The 50 Best travel gadgets
Whether you’re off on holiday or away on business, it always pays to be prepared. David Phelan has hi-tech kit to help you on your way.
Saturday 12 May 2012
PowerMoney Extreme backup battery
Use the sun's energy so your gadgets don't run out of juice. This is a battery charged from a solar panel that holds its charge for up to a year, ready to power your phone, laptop or tablet.
Rimowa Salsa Air Cabin
You want to lock your luggage, right? But US Customs reserves the right to cut off your padlock to check inside. So choose a case such as this. An excellent lightweight model which has a built-in TSA lock, so that the customs guys can open and relock it without causing damage.
Don't overdo it in the sun: this pocket-sized monitor reveals how long you can stay out based on UV reading, sunscreen factor and skin type. It has a countdown timer, digital clock and a handy graphic to show how dangerous the sun is at that moment.
The Zomm is a neat keyring that connects wirelessly to your smartphone by Bluetooth. It's a wireless leash, so if you walk out of the restaurant without it, the Zomm will sound the alarm. Deeply useful if you're in unfamiliar surroundings where it's easy to be distracted.
Roberts Solar DAB radio
Perfect for the pool or the beach, the Solar DAB looks funky, sounds great and is charged by the sun's rays. It runs for 20 hours when fully juiced. It's compact, light and comes in a variety of colours.
Mu folding USB adaptor
The thing about UK power plugs is the shape; the prongs always stick out in just the wrong direction for packing. This product sorts that. It's a USB adaptor that folds up in a nifty way that makes it small, packable and satisfying to use.
Braun Series 7-shaver
You need to look presentable you know, even on holiday. The best men's shavers, like this one, have a battery that will last a week or more. There is a neat Clean Renew attachment, best kept at home, to leave the shaver lemon-fresh.
Philips Sonicare Air Floss
This is a clever invention. It squirts water (or, for a pleasant tingle, mouthwash) between your molars at a speed of 45mph. More fun than flossing and the battery will last long enough for your summer holiday.
Tumi Travel Adaptor
Take your tech overseas and you'll need to plug it in. This handsome adaptor is hugely versatile and robust. It works in 150 countries (though sadly few of us will test it in all of them). There are cheaper adaptors but few come close for style.
O-Range Jet Solar Backpack
With this backpack you can charge your phone, satnav and other USB-connected devices as you yomp along. It's a light, rugged and well-designed bag with a whistle in the shoulder strap for emergencies.
Denon AH-NC800 noise-cancelling headphones
Great for listening to on board aircraft. Clever electronics match outside sound such as engine noise and feed the opposite frequency through the earphone, cancelling it out.
The latest portable console is a real winner: the big screen is high-resolution, it has a touchscreen and games are downloaded, so you don't need to carry games cartridges and can download more on the go.
London 2012 neck pillow
If you didn't snag tickets for the Olympics, at least ensure a comfortable on board sleep with this jazzy pillow made from Spandex and microbeads. It features the 2012 logo, though thankfully, it's not too big.
Etymotic hf3 headphones
The Etymotics have exceptional sound quality and isolate outside noise by fitting snugly into your ears. For an extra £70 you can have ACS earpieces moulded for a perfect fit that is ideal for on-board listening.
Yondi kids travel pillow
Oh, to be a child again so you can get away with wearing this comfy travel pillow on the aircraft. The feet connect by magnets under junior's neck and the circular pillow stops head-rolling.
orange.co.uk, free with contract
The latest iPhone remains the smartphone to beat because of its gorgeous design, a great camera and the apps available. It also has themost intuitive operating system around.
Nokia Lumia 900
nokia.co.uk, free with contract
The latest smartphone from Nokia is a winner. It has a big screen (4.3in), gorgeous slim profile and enjoyable Windows Phone operating system. Nokia's extras include a free mapping feature.
HTC One S
carphonewarehouse.com, free with contract
Android is a popular software, but has its limitations. Some manufacturers add extra functionality, and best for this is HTC: this cool handset has a great camera and free online storage for photos.
Need a basic phone to take abroad? This works worldwide, and is reliable and effective. You can buy a sim card locally if you want to save on calls and data access while you're away (but check it's on a compatible network).
Mophie Juice Pack Air
A smartphone has so many functions it's easy to use it heavily. The Juice Pack Air is both a protective case and a battery. It bulks up the svelte iPhone a little, but allows it to last twice as long.
It's not the lightest or most stylish phone on the market, but this nifty beast is the first tough smartphone from JCB. It does everything an Android phone does, plus it's dustproof and will survive being dropped in the pool. Very handy.
Belkin Rockstar headphone splitter
Share the music on your smartphone or iPod with friends. This cute gadget lets you connect five pairs of headphones to your device. Handy if your on a journey with lots children but only one DVD player.
Jawbone Era Bluetooth headset
When you're driving, you need a hands-free headset to make and receive phone calls. The best on the market is the Era with its superbly easy set-up, impeccable sound quality and motion-sensitive controls.
