Five footloose gadgets for the business traveller

With mobile technology growing more and more advanced, today's business traveller is expected to keep on top of all correspondence, respond to any client questions and remain as productive as if he were sitting in his office in front of the computer.

travel Updated: Mar 21, 2012 13:44 IST

With mobile technology growing more and more advanced, today's business traveller is expected to keep on top of all correspondence, respond to any client questions and remain as productive as if he were sitting in his office in front of the computer. rates its top five. Reuters has not endorsed this list.

The air warrior can only be as efficient as the gadgets that keep him connected, so choosing the right devices to bring along can make or break a business trip. And these days, with more and more limits on carry-on-bags, there is little margin for error. The following five gadgets are perfect for a globetrotter looking to keep up productivity while on the go.

According to visionmobile, 483 million smartphones were shipped globally in 2011-increasing global smartphone penetration to 30 percent and rising 43 percent from 2010.

For business travellers, the percentage is likely much higher: It goes without saying that an exec on the move is going to be carrying a smartphone. But when you're on the road, it's not just speed or high camera quality that's important.

One of the most integral features of a phone is its overall battery life - specifically its talk time - for those trips when you're just not sure when you're going to get your next chance to charge. While the average smartphone has a talk time of about seven hours, times range from 2.5 hours in the LG Genesis US760 to just over 21.5 hours on the Motorola Droid Razr Maxx.

Top 3 rated smartphones with the longest talk times:
1. Motorola Droid Razr Maxx (21 hrs)
2. Apple iPhone 4S (14 hrs)
3. Samsung Galaxy A (14 hrs)

Netbooks provide much of the same power and functionality as the traditional laptop but with a fraction of the weight. The market is saturated with high-powered netbooks, but for a business traveller, two of the most important specs are weight and battery life. Although the difference between the 3.52 lb HP Pavilion dm1z and the 2.2 lb MSI Wind U160 might not seem like a lot, a few pounds can make a big difference in the course of a long trip.

In terms of battery life, a netbook that doesn't have at least eight to nine hours of battery life (batteries typically range from four to 13 hours) won't cut it when you're expected to finalise the details of a pitch on your five-hour flight and then present your PowerPoint proposal to your client without having the chance to recharge. So what are the best lightweight netbooks 3 lbs or under that have long battery lives?

Top 3 lightweight, long-lasting netbooks:

1. Samsung NF310 (2.87lbs, 9 hrs)
2. HP Mini 5103 (3 lbs, 10 hrs)
3. Toshiba Mini NB505-N508GN (2.70 lbs, 8 lbs)

While netbooks offer more functionality than tablets, the sleek, lightweight alternative is increasingly eating into the netbook market. Forrester Research predicts that by 2015, a third of US online users will own a tablet. It is also the gadget of choice for the business traveller looking to maximise computing power and luggage space. Mark Donovan, comScore Senior Vice President, noted that tablets have emerged as "a formidable fourth screen."

The tablet is key for the traveller because it doubles as a lightweight entertainment device for when the workday is over. But in order for a tablet to justify its place in a carry-on bag, it has to pack quite a punch. A tablet with no internal memory, like the Sony Dash, is little more than a tool to browse the Internet.

Many business travellers need a tablet with enough internal storage to provide high-performance graphics for video conferencing and photo editing. A tablet like the Acer ICONIA-6120, with its 640 GB of internal storage, can offer seamless multi-tasking, fast loading apps and instant touch response.

Top 3 tablets with the most internal storage:
1. Acer Iconia-6120 (640 GB)
2. Archos 70 (250 GB)
3. iiView M1Touch w/ WiFi+ 3G (160 GB)

e-Readers are highly popular in the US but less so globally. However, ABI Research forecasts that in 2013, momentum worldwide for the electronic book readers will increase, with more than 30 million e-readers set to ship globally.

Reading offers business travellers a rare opportunity to escape and relax while in transit, or catch up on weeks' worth of news content - all in one device. But again, battery life is key; once an e-Reader loses power, it becomes just one more thing to lug around from city to city.

Top 3 e-Readers with the longest battery life:
1. Sony Reader Daily Edition, PRS-900-BC-(12,000 page turns)
2. Sony Reader Daily Edition, PRS-900-(12,000 page turns)
3. Condor Technology Associates eGriver Touch-(10,000 page turns)

Noise-cancelling headphones
Noise-cancelling headphones are a must for any business traveller who is constantly en route. The right headphones can serve a range of functions, from enhancing the sound quality of your favourite music and movies, to blocking out extraneous noise when you need a quiet space to work and you're not in the comfort of your own home.

Top 3 noise cancelling headphones:
1. Sennhesier PXC 450 Headphones
2. Bose QuietComfort 15
3. Bose QuietComfort 3

First Published: Mar 21, 2012 13:44 IST