PHOTO: © DAMON
PHOTO: © EIGHT SLEEP
BOTANIUM SMART GROWERS Indoor gardening is a great way to grow your own food, improve air quality and add a touch of natural beauty to your living space. Botanium takes the hassle out of the process thanks to a smart hydroponic system that works without soil and is impossible to overwater, a great feature for those not blessed with green thumbs. You can even leave it alone for weeks while you travel, as it takes care of the plant for you. The growers work with a number of herbs and lettuce, vegetables such as tomatoes and chili peppers, and even orchids. Botanium also sells nutrient pipettes to give your indoor garden a health boost in order to grow more of your chosen produce. From $73. botanium.se
SONOS MOVE U.S. audio brand Sonos made its name with Bluetooth speaker systems for the home, and now it offers its first portable speaker. Weatherproof and hard-wearing, it’s perfect for outdoor adventures, whatever the conditions. The 10 hours of battery life and a well-designed accompanying app make for great functionality. The only downside: The Move tips the scales at a hefty 6.6 pounds. $399. sonos.com
DODOW Sleeping problems can have serious effects on your health and productivity, but many people are wary of relying on medication. Dodow uses lights and a metronome to get you to sleep without chemicals. Simply breathe along with the blue light as it fades in and out, making use of breathing techniques to help you get some rest. Since the Dodow is about the same size as a drink coaster, you can easily take it with you on your next trip. No more lying awake watching the clock tick ever closer to your morning meeting. $59. mydodow.com
KEYSMART URBAN21 COMMUTER BACKPACK A stellar performer during testing by Global Traveler, the Urban21 is a tough, well- designed bag perfect for commuting and business trips. A padded laptop pocket handles 13- to 15-inch devices, but its thoughtful features, like the waterproof, easy-access pocket and the protective hard-shell compartment, make the bag stand out. Made to fit under airline seats as a personal item, the bag is perfect for carrying your tech gear and other small items you might want to access in transit. Thanks to a HexBreathe back pad, it’s comfortable even in warmer conditions, and high-quality construction makes the Urban21 feel like it should last for years. $239.99. getkeysmart.com
SONYWF-1000XM3 These completely wireless, noise-cancel- ling headphones have taken the world by storm since their release, thanks to top build quality and great features. Adjust the noise-cancelling level by tapping the left earbud, and use the right to control phone calls and audio playback. Fine- tune the experience using the accompanying Sony app, and enjoy up to six hours of playback with noise-cancelling switched on. A sound enhancement engine improves the quality of compressed content, and the only real drawback is a lack of water-resistance, which means you can’t wear them in the rain or during workouts. $230. sony.com
SONY WH-1000XM3 The market for wireless noise-cancelling headphones exploded in recent years, and this model from Sony has taken the world by storm. Sound quality, build quality and design are all top-notch, and there are touch controls on the right earcup. The 30 hours of battery life is impressive compared to rivals, and USB-C compatibility makes for rapid charging when it does run out of charge. If you’ve not embraced the wireless audio revolution yet, this offers a seriously good place to start. $229.99. sony.com
ANOVA PRECISION COOKER Sous-vide cooking — sealing food in a plastic bag and cooking it in hot water — means you can slow-cook for hours with precise results. The Precision Cooker from Anova takes the idea and brings it into the 21st century. You can control the WiFi-enabled device from anywhere using a companion app, plus it clips onto the side of any pan before easily packing away for storage. Pop a meal into the cooker before work and program the device to have dinner ready when you walk through the door. $129. anovaculinary.com
SONOS PLAY The PLAY range of wireless speakers includes three speakers of varying sizes as well as a subwoofer for extra bass. You can combine the speakers in a multiroom system that uses your home WiFi to beam music around the house, and improve your TV audio with the Beam soundbar. Sonos is one of the original WiFi speaker manufacturers, known for making high-quality audio gear, and the PLAY system doesn’t disappoint. Speaker sets from $298. sonos.com
