The business tools you can't work without : The Not Sold Here Edition
Wasim Ahmad, Chris Taylor, Emile Semmes and Steve Schechter

(Business 2.0) -- Mouse Calls Sony Vaio Mouse Talk VN-CX1; $80; www.sonystyle.com

WASIM AHMAD Vice president for marketing, Voltage Security

Skype's Internet phone service has been a great way for our company to keep its long-distance bills down, but the sound quality was rather poor on my laptop's built-in microphone. I tried a pair of high-end headphones, but they were a pain to carry around. So I spent some time browsing online and stumbled across this clever new device, which does double duty as a USB-connected computer mouse and clamshell phone. A blue LED lights up when a call comes in; I just flip open the mouse and--presto--it becomes a traditional handset. The scroll wheel then acts as the volume control. You can still use the touchpad to work on the computer when you're on a call, especially since the mouse has a speakerphone mode. I keep one in my travel bag and another plugged into my laptop at home. Best of all? The sound quality is nearly as good as on a landline phone.

Fresh Perked Boots Caffeine Strips; $2; www.boots.com

CHRIS TAYLOR Senior editor, Business 2.0

I remember how my British father, rushing to get ready for work, used to wish for a way to combine mouthwash and caffeine in one timesaving product. It took 25 years, but my father's dream has come true: Boots, the largest U.K. pharmacy chain, began selling these mint-flavored caffeine strips in late 2004. They're a lot like those Listerine breath-freshening strips--and taste just as bad. But the Boots variety also delivers a caffeine kick that's about equal to half a cup of coffee (28 strips come in a pack, but Boots recommends using no more than four a day). I use them whenever I want a java jolt without having to take a bathroom break half an hour later. The buzz is pretty much instantaneous. Now, whenever I visit the United Kingdom, I have an ever-growing group of friends and colleagues wanting me to bring back Boots strips for them. They're really cheap gifts and probably the biggest bang you can get for the weak dollar abroad.

Touch of Class Sigma APO Elysium Keyboard; $50; www.sigma-apo.co.jp

EMILE SEMMES Blogger, InputReview.com

Anyone who has upgraded to a flat-screen LCD monitor or an optical wireless mouse knows that high-quality accessories can be better designed, more ergonomic, and easier to use than standard equipment. On a trip to Tokyo, I picked up the Sigma Elysium keyboard and instantly fell in love with its spartan but stylish features. The keyboard comes in seven metallic colors and is only about half an inch thick at its thinnest (though it's thicker in the back for a natural arc that negates the need for a gel pad to ease wrist strain). The keys are attached to the frame just like on a laptop keyboard, which helps quiet typing noise and gives the keys a light, crisp feel. The Sigma Elysium might seem indulgent, but I guarantee you'll thank yourself every day for typing in style.

Power Phone Nokia E61; $400-$600; www.europe.nokia.com

STEVE SCHECHTER MIS director, Warner Home Entertainment

I was happy with my Treo 650 for about a year, but then it started to feel heavy and outdated. I realized, too, that the Treo didn't have convenient features like built-in Wi-Fi. Hunting for a replacement, I knew I wanted a full "qwerty" keyboard for easy e-mailing and SMS-ing, quadband GSM and W-CDMA for easy global roaming, and Wi-Fi for easy surfing at any hotspot in the world. And I didn't want Microsoft's clunky Windows Mobile OS. I eventually bought the Nokia E61 and quickly learned why it's considered the methadone to the CrackBerry addiction. This phone is all business. The Symbian operating system supports Microsoft Office documents and Adobe Reader. It comes with Bluetooth and can even use VOIP over Wi-Fi. Yet for all its muscle, this phone isn't weighed down with superfluous features. Nor does it have a built-in camera, which is fine by me, since it would only add bulk.

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