Add some pizzazz to your cubicle
If you have more USB ports than you know what to do with, why not get a cool, geeky, and often quite useful USB gadget to fill that USB-shaped void in your life? We’ve found some of the coolest USB gadgets on Amazon and didn’t even have to visit ThinkGeek to stuff this list full of gadget greatness.
In the late 90s, the USB standard has become the default connection standard for virtually all computer peripherals from its humble beginnings. Thanks to increases in the amount of power that USB can deliver, it’s also become a popular standard for all sorts of devices.
Laptops, phones, and tablets can charge from USB and many gadgets that don’t have anything to do with computers. These days, many houses even have USB charging ports built into their regular AC outlets, so any USB gadget you buy that needs power can be used nearly anywhere and with the USB power source of your choice. That includes USB chargers and power banks.
1. Witchcraft O’Clock: USB Clock Fan With Flexible Neck
This USB clock fan uses the same principle as those “3D hologram” fans that show images seemingly floating in space. It’s a clever trick using precise modulation of the LEDs arranged alongside every blade. That allows this fan to show the current time and temperature.
Apart from being a cool (pun intended) party trick, this clock fan shows you useful information. You may be worried that the fan blades aren’t encased in some sort of protective cage, but the blades are soft, so they shouldn’t cause any damage. Just in case a finger or two find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time!
2. Water, Water, Everywhere: SmartDevil Portable Small Humidifier
If you live in a part of the world with low humidity, then a humidifier is a great way to help combat the harmful effects that low moisture content in the air can have on our health. That includes dry skin, chapped lips, and even nose bleeds.
This small personal humidifier has an internal battery that will keep it going when you’re away from power, and it conveniently charges from USB. It continuously creates a fine vapor from its 600ml reservoir, and it delivers it while making less than 30dB of noise. You can put it on your desk, next to your bedside, plants, and even take it with you while traveling. As long as you have a USB power source, you can keep things as moist as you need them to be.
There are plenty of novelty USB humidifiers, but we like the SmartDevil’s stylish looks, and it’s mind-blowing that such a small device can make such a sizable impact if you look at what people who have bought it are saying about it.
3. One Beer Per Day: Cooluli Skincare Mini Fridge
Thermo-electric coolers (TEC) don’t have all the complicated and large collection of moving parts that a traditional refrigerator does. TECs take advantage of the Peltier effect, where heat moves from one electric junction to another.
That makes a small device like this Cooluli mini-fridge possible, though it can only provide moderate cooling. The fridge will cool things to about 40 Fahrenheit below the ambient temperature, but that’s enough to store insulin or skincare products, which is the main purpose of a fridge like this.
Even better, it can warm things up as well if you need it to. That’s a pretty cool thing to have on your desk at work, and you don’t have to worry about a co-worker stealing your food.
We love the selection of colors on offer here, with the cow pattern being the cutest of the bunch.
4. A Little Extra Real Estate: Lepow 15.6 Inch Full HD 1080P USB Type-C Computer
It used to be that an LCD monitor required a power brick and an AC connection, but thanks to the wonders of USB and USB-C in particular, you can now buy what’s essentially a laptop screen panel that gets both video and power over USB. Whether you need a second screen for productivity or a compact monitor that you can use as a temporary monitor for a file server or gaming console, this Lepow screen is a great option.
Unlike many similar USB screens, the Lepow offers a full 1080p resolution and a mini HDMI port, which means you can connect your console or any other HDMI device to it using the right cable. The screen even has a pair of built-in speakers, although as with most tiny speakers such as this, you’d only want to use them as a last resort.
5. It’s a Small World After All: Jiusion 2K USB Digital Microscope
When we got our first microscope kit back in the 90s, it was a pretty basic affair, but it was still a total blast to explore the world of the very tiny even with a toy-grade device.
So our 10-year old minds were blown by this affordable USB microscope, which can work with a desktop computer and mobile devices. The USB connector can flip up to allow micro USB connections and includes a USB A to USB C dongle adapter for modern devices.
Unfortunately, if you’re using Mini USB, you’re out of luck, but that standard is rare these days anyway, and many Mini USB devices don’t support the OTG (On-The-Go) feature you need for a device like this. Also, while this will work with an Apple MacBook, you can’t use it with iPhones or iPads. It’s Android-only.
You get a 2560 x 1440 live video feed to your device, which you can record and save individual frames as photos. In essence, this works just like a webcam, except you’re looking through a microscope.
It’s capable of magnification between 40X and 1000X. At least that’s how it’s advertised, but customers note that it’s closer to 100X, which is still pretty great for the money.
There is no Bluetooth, and it gets its power directly from the USB socket, so it’s an elegant all-in-one solution that lets you get your exploration of the micro-world going in seconds.
6. Keeping It Clean: Prowithlin Rechargeable Portable USB Desktop Vacuum Cleaner
If you only knew how dirty a typical keyboard is, you’d never touch one again, but keeping a desktop vacuum in your workspace is a great way to prevent grime from building up in the first place.
