Tools of the Trade
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- Intel Inside: You want the power of a desktop and the portability of a laptop? No problem. The Toshiba Tecra A9 is a desktop replacement notebook that comes with the latest Intel Centrino Pro processor with draft 802.11n Wi-Fi support. Included in the standard configuration is a 15.4-inch wide-screen display, a one-year warranty, Windows Vista Business, a 1GB memory, an 80GB hard drive and a DVD burner. You can customize your own model at toshibadirect.com. Prices start at $1,159, and for $100 more, you can up the warranty to three years. With a weight of 6.6 pounds, it's a reasonably sized desktop replacement, and the spill-resistant keyboard and built-in shock protection system should help with durability when you're on the go.
- Internet Armor: Some anti-virus programs have reputations for being bloated and not playing well with other software. Grisoft's AVG Anti-Virus has been a popular choice for non-commercial users looking for a free, streamlined and effective anti-virus solution. Commercial users can get into the action with the AVG Internet Security suite ($69.95 for a two-year subscription). You get anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-spam and a firewall in one package that's fully compatible with Windows Vista-- and included in the cost is 24/7 tech support. AVG Internet Security is a low-hassle way to stock up on all the computer protection you need to keep your PC and business data safe.
- Tidal Talk: Your first smartphone should be capable but not complicated. The Helio Ocean fits the bill. The Ocean features a 2-megapixel camera, Bluetooth and a dual-slide design that reveals a qwerty keyboard and a separate numeric keypad. Several multimedia and messaging capabilities are built into this phone. The integrated messaging dashboard keeps all your e-mails, IMs, text messages and photo messages in one central location. An advanced search function lets you look through your device or on the web. The 2.4-inch screen makes all this activity fairly comfortable to view. At nearly 6 ounces, it's not the slimmest phone on the market, but the extensive features make for a reasonable trade-off. The Ocean has an MSRP of $295, but expect to find discounts when you purchase one with a calling plan.