1. Your virtual assistant
The debate rages on as to whether the all-new Amazon Echo or Google Home is the best smart speaker on the market.
Both use built-in virtual assistants that can do everything from answering your random questions, recalling your schedule or streaming your music. It depends on your needs.
The Echo naturally syncs better with the Amazon Prime service and has a slightly better sound quality, but Google Assistant is arguably the smarter of the two if you fire complicated questions at it, and it works straight out of the box.
Both are similar in price (the standard Amazon Echo retails at £89.99 and Google Home at £129) and perform equally well in connecting up your smart home.
2. Optimise your environment
A wonderful benefit of freelancing is the lack of colleagues to argue with over the air con settings. If you want to further automate your home office, then the Hive Hub controls a family of smart devices to optimise your environment, whether you’re in situ or on the road.
You can easily control and monitor your heating, sensors, lights, plugs and third-party devices through the app.
3. The standing desk
The standing desk has gained popularity recently thanks to the supposed health benefits it provides. The IKEA Skarsta sit/stand desk is a versatile and cost-effective option, with prices starting from £179. You just have to crank a handle on the side to raise the desk to your optimum standing height or lower it to a sitting level.
4. The smart kettle
The third-generation Smarter iKettle is a little pricey at £99.99 but it’ll let you remotely boil from anywhere outside your home. Through an app, you can customise the water temperature, check the water level and schedule it to boil first thing in the morning. Plus, it syncs with Amazon and Google’s virtual assistants so you can just ask the kettle to boil.
It may sound a little fanciful, but (according to iKettle’s manufacturers) you waste up to 33 hours a year waiting for the kettle to boil. So, you could argue that it’ll pay for itself.
5. Perfect your posture
The Lumo Lift is a posture coach to help you sit straighter and taller. You just attach a small device under your shirt using a magnetic catch, set your target posture and if you start to slouch, you’ll feel a vibration to remind you to stand or sit up straight.
Through the device’s app, you can also monitor your step count and the calories you burn in a day. Retailing at £69.99, its price is comparable to a FitBit and other activity trackers.
6. Portable power
If you’re on the go, the last thing you need is a flatlining laptop. There are plenty of portable battery chargers available, but the (succinctly titled) USB C Portable Charger RAVPower 20100mAh Built-in AC Outlet Power Bank External Battery Pack lets you charge two devices simultaneously, has two USB ports alongside the UK three-pin socket and promises to save you 60 per cent off your recharge time. It’s compact and comes with a robust carry case too.
7. Share your USB devices
If you switch between computers regularly, then the Aten US224 is a two-port USB peripheral sharing device that lets two computers share the use of four USB devices. In other words, you can use the same mouse, keyboard or other such devices without buying in any extra kit and cutting down on your cable clutter. A life saver for tech-focused freelancers.
8. Powered USB hub
If your desk is cluttered with devices and you never have a free power socket, then you need a powered USB hub. These hubs attach to your computer and allow you to attach multiple devices to recharge, transfer data or attach external devices such as your mouse or keyboard.
The Anker 9-Port USB Data Hub retails at £79.99 and will give you speedy data transfer rates of up to 5Gbps. There’s also an additional USB port devoted exclusively to charging.
9. Noise cancelling headphones
If you need to zone out or drown out a noisy environment, then the Bose Quietcomfort 35 Wireless Headphones II are the crème de la crème of noise cancelling in terms of sound quality and comfort. With a hefty price tag of £329.95, these headphones also have Google Assistant built in.
10. On-the-go printing
While you may not need this gadget, it does take the pain away from printing your photos and it’s a great way to quickly create moodboards and lay out your ideas. The Prynt Pocket attaches to your iPhone, and you can then edit your snaps from your camera roll or social media streams in the app. It doesn’t need ink cartridges, and you can sign up to a subscription service to automatically get sent new paper when you’re starting to run low. Retails at £150.
11. Anti-theft rucksack
You don’t want to lose your gadgets by falling victim to one of the 400,000 global pickpocketing incidents that occur every day.
The Bobby Anti-Theft Backpack costs £74.95 and is made of cut-proof material, includes hidden zippers and secret pockets to keep your belongings safe. There’s also an integrated USB charging port, it comes in three colour choices and features separate compartments to fit a 15.6” laptop and a 10” tablet.
12. Slippers reinvented
Every freelancer needs a little comfort and the mahabis slippers offer just that. They have detachable soles, which means you can go seamlessly from house to outside. Available in a range of colours, the classic design retails at £79.00.