Banking on the beach: best gadgets for working and playing on vacation

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A lot can happen when you’re away from the office. J.P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon was on vacation when the London Whale scandal hit the press.

It can be downright embarrassing. Three years ago, Lloyd Blankfein was spotted in the Hamptons with a popped pink collar. Now there’s the ubiquitous beard which comes out on every vacation. This year in Davos, Goldman’s chief quipped: “I thought to myself, ‘Gosh wouldn’t it just prolong the vacation if I just kept the beard?”

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Whether you need to stay on top of the action or maintain a low profile and steal some down time, you’ll need to pack the proper gadgets to get you through that week at the beach.

Bestselling futurist Scott Steinberg, head of strategic consultancy TechSavvy Global, offers his advice for the best devices to bring along. The good news is you won’t need a big bonus to buy (some of) these mini must-haves.

It’s like you’re at the client meeting (except you’re tanned and tieless)

iPad Mini: Monitor the market, enjoy face-to-face video calls with clients, and accomplish an array of odd-jobs while reclining by the pool in Mustique with apps for virtually any function. Allowing you to connect, communicate and keep up with contacts while accomplishing a variety of everyday tasks without having to heft along a burly laptop, it serves as a digital communications and command center that also happens to play music, movies and games when you need to unwind. $329.00 to $659.00

Free your brain from the FT and the WSJ

Kindle Fire HD:  You can access thousands of books, e-books, magazines, newspapers and other periodicals on-demand, and quickly store them in any carry-on. Amazon's popular eBook reader is a great way to brush up on the latest bestsellers, news and trends, or simply recline and enjoy a good thriller by the pool while you're working to unwind after the usual 7-day, 168-hour workweek. $199; from £159

Unplugged for the long-haul flight

Samsung ATIV Book9: An ultra-thin and lightweight notebook PC that offers excellent battery life and serious horsepower without compromising on travel-friendliness. Don't be fooled by its stunning good looks and high-res screen, great for reclining while hopping a cross-country flight - capable of booting in literally seconds, and juggling even complex financial programs, it's also a handy tool to have around in a pinch, especially on tight deadlines. About $1,300 (Available in the U.S., Canada, U.K., and Australia only; prices vary.)

Cut the cord

Duracell Powermat Access Case: Love your iPhone 5, but hate having to scramble around an airport hunting for a power plug every time you need to take an import call. You can double its battery life with this slick case, which allows you to snap in and snap out extra batteries, so you can cram tons of extra juice in your pocket when going on extended travels, or leave all the bulk behind. A portable TravelMat also makes it possible to charge your phone wirelessly back in the hotel room while you're lounging at the pool as well. Duracell Powermat offers the AccessCase and the SnapBattery in a 'PowerSnap kit' bundle for $99.99, or together with the Travelmat for $199.99. It’s been on sale in the U.S. since June 21, but now word yet on when will be available in the U.K.

When hotel TV’s not enough

3M Streaming Projector:  Kick back and project the latest shows and films onto your hotel room wall at sizes up to 120.” It comes with an integrated Roku Streaming Stick (which costs $100 if bought separately) that plugs into a socket in the back of the projector which let you watch Roku’s 600-plus channels of premium and free streaming Internet content, including Netflix, Amazon Instant, HuluPlus, HBO Go and Vudu using the projector’s built-in WiFi connection. Hard as you work, it's a great way to relax, enjoy a little break, and give the family a fun movie night everywhere they travel. About $300; A U.K. launch is planned for later this year, once Roku has negotiated similar streaming deals to cover Europe.

Follow the author on Twitter @natashagural

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