Regular dispatches from AccountingWEB gadget devotees including executive peripherals editor Nigel Harris, community correspondent Rachael Power, community manager Henry Osadzinski, and Accountants Power Tools' Kevin Salter.
Christmas Gadget Countdown Day 6 - Laptops and office tech
Let's be serious for a moment and think about office IT. Well, OK let's think about some IT that would also be fun to have in the office!
Ultra thin Google Chromebooks (manufactured currently by Acer and Samsung) start at £199 and look great value against Apple's similarly anorexic MacBook Air (which starts at £849). At least buyers determined to avoid Microsoft products now have a choice of alternatives.
Over in the aforementioned Microsoft camp, ultra slim laptops such as the Asus VivoBook S200E (£500) have harnessed the features of Windows 8 . The touchscreen technology really shines however in convertible laptop/tablet devices such as the Sony Vaio Duo 11 (£849). The Dell XPS 12 is a convertible laptop whose screen can be flipped over to turn it into a laptop – pricier at £1,000 though: you could buy a decent laptop AND and tablet for the same money. If you just HAVE to have the full fat Windows 8 and Office 2013, then you should look at Microsoft's own Surface devices, which start at £399, although you'll have to put up with its clunky interface and indifferent screen resolution.
For next year we're waiting to see if Intel's Nikiski concept laptop makes it into production. Previewed at the CES 2012 show, it features a clear touch pad the width of the device that serves as a track pad when open, and as a handy touchscreen when closed.
If you've already got a Windows 8 PC, the gadget for you has to be the Microsoft Wedge Touch Mouse, a neat Bluetooth mouse with touch surface. Sadly, it looks rather 1950s compared with Apple's Magic Mouse.
For the office that has everything, my choice would be a Dyson Air Multiplier fan, one of those chrome rings on a stick that somehow blow cold (and hot) air from somewhere without blowing all your papers across the floor. One of these beauties will only set you back £2-300, a lot less than a Windows 8 or Apple laptop!