That snazzy new Herman Miller Aeron chair? It can wait. What can't wait are the tech essentials you need to get your daily work done. We're pared down our list to the six items you should invest in now. They aren't necessarily the cheapest gadgets you'll find, but in the long run they prove to be smart investments.--John Brandon
My top pick recently in an ultrabook round-up, the Acer Aspire S5 is particularly light and svelte. The $1,000 S5 uses the latest Intel processor but is only .059 at the thickest end, and weighs just 2.65 pounds. There’s a unique feature called the MagicFlip I/O Port. It’s a port that flips out for docking in the office where you can connect products like displays and drives to the USB 3.0, Thunderbolt, and HDMI ports.
For $1200, this super high-res monitor might seem like overkill for a start-up. The display is remarkably clear at 2560 x 1440 pixels and uses in-plane switching technology that makes colors and text pop on the screen, making it “future proof” for the next few years. (Super-clear displays are easier to read--just ask Apple, which recently announced a new MacBook line with crisp screens.) Having a 27-inch display on your desk keeps you productive as it lets you spread out your apps and see docs easier.
This brand new inkjet prints at 16 ppm in black and 9 ppm in color. One bonus: This model can do automatic two-sided printing, which saves on paper. There’s a feature called HP ePrint that lets you print from your phone or tablet to the cloud from anywhere, then send those docs to the printer. This model is a printer, scanner, fax machine, and copier and costs $170. There’s a 2.65-inch touchscreen for managing print jobs. The printer also connects over your wireless network.
Okay, here’s some advice. Skip the old-school power strips. They are not really protecting anything, especially that business report you’ve been working on since September. The Eaton 3S, starting at just $76, is an “uninterruptible power supply” which means you can connect up to 10 office gadgets and they will keep running for 30-45 minutes. Each outlet has a surge protector.
This $200 shredder is designed for small shops with just a few employees and can handle light shredding duties. There’s an automatic sheet feeder, and it can handle staples and paper clips. You can also shred credit cards. The main bonus? This model is quieter than some of the bulkier office shredders.
Okay, so you have a main computer, an all-in-one printer, a monitor, a power supply, and a shredder. What else do you need? That’s right: coffee. This office-ready brewer (call Tassimo Pro for prices), which uses cartridges called T-Discs to make the coffee, holds about a gallon of water. Flavors range from light to dark roasts, and you can also make lattes, specialty drinks, tea, and hot cocoa. Yum.
Read more: 6 Cutting-Edge Gadgets to Watch