Second-Round Santa

February 1, 2012

Accessories For Your Holiday Gadgets

By Tom Kelley

Santa has come and gone, and assuming you were on his “nice” list, you probably received at least one of two tech gifts over the holidays. The tech gizmos are great, but they almost always need a few accessories for truly convenient use. Here are a few items to help you better enjoy your holiday cheer:

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Grifin PowerDuo Universal –

Since most of your tech gadgets will need to be recharged sooner or later, it’s great to have charging capability anywhere you go. Instead of carrying a plethora of charging gear everywhere, leave the factory supplied charges at home, and get AC and 12V chargers that can power multiple devices.

Griffin’s PowerBlock AC charger features two USB charging ports, allowing users to charge two phones, audio players, or other USB devices from a single AC outlet. The PowerBlock’s flat non-polarized prongs are designed to work easily with most international plug adapters, and a built-in LED shows that the PowerBlock is ready to charge.

In the truck or car, users can plug their device’s USB cable into Griffin’s PowerJolt and charge from almost any vehicle cigarette lighter or 12V accessory socket. The PowerJolt features include a charge status LED and replaceable auto fuse to protect the device’s circuitry.

The PowerDuo Universal package combines the PowerBlock Dual AC adapter and the PowerJolt 12V charger, to provide power for any device that gets its juice through a USB port, almost anyplace.


Ecosol Powerstick –

Similar to the idea of carrying a few extra gallons of fuel when you’ll be away from a fuel station, it’s also a good idea to have a bit of extra power for your tech gadgets when you’ll be away from power outlets. There are many reserve battery offerings on the market, but the Powerstick from Ecosol is one of the most portable, taking up little more space than a typical flash drive.

Oh, by the way, in addition to providing spare battery capacity, the Powerstick also packs 2-8 GB of flash memory into its svelte packaging.

The Powerstick is charged by plugging it into any powered USB port, or a USB charging adapter. A “fuel gauge” allows the user to monitor the charging progress. Once charged, the Powerstick can recharge or operate virtually any small tech gadget, thanks to a set of six adapter cables included with the device.

To conserve energy, once the Powerstick is fully charged, it ceases to consume energy from the USB port, and an automatic sleep mode feature saves energy when powered devices are not in use.

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Bear Extender n3 –

Originally developed to boost the Wi-Fi range on Apple Mac laptops, the BearExtender n3 is now available for most Windows-based laptops as well.

The BearExtender n3 contains a high power Wi-Fi radio, with a maximum of 700mW output power, 4-10 times more powerful than most built-in Wi-Fi cards. Combined with an external 2 dBi gain antenna, BearExtender n3 offers substantially increased range compared to most wireless cards.

This means you can access more Wi-Fi networks, and download at higher speeds.

Because the BearExtender n3 is a standalone Wi-Fi adapter, it can be used with many laptops and desktops that don’t have internal Wi-Fi capability, or those with inoperable Wi-Fi cards. An internal Wi-Fi card is not required to use the BearExtender because the unit contains both a Wi-Fi transmitter and receiver.

While the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices lack the necessary USB port to connect directly to the BearExtender, it is possible to use the BearExtender in conjunction with a nearby Mac to re-broadcast a Wi-Fi signal for iOS devices.

An included “LCD Clip” clip allows the BearExtender n3 to a laptop screen or case. When not in use, the LCD clip can be easily removed from the back of BearExtender n3. An optional 5 dBi omni-directional antenna upgrade will help increase range and download speeds.