Sure, the ‘C’ in CES stands for consumers, but that doesn’t necessarily mean a business can’t benefit from the annual electronics show in Las Vegas.
In fact, sometimes gear makers use the Consumer Electronics Show to billboard products that cross the consumer/commercial divide; an informal BES if you will!
Here are six examples of business gear from last week's Las Vegas tech extravaganza that can improve performance in any small or home office.
1. HP Spectre x360 Convertible Laptop
No, this is not a laptop that belongs to James Bonds' archenemies. The HP Spectre x360 is a 15.6-inch aluminum portable PC that HP claims is the thinnest convertible available. It's not only thin but versatile; its 4K 3820 x 2160-pixel touchscreen twists around the keyboard so it can operate as a standard laptop, stand up like an A-frame tent for movie watching, set up L-shaped with the keyboard face-down to show a presentation to someone sitting across from you or fold back-to-back with the screen against the rear of the keyboard to use as a tablet.
Included is a full array of jacks and ports including a USB Type-C that supports up to 5GB of data transfer and, best of all, a whopping 13 hours of portable battery life. Spectre x360 will go on sale February 14.
2. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Tablet
Think of Lenovo's X1 thin (8.4 mm) and light (1.8 pounds) tablet with a detachable keyboard as a child of the company's sleek Carbon and flexible Yoga laptops that can be expanded with clip-on modules. For instance, you can add a Productivity Module to get up to 15 hours of battery life, a Presenter Module with a pico projector and an HDMI port, and an Imaging Module that adds a rear-facing Intel RealSense scanning camera. The X1 will be available in February.
3. Samsung Galaxy TabPro S Tablet
If your portable computing needs are a bit more mainstream, Samsung's new Galaxy TabPro S 2-in-1 tablet still means business, but in an even lighter (1.5 pounds) and thinner (6.3 mm) stick-in-your-bag package.
Designed to be a Microsoft Surface Pro 4 killer, the slightly smaller TabPro S (12-inch 2160-by-1440 display versus SP4's 2736-by-1824 screen) features the first Super AMOLED display (2160-by-1440) for a Windows 2-in-1, which means bright sunlight will impact it less, as well as a detachable thin and flat keyboard cover. It'll be available in February.
4. Epson WorkForce EcoTank Printers
There's nothing more frustrating than wanting to print something only to find you need to replace an ink cartridge. Epson wants to solve the “no ink annoyance” with its WorkForce EcoTank printers. This whole new concept in printers includes large "super tank" ink reservoirs that come loaded with enough ink for up to two years of printing, the equivalent of around 20 sets of ink cartridges.
5. VXi Envoy Office USB Telephone Headset
When you're jammed into an office with several other workers, you want to keep your conversations as private as possible, especially video calls. This full-featured Unified Communications (UC) VXi Envoy Office headphone plugs into a PC's USB jack, meets Skype for Business standards and includes noise-canceling microphone technology, so your caller only hears you and not the surrounding hubbub. It also has inline volume and switch hook controls.
Envoy is surprisingly light and comfortable. The swing-down mic is sensitive enough to be whispered into so as not to disturb potentially eavesdropping co-workers and can be bent into the most comfortable position (worn with the boom on the left or right).
6. Plantronics Voyager Focus UC
If you or your workers need a bit more flexibility for their conversations, this immersive and comfy Plantronics Voyager Focus UC stereo headphone is built with Class 1 Bluetooth, which lets you clearly converse up to 150 feet away from your PC. Its on-ear design covers your lobes to reduce ambient office, or noise from outside leaking in, plus the active noise cancellation in both ear cups and boom mic reduces low-frequency hums such as the air conditioner. It also keeps desktop clatter and nearby conversations from reaching whomever you're speaking with. A light on the boom ear cup indicates to co-workers that you're on a call, and the phone will tell you when you're on mute while the stubby Bluetooth dongle glows red as a visual reminder.
With all of these products hitting the market in early 2016, home and small offices can look forward to small tech advances that make working life more convenient and easier for everyone.