Working from home has made it apparent that I need to upgrade some of my office and home tech gadgets. There are always new, clever toys hitting the market, and while some of them aren’t terribly appealing, others offer capabilities my current gadgets don’t have.
A number of new tech items have caught my eye in recent weeks. I’ve come across tech that can take my entertainment and streaming to the next level and gadgets that can increase my work from home productivity without a huge investment.
Looking for tech toys under $20? Tap or click here to see what I’ve found recently that you may want, too.
If you’ve been on the prowl for ways to spruce up your tech collection or make your smart home smarter, the gadgets listed below may help you out. A few of them could make even make your work from home life easier or lure the kids away from their tablets for a while.
1. A new way to add a second monitor to your laptop
I do quite a bit of work remotely, or in more normal times while traveling. Relying on just my small laptop screen to get work done can be tough though, which is why I like the Duex Pro portable monitor, which doubles my workspace on my laptop with the plug of a cord.
The Duex Pro is a slim monitor that connects to your laptop via a USB cable. It’s portable, easy to carry, and attaches to the back of your computer monitor with magnetic adhesives, allowing you to slide it out and use it as needed.
2. A clever way to watch streaming shows and movies
I’ve been looking for new sources of entertainment now that I’m stuck at home quite a bit due to the pandemic. One of the clever entertainment gadgets I found recently is the CINEMOOD 360, the world’s first 360-degree portable projector.
This lightweight projector lets you project your favorite Amazon, Netflix, Youtube, Disney+, and AMEBA content anywhere you choose. It can handle up to 5 hours of projection time on one charge. It also comes with Disney+ responsive motion games, which will get your kids off the tablets.
3. Give your wrists a break with this adjustable phone stand
Cell phones have nearly become an extension of our bodies. I take mine everywhere, and I’d venture to guess you do, too. But while most smartphones are lightweight and easy to carry, they can be a pain in the wrist.
I recently came across the Lookstand, a portable cell phone holder that works with both Android and iPhone that allows you to go hands-free while using your phone. It weighs about as much as a glass of water, folds flat, and comes with three adjustable heights that can be adjusted to your preference.
4. Protect yourself with a discreet dash cam
If you’ve been in an accident that you didn’t cause but the other driver isn’t admitting fault, you know what a pain it can be to get resolved. You can’t always pick where you’re parking or driving, but a 70mai dash cam can make sure you always have eyes where you need them: your dashboard.
What I like about 70mai dash cams is that they’re affordable, discreet, and send crisp, clear surveillance footage right to your phone. You can choose from a number of different features, which include motion detection and built-in G-Sensor technology that automatically saves footage in emergency events.
5. Use smart stickers to get organized
I like to pack away unused items in storage bins to stay organized, but I don’t like labeling the bins with permanent markers, which isn’t ideal for reusable totes. I recently came across Outlinx Smart Stickers, which let you use your phone to find out what you put in the box instead.
These stickers use QR code technology to help you quickly and easily organize and identify what you packed away. These smart stickers are kind of like X-ray vision for your storage bins. You simply stick one onto the bin, scan the sticker, and then create smart notes to note what you packed away.
6. Be prepared for power outages
It’s important to me to be prepared for bad weather or other issues that can cause power failures. If you live in an area that’s prone to natural disasters or power outages due to hot weather, you may want to check out the nrgGo 400 Portable Power Station, a backup power supply I think could be handy to keep around in case of emergencies.
This portable power station can be used during power outages to power or charge most of your electronic devices. It fully charges in about five hours, has a visual display with a countdown so you know exactly how much power is left in it, and it offers a ton of different ports.
7. Secure your phone with a smart mount
If you’ve ever dropped your phone in the car while using your GPS, you know how dangerous it can be to try and find it while driving. Being a safe driver is important to me, which is why I like the Sinjimoru Automatic Clamping Wireless Car Charger Mount.
The Sinjimoru car mount works with a number of different Android and iPhone models, and it has a smart sensor system that automatically recognizes your smartphone and secures it when the ignition turns on. It also offers wireless charging for your phone, in addition to keeping it secure.
8. Train your grip and track your progress
There are times when I notice my grip isn’t as strong as it once was, and I have been looking for innovative ways to help improve it while relieving the muscle strain from typing and using electronics.
I came across the SQUEGG Digital Dynamometer & Grip Strengthener, a silicone shelled grip trainer that measures grip strength, promotes muscle movement, and regulates blood pressure while letting you track progress in the app. It uses Bluetooth technology to measure your grip strength and can measure up to 220 lbs — plus the app lets you track your progress over time.
9. Charge multiple devices with one charging bank
I travel with a ton of different chargers in tow, and it can be tough to find the right outlets to charge everything I need while in an airport, a new city or hotel. If you’re also a traveler, you may want to check out the On The Go Charger, a portable charging bank with dual function connectors to charge both iPhones and devices.
This portable charging bank looks like a wallet and can hold your cash, credit cards, passport, or other important documents while the 5000 mAh external battery charger can charge an iPhone up to two times. The built-in cord is reversible, and you can use it to charge your iPhone, Kindle, Bluetooth earbuds, battery packs, or other devices.
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10. Train your core with an interactive, quick workout
Finding the time to workout can be tough for me. My schedule doesn’t always allow for a full workout, which is why the Plankpad caught my eye recently. This interactive abs trainer allows you to get in a core workout in a matter of minutes, making it easy to find the time to stay in shape.
