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 two sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. 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.
Energi+ Power Backpack by TYLT – Review

Energi+ Power Backpack by TYLT – Review


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What we love…

Very well organized, pockets for everything, includes 10,400mAh battery and cables, cable organizing system, great shoulder padding, TSA friendly

What we’d love to see…

Apple lightning cables included, smartphone pocket on shoulder strap

Summary

The Energi+ is an incredibly well designed bag for carrying a Laptop, Smartphone, Tablet and accessories. I love how it is designed to allow you to charge all your devices on the go and you can recharge the battery and devices without ever taking them out of the backpack. It has great padding and pockets for everything!

Our Rating

recommended-by-the-imums

The Energi+ Power Backpack by TYLT  is the most organized electronics backpack I have come across. At first glance it looks like a regular Laptop backpack, but as soon as you start opening zippers and looking inside it becomes obvious that it is much more. As well as having a myriad of different pockets the Energi+ also comes with a 10,400 mAh rechargeable battery, charging cables and a cable organizing system allowing you to charge up to 3 devices at once.

The Pockets

Laptop Pocket

This is the furthest back pocket, it is well padded and large enough to hold my 15″ MacBook Pro. The outer zipper fully opens so that it can be laid flat for TSA screening and a velcro tab keeps the laptop safely in place in its padded pocket as it goes through the x-ray machine.

Charging Station

Opposite the Laptop Pocket (and within the same zippered area) is the charging station. This has an elasticated pocket to fit the included 10,400 mAh battery. The battery has 3 charging outlets- 2 x 1A and 1x 2A. It is charged via a microUSB cable. It has an ingenious cable management system – there are a series of elastic tabs to guide the wires through so that they remain neat and tidy and don’t get tangled. Pass-throughs for the cables are marked in blue, and set up so that cables from the charging area can easily pass through to both side pockets, the tablet pocket and the Protect Pocket. This means you can easily recharge the battery without removing it from the bag and you can charge your tablet, smartphone and accessories all whilst they are safely in their designated pockets. If you are charging overnight you can connect up the battery to recharge and connect your devices to it, once the battery is at 50% charge it will start charging your devices too.

The Energi+ also includes 3 charging cables- 2 x microUSB to USB cables and one USB cable that can be used as a microUSB charging cable or as an Apple 30 Pin charging cable (it has a removable 30 Pin tip). This is really useful as it means you can leave these cables permanently in place in the backpack. My one disappointment is that there is no Apple Lightning cable included – this has been the current Apple cable for over 2 years now so it would be useful to also include this.

Tablet Pocket

This pocket is well padded and roomy enough to hold a full-sized iPad in a protective case, and it can be charged in the pocket

Protect Pocket

This is a curved pocket accessed from the top of the bag and includes a stiff-sided, removable padded liner pocket. This has 2 compartments- one designed to fit sunglasses or eyeglasses and the other designed to fit a Smartphone or MP3 Player. A cable pass though goes into this pocket so you can charge your smartphone in place.  There is also a headphone port to allow your headphone cable to pass out so you can listen to music on the go. This pocket gives both these items really good protection, and if you are not using this pocket removing the stiff liner allows the pocket to collapse giving more room in the main compartment below.

Main Compartment

This is roomy enough to hold lunch or a few items of clothing for an overnight trip. The back wall of this pocket has 4 mesh pockets with elasticated tops to allow you to organize and easily find accessories, it also has a large flat zippered pocket that could hold papers or a paperback book. The right side has a pen or stylus pocket and the left side another mesh pocket. The front wall of this compartment has 2 more zippered pockets, one has a see through front and would be great for a passport, the other could be used for a wallet. A charging cable pass through goes through this compartment so accessories can be charged here as well.

Zippered Removable Accessory Pouch

The bag comes with a removable zippered accessory bag that is a great place to store any items you will want to take out of the bag frequently.

ENERGI-Bag-FullDiagram-Front-ill-RSTR

2 Zippered Front Pockets

2 more zippered pockets are on the front of the bag- the smaller upper one is padded and sized for a smartphone or MP3 player (no charging in this location), the other is sized for papers or travel documents.

2 Side Pockets

The right pocket will hold the battery charging cable (connected to the battery) and connecting it to a wall charger or computer will allow you to recharge everything whilst still in the bag. The left side pocket is large enough to hold a Smartphone or similar sized object.

Water Bottle Pocket

A fold out mesh water bottle pocket on the right side of the bag zips away into a pocket when not in use.

Shoulder Straps and Lumbar Support

One thing I love about this bag is the great padding on the shoulder straps. Lets face it when you are carrying a Laptop, tablet, battery and accessories your bag is going to be heavy, so the amount of padding can make a huge difference to your comfort when carrying it. The shoulder straps are nicely padded overall and have an extra thick padding on top of the shoulders which really helps to stop the straps digging into your shoulders when carrying heavy loads.  The bottom left part of the shoulder strap has a small zippered pocket- handy for carrying earbuds, keys or coins. The shoulder straps are very easy to adjust. The lumber area is also well padded with mesh ventilation and is designed to allow the handle of a wheeled carryon to fit between  this area and the backpack, making it easy to carry at the airport.

Overall, the Energi+ is an incredibly well designed bag for carrying a Laptop, Smartphone, Tablet and accessories. I love how it is designed to allow you to charge all your devices on the go and you can recharge the battery and devices without ever taking them out of the backpack. It has pockets for everything!  I also appreciate the great padding on the shoulder straps and lumbar area and that is has been designed to make it easy to use when flying. There are just 2 small changes I would make- including Apple Lightning cables and adding a Smartphone pocket on the shoulder strap- this would make access to your phone when carrying the backpack easier.

