Indispensable Accessories for Laptops and Tablets

For most people, laptops and tablet are utilitarian tools that can allow their users to stay connected and get work done while on the road.  Most laptop owners don’t go beyond the basics when it comes to accessories for their computer.  Perhaps they will spring for a nice carrying case or at least a backpack that has a special padded compartment where they can safely store their computer while transporting it.  Yes, a good carrying case it essential for laptop owners, but so are some other very useful accessories.  The same goes for tablet owners: a few low-price accessories can really enhance their portable computing experience and can also extend the life of their device by protecting it from damage and general wear and tear.

What are these indispensable accessories for laptops and tablets?

Cooling pads

Cooling pads are the perfect item for laptop users who find that their laptop gets too hot while they are using it for extend periods of time.  These cooling pads, made from materials like aluminum, make it possible to hold a laptop on your lap without having the heat from the battery and hard drive make you uncomfortable.  Some cooling pads can actually be plugged into the computer itself via a USB port.  Another option for cooling your laptop is a product like the Vantec LapCool TX Ultra, a stand with a built in silent fan that can cool the bottom of the computer so that it never becomes too hot.  This device won’t work while you are holding your laptop on your lap, but it is ideal for users who always place their computer on a desk or table when using it.

Keyboard skins

Replacing a laptops keyboard is one of the most expensive and common types of repairs that laptop owners have to make.  One of the best ways to protect against keyboard wear and tear is to get a low-priced skin made from silicon or transparent plastic.  These accessories fit directly over the keyboard and make it possible to avoid common problems like dust, dirt, liquid spills or other accidents that can cause damage.  Exterior skins can provide a similar type of protection for the outside body of a laptop.  They can keep the body from getting unsightly scratches and cracks.

Tablet gloves

What if you wanted to use your tablet or even your touchscreen smartphone during the wintertime.  Most gloves make it difficult, if not impossible, to control these devices.  You are left with the option of removing your glove and freezing while you make your call, type your message, or access your app or the option of buying a glove that actually works with a touch screen device.  Yes, some apparel makers have managed to figure out how to use skin-like material on the fingertips of their gloves so that they work with touchscreen devices.  With a pair of these gloves, users can use their phones outdoors in cold conditions without freezing their hands in the process.

Bluetooth keyboards

Tablets have a lot of advantages over laptops.  One of the biggest positives is their small size.  Yes, they are easier to carry, but what if you have to do a lot of typing?  A tablet just doesn’t cut it when it comes to word processing.  Typing out pages worth of text on a touchscreen isn’t a viable option for most people.  Well, what if you had a bluetooth keyboard that made it possible to type just as you would on a desktop or a laptop? These wireless keyboards are becoming more and more common.  Yes, this is an extra item that you have to carry in your bag, but the tablet and keyboard combined is still going to prove lighter than most laptops.


Best Flash Drives For Portable Storage

Having a good USB flash drive is necessary for anyone who uses computers for work.  These small devices can be plugged into a USB port and can be used for a number of purposes, from transporting a file to another computer to backing up some important work to uploading files that can then be given to another person.  In short, these small tools are invaluable to anyone who does important work using their home computer, laptop or other USB-port-equipped device.  If you are going to be using your flash drive to back-up or transport important files or data, you want to make sure that you get a high quality device.  Here are your best options.

Transcend JetFlash 700

This small, sleek USB flash drive has all the tools and features to help users easily transport and store data and files.  The most popular model of the JetFlash is its 32 GB drive. At only one -third of an inch thick, the 32GB JetFlash is one of the smallest and sleekest flash drives on the market that can provide more than a few GB of storage.  This drive also comes with data management software, so users can interact with it in a way that is not always possible with cheaper USB drives.  With transfer speeds of 70 megabytes per second, it can upload and download files very quickly so you can be ready to go in a matter of seconds.

Corsair Flash Voyager

This is not a choice for people ho are turned on by the small sleek design of the JetFlash.  This is a tool for people who want a rugged, tough USB drive.  The Corsair is shock resistant and water resistant.  While you probably wouldn’t want to take this device mountain climbing or deep sea diving, it can certainly handle the drops and spills (and even an accidental stepping on) of everyday life without any problems whatsoever.  It is not the fastest USB flash drive on the market, but it can certainly hold its own, and its toughness more than makes up for any drawbacks.

