Everyone has a smartphone, but what other essential gadgets and technology do we think we also need? Read on to find out what the most common tech we carry today is.
In this article we discuss what other modern devices are as useful, if not more so than our phones.
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How many times has your smartphone given you a nice little warning saying your battery is low? How many times have you wanted to send that one last text or make a phone call, only for your screen to turn off and leave you digitally stranded?
We think the one piece of essential tech that everyone should keep in the bottom of their day bag is a portable battery bank. These will provide that much needed boost of power when you most need it.
It is true that battery life is getting better in our devices. However, it is reassuring to know that extra power is there when you may need it most!
Portable battery banks come in various sizes to suit most needs and pocket/bags. Our rule of thumb is that it should have at least 3 times the battery capacity of your phone.
For example, if your phone has a capacity of 3000 mAh, then you should look for a battery bank around the 9000+ mAh range.
Below are some of our favourite, affordable battery banks.
Anker are well known in the power bank market, and with good reason. Their line of affordable and high capacity power banks are well built and reliable. Most of their range feature High-Speed PowerIQ technology, meaning you can take advantage of your phone’s fast charging capability without using the proprietary charger that came with your phone or a high-power USB port on a PC.
The Anker 325 (PowerCore Essential 20K) has a 20,000 mAh battery at its core. This means if you own a 4000+ mAh phone such as the iPhone 14 Pro Max you should get at least 4 full charges and a bit more before the power bank itself needs charging again.
The 325 also features two charging ports, handy if you share your power bank with a partner, or have a secondary business phone.
We promise we are not sponsored by Anker! Normally we wouldn’t feature two of the same brand on our lists, but such good value for money, and so well built are the Anker devices, we cannot leave the Power 325 on this list alone.
The PowerCore 5000 is smaller in capacity, yet fits in the pocket perfectly if you are on a night out. Suitable really only for one charge, but as an emergency backup this really is a capable well-built device.
If you are an out doors type of person, chances are you might be trying to get away from technology.
It is acknowledged however that some pieces of outdoors tech do also require power, and having a portable self-charging system such as the ADDTOP solar charger could be crucial if you rely on items such as torches, GPS navigation and USB hand warmers.
You may ask why a device such as an e-reader is on this list if we already own a phone with a reading app?
True. If you are comfortable with reading books on your phone, then you could skip this section, ultimately how you read is your choice, phone, tablet, e-reader or traditional paper. Whatever you prefer is up to you!
We would like to argue for the inclusion of the e-reader though, as we have found owning one more liberating than we first thought!
Firstly, space. Most e-readers take up less space than nearly any book. Being digital devices they can store hundreds or thousands of books, more than most people would probably read in a lifetime.
Secondly, for us, choice. Most digital libraries are far larger than any local library you care to visit. If you are looking for a particular read, and have an internet connection, then nearly any book of your choice is just a few clicks away.
Lastly, space! 🙂 Seriously, if you are a traveller and an avid reader, then the space and weight savings may become very important. It is also worth mentioning that the battery in e-readers can often last weeks at a time on a single charge, so if you plan it carefully and charge before you travel you may not even need to bring an extra charger with you, saving you yet more space!
The most well-known and popular e-reader is the Amazon Kindle. Amazon also have the largest and most comprehensive library of titles to choose from, ensuring that any reader will be well-served.
In fact if you are a pro-consumer of literature and the written word, then an kindle unlimited subscription may also be for you. Kindle Unlimited is a service that allows you to read as much as you want, choosing from over 1 million titles and thousands of audiobooks.
Freely explore new authors, books, and genres from mysteries and romance to sci-fi and more. You can read on any device. It’s available on a monthly subscription and you can cancel anytime.
You can get a 30-day Free trial here.
For our money for everyday use the simple 16 Gb 6″ Kindle is the best value for money device amazon sell, but there are others you may be interested in checking out if you have other needs from your e-reader.
The biggest advantage of being part of the amazon eco-system is the integration of amazon’s audible service. If you get tired of reading, all new kindles can now play the audible version of the book (picking up from where you left off) if you happen to have purchased the audible version of the title you are reading. Playback can be directly from the kindle itself or your audible app.
