Five of the finest office gadgets

From digitisable paper to super-strength USB security, our tech guru gives the lowdown

Montblanc Augmented Paper system, £590
Montblanc Augmented Paper system, £590 | Image: Hugh Threlfall

Turn handwritten notes into typed text This über-deluxe Augmented Paper system (£590) from Montblanc comprises a Starwalker ballpoint, a leather folder and a pad of special augmented paper. Anything written or drawn on the paper (a variety of languages and scripts are catered for) is stored in the pen and can be transferred to a phone or tablet by the pressing of a button, making for simple digitisation. Augmented Paper doesn’t do audio (unlike its LiveScribe competitor) but it is probably better, and is certainly less complicated, as a result. It’s also aesthetically on a higher plane altogether. Find out more about Montblanc Augmented paper here

datAshur Pro USB 3.0, £69
datAshur Pro USB 3.0, £69 | Image: Hugh Threlfall
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Military-grade USB security Many of you reading this will routinely carry commercially sensitive files on a dedicated storage device, notably a secure USB stick – one of the least sexy but most used forms of portable technology. But even modestly secured USB sticks have a habit of going astray. And imagine all your company secrets ending up down the back of an airline seat. The solution is datAshur Pro (£69), a neat, pocketable device from Middlesex company iStorage that has military-grade XTS-AES 256-bit hardware encryption and a keypad that enables you to secure data with a seven-to-15 digit pin code. It may cost 10 times more than a normal USB, but for peace of mind it takes some beating. Plus it works with PCs, Macs, Linux, the lot. Click here to find out more about the iStorage datAshur Pro

Logitech Spotlight, £119.99
Logitech Spotlight, £119.99 | Image: Hugh Threlfall
KooPower USB fan, £13.99
KooPower USB fan, £13.99 | Image: Hugh Threlfall

The gold standard of presentation pointers TED talks have significantly raised the bar for presentations, and it’s easy to see why Logitech’s new Spotlight (£119.99) clicker has quickly been adopted as the preferred pointer for anyone delivering one. So much better than anything else available, this good‑looking and highly intuitive gadget is almost a category unto itself. Its coolest trick is that it can circle a section of a slide and spotlight it – even magnify it – to emphasise its importance. Another great feature is that it can be set to vibrate at specific times – to warn you your time is up – and I also like that it stays on permanently, preventing the presentational catastrophe of laptops going to sleep mid-show. Read more about the Logitech Spotlight here

Philips PicoPix 4010, £209
Philips PicoPix 4010, £209 | Image: Hugh Threlfall
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An ultra-strong USB fan In a modest way, this simple desktop fan (£13.99) from KooPower has been life changing. It may look simple, but it has plenty of electronics on board (I’ve opened one up): digital speed changer, USB charging circuitry, even an LED light. And there’s a huge lithium battery for the most important part – a motor more powerful than any I’ve ever seen in a fan. The force is akin to a concentrated gale, and these things are seemingly indestructible. Whenever I am anywhere hot, I offer silent thanks to the person who introduced me to them. Find out more about the KooPower USB fan here

A powerful pocket-sized projector Pico projectors get brighter, lighter and smaller year by year, and are great for showing presentations at meetings, then later projecting a movie onto the wall or ceiling of hotel rooms, while you listen to the soundtrack on headphones. This PicoPix 4010 (£209) measures 6.8cm x 6.6cm x 2.2cm, weighs 83g and projects a picture size of up to 305cm diagonally at an impressive 100 lumens – visible in daylight but not overly bright. You can use the 4010 with any laptop, but if it doesn’t have an HDMI or standard USB port you’ll need an adapter. A mini tripod is also an essential with these featherlight projectors (try the XSories Mini Bendy, £13). Read more about the Philips PicoPix 4010 here

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