It's March, which means it's time for spring cleaning. Out with the old tech, and in with some shiny new hardware and sleek productivity applications to get your startup's employees working more efficiently in an open, collaborative environment. PCMag tested an impressive slate of new products over the past month across mind mapping and Voice-over-IP (VoIP) software and new computing and creator devices. Read on to get a look at some cutting-edge tech that might be just right for your startup.
Software and Services
To make a real difference for your startup, you need to not only have a great idea but know what to do with it. Ideaflip is a great mind mapping tool for capturing ideas and building mind maps to visually represent the various elements and moving parts of a concept or project. With a smooth user experience (UX) and simple, straightforward collaboration on Ideaflip boards, this tool is a great way to get your ideas mapped out and your team on the same page.
Jive Hosted VoIP
For the startup that needs a VoIP system, video conferencing solution, and call center functionality all in one, Jive Hosted VoIP is an affordable and easy-to-use platform for small to midsize businesses (SMBs). Thanks to a revamped user interface (UI), it's also much more straightforward to navigate. Plus, it's equipped with powerful visual features such as a drag-and-drop dial plan editor.
Even in our increasingly digital working world, some analog practices such as sending and receiving faxes are still sometimes necessary. MyFax is one of our Editors' Choice online fax services that lets you send and receive faxes from the web or via your email client rather than having to invest in a dated fax machine. MyFax is affordable, simple, and flexible. It even offers toll-free and international numbers.
Zoho Notebook (for Mac)
We included Zoho Notebook's iOS app in a previous Startup Toolkit, and now we're back with a review of Zoho's accompanying Mac desktop app. Zoho Notebook (for Mac) is a lightweight note-taking and syncing app. Right now, it's only available for Apple devices. It represents your notes as collections of notebooks with unique cover designs plus features such as checklists and multimedia attachments, including images, links, and audio recordings. It's a simple experience to manage your notes. Zoho is continually updating the platform along with its broader suite of apps. Plus, it's free.
You don't want to have to worry about a shredder. You just want one that can handle anything you feed it, slicing it to bits. The AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Cross-Cut Paper, CD, and Credit Card Shredder is fast and inexpensive. It offers solid speeds and can shred optical discs and plastic cards as well as paper.
The Amazon Echo is so much more than just a wireless speaker. Thanks to the Alexa Skills Kit, the voice assistant now has the capability to aid in an ever-expanding list of business tasks, including communications, logistics, productivity, and scheduling. Teach Alexa some small business skills and set up an Echo to help out around the office.
Cerise Circular Computer
The Cerise Circular Computer is an unusual-looking, workstation-class business desktop. It's compact and stays quiet while giving you excellent performance for digital content creation. Plus, its shimmering black metal tube just looks cool in an office setting.
LG Minibeam LED Projector (PH550)
The LG Minibeam LED Projector (PH550) is a compact and lightweight projector with good video and data image quality, and one you can take and present with anywhere. It's got a wealth of ports and Bluetooth connectivity options on top of its unusually good video quality for an LED-based projector. It's our Editors' Choice portable, palmtop projector.
Plantronics Voyager Focus UC
If you're going to have a headset on all day, then "you might as well feel like a boss" as our reviewer Sascha Segan wrote. The Plantronics Voyager Focus UC is the best Bluetooth headset PCMag has tested for all-day conversation. It successfully brings together solid stereo audio, high-quality noise cancellation, a boom mic, all-day battery life, and long-wearing comfort. It offers all of this without the trade-offs you get from using either a mono headset or headphones designed primarily for music.
Startup Tool of the Month: Wacom MobileStudio Pro 16
If you want to get something special for your startup's art designers or creators, then go for the Wacom MobileStudio Pro 16. This powerful Windows 10 drawing tablet combines fast components, a high-resolution display, and a comfortable and intuitive pen into a mobile canvas that packs a rich feature set. One such feature is a back camera with Intel RealSense technology for capturing objects in 3D space. We had one of PCMag's in-house designers test the tablet by using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator; it proved deft with both apps. Especially considering how the coming Windows 10 Creators Update could revolutionize business, the Wacom MobileStudio Pro 16 is a sound investment if your startup is serious about in-depth art and design work.