With holiday jingles invading our storefronts and the week we now somehow refer to as Black Friday officially in high gear, there’s no better time to talk about the best tech trinkets available for our business needs. From tablets to cloud solutions to things you’ve never even though of, our staff has reviewed hundreds of the latest innovations over the past few weeks and we’re ready to announce our official “must-have” list of the season. Since most of these items just happen to be on sale right now as well, we suggest you pay close attention and be prepared to pounce on some of these deals.
Apple iPad Air
While the reviews on the iPad Air have been largely mixed since its release a few weeks ago, a lot of the initial letdown was due to the lack of heavy software updates. The fact being ignored, however are that there’s an upgraded retina display, a much better front-facing video camera and huge performance upgrades across the board. We are comfortable in declaring this the top tablet on the market for several reasons-
– It’s vastly improved battery life
– It’s impossibly light (yet sturdy) outer shell
– It’s best-in-class video capabilities
If Candy Crush Saga is your most demanding business application, then your current tablet is likely suitable. Everyone else should definitely make a move on the iPad Air while it’s on sale this week at numerous retail locations across the country. Considering that this device is only a few weeks old yet still being offered at 35-55% off the retail price, it’s one of the best buys you could make for your staff this year.
Samsung Galaxy Note 3
We already know what Apple fanatics are going to say about the Android-based Galaxy Note 3, so we may as well start by saying, “This is business, not personal.” That’s because Samsung’s latest smartphone/tablet hybrid makes perfect sense for the on-the-go business professional who works from a mobile office while embracing tech every step of the way.
With a large 5.7-inch sAMOLED screen, a 2.3GHz quad-core processor and excellent stylus functionality, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 can tackle almost any tablet desire with ease. Since it is also probably faster than your current laptop with enough internal memory for multiple video presentations, this is a great go-to device that many retailers are offering for the first time ever for $0-99 with a 2 year contract. Trust us iPhone users; play with this beauty in the store display for a few minutes and you’ll see what we mean.
The Tile App by Reveal Labs may seem fairly low tech for a list of best business toys for the 2013 holiday season, but it actually fits the mold quite nicely. Think about all those low-tech gadgets that you’re always misplacing around the office; car keys, briefcases, phone chargers and wallets. Slip a tiny Tile App into each of them, and they’re suddenly tractable via any cell phone that has the proper application installed. What makes it even better is that this handy device works off of Bluetooth, so you don’t even need an Internet connection to hunt down lost items.
For home use, it’s also a Godsend on TV remotes and pets, so feel free to pre-order several of these over the holiday season before the first round of production is completely sold out. While you won’t have it by Christmas (orders ship Spring 2014), there’s something to be said for having a new toy before anyone else.
Google Chromecast may seem like a strange choice for office use since this tech gadget is primarily known for streaming movies from Netflix and Hulu Plus, but it’s actually a great inexpensive addition to any briefcase. The reason why is quite simple as well; it allows you to access any of the files stored on your Google Drive account from any smartphone, tablet or PC. Additionally, since it can be plugged into any television set, Google Chromecast is like a full presentation studio on wheels…minus the wheels, of course.
If your sales team uses video presentations as a part of their conversion arsenal, then the small price for Google Chromecast is just too sweet to pass on. Since some retailers are offering it for as little as $19.99 this holiday season, grab a baker’s dozen and hand them out to associates like business cards. Your bottom line will eventually thank you.
HDMI Pocket Projector
Our final holiday tech toy that should be on every business’s wish list is a HDMI pocket projector, which is one of the neater innovations of 2013. As you can see from the photo above, any smartphone or tablet can be plugged in to feature a full slideshow presentation anywhere, including those situations where the perfect moment arises for your best elevator pitch. It’s not just for video though, because this handy projector can be used to share anything from spreadsheets to photographs to office documents and brochures.
While this is certainly not a featured item being pushed by retailers, Amazon and many other storefronts will be slashing prices in the coming week to make this item affordable enough to toss into a briefcase. It’s also quite handy for inner-office presentations though so don’t let the slim price point fool you; these are great gadgets for everyday use and they make Angry Birds look, well, a heck of a lot angrier!