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5 Must-Have Tech Accessories

How to get the most out of your devices

Why suffer with uncomfortable computing, smudged and dusty screens or dead cell phones when a small investment can solve the problem? Here are five add-ons we consider must-haves to get the most from your high-tech products.

Old phone booth and new cell phone battery charger

— Russell Kaye

1. Portable Chargers

You remembered to bring your cell phone — too bad you forgot to charge it before leaving the house. Fortunately, there's a practical solution to this incredibly aggravating problem. A portable charger that fits in a briefcase, purse or pocket will let you power up even when there's no place to plug in.

These devices are basically external batteries you charge up at home by connecting to a computer USB port. They will hold a charge for months when not in use. And on that unhappy day when you discover you're carrying a dead phone, you simply connect to the portable charger and make a call right away, or recharge the phone for later use. You need to make sure the portable charger you buy has the right connector for your phone, but it's not as complicated as it used to be, when each manufacturer used its own distinctive plug. Today most phones use either a standard mini-USB or micro-USB connection.

RadioShack is one good source for portable chargers. Their Enercell Micro USB Portable Power Banks ($19.99) are available with either mini-USB or micro-USB connectors.

Additional compatibility options come from Duracell. The Instant USB Charger (about $25), is just a bit larger than a pack of chewing gum. It has a built-in mini-USB plug plus a jack to connect the USB charging cable that came with your phone, offering lots of flexibility. A larger model, the Powerhouse USB charger (about $40) has four times the battery capacity, and the ability to charge two devices at once.


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