Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
These days, you no longer have to be tethered to just one desk for work. The rise of portable computers and remote jobs has made it possible for us to set up workstations wherever we are. However, that doesn’t mean we always have the right tools for the job.
There is hope. Accessory makers have come up with seemingly simple, yet innovative, products to eliminate a few of those hurdles. We’ve rounded up seven of the best gadgets you need while working on the go.
1. Portable Monitors
One of the difficulties with mobile working is the absence of a larger screen. That’s especially true if you use lightweight Chromebooks and iPads at the expense of a larger display. If you aren’t in the market for an upgrade, the easiest solution is to get a secondary screen.
You can think of them primarily as monitors, but they’re powered by a USB connection so that you can plug them straight into your laptop. Plus, they’re also typically thinner and lighter so that you can carry them in your backpack.
The Asus ZenScreen is a 15.6-inch portable monitor powered by USB-C. It weighs just 1.7 pounds and is only 0.3 inches thick. We would also recommend the GeChic On-Lap 1305H. During our review of the On-Lap 1305H, we found it offered the best quality image for its class.
2. Multi-Device Keyboards
If your workflow mostly involves editing documents and replying to emails, you can probably get away with working on a tablet or smartphone. But no one wants to be writing long documents by endlessly tapping away on a small screen. Instead, a multi-device physical keyboard may be the key to unlocking your remote working productivity.
Multi-Device keyboards let you switch between a handful of your gadgets with just a click of a button. Imagine you’re typing on your tablet and a message comes in on your phone. To respond, you can just press a button on the keyboard, and begin typing on your phone instead.
One of the best value, and most reliable, options is the Logitech K380. The K380 is a compact, Bluetooth keyboard that can support up to three connected devices. The Logitech K480 also supports up to three connected devices but also includes a built-in cradle to hold your phone or tablet.
3. Noise-Canceling Headphones
Background noise is the Achilles’ heel of many a remote worker. While you can spend time hunting for quieter places, there is another way to shut out your surroundings—noise-canceling headphones.
Noise canceling headphones are one of the most important gadgets you should have in your arsenal. Some models are even equipped with the ability to fine-tune the cancelation levels. This allows you to still keep an ear on what’s going on around you, whether at home or out in public.
The Bose QuietComfort 35 Series II wireless headphones are consistently ranked as some of the best noise canceling headphones around. Their superior sound quality, integration with Google Assistant, and long battery life meant we rated them as almost flawless in our Bose QuietComfort 35 II review.
4. High Capacity Power Banks
Once you’re set up working remotely, one of the biggest productivity killers is a flat battery. Not every place you stop to work will have a power supply, so even if you charge your gadgets before you head out, you may still find yourself out of power. You could invest in a regular power bank, but even then you aren’t guaranteed to get a full day’s power.
A high capacity power bank will help ensure your laptop, smartphone, and any other gadgets stay topped up when you need them.
Many devices now have a USB-C port for charging, so the Anker PowerCore+ 20100 would be a great choice. It supports USB-C and micro-USB devices, and can fully charge a MacBook, iPhone, and iPad Air 2 on a single charge. The RAVPower 20100mAh Portable Charger is another alternative small enough for traveling and it comes with a case too. You can read more about the device in our RAVPower 20100mAh review.
5. Foldable Laptop Stands
While working on-the-go, you aren’t always in control of your workspace’s ergonomics. Staring down at a flat laptop can create a strain on your body, and cause long-term health issues. A foldable laptop stand may be able to help here.
These little accessories allow you to type at a much less awkward tilt and can be folded to a form that fits in your backpack. The Soundance Laptop Stand can fit any laptop from 10 inches up to 15.6 inches. It’s adjustable by height and angle and comes with rubber feet to prevent slipping.
6. Portable Mobile Hotspots
While many coffee shops and hotels offer Wi-Fi, you can’t always guarantee a reliable connection. While you can use your phone’s hotspot feature, it can quickly eat away at your device’s battery and run through your data allowance.
The solution may be a portable mobile hotspot. These internet-connected devices are designed for mobile internet access. This may seem like a costly solution, but you can buy long-term packages to reduce your subscription costs. The Verizon Jetpack 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot has up to 24 hours battery life, doubles as a portable charger, and can be used internationally.
7. Extension Cords
Power outlets are often in short supply in public places and coffee shops. This means you’ll be unlikely to hold onto one for more than a couple of hours. Even then, you probably won’t have access to more than one, making it difficult to top up multiple devices.
An extension cord could be invaluable in your quest to stay powered up. It helps you charge multiple devices and, if you’re feeling generous, you could even share spare outlets with others. The AmazonBasics Six Outlet Extension Cord is great value for money offering surge protection and comes as a two pack.
Supercharge Your Mobile Productivity
Depending on your situation, you may not need to purchase every accessory we mentioned. However, picking up at least a few will do the trick for unbridled productivity on-the-go.
Once you’ve loaded your backpack with all the essentials, it’s time for you to become a more informed remote worker. To do that, you need to check out these sites for remote workers and digital nomads.