Now so any of us are working from home, having had to change our routines completely and adapt to this strange, sometimes scary new world, certain devices are becoming more and more useful and popular. We’ve put together a little list of goodies here that are almost guaranteed to improve some aspect of your home set-up, whether you’re gaming, working or both.
Braven BRV-MINI Rugged Portable Speaker
As we’re encouraged at the moment to get out for a walk or run once a day, but the rest of the time we’re more or less confined in doors (or at least on our home premises) a versatile mini speaker like the BRV-MINI is perfect.
Just under four inches tall and wide, its nevertheless a pretty rough and tumble object. A rubberised finish means you can dangle it from your belt or backpack on a hike and not worry about smacking it about a bit, while it’s aesthetically neutral enough to stick it on a desk and ignore it while it belts out your preferred tunage. It’s even waterproof, just in case.
It’s also a pretty powerful piece of kit, with a great Bluetooth range and an output that might be just a little bass-y for some, but still sounds great in any environment.
The average price is around £45.
Mophie Power Station Mini Portable Battery
If you happen to be running multiple devices at once, or you fancy holding that conference call in the garden today, or maybe you’re just out for a long ramble and haven’t had a chance to charge your phone, the Mophie Powerstation Mini is ideal.
Weighing a teeny 90 grams and around the same size as the average mobile, it’ll slot into a bag or pocket to keep your devices going wherever you are. It puts out 5000mAh and charges surprisingly fast. A little row of LEDs on the side light up when it’s providing power and give an indication of how much power it has left it comes with USB-A and USB-C ports so it will work both ways, and while I couldn’t test it with an iPhone it’s designed to accommodate Apple customers too.
A soft cloth finish and brushed matte edges give it an expensive, professional appearance, and it’s perfect for use at home or outside.
The average price is around £24.95, although there are less powerful models from Mophie available.
PNY 128GB microSDXC Flash Card
These days if there’s one thing we all. Need it’s more digital storage. PNY is one of the best brands for micro SD cards, and the PNY Elite Performace SDXC is a super little flash card. On the manufacturer’s site it states that this card has a read speed of 100mb/s, and is perfect for storing images and video in 4K.
It’s loading and off-loading are both high-speed, and for the price of £24.95 it will perform better than many similar sized cards for recording on the go. That being said, as a micro SD it’s also versatile, and ideal for extra storage in phones, handheld consoles, and cameras. It also comes in a range of sizes FR 32gb to 512gb.
Roccat Sense Aimo Mousepad
If you’ve recently swapped the office for working in a home space that you’ve had to quickly adapt, comfort may not have been high on your priority list. However the Roccat Sense Aimo Mousepad is an ideal addition to any desk space.
Designed for comfort and, admittedly, with gamers in mind, the Sense Aimo is a comfortable, soft Mousepad with a high-quality appearance and an attractive, unintrusive RBG strip running around its perimeter.
Most importantly is that it’s designed for smooth, unhindered feedback from any laser mouse, and feels comfortable under your writst. For the price it’s a great pad, and will give your office or gaming space a little touch of light and colour while you’re working or winning.
The average price is £35.
XVIDA wireless charging range
A handy two-in-one solution, the XVIDA case fits around your iPhone 11 as a case, but also conducts a charge so it can be wirelessly charged via the handy magnetic dock. I have mine set up next to my monitor around eye-height meaning it’s constantly charging while also facing me, so I can use the iPhone’s face-unlocking tech to see texts or messages as they appear. The case itself won’t break the bank, while you can also get a portable magnetic charge case, which you can just pop behind the phone and have it wirelessly charging there, on-the-go, as well.
It’s a bonus that the case itself conducts a charge, and this is a far, far cheaper option than Apple’s own-brand charging case. It may not be the sexiest looking case, but the magnetic doc is incredibly useful in an office setup, and the battery charger makes the set a genuine contender in the market.
Vissles 3-in-1 Wireless Charger
I’m a big fan of things that do everything you need. Vissles 3-in-1 charger is exactly that; a small, clean, white pad that can charge your Apple Watch, iPhone (if it can be wirelessly charged), and AirPods (which we’ll get onto in a moment). One cable plugs the main charger into power, but an Apple Watch cable slots inside the body of the device, which comes apart with a simple tug at the seams. It only works with the shorter Apple Watch 1m cable (though I confess I didn’t know there was a longer one available) as it curls around a predefined section of the base station, and cannot be clipped back together if the cable isn’t the right length. Your phone pops in the middle and the charging works flawlessly, though it’s not a fast-charge device like you’d get with an iPhone 11.
The only issue I can see with this simple, $45 device, is that the AirPod solution isn’t ideal. Included in the pack is a small lightning… well, “nubbin”, I guess I’d call it. This plugs into your AirPods base and has a magnet on th eother end to sit your AirPods upright and charge. Now, this simply didn’t always work. I don’t know if the AirPod case would discharge itself if the nubbin was left in, but I left it attached because it simply is so small it’d get instantly lost. Plugged in, it would charge, seemingly, but sometimes when I’d disconnect it, the charge wasn’t full despite being left on for a good amount of time. Maybe my AirPods have a charging issue, I’m not sure, they still work absolutely fine with a standard charging cable, but it’s worth mentioning your mileage may vary, and if you’re into the aesthetics of Apple devices, this does add a small notch to the bottom of your AirPod case. Still it’s a cheap product and the watch and phone parts work just fine, with zero issues.