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Great Gadgets


This page is to show some of my favourite bits and pieces purchased (fairly) recently or right at the top of my wish list. The only criteria for an item to be included on this page is that it must have proved to be useful and have been easy to install. If it is hard to get working and doesn't do much worth having when it eventually does work then it will not find its way here. These are just some of the great gadgets I have bought or will be buying and not all of them are necessarily PC or software related.


XMI X-mini II Mini Speaker

These little speakers are amazing. Great with a laptop, iPhone, iPod or anything with an earphone socket. Buy two and a stereo cable splitter and you will get stereo. They only weigh about 80 odd grams each so you can take them on holiday too. Recharge from any USB port with the cable supplied. You can even daisy chain a whole string of them. Great fun!


Toshiba Satellite C660-1D7 15.6" Notebook

Intel Core i3-380M Processor, 4GB RAM, 640GB HDD, Windows 7 Home Premium

I actually bought mine at Tesco but will soon be buying a second model for training purposes. I have been really pleased with this model - it is fairly light (foreign travel?) and has a pretty good battery life. Huge disk capacity and faster than anything else I own.


Kensington Dual Monitor Adaptor

How to run two monitors on one computer.

This device is perfect when you have already bought a better monitor - perhaps one of those snazzy wide screen ones - and your old monitor is gathering dust. Connect the Kensington via a spare USB socket and connect your old monitor to the Kensington and you can experience the absolute convenience of working with two monitors.

Run Word on one screen and drag Excel onto the other and you can view them both at the same time. It makes Cut & Paste so much easier. Or perhaps you want your e mails visible all the time as you work on a report on your main screen.

Easy to fit and easy to use. 


Kensington Si600 Wireless Presenter with Laser Pointer

The USB dongle tucks away in the body of the device when not in use and this turns off the battery. Seems to work with just about every Laptop I've tried it in. Easy to use with a "Black Screen" button, next slide and previous slide, and a really good laser pointer. At this price it really is affordable - do not present without one.


86" Tripod Projector Screen

A huge screen for very little money. Not to be confused with "lightweight" but a solid and robust product nonetheless.


Ion IPA03 Block Rocker Portable PA System

A fully portable PA System for a public speaker (includes mike) or to add better sound to a laptop for video presentations etc. Plays and recharges an iPod and is powered by its own internal rechargeable battery. Comes with wheels and a pull handle for ease of handling.


Akasa Laptop Cooler

Not only provides a good working angle but keeps the laptop temperature down too. My Compaq Presario A900 overheats badly and cuts out so the fans in this device supplement the internal fan of the Presario. It takes power from the laptop's USB socket but gives you more USB sockets as part of the base. You get an extra four in the 17" model.


Belkin 7 Port USB Hub

My computer came with 4 USB ports on the back, where I couldn't easily reach them, and two on the front where my left knee catches the cables.

My 7 port hub sits under the monitor where I can get at it. For the price I should have bought one ages ago.

I connected the hub to one of the rear ports and an external hard drive to another one so I still have two spare. Everything else goes through the Belkin.

It was amazingly easy to set up.


Dymo Letra Tag LT-100H

The model I actually own is older than the LT - !00 and is not even listed but it is still working and uses the same tapes as this version.

It is great for file labels, putting your own mobile number on the back of your phone and any number of other applications including sticking a label on a CD or on a CD case.

I now have labelled every single mains charger unit I own so I can always find the right one without going through the whole collection. I would truly be lost without it. I also label smaller devices with the replacement battery they need so I can get a replacement and always get the right one every time. I label all the mains plugs in the spaghetti junction behind my TV and behind my PC too. Great for fault finding.


PowerMonkey Explorer

This device is wonderful. I can keep my iPod charged, my mobile phone charged and even my TomTom satnav charged. It is particularly useful with the TomTom because it makes exploring a city on foot possible. It will power, but not charge, most digital cameras too although it seems that the Fuji 6800z will accept a charge from it. It's all to do with whether the camera "sees" it as a charger or as a spare battery apparently.

It comes with a comprehensive collection of "ends" to connect to most devices and can be recharged from the mains (comes with four mains adaptors), from a powered USB port or even from free sunshine since the Explorer comes with a neat little solar panel. 

Mine came as a Christmas present but it has seen a lot of use - particularly on Turkish Gulet (boat) holidays where mains electricity is seldom available.


Power Gorilla

Think about the cost of a spare battery for your laptop - add the cost of an adaptor to power your laptop in the car and then think about the Power Gorilla instead. This remarkable device will not only keep your computer running for another couple of hours (without dimming the screen) but also offers a range of voltages and a USB socket too. Charge your phone, iPod or whatever is in need of some juice on the move.

Comes complete with international mains charger, loads of connectors and a carry case


Solar Gorilla

The ideal companion to the Power Gorilla this solar panel will keep the juice flowing from free sunshine to keep your laptop charged directly or via the Power Gorilla. Comes complete with extension lead, loads of connectors and a handy travel case. 

Power available from a plug in lead and from a 5v USB socket


TomTom 720 and 740

What can I say about this absolutely marvellous bit of kit? Mine is actually the earlier 720 model which has now been replaced by the 740 but the two are substantially the same. 

It's an MP3 player, it can also transmit to the car radio or to a home hifi; it's a comprehensive hands-free for your mobile phone and can also hold hundreds of your photos too. Your iPod can play through it (and be controlled by it) so the fact that it can guide you from A to B as well is almost a bonus. I bought a map of Turkey for mine (for less than thirty quid) and used it on a two day venture when we hired a car out there recently - it certainly made that journey much, much easier to undertake.

Suffice it to say I would be lost without it.


Spare iPhone or iPod Battery

I keep this in my briefcase for anytime my iPhone runs low. Works with the iPod range too and gives really good results. Indicator lights tell you how much you have left. Don't leave home without it. Comes with a bag of connectors to hook up to most phones too. Charges from any spare USB


Uniross USB Charger for AA or AAA Batteries

A useful lightweight device for the occasional battery charge required on holiday. Spare batteries is no longer an option with 20Kg luggage allowances. Not quick but very handy.


Rentokil Live Capture Mouse Trap

This works really well. The score so far is Humans 4    Mouses 0 in as many days. Easy to use and very effective. My only concern is that I may have caught the same little critter four times. Same beady eyes and wrinkly nose.



Send mail to ianbrearley@qssouthern.co.uk with questions or comments about this web site.
Last modified: June 28, 2011