Awesome Biz Gadgets
If you're looking for the latest and greatest gadgets that you can also write off as business expenses, look no further. Here are a ton of brand-new tech toys that will spice up your office and (we hope) make you a lot more productive. You'll find everything from cool mobile accessories to file-sharing alternatives to a headset that reads your brain waves.
Wireless peripherals are convenient, but require a lot of battery switching. Magic Feet wirelessly charges the Apple Wireless Keyboard, the Apple Magic Trackpad, and the Apple Magic Mouse. The device also gives you four extra USB ports (two on the back and one on each side). A full charge from empty takes 10 hours and lasts about 10 days, and you can use your devices while they charge. Magic Feet starts shipping in mid-April for $150 (you can preorder now at the Mobee Technology site).
Rocsafe MX External Drive
This high-tech external drive requires both a smartcard and a PIN to use. The latest iteration of the MX--which just started shipping February 27--lets you make multiple copies of the smartcard key in case you lose it or want to give one to employees or associates. The drive encrypts in real time, so data transfer is fast, and the contents are virtually impossible to hack. Most encrypted drives use software that can be vulnerable to breaches, whereas the MX encrypts at the hardware logic level.
Sony Noise-Canceling In-Ear Headphones
Many professionals like to use noise-canceling headphones in airplanes and office spaces. These Sony headphones are distinctive because they're "boxless," which means that the noise-canceling circuitry is in the earpieces instead of in a box that you clip on your shirt. This set also uses micro-size drivers for high-quality playback over a broader sound range, as well as a rechargeable battery that has a reported life of over 20 hours. The novelty isn't cheap--the set is $500. You can preorder these headphones from Sony. They will begin shipping March 19.
Cobra Tag G5
Can't find your keys? Or is your phone among the missing? This key fob pairs with your smartphone to set off an alert when the two become separated by more than 30 feet. Should your phone slip between the couch cushions, just press a button on the fob, and it will make your phone ring. And should the keys attached to the tag disappear, you can use the Cobra app on your smartphone to find out where the tag last was. The Cobra Tag G5 will be available at the Cobra site and at Amazon sometime before the summer, for about $60.
This universal USB 3.0 docking station is a technophile's dream connection device. The Dynadock lets you charge your phone, camera, and iPod while, say, sharing a presentation with colleagues on one screen and analyzing sales numbers in an Excel spreadsheet on another screen. (It can support up to three displays, including a laptop screen.) The Dynadock offers six USB ports (two sleep-and-charge USB 3.0, two USB 3.0, and two USB 2.0), gigabit ethernet, support for 5.1 surround sound, HDMI-out, DVI-I-out, and a full HD digital video card that supports two extra monitors. The Dynadock is available from Toshiba for $180.
Targus SpinPad for iPad2
The SpinPad is remarkably simple and functional, especially if you constantly have your iPad in hand. Slip your hand or forearm through the back, and you can walk around and tap with your other hand, without having to balance the tablet or worry about dropping it. The accessory swivels and adjusts, so you can use it as a stand that works in whatever angle you prefer. You can even use it to hang your iPad from a hook. This iPad case is available at the Targus site and at Amazon for about $60.
Logitech BH320 USB Stereo Earbuds
These aren't your average earbuds--they provide enterprise-grade, in-ear audio for VoIP and videoconferencing. Logitech designed the BH320 USB Stereo Earbuds specifically for the business market, and they are the first earbuds optimized for Microsoft Lync. They feature in-line controls and a USB connection, as well as a 6-foot cord. They'll be available later in March for $80 from select B-to-B resellers.
Kensington SecureBack Security Case for Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
Concerned that someone might make off with your Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1? Check out this security case, which has an adjustable two-way stand and uses a ClickSafe Lock and cable to physically tie down your tablet. This security case is available at the Kensington site for $90. (An iPad version is also available.)