I highly recommend this backpack for those who regularly travel carrying a Laptop, Smartphone, Tablet and other electronics and accessories.


RRP $199 available from Amazon and other retailers.

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).
The iMums Christmas Gift Guide 2014 – With Great Giveaways Too!

The iMums Christmas Gift Guide 2014 – With Great Giveaways Too!

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Looking for the perfect holiday gift for your loved ones? 2014 is drawing to a close and it is time to start shopping for Christmas Gifts. The iMums have been searching far and wide for gifts that will be a hit with family members of all ages. Which ones are on your wish list this Holiday Season ?

We have picked out some of our favorite products from the past year to share with you including products for the home,and office,  for the young and young at heart, gifts for use on the go, photography picks, and some brand new cases for the iPhone!

 

Gifts for The Young and Young at Heart

In this section we highlight some cool products that kids and teens will enjoy, but they aren’t just for kids – adults will have just as much fun racing a rally car, enjoying a light and sound show or feeling the soothing effects of playing with sand.

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For the Home and Office

We have a great selection of gift ideas for the home and office. Whether you are looking for the perfect gift for a pet lover, a home baker,

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Gifts for On-The-Go

We have a great range of on-the-go gift ideas including mobile storage solutions, portable speakers and bags and cases for the avid traveller and those who like to stay closer to home.

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For the Photographer

Whether you prefer to take pictures with your DSLR or iPhone we have some great gift ideas.

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Stocking Stuffers

These are a few of our favorite gift ideas for $30 or less.

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Giveaways

Giveaway for the Perfect Bake
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter to win a ReadyNAS RN102
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter to win a Minnie Amelie bag from Mia Tui
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter to win an Ozobot Smart Robot – Congrats to our Winner Helen W – your prize is on the way!!

Sales and offer codes

Yantouch Diamond+ 

From November 18 until December 31, 2014, the Diamond+ is $50 off, priced at only $99 (normally $149) from Amazon Yantouch IceDiamond+  when using coupon code YT50DOFF

Ozobot

To celebrate the launch of #OzoGroove, we’re offering 20% off Ozobot Dual Packs when you use the promo code: GROOVY20 Visit www.ozobot.com to purchase!

Mia Tui

15% off your entire order using the code imums at MiaTuiUSA

 

 

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).
Triple Trek™ Ultrabook™ Optimized Backpack by Kensington – Review

Triple Trek™ Ultrabook™ Optimized Backpack by Kensington – Review

 

triple trek3

 

 

 

Summary

A well-made, rugged, compact backpack that will fit a 13″ laptop, iPad, iPhone , water bottle and accessories. Very comfortable to carry and protective yet slim and streamlined.

Our Rating

recommended-by-the-imums

I recently had the opportunity to test out the Triple Trek™ Ultrabook™ Optimized Backpack by Kensington. It is a very compact backpack designed to carry an Ultrabook, Chromebook, MacBook Air or other small laptop (13″ or 14″) plus a tablet, smartphone and other small items.

I have been using it for about a month and I have fallen in love with it. When I want to travel light, but still have my portable electronics, with me it is a great bag. It is very comfortable to carry, as both the shoulder straps and back support are nicely padded and have breathable covers.

Inside the main compartment are two pockets, each closed by a velcro strap with picture labels, so you can easily tell which is the laptop and which the tablet pocket. The pockets are padded, and fleece lined to protect your electronics. There is a small amount of space between the two compartments- enough to carry some files, magazines, a book, some snacks or a lightweight jacket.

triple trek2

 

 

 

The front of the backpack has 2 smaller pockets. The upper one is padded and fleece-lined, it has a headphone port and is designed to carry your smartphone or MP3 player.  The lower one is an organizer pocket with a key hook, pen slots and room for your charging cables, power cord and other essentials.

triple trek 1

There are also 2 hidden pockets, both on your right-hand side when you wear the backpack. A zipper hides a water bottle pocket that folds out – it’s great for carrying water away from your electronics, and by folding away it keeps the Triple Trek’s slim profile when it’s not in use. The second pocket is so well hidden I didn’t even find it until I’d been using the bag for a week! It is hidden just in front of the back support, and it closed by strong velcro inside the pocket. It is big enough to fit a wallet, checkbook or passport, and is designed to hide away your valuables. I would advise against putting in anything too bulky in this pocket or you will feel it against your back when carrying the backpack.

triple trek4

 

The Triple Trek is very well made- I’ve been using it for a month and there isn’t a mark on it, the material is very rugged and the zippers feel like a good quality- they haven’t complained at all when I’ve overstuffed the pockets. The Ultrabook compartment is roomy enough to fit even my kids ancient 13″ MacBook (they inherited it from Grandma and it is at least 6 or 7 years old so significantly bulkier than current models ), and the Tablet compartment will fit an iPad2 or 3 in a protective case, as well accommodating the newer slimmer models. The bag is padded enough that I feel like my electronics are well protected but it is still very slim and streamlined. If you want to carry a 15″ Laptop or a lot of additional extras I’d recommend a bigger bag such as the Kensington Contour Overnight, but for traveling light this is a great option.

Technical Specifications

  • Best For: Tablets, Ultrabooks
  • Color : Black
  • Ultrabook: Fits up to 13” & 14”
  • Ultrabook pocket: 330mm x 230mm x 25mm
  • Tablet pocket: 270mm x 190mm x 30 mm
  • Smartphone pocket: Universal

 

The Triple Trek™ Ultrabook™ Optimized Backpack is available from Kensington.com, Amazon and other retailers RRP $69.99.

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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