Commuting Mom Travel Tech by iMum Alison

Commuting Mom Travel Tech by iMum Alison

I regularly commute into the city with my “travel tech” and I thought I would share some of my favorite tech accessories that are always in my backpack other than my laptop and iOS devices.  Being a mom means that I have to have my travel tech packed and ready to go at a moment’s notice.  Some of the products below were provided by companies and if you purchase them our site may earn a small amount.  I picked all of these products based on my personal experience and usage of them over time.

LL Bean Quad Pack

quadI’ve had my LL Bean Quad Pack for several years and it’s stood up very well to the test of time and can hold pretty much anything I need since it includes an integrated laptop sleeve, designated spot for my iPhone, waterbottle and more!  There are a ton of pockets and places to store things – and using my clear bags from Mia Tui makes finding things a snap! RRP $79.99 for the Quad Pack from LL Bean.

Quad Backpack

Griffin Survivor for iPad Mini

Griffin Apple IPad Mini/iPad Mini Retina Griffin Survivor Case, Pink, Black (GB35920-2)I really love the durability that this case provides for my iPad Mini which I frequently slip into my bag to take places with me since it is small and portable.  I don’t have to worry about the screen getting scratched since the case features a protective covering.  I also loved all the color choices (including my favorite pink!) as well as the nice form factor for the case.  My iPad Mini has survived drops, falls, drool and more all while staying protected and no cracks!  For me, this is one piece of “insurance” that is totally worth it!   You can read my full review of the Griffin Survivor for iPad Mini.  Available from Griffin and Amazon for approximately $40 USD.

 

Mp2301 Performance Mouse by Kensington

MP230L Performance Mouse — Black

My next favorite accessory is my MP2301L Performance Mouse by Kensington.  This wireless mouse feels great in my hand, is small and portable and has great battery life.  One of the best features about it is the ability to track on almost anything – and that it takes standard batteries which are easy to find if they need replacing.  No cables, no cords no fuss! That means I can find a place to sit in the office or at a conference table and still have my mouse no matter where I am!  The reciever fits nicely inside the mouse so you don’t lose it when not in use!  $39 USD RRP. Available from Kensington or Amazon.

LogiTech Wireless Presenter

I also like to bring my Logitech Wireless Presenter as I have spoken at a few meetings recently and it’s so much easier to use a wireless presenter than having to walk over and click on the slide each time I need to move it forward.  One of my favorite things about this presenter is that it has a built in timer which allows me to know if I am spending too little or too much time on a specific slide.  It also has great range which means I can walk around the room while speaker rather than being pinned at a podium or in the front of the room. RRP $55 – 80 USD.  Available from Logitech or Amazon.

Griffin PowerJolt Dual Charger for the car

Griffin PowerJolt Dual Car Charger with Lightning Connector 12 WattSince many of my commutes involve travel time in the car, I also use my Griffin PowerJolt Dual frequently.  This charger includes a lightening connection as well as a second port where you can plug in an micro-usb or any other USB accessible cable.  That means I can charge my phone and tablet at the same time or two smartphones.  RRP $20.00 from Griffin or Amazon.

 

Mobile Hotspot for Wireless on the Go

JetpackA mobile hot spot is another must have, especially when you are not sure how good your internet access will be.  I sometimes use my iPhone as a hot spot, but really like this Netgear Verizon hotspot as a better alternative and it has great battery life.  I enjoy using my Netgear Hotspot from Verizon since I added it to my wireless plan. Easy to use hot spot that works both inside and outside of the United States, provides great battery life and connectivity for your devices.  You can either pay for the device and add the service on the go or put it on contract   Check out my review of the Verizon Jetpack by Netgear.  RRP without contract is $199 USD and with contract it’s $49.99.  Available from Netgear and Verizon.

Cord Storage and Organization

mia tuiOrganizing all of my cords is a snap with my Mia Tui clear plastic bag/PVC bag.  These bags have a zipper top and make it easy to see everything inside so I don’t lose any small pieces.  They are far more durable than the Ziploc bags I was using, but are not totally waterproof.   I like that I can pull the medium size one out of my backpack and have my laptop cord, cables/plugs and chargers all in one spot.  RRP is $12.50 USD and they are available from Mia Tui.

cableCables!  Griffin Premium Braided Lightening Cable

This cable lives in my tech backpack and it has stood up to being plugged, unplugged, used abused and re-used!  Griffin’s cable is so much stronger than my traditional lightening cables for my iPhone due to the braiding on the cable which means that you won’t need to treat it as delicately! I love that you don’t need to fuss when plugging it in as it resists kinking and is stable so the connectors don’t break. They offer a wide variety of braided cables for iOS and Android. RRP $35 USD. Available from Griffin and Amazon

