For business owners who need to work anytime, anywhere, there are no shortage of high-tech products to choose from. Still, it can be difficult to pick out today’s best business gadgets from the seemingly endless sea of shiny new objects.
Here are six of this year’s newer models that most resonated with us. Take your pick as to which might make the most sense for you, depending on your needs.
1. Droid Razr MAXX. Unlike prior Droid Razr models, this high-speed 4G LTE smartphone promises to go beyond pure cosmetic enhancements by delivering an advancement all entrepreneurs can appreciate: lengthy battery life. Offering up to 20 hours of continuous chatter, as opposed to the anemic 4-6 hours of usage an iPhone can see under heavy duress, that’s a considerable value proposition in a world where time equals money. If you’re a road warrior like me, it may be worth the cost of entry, and accompanying contract plan, to save yourself from having to desperately sprint for power outlets between conference sessions or cross-country flights. While fairly large in the pocket and expensive, benefits may quickly pay for themselves.
2. Mophie Juice Pack Plus. As I can attest from experience, there’s nothing worse than watching your cell phone die halfway through an event or executive retreat. (Doubly so if you were counting on Angry Birds to get you through the return flight.) Capable of restoring up to eight hours of juice to the iPhone 4 or 4S, this rechargeable case has already proved a lifesaver by bringing croaking handsets back from the brink. It’s expensive at $100, but being unable to make a crucial call to a client or colleague when disaster strikes could prove costlier.
3. Asus Eee Pad MeMO. Tablet PCs like the iPad 2 and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 score immediate accolades for their power, portability and endless stream of downloadable apps. But multimedia mavens, or those whose business relies heavily on video, 3D or graphical presentations, have yet to see one pack as much audiovisual horsepower for as little as this Android model. Thank a 7-inch display and beefy quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor, despite the low price of $249. That said: Being a digital entertainment hub, it may serve as an unnecessary distraction for those seeking true productivity tools. Still, the system may be worth considering if your enterprise needs to serve up sizzling multimedia performance on a budget.
4. Lenovo Yoga.The jury’s still out on ultrabooks—a new breed of lightweight, travel-friendly notebooks that mimic tablets’ miniscule weight and dimensions. But this appropriately-named Windows 8 system with a foldable and rotating display does speak to one of their potential strengths: versatile form factors. While power users such as myself may be torn over its mid-range performance, mobile sales forces may appreciate the computer’s flexible design, whose layout can be adjusted to meet varying situations. Options to double as either laptop or tablet PC certainly sound like a promising solution for those needing to screen pitches, presentations and other public demonstrations. But whether these upsides will ultimately justify foregoing more powerful dedicated single-function computing formats remains TBD.
5. Samsung Series 9. Are you a PC lover with MacBook Air envy? Provided you don’t mind paying a premium, you can enjoy similar benefits with this attractively-designed ultrabook, which measures just a half-inch thin and weighs only 2.5 lbs. Angling to style itself a cut above standard laptops, it doesn’t come cheap at $1,499. (Note: HP’s Envy 14 Spectre offers similar benefits at a similar price.) But a surprisingly hefty quad-core Intel i7 processor, bright 15-inch screen and variety of handy ports (USB, HDMI, micro SD, etc.) do help offset cost. As savvy entrepreneurs will note, cheaper solutions can be had—but then again, fashion-conscious professionals looking to impress will find few as instant a conversation starter.
The best of both worlds
6. Samsung Galaxy Note. Is it a phone or tablet? With this 5.3-in. Android hybrid sitting somewhere in between, it’s hard to decide or determine if you’ll find the gizmo’s oversized physical footprint a benefit or hindrance. Regardless, those seeking added visual real estate or expanded controls won’t fault the “phablet's" Super AMOLED (ultra crisp and bright) touchscreen or productivity-boosting stylus. (The built-in 8MP camera for taking sharper team or product photos is just an added bonus). Larger than your average cellie, it’s not the easiest device to justify if pocket space is at a premium, or you’re a frequent traveler. Still, making it easy to take notes, dash off memos and access premium computing power on-command, it may be worth considering if you desire a smartphone’s versatility combined with a slate PC’s enhanced performance.
The good news: Regardless of which, if any, of the above devices meet your enterprise’s needs, we’re all lucky to have so many great choices available. For entrepreneurs and startups used to operating on constraints, it’s nice to be faced with a problem that boils down to an abundance of ways to slash costs, improve productivity and conduct business anytime, anywhere.
OPEN Cardmember Scott Steinberg is the CEO of strategic consulting and product testing firm TechSavvy Global, the author of “The Business Expert’s Guidebook.” And one of the consumer products field’s most sought-after keynote speakers and most-quoted technology analysts.