It's time for spring cleaning, and with it, some new tech to fill your startup offices and revamp the applications and productivity software that help your business smoothly run. This month's selection of newly tested hardware and software spans everything from new laptops and projectors to helpdesk and Voice-over-IP (VoIP) software. Check out the best startup-focused tech we've tested in the PC Labs in the past month.
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Software and Services
Amazon has made a surprise entrance into the video conferencing arena. Amazon Chime is an affordable, attractive, and capable video conferencing, recording, and screen share service. It boasts remote desktop controls and chat room functionality that can serve as a Slack substitute.
Bitdefender GravityZone Business Security
Bitdefender GravityZone Business Security is a top-notch managed endpoint security platform that combines excellent anti-malware, malicious URL, and anti-phishing protections with a highly customizable management console. Add on data protection, device and app controls, as well as context-sensitive Help pop-ups, and it's got just about everything you need to easily and effectively protect your startup and its data.
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For an all-in-one marketing automation platform that gives you customer relationship management (CRM) and email marketing in one easy-to-use experience, take a look at Infusionsoft. By using the task-oriented "My Day" dashboard and combining it with drag-and-drop email creation and simple contact and lead management, it's easy to stay on top of your startup's marketing and sales campaigns.
Kayako is a much-improved helpdesk platform from when we first reviewed it in 2015. The company is now delivering an improved user interface (UI) at the same affordable price. Kayako builds its workflows and ticketing around conversations, giving customers multiple options for starting a new conversation (chat, email, social media) and arming agents with a responsive dashboard from which to resolve issues.
Mitel MiCloud Office
Our newly minted Editors' Choice tool for small business VoIP communications is a mobile-optimized VoiP app and a collaboration tool all in one. Mitel MiCloud Office offers strong core VoIP capabilities and a powerful softphone and mobile app. It combines features such as predictive search and a long list of CRM integrations to further unify your startup's software strategy. The built-in MiTeam collaboration and project management is an extremely useful innovation for a business VoIP experience, suited to the evolving way in which startup employees communicate.
Dell XPS 15 Touch (2017)
The Dell XPS 15 Touch (2017) has a brilliant 4K screen and excellent performance thanks to its Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card. For the creators within your startup—the visual artists, graphics designers, and video editors—this is a laptop with the firepower to let them do their thing.
The InFocus IN1118HD is an ultra-light data projector for business travelers, including road warrior-friendly features such as 4 GB of internal memory and two ports for USB thumb drives for running presentations without lugging a computer with you. It's a very portable, versatile 1080p data projector that can be used for short video clips to close your startup's next deal with a sharp presentation.
IRIScan Anywhere 5 WiFi
Scanners are still a necessary evil, but at least you can find some great portable ones nowadays. The IRIScan Anywhere 5 WiFi is a relatively fast and accurate manual portable document scanner that operates without a computer, and requires zero cables, laptops, tablets, or smartphones to work. It's a quick, accurate scanner you don't have to think twice about throwing in your briefcase or the back of your car.
Swingline SM12-08 Micro Cut Jam Free Shredder
For a busy startup office or a small workgroup that needs a durable and secure shredder, go for a Swingline SM12-08 Micro Cut Jam Free Shredder. This micro-cut shredder chops documents into small enough shreds to minimize the possibility that anyone could reconstruct them. It also features jam protection so it can continuously shred for up to 20 minutes.
Startup Tool of the Month: Microsoft Teams
For any startup that's already invested in the Microsoft Office 365 ecosystem, Microsoft Teams is a no-brainer. A direct competitor to Slack, Teams is a powerful collaboration app that takes the best aspects of Slack and connects them to Microsoft Office 365 in a streamlined, channel-based UI as well as integrating more than 150 third-party apps. Add the well-designed Microsoft Teams mobile app to the mix and it's a winning combination for any business already subscribed to Microsoft Office 365. (If you're not, then stick with Slack.)