a visit (or use in case of emergency), however you additionally received’t must take care of discovering one other automobile and connecting up jumper cables ever once more.
A dashboard digital camera
Why would you ever to have a digital camera recording each single minute you spend driving round? How boring. No less than, that’s what you’ll most likely assume till somebody sideswipes you and lies to the police, claiming you had been at fault (or share the blame). A small funding in an always-on dashboard digital camera might prevent lots of, if not hundreds—in the event you’re a protected driver, that’s.
An OBD II gadget
A what? If you happen to’re not that into vehicles, you most likely don’t know that your automobile—and all vehicles construct after 1996—have an on-board diagnostic system. That’s the “OBD” bit. Plug one into your automobile’s OBD II port, like so:
You’ll then have the ability to use a smartphone app to see what your automobile’s many sensors are attempting to inform you. For instance, you’ll have the ability to get a little bit extra details about why your automobile’s “Verify Engine” gentle popped on, and also you would possibly even have the ability to get a bunch of element about your automobile within the occasion of an accident (particularly helpful if that data helps to indicate that you just weren’t at fault). OBD II units which can be wired will most likely price lower than these which can be wi-fi, however they’re most likely extra for diagnostics than monitoring your automobile’s standing—or the place you’ve been.
Miscellaneous dwelling stuff
An immersion blender
Sure, there are many immersion blenders that price a bit greater than $50. If you happen to’re a fledgling chef that simply wants a fast and simple strategy to refine strong issues right into a high-quality paste—or what-have-you—then getting one thing which you can maintain in your hand and twirl round a pot is a good kitchen improve. A standard blender can even work, but it surely may be a bit extra firepower than what you want, and cleanup isn’t practically as simple.
A water-resistant Bluetooth speaker
If you happen to’re not into good audio system, however you need one thing which you can carry together with you and plop down wherever you occur to be working—one thing that has higher sound high quality than your smartphone’s audio system, that’s—think about investing in a conveyable (and waterproof) Bluetooth speaker.
The waterproof half is nice in the event you’re planning on taking your speaker into the bathe with you (or to the seaside). If you happen to simply want one thing to hold round when you cook dinner, fold garments, or work exterior, you may most likely get away with a conveyable speaker that isn’t waterproof, however you higher be getting a terrific deal for that trade-off.
A house safety digital camera
Odds are good that your house or residence won’t ever get damaged into, however you by no means know. And whereas a house safety digital camera won’t be sufficient to cease a theft, it’s potential that you just’ll get sufficient proof to assist the police catch whoever stole your stuff. Past that, there are many different good causes to personal a safety digital camera. Perhaps you don’t belief your roommates (or the chums they convey over). Maybe you’re seeking to create Instagram movies for all of the foolish issues your pets do throughout the day. You would possibly simply need the peace of thoughts that every thing is in its excellent place if you’re on trip—and that nothing is leaking when you’re away, after all.
When camera-hunting, attempt to discover one that may do at the least 1080p decision, take photos throughout the day and night time, and may repeatedly file to an SD card (reasonably than a cloud service that you just’ll most likely must pay for). Movement detection can be a plus, in addition to the flexibility to talk by way of the digital camera if you must give no matter you’re viewing some directions (or within the case of your pet, a mild scolding).