Compact Power: Tech Stocking Stuffers

These tiny products will bring a cheer to your holiday season.

December 1, 2005

Just in time for the holidays, I’ve collected a sampling of a few novel products announced in recent months. So, if you’re looking for a compact gift for yourself or someone else on your holiday list, you may want to consider these practical products. They might help you or your recipients make 2006 even more productive.

  • Plantronics Voyager 510S. If you or someone you know juggles calls between a landline, cellular, and VoIP via a PDA or a notebook computer, this wireless headset system could give you even more mobility. The earpiece/microphone slips over your ear. You can switch between its standard wireless mode for use with cordless phones or Bluetooth mode to send/receive calls using Bluetooth-enabled devices. At $299, it may seem a little expensive, but some may find it a comfortable convenience well worth the cost.
  • HP Deskjet 460 Mobile Printer. Hewlett-Packard’s newest version of its color mobile printer comes equipped with both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support for wireless printing in the office or in the field. Added convenience comes from its multi-format Flash card reader, which allows you to print directly from the Flash card without switching on a PC, and a compact battery, which can print up to 450 pages with each charge. As far as printing goes, this color inkjet is rated at 1,200 dpi, with a maximum print speed of 17 pages per minute in black and 16 pages per minute in color. $249. HP is a REALTOR BenefitsSMPartner.
  • IOGEAR Wi-Fi Finder. Need a gift for colleagues or clients who are practically glued to their notebook computer and don’t have time to check hotspot directories before they leave the house? When they’re looking for a Wi-Fi connection on the road, all they need do is hit the “Detect” button on this handy device to determine if a hotspot connection is available within 500 feet. The device, which can slip onto a keychain, also indicates the available signal strength. $29.95.
  • Targus Super Mini USB 2.0 4-Port Hub. Multitaskers will love this hub that connects up to four USB-compatible devices to a notebook computer or PDA. About the size of a CompactFlash card, the hub includes a cord to connect to a power supply if additional power is needed. $29.99.

There also are some new portable data storage offerings for backing up files or sharing them between devices. Look for these new products:

  • Imation Micro Hard Drive. Perhaps the smallest hard drive to come on the market, this device easily clips to a briefcase or belt loop via its USB cable. Included synchronization software creates and updates versions of files stored on this drive with the hard drives of connected hardware. The Micro, which comes with a protective case, is offered in a 2GB version for $159 and a 4GB version for $189.
  • LaCie Carte Orange. This Flash drive offers high-capacity storage in a durable, compact USB 2.0 drive. About the size of a credit card, it sports a protective metal case and is available in a 4GB version for $99 and an 8GB version for $149.
  • Lexar JumpDrive Secure II USB Flash Drive. The security mavens on your gift list will love the built-in data protection features of this USB Flash drive. Included encryption software automatically encrypts files stored on the drive or copies over encrypted files from a hard drive. Files deleted from the Flash drive using its File Shredder feature are completely wiped from the drive so that they can never be recovered. The Flash drive is available in four versions, ranging from 256MB to 2GB, with pricing starting at $39.99.

The old adage is true, even in the technology age: Good things come in small packages.

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