Fewer HDMI ports than you’d like? Too few USB ports on your laptop? Want to share music with your friends but 1 audio out isn't enough? These are the gadgets that can help you change all that!
Ever found yourself wishing your gadgets could give you that much more? A little more storage, one more port, the ability to hook your cable in a manner that it sticks to your machine? I am sure you have, because I have found myself in this situation more often than I’d like. After careful research and a whole lot of banging my head against the wall, I have found a few essential gadgets that I’m pretty sure will help you solve some of your tech problems.
If you are rocking a TV that you purchased two or three years ago then the one major problem that you will face is with the number of connectivity options. Today, top of the line TV’s come with 4 HDMI ports and that is less for some people. Let me list the gadgets that are connected to my simple monitor which has one HDMI input and one DVI input. I have a PS4, Xbox One, Tata sky HD, Apple TV and a Chromecast 2. Before you say show-off, think of how I have connected these to one monitor. What I have is the Kinivo 501BN 5 port HDMI switcher that you can pick up online for Rs. 2,100. This little device has one HDMI out that is connected to my monitor (or you can connect it to your TV) and 5 HDMI inputs. The best part is that it switches the output based on which device is on, and if you have multiple devices on at once, you can switch between them with a button on the console or use the provided remote. Pretty cool right?
There are a number of HDMI switchers available in the market that you can pick up and all of them offer various number of inputs.
There are so many times when you are listening to a song and want a friend with you to listen to the song too, but don’t want to share the headphones or want to put it on the loudspeaker. I know, I’ve been in these situations. In this case, the best solution has to be a headphone splitter. Headphone splitters start at a few hundred Rupees for a 2-port headphones splitter, and for less than Rs. 3,000 you can get a 5-port headphones splitter. So, next time you want to huddle around with your friends to watch something on your smartphone you know exactly how to ensure that everyone gets a piece of the audio pie.
Remember those bookshelf speakers that you have? The ones that don’t have Bluetooth, or NFC and were built in the 90’s. The only reason you have them around is because no one makes speakers like they used to and those bad boys sound really good. Well, if the speaker or the amp that they are connected to houses a 3.5 input or RCA input then you are in luck! You have gadgets like the Logitech Bluetooth adapter, which can connect to the speaker via the audio input, and your smartphone via Bluetooth and what you have is a pair of kickass Bluetooth speakers.
If you have access to the recently launched Google Chromecast Audio, then you can stream music to the speakers over local Wi-Fi to the speaker.
There are a number of such accessories in the market from various manufacturers and you can get them for a few hundred rupees all the way up to a few thousands for the high-end variants.
USB 3.0 Hub
If you are using a MacBook Air or any ultraportable laptop, the one thing you are compromising on, is the number of USB ports at your disposal. To solve this problem, there are a number of USB hubs at your disposal. A 4 port USB 3.0 hub should cost you about Rs. 1,000. There are USB hubs available that require external power and there are those that draw power from the device they are connected to. You may want to look into that before investing.
If you have an old laptop or desktop and don’t mind connecting to USB 2.0, then those options are available at a cheaper price point too.
If you have the MacBook with a USB-C port, then this is the one for you. There are a bunch of adapters available in the market that connect to the USB-C port and offer you USB 3.0 connectivity along with a USB-C port as well. These USB-C adapters start at about Rs. 1,000 and go up to a few thousand Rupees based on the brand and connectivity options on offer.
One of the most annoying problems is the number of cables that clutter your desk. If you have a PC, a bunch of external hard drives and some accessories connected in the middle, then you know the mess of wires that rests under or behind the table. There are a bunch of cable management kits available that let you group wires together and comfortably hold them in a groove. This is really helpful when you have a number of gadgets connected together and need to access one particular wire!
There are also multipurpose cable holder clips available in the market. These are great if you have a charger coming from behind your desk and you don’t want the cable to slip back there once you disconnect the device. These clips are great for clipping charger wires, USB cables and any other wire that you are afraid will fall behind the desk.
Cable covers also help you mange your cable clutter with ease. Just route all your cables through one or two cable covers and you not only have a neat setup but a colourful one as well.
Hard drive enclosure
Remember the time you removed that old 500GB HDD from your PC when you upgraded it? Still have it lying around? Well if you do then you are in luck! There are 3.5-inch internal hard drive enclosures available in the market that let you enclose the hard drive and use it as an external hard drive. These enclosures usually require external power so even though your HDD is portable it isn’t truly portable. These HDD enclosures start at a few hundred rupees for a USB 2.0 connection options and go all the way up to few thousand Rupees based on the features on offer.
There you have it! A list of 7 gadgets that just made you the centre of attention! Do you agree with the list? Do you disagree? Is there anything else we could have added to this list? Let us know in the comment section below!
Sameer Mitha lives for gaming and technology is his muse. When he isn’t busy playing with gadgets or video games he delves into the world of fantasy novels.
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