Satechi Bluetooth Wireless Smart Keyboard

I’ve been a technology journalist for more than three years, and in that time, I’ve gotten to try the latest and greatest gadgets from big-name companies to totally new startups. All the tech I’ve tried has had its merits, but some gadgets stand out from the rest.

Like Apple’s latest iPad Pro, which is powerful enough to handle “real” computer tasks, like photo and audio editing. Or the single cable I use to charge my Lightning, Micro-USB, and USB-C accessories.

If you’re looking for your next battery pack, car charger, soundbar, or game console, you’ll find the ones that I keep coming back to over and over again below.

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Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Insider Picks team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at [email protected]

Long durable charging cables that actually don’t break

Long durable charging cables that actually don't break

What it is: Anker Powerline+ Lightning Cable, $17.99, available at AmazonWhy I love it: I have two major problems with the charging cable companies include in the box with their tech: They’re too short, and they break too easily. Anker’s Powerline+ cables solve both of those issues. They’re six feet long — twice the length of an average charging cable— and covered in a double-nylon braided casing.Anker says this cable will survive up to 12,000 bends, which means it should outlast your current phone. While I mostly use Anker’s Lightning cable, the Powerline+ series includes a USB-C and MicroUSB cable, too.

A cable organizer that makes traveling way easier

A cable organizer that makes traveling way easier

What it is: Twelve South CaddySack, $49.99, available at AmazonWhy I love it: I travel pretty often, and until recently, I kept all of my charging accessories in a gallon-size Zip Loc bag. Twelve South’s CaddySack is a much more elegant solution. It has straps that allow me to securely keep my cables in place. I was a little skeptical about whether its zipper would stay closed if it was stuffed full, but I’ve never run into that issue.

Smart light bulbs I control with my phone

Smart light bulbs I control with my phone

What it is: Philips Hue Starter Kit, $99.99, available at AmazonWhy I love it: Philips’ Hue smart light bulbs were the first smart home accessories I bought, and they’re still my favorite. The bulbs fit into any standard sized light fixture and connect to the internet via a hub. This starter kit includes the hub — which allows you to connect up to 50 bulbs or Hue accessories — and four bulbs.Once they’re screwed in, you set them up using Hue’s app, which only takes about five minutes. After they’re set up, you can control the bulbs with your phone, or a smart home hub like the Amazon Echo.

An HD game console I can take with me anywhere

An HD game console I can take with me anywhere

Why I love it: I don’t have a lot of time to play video games anymore, but the Nintendo Switch has made it easier to game around my schedule. The Switch basically a 7-inch tablet with two controllers, called “Joy Con” attached on both sides.When you’re traveling, you can take the Switch with you just like any portable tech, but when you’re home, you can set the Switch onto an included dock, which lets you play the same games on your big-screen TV.

Its graphics can’t quite compete with the latest Xbox, but the ability to play games like “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” anywhere I want more than makes up for it.

A smart home hub that’s designed to work better with my accessories

A smart home hub that's designed to work better with my accessories

Why I love it: The Amazon Echo Plus is a must-have for any smart home lover. It doesn’t look very different than the standard Echo, but it has a ZigBee antenna inside, which lets it control smart home accessories — like the Phillips Hue bulbs I mentioned earlier — without a third-party hub.If you have a lot of accessories, not having to plug in different hubs for each of them is a big deal. As a bonus, the Echo Plus has a better speaker than the standard Echo, which you’ll notice and appreciate if you use it to listen to a lot of music.

A slim, good looking case that makes my phone stand out

A slim, good looking case that makes my phone stand out

Why I love it: I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about my iPhone case, but for the past few months, I’ve stuck with Incipio’s Carnaby. It’s made out of a polyurethane plastic that’s designed to protect my phone from damage if it’s dropped. In my experience, it’s done a great job.I’m not too accident prone, but my phone — and the case itself — look brand new, even though both of them have taken quite a few tumbles. The back of the case is lined with a thin layer of cotton, which doesn’t add any additional bulk but makes my phone more comfortable to hold.

