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Six clicks: Gadgets to let you do more with your tablet/smartphone

Mobile devices are great, but let's face it, they're a compromise. But with just a few well-thought-out accessories, you can boost productivity and get the most out of your mobile gear.

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Topic: Mobility
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1 of 7 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Introduction

As we move from an era where the desktop and notebook PC ruled to one where smartphones and tablets are dominant, we have to get used to working more and more on devices that have smaller screens plus limited storage and battery life. But with a few well-thought-out accessories, you can get the most out of your mobile gear.

Previously on Six clicks:

 

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Wireless storage

While people paid a premium for more RAM and a faster processor on PCs, it is storage that commands a premium price on post-PC devices such as smartphones and tablets. Apple charges an extra $100 for an extra 16GB if you want to upgrade to a 32GB iPhone or iPad, and this means that in real terms you are paying $6.25 per gigabyte.

Put that another way, a 4GB HD movie is costing you $25 in storage on a 32GB iPhone or iPad!

A cheaper option, when it comes to getting extra storage on a smartphone or tablet, is to opt for a wireless hard drive, and one of the best options available is the 1TB Seagate Wireless Plus (CNET review). You can:

  • Wirelessly stream your media and files to tablets, smartphones, Mac or Windows PCs
  • Carry 500+ movies or thousands of songs, photos and documents
  • Free Seagate Media app for iPad, iPhone, Kindle Fire and Android devices
  • Stream up to three different HD movies to three devices at the same time
  • Enjoy up to 10-hour battery life for a true wire-free experience

Price: $199.

(Source: Seagate)

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MicroSD card

If you have a portable device with a free microSD card slot then you're really wasting it if you're not making use of it. That microSD card slot offers a cheap and easy way to boost the device's storage. Even if it comes with a card, chances are that you could upgrade it to a bigger card for only a few dollars.

Check out the manual for your device to see what the maximum card capacity it supports is.

I use Lexar storage (CNET current prices)– a Micron company – because I appreciate the reliability and quality control testing that goes into the product.

Price: Starting at $10 for 4GB.

(Source: Lexar)

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External battery

The battery life that devices promise can vary considerably from the battery life they actually deliver, and because of this, it is always a good idea to carry with you some extra juice in the form of an external battery pack.

Carry a whopping 12,000mAh of power – enough to recharge an iPhone six times according to the manufacturer – in your pocket with the Anker Astro3 (CNET battery comparison). This battery pack doesn't have any buttons, and all you need to do to start it charging or to check the power levels is to give it a shake.

Price: $50.

(Source: Anker)

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Keyboard

One of the biggest productivity boosters you can add to any post-PC device is a keyboard. While on-screen keyboards are great for tapping out a tweet or email, they just aren't up to the challenge of typing out reams of material.

Add a keyboard and your smartphone or tablet becomes a true content creation machine!

Problem is, choosing a keyboard. For a review of the best keyboards I suggest taking a look at James Kendrick's Mobile News where he carries out real-world testing on a .

My personal favorite keyboard for iDevices is the Apple Wireless keyboard. (CNET best keyboards). It's expensive, but it's reasonably slim for easy transportation, very ergonomic, tough (unusual for an Apple product), and very comfortable to type on for long periods.

Price: Depends on what you go for.

(Source: Apple)

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In-car charging

If you spend a lot of time in your car -- like I do -- you need a way to keep your portable devices charged up while you're on the move. While chargers for smartphones such as the iPhone are plentiful, good chargers that output the 2.1A needed by tablets such as the iPad are harder to find.

Currently I'm using a dual USB-port Just Mobile Highway Pro that keeps my iPhone and iPad charged up. It's a little pricey at around $30, but it's one of the most reliable charger I've come across so far – and I should know because I've bought a lot over the years.

Price: Around $30.

(Source: Just Mobile)

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Bluetooth headset

The Jawbone Era (CNET review) is the best, clearest, most comfortable, and easiest to use Bluetooth headset I've used -- and it only costs $99.

Call clarity is taken care of by the military-grade NoiseAssassin 4.0 noise-cancellation and wind reduction technology. The advanced array wideband speaker allows you to listen privately to music, podcasts, YouTube videos, sports, phone calls, Skype calls, and more, all in full-spectrum, high-definition quality sound.

Price: $130.

(Source: Jawbone)

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