7 gadgets that will make you productive (in the car)

Jenneth Orantia
Smarter Writer

Jenneth Orantia is a journalist who has been reporting on tech developments and trends for the last decade

Jenneth Orantia
Smarter Writer

Jenneth Orantia is a journalist who has been reporting on tech developments and trends for the last decade

Always on the road? Safely boost in-car productivity with 7 top gadgets.

If you spend a lot of time in the car, you can boost your daily productivity significantly with the following gadgets and apps without falling foul of the road rules.

tech gadgets to use in the car

1. ExoGear ExoCharge 3 Port 5.1A Car Charger

It can be a tad limiting to have only a single power outlet in the form of your car’s cigarette socket. The compact Exogear ExoCharge 3 Port 5.1A Car Charger triples this to three USB ports, two of which can charge an iPad or other tablet as they output two amps or higher. The only thing you’ll need to provide are the USB cables for your various devices. RRP $21.99 (plus delivery)

2. Samsung Galaxy S5

Using your smartphone in the car can be challenging given the strict road rules in each state, but you can manage it with the right setup. The Samsung Galaxy S5 offers one of the best hands-free experiences thanks to the built-in car mode and Google Now’s voice recognition technology. The Car Mode, accessible by swiping down from the top of the screen with two fingers and selecting the ‘Car mode’ icon, gives you hands-free control over the phone, messages, navigation and music.

If you need to do anything else, such as check what your appointments are for the day, add tasks to your checklist or create a new note, you can do that via Google Now using its hot word detection feature. This isn’t enabled by default: You’ll need to access the Google Now settings by pressing and holding the home button, scrolling to the bottom of the screen and going to the settings from the Menu button. From there, tap on the Voice tab and change the language to English (US), then tap on the ‘Ok Google’ Detection and tick all the options. You’ll now be able to bring up Google Now from any screen by saying "OK Google". RRP $899

3. Strike Alpha Cradle

To make your smartphone street legal, you’ll need to have it secured in a proper car mount. The Strike Alpha range offers cradles for almost every smartphone, with an internal antenna that boosts your phone signal, a bundled car charger specific to your device, and a pass-through connection that works with any Bluetooth car kit or entertainment unit. RRP $149

4. Jawbone ERA

If you’ve ever tried using your smartphone’s speakerphone function for in-car calls, you’ll know how frustrating it can be, with both you and the other party struggling to hear what’s being said. A good Bluetooth headset like the Jawbone ERA improves the experience considerably. The earpiece lets you hear the other caller clearly, while the noise cancellation technology eliminates ambient traffic noise. The Jawbone ERA also works with Siri and Google Now, letting you make a variety of voice commands completely hands-free. RRP $149.95

5. Google Maps

Google Maps is a handy addition to any car ride as it gives you real-time information on traffic. If there’s more than one way to get there, the map display tells you how many minutes you’ll save using either direction based on the current traffic conditions. If you’re locked into a certain route and the traffic situation changes, Google Maps gives you an option to switch routes and tells you how much faster the new route is.

6. Telstra 3G USB + Wi-Fi

The Telstra 3G USB + Wi-Fi is perfect for in-car internet connectivity. It may look like a standard USB modem, but it’s actually got a hotspot built-in that lets you share the internet connection with up to five devices. Since it charges off a USB power socket, you can plug it in once and never have to worry about charging it again. The prepaid pack includes 2GB of data. RRP $49

7. Samsung Gear 2

Provided that you have a compatible Samsung smartphone, the Gear 2 makes it easy to quickly check notifications, make and receive calls, control music playback on your phone and use a handful of voice commands right from your wrist. RRP $369

Prices correct at time of publishing.

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