QARDIOBASE2 The march of connected devices has reached weighing scales, and the Qardiobase 2 is regarded as one of the best models out there. The sleek, disc-shaped scale not only looks good, but also it can measure body fat and muscle mass in addition to your weight. It’s clever enough to recognize different family members, and an accompanying app lets you keep track of your stats over an extended period. Plus, a pregnancy mode allows you to see how your body changes over time. $149.99. getqardio.com
SONY GTK-PG10 Check out this outdoor wireless speaker! It packs a real audio punch and also offers four drink holders so you’ll always have somewhere to rest your beer. Its splash-proof construction and rubber seals mean you don’t have to worry about spills, and there is a builtin USB charger for your phone. Thanks to 13 hours of battery life, you’ll be able to keep the party going all night, too. $250. sony.com
SAMSUNG UN49NU8000 SMART LED TV If you want to join the growing number of consumers switching to cable-free TV, the Samsung HD Smart LED TV is one of the best options on the market. With this 49-inch, 4K Ultra HD TV, you’ll get access to Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Instant Video, HBO Go, Hulu, Vudu and Spotify, among others, and enjoy voice control thanks to the Bixby assistant. In addition, the picture quality is as good as you’d expect from 4K — and it’s stylishly designed, too. $999. samsung.com
FITBIT IONIC Best known for its advanced fitness trackers, Fitbit also makes an impressive smartwatch. The Ionic can track a variety of different workouts thanks to a selection of algorithms, as well as offering best-in-class GPS performance and more than four days of battery life. Combining the best fitness tracking features with a well-designed smartwatch means Fitbit is on to a winner. $269.95 fitbit.com
GOTENNA MESH SMS AND GPS DEVICE Ideal for camping trips or traveling into the wilds, these SMS and GPS dongles let you text on phones and share locations without data or WiFi. The GoTenna system works over a range of three miles, a bit like a modern walkie-talkie system, and is compatible with Android and iOS devices. An accompanying app also lets you download maps that can be used offline, a boon in areas without a signal. $179. gotenna.com
JBL LINK VIEW SMART SPEAKER Combining JBL’s stellar reputation for audio equipment with an 8-inch HD touchscreen makes this smart screen a hugely useful addition to any home. Apps run on the Android Things platform, and the speaker includes a built-in camera for Google Duo video calls as well as great connectivity with Google Assistant. There are similar products on the market, but the Link View stands out for its amazing audio performance and market-leading functionality. $250. jbl.com
KINESIS ADVANTAGE2 ERGONOMIC KEYBOARD A market leader in the field, Kinesis has made ergonomic keyboards for more than a quarter of a century. Anyone who spends a lot of time typing will appreciate the concave keys that reduce finger extension and the vertical columns of keys Kinesis claims best suit the natural motion of your fingers. While it doesn’t come cheap, the Advantage2 makes a great purchase for those worried about the effects of muscle tension and fatigue when typing for extended periods. $349. kinesis-ergo.com
OLYMPUS TOUGH TG-5 WATERPROOF CAMERA Smartphone cameras evolved to the extent many people don’t own standalone cameras, but for adventure travel you’ll be glad for a hardy bit of kit like the Tough TG-5. Waterproof to 15 meters (50 feet), shockproof and freezeproof, it can handle everything from scuba diving to mountain summits, all while shooting raw stills and Ultra HD 4K video. A fast F2.0 lens is great for quality shots in difficult conditions, and the built-in WiFi allows easy uploading to social media. $450. getolympus.com
GARMIN VÍVOSMART 3 When it comes to specialized fitness trackers, the Garmin Vívosmart 3 is one of the best around. The touchscreen tracker is completely waterproof, so you can wear it in the swimming pool, the shower and the gym. The tech automatically monitors different types of activity, plus a built-in heart-rate monitor gives you a stress rating. There are many fitness trackers on the market, but the Vívosmart 3 comes into its own in the gym, with a strength training mode that counts reps, sets and rest times. All of the data is available on the great Garmin Connect app. $119.99. garmin.com
