Our Favorite Gear

What's cool: 4 professionals on the business tools they can't work without.

By Lia Steakley, Business 2.0 Magazine

Worldly Wanderer

HTC Universal; $1,050; www.htc.com


Globe-trotters, meet your new best friend. I travel frequently to Korea and Japan, and I quickly grew tired of dealing with the rental and prepaid cell phones I used for communicating while overseas. When I heard that the HTC Universal really does work anywhere, that it's Skype-enabled, and that it comes with an embedded camera for video-calling, I was sold - despite the hefty price tag. The HTC is actually a tiny computer, with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a 180-degree swivel touchscreen, a "qwerty" keyboard, 128MB of ROM, 64MB of SDRAM, and a 520-MHz processor. It can also operate via an alphabet soup of 3G network standards. Although HTC doesn't sell the Universal in the United States, an I-mate-branded version, called the Jasjar, is available at www.imatephonestore.com. To use all the features, you need a 3G service plan from a GSM-based mobile carrier like Cingular and a SIM card. I now get my e-mail instantly, and the HTC quickly transmits text and video messages. This phone is an international superstar, and it's worth every penny.

Picture Perfect

Sanyo HD1 Digital Media Camera; $800; www.sanyo.com

MIA KIM Founder, Popgadget

I recently saw a dog wearing an iPod Shuffle and listening to soothing "canine lullabies" as a treatment for panic disorder. Odd scenes like this are prime fodder for my blog, so I was really glad I had an ultraportable videocamera on hand. The photos and videos I took on my Treo 700p were grainy, but I also found that I didn't like the image quality on a bunch of videocams I tested - until I found Sanyo's HD1. This little gem not only shoots great video but also lets me take photos. It weighs just half a pound, and it has more features than many high-end still cameras. Switching from video to still mode is a breeze, and I can record nearly 90 minutes of high-definition video (and up to four hours of standard video) on a 4GB memory card.

Burning Man

Omron HJ-112 Digital Premium Pedometer; $40; www.omronhealthcare.com

CRAIG NEWMARK Founder, Craigslist.org

How many calories do you burn walking each day? I didn't know either, and given that I spend plenty of time hoofing to and from meetings, I wanted to find out. I needed a reliable and consistent measure of how many steps I take, which my nutritionist then uses to calculate how many calories I've burned. Many pedometers, I discovered, don't work very well on hills and are difficult to attach to my belt. The Omron HJ-112 has none of these defects. It's durable and easy to use, and it works even when discreetly hidden in my pocket. You can get pricier GPS-enabled pedometers, but I'm not biting - they usually have to be strapped to your arm, measure distance only in miles, and don't really work any better. My Omron is simple, yes, but it tells me all I really need to know: that I walk an average of 8,000 steps each day, burning as much as 500 calories.

Home Brew

Aerobie AeroPress Coffeemaker; $30; www.aerobie.com

BENJAMIN TICE SMITH Assistant photography director, Business 2.0

I'm such a coffee snob that I roast my own beans at home. But getting a good cup of joe at work and on the road can be a challenge. I can't stomach weak office or hotel brews, and I'm too cheap to shell out two bucks for a Starbucks jolt. The AeroPress has solved my problem. It looks like a giant syringe, but it brews a remarkably good - and strong - cup of coffee. I just dump hot water in with some of my favorite grounds and press the plunger, and less than a minute later I'm in coffee heaven. The transparent body is compact and cleans up easily, and it's made of durable Lexan plastic alloy, so I can toss it in my bag when I travel. My world is a happier place now that I know I can always get my high-grade caffeine fix.


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