This cute little printer gives you snippets from your online world in printed, stock-ticker form. It's an inkless thermal printer that you can set up using your smartphone. Little Printer's brain is a new cloud platform called BERG Cloud that pulls input from selected Web services. The London-based company behind the product won't say exactly when Little Printer will be available, but it does say that the device's debut will be sometime this year. Check out LittlePrinter's charming promo video for more.
iTwin lets you access files remotely and collaborate with other people without trusting your data to cloud services such as Dropbox. This splittable USB device lets a computer access another system's files once the two halves are plugged into the two Web-connected machines. iTwin uses two-factor authentication, military-grade 256-bit AES encryption, and a remote disable feature in case one of the halves is lost or stolen. The 'Multi' feature, new in January, lets multiple computers access and share files as long as each one has an iTwin. You'll need to use at least two iTwins to take advantage of the 'Multi' feature. The devices are available at the iTwin site and at Staples for $100 each.
NeuroSky MindWave Mobile Headset
NeuroSky's MindWave Mobile Headset uses sensors that measure the electrical activity in your brain for use with iOS and Android apps. No, it's not telekinesis--it measures how relaxed, concentrated, or attentive you are. Tug of Mind is a to-be-released app that looks like it will be great for stressed-out businesspeople: It will let you upload a photo of someone you know who is causing you stress, and then defeat your opponent by keeping your mind calm. NeuroSky's MindWave Mobile will be available March 11 for $100.
Invoxia's AudiOffice, which just launched at Mobile World Congress, is for iOS-loving businesspeople. Pair your iPhone or iPad to the unit using Bluetooth, and you can enjoy enhanced sound quality (when using a corded handset), as well as a better microphone and speakers for greatly improved conference calls. AudiOffice uses "In Vivo Acoustic" technology, which eliminates echoes and background noise and supposedly makes you sound as if you were actually in the room with the person you're talking to. You can also use the high-quality sound system to play music from your device. The AudiOffice is available at the Invoxia site for $299.
Olympus SZ-31MR iHS Camera
The Olympus SZ-31MR iHS packs a ton of power and performance into a travel-ready compact body. This camera simultaneously captures 1080p video and 16-megapixel still images, combines a 24X wide-angle optical-zoom lens with a 3-inch touch-panel LCD, and features iHS (Intelligent, High-Sensitivity, and High-Speed) technologies to reduce picture noise and enhance resolution. The SZ-31MR iHS will be available in late April from Olympus for $400.
ESI 250 Smartphone for the Desktop
The ESI 250 Smartphone for the Desktop is an enterprise-grade smartphone for small and medium-size businesses. It looks like a regular office phone but has a 7-inch color touchscreen and third-party apps such as Evernote. The ESI 250 lets you send text messages and record calls, and it offers features such as reminders, automatic call distribution, and advanced conferencing. The phone uses VoIP running on ESI servers that support 5 to 300 phones. Slated for release in June, the ESI 250 will be available through resellers for $400 to $500.
This USB microphone is the first of its type to use advanced digital signal processing (DSP), which mimics the intelligence of human hearing by focusing on desired sounds, minimizing background noise, and knowing when to mute. Tiki is as compact as a standard flash drive, and plugs directly into your laptop's USB port, with driverless installation on both PCs and Macs. The Tiki will be available this spring for $59 at the Blue Microphones site, as well as at the Apple Store and Amazon.
Thanks to the HoverBar, a flexible arm with a clamp on one end and an iPad case on the other, you'll never have to worry about your iPad going unused while you work on your computer. The HoverBar, which swivels 360 degrees, lets you clip your iPad to any iMac or Apple display and use it as a second screen. The case costs $80 at the Twelve South site.
Sony HDR-PJ760V 96GB Full HD Camcorder With Projector
The Sony HDR-PJ760V camcorder features a built-in projector for instantly displaying your video. This Handycam model features Balanced Optical SteadyShot image stabilization, which improves shake reduction, as well as 1920-by-1080 full HD 60p recording and 24.1-megapixel still image capture. It also has 96GB of built-in flash memory, a 26mm wide-angle lens, and a 10X optical/17X extended zoom. The HDR-PJ760V is available for preorder at the Sony site or at Amazon for $1600, and will begin shipping on March 23.