A fast wireless charging pad that’s more convenient than a cable

A fast wireless charging pad that's more convenient than a cable

Why I love it: Modern smartphones are compatible with hundreds of different wireless charging pads, but the only one I really trust is Mophie’s. It can charge iPhones at their maximum 7.5W charging rate and Android phones at up to 10W. Using this charging pad is still slower than plugging in your phone with a cable, but the faster charging rate does make a difference.

The best noise-cancelling headphones I’ve ever tried

The best noise-cancelling headphones I've ever tried

Why I love it: I’ve tried a lot of headphones over the past couple of years, and Sony’s WH1000X3s are one of the best pairs I’ve ever tested. They have a pretty balanced sound — not too much bass or treble — and don’t distort when you listen to music at a high volume. Those features are impressive on their own, but the WH1000X3s also have world-class noise-cancelling tech.I wear them on my morning and evening commute in New York City and I can’t hear the train or my fellow passengers for my hour-long ride. Most of the time noise-cancellation colors the sound to make music sound off, but this pair of headphones doesn’t have that problem. If you travel often or want to tune out the world, these are the headphones you want.

A single battery pack that can quickly charge all of my tech

A single battery pack that can quickly charge all of my tech

Why I love it: Nimble’s battery pack offers the full package. Its design is sleek and small, it holds enough power to fully recharge my iPhone a couple of times, and it has three USB port so I can charge multiple gadgets at once. It even has a USB-C PD port, which outputs enough power to charge gadgets like the Nintendo Switch.Also, Nimble’s batteries are made out of recycled aluminum and plant-based plastics, so I actually feel good about where this accessory came from.

A smart soundbar that makes movies, TV shows, and video games sound great

A smart soundbar that makes movies, TV shows, and video games sound great

Why I love it: I don’t have a big enough apartment for a full-sized home theater system, but the Sonos Beam makes me feel like I have one. The slim soundbar offers impressive sound and a lot of volume in a package that fits in front of my TV without blocking the screen. It also has Amazon’s Alexa inside, which I use to control my smart-home accessories.The Beam supports AirPlay 2, an Apple-created audio standard that lets me wirelessly send music to it from my iPhone or Mac over Wi-Fi, which compresses it less than Bluetooth. It’s the perfect home theater for my apartment, and I love that I can add a Sonos SUB and Sonos ONE speakers to it over time to create a full 5.1 surround sound system.

An iPad that’s powerful enough to replace a “normal” computer

An iPad that's powerful enough to replace a "normal" computer

Why I love it: The iPad Pro became my primary home computer years ago, but I upgraded to the version Apple released last year, and have been blown away by how good it is. From its high-resolution “retina” display to its speedy A12X processor, the iPad Pro handles any app or task I throw at it without breaking a sweat.Most of my work involves writing — which, to be fair, isn’t very resource intensive — but I also edit podcasts, and do some high-resolution photo editing. Photo and audio editing have traditionally been “real” computer tasks, but the iPad lets me do them just as quickly as my iMac. Making the change from MacOS to iOS requires some adjustment, but if you’re in the market for a new computer, I strongly suggest giving the iPad Pro a shot.

Audiophile stereo speakers I use wirelessly and with a cable

Audiophile stereo speakers I use wirelessly and with a cable

Why I love it: I’m a stickler for audio quality from my computer speakers, and Q Acoustics delivers with the BT3s. They’re “active power” speakers, which means they have a built-in amplifier and need to be plugged into an outlet.I like the BT3s because of how great they sound for the price. I’m able to hear little nuances in the songs I listen to, and the speakers create a nice “soundstage,” which allows me to pick out where certain instruments are arranged in a stereo mix. I’m also a fan of their overall versatility. You can connect to them via Bluetooth, an optical cable, a 3.5mm audio cable, or RCA (red and white) cables.

This flexibility allows me to use the BT3s as a stereo sound system for my TV, a wireless audio system with my phone, and an analog audio system with my turntable. If you don’t have a lot of room and want a single set of speakers that can pull triple duty, I can’t recommend a pair of speakers more highly.

A monitor stand with a built-in USB hub for my accessories

A monitor stand with a built-in USB hub for my accessories

Why I love it: Satechi’s monitor stand and USB hub is one of the few tech accessories I didn’t know I needed, but now can’t live without. It elevates my iMac just enough to make it significantly easier on my neck when I’m at my computer all day, and its aluminum frame matches Apple’s aesthetic perfectly.But the stand is only half the story, it has a built-in hub which connects to your computer via a USB-C cable, and provides you with two standard USB ports, a USB-C port, a headphone jack, and an SD card slot.

