Gadget Countdown 4: Laptops and office tech
On the laptop front it seems to have turned into a three-horse race this year. Are you going touch-screen Windows 8, MacBook Air or Google Chromebook?
Most of us are stuck with the ubiquitous Windows 7 Dell laptop or similar, but as cloud computing takes off some are finding they can break free from Microsoft and we are starting to see the MacBook Air taking over where accountants’ budgets will stretch to it.
Gary Turner was impressed with his new Samsung Chromebook earlier this year, a good option for something that looks not unlike a MacBook but costs about £1000 less! If you’re able to work online all the time, this might be the future of computing.
Or could you manage with a tablet? I frequently work out of the office on my iPad with a Zagg Bluetooth keyboard/case. Looks and feels much like a laptop, but much more compact. I often upload accounts and other documents onto it to take to meetings to save carrying loads of paper. I guess you can do something similar with an Android (or – heaven forbid – a Windows-powered) tablet, but it just won’t look so cool J!
With the move towards laptops and away from huge desktop PCs it’s about time we saw a reaction against the 2, 3 or 4-screen displays which have started to take over our desktops. One practical solution might be one of the new generation of pico projectors from the likes of Philips. These pocket-size projectors pack quite a punch these days, and are ideal for projecting your screen (or even files from a smartphone) onto a handy wall rather than having several people crowding round a screen. They can be very effective even in one-to-one presentations. Some will even run a Powerpoint presentation direct from an SD card or USB stick without needing a computer at all.
If you must have a second screen, consider a portable USB monitor to pair with your laptop while away from your desk. For under £100 you can even get a small touch screen version.
If you must sit in front of a monitor all day, consider your eyes this Christmas and treat them to a £250 BenQ BL2411PT Eye-Care monitor, which features an automatic eye protection sensor, anti-glare display and a flicker-free backlight. It even tells you when to take a break!
Getting down to basics, Philip Fisher likes his Logitech K750 solar wireless keyboard (from which I deduce that, unlike me, he enjoys some natural light in his office!). I’m guessing he probably uses it with something like the Logitech Marathon Mouse, which will apparently go for three years on a single pair of AA batteries, but I have to say my Apple Magicmouse with its multi-directional touch pad surface is the best I have ever used – even if it uses traditional batteries.
Or maybe you've got your eye on something else this year. What would you treat your office workspace to this year if money was no object? Let us know in the Comment box below.
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I'm a partner with Burton Sweet, chartered accountants & business advisers, and run the Shepton Mallet office down in beautiful Somerset. Despite the name, Shepton Mallet is actually the home of Glastonbury Festival! I trained in audit and corporate tax with Grant Thornton and came to my current position in 1991 via small local practices...