4 must-have gadgets

Take a look at a few good tools that can make your work life a little easier without pinching the wallet too much.

(Business 2.0 Magazine) -- Here are four gadgets - recommended by readers - that will make your work life easier: A razor that saves both time and your face; a backpack that looks good in the boardroom; a projector that fits into any startup's budget and a spill-proof cup that won't damage your computer keyboard.

The skin game

CoolSkin Razor gives a close shave without the usual irritation.
BBP Hybrid Messenger Backpack Laptop Bag looks right at home in the boardroom or on the street.
Lumenlab keeps the cost down on projection.
Camelbak is spill-proof, even around your keyboard.

Philips Norelco CoolSkin Razor; $80-$150; www.feeldifferent.philips.com

Over the past decade, I've tried various razors, creams and gels, as well as moisturizing immediately after shaving, but the results were always disappointing. Either I didn't get a close enough shave or the razor chafed my skin, leaving it red and blotchy. Neither look is professional. Then I found the CoolSkin, an electric razor that gives me a close, even shave without the usual irritation.

The secret is its proprietary lubrication system, unique among electric razors: As you shave, lotion is dispensed from inside the handle; meanwhile, the rotary heads are outfitted with "glide rings" that hold the lotion in contact with your skin as you move the razor across your face. The rechargeable battery lasts up to an hour, and the moisturizing system makes the razor perfect for quick shaves at the office or on those mornings when you're running late. Finally, a razor that saves time - and my face.

- Leandro Agro, Chief interaction director, Kallideas Group

Style and substance

BBP Hybrid Messenger/Backpack Laptop Bag; $95; www.bbpbags.com

For years I've been looking for a bag with compartments for all my gadgets that I could take on a plane or into a boardroom. With the BBP hybrid, I've finally found it - a bag that can be a backpack, messenger bag, or briefcase and looks professional enough to go anywhere. It has all the features you find in the best messenger bags (padded straps, multiple water-bottle holders, plenty of pockets both inside and out), as well as the durability you expect from a good laptop case (bulletproof exterior, water-resistant fabric, padded compartments).

When I travel, I strap the BBP to my luggage and roll it to the check-in counter; then, with just a minor adjustment of the straps, I can convert it into a backpack to distribute the load across both shoulders for my trek to the gate. It is, quite simply, a one-of-a-kind bag that does the work of three.

- Chad Dickerson, senior director,Yahoo Developer Network

Profitable projections

Lumenlab eVo v1.1 Projector; $500; www.lumenlab.com

It's hard to demo your technology to people crowded around a tiny laptop. But there's no room in my startup's budget for a top-of-the-line projector, which can cost several thousand dollars and burn through short-lived bulbs that go for $350 a pop. The Lumenlab, by contrast, is reasonably priced and takes $30 bulbs that last 6,000 hours.

All in all, the 10-pound projector measures up to pricier models: The resolution is fine and the images are bright. The contrast is not as sharp, but it's good enough. I bring it to industry events now, and the crowds at our table are much bigger. I also hook it up at the office to display server statistics. In the past, we didn't know our hardware was overtaxed until clients complained. But a few months ago, when a high-traffic Web site linked to us and maxed out the servers, we saw it instantly and quickly scaled up our capacity. For that alone, the Lumenlab has already paid for itself.

- Bryan Kennedy, Founder, PairWise

A grown-up sippy cup

CamelBak Bottle; $12; www.camelbak.com

Nutrition experts say you should drink at least eight glasses of water a day. The corporate IT department, on the other hand, doesn't want liquids anywhere near your computer. In an effort to protect the health of my body and my hardware, I've tried several different kinds of water bottles, but they all share the same design flaw: They require you to unscrew the top in order to drink from them, thus creating the potential for splashes. (Scoff if you like, but I've ruined two keyboards that way.) So I began searching for a flask safe enough to keep next to my computer.

Enter the CamelBak bottle, a clear-plastic container with a leak-free nozzle system. You simply bite down on the nozzle and then suck on it like a straw, which eliminates the possibility of dribbling or spilling. It is slim enough to fit in most cup holders and has a large hook on the top for attaching it to backpacks or other bags. Now I take the CamelBak everywhere I go. I stay hydrated, and my hardware stays dry.

- Ario Jafarzadeh, User experience designer, Google  Top of page

To send a letter to the editor about this story, click here.