When’s the last time your phone died while you were away from home? Have you ever shattered your screen? What about when all the charging cords in the house mysteriously disappear?
The good news is there’s a smart solution for most tech problems. Tap or click for my answers to five common tech frustrations, like spotty Wi-Fi and scanning documents from home.
Some questions need more attention. You can ask me your tech questions on my site, or post your tech questions to my Q&A Forum to get solid answers from me and other tech pros.
Other problems can be solved with the right product. I found 21 problem-solving gadgets that will make you say, “Why didn’t I buy this sooner?”
1. Problem: You can’t hear the dialogue clearly while watching TV.
Solution: You need to add the right soundbar to your setup. If you have trouble hearing dialogue while watching TV, this Bose soundbar has a special Dialogue Mode to make every single word and detail stand out.
It delivers the clear audio your TV can’t — all in a compact soundbar. You’ll get easy wireless Bluetooth connectivity, a universal remote control, and top-notch, clear sound.
2. Problem: You’ve run out of USB ports.
Solution: Stop unplugging one thing to plug in another. This functional power strip has it all: outlets, USB ports and is a surge protector, too.
If you’re still using that old power strip you bought a decade ago, it’s time for an upgrade. With this model, you’ll get over a dozen AC grounded three-pin outlets. That includes four USB ports, eight standard outlets, and two specially-designed outlets for large adapters.
Built-in voltage sensing detects and responds to your device’s power needs, and the safety features ensure your devices are protected, too.
3. Problem: Porch pirates steal your packages or you’re not home when packages arrive.
Solution: Get ready for holiday shopping now. Stop worrying about missed deliveries and thieves. Let Amazon put your packages in a safer spot — your garage.
To use in-garage delivery, you’ll need two things: A garage-door opener compatible with the myQ app and a Prime membership. This garage door opener from Chamberlain is a great deal and highly rated. It even comes with $30 in Amazon credit for future in-garage deliveries.
For all the steps to set it up, scroll to No. 3 here on my website.
4. Problem: You lose track of your expensive Apple AirPods.
Solution: I lost an AirPod and was so mad at myself. Now, I put my AirPods in this case and haven’t lost one since!
The case works perfectly with regular and wireless charging AirPods cases. It’s made of shock-resistant elastomers to protect your AirPods case from bumps, scratches, or drops. The carabiner clip lets me put the case in a place that’s always in reach.
5. Problem: You drop your expensive phone and the screen chips or shatters.
Solution: These glass screen protectors have saved my butt. When you drop your phone with the protector on, your phone’s glass doesn’t crack.
These are thick enough to absorb impact from a phone drop, and they also help protect my phone screen from scratches, scrapes, and other annoying damage. I don’t even notice them on my screen, and the screen coating also helps protect against sweat and oil residue from fingerprint smudges.
6. Problem: You don’t have a lot of money, but you need a decent laptop.
Solution: If you’re not playing video games on your laptop, here’s a fix. This HP Windows 10 PC is made for today’s times when you’re doing video calls and a lot of work online. Plus, it’s under $300.
This laptop won’t handle heavy gaming or tasks like video editing, but it’s great for meetings, surfing the web, or working online. Plus, it’s thin, light, and portable, so you can take it from the office and back home without noticing it’s in your bag. And the price can’t be beaten.
7. Problem: You’re sick of one-and-done plastic zip ties.
Solution: Those single-use plastic zip ties can be a pain to use, a pain to remove, and painful to look at. Try these reusable ties instead.
A pack of 60 is under $10 and comes in three sizes and five different colors. These make managing your cables so much easier, and they’re much more attractive than the cheap clear version. I wrap one around the phone charger I keep in my purse. Handy!
8. Problem: You’re clumsy with your phone or tablet.
Solution: It’s not your fault. It’s hard to carry a phone and use it. These clever Popsockets offer a secure grip so you can text with one hand, snap better photos, and stop phone drops.
There is a reason Popsockets have become popular over the last couple of years — they’re really handy. These little devices suction onto the back of your phone case to offer a secure grip. They also function as a stand so you can watch videos without your phone falling over. Love that.
9. Problem: You don’t want to carry a phone or tablet charging cable with you all the time.
Solution: This solution is snazzy and makes a great gift! Now, you can wear one on your wrist whether you have an iPhone or Android.
I had never thought about wearing a charging cable around my wrist — until I saw this cool bracelet charger. This thing is stylish and conceals the fact that there’s a phone charger hidden inside for those times when you’re very low on battery.
The soft leather makes it look just like any fashion bracelet. When you need a charge cord, just pull it apart and plug it in.
10. Problem: Your car is too old to work with your smartphone.
Solution: If your car has a radio, here’s the fix. You can easily make calls, play your favorite songs and listen to podcasts through Bluetooth, TF Card, or auxiliary cable. Advanced noise reduction technology will ensure top sound quality.
This audio adapter gives you multiple solutions so you can play your music or answer calls in the car. It’s easy to use, too. All you have to do is plug it in and hook up your phone through your preferred method. You’ll have better sound and hands-free calls in no time.
