Eight incredibly useful tools for road warriors

Being mobile these days means more gear -- and more problems. Here's how to make things a bit easier.

When you're on the road, you can feel more like a juggler than a traveler: You've got your notebook, your smart phone, your camera, your GPS device, your MP3 player -- and all the power cords, USB drives and other gadgets that go with them.

And you still have to deal with some of travel's biggest annoyances: dropped cell phone calls in hotel rooms, faint Wi-Fi signals in airports, data files that vanish without a trace and power-sucking gadgets that invariably go dead just when you need them most.

Overwhelmed? Take heart -- adding a few key gadgets to your arsenal could help. The eight handy devices and services detailed below can help you charge, connect, boost and protect your array of mobile devices and the data they contain. With some of these you might find yourself carrying fewer cables, chargers and other travel detritus.

You may not want or need to carry all the gizmos discussed here -- after all, when you're on the road, less is more. Smart road warriors will assess their own needs and zero in on the most useful tools for them.

Charge it

"Simplify, simplify," said Thoreau. He was probably talking about the chargers that come with every gadget you carry.

There's no law that says you have to carry a different charger for each device or that it has to connect to 110-volt AC. In fact, as more gadgets require USB connections to sync data or download software, your laptop is becoming a universal charger. The only problem? Most laptops require 110-volt AC to charge themselves -- and have a limited number of USB ports for charging your other devices.

The ideal solution would be one charger that could draw power from as many different sources as possible and charge as many different devices as you carry. The ideal charger hasn't been manufactured yet, but there are a couple that come close:

VersaCharger Pro

The VersaCharger Pro from BoxWave connects to three power sources. It's available with a flip-out US or European-style AC plug (your choice) for 110 and 220 volts, a car cigarette-lighter connector and an optional short cable to convert the car connector to those small round airplane-seat power outlets that are supposed to be standard, but the airlines won't say when.

Output is a standard USB connector, so if your devices connect to and charge from Universal Serial Bus, you've already got the cable you need. If they don't, BoxWave also sells a miniSync cable with the proper connector. The VersaCharger Pro with airplane charger is US$35.20, and extra miniSync cables, if you need them, start at $14.95. Shipping, as you might expect, is extra.

iGo everywhere85

While the VersaCharger's 1-amp, 5.3-volt output is more than adequate to charge handheld devices, it won't do for laptops. For that, you need the iGo everywhere85 notebook power adapter from Mobility Electronics.

This small (4.8 by 2.7 by 0.9 in.), light (8 oz.) power brick is also a three-way device for AC/car/plane. It comes with the cables you need, including a neat retractable laptop connector cable, and a standard set of interchangeable connector tips.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

David DeJean

Computerworld
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?