6 Instant Upgrades: Commuting

Turn your daily commute into a tech-packed fun-fest with these gadgets

Commuting can be hell.

Believe us, we know - we're based in London after all. Whether we're crammed into the Tube, fighting for seats on a train, cursing as we wait in vain for the inevitably delayed bus or being cut up by BMWs on the A307, we typically arrive at work appoximately 97% more annoyed than we were when we left home.

The obvious solution is teleportation, but until someone invents that, we have a workaround: follow this here guide and your morning trudge will become a dance down Gadget Lane.

Illustration by Jamie Sneddon

1) Rocketskates R-10 (£545)

To really avoid your fellow commuters, you need to skip public transport altogether. But propelling yourself workwards using just your legs can be a drag, particularly if you’ve got several miles of inner city to cover.

Save on the effort with this pair of motorised skates. After 90 minutes they’ll need a recharge, so bear that in mind if work is a few miles away. Marginally cooler than a Segway, they top out at 12mph and work in a similar way by tilting forwards to accelerate and backwards to brake.

Buy a pair of Rocketskates R-10 (£545) here

2) Native Union Key Cable (£25)

There’s an ad for hilariously expensive watches that says you never truly own one; you just look after it for the next generation. The same is true of charging cables: you just hold on to one until someone needs to borrow it, and then it’s gone.

This discreet little cable, however, is attached to your keys – so you’ll hold on to it. Its natty knot form is discreet enough to slip in a pocket, but long enough to plug your phone into a USB port and still play Horizon Chase while it charges.

Buy the Native Union Key Cable (£25) here

3) Here Active Listening (US$250)

Maybe you don’t hate humanity enough to filter other folk out of your hearing altogether – in which case, these non-musical earphones could be for you.

Coupled with an iOS or Android app, these wireless in-ear buds essentially let you apply a volume knob and EQ to real life. You can turn down the sound of a baby crying on the train, boost the bass in the club or even ‘Instagram your ears’ by applying one of the pre-set filters to your commute. Who needs music?

Buy Here Active Listening earphones (US$250) here

4) Riutbag (£80)

The Artful Dodger may have been shipped off to Australia but that doesn’t mean opportunist pickpockets aren’t looking to relieve you of your valuables every step of your commute.

By putting all the zips on the part of the rucksack that rests against your back, the makers of RiutBag reckon your phones, tablets, laptops, wallets and other valuables will be safe as houses in transit. It’s the sort of idea that would have attracted a blizzard of Dragons’ Den cash if it hadn’t already been funded on Kickstarter.

Buy the Riutbag (£80) here

5) Blunt XS Metro (£60 with tile)

It’s the classic get-to-work mishap: you set out on a rainy, windy day, your sharp-spoked umbrella whipping back and forth in the breeze, and when you arrive and fold your umbrella up you find a fellow commuter’s eyeball embedded on one spoke. Oops!

A Blunt umbrella saves you from such embarrassment: its spokes are softened by extra supports, which also keep its high-tension canopy under control in the wind. An extra £15 buys you a Bluetooth tile so you can find it with your phone.

Buy the Blunt XS Metro umbrella (£60 with tile) here

6) Philips NC1 (£250)

Sometimes you’re just not in the mood to get stuck talking to a colleague or suffer the sniffles and sneezes of your fellow passengers as you try to make it to work without going full Office Space. So shut out all the sounds of the underground with this fine pair of noise-cancellers.

The NC1s use four microphones to filter out all outside noise, and don’t sacrifice sound quality for the privilege. The headphones also fold up nice and small so they won’t take up too much room in your new thief-proof backpack.

Buy the Philips NC1 headphones (£200) here