When traveling on business, it would be great if you could receive and send e-mail and easily perform other simple office tasks, like sending and receiving faxes or scanning documents into your computer--all without lugging around a ton of equipment. It would be even better if none of these chores required high-tech skills. Follow along and we'll show you how to put together a collection of easy-to-use, powerful high-tech tools for travel that cost about $3,600, plus monthly fees of less than $90.
The centerpiece of your mobile toolkit is a laptop tablet computer. It should be powerful but small and lightweight. It also needs to have long battery life, built-in wireless, Ethernet and external video output capability, a DVD/CD drive, a PC card slot and the ability to operate two monitors (if needed for special projects).
That may seem like quite a hefty list of requirements, but we found that an Acer TravelMate C200 Tablet PC (http://global. acer.com) with 2 gigabytes of RAM does the job. It costs about $1,312.
Tablet PCs offer the full computing power of a desktop, and can also translate notes and signatures written on the screen into digital documents.
To expand the computer's functionality, install Microsoft's free on-screen calculator, which is available at www.microsoft. com/windowsxp/downloads/power toys/ tabletpc.mspx. This program allows the user to handwrite numbers on the screen with a stylus; the software transforms the script into digital format so it can be calculated.
We use the Pentax PocketJet 3 (www. pentaxtech.com). Powered by a lithium-ion battery, it's capable of printing about 100 pages before it needs a recharge. However, since it also can operate off the laptop's electricity via its USB port, you don't have to bring along its 1-pound electronic power adapter. The printer measures 10-by-1-by-2 inches and prints on readily available thermal paper. It costs about $373.
We use a Casio XJ-S35 (www.casio.com), which is shaped like a thin laptop, so it fits easily in a computer carrying case next to the laptop. It weighs only 3.9 pounds and measures 10.6-by-l.7-by-7.8 inches. Despite its small size, it produces images at 2,000 lumens, so presentations are easy to view in normally lightedrooms. It lists for $1,599.
Another essential tool is a scanner. Like the computer, it must be lightweight, small and highly functional. It must have minimal need for external power and it must be capable of scanning documents...