The only real rival to Amazon’s kindle offering is the Kobo e-reader from Rakuten. The cheapest offering does come in slightly better than Amazon’s offering generally, but with a more limited library than amazon, we are not sure it is worth it, especially given the audible integration as mentioned above.
The Kobo Nia is near-identical to Amazon’s 6″ basic model, and if you can live with the more limited reading selection then this may be the e-reader for you.
It is worth mentioning at this point that Kobo do offer the amazon kindle app on some of their devices through their own app store, so the kindle book selection is technically available to, and probably why Amazon allow the selling of a competitive product on their store.
Reusable Water Bottle
Technically not a gadget in the strictest sense. Reusable, metal water bottles are seen everywhere now. You can pick basic ones up from your local supermarket.
The world is becoming more aware of the damage caused by the plastics industry, and it used to be that in an attempt to stop plastic bottles falling into landfill they were often re-used as water carriers. This is not always suitable, and they could only be re-used so many times before they inevitably had to be thrown away.
Many of us may recycle, but not buying the plastic in the first place and creating less demand for bottled water and bottled drinks is far better.
If you type “metal water bottle” on an amazon search page you are met with so many choices that nearly any style and budget is catered for.
These are some of our favourites:
One of the Original, and our favourite. We have a few of these. The only time they have let us down is when WE lost them!
Not only does the original Chilly’s bottle come in a variety of different colours and prints, but they have different sizes and bottle options to choose from to.
All the original bottle offerings are advertised as being leak proof, and double-insulated, able to keep cold drinks cold for 24 hours and hot drinks hot for 12 hours.
The Series 2 bottle adds a bit more style with a carrying loop and slightly different body shape.
The GOPPUS water bottle selection may be a little more generic than the Chilly’s, but our 600 ml bottle has been reliable and durable.
We prefer it over our Chilly’s sport bottle when at the gym and on bike rides, the carrying loop is more useful and the flip lid is easier to use.
Some of their offerings even come with a re-usable metal straw instead of those horrible plastic ones that you sometimes get with sport bottles.
Known for their range of travel accessories, W&S have a limited selection in term’s of travel bottles and mugs. They do have one of the better looking and performing tea/fruit infuser bottles on the market today though.
If you prefer some natural favours in your water, and like to experiment, then this water bottle and infuser are as good as it get’s and is quite stylish too.
The headphone jack on our smartphones is slowly being replaced/removed. Nearly gone are the days where you could grab any old pair of headphones with a 3.5mm jack and use them with your phone. If you happen to own a pair of wired headphones/earphones and do not want to part from them then you generally have two options; 1. – Converting them to be wireless, see our post here for recommendations on how to do that, or 2.- using a usb-c to headphone adapter.
If, however, you want to try and remove all wires from your personal tech-setup then a truly wireless set of earphones or headphones are a must, especially if you use your phone on the go a lot.
Here are our favourites.
Sony are an established and reputable brand for audio and visual devices. This pair of earphones has received a coveted 5-star review in What HiFi’s 2022 review, and with good reason.
Boasting impressive sound, comfort, features, battery life and affordability it is difficult to find negative reviews about these earphones. Check out the latest deals on Amazon today.
If you dig the over the head look then for the price and general quality you cant go far wrong with the Audio-Technica ATH M20xBT’s.
The Japanese firm are know for uncompromised sound quality, albeit sometimes at the expense of maybe the latest features. However, they certainly know what they are doing, and whilst these maybe a no-frill pair of cans, if all you care about is audio quality, then you can’t go wrong with a pair of AT’s!
The British Audio firm Cambridge Audio are relative new-comers in the wireless headphone world, but with their years of renowned British Audio Engineering prowess they have hit the ground running!
Their first outing was with the Melomania 1, and later the Melomania 1+ True Wireless Earbuds, and they received great reviews all over the board.
Like Audio-Technica, CA’s approach is first and foremost the sound! The Melomania Touch Earpods do not disappoint, and with the free App to customize the sound however you want on your device, the Touch earpods repeatedly outperform more expensive rivals on the market.
The items on this list are by no means the only choices, if you find other alternatives more suited for your budget or needs then please please don’t feel obliged to follow our suggestions. We hope though that our advice has saved you some time in your research, and hope that you agree with us about our choices for everyday essential tech.