Gadgets for working on the go

So you're interested in getting a gadget to allow you to do a bit of work while out and about but you don't know where to start? Here are the basics in plain English with no TLAs (three letter acronyms) or your money back.

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The obvious choice for working on the move is a laptop computer, which will basically offer most of the functionality of a desktop PC but in a portable package with a self-contained battery.

Laptops very in size, weight, power and price - but usually include a DVD/CD drive, touchpad for cursor control and ports to allow connection to other devices.

Larger "desktop replacement" laptops are available, often with smaller batteries and more powerful components because they are intended to take the place of a proper workstation computer.

Smaller "notebook" laptops are, conversely, often less powerful and offer greater battery life as they are used away from the office for greater lengths of time.

Smaller still are the newer class of "netbook" laptops, which are primarily intended for web access and have more basic components. These are growing in popularity thanks to the spread of home wi-fi networks and cloud-based software.

Often only around 10in wide, netbooks can easily be slipped into a bag and are less obtrusive for use on public transport or in shared spaces. They can be an economical and cost-effective solution if you only really need to work on documents and check/answer emails while on the move.

Faster-growing even than netbooks is the category of tablet laptops, with the ubiquitous iPad leading the way.

They may just look like overgrown smartphones, but tablet devices are closer to the size of laptops and share similar processing power.

The big difference is that they are primarily operated by touching the screen, with a "virtual" keyboard appearing on the screen for when you need to type.

Despite the limitation of having no keyboard, they can make surprisingly effective mobile devices if you just need to get your emails and use the web while on the go - with many users preferring the browsing experience on a tablet to a laptop.

Internet access has been available on mobile phones for years, but technology has finally reached the point where the devices are fast and powerful enough to make the experience enjoyable for anyone apart form dedicated gadget geeks.

Apple's iPhone is the most-famous example, but phones based on Google's Android operating system are the most popular choice among users. There are also competing offerings from Blackberry, Microsoft and others.

The best smartphones allow an easy and quick internet surfing experience and integrate email functionality - which might be enough for some users who just want to stay in touch while out of the office.

What device would you recommend to business users? Comment below...