The 50 Best holiday gadgets
Going on a break doesn’t mean you have to miss out on life’s creature comforts. David Phelan picks out some ingenious devices to make the most of your trip
Friday 19 July 2013
This slick, powerful compact deserves a place on every holiday. It’s a 10MP camera with great build quality and simple operating system.
This case is strong, superbly lightweight and comes with a TSA lock – the kind that allows the US authorities to open your bag without damage.
Take your music with you with this portable speaker. It’s got Bluetooth so it connects wirelessly to a suitable smartphone or MP3 player.
amazon.co.uk, from £109
This perfect holiday companion succeeds because the screen is viewable in sunlight – though a front light means you can read in the dark as well.
These splendidly comfortable cans mute almost all the outside noise while ensuring that your tunes still sound great, even from MP3 files.
This may look like a stylish retro camera, but don’t be fooled, the 12MP sensor is way bigger than most compacts, so it’s both accurate and responsive.
Standalone satnavs still don’t come any better than TomTom’s intuitive-to-use models. This one has a 6in touch-screen and improved mapping as well.
Handheld games consoles have been partly superseded by smartphones, but this one offers 3D without the need for special glasses. Good for keeping car passengers happy
apple.com/uk, from £269
This is the best colour-screen tablet you can buy, thanks to its thin, light frame and gorgeous build quality. The 7.9in screen succeeds because the frame is so narrow.
ee.co.uk, free on contract
If you want the speed of 4G but can’t upgrade your 3G phone just yet, one of these wireless modems will do the trick. It links to your phone via Wifi.
Digital radio in your car becomes a reality thanks to this portable version which attaches to the windscreen. It has both DAB and FM options, plus you can use it to play music from your iPod.
This is a tiny, portable router which creates a wireless hotspot: handy if your hotel room charges per device as this can share its signal with multiple Wifi gadgets.
Don’t forget the garden when you’re away. The system is fast to set up and will water up to 10 pots or containers automatically – just set the timer unit.
It’s easy to forget your phone in unfamiliar surroundings. So plonk the hipKey on your keyring and it connects to your phone by Bluetooth, activating an alarm at a set distance from the phone.
This tiny black lozenge attaches to your belt and monitors your every step. The screen shows steps walked, stairs climbed and calories burned. Brilliant.
These headphones are comfy and sound sensational – and they have battery life enough to last from London to Sydney and even beyond.
Not only does this plug into sockets in more than 150 countries, it lets you charge two gadgets simultaneously.
amazon.co.uk, from £159
If you want a colour-screen 7in tablet, Amazon’s model has a superbly simple interface – it’s based on Google’s Android operating system but is pleasingly customised.
This battery has twin USB sockets and comes with a versatile lead of its own that fits Apple 30-pin connectors, mini USB and micro USB.
The wooden ear cups on these headphones are classy, but comfy. A noise cancellation button lets you opt in and out of the outside world.
sony.co.uk, from £399
This 10in Android tablet is fully waterproof – you can submerge it in a metre of water for half an hour. It’s also superbly thin and light and has a pin-sharp display.
This is in the Olympus Tough range. It’s waterproof to a depth of 10m, shockproof for a drop of 2.1m and freezeproof to -10C. It even has GPS.
This is a 4GB MP3 player built into a pair of waterproof in-ear headphones. You can even swim in them and hear music.
This hands-free mask has an 8MP camera and shoots stills and standard definition video. You’ll need a memory card as built-in storage is minimal.
Waterproof, dust-proof and freeze-proof but still manages a respectable 16MP sensor. It has Sony’s Sweep Panorama feature for landscape shots and manages HD video, too.
Phones and accessories:
vodafone.co.uk, from free on contract
Nokia’s best smartphone yet is great overseas. Download maps free in advance and use it like a satnav without data connection.
ee.co.uk, from £29.99 on contract
This is the first 4G-compatible iPhone and it has a sharp, vibrant 4in display. There are more than 900,000 iPhone apps, including guide books.
This is a case that will protect the handset if you drop it and has a battery to power your iPhone 5. It’s light and thin.
The camera is basic, but there’s Bluetooth so you can connect a hands-free kit and the battery life is amazing – up to 47 days on standby.
o2.co.uk, free on contract
Samsung’s flagship mobile has innovative features including a pedometer and a 5in screen that reacts even without you touching it. Abroad it’s useful thanks to a built-in translator.
phones4u.co.uk, free on contract
This feels great in the hand thanks to its full metal back, and the stereo speakers on the front are so good you can use it as a neat video player.
The Olloclip is an extra photo lens that slides on to the edge of the iPhone 5 (there’s another model for the iPhone 4) to offer fish-eye, macro and wide-angle effect options
The InRange is a flat, credit card-sized wireless leash. Misplaced your phone? Press the button on the InRange and it activates an alert on the smartphone so you can find it.
carphonewarehouse.com, from free on contract
BlackBerry’s latest phone with physical QWERTY keypad is the cheapest one to use its latest operating system. Also includes a 5MP camera
The InSight is a neat camera that connects to your broadband network. Then, an iPhone or iPad app lets you see what the camera sees. Simple and ingenious.
A seriously great laptop that’s still good value given the powerful chip, the super-light, super-thin aluminium casing, and enhanced battery life.
The DiamondClean really is an astonishingly good toothbrush and comes with a mini USB charger case as well.
This classy Bluetooth speaker connects easily to your phone or tablet. It’s light and solid thanks to the aluminium casing and the sound is smooth and powerful.
Keep your valuable documents safe in this luxurious case. Beautifully made in leather, it has a tough nylon lining and pockets for credit cards, too.
Bluetooth speakers don’t come much classier than this. There’s a smaller version, too, which is especially portable (and £100 less) but this one is great for outdoor music.
Tablets and accessories:
This is an e-ink reader, which has a monochrome screen suitable for sunlit reading. But the Aura HD also boasts high resolution, super-sharp print which is highly agreeable.
apple.com/uk, from £399
The 9.7in iPad has a Retina display – the screen is so highresolution you can’t see the pixels in normal use. Text is as sharp as ink on paper and video crisp and high-definition.
Typing on glass is never fun, so a keyboard with proper keys is preferable. This one fits to the iPad by magnets and the tablet clicks into place for use.
This was the first Android tablet to sell in huge numbers. It’s brilliantly designed (built by Asus), fast and great value. Google’s Android system is at its most accessible here.
breffo.com, from £14.95
The Spiderpodium’s eight elegant legs are flexible so you can cradle things or attach them to something else - an ideal way to clamp your phone to the dashboard.
If the kids want to watch movies on your phone or tablet when you’re driving, the Grippy Pad will hold it in place effortlessly. Or have it on the dashboard to hold the satnav.
Don’t worry about dropping the S31 camera in the pool (or the snowy ski slopes) as it’s waterproof, shockproof and dustproof. Easy for kids to use.
This speaker is highly affordable and looks good, too. It’s simple enough for anyone in the family to connect their smartphone or tablet to it.
Small enough to squirrel away in your luggage, Sunagor claims these are the world’s smallest zoom binoculars. But they’re powerful (up to 45x).
The Vita is a powerful portable games console with a 5in multi-touch screen and rear touch pad for extra control. There’s even GPS (for some apps) and Wifi built in.
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