Last Minute Holiday Gift Guide
Our Last Minute Holiday Gift Guide presents a wide range of presents for appropriate for the business traveler(s) in your life that you can get almost overnight. Have you ever wanted to safely bring home a few bottles of wine? Get the BottleWise Duo. Need to conduct conference calls on the road? The Tumi Internet Microphone is perfect for such meetings. Always searching for the right tool? Simply carry the LoggerHead ImmiX 20X with you.
Read on for some of the best solutions for portable computer backup, stylish Bluetooth headsets, a point-and-shoot camera and a messenger camera bag, and the world’s smallest travel power supply for your laptop.
Jawbone Prime Bluetooth Headset
Bluetooth headsets are one of the most personal electronics items imaginable, as few devices hook themselves on or into one’s ear on a regular basis. As a result, choosing the “right” headset is a polarizing topic on Internet discussion forums. One headset to consider is the Jawbone Prime from Aliph. The sound quality is very good and noise cancellation is excellent. It’s also quite stylish.
We found it will stay in with just the earbud; it has a nice, secure feel. Indeed, use of the earhook is optional. T he Jawbone Prime supports typicall Bluetooth headset functionality such as answering, rejecting, and ending calls; call waiting; voice dialing; mute; and last number redial. It can connect to two devices at once. Talk time is rated at 4.5 hours; standby time is 8 days.
$93.64 at amazon.com
Tumi Internet Microphone
Many business travelers use Voice-over-IP services such as Skype when travelling, especially given the high cost of international phone calls. The built-in microphone in a typical laptop isn’t really designed to support a conference call, but there are many times on a trip when you really wish you had a real speakerphone.
Enter Tumi. The Tumi Internet Microphone, which weighs just a few grams and comes in an attractive lambskin case, supports high-fidelity hands-free conversation for one or several road warriors.
It simply plugs in to the microphone jack of your laptop and requires no additional software. Participants in my test conference calls reported excellent sound quality.
$75 at tumi.com
Invariably I find myself purchasing at least several bottles of wine on my trips. I then spend the rest of the trip wondering exactly how I am going to shepherd the bottles home safely, without violating various security checkpoint rules or coloring my clothing burgundy.
BottleWise is lightweight and TSA-approved answer to my quandary. The BottleWise Duo has two padded liquid-tight pouches (the company calls them Bot’lPaks), each holding up to a 750 ml bottle, that come in a carrying case. Simply push out the excess air from the pouch and seal.
$58.95 at amazon.com
Rebit 320 GB Portable Backup Drive
Computer backup seems to be the stuff that headaches are made of. No backup is ever as simple as it seems, with perhaps one exception: the Rebit portable backup drive. All I had to do was unpack the box, plug in the two USB cables to my computer, click OK for the software to install, and the Rebit quietly started to back up everything on my computer’s hard drive. If you leave the Rebit plugged it, it will backup new and changed files automatically. If you plug it in from time to time, it will determine which files have to be backed up and resume where it left off.
The portable version (which is the one I tested) weighs only 241 g (8.5 oz) and, thanks to its thin form factor, takes up virtually no space when travelling. This is a holiday gift that will keep on giving throughout the year.
$99 at amazon.com
LoggerHead ImmiX 10X and 20X Combination Tool
The LoggerHead ImmiX 10x is a combination wrench, screwdriver, knife, and saw, all contained in a heavy-duty cordura-like belt pouch.
The innovative part of the wrench is that six individual jaws clamp onto a hex nut or bolthead and are tightened to it by the action of the plier grips, the tighter one squeezes the grips, the firmer the hold on the fastener. Hex heads from 3/16″ to 9/16″ between flats are accommodated.
The tool also includes ten hex bits in assorted Philips, slotted, Robertson, and Torx sizes. The bits fit a magnetic holder in the tool’s handle and the tool’s shape provides a generous and effective driving torque. A ratchet effect is achieved by slightly releasing grip pressure, turning the wrench, and re-squeezing the grip.
Additionally, the tool sports a knife blade 2-1/2″ in length and a companion saw blade.
The tool is available in either nickel or black oxide finish and a nickel finish 20x model replaces the knife blades with an additional set of 10 hex bits with Allen key included in the mix. Both are a welcome addition to the business traveler’s toolkit.
LoggerHead ImmiX 20X (check-point friendly) – $34.95 at amazon.com
LoggerHead ImmiX 10X (checked luggage only) – $46.95 at amazon.com
Jack Camera Bag
The best way to decide on a bag that will suit your needs is to determine what gear you need to carry on a regular basis and what will protect the bag’s contents. Options include everything from backpacks to shoulder bags to rolling cases.
But there’s no reason a camera bag can’t be stylish either. One elegant example we found is the Jack leather camera bag by Jill-e. You can fit up a digital SLR, a flash, a few lenses, and still have room for memory cards and other small items. The interior is adjustable and there are front and side pockets as well as a laptop pouch in the rear that can handle a 15” notebook computer.
The back of the back has a slot for inserting the telescoping handle of a rolling bag when you travel.
$252.94 at amazon.com
mCube90 and mCube90 DC Travel Power Supplies
At 53 g (1.87 oz), the mCube90 DC might very well be the world’s smallest power supply for use in cars and planes. The mCube90DC is actually the detachable bottom portion of the mCube90 (a bit bigger at 263g or 9.3 oz) and it can be used anywhere there’s an AC outlet, both in the U.S. and abroad. It’s compatible with most notebook computers (maximum screen size, 17”) and also can power mobile- and smartphones as well as other USB-powered devices.
mCube90 $119.99 at amazon.com
mCube90 DC $59.99 at amazon.com
Casio Exilim EX-FC100 Digital Camera
Choosing a camera used to be simple but the digital revolution has added feature upon feature (does anyone really need a smile sensor?) Point-and-shoot cameras used to be the simplest, with relatively few features. They were supposed to live up to their name and be easy to use but that is frequently not the case.
The EX-FC100 adds some interesting features to the mix, including 30 shot-per-second high-speed burst shooting and a high-definition movie function.
Despite its small form factor, the camera felt solid; the lack of a viewfinder took getting used to but the 2.7” display is more than adequate for point-and-shoot photos. It has a 5x optical zoom and decent image stabilization. Image quality was satisfactory, which is about par for the point-and-shoot crowd.
$214.95 at amazon.com
[Editor’s note: Prices listed were current at time of publication.]