In business, getting the upper hand is critical – any slight edge over competitors can help you get that sales boost you need. And gear that doesn't quite work or has too many complicated features will just slow you down.
What you need are gadgets that can give you an edge and help you stay productive at the office or on business trips. And to that end, we thought we'd look back at our most favoured gadgets of last year, which offer unique features and good craftsmanship for those who need to get real work done.
1. Plantronics BackBeat Pro
What sets these headphones for business users apart is that they last for a full 24 hours, mostly due to the sensing tech that knows when you are not wearing the device and puts it into a sleep mode. If you don't use the BackBeat Pro for an extended period, it will shut down completely.
The headphones use noise-cancelling tech to help you focus on the tasks at hand. The BackBeat Pro connects to your phone or tablet over Bluetooth, but you can also use a 3.5mm wired connector to any gadget or laptop.
2. Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro
Not all laptops are created equal. This innovative model uses a durable hinge that can withstand abuse, converting from a full Windows 8 tablet to a laptop with one quick swing. You can even use the laptop in a tripod mode to watch movies on a plane or play touchscreen games.
The Intel Core M processor is fast enough and (more importantly) made with the right architecture to support full Windows desktop apps like Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft Word.
3. Google Nexus 9
If a laptop that converts into a tablet is not a good fit for business purposes, this Android tablet is a good productivity machine. At 8.9-inches, it is large enough to view business reports and enterprise apps from companies like Oracle and SAP. The back is made of a soft-grip material that might seem like a design perk but is intended to keep you from dropping it. The Nexus 9 boasts a 64-bit processor for speedy app performance and plenty of internal storage (32GB).
4. Griffin Technology Wired Keyboard
Sometimes, the best innovations are also the simplest. An alternative to the traditional battery-powered Bluetooth keyboard for an iPad, this wired version means you will never run out of power or have to disable anything during take-off on an airplane. The keys feel just right since they are not so small and thin that you feel like you are typing on a phone, yet they are not so raised and bulbous like a laptop that the keyboard will be too bulky to bring on your next trip.
5. Moto X
The second-gen Moto X smartphone is one of the best designed smartphones you will find, with the option to have customised backplates like leather and wood. For business users, one of the best features is the ability to talk to the phone even when it is sitting on your desk, performing quick searches or making phone calls hands-free. It doesn't last as long as the Motorola Droid Turbo (which clocks in at 48 hours per charge), but the Moto X still lasts a good ten hours for all day usage.