The best business productivity gadgets

Laptops have overtaken desktop PCs as the preferred workhorse machines for most companies, regardless of the size, and it is easy to see why. 

The performance, feature, and price gap between the two have shrunk considerably, so much so that other than for niche use cases that require a fixed workstation, a laptop is generally preferable to a desktop computer.

But while laptops are mobile computers, they do rely, sometimes, on accessories to boost their capabilities. 

We've rounded up some of these clever extras, from an ultra-secure USB drives, through a tiny docking station, to one of the weirdest gadgets ever to land on Techradar Pro, courtesy of a Kickstarter campaign.

GoToConference Kit

Everything you need to get your meeting room up to scratch - all in one box.

Easy to unpack and set up
Compact design
Powerful hardware
No standalone mouse
Need to buy as a package

 If you've just started your own business, or need to work from home often, having a flexible and reliable technology set-up should be one of your top priorities.

In order to keep you from wasting time setting up complex systems, teleconferencing experts GoToMeeting have you covered with an all-in-one box of tools that should allow you to get up and running quickly.

The pack contains an Asus Chromebox PC, Logitech wireless keyboard, Logitech 1080p HD webcam and a FLX UC 500 conference phone from Revo labs - pretty much everything you need to get started. 

The products have all been specially selected to work seamlessly together, meaning most of the usual set-up process can be sped through quickly and easily - even if you're not particularly tech-savvy.

Setting up your new kit can be done in a matter of minutes - all you need is a monitor to hook the PC and webcam up to, with all the rest of the hardware able to just plug and play.

The tiny Chromebox PC is incredibly powerful for something so small (at just 12.4cm wide and 4.2cm tall), coming with a powerful 1.7Ghz processor, 4GB of RAM and 16GB storage, making it a great choice if you are strapped for space in your office. The PC also features 4 USB ports alongside DP, HDMI and LAN connectors, offering everything you should need to get started.

Space saving is also helped by the Logitech wireless keyboard, which connects to the Chromebox via USB tracker, and also includes a trackpad in place of a mouse. If you do prefer using a physical mouse, you'll have to splash out on a separate piece.

All the devices work together quickly and easily, meaning you'll be able to start working, calling and even videoconferencing in no time. The webcam is once again surprisingly powerful for its size, offering a smooth video experience, although we did see some slowdown in some cases.

The only minor downside is the need to buy the entire package, meaning that if you only need a conference phone, or a compact PC, you may be better off buying these separately. 

At the time of writing, the kit is only available to buy in the USA, costing $999, with a subscription fee of $99 a month, making it a fairly pricey proposition - however if you're already an existing GoToMeeting customer, it can be built into your current subscription. 

NUU Konnect i1

A light and slimline 4G mobile hotspot

Light and portable
Elegant design
Wide range of networks
Speed throttling after certain usage
Poor availability

If you've ever been stuck for mobile signal when travelling to a new country, then the NUU Konnect i1 could be the gadget for you.

Able to provide 4G connections in over 100 countries, the i1 looks to offer a simple, portable way to get online wherever you are in the world.

Most current mobile hotspots are only able to connect to 3G networks, so the Konnect i1 already has an advantage there, thanks to its LTE Cat 6 Qualcomm modem.

The device supports VPNs and Wi-Fi calling, and is equipped with LTE bands 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/17/20/39/40/41, meaning there's a wide range of possible connections.

NUU Mobile says that it is trying to target frequent travellers with the Konnect i1. The device itself is small enough and light enough to easily slip into your pocket, and is able to power up using its microUSB port.

Setting up is easy enough, with the capacity to connect up to five devices at any one time.

What's more, you'll only play a flat rate of $10 a day to use the device as much as you want, with no contract or sign-up fees.

However, after the first 500MB of data, you'll be dialled back to HSPA+ networks for the next 500MB you use, and then down again to just 128kps speeds for anything more than that, unless you spend more for further LTE usage.

For the moment, you can only get hold of the Konnect i1 if you backed the product on Kickstarter, with news of a wider release not available just yet.

YRoam YR4 mobile hotspot

A bulky, but powerful mobile hotspot

Country-specific rates
Multiple device connectivity
Doubles as huge battery pack
Chunky design

If you're in the market for something a bit more heavyweight when it comes to your 4G roaming needs, then you may be interested in the YRoam YR4.

YRoam's services are available in over 100 countries worldwide, including popular business travel destinations such as the USA, Singapore and France.

Simply select one of the company's price plans, starting at 5.9p per MB when you buy a 2GB worldwide package.

If you're only travelling to one location, YRoam also offers a UK, US or EU specific package, lasting for 30 days.

Any data usage you purchase can be used either on a PAYG basis, or the ability to top up later.

YRoam also offers discounted rates for connections in your home country, say if you're out in a remote locations not served by your current provider, starting at just 3p per MB.

You can connect up to five devices at any time, meaning you could have a laptop, phone, tablet and more all online at once.

The device features a huge 6,000mAh battery, although this does mean that you're stuck with a fairly heavyweight build.

However this means that the device doubles up as a power bank to recharge your devices in case of an emergency, with a USB and microUSB port to connect up.

Overall though this is a sturdy hotspot that should serve you well wherever you are in the world.