Contrarians of the world, this gift guide is for you. We all respect the power of mass thinking. For sure, "The trend is your friend," "Never fight the Fed" and "Common sense is the only kind" are words to live -- and make money -- by. But what deeper satisfaction is there than going your own way in the world? And if you -- or some business person on your gift list -- has that inner drive to strike out on his or her own, take heart this holiday season: Tech giants like Apple ( AAPL), Casio and Sprint ( S) are more than happy to tool you up with hip new technologies for business types who want to do their jobs, their way.
1. Apple MacBook Air (starts at $999). With your telephony under control, you won't need to burden yourself with a phone that's smart or a tablet computer, like an Apple iPad or Samsung Tab, that's dumb. Instead, get the new MacBook Air for getting work done on the go. Though marketed to the tree-hugging, style-is-everything set, this bad boy is a sleeper of a productivity tool. Light, cheap and capable of supporting a surprising number of Web work tools, the MacBook Air brings all the power and performance of an iPad, but with a keyboard. It's this simple: Spend $1,000 on a MacBook, toss it in your bag, charge it once a day and know you can always get to your stuff. 2. Casio G'zOne Ravine ($150 with plan and online discount). Workwise, you might think it would be smart to go with a smart phone like an HTC EVO or Apple iPhone 4 or Motorola ( MOT) Droid X. But the fact is, none of these are great phones -- they're large, clunky, and heaven forbid you drop the thing. You'll hear the most expensive cheap plastic breaking sound ever. Instead, toughen up your mobile telephony with the G'zOne Ravine from Casio. This essentially indestructible mobile phone offers excellent voice service over Verizon's network, has the fabulous push-to-talk system for really staying in touch with your team and comes with surprising features like music storage and a decent camera. Hipsters will scoff, but you'll have something they don't: a phone that actually works.
3. Sprint Overdrive 3G/4G mobile hotspot ($50 with a plan and web discount). The secret to going your own way technologically is to go your own way connecting to the Web. So, instead of having several pricey cellular Web data plans, one for your phone and PC and car, get one data link that connects them all. My pick is the Sprint Overdrive 3G/4G portable hotspot. Excellent connectivity, great speed and access to the country's largest 4G network. Be wary, Verizon ( VZ) is rolling out its own 4G network next year. So Sprint's dominance may fade. But, for now, the Overdrive is the best way to get online on your terms. 4. Bowers & Wilkins P5 headphones ($300). While the mob upgrades their iPhones with in-ear buds or active-noise-reduction headphones, you are too smart to stick things in your ears or pay for headphones with all sorts of fancy features you don't need. Instead go with the simple, fabulous-looking P5s from legendary audio shop Bowers & Wilkins. These fabulous-looking headphones lovingly recreate every note of your favorite music and block out the noisy, crass world the old-fashioned way: They physically seal your ears. The result is a fantastic set of cans that are as unique as you are. Now, this is the way to listen to music.