Photograph by Olivia Locher for Bloomberg Businessweek

Nine Gadgets for Commuters

  1. If You Bike: Küat Bottle Lock
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    If You Bike: Küat Bottle Lock

    $29; kuatracks.com

    The Bottle Lock looks like a water bottle—because it is one—but it also hides a coiled cable lock, along with a screw-off container to hold keys or cash. It comes in black, white, pink, and a delightful color combo the manufacturer calls Rasta.

    Photograph by Olivia Locher for Bloomberg Businessweek
  2. If You Bike: Outdoor Tech Buckshot Speaker
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    If You Bike: Outdoor Tech Buckshot Speaker

    $50; outdoortechnology.com

    You want to listen to music while you’re riding your bike, but noise-blocking earphones are a sure path to the ER. The solution? Wirelessly beam playlists or podcasts from your smartphone to the Buckshot, securely strapped to your handlebar. The speaker even has a microphone; if you get a call while en route, simply tap the speaker to take the call—while dodging that jerk making an illegal left turn.

    Photograph by Olivia Locher for Bloomberg Businessweek
  3. If You Take the Bus or Train: Apple MacBook Air 11”, Sony Vaio Pro 11
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    If You Take the Bus or Train: Apple MacBook Air 11”, Sony Vaio Pro 11

    MacBook Air: $999; store.apple.com
    Vaio Pro: $1,149; store.sony.com

    Tablets are nice, but a laptop is superior if you’re doing a lot of typing or need specific software that’s not tablet-compatible. The trick is to get a laptop that’s small enough. With 11-inch screens, these two models (Apple’s runs Mac OS, Sony’s uses Windows 8) are sized for a lap. And with the latest Intel processors under the hood, both are powerful without being power-hungry. If you’d rather watch a show than catch up on e-mail, you won’t be penalized.

    Photograph by Olivia Locher for Bloomberg Businessweek
  4. If You Take the Bus or Train: Apple iPad Mini, Google Nexus 7
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    If You Take the Bus or Train: Apple iPad Mini, Google Nexus 7

    iPad Mini: $329; store.apple.com
    Nexus: $229; play.google.com

    Maybe you’re highly productive at work, and your travel time is truly for maxin’ and relaxin’. Enjoy the pleasures of media consumption with a tablet. The standard size is too large for commuting; go small for in-seat and in-bag benefits. If iOS is your move, the iPad Mini’s your machine. If you prefer Android, Google’s Nexus 7 has the performance you need, with none of the bloatware or extra interfaces on other Android models.

    Photograph by Olivia Locher for Bloomberg Businessweek
  5. If You Drive: SiriusXM Onyx Plus
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    If You Drive: SiriusXM Onyx Plus

    $99.99; bestbuy.com

    You have to stop listening to regular radio. Right now. Get SiriusXM, which has dozens of music and news channels, including NPR. Do you want ’90s slow jams? Are you more of an ’80s electrofunk fan? That’s how granular the channel distinctions are. If your car doesn’t have satellite radio, retrofit it with the Onyx Plus, a dashboard-mounted receiver that connects to your stereo with a small cable or, if your radio lacks an input jack, wirelessly over an FM signal. Once you’re set up, sit back and let the quiet storm begin.

    Correction: An earlier version of this slide misidentified the SiriusXM Onyx Plus.

    Photograph by Olivia Locher for Bloomberg Businessweek
  6. If You Drive: Garmin Nüvi 3597 LMTHD
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    If You Drive: Garmin Nüvi 3597 LMTHD

    $349.99; buy.garmin.com

    Sure, your smartphone likely has GPS capabilities, and Google Maps on an Android or iOS device gives great turn-by-turn directions. But it’s nice to have a big, dedicated screen right up there on the windshield. Garmin’s flagship model includes live traffic updates, so you can be sure you get the fastest way home, and voice control—speak to it and find a new destination or reroute to an old one. Photorealistic images recreate approaching exits, and lane guidance shows and tells you exactly which lane you should be in to make the next turn.

    Photograph by Olivia Locher for Bloomberg Businessweek
  7. If You Drive: Scosche ReVolt C2
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    If You Drive: Scosche ReVolt C2

    $25; scosche.com

    Not all automobile phone chargers are created equal. Many are so weak the electricity comes out in a tiny stream, like you’re drinking a milkshake with a cocktail straw. Not the ReVolt, which lets power flow like a mighty river. It’s able to charge two mobile devices (phones or small tablets) simultaneously. Bonus points for packing such power in a small package: Barely sticking out of the lighter socket, it fits easily even in a cramped dashboard.

    Photograph by Olivia Locher for Bloomberg Businessweek