SanDisk Cruzer Switch

This device, from flash drive stalwart SanDisk, has a unique soft protection cap and some great security software that can encrypt files when they are uploaded to the drive. The Cruzer comes in a variety of sizes, with devices capable of handling 2 GB of data all the way up to 32 GB.  SanDisk also has another advantage: great customer service.  This is not something that is always available for small devices like flash drives, so it is definitely a big advantage for users.

Lexar JumpDrive TwistTurn

For some people, having a small flash drive with a smart design is more important than having one with high speed transfer times and security features.  The simple-but-cool demographic is what the Lexar JumpDrive TwistTurn is aimed at.  This device has a unique swivel design.  The USB drive rotates out from under its cover, meaning there is no cap to fumble with.  In its most powerful incarnation, it can hold up to 64 GB of memory (most other standard flash drives top out at 32 GB).  That might even be enough to hold all the files that you need to back-up on your main desktop or laptop.

Patriot Supersonic USB 3.0

This muscular flash drive is one of the best for people who want a good price when considering the dollars-per-GB ratio.  Its 32GB model currently comes in at about $40, making it a good value overall.  Its shock resistant aluminum casing will appeal to people who are concerned about the occasional drop, while its upload speeds are comparable with the best in the business.

Best Ways To Give Your Phone or Tablet Extra Battery Life

You may not think about the battery life of your tablet computer or smart-phone until it is too late.  The strategy of “I’ll just plug it in” often works, but what if you are in your car or on a long haul flight and your battery runs out, leaving you without any entertainment or without the ability to communicate or access important apps that you might need to navigate an airport or unfamiliar city.  There are several things that you can do when you aren’t able to simply plug in your device and charge it up.  Here is what you need to make sure that you are never stuck without a place to charge your tablet or phone.

The first option for some phone users is to get a replacement battery to carry with you when you go out on a long trip or some other type of excursion where you know that you won’t be able to plug in your phone for a long time.  Of course some phones have batteries that are covered and are difficult to change.  Most Motorola and Samsung phones, however, allow for quick battery changes.  Of course, this strategy doesn’t work if the replacement battery isn’t charged, so it is best to make sure that both the original and replacement are charged completely before setting out on your trip.

There is an easier and more convenient way to make sure that all your devices, even those with hard-to-remove covers, will not run out of power for an extended amount of time.

The EnCore Portable Backup Battery is an invaluable tool for cell phone and tablet users.  It is especially designed to work with cell phones that can be charged via a microUSB cord.  This device actually comes with a variety of connectors that can make it easier to charge a number of phones from Blackberry, Motorola and Samsung.  Some other tablets, MP3 players and smart-phones can be charged with the EnCore Backup Battery after the purchase of an additional adapter.

The Kodak Portable USB Battery Charger is another invaluable tool for frequent travelers who need to extend the battery life of their tablet or phone on the go.  This charger, when it is charged up itself, can run your devices without another power source for up to 40 hours.  The best thing about this Kodak battery is that it can be used on any type of device that can connect via a USB jack.  That means that all your tablets, smart-phones and MP3 players can be charged with the same battery pack and can last for an extra day or longer before you need to seek out a power source to recharge the Kodak Portable USB Battery Charger.  This versatility makes this particular charger a great choice for people who have a variety of devices that they need to plug into an external battery.

Specialty battery maker Mybat has a number of external backup batteries that are made to power multiple devices at the same time.  These useful batteries can allow you to continue running both your tablet and smart-phone without having to plug one in and unplug another one.  Most Mybat batteries can, themselves, be charged via a USB chord (through a computer, for example).  So it is possible to go even longer than usual before you have to find an electrical outlet.

Some backups, such as the iFlash devices, are made specifically for Apple products.  These small and colorful backup batteries have outlets that allow users to plug in a variety of devices, including iPhones, iPads, iPods without having to fumble with extra connectors or adapters.