Happy New Year, all you enterprising entrepreneurs and startup founders. Now that we're through the holiday season, it's time to sort through the deluge of new tech that flooded retail shelves and e-commerce stores at the end of last year to find the tools that can actually make a difference to your business.
This month's toolkit covers tech from all over the spectrum, from cloud storage and file sharing to scanners, mini projectors, and even smart luggage. Check out all the newly tested startup tools below and kick off 2017 the right way—with a bounty of shiny new tech.
Software and Services
Draw.ioThe ability to quickly diagram and explain an idea is a core mechanism of startup innovation. Draw.io is an easy-to-use app that will let you create diagrams for free, and do it with great real-time collaboration connected to your Google account and Google Drive for Work. The diagramming and templates aren't as robust at the free tier as those in Editors' Choice Lucidchart, but Draw.io gives you easy visual productivity with zero overhead.
Dropbox BusinessFor combined cloud-based storage, file sharing, and document management, Dropbox Business is a one-stop shop. With a simple user interface (UI), unlimited storage and file retrieval, and vast user permissions, Dropbox Business can help your startup team collaborate more efficiently, without breaking the bank.
Google Docs, Sheets, and SlidesGoogle Docs, Sheets, and Slides are far from a new cloud-based office suite. But, after significant overhauls from Google in 2016, the cloud-based suite is now even more of a standout among free productivity apps. Unless your startup has already bought into Microsoft's ecosystem (more on that shortly) and invested in Office 365, save your business some money and work within this powerful suite of Google apps.
LogMeOnce Password Management Suite Premium 5.2LogMeOnce Password Management Suite Premium 5.2 outperforms most of its for-pay competitors, and its new password-free authentication option means you don't even have to remember a master password. Only LastPass rivals this excellent, free password manager, which can manage all your startup's authentication eggs in one secure basket.
Microsoft Azure Active DirectoryIf your startup is invested in the Microsoft ecosystem, then Microsoft Azure Active Directory is a no-brainer when it comes to identity management. The service's best-in-class, multi-factor authentication (MFA), user provisioning, wide array of integrations, and low per-user price of $0.50 per month can easily unify your startup's user authentication and identification while plugging into the rest of Microsoft's cloud-based apps and services.
AAXA M5 Mini ProjectorA new year means sending your startup's salespeople back out on the road to meet with clients and close new business. The AAXA M5 Mini Projector is a portable presentation device they can easily take with them to spin up data-heavy presentations or short media clips with ease.
Bluesmart Black EditionSpeaking of business travel, the Bluesmart Black Edition is a sleek piece of connected luggage for you to stow that mini projector and plenty of other professional gear. Bluesmart is the only line of smart bags with built-in GPS and cellular location, giving your business peace of mind if company equipment is ever stolen or lost in air transit. It's also got a smartphone-trigged light and power ports along with lots of built-in storage.
Epson DS-530 Color Duplex Document ScannerPaper is played out these days, particularly in eco-friendly startup environments. But, sooner or later, you'll need to digitize paper documents of some sort. The Epson DS-530 Color Duplex Document Scanner is a capable, inexpensive document scanner for small office use that scans fast and excels at business card reading. What more does your startup need from a scanner?
Rocketbook WaveDon't let a great business idea slip away because you didn't write it down or forgot to transcribe a handwritten note into a digital to-do item. The Rocketbook Wave is a cheap, easy-to-use smart notebook that will digitize and scan your notes with zero fuss. It doesn't have the editing tools or additional features of competitors like the Moleskine Smart Writing Set, but at $27 it's a dirt-cheap option that sports completely reusable pages through unorthodox means: by popping the notebook in the microwave for a minute or two with a glass of water. No joke.
PCMag Startup Tool of the Month: Lenovo Yoga 910If your startup is looking for a new line of versatile workbooks and (like the rest of the world) wasn't blown away by the new MacBook Pro, then check out the Lenovo Yoga 910 instead. Our new Editors' Choice for 2-in-1 convertible laptops has a wealth of ports, great battery life, top-notch graphics and processing performance, and a fingerprint reader for Windows Hello, among plenty of other bells and whistles. It's a best-in-class 2-in-1 that, even at the pricier end of convertibles, is still far cheaper than a new MacBook.