 

Pocket Size Bluetooth Keyboard

1byone pocket size mini folding keyboard

If I am attending meetings and I decide not to bring my laptop – this pocket size Bluetooth Keyboard is perfect!  It’s a tri-fold and folds up to about the size of my hand meaning I can easily slip it into my bag and use the keyboard to take notes instead of having to bring along my laptop all the time.  I have it paired to both my iPad and my iPhone 6 and finding keys on it is so much easier than having to use the on screen keyboard.  It lasts a long time too – I’ve used it multiple times and have not had to charge it yet!  The keys are a little bit smaller than a traditional keyboard, but honestly after using it for about ten minutes I didn’t notice it at all!  RRP $36.99 and it’s available at 1by1 and on Amazon.

Tech Armor Portable Power Bank

tech armour

With all of these devices, I’d be lost without a portable power bank to ensure that they had power.  I’ve recently starting using this power bank from Tech Armor and really like how fast it charges my devices with a small size!  I can charge my iPhone (if it dies unexpectedly) or give my iPad a boost so that I can watch a movie on the train.  This works with all devices that use USB chargers, and I’ve passed it around a few times to coworkers and friends whose cell has died. Avoid the dreaded “low power mode” that your iPhone goes into just before shutting off! RRP from Tech Armor and Amazon is  RRP of  $40 USD.

 

JayBird BlueBuds Headphones

jaybirdOn the train, these headphones are a must since others don’t want to hear my music, my apps or my movies!  JayBird BlueBuds X Premium Bluetooth Headphones simply put ROCK!  These Bluetooth earbuds pair to a variety of devices without the need for a cord to tether you to your device.  They include a filtering system which allows you to hear the music more clearly and feature playtime up to eight hours which means you can use them all week without having to worry about charging them.  These earbuds charge using a standard micro-USB connector and for those using Apple devices include a icon on screen telling you how much battery is left so you are not left without your earbuds at the wrong moment.  The earbuds fit either in the traditional under-ear which allows you to listen and take calls as well as the over ear which means it doesn’t even feel like you are wearing earbuds.  The package includes three pairs of ear tips as well as ear cushions, a micro-USB cable and a carry case to hold your earbuds and the cords.  Jaybird has introduced an updated version since my original review, but I still use these a lot and they stand up great!  Sold by JayBird and Amazon for RRP of $150 USD.

Apex Fine Point Stylus by Lynktec

apexWhen attending meetings, I love to use my Lynktec Apex stylus, as I can use my iPad Mini and the stylus to take notes instead of having to pull out a pen and paper! I can draw and handwrite my notes which is perfect in a meeting, plus everything is stored in one spot so I don’t have to worry about having the right notebook with me.  You can use it with or without Bluetooth – without it’s mostly for sketching or note taking within specific apps but if you want to jot down notes it’s best to link it to your device.  I loved the fine point and how it learned what I wrote using Notes+.  RRP $50 USD available from Lynktec and Amazon.

Wireless Storage – by Seagate Wireless Plus

seagate

Do you have memory woe’s on your devices?  SeaGate Wireless Plus is there to help!  This small drive which is about the size of your hand holds a whopping 1 terabyte of data and works with a variety of devices and smartphones including iOS, Kindle Fire and Android.  It includes the ability to pass through Wi-Fi and you only need to connect your devices to the drive rather than having to connect to Wi-Fi which is especially handy if you are out and about or in a conference room at the office  and don’t want to connect multiple iPads, iPhones or other devices to the drive.  That means you can use your hotspot and not worry about if you are using your laptop, phone or tablet!  Read my full review about this “must have” accessory.  RRP $140 USD for 1TB (other sizes available) Available from Seagate and Amazon

Leitz Mini Bluetooth Speaker

leitz speakerHave you ever tried to do a presentation in a conference room only to find the tinny speakers on your laptop are not loud enough for others to hear?  I stash this small Leitz  Mini Bluetooth Speaker in my backpack for those moments!  You can connect it to your smartphone, tablet or laptop via Bluetooth and people won’t have to strain their ears to hear sound any longer.  It charges using micro USB and will last up to six hours of complete use.  You can even use it when you are using your smartphone as a speaker without sounding far away! I like it better for work rather than music! Compact design fits into your bag for on the go use!  RRP $35 USD.  Available from Amazon.

