by Paul Mah

11 gadgets for the digital nomad

Aug 04, 2015
GadgetsMobileSmall and Medium Business

These devices promise to transform a table in any coffee shop into a full-featured office workstation, yet are compact enough to fit into a travel bag.

11 Gadgets for the Digital Nomad [slideshow cover]
Credit: Thinkstock

Gadgets for digital nomads

High-functioning gadgets that are both small and light can be worth their weight in gold, particularly if you don’t work from a fixed location. It’s getting easier and easier for digital nomads and road warriors to replace just about anything you’d find in an office with devices small enough to fit into a backpack or computer bag. Here are 11 high tech devices that don’t sacrifice function for form.

Logitech MX Anywhere 2

01 logitech mxanywhere2

Built on the same Darkfield laser tracking technology that works on just about any type of surface, the Logitech MX Anywhere 2 builds on the original MX Anywhere to make it into an even better travel mouse. The MX Anywhere 2 incorporates a built-in rechargeable battery, which boasts an hour of usage with a one-minute charge (and Logitech claims a full charge can yield up to two months of use). It supports both a USB transceiver and Bluetooth wireless modes – the MX Anywhere 2 can be paired with up to three different devices using the latter, and can quickly toggle between them with a single button.

Price: $80

ZAGG Pocket Keyboard

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The ZAGG Pocket Keyboard is a portable keyboard that promises excellent tactile feel and a “close to a full-size” typing experience housed in a compact body. Designed for use with a smartphone and small tablet, the Pocket Keyboard incorporates an integrated stand for your gadgets, as well as support for Bluetooth wireless. When not in use, it folds into an ultra-slim profile that should slip easily into a handbag or suit pocket. A magnetic clasp secures holds it in its closed form (and automatically turns it off).

Price: $70

Anker 60W 6-port USB charger

03 anker 60wusbcharger

The Anker 60W 6-port USB Charger is a portable multi-device charger about the size of a passport, albeit thicker. Support for 100–240 volt inputs makes it ideal for your travels to distant lands, while a blue LED indicates when it is plugged into a wall socket. Importantly, amp-adjustment technology allows the Anker USB charger to automatically identify connected devices and deliver the appropriate charge to power up your gizmo in the shortest amount of time. Despite its compact size, Anker says the charger has sufficient oomph to juice up six iPads tablets at the same time.

Price: $36

UE Roll speaker

4ue roll speaker

The UE Roll is a pint-sized wireless Bluetooth speaker that pumps out loud, crisp sound that belies its diminutive size. Bring it to the beach or on backpacking trips, safe in the knowledge that its IPX-rated waterproof body will protect its innards from being accidentally dunked in water. Like the other external speakers in the Ultimate Ears family, the UE Roll supports the same “Double Up” technology that allows it to play back music in tandem with a second UE Roll, UE Boom or UE Megaboom for additional oomph – and stereo sound.

Price: $100

WaterField Bolt Briefcase

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The streamlined Bolt Briefcase from WaterField is a laptop bag aimed at digital nomads, yet won’t look out of place in a business meeting. A padded laptop compartment helps keep your portable workstation safe from knocks, and you can place a variety of other gadgets in pockets protected by waterproof zippers. The Bolt Briefcase comes with a removable shoulder strap, and it can slip over rolling suitcase handles. It can also accommodate just about every laptop: It’s available in in three different sizes suited for 13-inch, 15-inch and 17-inch laptops, as well as six distinct color options.

Price: $249 and up


No travelling executive would be complete without a portable Wi-Fi router in order to conveniently and cheaply share Internet access. The DIR-510L portable Wi-Fi router with a built-in Ethernet port from D-Link offers support for both 802.11ac and 802.11n, delivering 433Mbps and 300Mbps simultaneously. Importantly, an internal 4,000 mAH rechargeable battery means it can be paired with either a 3G/4G LTE adapter, used as a self-powered portable travel router, or even to recharge your smartphone when in a pinch.

Price: $100

Dell USB 3.0 to video/network adapter

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The Dell USB 3.0 to HDMI/VGA/Ethernet/USB 2.0 adapter delivers exactly what its name suggests, replacing the need for multiple adapters for the traveler looking to lighten his load. VGA and HDMI support means you’ll always be able to plug in with your Surface tablet or Ultrabook. Ditto its Ethernet port, which will come in handy at locations that don’t have Wi-Fi – or which you may not be authorized to access. Finally, a built-in USB 2.0 port makes up for your lost USB 3.0 port, ensuring that you are not deprived of the ability to plug in a USB transceiver or USB flash drive.

Price: $75

TwelveSouth Compass 2 tablet stand

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The TwelveSouth Compass 2 is a multi-use stand that works with just about any tablet out there. The clever contraption folds flat into a compact bundle, yet expands easily into an easel to hold your tablet or phablet in either portrait or landscape position. Made of heavy gauge steel, the Compass 2 is a solid device that will stay in place without wobbling. Rubber along the legs and feet serve to protect your gadget as well as the surface that you set it on.

Price: $40

AOC 17-inch USB monitor

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The AOC 17-inch USB Monitor is a slim, portable display powered by DisplayLink technology. This means that all you need to do is to unpack the portable display and plug it into an available USB 3.0 port to use its generous 17.3-inch viewable area (in other words, no VGA cable or power cord required). The display supports up to 1600×900 resolution at 60Hz and fast 10ms response time, courtesy of the high transfer rates offered by USB 3.0. An auto-pivot feature automatically adjusts the image according to the display’s orientation, while a removable base offers flexibility on how you want to place it.

Price: $180

Fujitsu ScanSnap iX100

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Weighing less than a pound, the ScanSnap iX100 is the battery-powered model in Fujitsu’s acclaimed scanner lineup, allowing for high quality scans of receipts, contracts or business cards when on the road. The iX100 scans up to 260 sheets of letter-sized paper before needing to recharge, and supports Wi-Fi Direct for wireless scanning to a Windows or Mac laptop, as well as iOS and Android for your mobile devices. A special two-way paper path allows for two documents to be scanned side-by-side, and the the iX100 is also capable of scanning documents that exceed 11 inches in length.

Price: $229

Creative Aurvana Gold headphones

11creative aurvana gold

The Aurvana Gold headphones from Creative are wireless Bluetooth cans that offer an impressive level of fidelity for travelers. Built-in dual microphones help to cancel ambient noise by up to 85 percent, while the headphones support aptX and AAC audio codecs for high quality music playback. The built-in battery boasts up to 15 hours of playback and talk time with a single charge, while on-ear and call controls make it easy to adjust the volume or switch between calls and music.

Price: $170