All of these additional ports are on the hub’s front, which makes them more easily accessible than the ones on my computer. I can’t believe the quality of life improvement I’ve experienced by having these additional, accessible ports — it’s a game changer.

Outlets with USB ports in them so I don’t have to carry around chargers

Outlets with USB ports in them so I don't have to carry around chargers

Why I love it: If you’re anything like me, you’ve stuffed all of your outlets with various power adapters to charge your tech. Topgreener’s USB outlets offer a much better alternative: Instead of plugging in power adapters, the outlets have a pair of USB ports built into them. This lets you charge two gadgets at the same time while keeping your actual outlets free for more heavy-duty appliances.The model has about two standard USB ports, but if you’ve got newer tech, I recommend this one, which has a single standard USB port and a USB-C port for faster charging.

A car charger that’s powerful enough to charge a laptop

A car charger that's powerful enough to charge a laptop

Why I love it: I’ve been using a car charger to keep my phone’s battery from dying on the road for several years, but Anker’s is the one I’ve settled on. It has a standard USB port and a USB-C port, which means I can use it to charge my phone, Switch, or a computer.Having a second USB port open is also a great option to have in case you need to charge two of your gadgets at once or want to help out the person riding shotgun.

A small Bluetooth speaker that’s perfect for the shower

A small Bluetooth speaker that's perfect for the shower

Why I love it: I like listening to music and podcasts in the shower, and Braven’s 105 is the perfect Bluetooth speakerfor the job. It’s waterproof and has a built-in strap that you can use to attach it to the front of a bike, kayak paddle, or in my case a shower faucet. I’ve been using mine in my shower for more than two years, and it’s survived several splashes without any sign of damage.It’s a small speaker, so don’t expect a total audiophile experience, but if you want to enjoy some tunes while you’re cleaning up, Braven’s 105 is a great choice.

A Bluetooth mouse with customizable buttons

A Bluetooth mouse with customizable buttons

Why I love it: There are several wireless mice on the market, but I’m a die-hard fan of Logitech’s M557 and don’t plan on changing any time soon. The mouse is small but fits perfectly in the palm of my hand. It connects over Bluetooth, so I don’t have to worry about losing a wireless USB adapter, and it has incredibly long battery life.But, the M557’s best feature is that I can customize its right click, left click, Windows button, and scroll wheel to all perform custom actions on my computer. This might not sound like a big deal, but it’s a little time saver that makes my life a little easier every day. And don’t let the Windows button fool you, this mouse works just as well on a Mac.

A full-sized Bluetooth keyboard you can pair with four devices

A full-sized Bluetooth keyboard you can pair with four devices

Why I love it: I’m a writer, which means I have very strong opinions about keyboards. After testing it for a few weeks, Satechi’s latest Bluetooth model checks all of my boxes. It’s a little pricey, but the keyboard has an aluminum frame, number pad, and the ability to pair with four different devices.To switch between devices, you just press one of the four Bluetooth buttons (they’re on the upper-right hand part of the keyboard, and are labeled Bluetooth one, two, three, and four), and the keyboard does the unpairing and re-pairing work for you.

I regularly switch between working on an iPad and iMac, and the multiple pairing feature makes this keyboard a way better choice any anything else I’ve tried.

A power adapter that can charge five of my gadgets at once

A power adapter that can charge five of my gadgets at once

Why I love it: One of my biggest tech concerns when traveling is wondering how I’m going to keep all of my devices charged at the same time. Single-port power adapters won’t do, which is why I rely on Anker’s 5-Port Desktop Charger. It has four standard USB ports and one USB-C port, so I can charge anything from my phone to a laptop with the same adapter. Plus, it’s small enough to fit inside Twelve South’s CaddySack.

