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Manage your in-car office with these two gadgets Add to ...

A static office setting just isn’t practical or necessary for some jobs, thanks to today’s mobile devices, but these are two products that aspire to bring office-like functionality to the road and on-site at a moment’s notice. While good at what they do, their usefulness is entirely subjective to the driver’s job.

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HP OfficeJet 150 Mobile All-in-One

Price: $399.99

Available at: Staples, Best Buy, Future Shop, Amazon.ca, The Source

A mobile all-in-one printer, scanner and copier that runs on a battery is unquestionably a niche product. Indeed, the battery life is so good that it could last up to 500 printed pages before needing a recharge. If you want to use the power adapter in your car, you’ll need a power inverter to charge it from the 12V socket. The input tray handles up to 50 pages, but unfortunately, scanning and copying need to be done manually – one page at a time.

This is probably a deal-breaker for the insurance or sales rep who is constantly on the road and handling documents from one meeting to the next. At least he or she can avoid a pit stop somewhere to print things by doing it in the passenger seat or on-site. Still, smartphones and tablets are just as prolific at managing large files and reducing paper clutter, which is another roadblock the OfficeJet 150 Mobile can’t overcome. Weight might also be a consideration here. At just below seven pounds, this is like carrying around a second laptop.

On the bright side, it delivers plain and colour prints that are easily on par with any desktop printer available, albeit at a considerably slower speed. It also doesn’t have any real competition in its class, which explains its hefty price point compared to cheaper desktop models.

PlanOn ScanStik SK600

Price: $144.99

Available at: Planon.com, Computervalley.ca

PlanOn’s ScanStik has no issues with compatibility, but volume might be, since pages need to be scanned one at a time. Mind you, it scans a page in just four seconds – but if you’re not careful, you may end up getting a scan that is off-centered or cut off.

One of its best features is for scanning receipts and invoices, which can be done quickly and with minimal fuss. In fact, just about anything pertaining to a roving business can be scanned with this.

The issue is that the ScanStik needs a PC or Mac to get the scanned files off the pen, unless you stick the microSD card directly into your smartphone or tablet, something many non-Apple models have. Doing it that way, you could scan documents while parked, grab them from the memory card and even edit or e-mail them thereafter. It’s more accurate and higher resolution (up to 600 dpi) than simply snapping a photo of it.

All of this would’ve been better served if the ScanStik had built-in Wi-Fi or Bluetooth that could transfer files over to a mobile device, which is something PlanOn’s DocuPen Xtreme is able to do. That would cut out the need to use a computer or switch memory cards.

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