I make no secret of the fact that I enjoy gadgets and their accessories and a walk round the technology department of any store will result in me extending my wish-list for many birthdays to come. But how can you tell the difference between something you want and something you really need to make your life easier.
Actually one of the most important things to invest in is protection for your precious gadget. The first thing I always buy when I get a new phone is a decent case. It's hard to find a compromise between one that suits my aesthetic which also offers some real protection for my phone. Currently my iPhone is encased in a pretty but protective Ted Baker case which I adore.
Many people including me think it's useful to protect the front of your phone as well. I've used tempered glass stick ons up until recently but have now had both the front of my phone and my Apple watch coated in a clever gel which absorbs knocks and self-heals if scratched. Since the tempered glass screen protectors often get scratched or cracked or chipped this has proved a much smarter solution.
Insurance is another non-tech way to protect your gadgets. Check your home contents policy to see if you are covered for theft or accidents. If not see if you can add them or purchase stand-alone policies which often cover you if the gadget is stolen, lost or damaged away from the home or even when on vacation.
If like me you feel nervous about propping up your iPad to watch a movie or chat to friends on video calls it's definitely worth investing in a good stand. Some cases do incorporate a little stand but I've never found the angle is just right for my purposes.
Check out this docking station for iPad pro which not only keeps you precious tablet safe and at a convenient angle for all sorts of purposes but has an amazing array of ports including a card reader, usb 3.0 and USB-C and an audio port. Suitable for a range of devices as well as the iPad pro (although check the small print for full compatibility information.)
Talking about ports I'm sure I'm not the only one to have been caught out needing to load information from an SD card or USB device onto one of my gadgets which only has a USB-C (or Thunderbolt 3) port.
I remember being shocked when I first tried to input information from a USB sent by a client for work only to remember that my lovely new MacBook air does not have a usb port!
And anyone who loves photography also loves the ease of slotting in an SD card to upload images to their favourite photograph storage program.
Only yesterday I had to get my son to drive over with his non-Mac laptop to use his built in SD card reader for my car's GPS maps. Stupid when decent sd to usb adaptors cost very little and can make your device much more versatile.
Has anyone else suffered neck, eye and back strain after using their laptop? Or gets worried when the fan goes into overdrive and your legs get warm? I've found this a real issue especially when trying to work in warmer weather. I am forever telling my children not to work or play on their laptops while lounging in bed as the duvet sometimes can cause them to get hot really quickly and I worry about the fire hazard.
If you have the same issues you probably need this aluminium laptop stand which will help keep your laptop cool and avoid overheating and potentially damaging it. It will also hold your laptop securely with non-slip pads at the right angle to protect your neck and back and help protect against eye strain by raising the laptop at an angle.
The other vital thing to purchase if you ever plan to take your tech out of the house is a decent travel bag or case. Even my Kindle has it's own padded bag I bought from a local crafter.
I used to own a traditional style laptop case - like a soft briefcase with pockets for the charger and other accessories.
In many ways it was very useful, especially when travelling overseas as mine was big enough to get my laptop, tablet and E-reader in.
However as I work in the city a lot I felt very conspicuous carrying what was obviously a bag full of valuable tech products. I worried it would be snatched out of my hand or worse, I would be threatened to hand it over.
Now I use a backpack with a padded pocket for my laptop which looks less obvious and sits securely and comfortably on my shoulders.
Mine is from a collection by Cath Kidston but as more children and adults work from laptops or chrome-books in school and work now, more and more manufacturers are designing cute and fashionable rucksacks and backpacks and other bags with special compartments to carry gadgets.
Some even have a pocket to stash a music storage device with a hole to feed headphone wires through for those who prefer wired headphones to bluetooth technology.
We spend a lot of money on our precious technology so it's worth investing a little more to make it safer and easier to use.