This plank board makes your workouts into a game via your iPad, iPhone, or Android device. Your body is the controller and your movement controls the game, and you can use the Plankpad to train your core, abs, shoulders, glutes, and back. It also doubles as a balance board, making it easy to get a full-body workout from one device.
11. Create amazing images on the go with this portable photo editing toolkit
Photo editing can be tedious, especially while you’re out of the office and away from your usual equipment. Adjusting saturation levels and changing other small details of a photo can be tough when you’re working remotely, which is why the Tourbox Photo and Video Editing Console caught my eye.
This image editing console is designed for editing images and video processing software on the go. It’s built like a game controller, and you can use it to rapidly adjust brush size, hardness, flow, and opacity. It allows for zooming in and out and dragging an image, too.
12. Light up your desk with an all-in-one work station
I like to light up my workspace with a desk lamp, but I don’t like sacrificing desk space to do it. Having a lamp on my desk helps create the right ambiance, but it also makes it tough to charge my phone and other devices by taking up plugs and space.
I came across the LumiCharge T2W Wireless Phone Charger recently, which is a great solution to those issues. This LED lamp not only provides light but also offers a universal wireless charger that works with both Android and iPhone devices, keeping them charged and out of the way.
13. Check the air quality wherever you go
Do you worry about the quality of the air in your home? I do, too. High C02 levels can be tough to monitor but are incredibly dangerous, which is why I like the Aranet4 Home wireless indoor air quality monitor.
This portable monitor displays information on the C02 levels, temperature, relative humidity, and atmospheric pressure in real-time. It also gives you visual and sound warnings when CO2 concentration gets too high. You can connect it with your smartphone app to view historical data, too. Plus, it’s portable, so you can monitor the air quality anywhere you go.
14. Add this portable air compressor to your car’s toolkit
Low and flat tires happen, and while I take every precaution to keep my tires in good shape, I also know that there are some issues you can’t avoid. I don’t like the idea of being stranded due to tires, which is why I like this 70mai Portable Air Compressor Tire Inflator. This portable, compact air compressor is easy to stow in your trunk in case of low or flat tires.
The 70mai tire inflator plugs into your car’s 12V outlet and you can set the pressure valve to your needs. The air compressor will stop once the preset pressure is reached, which keeps the chances of over-inflating your tires to a minimum. It can inflate both SUV and sedan tires in a matter of minutes.
15. Stash your cash or cards discreetly
I like to minimize the number of items I carry around on a daily basis, but that can be difficult when you’re dragging a laptop bag, purse, phone, and other items in tow. If you find yourself frustrated with the number of items you have to keep track of from place to place, you may be interested in this Sinjimoru Phone Card Holder.
This card case has a silicone gel inlay that keeps your cards from rattling and an adhesive gel pad that makes it easy to stick to any flat surface. You can attach it to the back of your phone, the underside of your desk, or anywhere else you may want to keep your credit cards. It can hold up to three cards at once, or you can stash your cash or business cards instead.
16. Turn your home into a studio with a green screen
Most of us are working remotely in some capacity or at least having meetings from a remote location with clients or coworkers due to limited travel. I like to change the backgrounds of my video calls or record quick videos from home, which is why this portable green screen caught my eye.
The Emart Green Screen is ideal for camera chroma keying. It’s wrinkle-resistant, portable, and collapsible, and fits under a bed or couch for easy storage. It can be used to create YouTube content, as a virtual studio, or any other streaming or video content from any location.
17. Easily locate any missing item
It’s so easy to misplace everyday items when you’re rushing in from work or the store. I do it all the time. If you regularly misplace your keys or wallet, or if your remotes go missing in your home, you may want to invest in a Cube Smart Trackers, which makes it easy to find lost items.
All you have to do is attach the CUBE to any item and use CUBE Tracker App to find your item when it goes missing. The app will show the last known location on a map, or you can use the find button to make the CUBE ring. You can also use it to sound a separation alert if you’re leaving something behind, which will help keep lost items, or pets, to a minimum.
18. Show the world your digital photos
One of the downsides to having high-tech cameras on smartphones is that most of our images end up trapped on devices rather than in picture frames. I have a ton of photos stored in my devices that I want to display but haven’t. If you’re in the same boat, you might be interested in Familink, a photo frame that lets you share your images and display them digitally in a frame.
What I like about Familink is that you can easily add photos to the frame through the app, the website, by email, Messenger, or WhatsApp, with or without Wi-Fi. You can invite friends or family members to display their photos from the frame, too — as it offers an unlimited amount of users.
19. Replace 15 common desk items with one hub
It can be tough to organize your desk. Between devices, computers, phones, and office supplies, I struggle with keeping everything I need both organized and within arm’s reach. I came across the HUB STEALTHO Desk Organizer recently, which lets you replace about 15 common desk items with this one hub.
This gadget gives you a station for office supplies and also serves as a charging station for your phone or laptop. It also offers wireless charging, as well as a USB hub, a micro SD card slot, an HDMI 4K port, USB 3.0 ports, and a 3.5 mm audio jack.
20. Switch up your keyboard to a retro typewriter
If you’re looking for a unique keyboard for your computer, I came across the RYMEK Typewriter Style Keyboard recently — and you may want to check it out.
This keyboard is designed to look like a retro typewriter and can be used both wirelessly and wired — your choice. The keyboard is backlit and offers a tactile feel that’s more like a typewriter than a keyboard. It works with the iPad Pro, MacBook Pro, iPhone, and other devices, and you can pair it with up to three at the same time.