Need tech that can adapt to your changing workplace? Here are some essentials ,writes Ciara O'Brien.
Tags and trackers
An inexpensive but useful tool, the Bluetooth tag or tracker will help you keep an eye on your things. From helping you track down your keys to keeping an eye on where your bag is, they can pay for themselves in short order through the time they save you and also the cost of replacing the items you regularly mislay. For Apple users, there is the AirTag (€35), which can use the power of Apple’s extensive Find My network to track down your item even when it is out of your range. For everyone else, there is the Tile (from €25), a tracker that will not only help you find whatever device you have attached it to, but if you have the tag, it can help you find the mobile device signed into your Tile account. The tile also has the advantage of offering several different types of tag – the Slim for your wallet, the Sticker for smaller items, and the Pro if you need the all-singing, all-dancing powerful version.
The Elecjet Apollo Ultra power bank may look like a standard battery pack, but it is hiding something really interesting: graphene. The 10,000mAh battery pack is slim yet powerful, and well worth the investment. Graphene is an ultra-thin carbon material, known to have unique mechanical and electrical properties. It is more energy dense than lithium ion, so you can get a lighter battery pack and it also has a longer life cycle, about five times longer than standard battery packs. Perfect for those times when you find there is too much workday left at the end of your smartphone, tablet or even laptop battery, the Elecjet Apollo69 will not only deliver the juice more quickly than other banks it will also recharge in a fairly quick time, if you have the right adapter. Within half an hour you can safely leave the house with enough power in your bank to fully charge your phone from empty, and if you have access to a higher capacity charger, the entire thing can be fully charged in under 30 minutes.
Over ear noise cancelling headphones are comfortable and work great, but sometimes you need something more subtle. The upcoming earbuds from the Google product stable could also be the most interesting, with useful features that include real time translation – which could be very useful when travelling for business. They are also the first Pixel Buds that are noise cancelling and make some hefty promises on call quality too. They also support intelligent audio switching, so you can move between a call on your phone to a video call on your laptop, and you’ll get about seven hours out of a single charge with active noise cancelling turned on. As another option, Sony’s Linkbuds S (€200) are designed to be worn all day, and will adapt to the ambient noise around you, so you can make and take calls or listen to work memos without interruption.
Apple’s iPad Pro (from €909) is a powerhouse. Now powered by the company’s own M1 chip, it will easily run the most powerful apps and barely break a sweat. Multitasking has been improved with the updated software, so you can jump between emails and documents without having to minimise applications. Team it with the second gen Apple Pencil and it is a powerful notetaking and annotation tool, and if you need a second screen for your Mac, the iPad will also oblige. It’s not a bad leisure tool either, with four stereo speakers and a beautifully detailed screen for the obligatory streaming binges. But the iPad won’t suit everyone, for example those who need proprietary software. The other option is the Surface Pro 8 (from €1,199), a powerful two in one device that functions as a laptop with the form factor of a tablet. The kickstand makes it a flexible option for those who need to use it as a regular laptop or a digital studio. It has two USB C ports that are compatible with Thunderbolt 4 and a 3.5mm headphone jack, and if you need extra options, you can get the Surface Dock 2 for your office – at home or in a business premises – to give you extra ports and a power supply in one. Add a Surface Pen too to open up even more options for its use. The Surface Pro 8 comes with a choice of i5 or i7 Intel chips.
Mini projectors are everywhere these days, and they can be a handy addition to your travel tech kit, giving you a portable screen on hand. The Anker Nebula Apollo (€399) is a 200 ANSI Lumens rechargeable projector that will not only work as your personal portable projector when you are on the go, it also has impressive sound and can function as a Bluetooth speaker.
We might not be ready for fully featured smart glasses just yet, but there are some eyewear options that could be a useful tool for business users. First, the Ambr glasses (from €60). While not high tech, they may prove a tech essential, offering blue light blocking glasses that claim to reduce the strain on your eyes. There may be mixed opinions on the impact of blue light on our eyes, but anecdotally, they have helped people manage headaches and eye strain attributed to long hours in front of a computer. Plus the Ambr option isn’t noticeably tinted, so are indistinguishable from regular glasses. If you are ready for something a bit more high tech, check out the Rayban Stories glasses (€329). The first generation of this Facebook collaboration has some cameras and smart voice assistant support built into the frame, putting your chosen helper right where you need it. You can get sunglasses or prescription frames.