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Must-have tech gadgets 2021: Start the year off right

Start your year right with these superb, super-useful tech gadgets that will boost your productivity, and reduce your day-to-day tech stress levels.

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This time last year, I would not have guessed that facemasks and UNC sanitizers would become stables on out kit in 2020. But here we are, almost made it to 2021, and while we don't know what that year will bring, I think it's a good idea to get technology to work for us and allow us to get more done, have more downtime, and feel less stressed.

Here is a small list of my top tech items to kick-off 2021. I have tested everything on this list under real-world conditions, and nothing has found its way on this list based on a snazzy press release. Everything featured here is the tech that I use and rely on daily.

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Zendure SuperTank Pro

Zendure SuperTank Pro

The Zendure SuperTank was previously my favorite power bank, and it traveled with me across many countries at the end of last year. This year, the SuperTank Pro takes its place.

The power bank is robust and delivers the promised power.

This is a monster power bank capable of a maximum output of 138W through the four USB-C ports.

The OLED display is clear and displays what's going on for each of the ports. Like the SuperTank, the SuperTank Pro offers a UPS/pass-through feature that allows you to charge the power bank and use the power bank to charge or power other devices, so it acts as a power distribution hub.

The power bank comes with a 1-meter USB-C-to-USB-C cable and a USB-C-to-USB-A adapter.

Everything is high quality, well-made, and oozes exceptional design and engineering.

Grab a massive 25% off the SuperTank Pro on the Zendure website with the code ZSTP25. Preorder now for shipping starting December 9.

Ulefone Armor 9

Ulefone Armor 9

As much as I like my iPhone, the Ulefone Armor 9 is fast becoming my favorite smartphone when I need to venture into the outdoors or need to carry out diagnostics using the thermal camera and borescope.

Not only is the Armor 9 fast, tough, exceptionally well-made, I keep finding more and more uses for the built-in FLIR thermal camera. The other day I used it to find a leaking sink, and high resistance in an extension cord.

Combined with the optional borescope that clamps onto the side (leaving the USB-C port free), this is like having a go-anywhere toolbox in your pocket.

This is the perfect Android smartphone for the engineer.

Tile Pro, Tile Slim, Tile Sticker

Tile Pro, Tile Slim, Tile Sticker

I've traveled thousands of times with a Tile Pro on my keys, a Tile Slim in my wallet, and some stickers in my luggage, and not only have they offered me peace of mind, I've used them a few times to find my misplaced wallet or keys.

I wish everything I owned at a Tile attached!

Yubico YubiKey

Yubico YubiKey

The days of using SMS for 2FA are coming to an end, and about time too.

There are a lot of YubiKey hardware authentication keys out there, but the two I use the most are the USB-C/Lightning version, and the USB-C/NFC version. I've added both to all my online accounts that support hardware 2FA, and they're both performed flawlessly.

Yubico YubiKeys are compatible with a huge list of services and apps -- from password managers such as LastPass and 1Password, to services such as Twitter, Login.gov, GitHub, Bitbucket, CloudFlare, AWS, Dropbox, and more

Don't have one? Get one!

iStorage datAshur BT

iStorage datAshur BT

An encrypted flash drive that you unlock using your smartphone. It's a great way to secure data when on the move, and I'm finding myself using mine more and more for those times when cloud storage isn't convenient or practical.

Everything on the drive is protected by a 7-15-character password or a biometric unlock such as Face ID/Facial recognition, Touch ID/Fingerprint or IRIS scanning from a smartphone or tablet. The comms between the device and drive is handled by a secure Bluetooth authentication communication using any smartphone/tablet (iOS/Android) or Apple Watch. The Bluetooth channel is secured by a FIPS validated encryption layer and is only used for connection purposes.

The drive itself is completely host independent, so it will work with Windows, Mac, Linux, Chrome and so on, VDIs such as Citrix and VMWare, and also with embedded systems such as medical devices, TVs, drones, printers, scanners, or pretty much anything with a USB port.

Meshforce M3s Mesh Wi-Fi router kit

Meshforce M3s Mesh Wi-Fi Router Kit

It looks like the working from home thing might be around for a while, so if you are relying on your old router to deliver Wi-Fi, then you really need to upgrade your network setup.

The Meshforce M3s Mesh Wi-Fi router kit is everything you need to bring your home Wi-Fi setup into the 21 century!

  • Simultaneous Dual-band WiFi (5GHz: 802.11ac up to 867Mbps, and 2.4GHz: 802.11n/g/b up to 300Mbps)
  • Support for up to 60 devices
  • Easy to set-up from a smartphone or tablet (iOS, iPadOS, and Android)
  • Huge 6,000 sq ft coverage with seamless roaming between satellites
  • Support for internet speeds up to 1000Mbps
  • All ports support Gigabit Ethernet 
  • Guest Wi-Fi and Parental Control