BlackBerry Bold 9900
carphonewarehouse.com, free with contract
If you really can't be away from email while on your travels, BlackBerry still offers the fastest, most secure, most reliable email delivery. This is the bestmodel yet, matching great design with a gorgeous screen.
Atomic Floyd SuperDarts + Remote headphones
Mobile phones come with average headphones at best. To improve music playback, a pair ofAtomic Floyds will work wonders. The fit is snug to keep the music in and the sound is spectacular.
currys.co.uk, from £109
This just-released ebook reader is the best available. Real books are still better, but when you're travelling, the convenience of carrying thousands of titles in one light gadget wins. Ebooks download wirelessly in seconds.
apple.com/uk, from £399
It's not just that the iPad is the best tablet computer around, though it is. The reason it remains the market leader is nobody else is significantly undercutting its price. Why would you buy anything else?
JustMobile Gum pack
Tablets need more powerful chargers than mobiles. This classy but portable battery is powerful enough for the most demanding tablet, and it retains its charge for ages. It can revive phones or other gadgets too.
Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Covere
This new keyboard for the iPad attaches by magnets and doesn't add much to space or weight. And having an external keyboard means you don't take up screen space with a virtual Qwerty.
Whack the Grippy Pad on to your car dashboard and it'll stick. Then, just plonk your smartphone or even your tablet on top and it'll hold in place, handy if you're using your gadget as a satnav, say.
Don't be fooled by the low price: this is one of the most powerful, elegant and well-crafted tablets around. Its 7in display means it's not a direct iPad competitor but it's highly pocketable.
Another iPad keyboard, but this one has a complete wraparound case, turning the tablet into a cute laptop substitute. There are iPad keys to adjust volume, go to the home page and more.
Apple iPad camera connection kit
This essential add-on for iPads means you can upload images from a camera's SD card or from aUSB stick, turning your tablet into a brilliant photo viewer .
Stealth Tablet Envelope
To carry your tablet safely, this cover is designed to look like a scrappy old manila envelope with customisable address label. A bigger version is available for laptops. Padded and waterproof.
Knomo folio case for iPad
The classiest case for the iPad, bar none. The leather front and cleverly shaped back mean it is safe and can be set up in almost any position. Knomo has a wide range of accessories.
The X10 is styled to look like a retro film camera but it is a brilliantly accomplished compact with great handling, a splendid 4x zoom lens and lots of handy features. It's quick to shoot, has a big 12-megapixel sensor and delivers great results.
Just monitoring how much exercise you take can make you more active. Press the button and a hidden LED screen shows steps taken, calories burned and how close you are to your goal. Useful and, be warned, quickly addictive.
Olympus Tough TG-320
This 14-megapixel camera is ideal for outdoor sports users or the terminally clumsy. It's waterproof to three metres, shockproof and resists cold and heat. You can even shoot underwater. Strong image quality.
Portable speakers don't come any better than this. Small, solid and tactile, the Jambox uses Bluetooth to connect to your smartphone, say, and plays back music with fidelity at high volume levels. It's easy to set up, and the battery lasts ages.
Leica D-Lux 5
If you're going to take holiday snaps, you may as well make them good ones. The D-Lux 5 is a stunningly designed, easy-touse camera with a great lens and lots of features and fun settings. Images are blessed with razor-sharp detail.
Valkee Brain Stimulation Headset
It looks like an MP3 portable but it channels light towards photosensitive regions of the brain (via your lugholes) for eight minutes a day. Especially good for SAD sufferers.
Fujifilm USB SD card reader
A big help if you need to transfer images from your camera to your computer and your battery is dying. Plonk the camera’s card in the reader and the reader in the computer’s USB slot. Simple.
Smaller than a digital SLR but with a big sensor to deliver sensational shots, the NEX-7 is a great holiday camera for those shots you really want to keep. It’s light, easy to use and has 24.3-megapixel resolution.
TomTom Go Live 1005
This latest version of the leading satnav has a big, 5in touchscreen. Along with a great operating system and neat build, this machine has lots of extras such as routes that adjust according to the time and day.
Sony DEV-3 Digital Recording binoculars
The 10x magnification helps you see distant subjects, the video feature means you can record what you see in high definition or even 3D. Optical stabilisation helps reduce blur
Vodafone Mobile Wi-Fi R205
If you need the internet for work but you’re on the move, try a mobile wi-fi gizmo. The R205 works as a wireless hotspot for up to five devices, using a mobile broadband signal.
MacBook Air 11in
Slim, light and stunningly designed in an aluminium case, it’s the smallest (and cheapest) MacBook. Keyboard is full-sized so it’s comfortable to use. Good travel laptop, fast flash memory.
HPFolio 13-1000ea Ultrabook
Affordable, slim, powerful laptops with flash memory to make them fast. This one is a joy to use, has excellent battery life and weighs under 1.5kg. The 13.3in screen is great, too.
Kingston 32GB Date Traveler R500 USB
If you’re taking valuable data with you, you can’t beat a USB drive. Trouble is, they’re easy to drop. This one has a shockresistant rubberised casing.
Worldwide Triple USB Charger
If you have multiple gadgets with you, you may need to charge several at the same time. With this you can power three simultaneously, worldwide.
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