The latest road trip gadgets

From a handy translator to a pop-up tent, Sean O'Grady looks at accessories to enhance your next trip
Click to follow
Indy Lifestyle Online

Travel Translator

Obviously, if you speak English loudly and slowly enough any foreigner can be made to understand it. Failing that, this little multilinguist holds 8,400 commonly used phrases in 12 languages, including Turkish and Mandarin Chinese, should you and your car ever get that far.

Obviously, if you speak English loudly and slowly enough any foreigner can be made to understand it. Failing that, this little multilinguist holds 8,400 commonly used phrases in 12 languages, including Turkish and Mandarin Chinese, should you and your car ever get that far.

The phrases have been grouped into eight different categories including general speech, emergency and medicine, shopping and entertainment, sightseeing, immigration and directions, restaurants, transport and hotel and accommodation. You can save up to four frequently used sentences.

The Travel Translator can also be set up as a clock showing international time and an alarm.

www.iwantoneofthose.com; £39.99

Facebook art

Tenuously connected to motoring, admittedly, but thanks to Honda for giving away this interesting Facebook application, creating art by automation. It takes information from the user's profile pages to create a personalised piece of digital artwork. The campaign supports the launch of the new CR-Z sporty hybrid, a futuristic sort of car which is on sale now.

The "Mode Art" application allows users to create unique designs that incorporate images, names, dates and other details from their own Facebook pages. Each piece of art follows a theme of sport, econ or normal – reflecting the driving modes of Honda's CR-Z.

Users can change settings to alter the style of the piece of art, or change the Facebook inputs to influence the design. Once created, the artwork can be downloaded, shared online, uploaded to Honda's Facebook fan page or transferred to a mobile phone to use as wallpaper.

Experience the Mode Art application for free at www.facebook.com/hondacarsuk

Infiniti Bell & Ross Watch

This is the sort of classy little design that ought to stand the test of time, long after digital displays have pixellated their way to oblivion. The premium Infiniti brand, a division of Nissan, is new to the UK but is well established and respected in the US and Asia. They make rather rakish-looking SUVs and sporty saloons and coupés, and could be a refreshing change from the usual German brands. This limited-edition timepiece seeks to encapsulate and promote the maker's "brand values", so it is undeniably modern, a quality piece of work, and has a sort of butch charm to it. It also shouldn't break down or fall apart. Not at these prices.

www.infinitieurope.com/ownership/bellross.html; €3,330.

Coby Dual Portable LCD DVD Player

One day, presumably, we'll be able to store hundreds of movies on an in-car PC, and the back of a Ford Focus will start to resemble a first-class seat on an aeroplane. For now, we make do with the DVD, and this is one of the better-value versions. This dual-screen piece of kit will mount on the back of your car headrests, keeping everyone happy. Ish. It's compatible with a host of formats, including DivX, and features anti-skip technology. There is also a USB input and an SD slot that will allow you to view photos and play music. It includes remote control, a car adaptor kit and earphones. It has a seven-inch screen and weighs 24.5 ounces.

www.johnlewis.com; £149

Gelert Quick Pitch SS 2 Man Tent

There's only so much that can be done to propel a tent into the future, but this pop-up number may be the biggest leap forward in tent design since the invention of the pole. Or the tent. Gelert claims it "pitches in just a few seconds". Its bright, pre-attached guylines help with the pitching. It has to be better than all that hassle with pegs and ropes. It might even mean you get a little less wet. Or you get to book a room in the most futuristic bed and breakfast you can locate. Suitable for two, with single skin which provides instant cover from the elements.

www.halfords.com; £29.99

Cytronex Powered Cannondale Capo Electric Bike

We may see a lot more of these electric bicycles on our roads in the future, and they are the ideal complement to your car for shorter journeys, especially if you're not fit or energetic enough to use old-fashioned pedal power. The Cytronex stands out from the crowd, not least because it is made in Britain (most come from China, where they are a commonplace sight), and it's also a little dear.

At 13.6kg, it weighs less than many of the current generation of trendy, but heavy, urban bikes. Each Cytronex Powered Bike has a lightweight water bottle battery – so the machine looks like a conventional bike – a tiny yet powerful hub motor, concealed electronics and superb Busch & Muller bicycle lights powered directly from the battery. They run pretty silently.

Cytronex electrify models from Cannondale, Genesis, Ridgeback and Claud Butler.

However, the future does not come cheap.

www.no-hills.com; £1,650

Go Live 1000

TomTom is one of the leading names in sat-navs. This is their Go Live 1000, the first in a new generation of navigation devices, designed to bring real-time services to drivers. The firm says this is the first TomTom product completely designed for connectivity. Based around a powerful ARM 11 500 Mhz processor, the device showcases a new Webkit-based user interface and the latest capacitive touchscreen technology. TomTom engineers were asked to design a new routing algorithm that continuously scans the road network for the fastest routes, using these layers of navigation information. This has resulted in a patented super-fast routing algorithm that sets new standards in accuracy and speed, apparently across 45 European countries. You're intended to get the fastest route for the time and day of the week, to save you time and fuel.

All this also makes the TomTom Go Live 1000 future-proof. Or, at least, so they claim.

www.tomtom.com; yet to be released

NextBase Click Seven-Inch DVD Player

This carries the accolade of being the first crash test-approved DVD player in Europe. Indeed, you might be unsurprised to learn this in fact is not just the first but the only portable DVD system to be car crash test-approved, with its intelligent mounting system.

It also comes in a 10-inch screen size and boasts that the revolutionary click and go headrest mount can be left permanently in the car, along with the power cable from the cigarette lighter.

This makes it simple and quick to use. It will also play audio CDs and MP3s, and the USB and SD ports enable you to watch movies, view photos and listen to music directly from a memory stick or SD card.

It is bump-proof too (well, mostly): the inbuilt anti-skip circuit makes sure the playback is smooth.

Optional extras include wireless headphones and a compact Li-Polymer battery with up to 2.5 hours of playback. Available as single, duo and de luxe models for multi-movie options.

www.halfords.com; £159.99

Search for used cars

Comments