For entrepreneurs, the call of the road sounds like a smartphone ring tone, the hum of an ultraportable laptop or the instructions from a GPS. All those devices enable a mobile lifestyle for business owners and their employees. It's a world where you never have to be out of touch with the office, your customers or your partners.
You can't think about mobile business gear without touching on highly portable laptops. With a 12.1-inch display and weighing a slim 2.2 pounds, the Dell Latitude E4200 won't weigh down your laptop bag. Once you get past its good looks, courtesy of a magnesium alloy construction, you'll find the option for a solid state drive up to 128GB, a smart card reader for security, and instant access to applications like e-mail and calendars. Tablet PCs have long come at a premium price, but Fujitsu is narrowing the gap with the 5.3-pound LifeBook T1010 convertible that starts at $1,349. The basic configuration has desirable features like a dual-layer DVD writer, but the big draw is the touchscreen tablet capabilities.
The new Aliph Jawbone 2 Bluetooth headset has shed an amazing amount of size compared to the last model. The result is an even more slim and comfortable fit that can be customized with the included ear loops and ear buds. Voice quality is excellent and makes full use of the innovative NoiseAssassin technology to pick up only your voice even in loud surroundings.
When it comes to Bluetooth devices for your laptop, a travel mouse can be a big boost to your computing comfort on the road. The Kensington Ci95m is compact with a magnetized top to make changing batteries a breeze. But the real star of the show is the Bluetooth Nano Receiver; it's so tiny that you can plug it into your laptop and leave it. Smartphones are a travel lifeline for many entrepreneurs. The Palm Treo 800w is affordable ($250 with a contract) and packs in Windows Mobile 6.1, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and a 2-megapixel camera. Voice quality is decent but not great through the Sprint network. Most important for entrepreneurs, the 800w is ready to work with Microsoft Office Mobile applications, GPS, a full qwerty keyboard and a nice-size 2.5-inch touchscreen.
The ultimate mobile accessory is a GPS that will get you to your destination with minimal hassle. The TomTom GO 930 comes with some of the latest bells and whistles, such as Advanced Lane Guidance to get you through confusing intersections, improved travel time estimates with IQ Routes technology and address entry by voice. The attractive frameless touchscreen Navigon 7200T ups the visual ante with Landmark View 3-D and Reality View Pro, a feature that shows 3-D images and road sign text for virtually every exit and junction drivers will encounter. For GPS with a twist, look to the Dash Express. This internet-connected GPS stays in touch with Yahoo Local search to give you up-to-date information on points of interest. This is handy for locating eateries and finding the lowest priced local gas. The AutoUpdate feature helps to keep your maps current and traffic data accurate. Those services do come at the price of a service plan, however. Plans come in as low as $9.99 per month when you sign up for a two-year contract.