 

These are some of my travel “must-haves”, what are yours? I’d love to hear what products you use when you go to work or on the train.

Note: Some of the products included in this article were supplied by the companies for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received. Some of the posts may include affiliate links Their inclusion was the decision of the author, all opinions stated in the article are those of the author and have been offered honestly.  This post contains affiliate links, which means I may earn a small amount if you purchase the products.

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. They have a variety of devices including an iPad, iPhone, and an iPod and is often found with a device! My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.
Kensington Hi-Fi Headphones with Mic – Review

Kensington Hi-Fi Headphones with Mic – Review

KensingtonHeadphoneswith mic

Summary

Kensington Hi-Fi Headphones with Mic are a great kids headphone, they are well made, durable, have good sound quality, will fit a variety of head sizes and are a great choice both for home and school use. Priced at under $25 they are a great value. Their grown-up styling will be popular with kids who have outgrown cute character headphones.

Our Rating

recommended-by-the-imums

If you are looking for headphones for your children for school or home use Kensington’s new Hi-Fi Headphones with Mic are a great option and good value for money too.

Over the last few years my childrens’ schools have been incorporating more technology into the curriculum and even their State testing is transitioning to being done on the computer instead of with pencil and paper. Because of this parents need to provide their kids with headphones for use during computer or tablet time at school. My kids also use headphones when using the computer or tablet at home so they can work simultaneously without disturbing each other. With 3 kids needing them for both home and school we get through a lot of headphones !

When looking for headphones for my kids there are a number of features that are important to me: clear sound, comfortable, fit a range of head sizes, sound limited to a safe level and they must be tough and durable.

I recently had the opportunity to test out Kensington’s new Headphones With Mic that they have designed specifically for students in K-12. The first thing I noticed as they don’t look like kids headphones, although they are designed for kids they look very much like an adult headphone. My kids are 8, 8 and 12 and will shun anything they consider “too babyish” and all 3 approved of this design.

They have a wide black headband that is padded at the top and when you expand it shows a silver metal band at the sides. My 8 year-old daughter has a small head for her age and my 12 year-old son’s head is on the large side and the headphones fit both of them comfortably.

The headphones have 40mm drivers and I found the sound quality very good for a sub- $30 headphone – the sound was clear and crisp with a good dynamic range. The maximum sound level is 94db, which gives me peace of mind as they can’t turn the sound to unsafe levels.

The microphone is a nice bonus feature and very useful for using apps with dictation and voice recognition. This is especially important for kids who have difficulty typing. I like the flexible microphone stalk and how it rotates out of the way when not in use.

My kids (especially the younger boy) are tough on headphones but these feel well-made and durable so I am confident they will last him a good while. The cord is 9 foot long, rubberized and flexible and it has a gold-plated jack. The cord comes coiled up and we keep it that way most of the time, but it is nice to have the extra length for times we need it. The one thing I would like to see added is an attached velcro cord tidy for keeping the cord neat instead of the current wire tie.

Overall, I think these are a great kids headphone, they are well made, durable, have good sound quality, will fit a variety of head sizes and are a great choice both for home and school use. Priced at under $25 they are a great value. Their grown-up styling will be popular with kids who have outgrown cute character headphones. They are popular with my kids and are my 8 year old son’s favorite headphones.

Kensington Hi-Fi Headphones with Mic (SRP $24.99) are available from Kensington.com, Amazon and other retailers.

You may also wish to read Kensington iPad Accessories for the Classroom
NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.

 

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).
Giveaway for Sammy the Bear – Bluetooth enabled interactive plush toy from Bluebee Pals

Giveaway for Sammy the Bear – Bluetooth enabled interactive plush toy from Bluebee Pals

BBPALS2

 

To celebrate their inclusion in our 12 Great Gifts for Tots to Teen Christmas Gift Guide Bluebee Pals have generously given us one Bluebee Pal Sammy the Bear to giveaway!

 

BlueBee Pals are totally adorable stuffed toys that connect to your iPad, iPhone or other device via Bluetooth. They act as a speaker for the music or app playing on your device and can also be used as a speakerphone for your iPhone or other SmartPhone. The animal’s mouth even moves in time to what is being said/ sung to give the illusion that the animal is actually talking!