11. Problem: You’re spending a ton of money on cable to get local channels.
Solution: Pick up a solid antenna and you can get them for free.
Not all antennas are created equal, and the wrong model won’t do you any good. The brand I recommend is Mohu. This indoor model has a 40-mile range and broadcasts ABC, CBS, NBC, and more in HD. Plus, it’s paper-thin and paintable so it won’t be an eyesore in your house.
12. Problem: You want to turn on and off the lights while you’re sitting in your favorite chair.
Solution: Just get a smart plug for one of your lamps, then use the plug’s app to set up a timed schedule to come on at a specific time each day or by sunrise or sunset.
Control electronics, lamps, or whatever else you have plugged in from anywhere, without touching a switch. All you need is the app to set it up. You can also use Alexa and Google Home Assistant to control your home with this smart plug, which adds tons of capabilities to the mix.1
13. Problem: You’d like an indoor video camera but don’t want to pay a monthly storage fee.
Solution: You’ll wonder how you didn’t know about this before. Get a Wyze 1080p indoor camera with night vision. It’s under $30.
Live streaming lets you see inside your home from anywhere in real-time using your mobile device. While live streaming, use two-way audio to speak with your friends and family through the app. This camera automatically records a 12-second video clip when motion or sound is detected and saves that video to the cloud for 14-days, for free. Alternatively, you can record continuously to a MicroSD card.
14. Problem: It’s not always convenient to find a plug when you need a charge.
Solution: I use mine all the time! Keep an Anker Power Bank with you, and better yet, use it to charge your phone wirelessly.
My phone battery always seems to be low. Or it did, anyway, until I started using this Anker Power Bank, which lets me charge my phone whenever I need to. It can even be used for a 5W wireless charge for your phone or wireless earbuds as you’re charging another device on one of two 12W USB ports. Warning: Your family will borrow it from you, a lot.
15. Problem: Every time you pull out your basic earbuds, they’re tangled.
Solution: Forget shaking them out. You can end that frustration once and for all with the Nest compact storage case.
If you use wired earbuds, you know the pain that comes with tangled cords. This storage case stores earbuds in seconds and releases them instantly without any knots in the cord. You can also use it to keep earpieces, mics, and cords safe in a pocket or purse. The durable silicone exterior makes it easy to stash, too.
16. Problem: Your video calls are too dark or you’d like to look great.
Solution: This one product has it all — a mounting clip so you can use it anywhere plus lights so you look fabulous!
I do video calls all day long. I can’t tell you how many people could use a little lighting help. You can use this mounting clip for videos, live streams, recordings, photos, selfies, or any other situation where you need good lighting.
It’s easy to adjust, has multiple hues and brightness settings, and it’s easy to move around where you need it. You’ll be video perfect!
17. Problem: Cords look ugly on the walls and are a mess on the floor.
Solution: Make the cords disappear from view. These dream covers conceal and organize unsightly cords in your home and office.
Let’s be honest: cords look bad when they hang down walls or in piles on the floor. Use these covers to conceal them. They easily adhere to walls or baseboards so they’re out of sight, and they are a good fix if you’re always tripping on cords and cables. You can even paint them to blend in better with your walls.
18. Problem: Your keyboard is a crumb-filled, dusty, gross mess.
Solution: Skip the cloth and try a dust-cleaner that can get into all the little cracks of your keyboard. This ColorCoral universal dust cleaner is super affordable and really works.
This cleaning gel picks up annoying dust and other particles. It doesn’t leave any residue behind and it can be used anywhere — keyboards, car vents, cameras, printers, telephones, calculators, speakers, air conditioners, TVs, and any other appliance.
19. Problem: Your desk has way too many random cables.
Solution: Declutter and better organize them with cord organizers that stick to just about any surface, no tools required.
If you spend more than a couple of hours at your desk each day, you know how messy it can get. The cords, papers, pens, and other tools stack up.
The organizers have adhesive backing and stick right in place, meaning you don’t need to drill holes or do anything permanent to get your space organized. They’re made of silicon, not cheap plastic, so cords won’t slip out. Love that!
20. Problem: You don’t have the right tools to fix your tech.
Solution: Gadgets use special screws, often really tiny ones. This tool kit lets you open up almost any device and the company also offers really good repair teardown videos and detailed instructions using the very tools in this kit.
Most electronics require special tools to access components inside, and this toolkit gives you nearly any tool you’d need — all at your fingertips.
21. Your phone takes forever to charge.
Solution: Get a charger that’s up to the job. This Anker Nano iPhone Charger works with all kinds of devices — iPhones, Android phones, tablets, headphones, and more — and charges up to three times faster.
If you bought an iPhone 12 or plan to, grab one of these. It doesn’t come with a charger, and I bet your old ones are on their last legs. This money is well-spent.
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EVER NEED TECH HELP? Post your tech questions for concrete answers from me and other tech pros. Visit my Q&A Forum and get tech help now.
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Learn about all the latest technology on The Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.