Must Have Tech For 2015

Must Have Tech Gadgets

VZW Disclosure

As 2014 comes to an end and the gift giving events make way for talk about the big game or getting fit for summer, there’s still gift cards to spend and deals to be made. Regardless of whether you unwrapped one or a pile, chance are you may not have received some things you really wanted. Or maybe you got gift cards because you’re “hard to buy for” or “it’s easier to send you money”. So now you’re faced with how to spend that loot and what better way than to make sure you have the must have tech gear to make the most of your smartphone or tablet. You may have some ideas of what you want but I thought I’d share a few of my favorite tech gadgets to jump start 2015.

bluetooth headphones1. A good pair of headphones. Whether you like the over-ear, in-ear, or on-ear models, there are so many options. Quality headphones are a must these days, but which one you choose will depend a lot on your lifestyle and how you use them. For active lifestyles you might like the Plantronics Backbeat Fit bluetooth in-ear headphones. The Jawbone ERA is a great low-profile bluetooth headset, especially if you want something a little more discreet and professional-looking. The ERA is the one CycleGuy uses mostly for business. For gaming or watching movies, there are great options from Beats by Dre and Sol Republic. I have different headphones for different uses, so it’s not uncommon to have several pairs of headphones.

portable mini speaker2. A wireless portable speaker. As a child of the 80s, portable speakers have been a very important part of my life. Now, though, they’re not the size of a small TV. Gone are the “boombox” days of lugging around 20-pound stereo systems. We’ve got an entire music library in our purse or pocket. The problem is that sometimes you want to share it and your only options are putting your device in a bowl and cranking up the volume with the hopes it will broadcast. With tiny portable speakers that easily fit in a purse, backpack, carry-on luggage, or in the glove box of a car the mobile DJ in you can come out wherever you are. The Mini Jambox from Jawbone (I really do love their products!) comes in a variety of fun colors and can be used in both casual and professional settings. I’ve heard of them being used at business events and parties when people need big sound in a compact space.

3. Apps to improve your productivity. And by productivity I don’t mean just business-type stuff. With apps to help stimulate your brain and wellness apps, or even must-have apps that aren’t on every “top apps” list you have the ability to customize each device so that you’re getting the most out of it when you’re on it. Sometimes the best productivity app is Spotify or Pandora because you just need some good music to help you get motivated. Other times, maybe you need a great list app or top news and media apps. There are tens of thousands of apps out there in iOS, Android, and Windows that you’re likely to find just the right apps to help you get more out of your smartphone or tablet so you can be more productive.

4. A fitness tracker. I was able to check out the Microsoft Band the day it came out and it was quite impressive with its many features that integrated into smartphones. CycleGuy has the JawboneUP 24 and likes how it integrates with his cycling and food-tracking apps. I have a JawboneUP and even though it’s very basic it gives me a lot of helpful information. Even though it would be cool to have one of the high-end models, there are quality fitness trackers for every budget.

Mophie portable charger5. A portable charger. This should probably be #1 on the list of must have tech gear. I carry the Mophie Powerstation with me. It’s compact and lightweight so it doesn’t add bulk to my purse. And since I have both iOS and Android devices I usually keep cables for several different devices in the car so if I’m out and a friend is running low on power I can lend them my charger. When my daughter went on an out-of-town school field trip, I sent my New Trent Power Pack and iSound Power Max so the chaperones would have power on the 10+ hour drive should there be an emergency. We’re on our phones so much, especially on long trips where you don’t always have access to a plug, that draining our devices is not just a possibility. We’ve all be out and had our phone die with no real options to power it up. Now, you carry the power with you! And for under $100 it’s a great way to be prepared when the power goes out.

If you have these, then you’re good to go! If you have friend or family that don’t have these, then consider them as gifts because they’d probably be happy to get these. I know that many of the apps are free, but consider buying the paid version of an app you love and if you need to give someone a gift they’d probably love the “pro” version too.

What are your “go to” or “must have” tech items that you can’t live without?

Disclosure: I am a member of the Verizon Lifestyle Influencer team and share information about technology. This post was not required or edited by a third-party. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Sara

Nomad ChargeKey Review: Portable Charging Just Got Smaller

 

Disclosure: I received a complimentary ChargeKey after attending CES.

No matter where I go, I always carry a portable charger for the many mobile devices I, and my family, carry. I usually have at least two phones on me because I’m always testing out new devices as a Verizon Insider. My daughter doesn’t leave the house without her mobile device, for fear she may be stuck somewhere without reading material. Nomad ChargeKey Review

Heading to a conference, gathering, or event just amps up the need to never run out of power. All the apps running tax the battery. You’ve been there, I know you have. You look down at your phone and the battery is red or you get the pop-up you only have 20% battery life remaining.

So, if you’re like me, you grab the 3-foot cord and plug in to your mobile charger. That’s after you untangle it like you’re doing some kind of Houdini magic. And then you hope not to strangle yourself or trip over the same cord dangling.

That’s why having a ChargeKey from Nomad (retail: $29) is my new go-to “cable”. I use cable in quotes because it’s not really a cable in the traditional sense. About 2.5 inches long, the black, flexible charger has a USB at one end and either a Lightning (for iPhone 5/5c/5s) or mini-USB (most Android devices) at the other depending on which one you purchase. The cable is flexible but sturdy, and easily attaches to a key ring so you can have it with you at all times. For vehicles with USB ports, these are very handy and won’t junk up your car!

ChargeKey-iPhone5

ChargeKey-Micro-USB

I like the compact size because it doesn’t take up much room, especially if I’m only carrying a small charger. It’s sleek, black and easily attached to your keys, which makes it easy to have both an iPhone and micro-USB compatible ChargeKey on you if you’re like me and have both types of devices. It’s definitely much more practical than a several foot charging cable. And much more discreet. Oh, and just an added bonus is all the people you’ll meet who will want to be your new BFF or propose marriage because you’ve just saved the day!

These make great gifts, and for kids who’ll be heading off to college or camp having something that won’t take up much space will be welcomed. And for busy parents who worry little hands will reach up and grab cables off a counter causing the device to tumble to the ground, this will save your sanity!

Disclosure: I received a complimentary product after attending CES. This article was not reviewed or edited by a third-party. All thoughts and opinions are mine. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Sara