Holiday Gift Guide
What do you buy the business traveler who has everything? It’s not too late to start your high-tech shopping now. The Executive Road Warrior editorial staff tested dozens of potential gifts in varying price ranges and whittled the list down to eight items that the road warriors in your life will love.
Here are our suggestions for gifts that people will both enjoy receiving and enjoy using plus a few stocking stuffers that should come in handy.
Flip minoHD Video Camera
The newest Flip minoHD is both pocket-friendly and easy-to-use. Weighing in at under 4 ounces, you might even forget you have it with you. The large two-inch display makes it easy to capture (and later review) special events, meetings, and various random moments that you wish to preserve.
The Flip gets its name from the retractable USB arm that pops out on demand (no need to have the proper USB cable with you – ever). Three hours of charge time should give up to four hours of camera use (the minoHD sports 8 GB of built-in memory, enough for two hours of actual high-definition recording time). An HDMI output allows you to view your videos on your high-definition television. Image quality good and the Flip comes with software for viewing and editing.
$229 at amazon.com
BlueLounge – The Sanctuary
The Sanctuary holds and charges multiple mobile phones, Bluetooth headsets, MP3 player, portable GPS devices, and more. It is a simple but brilliant solution to a problem faced by the majority of business travelers.
There’s also plenty of room for your wallet and keys alongside your gear, making it a productivity enhancer (no more looking for misplaced keys or phone) as well.
$119.99 at amazon.com
Apple iPod Touch
The iPod touch is a mobile Web browser, a game console, and perhaps the perfect MP3 player. The newest version is faster, has more memory, and has more functionality. ´ It has a glass-covered, 3.5” display with 480×320 resolution. Features include the Safari Web browser, a photo viewer, support for e-mail (compatible with Microsoft Outlook and Exchange, MobileMe, Gmail, among others), an integrated iTunes store where you can purchase and download music and videos, and numerous useful utilities (weather, calendar, maps, just to name a few). The iTunes App Store has thousands of applications, ranging from games, entertainment, finance, fitness, business, social networking, and travel.
Voice Control, a new feature, allows the user to control playback using voice commands via the microphone built into the earbuds that come with the unit. Simply say the name of a song, artist, playlist, or album and the iPod will follow the request. It also understands play, pause, skip, and shuffle. If you use the Genius playlist function, you can also say “play more songs like this.”
$269 (32 GB) at amazon.com
Apple iPod Nano
The Apple iPod Nano includes a video camera, FM radio, voice recording, a built-in speaker, and a pedometer. Other useful features for the business traveler include alarms, a clock, a stopwatch, games, notes, and calendar.
The larger screen is more than sufficient for the occasional music video or video podcast. The video camera is handy. VoiceOver uses text-to-speech technology to announce information about each song.
$129 (8 GB) at amazon.com
$165.99 (16 GB) at amazon.com
Apple iPod Shuffle
The world’s smallest MP3 player, the latest iPod shuffle comes with 2 or 4 GB of storage and more color options. It is understandable if one were to confuse the Shuffle with a small piece of jewelry – it’s wearable (just about the size of a large paperclip) and comes with a clip.
The Shuffle has no buttons; its operation is controlled from the remote built into the cable to the earbuds. Functionality is limited to playing audio files; the Shuffle also uses VoiceOver technology, a synthesized voice to announce artist and song title information.
$55 (2 GB) at amazon.com
$79 (4 GB) at amazon.com
Eviant T7 TV
The T7, which comes with a built-in Lithium-ion battery (which lasts about two hours per charge) and a carrying pouch, is the twenty-first century edition of the Tummy TV (a 5” black-and-white TV Sony offered in the 1960s). The size of a digital picture frame or good-sized paperback, it is able to receive over-the-air digital broadcasts in 16:9 widescreen format. You can also connect an external player to the T7. Although I was a bit skeptical at first, I found the image and sound quality to be very good and it’s perfect for use just about everywhere.
$100 at amazon.com
Plantronics Voyager Pro
The Voyager Pro might just be the best Bluetooth headset I’ve ever tested. Thanks to Plantronics’ AudioIQ technology, which uses a 20-band equalizer that constantly adjusts sound levels for optimum volume, quality is simply unbeatable on both sides of the conversation and it’s surprisingly comfortable to wear, despite its heft. To combat wind noise, it has two noise-cancelling microphones on a boom that has three layers of what Plantronics refers to as WindSmart proprietary wind noise technology (the layers are stainless steel, acoustic fabric, and an electronic filter.
The Voyager Pro is rated at six hours of talk time and five days of standby, more than enough for the typical business traveler.
$109.99 at amazon.com
Sennheiser PXC 250
The Sennheiser PXC 250’s audio quality is impressive as is the comfort level. Even after hours of wearing the PXC 250, I experienced very little discomfort. Despite the small size, the wearer gets good separation and an impressive soundstage. Treble notes are vibrant and clear and the mid-range is lush and detailed. The bass could use a bit more punch but it is more than enough for most types of music.
The PXC 250 headphones don’t seal around the ears, which may add to their comfort and make them less likely to overheat one’s ears. They are also less effective at noise isolation than full-sized or in-ear models but they are far more compact than the full-sized ones and easier to travel with.
Most importantly, when folded, the Sennheiser PXC 250 headphones take up minimal space in my bag, something that cannot be said for the noise-cancelling headphones I used to carry on trips.
$59.95 at amazon.com
The Mophie Juice Pack Air is both a case and a charger. The Achilles heel of the iPhone is the lack of a removable battery and frequent travelers know that it isn’t always possible to stop for a recharge en route. The hard plastic case affords protection while it almost doubles the battery life of the iPhone.
$76.94 at amazon.com
The Clickfree Traveler is a credit card-sized 64 GB (16 and 32 GB also available) backup device that connects to your computer via a hidden USB connector. There’s no setup or software to install – Clickfree starts automatically and backs up every document and file it can find (including Web site favorites). The backup can be secured via a password to ensure full protection and it supports incremental backups.
$99.99 (32 GB) at amazon.com
Powergenix NiZn Quick Charger will charge up to 4 AA rechargeable batteries, making it unnecessary for the business traveler to carry extra batteries that take up valuable space. The charger comes with four Nickel-Zinc batteries (It takes about 1.5 hours to charge two) and is compatible with any voltage from 100-240 VAC.
$25.22 at amazon.com