Pack up that briefcase, empty your desk, and kiss the old cubicle goodbye. Courtesy of today’s increasingly high-tech mobile communications and business devices, the modern office fits in any laptop bag -- and goes wherever you do. Now that smartphones double as portable Internet access points and personal assistants, and pint-size document scanners and notebook PCs enable greater productivity than stationary desktop counterparts, the verdict is in: Telecommuting is the new nine to five.
Looking to make the switch? Below are several great gadgets that can help you cut the cord, unchain yourself from the water cooler, and put the open road (okay, refrigerator) back within reach.
1/ 3M MPro110
$359 This pocket-ready, 5.6-ounce handheld microprojector is powered by a rechargeable battery and capable of connecting to a laptop or a smartphone to screen images and presentations up to 50 inches in size. www.3m.com
2/ Xerox Travel Scanner 100
$200 It’s light, stows away quickly, runs off a USB connection, and magically turns full pages -- contracts, receipts, business cards, invoices, etc. -- into 600 DPI color or black-and-white PDF scans. www.xeroxscanners.com
3/ Livescribe Pulse smartpen
$150 (1GB) or $200 (2GB) This nifty pen tracks everything you write on special microdot paper while simultaneously making an audio recording. Notes can then be tapped for instant acoustic playback or easily transferred to your PC or Mac. www.livescribe.com
4/ HP ProBook 4510s
$529 This laptop strikes just the right balance between price and performance, delivering solid battery life and a comfy keyboard as well as data encryption, drop-proof construction, and quick-start options. www.hp.com
5/ Canon PIXMA iP100
$250 The portable PIXMA provides high-resolution color documents and photo prints at a brisk output speed, has wireless Bluetooth connectivity (for direct connection to netbook/notebook PC or cellular phone), and is just rugged enough to be a reliable travel companion. www.canon.com
6/ Nokia E71x
$99 with two-year contract after mail-in rebate Engineered for workplace and personal use, this versatile smartphone offers comprehensive e-mail support, a finger-friendly keyboard, 3G high-speed Internet access, Wi-Fi connectivity, GPS, and world-calling features -- all without sacrificing a solid battery life. www.nokia.com
7/ Aliph Jawbone Prime
$130 This fashion-conscious Bluetooth hands-free headset won’t just keep you looking stylish; it will also keep you from inadvertently causing seven-car pileups while trying to successfully close sales calls while barreling down I-85. www.aliph.com