Category: Gift Ideas

Gift Idea – Laptop desk for use in bed

Product Listing – Officeworks Australia

J Burrows lap desk product image courtesy of Officeworks Australia

This J Burrows lap desk which can be used with your laptop computer is available through Officeworks Australia. Similar desks may be available through other office-supply or similar stores.

Reading Portable Laptop Table – Oak and Black (AUD$29)

My Comments

You may find that your local office-supply superstore chain offers a “bed desk” that allows you to use your laptop computer while you are in bed or on the couch. This is something worth having for someone who is ill or convalescing and has to stay in bed, or it could allow one to use that laptop on the couch while you are working or playing games. Some of these can even become a surface to rest a keyboard on or move a mouse around if you have your computer resting on the coffee table.

These accessories are very important when it comes to using a laptop or similar regular computer running a desktop operating system while you are in bed or on a couch. A situation I have witnessed for myself with a child using a laptop for playing games and lying on a bed was an increased risk of overheating while the computer is on a bed. This is because the blankets, doona (comforter or duvet) and quilt can easily stifle any ventilation that is designed in to the laptop.

J Burrows lap desk used with a laptop computer on a couch - product image courtesy of Officeworks Australia

These kind of desks can be used with your laptop and on a sofa

In the living room, these bed desks will earn their keep when you use them on the couch or armchair for eating, taking notes or using a portable computer. This is more important when you have no table space near the couch to place your laptop on while you aren’t using the computer. As well, you aren’t tempted to place your laptop computer on the couch where it is at risk of being sat on and damaged or overheating due to being nestled in or rested on scatter cushions.

This one which Officeworks Australia offers under their J Burrows private label, that I am highlighting has swing-out metal legs so it straddles over you or a typical seat space on a sofa and has a swing-up panel for if you wanted a desireable working angle. That is something that may come in handy for reading or if you use a tablet or a 2-in-1 in tablet mode.

Of course having it lie flat is important not just for use as a food-service tray but if you are using it with a laptop or or use a 2-in-1 convertible in the “viewer”, “tent” or “laptop” modes. This brings forth the flexibility that this particular bed table offers. The Officeworks design identified here has no flanges at the back that rise above the top of the desk thus allowing for the laptop computer to cool itself effectively.

It is also worth paying attention to other “bed desks” or tray tables which can sit on a bed or couch if you are wanting something that suits your needs better. Here, they could be found at homewares stores, office-supply stores or the second-hand market especially at op-shops (thrift stores) or jumble sales.

If you buy any of these on the second-hand market, make sure that the tables are still intact can collapse and expand properly and smoothly when they want to. Here, it may be a good idea to try them out at the store or sale before you part with them, including expanding them and placing something as heavy as a loaded food tray or a laptop on the tray to make sure they don’t collapse under weight.

The tray-table that straddles across a bed or couch can be considered viable as we use computer technology in an increasingly-portable manner.

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Mobile-device power-supply accessories always a valid Christmas gift idea

It is Christmas time and you want to buy some gifts for those people in your life.

A high-capacity slimline USB power bank - valid as a gift idea for mobile-technology users

A high-capacity slimline USB power bank – valid as a gift idea for mobile-technology users

One gift idea worth looking at for most people would be a power-supply accessory for their mobile devices. These come in the form of power-banks / external battery packs, multi-device chargers or charging devices that use other energy sources. They can also benefit mobile-device accessories like Bluetooth headsets or wireless game controllers that obtain their charging power from USB sockets.

The power banks or external battery packs have their own high-capacity battery but are charged from a USB-based power source like another USB battery charger. There are some of these battery packs that can work from four AA Duracells, which can allow you to charge up your phone from a set of batteries you buy at the local convenience store.

The USB external battery packs do come in a variety of styles from a small cylindrical style similar to a lipstick tube, through something as big as a small padlock, to a flat “candybar” style that doesn’t take up much room in your pants pocket while it powers your smartphone. But most of these units have differing battery capacities and power outputs and the units with a large battery capacity and 2.1A power output can earn their keep with the tablets or the high-end smartphones. As well, those battery packs with the high capacity can work well with situations where you make heavy use of your phone’s features like using the maps and navigation function, play music, use workout-tracking software or play games.

Similarly, these battery packs will earn their keep with those of us who spend a lot of time talking on our mobile phones because this can eat in to the phone’s battery’s runtime and the external battery will typically give you that extra battery power so you can talk longer. For example, I have used one of my USB battery packs to allow someone who was using their smartphone to counsel another person over the phone to talk longer with that person without fear of being cut off by a dead battery.

Another power-supply accessory worth considering are the multiple-outlet USB battery chargers, devices that I often refer to as “charging bars” but are also referred to as “charging stations”. These devices plug in to the AC power and can charge at least four USB-connected devices at once. What’s more is that they have a very high power budget with some of these devices even having the ability to give at least one of these sockets a dedicated supply of 2.4 amps. This can allow the device to comfortably charge one or two tablets and many smartphones concurrently, with the ability to provide the right amount of current to charge them quickly.

These “charging bars” avoid the need to plug multiple USB chargers in to a powerboard to charge or power many personal-electronics devices at the same location. One area where these devices earn their keep is the kitchen bench where a household will be “topping up” their mobile devices’ batteries for the day while they are having breakfast for example. Or, you may find that in an office a group of workers have their smartphones or tablets nearby and want to run these devices from external power to avoid compromising their devices’ battery runtime.

They also can be useful for charging up USB external battery packs and other accessories in such a way that you could charge your smartphone, a Bluetooth headset, an external battery pack and something else at the same time.

There are some other mobile-power-supply gifts out their that harvest energy from other sources like the sun or heat from a fire. A lot of these devices have been pitched as “novelty” devices and some of them won’t provide enough power to your smartphone or tablet from that energy source. Here, you need to be sure that the device can store a significant amount of power in an onboard battery because the energy source can easily fluctuate which is more so with solar panels or you have to hold it in a certain position to get the maximum power in to your mobile device.

As most of us use mobile devices “to the hilt” for multiple purposes, especially online, gaming or multimedia activity, we are going through our devices’ batteries very quickly. This is where devices like USB battery packs or multiple-USB-outlet “charging bars” are becoming very relevant as gift ideas.

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