Being ultra-mobile gets easier each year as laptops and tablets get thinner and lighter yet more powerful, smartphones get smarter, and batteries last longer. Whether you’re shopping for a frequent traveler or an entrepreneur who runs things from the corner café, these gifts will keep those on your gift list productive wherever they are.
Blue Microphones Tiki
Need to record podcast-quality audio while on the go, or need a mic for Skype and other VoIP calls that delivers interview fidelity sound? Then the Tiki is a must. This compact mic plugs in via USB and is ready to go. The Tiki filters out background noise and focuses on one voice, mutes automatically, and records a wide range of audio, from vocals to acoustic guitar. $59.99; www.bluemic.com
Bluetooth speaker: Braven 650
Bluetooth headsets don’t suit everyone. This small, light speaker from Braven is perfect for those who do most of their conferencing from the privacy of a hotel room or at home. It’s small enough to carry in a laptop bag, yet offers rich, rounded audio. Listeners on the other end of the call will hear you loud and clear through the integrated microphone. And when you’re ready to relax, it makes music and video sound great. The battery lasts up to 20 hours, and it can charge your smartphone and other USB-powered gadgets as well. $189; www.braven.com
Scanner: IRIScan Express 3
Although it’s possible to “scan” documents with a smartphone camera, if you want a quality scan or the ability to turn paper documents into digital, a real scanner is your best bet. The IRIScan Express 3 comes with Readiris Pro 12 software for OCR scanning (image to text), translation to multiple languages, and output to MS Office, Adobe Acrobat, and more. It’s not bulky or heavy, and it’s powered by USB, so there’s no need for multiple cords. $129; www.irislink.com
Tablet: ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T
(WINDOWS 8 VERSION HYBRID)
With the advent of Windows 8, tablets are no longer entertainment devices that need add-ons to get business-ready. The ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T runs the full operating system without compromise and easily converts to a laptop when needed. The 11.6-inch tablet has all the features you’d expect, from front- and rear-facing cameras to an SD slot for expansion. It works independently of the base, but once connected, it looks, feels, and acts just like a laptop, complete with a secure, sturdy hinge; www.samsung.com/us
Windows Phone 8X
Those who are looking for a phone designed to integrate seamlessly with Windows and, more importantly, Microsoft Office, will appreciate the charms of the Windows Phone 8X from HTC. The 4.3-inch display is beautiful, and the dual-core CPU keeps graphics smooth. It’s available in several eye-popping colors. Price TBA; Available on AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless.
ULTRABOOK: LENOVO THINKPAD X1 CARBON
The ThinkPad X1 Carbon offers a good balance between portability and power. The carbon fiber case and solid-state drive storage mean it’s tough and durable, yet it remains light at just under 3 pounds. The speedy SSD combined with Intel’s Core i5 and i7 processors means powerful performance. Plus you’ll get a battery that lasts more than eight hours. Prices start at $1,329; www.lenovo.com/us/en
Monitor: Dell S2340T
For those who love navigating a tablet out in the field, and want to transfer that experience to a larger display in the office, a touch-screen monitor can increase productivity, especially if it’s compatible with Windows 8. Dell’s 23-inch S2340T features up to 10 multi-touch points, a flat screen, and a stand that users can position at almost any angle, including flat. Prices start at $699.99; www.dell.com.
Cloud Storage: Toshiba
Canvio Personal Cloud
Entrusting your documents, backup, and media to third-party cloud storage services such as Dropbox can be convenient, but it makes some professionals nervous. Get the advantage of cloud storage that you control with the Canvio. It connects to your own wireless router and can sync and share just like Dropbox but without the monthly fee. $219 (2TB), $249 (3TB);
Tablet: Nook HD+
Barnes & Noble’s new 9-inch Android tablet is the perfect size and weight for reading digital magazines and newspapers. Nook Newsstand offers access to hundreds of periodicals. Use the new Scrapbook feature to “tear” out pages and save them in personalized collections to make research or saving topic-specific stories easier than ever. $269 (16GB), $299 (32GB); www.nook.com
Mobility requires flexibility, and the Flex offers both. This Bluetooth keyboard works with the iPad and iPhone, Android tablets, and many other smartphones. Now you’ll get OS-specific shortcut keys with one keyboard. The Zagg Keys Flex is lightweight and comes with a case that doubles as a tablet stand. At 4.9 inches long and 4.8 inches wide, it won’t add bulk to your bag. $69.99; www.zagg.com