Cheap battery-powered lights that brighten my closets

Cheap battery-powered lights that brighten my closets

Why I love it: Some of my favorite gadgets are the ones that solve little, annoying problems, and Tap Light’s Push Lights are the perfect example. The battery-powered lights come with a 3M strip, which lets you stick them anywhere. Once they’re in the right spot, you push down on them to turn on the light and push down again to turn them off.I keep mine in my closets, which don’t have any lightning, and it makes a gigantic difference when I’m looking through my clothes in the morning. You can also stick them in boiler rooms, beneath a deck, or above an appliance with hard-to-read instructions to make your life a little easier.

A fast high-capacity SSD that makes moving files around a breeze

A fast high-capacity SSD that makes moving files around a breeze

Why I love it: Many people rely on the cloud to hold all of their files, but I still firmly believe that you should keep a copy of your most important files on an external drive. That way, you can still access them even if you don’t have the internet. My favorite external drive is Samsung’s T5, a portable SSD that’s several times faster at data transfers than a standard flash drive.I use the T5 to transfer large files from one computer to another, but it’s also a great backup drive if you’d like to keep a copy of your whole computer on hand in case it crashes.

A Kindle Oasis that lets me carry around a library in my backpack

A Kindle Oasis that lets me carry around a library in my backpack

Why I love it: I was way late to the Kindle party, but the Kindle Oasis is one of the best tech purchases I’ve ever made. Its 7-inch screen is one inch larger than a standard Kindle, and I think it’s the perfect size for book reading. The Oasis has a touch screen, but it also has a pair of physical page-turn buttons, which are more comfortable to press. It’s also waterproof, which at the time was a unique feature in the Kindle line.The physical buttons, waterproof design, and larger screen are why I chose the Oasis over every other Kindle, but I also appreciate its “standard” features. The biggest difference between a Kindle and a tablet or phone is its e-ink display, which is easier on the eyes and doesn’t show as much glare when you read in the sun.

I’ve also been impressed by its ability to hold hundreds of books and last several weeks without needing to be charged. The Oasis reignited my love for reading by making it a lot more convenient, and that’s made a pretty big impact on my life.

A single cable that can charge all of my gadgets

Why I love it: I carry around a lot of tech every day, and that used to mean carrying around different charging cables. Then I found Anker’s Powerline II 3-in-1 Cable, which has different tips that let me charge any device with a Lightning, Micro-USB, or USB-C port.It’s easy to swap out the tips, and I’ve noticed no reduction in charging speed when using this cable instead of a dedicated one. If you’re the type of person who carries around an external battery pack all the time, this is the cable you’ll want.

A mini retro game console that brings back good memories

A mini retro game console that brings back good memories

Why I love it: I have a soft spot for retro video games, and the Nintendo NES Classic Edition is a quick and easy way to play them. The Classic looks like a miniaturized version of the original Nintendo Entertainment System that was released in 1985, but it has a few enhancements. The biggest one is that it comes preloaded with 30 classic games, like “Super Mario Bros” and “The Legend of Zelda.”The Classic connects to my TV over HDMI, which makes the graphics look a lot crisper, and lets you pause and record your progress at any point through a feature called “safe states.” Using this system is a lot more convenient than waiting to run into an in-game save point (if it even exists!).

The Nintendo NES Classic Edition lets me relive some of the best games I played as a kid in a quick, legal, and fun way. I don’t use it all the time, but it’s always the star of the show when friends come to visit.

Fast Wi-Fi routers that are beautiful enough that you’ll want to show them off

Fast Wi-Fi routers that are beautiful enough that you'll want to show them off

Why I love it: Wi-Fi has become a modern utility in recent years, which means having a good set of routers is more important than ever. Plume’s SuperPods are hands-down the best Wi-Fi routers I’ve ever tested. The silver, hexagon-shaped routers are beautiful to look at, and plug directly into your wall, reducing cord clutter. SuperPods are “mesh” routers, which means they connect to one another to create a kind of super Wi-Fi network that covers a larger area than one router ever could.

Setting the routers up only takes a few minutes, and it’s handled inside Plume’s well-designed app. The app also shows you vital information, like how many devices are connected to your network, lets you set up guest networks, which limit a device’s access to other tech on your network, and establish per-device parental controls.

Finally, Plume’s SuperPods come with a security feature that automatically filters out popular cyber security threats like viruses and malware so it can never infect your devices. Yes, they’re expensive, but the SuperPods are one of the few gadgets that are worth even more than their high asking price.

[“source=businessinsider”]