Ridiculously useful tech gadgets you probably didn't know existed

Useful tech gadgets for every geek.
Written by Eileen Brown, Contributor
(Image: Suguru)

There are some items, that, when you see them, you wonder how you ever managed without them.

Also: See Black Friday coverage at CNET

Whether the cheapest $7 light or a beast of a power pack, these items are incredibly useful for me in my tech world. What are the gadgets that you just can not do without?

Useful gadgets to try

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Incredibly useful gadgets you may not have thought of zdnet

Speednite bike lighting system for $129 (early bird)

This is a must for serious cyclists who ride in the dark. The Speednite bike light comes with a helmet sensor that attaches to a Velcro pad on the helmet and connects by Bluetooth to your bike light.

When you move your head to scan the road ahead, the bike light sweeps up and down, and side to side to follow your gaze. The bike light is 800 lumens, which gives a really good view of the road ahead. There is also a rear light fitting that flashes rapidly if you brake. Sensors on the main unit detect when your head moves to the left or right and shines a flashing red laser line onto the road to show your intended direction of movement. 

The main unit lets you change from a full beam, half beam, quick flash, slow flash and off. Speed, cadence, and heart rate are displayed on the main unit on your handlebars. The device will connect to most heart rate monitors.

The app is well written and easy to use showing history, current ride information and set wheel information for your bike. Integration with Google Maps shows your route. You can configure SOS which will alert a pre-set emergency SOS contact for help if you have an accident.

Bluetooth connection to each remote unit is fast and easy to use and the side indicator lights are really useful. My only challenge was to cancel the side indicator without invoking the other side indicator. This is a superb gadget for every bike rider who takes trips in the dark.

Incredibly useful gadgets you may not have thought of zdnet

Peltor digital AM / FM Headphones for $80

If you work in an area where you need to wear headphones for noise protection, why don't you try these radio headphones from 3M? They have a built-in radio receiver, which receives AM and FM signals and will also reduce noise by 26 decibels.

Incredibly useful gadgets you may not have thought of

Jackery portable power station for $250

The Jackery portable power station gives you peace of mind in a power cut. It has a huge 16.8Ah lithium-ion battery that will charge all of your tech equipment, and it will also power your 110V 200W appliances.

It will recharge your laptop over three times, drones for up to four recharges and your iPhone up to 25 times. Being without power for an extended period is no longer a major issue. An LCD display shows you the input and output wattage as well as a batter percentage display.

Usefully, there is a range of charging options. You can charge it from your car port, from a generator or a mains AC outlet, which will take about seven hours. Or you can buy an optional 60W Jackery solar charger to recharge the device in full sunshine, meaning you can go completely off-grid.

A safety cut off feature means that if you try to power devices that use more than 200W -- such as a hairdryer -- then the device will shut off the power automatically.

This is a great backup for anyone who lives in an area with frequent power cuts and who still needs to be connected during a power outage. Buy one and leave it fully charged for those just-in-case moments.

Incredibly useful gadgets you may not have thought of zdnet

Sugru Moldable glue for $16

Have you ever needed to tweak something to make it just perfect? Well, now you can create the shape you want in Sugru silicone moldable glue. Attach it to the item you want and let it dry for 24 hours, and you'll have the perfect modification.

Sugru is waterproof, durable, and will bond to most items. Fix that broken watch strap, make a flexible bonded cable tie, repair those cables, or make sure your TF card does not fall out of its slot. Its uses are endless, limited by your imagination.

Incredibly useful gadgets you may not have thought of zdnet

Delehero Lavalier lapel microphone for $9

If you like to record audio on your phone but find that hands-free sound is not good enough, try the Lavalier lapel microphone. You can record interviews, conversations, or videos directly with this lapel microphone on both Android or iPhone devices.

The quality is better than using the phone's audio on its own. It will record clear sound for conversations or ambient noise in the near vicinity. If you use this outside, it is best to add the muffler to the microphone to minimize wind noise and improve the quality of the sound you want to capture.

The microphone also has a 4-pin to 3-pin adaptor so it will also work on your PC, camera, or audio recorder.

Incredibly useful gadgets you may not have thought of zdnet

Sabrent 4-port USB 3 hub for $24

If you are out and about and need to transfer data from one device, often there is only one USB port available -- and you invariably need to access more than one device. 

This 4-port USB 3.0 hub from Sabrent is ultra-fast, will support transfer speeds up to 5GBps, and extends the ports on your laptop. You can switch each port on and off individually. This hub will not charge your devices, unfortunately.

Incredibly useful gadgets you may not have thought of zdnet

Telescoping torch and magnet for $12

If you drop something and need a torch to locate it -- there is a good chance that you will also not be able to reach the dropped item. This extendable LED flashlight from Vibelite has a magnet at the end of the LED flashlight.

This enables you to pick up metal objects that you have dropped. Usefully, the torch extends to over 22 inches to get into those hard to reach places and retrieve your item. A must for anyone who builds, or repairs their own tech kit.

Incredibly useful gadgets you may not have thought of zdnet
Savage Magnets

Underwater magnet for $40

If you have ever lost a metal item in a pond or creek, you would have appreciated having one of these fishing magnets from Savage Magnets to hand. They will retrieve your phone from that drain or will pull up to 1000lb pull force from the water from a magnet weighing only 2.65 pounds. 

So, do not worry if your laptop sinks beneath the water, you will be able to retrieve it with this magnet. Your problems will only start if you try to use it again. This will not retrieve your gold wedding ring -- so you need to think of another way to find it.

Incredibly useful gadgets you may not have thought of zdnet

Cable management sleeve for $13

Tidy up your cables with this cable management sleeve. It is made from neoprene and will stretch to accommodate up to 10 cables in one sleeve.

If you are an organization freak, then you probably already have these sleeves all over your house, but for those of us who keep adding more kit -- and cables -- to our tech environment, these handy little sleeves are just what we need.

Incredibly useful gadgets you may not have thought of zdnet
Tech Candy

Laptop bag light for $7

Why are the insides of most laptop bags so dark? Why are most cables black? It makes finding cables and accessories in your laptop bag a real pain. 

This simple, cheap, and very useful light can clip onto the handle of your bag so that you can find items at the darkest recesses of your bag interior.

Squeeze the sides of the light to get a steady beam, or double click it for flashing light. It's also useful to attach to your dog's collar when they are out at night in the garden.

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