This little cleaner charges up from your computer’s USB port, ready to vacuum up the breadcrumbs from between your keys or the dust clogging your laptops’ fan vents. A two-hour charge is good for four hours of cleaning.
The vacuum comes with a small precision nozzle that lets you get into small nooks and crannies, and by all accounts, it’s a relatively quiet system. It’s also perfect for the artist in your life who uses pencils or other physical media at their desk. Basically, anyone who works at a dusty workstation or otherwise tends to make a bit of a mess.
7. Bye-bye FBI: Kikar USB/Battery Operated Mini Paper Shredder
You never know when the IRS, FBI, or another three-letter agency is going to give you a tap on the shoulder, so why not be ready to dispose of inconvenient documents wherever you are?
In all seriousness, having a USB-powered paper shredder is not only mind-blowing simply because such a gadget exists in the first place. While the 4.5-inch opening won’t take standard paper sizes, it only takes a little effort to tear a US Letter or A4 paper sheet into thirds and shred them into strips.
The only real negative thing I can say here is that there’s no internal battery. You have to provide four AA batteries, which means this device won’t charge from USB. But as long as you have a computer or a power bank on hand, your receipts and cryptocurrency statement can be “deleted” whenever you need to. Keep this around for your home office setup, or take it with you when you need some on-the-go paper trail destruction.
8. Retro Cool: Sea Tech Transformers Ravage 32GB Flash Drive
There are many fantastic, high-performance USB flash drives out there, but none of them compare to the sheer awesomeness of this functional Transformers flash drive from Sea Tech. Yes, it’s only a USB 2.0 drive, but it can transform into Ravage. Use it to store your collection of retro Transformers episodes or make backups of your Optimus Prime cosplay, it’s up to you!
9. Multiport Monster: Acasis Powered 16-Port USB Hub
How mind-blowing can a USB hub be? For the most part, these functional devices aren’t that interesting, but sometimes quantity has a quality all its own. While the USB standard can technically connect up to 127 devices, no one really gets close to that. This USB hub from Acasis, on the other hand, might get you there.
With a whopping 16 ports, you can connect a huge number of peripherals and, best of all, it has 90W of power in total. You can run multiple USB 3 drives, charge a bunch of USB devices, or use it as the ultimate USB docking station.
Another great feature is that each port has its own physical switch, making it easy to know which device is connected without having to unplug anything. Just make sure your USB cables have a good cable management solution!
10. Now, Igor!: RioRand Plasma Ball
A staple of mad scientist movie labs for decades, there’s nothing cooler than a sweet plasma ball. They aren’t hard to find if you’re happy with the traditional big plasma ball that plugs into the wall. However, what makes the RioRand plasma ball special is that it’s quite small and that it runs off USB power. It’s also way cooler than any other USB light you can think of.
You do have the option to run it off disposable batteries, but if you’re just looking to have a cool light on your desk to mesmerize you with its plasma beams, then USB is the way to go. The plasma ball has its own power switch, so you don’t need to unplug it to switch it off. It’s more than just something to look at as well. If you’ve never played with a plasma ball, you may not know this, but if you place your finger on the glass, the plasma beams will be attracted to it. It tingles!
11. My Smallest Fan: SmartDevil Small Personal USB Desk Fan
When our editors asked for “mind-blowing” USB gadgets, they might not have thought of something quite so literal, yet this SmartDevil USB fan has a real kick to it.
This is an elegant USB-powered fan with three speeds and a clever swivel mechanism that lets you adjust it to practically any angle.
Not only will it work as a small computer-connected desk fan to keep your face relaxed, but you can also easily connect it to a power bank or a car’s USB outlet if you need a bit of a breeze while camping or sitting around your college campus.
SmartDevil say that this fan is quiet, but the proof is in the pudding. If you take the time to read user feedback for this little guy, it seems that the claims of low noise are legitimate. Despite its compact size and reliance on relatively low-power USB sources, this fan is a blow-er, not a show-er!
12. Steampunk Heaven: LONYIABBI Electronic Simulated Nixie Tube Clock
Nixie tube clocks were all the rage for a while, but they are also costly, and Nixie tubes are a limited resource, finicky, and need replacement eventually.
So why not get a clock that simulates the look of a real Nixie tube clock but uses RGB LED light technology? That’s exactly what you get with this Lonyabbi clock that does a very serviceable job of recreating that beautiful retro Nixie glow so you can get that steampunk aesthetic you’ve always wanted.
You can set the RGB color to the Nixie preset, giving it the RGB rainbow treatment. There are two finishes available, and you can also order this clock as a DIY kit to assemble yourself. That makes it a great gift for someone you’d also like to give a sense of accomplishment.
You can power it from any USB source, whether a wall charger or a computer port. Wherever you decide to put your clock, it’s going to look amazing.