Top techie toys


Christmas presents for the business hero in your life!

Stylish, functional and the star of meetings…

Zoostorm SL8 Slate PC Windows 7

About £520

Just in time for Christmas, Zoostorm has unveiled the SL8. Unlike most tablet competitors, it features the full version of Windows 7, so you get all the functions of a netbook. And that means you can work properly on it, not just make presentations or ogle YouTube.

The 11.6” screen is larger than that of the iPad; and you can’t deny that it looks gorgeous too. Definitely the ideal piece of kit for making a mighty entrance in meetings!

There’s no lack of proper connectors too, so your HDMI projector and USB accessories won’t go dusty in a cupboard. The Zoostorm SL8 comes in two flavours; one with WiFi and the other also including 3G for connectivity on the go.

The office mobiles that are also packed with fun

HTC 7 Trophy and Samsung Omnia 7

About £500, much less with a contract

 

This pair of phones come close to the top of our list of the first crop of smartphones to run Windows Phone 7- there are more options out there and the list is growing all the time.

The Trophy benefits from almost a decade of working hand-in-hand with Microsoft; a 5MP camera, and (you’ll be glad we said this…) a rubbery, grippy hold. The screen is gorgeous and you’ll find yourself suddenly immersed in as many graphical apps as you can.

The Samsung Omnia 7 highlights are it’s whopping screen and nice touches like an inbuilt FM tuner.

Both, above all, feature Windows Phone 7 which makes basic functions a doddle, whilst progressively uncovering business-grade services and applications like perfect integration with Office and Outlook.

Retro chic for the office geek!

Floppy Disk Sticky Notes

£6

Here’s the ideal stocking filler for the office-bound businessperson over-30 (I’m afraid this won’t make any sense to the youngsters).

If you hark back to a gentler era, when computers had barely enough oomph to power an alarm clock and you wondered how on earth you could fill a whole 1.4MB; then these floppy disk sticky notes are the perfect reminder of happy times.

They even come in a collection of 80s-office pastel colours. And yes, unlike the pesky plasticky labels which inevitably featured on the original 3.5” floppy disk of the day, you can easily write on these sticky notes with a biro.

Beautiful design, perfectly portable

Microsoft Arc mouse

£20-£50

In the office, out on the road. Back in the office, back out on the road. We transfer seamlessly from desktop to laptop – but mice don’t. You don’t want to carry a full-size mouse in your briefcase (when did you ever see a laptop case with a mouse pocket? No. Never.) but you also don’t like the fenickety laptop trackpad.

Thanks to some sneaky design, the Arc covers both bases – it’s a full size mouse with a neat articulation in the middle which allows it to fold up like a hedgehog into something much more pocket-sized.

It works comfortably both right- and left- handed; and still manages to look like a design icon. Yum.

Saviour of late nights at your PC…

USB Cup Warmer

£7

Have you ever wondered why laptops and splitters seem to have at least four USB ports? Surely, one man can only want to hook up so many extra devices…

The answer is here – picture the scene: you’re working late (again) from home. It’s wintry cold, the kids are asleep, the kitchen is miles away; what’s the smart-thinking entrepreneur to do?

This is the USB Cup Warmer; the modern replacement for a duvet round the legs; guaranteed to extend the life of the business guru’s faithful friend, the cup of coffee.

Hours of safe and comfortable typing

Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Desktop 7000 Wireless Keyboard

£30-£60

One of the toughest challenges of working from home is the fact that home was never designed for work. If you’ve ever tried to use a PC at the kitchen table or a laptop on the sofa, you’ll know that back pain from bad posture and Repetitive Strain Injury from a bad typing position are ever-present threats.
With the Desktop 7000 wireless keyboard, Microsoft is doing one more thing to banish those health issues.
The keyboard comes with a comfortable wrist-rest to reduce the pressure on your wrists and the balls of your hands; and the keys have been curved just enough to give your hands a break without requiring you to learn how to type all over again. The perfect present for the health-conscious; or just for someone looking for a little more comfort in their working lives.

The world’s most extraordinary headset

Jawbone Icon

£55

Jawbone have taken the world by storm with their revolutionary range of Bluetooth phone headsets.

You’ll have to check out the videos on their website to truly understand the scale of their achievement, but put simply, Jawbone eliminates all background noise from your phone call. Imagine standing next to a pneumatic drill; and yet the person you are speaking to will hear nothing but your voice in crystal clarity.

Plus, as you can see, the Jawbone range look pretty cool as well.

Everything you need to know about Office 2010

Office 2010 Step by Step

£15-£25

If you’ve read these pages over the past three or four months, you’ll know that we’ve covered well over 50 great new functions in Office 2010 which will speed up your business and allow you to pack ever more into your working day.

But digging out all that good stuff can sometimes be hard in a suite of programs with many thousands of tools. If Office 2010 was a Swiss Army Knife, it would be several feet wide.

Step forward “Office 2010 Step by Step”, the perfect guide to the world’s best selling business software package – read it after Christmas and you’ll be a dab hand by the time everyone gets back to work bleary-eyed and eager in the new year.

Great presentations in the palm of your hand

Optoma Pico Mini Handheld Projector

Around £300

Projectors used to be the size of sewing machines, and just as unreliable. Bulbs went pop with such alarming regularity that only Harry Potter would be able to extract a decent picture.

Those days are gone – and so has the mammoth footprint. The Optoma Pico range puts presentation power right into your pocket – it’s not much bigger than the average mobile phone.

With some slightly retro styling (it reminds us of an old Dictaphone) it’s the epitome of cool, and just what a businessperson needs to shine in 2011. Illuminating!

Blurring the edges between webcam and professional video

LifeCam Cinema

£25-£145 depending on model

Five-star rated on many review sites, the LifeCam series of webcams puts the power of HD video right onto your laptop.

Now, you can’t use full-HD across ordinary broadband, so the LifeCam can be optimised for applications like video-IM or videoconferencing – both ideal for office communications.

Equally, though, flip into HD and you can easily record top-notch video clips for a website or promoting on YouTube.

As video rapidly becomes the de-rigeur online promotional tool of this decade, the LifeCam is just one of the tools on offer which puts decent video in the hands of even the smallest business.

 

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