Whether you are commuting to work by train, car or bike, the trip can become monotonous. But with the right mix of technology, there are plenty of ways to keep the travel time from dragging. Here are some notable gadgets to make your daily commute less of a grind.
Bosch eBike Systems, $4,000 and up
Bosch eBike Systems are designed to make pedaling to work easier. The company, a German manufacturer of automotive parts and electronics, has turned its expertise to bicycles, working with cycling brands like Cube and Haibike to make powered bikes that are sold by independent dealers. (Offerings from partners like Cannondale and Trek are expected soon.) Bosch components include a power pack and charger that can last up to 100 miles, a drive unit that delivers a boost of power and an onboard computer that allows riders to track data and switch modes. Five drive modes give a different level of power. For instance, the sport mode provides an immediate burst, which is good for city traffic, and the tour mode provides steady support, which is suited for longer rides. Bosch does not make retrofitting kits, however, so riders need to visit an independent bike dealer to buy one outfitted with the eBike System.
STM Drifter Energy 15” Laptop Backpack, $190
STM’s Drifter backpack has many useful features, including an ergonomic design, water-resistant fabric, zippered pockets and roomy, padded compartments. What more could you possibly want in a backpack? STM has the answer: an integrated energy supply to charge your devices. New to the Drifter backpack is Joey, a smart battery system that offers high-speed charging that adjusts according to the device and a temperature sensor that protects the device and bag from overheating. Best of all, Joey has its own pocket and cord management system, so it won’t take up extra storage space. STM’s messenger bag, the Bowery, also incorporates Joey.
Speck CandyShell Card Phone Case, $40
Many smartphone cases are designed to hold credit cards and driver’s licenses, but most don’t actually do the job very well. The updated CandyShell Card smartphone case from Speck is a nice exception. Speck says the CandyShell Card case’s side-loading slot will hold up to three cards securely. But it can also hold just a single,thin transit card, thanks to a tiny grip in the slot that keeps the card in place. And Speck’s patented CandyShell design, with a hard exterior,rubberized interior and raised bezel, protects phones from shock caused by bumps and drops.
Klipsch Reference Headphones, $199
When traveling by train, a good pair of headphones is crucial. You want to enjoy your music during the ride and be able to stow the headphones quickly when the ride ends. The Reference on-ear headphones from Klipsch offer great sound and a durable design. Unlike over-ear and in-ear headphones, on-ear models can irritate your ears. But Klipsch designed the Reference headphones with soft ear cushions that rest comfortably on your ears while still blocking outside noise. High-performance drivers offer a clear, crisp sound with a solid bass. And a hinged headband allows the headphones to fold up neatly for quick storage. A flat, tangle-free cord includes an inline microphone and remote control.
SuperTooth Buddy Speakerphone, $59
The temptation to answer a call while driving can be irresistible, but it can also be dangerous. Distracted driving was involved in 16 percent of all reported traffic accidents in 2013, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The SuperTooth Buddy car kit is a speakerphone that lets drivers keep their hands on the wheel by eliminating the need to hold up a phone to answer a call. It attaches to a visor, which puts the speaker and microphone near the driver’s face, and offers clear, strong voice quality. It can answer and reject incoming calls, as well as make calls with voice dialing. And once it’s paired with a smartphone via Bluetooth, the device will reconnect automatically when it detects the phone in the vehicle.
Tylt Y-Charge [Quik] USB Car Charger, $40
Driving to work is a perfect time to charge mobile devices, but to get the power to devices, many people will need a USB car charger. Tylt’s Y-Charge [Quik], named for its Y shape, has two USB ports for charging two devices at once. Available in black or blue, the Y-Charge uses smart technology to deliver the proper charge at the fastest rate intended for each device. To work with the Y-Charge, Tylt also offers Syncable-Duo, a tangle-free charge and sync cable equipped with both a Lightning and micro USB connector, making it compatible with Apple and Android devices. The Syncable-Duo is available in four colors at $25 apiece.
An article on the Personal Tech pages on Thursday about technology to help commuters misstated the timing of the introduction of the Bosch eBike System, which adds power to pedals, on Cannondale bicycles. Cannondale plans to introduce bikes with the system next month, not next year.