It’s Thanksgiving today south of the border, and while many of our American friends might feel they have little to celebrate this year, they can at least look forward to a day outside the office and, tomorrow, “Black Friday,” when many retailers offer some of their deepest discounts of the year. Recently even Canadian stores have joined the action, making it the perfect time for business owners and employees alike to browse for technology that could make life easier around the office. Here are some ideas.
At the top of our list (and this article) is the HP Spectre x360, a two-in-one the company claims can run for up to 15 hours on a single battery. Other features include a four-speaker sound system tuned by high-end sound system manufacturer Bang & Olufsen; a dual fan; seventh-generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processors; and what HP calls “HP Fast Charge,” which apparently recharges the batteries to 90 percent capacity in 90 minutes. The 15-inch version is currently available on HP’s Canadian website for $1699.99, with a $250 discount.
Or perhaps you’d prefer the Asus ZenBook 3, an Apple-sleek Windows notebook that packs an Intel Core i7 processor, up to 16GB of RAM, an SSD of up to 1 TB, a backlit keyboard, and a quad-speaker Harman Kardon surround sound system into an 11.9 mm thick, 12.5-inch device that Asus says will run for nine hours on a single battery and recharge to 60 per cent capacity in 49 minutes. It currently runs for $1899.99 – a $99 discount – on Amazon.ca.
Notebook users looking for a more premium experience can give Dell’s business-class Latitude 13 7000 Series a spin. Powered by Intel’s high-end Core M processor line, up to and including the top-tier Core M7, the device runs for a purported 7 – 10 hours on a single battery, and boasts the nearly bezel-free “InfinityEdge” display of its predecessor, the XPS 13. The Latitude 13 7000 currently starts at $1599.00 on Dell Canada’s website – a discount of $849.01 below its regular price of $2448.01.
Business users on a budget, meanwhile, can take advantage of the Acer Chromebook R11, which is available from Amazon.ca for $269.99 – a $30 discount. This 11.6-inch device covers the basics – keyboard, trackpad, and touchscreen – plus it folds into a tablet. Of course, because it’s a Chromebook, it also needs an Internet connection.
The perfect gift for any travellers on your list, the Veho VAA-005 Multi Regional USB Adapter allows you to charge any USB device no matter where you happen to be in the world for only $17.92 – or $11.35 if you hurry to Amazon.ca.
It might have been designed for fitness buffs, but business users will find a lot to like about the Fitbit Charge 2 as well – in addition to tracking health indicators such as footsteps and heart rate, the device includes smartwatch features such as a screen that lets users check smartphone notifications throughout the day and a portable music player – all for $199.99, a fraction of the cost of the Apple Watch 2. (And of course, tracking the number of calories you burn can’t hurt either.)
Sure, we could have highlighted the iPhone 7, or the Google Pixel, or the Samsung Galaxy S7 (the one without exploding batteries), but when it comes to smartphones we’re going with the DTEK50 by Canada’s own BlackBerry Ltd., because in addition to offering competitive features and the most secure version of Android available, you can now buy it from BlackBerry’s website for a Black Friday sale price of $304. The company may no longer be developing its hardware in-house, but it’s good to know the BlackBerry name isn’t disappearing.
Who hasn’t needed to recharge their smartphone after half a day of heavy use? For around $100 or less, the Mophie Powerstation Plus can keep your phone running for hours – and it’s small enough to fit in your pocket!
iPhone users looking for a more stylish charger, meanwhile, might want to consider the Nomad Horween Leather Charging Wallet, which actually has a 2,400mAh battery stitched into the billfold and includes an Apple Lightning cable next to functional slots for cash and cards. Be warned, however: 20 per cent Black Friday savings or no, Canadian users interested in one of these must be prepared to order one internationally.
Are you, or one of your colleagues, the type of person who’s always misplacing their keys? If so, consider buying them (or yourself) a Tile Mate (currently available for $29.99 – a $6.50 disount – on Amazon.ca) or Tile Slim (which, sadly, has not received a discount as of this writing). Not only do these bluetooth-powered stocking stuffers make a noise when prompted by your cellphone, if you lose whatever they’re attached to you can activate a “notify when found” option and the next time a Tile owner walks past your item, it will automatically be reported. The original Tile Slim is as thick as two credit cards, and will thus fit snugly into any wallet, and Tile Mate is 25 per cent smaller, making it a perfect keychain fob.
Finally, if your office finds itself needing a new printer, you can do worse than HP Inc.’s PageWide Pro 7 series: the PageWide Pro 577dw Multifunction model can currently be purchased from HP Canada’s official site for $899.99, with the company offering plenty of incentives, including free shipping, extended holiday returns, and printer rebates worth up to 67 per cent of the original price, for Black Friday.