Underrated Tech Devices That Will Make Your Life Easier

The world of tech is all about the latest and greatest. When we fire up our computers and visit tech blogs, open the newspaper to the business section, or stop by a Best Buy to check out products, everything seems to be screaming “new” and “cutting-edge.” We want the newest and most powerful tablets and phones, the coolest and wildest new ideas (like virtual reality), and all the other stuff that we might have previously found only in science fiction novels.

But, sometimes, the devices that get the least glory matter the most to us. These devices may not always be sexy, but they’ll make a far greater impact on our daily lives than any overpriced virtual reality headset. Here are our picks for the best underrated devices.

A wireless network signal booster

Smartphones and cellphones are more popular than landlines these days, and it’s obvious why: While landlines only work within your home, smartphones and cell phones work anywhere. Or, at least, anywhere that they can get a signal from your wireless provider — which may or may not include your own home.

Few things are more frustrating than having no wireless signal in your own home. Smartphones and cellphones were supposed to be better than landlines, not worse. What’s the point of a phone that doesn’t work in your own home? Happily, you can fix this problem with a simple device called a phone signal booster (you may also hear it called a wireless network booster or a cellphone booster, among other similar things). These devices just amplify the signal that your cellphone or smartphone relies upon to stay connected. They’re little standalone devices that do their job quietly, and you’ll quickly forget that you even own one after you install it. But you’ll be getting a whole lot of calls and texts that you would have missed before you installed your booster.

A Wi-Fi extender (or a better router)

Like its wireless carrier-focused cousin, this unsexy device is all about keeping you connected. Your beautiful iPad pro would be pretty useless without a strong Wi-Fi signal, and it falls to your router to deliver that signal. You can improve the signal in a few simple ways, including by upgrading your router, switching to a mesh Wi-Fi system, or just grabbing some Wi-Fi signal boosters to set up around your home. As with the cellphone signal booster, you’ll soon be able to forget about the ways in which you’ve augmented your Wi-FI network — you’ll be back to focusing on all of the fun stuff that you can do with it.

A great network-connected printer

Here’s a device that you might actually think about — if you have a bad one. Few tech devices get as much bad press as printers, which have a terrible reputation for being cheap, finicky, and quickly outdated.

While printers are not the sexy sorts of devices that we might normally spend big on, it’s worth the expense to invest in a decent printer that really gets the job done. Laser printers are a great option for those who hate changing ink cartridges (because, of course, there’s no ink), and lots of great ink printers are out there, too. Budget for a big expense one time, and you can ditch your piece-of-junk printer for a quiet workhorse that you’ll soon rely on instinctively.

A dedicated ebook reader

Fancy tablets are all the rage now, and it’s almost hard to remember the days when Amazon, Borders (remember them?), and others were duking it out for supremacy in the ebook reader market. Now that we have devices the same shape and size that can do so much more, is there any point in owning a simple ebook reader?

In a word, yes. There’s a reason that Amazon’s Kindle devices have continued to be quiet successes. Ebook readers are affordable, simple, and often feature screens that are designed to be easier on the eyes than the bright ones on iPads and Galaxy Tabs. Invest in a simple ebook reader, and you’ll have a useful and lightweight device that you can toss in your beach bag or use on the subway.

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