You can read our full review here

Sammy_full_grande

 

Giveaway

If you would like to win a Bluebee Pal Sammy Bear, please enter via the widget below. Winners will be emailed and must contact The iMums within 48 hours to claim their prize. This giveaway is open to USA ONLY and a valid mailing address is required to claim the prize. Please ensure you have read and understand our Terms & Conditions. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).
Review of the ALLDOCK 2015  Universal Charging Station by Dittrich Design

Review of the ALLDOCK 2015 Universal Charging Station by Dittrich Design

alldock

What we love…

Elegant design, hides cable clutter, well made,  one handed docking option, fast charging of 4 devices

Summary

I really like the design of the walnut ALLDOCK 2015, it is a much more elegant design than most charging stations and and looks good enough to have on display in my living room or on my office desk. It is powerful enough to charge even 4 iPads at once and versatile enough to use with a variety of different devices. The one-handed docking works very well and like how the one-handed docking adapter and Apple Watch mount via hidden magnets

Our Rating

recommended-by-the-imums

German Design Studio Dittrich Design launched the original ALLDOCK Charging Station via a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2014, and have recently launched a new and improved version the ALLDOCK 2015 on Kickstarter. I had the opportunity to test out the medium sized ALLDOCK 2015 in walnut and the optional one-handed docking adapter, ALLDOCK micro-USB cables and Apple Watch Mount.

The number of products that charge via USB in my household seems to multiply almost daily so we are constantly charging devices and accessories. Between iPhones, iPads, Kindles, digital cameras and a huge assortment of accessories we are constantly juggling charging stations and wires and often end up with a tangled mess! The ALLDOCK 2015 from aims to change all that with a sleek, elegant design that hides all the cables.

Design

It is in essence a wooden box with a wooden grid on top, and a 4-port charging station hidden beneath the grid. The walnut has a nice grain to it and it is finished well, smooth to the touch with nicely rounded corners and hidden joints. The wooden grid rests on an interior shelf so the top of the grid is flush with the top of the box. The grid simply lifts off to access the charging station underneath if you need to change the cables in use. There are 4 slots in the grid with three cutouts in each slot. Charging cables can be threaded out through any of the slots, additionally the centre slots are designed to fit the “one-handed docking adapters” and the right side slots can fit their Apple Watch Mount ( and appears to be designed so they can add extra mount options in future.)

I tested out the one-handed docking adapter, ALLDOCK micro-USB cables and Apple Watch Mount with the ALLDOCK. Both the one-handed docking adapter and the Apple Watch Mount attach to the charging station via hidden magnets- which keeps them in place without detracting from the sleek look of the charging station. I really love the one- handed docking- it is much easier than fiddling with inserting a cable in a charging port. Having the capability to add the Apple Watch Mount to the charger is a nice feature. The ALLDOCK micro-USB cables are much shorter than regular charging cables so you don’t have any excess wires curled up inside the box. You can use regular cables too but may need to use some type of tie to keep the excess cable tidy.

The 3 front slots are all the same width- approximately 15mm and worked well with my iPhone and Android phones in cases and without, it also fit my iPad Air 2 and iPad mini in fairly slim cases. The rear slot is wider- approximately 19mm and is wide enough to fit my iPad 2 or 3 in a protective case such as the Trident Kracken, the iPad 3 in a Gumdrop case was a snugger fit but did still work and felt stable in the slot. You can also bring charging cables out to the side for items such as headphones or digital cameras that don’t fit in the slots.

Charging:

The ALLDOCK 2015 has had an upgrade to the charging unit as well compared to the previous model, so that it is more energy efficient. It has 4 charging outlets each capable of delivering up to 5v/2.4A, and the total output is 5v/10A, this means that you can charge 4 high demand devices such as 4 iPads at the same time at full charging speed.

 

Summary

Overall, I really like the design of the walnut ALLDOCK 2015, it is a much more elegant design than most charging stations and and looks good enough to have on display in my living room or on my office desk. It is powerful enough to charge even 4 iPads at once and versatile enough to use with a variety of different devices. The one-handed docking works very well and like how the one-handed docking adapter and Apple Watch mount via hidden magnets. The wood of the case is beautifully finished with a smooth finish, rounded edges and hidden joints. The front slots work well for smartphones or newer tablets such as the iPad Air or mini and will work with the tablet in a case if it isn’t too bulky, the rear slot will fit an iPad 2/3/4 even in a protective case.

  • The ALLDOCK 2015 is available now on Kickstarter and it is a great time to get it at a discount. I would recommend the ALLDOCK 2015 for anyone looking for an elegant, versatile, powerful charging solution for multiple devices, I would also recommend adding on the one-handed docking adapters. The Apple Watch Mount is a nice add on if you have an Apple Watch. You can use your own cables, but getting the short micro USB or lightning cables will make it easier to organize.

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).

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