The best time-saving gadgets and apps of 2017

They're new and they're here to make your work life easier -- and more productive.
By Leslie Gornstein, Contributing Editor
1 of 20 Photo by: Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

The just-unveiled phablet is earning raves not just as the best smartphone for business, but as a true productivity device. Much of the praise has gone to the smarter S Pen, which offers real-time text translation and allows the user to handwrite and animate messages.

Preorders are now being taken; the unlocked 64GB Note 8 in Midnight Black lists for $929.99 at Samsung. CNET has a breakdown on the best deals.

2 of 20 Token via Facebook


Slip on biometric-identity ring and move toward a key-less, card-less, password-free life. The Token promises to handle the authentication for you.

Prices start at $249, but if you didn't buy in during the (now-sold-out) preorder phase, you'll have to wait until production ramps up in spring 2018. Reservations are being taken at Token's site.

3 of 20 Timeular


This Bluetooth-equipped, eight-sided device from Timeular aims to save you time by letting you track your time efficiently. Assign a task to each side -- literally write "meeting" or "email" on it, if you wish -- and then flip the polygon to the appropriate side as you move from task to task.

Available via Timeular for $129.

4 of 20 informu via Indiegogo

Mu Tag

This one's a twist on the help-you-find-your-missing-keys gadget: The attachable Mu Tag with Bluetooth-beacon technology promises to keep you from losing them in the first place.

The developer says it pulls off this trick with an app that sends alerts to your smart device. Preorders are being taken via Indiegogo; shipping is expected in December. Prices start at $25.

5 of 20 Here One via Facebook,

Here One

The "special sauce" in these wireless, "smarter than the AirPods" ear buds are customizable noise filters that allow you to tune out the outside world. Available for $299.99 from Here One.

6 of 20 CNET

Amazon Dash Wand

This Wi-Fi-enabled, Alexa-powered gadget is amazing. With a voice command or barcode scan, "it will add anything ... to your cart, as long its available on Amazon," CNET noted.

That should make ordering office supplies easier. Buy the Dash Wand at Amazon for $20 -- and get $20 off your next eligible purchase on the registered device.

7 of 20 AskLifeBot.com

Life Bot

This Alexa skill is a jack-of-all-trades voice bot that can send reminders and to-do lists to your phone. When you've misplaced your phone, it'll give it a ring. And when you ask it for a meditation time-out, it'll play soothing music. Enable Life Bot for free at Amazon.com.

8 of 20 Samsung

DeX Station

This is another time-saver, if not game-changer from Samsung. The DeX docking station essentially converts your Galaxy S8, S8+ and now the Galaxy Note 8 into a desktop computer. We liked it when it was introduced. Available via Samsung for $123.99.

9 of 20 HeyFocus.com


This Mac app is a distracting-website blocker that's much more. It blocks distracting apps, too. Focus also serves up inspirational quotes, and allows you to schedule breaks so that you can peek at Facebook or email at lunch.

Download a free trial at HeyFocus.com; prices start at $19.99 for a single license for a single Mac.

10 of 20 Luxafor via Facebook

Luxafor Flag

Manage -- or prevent -- workplace interruptions by attaching this LED light to your laptop, then downloading the Luxafor software, and setting the indicator to glow red (for busy, if you wish), green (you're free), or other colors and patterns.

The Luxafor Flag can also be used as a timer or time-management device. From $28 at Luxafor.com.

11 of 20 Missive


Named one of Time's best apps for 2017, Missive bills itself as "team email that works." It works with Gmail and Google Apps and allows you and your team to compose group emails and chat within email threads.

Available for Android, iOS, Mac and, as of this year, Windows. A free version is offered; the price goes up to $10 a month per user for unlimited chat history.

12 of 20 PRNewsfoto/Razer

Razer Atheris mouse

Pitched to gamers for its "lag-free" performance, this wireless productivity mouse deploys a 7200 DPI optical sensor for accuracy and speed and boasts long-lasting battery performance (up to 350 hours, it says, from a pair of AAs). Get it from Razer for $49.99.

13 of 20 Eufy via Amazon.com

Eufy Genie

Alexa skills can make you more productive; the new Alexa-enabled Eufy Genie can make you more productive for roughly $15 cheaper than the cheapest Amazon Echo device.

As a bonus, ZDNet found the Genie's speaker "feels warmer and a little bassier" than the Echo Dot's. Get it for $34.99 at Amazon. (And, no, Amazon won't mind.)

14 of 20 Pup Scan via Facebook

Pup smart scanner

This wireless, compact, connected pocket scanner allows you to capture document images with the press of a button and sit back while they're transferred to your favorite clouds. Preorders are being taken at Indiegogo; prices start at $199. December shipping is estimated.

15 of 20 Packr via iTunes


This iOS app not only helps you create a packing checklist based on your destination and length of stay, but it also intuits from your last business trip what you'll need to bring on your next one. Packr's free and premium versions ($1.99 for a download) are available via the Apple App Store.

16 of 20 Tile via Facebook

Tile Style and Tile Sport

With its new Pro Series, the popular Bluetooth-tracker brand adds the Tile Sport and Tile Style. "They feel sturdy and look more premium" than the previous models, CNET found.

When prompted by the app, Tile says they emit a louder ring than the Mate or Slim -- the better to help you locate your passport, luggage, or whatever else you've tagged with the gadgets. Prices for the Style and Sport start at $35 each, via Tile.

17 of 20 Microsoft

Microsoft Planner

Upon its launch last year, Microsoft Planner was seen as a potentially "very useful tool" for streamlining project management. It's since added versatility with its new mobile app for Android and iOS. The mobile app is free; Planner requires an eligible Office 365 work or school subscription.

18 of 20 ReachNow via Facebook


This BMW-backed, car-sharing service takes the hassle out renting a car. Sign up for the service (now available in Seattle, Portland, and Brooklyn), locate a ReachNow car near you, unlock it via your smartphone or ReachNow card, and take off.

Rent by the minute, hour, or day. Drop-off is said to be as easy as leaving the car in any legal, street-parking spot within the service area. Get the free-to-download ReachNow app via the Apple App Store and Google Play.

19 of 20 Workflow


The versatile Workflow worked so well as a task-automation iOS app that Apple bought it in March and eliminated its $2.99 price tag. Download it for free via the Apple App Store.

20 of 20 Welltory


This stress-and-energy-management app is, as TechCrunch put it, "Google Analytics for humans."

Chief among its features is its capability to synthesize your data from Google Fit, Fitbit, and any other number of apps and gadgets, and show you in a chart how your lifestyle is affecting your productivity. Available for free download for iOS and Android; paid add-ons available.

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