NEATO BOTVAC D7 CONNECTED Hailed by reviewers as the top robot vacuum on the market, the Botvac Connected makes keeping your home clean a cinch. Program the robot with the sleek Neato app or use the remote control if you’re in the house. LIDAR technology makes it great at mapping the cleaning area, and powerful cleaning capabilities mean the Botvac Connected can even handle tough assignments such as clumps of dog hair. It’s an all-around package that might well be the best around. $799.99. neatorobotics.com
BOSE LIFESTYLE 650 SYSTEM A good, quality home entertainment system can make all the difference when it comes to enjoying movies and sporting events. With surround sound provided by four speakers and a wireless subwoofer, this classy Bose system produces amazing sound quality that will make you feel immersed in the spectacle. It also boasts WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, allowing for integration with a wide range of other devices in the home. $3,999.95. bose.com
AFTERSHOKZ TREKZ AIR BONE-CONDUCTION HEADPHONES Instead of isolating you from the world around you as other headphones do, bone-conduction technology means you can still hear traffic and other surrounding noises. The Trekz Air model makes a great choice for runners, cyclists and other sporty types who want to stay safe when they’re out training or on the way to work. Completely water-resistant, lightweight and wireless, these bone-conduction headphones let you take music with you without compromising awareness. $179.95. aftershokz.com
ORAL-B GENIUS PRO 8000 ELECTRIC TOOTHBRUSH As electric toothbrushes become mainstream, more models make use of smart technology. This Oral-B brush has all the features you would expect from an electric toothbrush plus tracking capabilities that work with an accompanying app. The brush works with your smartphone to track which areas of your mouth need cleaning, and the countdown feature makes sure you’re giving your pearly whites enough attention. Another good feature is the dental care journeys, pre-programmed routines that help you achieve oral hygiene goals like fresher breath. $199.99–249.99. oralb.com
APPLE HOMEPOD It’s been a while in the making, but HomePod is finally here. The hybrid device will compete with Google Echo and Amazon Home as a voice-controlled AI assistant while also taking on high-end wireless speakers such as Sonos and Haim. Apple is selling the device based on its great audio quality, and it seems like an elegant solution for music fans who want amazing sound as well as voicecommand capabilities. Buy two for different rooms or use them in the same space for stereo sound. $349. apple.com
PHILIPS SMARTSLEEP Sleep technology looks set to be a huge growth area this year, and Philips has been quick to develop devices such as SmartSleep. The device looks like a soft headband and contains sensors that detect when you’re in a deep sleep. In order to keep you in this resting state, SmartSleep plays patterns of white noise through built-in speakers. It might sound strange, but research shows it helps you feel more rested. $399.99. philips.com
JABRA ELITE ACTIVE 65T If you like listening to music while you exercise, it pays to get headphones designed for the purpose. Instead of bulky over-ear models or uncomfortable buds, go for the Jabra Elite Active 65t — secure-fit, wireless earbuds that are sweat-, water- and dust-resistant, so you know they’re built to last. With five hours of battery life, you’ll have music for long training sessions, and a built-in accelerometer helps to measure performance with an accompanying app. $169. jabra.com
CYCLIQ CONNECTED EDITION BIKE LIGHTS With cycling ever more popular among commuters and recreational riders, technology develops to keep riders safe. Bike lights are a must for anyone riding in the dark, and the Cycliq Fly12 and Fly6 Connected Edition lights come with some impressive extra features. Both the front-facing Fly12 and the rear-facing Fly6 are fitted with integrated cameras that record footage constantly, allowing you to record evidence in case of a collision. Fly6 CE, $179; Fly12 CE, $279. cycliq.com
HP SPECTRE 13 LAPTOP Business travelers need to stay connected, but that doesn’t have to mean lugging around a backbreaking bag of devices. The HP Spectre 13 is just 0.41 inches thick, and HP claims it is the thinnest touchscreen laptop in the world. If you’re worried about prioritizing design over performance, the eighthgeneration Intel processors and 4K screen prove this is a serious piece of kit. For PC fans who want a fast, light laptop that can handle whatever they throw at it, the Spectre 13 offers a great option. $1,299.99. hp.com
