Top 10: Gadgets Every Executive Wants (Whether They Know it or Not)

By Sasha Orman

This article was originally published in the December 2014 issue of Business Review USA, which can be found here—and don't forget to check out the January 2015 issue by clicking here

You have the laptop, the tablet, the smartphone—what more do you need? You’d be surprised. There’s always something out there that you could use to enhance your life, whether it’s in the field of business or your free time. These executive gadgets may not be the essentials, but they’re the peripherals that will make your life on-the-go a lot more enjoyable.

10. A Sleek Laptop-Friendly Briefcase

You’re going to need a bag to keep all your gadgets in place while you travel—but the last thing you want is a bright bag slung over your shoulder that will make you look like a backpacking student. The answer is a high quality bag or briefcase that makes it clear you’re a professional ready for business. The compact ScanFast Checkpoint Friendly Briefcase 2.0 fits up to a 17-inch laptop and offers a clever compartmentalized design to get you through airports in record time, while the Tumi Voyageur line pairs 15-inch laptop protection with a stylish and more feminine design. 

ScanFast Checkpoint Friendly Briefcase 2.0: $99.99

Tumi Voyageur Macon Laptop Carrier: $225

9. A Practical Universal Charger

A charger isn’t always the most fun or exciting thing to buy for yourself. But in that minute that you need it, you’re thankful that you have one. The light and highly portable Kensington AbsolutePower Laptop, Phone, and Tablet Charger allows you to charge a laptop and two USB devices simultaneously, and comes with EU and UK plugs for ultimate adaptability, making it vital for busy and tech-dependent world travelers.

Kensington AbsolutePower Laptop, Phone, and Tablet Charger: $119.99

Related: Six Phone Charging Myths Corrected

8. A Useful Mobile Hotspot

Wifi-to-go has become a necessity, and a good mobile hotspot can make that happen—and can make you a hero for your executive team when you share it. Depending on your carrier of choice, consider the Samsung LTE Mobile HotSpot Pro from T-Mobile or the Verizon Jetpack, both praised by experts as  leaders in its field for their long battery life and fast service.

Samsung LTE Mobile HotSpot Pro: $168

Verizon Jetpack 4G LTE Mobile HotSpot: $229

7. A Stylish Portable Projector

Here’s a nightmare: you spend countless hours preparing the perfect presentation, travel halfway around the world to present it to your partners or overseas office, only to find out that it’s not displaying properly on their setup. Here’s a solution: bring your own setup. The Vivitek Qumi was named a top contender by Computer World for its bright 500 lumen high-contrast images, while its 30,000 hour LED lamp life and device compatibility makes it perfect for the job—and its stylish design and range of colors make it perfectly desirable.

Vivitek Qumi Q5 LED Pocket Projector: from $548

Related: Top 10 Cool Outdoor Gadgets

6. A Handy Digital Pen

These days we’re all trained to take notes on our laptops or tablets, but sometimes a situation presents itself where it’s just not feasible to break out the cord and power up your laptop. On the other hand, you always have a pen handy in your pocket or purse, so why not make it a digital smart pen? The Sky Wifi Smartpen from Livescribe writes on paper like a traditional ballpoint pen. But unlike a traditional ballpoint pen, it captures your notes and syncs them wirelessly to your Evernote account for easy access from any device. The pen also captures meetings and dictations with up to 800 hours of audio recording and can play them back through headphones or built-in speakers.

Sky Wifi Smartpen 4GB: $199

Sky Wifi Smartpen 8GB Pro Pack: $249

5. A Secure Flash Drive

You do a lot of traveling for your career, and when you’re traveling with sensitive data, you want be sure that your company’s proprietary information stays strictly between you and your laptop. The IronKey Personal S250 flash drive is beautiful in brushed metal and rugged enough to stand up to travel, with easy online password management and built-in encryption and protection against hackers and malware.

IronKey Personal S250 Secure Drive 16GB: $329

Related: Top 10 Most Expensive Gadgets for the Home

4. A Lifesaving Smartphone Battery Case

As an executive on the go, you don’t always have time to stop for lunch, let alone stop to charge your smartphone. But in this digital world, staying connected at all times is critical. A battery case like the Mophie Juice Pack Plus, with a sleek look that hides 2100mAh battery capacity, will give your phone a 120% battery boost to keep you online while you get where you need to go.

Mophie Juice Pack Plus for iPhone 5/5s: $119.95

3. A Versatile Wireless Speaker

It’s not all about work: sometimes you just need to unwind. A good quality compact wireless speaker with rich crystal clear sound can give you that simple pleasure at home, at the office, and while you travel. One that’s beautifully designed, like the colorful and travel-ready 9oz Mini JamBox from Jawbone, kicks things up a notch by giving your personal space a visual lift as well. When business demands your attention, the Mini JamBox syncs up with your phone or tablet to transform the speaker into a conference call hub.

Jawbone Mini JamBox: $179

2. A Wearable Activity Tracker

When you’re busy taking care of a growing business empire, it can be difficult to remember to take care of yourself as well. Activity trackers are quickly becoming all the rage right now, and for a good reason—these wearable pieces of technology unobtrusively track your steps, distance, calories burned, and sleep quality, then syncs the data wirelessly to your devices of choice. Any executive knows that good data can help you improve your bottom line, and data on your own habits can help you improve your quality of life. Thanks to their trendiness, even top designers are getting involved to ensure that fashionable execs can keep up with their fitness while looking their best.

Fitbit One or Fitbit Flex: $99.95

Tory Burch for Fitbit Flex Metal Hinged Bracelet: $195

Related: [15 Musts for 2015] Part 1: Attend the International CES

1. Immersive Noise Cancelling Earbuds

Whether you’re on an international flight or simply catching some alone time in the office, nothing helps to tune out the stresses and chatter of the outside world better than a good pair of noise cancelling headphones. The only problem is that most noise cancelling headphones are large and bulky, making them fine for your home stereo but a nuisance at the office or during travel. Noise cancelling earbuds are the perfect solution, offering the dual benefits of convenience and quality of sound. These noise cancelling earbuds from Bose provide comfort and superior noise cancelling capabilities, plus an “aware mode” that allows in just enough sound to keep you alert and ready for any situation.

Bose QuietComfort 20i Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones: $299

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