Tablet ownership among the college crowd has tripled over the last 12 months, and for good reason: They're powerful, affordable, portable, and have features ideal for serving their content-hungry owners. But the biggest bummer of tablet ownership is their lack of productivity; no one wants to bang out term papers or even lengthy emails with their thumbs. We want to keep our awesome multitouch screens and games without paying loads of cash for a touch-screen enabled laptop. Is it possible to have the best of both worlds? You bet!
We've rounded up some of the best accessories for turning your tablet into a productivity powerhouse, without making your bank account scream for mercy.
Satechi R1 Tablet/Smartphone Stand
We tried several, but there was one clear winner balancing features, design and price. Compatible with just about any 7" or 10" tablet you throw on it, Satechi's R1 is our ideal choice for a versatile stand. Its solid aluminum build makes it durable, and its small form-factor and sleek design make it discrete and idea for cramped quarters. It’ll even fold away neatly. The padding on the base prevents slippage, and the padding on the stand itself prevents scratches and holds your tablet in place during normal (stationary) use.
Best of all, the arm hinges adjust painlessly to accommodate a huge variety of angles and heights, making it perfect for video chatting, TV watching, or serious work.
- Price: $44.99
- Available at Amazon.com and Satechi.net
Verbatim: Bluetooth Mobile Folding Keyboard
Verbatim’s bluetooth keyboard has more going for it than just its compact size. The foldable bluetooth device comes in white or black, and ships with its own carrying case and a built-in kickstand for your iPhone or other similarly sized smartphone.
While it’s volume and media buttons are targeted at iOS owners, it’s perfectly compatible with Android, and can remember up to six different devices, pairing automatically with the one you’ve got powered up.
A discrete lock button prevents it from folding while resting on your lap, and we found the the keyboard easy to type; despite its thin design the keys have a nice give to them.
Author’s Note: We loved the white version, but its carrying case is a bit feminine. Nothing wrong with that, but guys may want to opt for the black version.
- Price: $56
- Available at Amazon.com
Verbatim: Easy Riser Bluetooth Notebook Laser Mouse
Verbatim also has an affordable Bluetooth mouse which has a nice balance of features, comfort, and price. In addition to it being designed for both lefties and righties, the height of the mouse is adjustable to accommodate all kinds of different hands. It also has a sleep mode to conserve your battery, and the built-in bluetooth also makes it perfect for traveling with your standard Windows PC or Macbook.
- Price: $29.99
- Website: www.verbatim.com
iHome iDM5 Bluetooth Workstation
If you have a bit more coin, iHome’s bluetooth workstation can solve multiple productivity needs whether you’re working with a 10” tablet or a 4” smartphone. Its main features is the full-sized keyboard with media controls which work with any connected device.
It also rocks stereo speakers with SRS TruBass enhancement, giving you rich audio output for music, games, movies, or telephone calls. Yep, it has a built-in mic for phone calls and video chat, too. But it gets even better.
The iDM5 has two USB charging ports built in, and a 3.5mm audio input jack for connecting another audio device for music playback while you’re working.
It’s a durable piece of kit and functions as a desktop replacement; that being said, bear in mind it costs $149 (which we think is a value when looking at the features), but is meant to be a stationary device as it only functions while plugged into A/C power. Still, with this on your desk, it’s a budget-conscious workstation with everything you need to get serious.
- Price: $129.99
- Available at Amazon and www.iHomeAudio.com