KURI HOME ROBOT Robotics technology continues to develop apace, and Kuri is the new companion robot from Mayfield. Besides being an incredibly cute companion with its own language and expressions, Kuri can react to voice commands, automatically record short videos of those special moments at home and follow you around the house to play music or podcasts. Kuri crosses a new frontier in intelligent home robotics. It can even read bedtime stories to the children while you are away on business. $799. heykuri.com
NEST CAM IQ Nest forged a strong reputation for making connected smart devices for the home, and the company’s updated indoor security camera is the most impressive yet. Its 4K image sensors, 12x digital zoom and high dynamic range (HDR) video make for quality video, but it’s the algorithm-based capabilities that differentiate the Cam IQ from the crowd. The device sends an alert with an image to your phone if it detects a human in a shot, and the Familiar Faces feature means the camera can differentiate between family members and strangers. You’ll have to sign up for a Nest Aware subscription to use the defining features, but the Cam IQ is a great way of using the Internet of Things to make your home safer. CAM IQ, $299; Nest Aware, $10 per month. nest.com
MYONTEC MBODY Professional sportspeople have collected performance data for years, and now you can, too. Instead of focusing on heartrate data alone, the Myontec Mbody smart shorts measure and analyze muscle performance as well, making them the first wearable product to do so. The shorts are aimed at cyclists, runners and swimmers, and the high-quality triathlon padding means they will stay comfortable even over longer routes. Gather data in real time and combine it with other parameters such as speed, pace or cadence for analysis on the accompanying mobile app or the web-based Suunto Movescount sport tracking service. $932. mbody.fi
BMW 6 SERIES GRAN TURISMO The Gran Turismo isn’t for everyone, depending on how you felt about the 5 series wagon. While the former model wasn’t well-received, BMW is betting its new coupe-crossover will turn heads, though some are wishing the company would return to its classic line of twodoors. The new Gran Turismo features an 8-speed automatic transmission, an xDrive all-wheel-drive system, 335 horsepower and a 0–60 mph time of 5.1 seconds. Add 65 cubic feet of storage space, and you have one formidable crosstour vehicle. $69,700. bmw.com
HULU LIVE TV Cord cutting is getting more attractive, especially with the implementation of live TV, the last obstacle for sports fans and news junkies. Hulu Live TV is available all over the United States, but local channels are currently limited to certain areas. It includes many of the staples like CNN, ESPN and Bravo, but certain networks like AMC, Comedy Central and HBO aren’t offered. The $40 subscription fee also gets you 50 hours of storage to Hulu’s cloud DVR and access to the site’s extensive on-demand catalog. Extra features like no commercials and unlimited screens are available for an additional $4–20. $40/month. hulu.com/live-tv
NAVDY All new cars are required to have a backup camera and screen, many of which double as a digital console. For the many drivers who aren’t selling their older model anytime soon, it’s now possible to retrofit a futuristic heads-up display on the dashboard. Navdy is a new portable HUD that fits into any car with an OBD-11 port. Paired with a smartphone, the device provides turn-by-turn navigation, fuel information and Bluetooth calling, all displayed on a clear screen that resembles a hologram on your windshield. Navdy can be controlled with voice commands and motion detection as well as a dial accessory that clips onto the steering wheel. $499. navdy.com
NINTENDO SWITCH As mobile gaming graphics catch up with computers, Nintendo officially bridges the gap between your console and your handheld with the new Switch. The package comes with a 6.2-inch tablet and two halves of a Joy-Con controller, which can slide on either side of the screen to create a mobile gaming device that plays the same games as your console. If you prefer the big screen, simply place your tablet on the provided docking station, connected to your TV through HDMI. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the console’s flagship launch title, and Super Mario Odyssey will be released later this year. $299.99. nintendo.com/switch
