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Tools of the Trade: January 2017

By Michael Castelluccio
January 1, 2017
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1. SATECHI SMART CHARGING STAND

 

If the holiday season brought you new hardware, now would be a good time to think about some necessary peripherals, starting with how you keep everything charged and backed up. The Satechi Smart Charging Stand lets you charge up to four USB-powered devices at once. The compact cube has three USB ports on the front and an additional port on top. Three adapters come with the cube to allow connection to an Apple Watch, a FitBit Blaze, or one additional smartphone in the top tray of the cube. The top of the tray lifts off, and the space below can be used to store USB adapters or card readers. An Apple Watch switches to nightstand mode when placed on top. The USB ports are smart and will recognize and adjust the charge for fast recharging. The stand is available in silver, gold, and space gray. www.satechi.net

 

2. SEAGATE 5TB PORTABLE HARD DRIVE

 

With new devices comes the need to maintain backups, and that becomes more challenging if you want to keep everything in one place. Recently, Seagate introduced what it calls the largest-capacity mobile drive, the 5TB Backup Plus external drive. Despite the unmatched capacity, the drive is pocketable at 4.5″ × 3″ × 0.8″, and it weighs only 8.7 oz. The Seagate dashboard software offers a set of tools for local, mobile, cloud, and social media backup. You can run a one-click backup or schedule an automated routine. The drive offers high-speed USB 3.0 connectivity and is backward compatible to USB 2.0. The connection to your PC is plug-and-play and requires no external power supply. If you install the NTFS driver for Mac, you can switch between Windows and Mac computers without reformatting. The durable aluminum cover is available in four colors: blue, red, silver, and black. www.seagate.com

 

3. LOGITECH CREATE IPAD PRO

 

If you see your iPad Pro 9.7 as a serious replacement for your laptop, no accessory is more important than a good keyboard. Apple offers a keyboard/cover combination, but Logitech has a far better one selling for less. As a protective cover, the Logitech Create is solid, wrapped around the corners, and covered on the outside with a technical fabric that’s actually washable. The interior is a light polycarbonate frame that the tablet easily snaps in and out of. The keyboard is quiet and backlit. There are several levels of brightness, and there’s a top row of iOS shortcut keys that are missing on the Apple version. The connection isn’t Bluetooth but rather an Apple Smart Connector that gets its power from the tablet so there’s no need to charge the keyboard. A sleeve holds your Apple Pencil inside and away from the keyboard until you need it, and the cover folds into a “writing desk” angle for note taking and drawing. www.logitech.com

 

4. FITBIT FLEX 2 FITNESS WRISTBAND

 

The Fitbit Flex 2 features a removable tracker in the slimmest band yet for this tracker, and you aren’t stuck with just one color or style of band. The band is swimproof, but you can insert the tracker in a wrist bangle or pendant if you prefer. The band uses an LED display that shows your progress, with more detail and summaries available on the Fitbit app. Memory will save seven days of motion activity and daily totals for the past 30 days. It will even track your sleep patterns. Battery charge will last up to five days, and the Flex will provide call and text notifications and remind you to move as well. www.fitbit.com

 

 

Michael Castelluccio has been the Technology Editor for Strategic Finance for 21 years. His SF TECHNOTES blog is in its 19th year. You can contact Mike at mcastelluccio@imanet.org.


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