Time is running out if you want to buy gifts before the holidays are over.If you’re still scrambling for ideas on what to get for a busy road warrior, we have some cool gadgets that will make perfect last-minute gifts.
From productivity tools to e-readers, we tested out and researched some useful gear and services business travellers are sure to go crazy for.
Note: We took many of the prices listed here from Amazon. Be sure to check there and Google Checkout”>Google Checkout for the best deals.
Verizon's new LTE network recently launched in 38 major metropolitan areas in the U.S. For Road Warriors who find themselves doing business in big cities, this will save a ton on paying hotel wireless fees. Our own Matt Rosoff has been using the LTE network in the San Francisco area and loves it. Verizon says its networks can reach download speeds of up to 12 Mbps, which is almost as fast as many wired cable modems.
Price: Both USB modems cost $99.99 with a two-year contract. There are two data plans available: $50 per month gives you 5 GB of data and $80 per month gives you 10 GB. You'll be charged $10 for every GB over the monthly limit.
Virgin Mobile's Ovation is a 3G USB modem that runs on Sprint's wireless network. Since you're buying the service through Virgin, you have two options for monthly pre-paid plans. (No contracts). $10 gives you 100 MB over 10 days and $40 will give you unlimited data for a month. The pricing structure is perfect for road warriors who take business trips for a few days at a time and want to top up their coverage as they go.
We tested the Ovation on our MacBook Air. Speeds were slower than we would have liked, but it was definitely enough for casual web browsing and checking e-mail.
The Blue Ant S4 is a portable Bluetooth speaker that works with most cell phones. The device is designed to clip on the sun shade of your car's vehicle, but it can also double as a portable speakerphone for impromptu conference calls. It also has voice recognition built in so you can dial from the road without looking at your phone.
We tested the S4 and were very impressed. The voice recognition worked very well and the sound quality was great for such a small device.
Tumi, the brand for luxury luggage and travel gadgets, released a compact portable projector that's compatible with almost any smartphone or laptop.
We tested the projector on our iPad and iPhone and it worked great. It's small and portable (you could easily slip it in your pocket) and includes all the adapters you'll need to use with your device of choice. Our biggest complaint is that it's not as bright as we'd like, so be sure to only use it in the dark. It's also a bit pricey compared to similar devices.
The Technocel Battery Boost is a backup power source for devices that use a micro-USB to charge, including most BlackBerrys and many Android devices. It charges up from your computer's USB port and then plugs into your phone. It's a great (and cheaper) alternative to carrying around a spare battery.
Another cool bonus: There's a micro SD card reader so the device doubles as a flash drive. (You'll have to buy the micro SD card separately).
We tested the Battery Boost and it works as advertised, but we wish it was compatible with more devices such as the iPhone.
Price: $23.99 from Sprint
Until more airlines start offering wifi on all planes, there's little chance of getting much work done in-flight. The Amazon Kindle makes a perfect gift to keep road warriors entertained while travelling. The Kindle gives you access to Amazon's library of 750,000 titles and can store up to 3,500 books. There are two models to choose from: the wifi-only device requires you to connect to the Kindle store over wifi. The 3G version can connect anywhere there's cell reception at no extra service cost.
Price: $139 for the wifi-only version. $189 for the 3G version.
If you know a busy traveller with an iPhone or iPad, a gift card to the app store makes a great stocking stuffer. The store is packed with useful productivity apps that help get work done on the go. (Or they can download something to distract them like Angry Birds). You can find iTunes cards in several stores, or order online here.
Price: We suggest at least a $25 card.
It can be annoying to travel with several power cords and adapters. Save yourself the hassle and pack a power mat instead. This one from Powermat USA folds up for easy storage and can charge up to three devices at once. It also includes a 'power cube' with adapters for many common devices.
International business travellers who carry a lot of gadgets with them will need a way to keep their gear juiced up. A universal adaptor like one of these will let you plug in anywhere in the world. A perfect choice if you need a good stocking stuffer.
Price: Pricing varies, but you should be able to find one for less than $15.
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