BLUESMART ONE Smart luggage is becoming all the rage, packing a variety of gadgets into the venerable rolling suitcase along with a hefty price tag that compares to high-end, analog luggage like Tumi. With the Bluesmart One you get two USB charging ports, GPS tracking, a Bluetooth connection to control the digital lock and proximity alerts, as well as a lost luggage recovery compliments of Uber. Lock and battery are TSA compliant. The suitcase is designed to maximize your carry-on space, so make sure it falls within your airline’s requirements. $449. bluesmart.com/one
DYSON SUPERSONIC Dyson made something as mundane as vacuuming look like something out of Blade Runner. It was only a matter of time before the engineers brought their impressive technology to personal care, unveiling the most high-tech blow dryer you’ve ever seen. A 13-blade, brushless motor spins at 110,000 revolutions per minute (compared to the usual 20,000) with buttons on the back to control temperature and air flow. The technology, much more durable than a traditional hair dryer, allows for a more compact design by hiding the motor in the handle. $399.99. dyson.com
TILE Tile is one of the most successful Kickstarter items to go into production, thanks to its simple design and easy-to-use app. The device is a Bluetooth location beacon to help you find your keys, wallet, bag or anything you find yourself losing nearby. Tile 2.0 was released earlier this year, but more exciting is the new Tile Slim, much thinner to conveniently place on your phone. $30. thetileapp.com
TESLA MODEL X Tesla makes established car companies nervous, having won the prestigious Golden Steering Wheel award for the Tesla Model X, or as the company calls it, “the future of the SUV.” The family-oriented vehicle has an eye for technology, seen in Tesla’s staple touchscreen console which connects to a variety of entertainment and information resources like Google Maps and Pandora. In addition to a basic autopilot mode, the Model X features auto-adjusting seats, environment sensors and the ability to go from 0 to 60 in just 3.2 seconds. The falcon-wing doors, on the other hand, are pretty but generally considered impractical. $74,000. tesla.com
LUDELA SMART CANDLE Philips’ Hue is pretty neat if you’re getting into smart home technology, but it will never beat the appeal of a real candle. While some digital candles use LEDs, LuDela brings the real thing to the 21st century with its WiFi-connected candlesticks and app. The product can ignite and extinguish itself at the push of a button. The candle will also go out if it senses itself falling over or if the proximity detector goes off, ensuring safety for people and animals. The base is constructed to catch melted wax, which is replaced from a variety of LuDela’s scented refills. Pre-order price $99; refill cartridge $7.99. ludela.com
Kobo Aura ONE Kindle is synonymous with e-readers, but Kobo is giving Amazon a run for its money. The Aura ONE, the company’s flagship model, competes with the much more expensive Kindle Oasis. Its design features a 7.8-inch e-ink Carta screen with 300 dpi — bigger and with the same pixel density as the Oasis, though the Aura ONE is slightly thicker (and also slightly lighter). One thing none of the Kindles have is a waterproof housing. For people who like to read in the water, the Kobo Aura ONE features an IPX8 rating, which can handle 60 minutes under two meters of water. $229.99. kobobooks.com
Apple iOS 10 The annual iOS upgrade marks an exciting and fearful time for users of Apple’s mobile products — excited for new features but fearing the loss of important functions. One of the most significant additions is the introduction of widgets. Long available on Android, iPhone apps can now display information on your home screen without actually starting the full app, opening up countless possibilities for future developers. For now you can get headlines from The New York Times, have easy access to directions with Apple Maps and keep an eye on the forecast through Weather. For Snapchat fans, iMessage has been overhauled to include pictures, stickers and animations similar to the social media app. People who like a clean interface will be pleased users can now delete the stock app icons like Mail. Free. apple.com/ios/ios-10
