Taking business on the road? These gadgets will help you stay productive without making your bag exceed the carry-on size limit.
By John Brandon
What’s the difference between a productive business trip and one that causes constant stress? In most cases, it depends on the gear you bring along. Carry a laptop that dies after only three hours, or tote an iPad keyboard with a few faulty keys, and you might wish you’d just stayed in the office.
This gear is different, though. These six gadgets will help you stay productive on the road.
Mophie Space Pack: iPhone Battery With Built-in Storage
Announced at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) 2014, this unique iPhone 5 case should be available this month. Available in black or white, the Morphie Space Pack is a durable hardshell case will recharge your phone at least once but — more importantly — also adds up to 32GB of extra storage. (The 16GB version is $150, while the 32GB version is $180.)
To manage the storage, you do have to use a free Mophie app, which uses the storage as a backup drive.
Hex Gallery Carry-on Duffel: Stand Out (But Not Too Much)
This unusual travel bag will make you stand out in a crowd without letting everyone around you know you have a laptop inside. The Hex Gallery Carry On Duffel ($125) is made from a waterproof woven material and has a thick interior lining.
Inside, there’s a side compartment for your 17-inch laptop and, on the other side, room for cables, phones and other gadgets. In between, there’s space for clothes, books or other gear.
Jackery Giant Plus: Recharge Your Phone, See Where You’re Going
Jackery is relatively unknown in the back-up battery market, but the Jackery Giant Plus ($50) external charger for your phone provides some serious power. You can expect to recharge a smartphone about eight times. The device weighs about 10 ounces and measures about 3 inches by 4 inches. When you arrive in a dark hotel room, the battery pack provides a built-in LED flashlight to boot.
One critical feature: The battery won’t drain too quickly and lasts about six months with standby time.
Logitech FabricSkin Keyboard Folio: Orange Is the New Black
Many new iPad Air keyboard folio cases are boring and black. This more stylish option from Logitech ($150) comes in bright orange, though there are also yellow/black and white/black versions.
The design is smart and functional: Snap an iPad into the keyboard’s slots and it stays firmly in place. When you fold down the tablet to type, it snaps into place above the keyboard. While the keys aren’t as springy as models by Targus and Kensington, they do promote fast touch-typing.
HP Chromebook 14: No Software, Drivers to Worry About
For business travel, a Chromebook is an ideal companion: There are no drivers to cause conflict, no viruses to worry about and no software to maintain. Instead, the Chrome OS runs lightning fast on the new Intel Celeron Haswell chipset.
The HP Chromebook 14 ($299 and up) also has 4GB of RAM, free 4G service for two years, 12 credits for GoGo Inflight and a free 100GB Google Drive credit. On the downside, the laptop runs only the Chrome browser — so no local apps.
Available sometime this spring or summer, the FINsix is a tiny laptop adapter that’s about one-quarter the size of most laptop chargers. A bunch of brainy MIT alumni figured out the circuitry to make this plug work, and there are adapters available for popular laptops from Dell, HP and Apple. The only catch: There isn’t an exact ship date or price for this product.
John Brandon is a former IT manager at a Fortune 100 company who now writes about technology. He has written more than 2,500 articles in the past 10 years. You can follow him on Twitter @jmbrandonbb. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline, Facebook, Google + and LinkedIn.