IN PICTURES: Essential gadgets for the road warrior
Road warriors have to be able to make the best of any location they find themselves working in. From airport lounges to hotel rooms to the spare conference room at the client's office, these tools will keep you at the top of your game. With these products and accessories, you can keep your data with you and secure, connect from anywhere, and stay powered up no matter what outlets are available.
Projector in Your Pocket: From making presentations at a client's office to projecting videos on the wall of your hotel room, there are many reasons you might want to have a pocket projector with you. The 3M MP180 pocket projector ($450) will last for 2 hours on battery power and can hold 4GB of data internally; you can expand the storage via MicroSD. Through the built in Wi-Fi, you can pull in documents or just browse the Web.
Secure Data That Stays With You: You want to have all your data with you on business trips, but you need to keep it safe at the same time. The Iomega eGo SuperSpeed hard drive ($75 to $115) boasts increased drop tolerance and speedy performance over its USB 3.0 connection. The 256-bit AES hardware encryption will keep your data safe if the drive goes for a walk while you're on the road.
Also using hardware-based 256-bit AES encryption with a biometric fingerprint scanner, the Imation Defender f200 USB flash drive will give you FIPS 140-2 level 3 validated security. Just 1GB will cost you $90, however, and the cost merely goes up from there.
Make Dick Tracy Jealous: Whether you're being good about your running while on the road, or you simply want to know how many miles you've logged roaming a show floor or walking from conference room to conference room, the $199 Nike+ Sport Watch will track you with GPS accuracy. Just strap it on and go--and when you get back, you can plug it in via the USB connector built into the strap.
A Pen With a Brain: Sometimes you just don't want to haul your laptop to another meeting, but you do want to incorporate notes from that meeting into all of your other notes related to the project. The Livescribe Echo smartpen has you covered. Grab the pen and a pad of its special paper, and it will record your writing along with the audio as the meeting progresses. Later, you can play back the recorded audio to match your notes in an animated PDF. The pen also has shortcuts for uploading your notes to Google Docs, Facebook, and Evernote, and you can send them via email or a mobile text message, too. The pen costs $US99 for the 2GB model, $US150 for 4GB, and $US200 for 8GB.
Powerful Adapter: Skip the power brick. If you travel with a laptop that has modest power requirements, the tiny Innergie mCube Mini air adapter is for you. It's extremely lightweight, and barely bigger than two thumbs. Now available in both a 65W model ($70) and a new 90W version, the mCube Mini will allow you to charge more gadgets in more places.
4G Hotspot That Lasts: Novatel's MiFi revolutionised connectivity for the mobile businessperson, earning titles such as "game changer" and "product of the year." Samsung has upped the ante with its 4G Mobile Hotspot. While offering similar throughput to other 4G hotspots, the $300 Samsung LTE hotspot wins in the category that's most important on the road: battery life.
Call Your Keys: You have a lot of things to keep track of when you're on the road. Let the $US60 Cobra PhoneTag help you stay on top of your keys or bag--or anything else you connect the dongle to. The device can lock your phone when the two are separated, as well. The PhoneTag works in both directions, allowing you to track the dongle from your phone or to ring your phone from the dongle.
Portable Battery Pack: One thing you can never count on when you're traveling is the availability of power outlets. Keep your gadgets going just a bit longer with a universal portable battery pack. The $180 Energizer XP18000 is strong enough to power a laptop for several hours. It also has a USB port for charging smaller gadgets at the same time, all while adding only 1 pound to your travel weight.
Portable Mouse: Although touchpads and track sticks are useful, a mouse is still a great way to move a cursor around the screen. The $50 Smartfish ErgoMotion Mouse rests on a pivot, so its position adjusts to match your motions. The result is surprisingly comfortable mousing. It comes with a very small USB receiver, and is available in a miniature version for easy travel. For a more traditional mouse that flattens out for portability, check out the $70 Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse.
Hotspot With Power: Is your hotel charging $10 per device to connect to the hotel Wi-Fi? Do you have only one open outlet in the room for charging vast amounts of mobile gear? The $60 ZuniConnect Travel can solve both problems. It provides two USB charging ports, and can create a hotspot from the hotel's wired ethernet line. If you need even more USB ports to charge from, try the Kensington 4-port USB charger.
Hands-Free Headsets: So, your swanky rental car didn't come with Bluetooth hands-free built into the stereo? Fear not: The $130 Jabra Stone2 Bluetooth headset (pictured) will keep you legal behind the wheel. The voice-command system lets you accept or reject calls by voice, eliminating the need to fiddle with your phone. The case also acts as a charger, with the whole package resembling a stone. If you want to pump tunes into both ears while you take a break, the $130 Jabra Halo Bluetooth headphones provide the best of both worlds, allowing you to pick up calls in between songs. They deliver warm, rich sound with good bass response, although the call quality is not as strong as the music playback. If you prefer to have nothing in your ears, check out the top Bluetooth car kits.
Wallet-Size Scanner: Business trips can generate lots of paper to keep track of, including receipts and business cards. Thankfully, the SlimScan SS100 (about $US100) can help you put them in order--and it fits inside your wallet. Its organisational software with optical character recognition functions will turn business cards into Outlook contacts and help you organize receipts into expense reports.
Plug-and-Play File Access: When you're on the road and you need to share files, iTwin provides a quick and easy way to set up a well-encrypted file share. iTwin's $100 plug-and-play remote-access device will allow you to set up a 256-bit AES-encrypted, peer-to-peer file-sharing virtual drive via Amazon's Web Services across any two computers that have a USB port.