Tech That Helps You... Buy Less Tech!
You don't need more gadgets. You just need practical tech that can pull double duty—helping you stay focused and charged all day.
1. A better way to Zoom in.
Have you ever Zoomed into an in-person meeting? It's awful — you feel distant, and can't see anyone up close. The Owl Labs Meeting Owl 3 [$1,049; owllabs.com] fixes that, with hybrid tech for a hybrid world. The soda bottle-sized Owl houses a 360-degree camera, a touch screen, eight microphones, and three speakers for clear two-way communication. Once it's set up in the middle of a conference room table, virtual attendees can see everyone up close, in a Zoom-like box that autofocuses on the speaker. It works with all the big video platforms, like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Slack, and more.
2. A sly screen time upgrade.
Admit it: When you're stuck on yet another video call that should have been an email, you wish you could slyly catch up on an episode of Yellowstone. Now you can: The Samsung 32-inch M8 UHD/4K Smart Monitor with Streaming TV and SlimFit Camera [$700; samsung.com] is a smart TV that doubles as an external monitor. The 32-inch screen connects to your computer with one USB-C and comes ready to stream any platform, in 4K, right out of the box. A slim, removable camera plugs into the back with autofocus that centers you in the frame.
3. A charge that clings.
What do you do when your phone's battery drains, but you can't wait for a charge? Most on-the-go chargers are clunky, but the Anker 633 Magnetic Battery [$80; us.anker.com] uses a magnet to cling to the device's backside, wirelessly charging your smartphone on the go. The 10,000mAh battery is punchy enough to revive a phone nearly twice, and with a flip-out leg, it acts as a kickstand for video calls. It works with iPhone 12s and newer, but older models can connect through the USB-C port..
4. Furniture that freshens.
If you're holed up in your home office, it's time to upgrade your air. The Ikea Starkvind [$259; ikea.com] is a side table that adds style points to a room, and also has an air purifier tucked under the plywood top. It's only 22 by 21 inches, which makes it perfect to host a printer or a stack of magazines, and it's ideal for cleaning the air in a room of about 15 by 15 feet. A dial in the front controls the fan speed — or just select auto and it adjusts itself based on how dirty the air in the room is. An app offers wireless control, plus info on how clean your air is and when to replace the filter.
5. Safer digital storage.
Multidigit passcodes protect your smartphone, and now they do the same for portable hard drives. The IronKey Vault Privacy 80 External SSD [From $290; shop.kingston.com] relies on a passcode — from six to 64 characters long — entered on its touch screen to access digital files, so you can rest easier leaving it out in the open. It allows for two separate PINs, so the drive can be shared. Connect through a USB-C, and if an unauthorized person tries to access it, the drive erases its contents in as little as 10 attempts.
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