HTC Vive Samsung Gear VR and Google Cardboard brought virtual reality to thousands of consumers for the first time, but HTC takes it to another level by implementing two new features: body tracking and room scaling. Utilize body tracking with two handheld devices, similar to the Wii nunchuk controllers that allow you to interact with your surroundings in a more realistic manner, such as swinging a racquet or shooting a laser. Room scaling makes an even bigger breakthrough with HTC’s wall sensors, allowing the virtual environment to conform to the dimensions of your room. $799. htcvive.com
Electrolux Perfect Steam Electric Dryer It seems just about anything can be improved with a digital upgrade. The latest household appliance to receive the “smart” treatment is the Electrolux Perfect Steam Electric Dryer. Even without the bells and whistles, it’s an impressive dryer, handling an 8-pound load in less than an hour, though you’ll appreciate its various tech features. If someone leaves the room in the middle of a load, it automatically turns on the extended tumble to prevent wrinkling. If you prefer to line dry, there’s a button for damp alert to let you know when the load is ready for hanging. $1,199. electroluxappliances.com
Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator Samsung brings the smart home to your kitchen with its new Family Hub refrigerator. Armed with a WiFi-ready 21.5-inch touchscreen, the Family Hub acts as the digital headquarters for your home with StickiBoard and WhiteBoard, a high-tech reimagining of the refrigerator sticky note that sends messages and syncs calendars to users’ smartphones. For food, three tiny cameras let you peek inside so you don’t waste energy with the door open. If there isn’t any food, simply make an order on InstaCart or Groceries by MasterCard. While you’re cooking, Pandora can stream music through the built-in speakers or play wirelessly through Bluetooth. Standard depth, $5,599.99. samsung.com
Apple iPhone SE Apple bucked the trend of bigger and bigger smartphones, listening to customer demands by releasing the iPhone SE. It essentially packs the guts of a 6s inside the body of a 5s, with 3D Touch the only sacrifice. The design features updated chamfered edges and now comes in silver, black, gold and rose gold. It even improves upon the battery life of the 6s thanks to its smaller 4-inch screen. $399. apple.com
Neato Botvac Connected Neato Robotics recently updated its line of vacuum robots with the Neato Botvac Connected, aiming to compete with the iRobot Roomba 980. Most of the machine is the same except for a serious-looking black exterior and the Connected features, allowing you to tether the robot to your home WiFi network and control it through an easy-to-use app, available on Android and iOS. Neato now allows you to switch to an Eco mode, which extends the battery power from 90 minutes to two hours, more than enough time to clean an apartment or the whole floor of a house. $699. neatorobotics.com
Athos Smart Fitness Apparel The next trend in wearables might be smart clothing. Unlike fitness bands and your iPhone’s Health app, this intelligent fitness apparel from Athos works by utilizing sensors embedded in the fabric making direct contact with the skin. Fitness enthusiasts can get detailed feedback on their workout, enabling them to monitor their activity on an app and make more informed training decisions. Athos’ smart clothing app tracks your workout in real time, right down to which muscles are used and how hard. $149–398. liveathos.com
Apple Pay Apple first introduced Pay on the iPhone 6, implementing a Near Field Communication antenna for connecting to payment terminals. It hasn’t quite revolutionized the in-store buying experience, but the feature has quietly grown in the past year despite a head start by Android and Samsung. The software is compatible with more than 800 retail brands, and security features earn praise for utilizing the new iPhone’s Touch ID and a token-based payment system to prevent fraud. Currently available in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada, and slated to launch in China this year, Apple Pay is compatible with iPhone 6, 6s and Apple Watch. Free to users. apple.com/apple-pay
Sonos PLAY The Bluetooth speaker market is experiencing a renaissance, with several companies manufacturing portable sound machines at a great price. Sonos recently updated its line of tech-minded PLAY speakers. Unlike most Bluetooth speakers, Sonos devices connect to each other using the existing WiFi network, allowing users to control music from any source on any device in their home using the Sonos app. The speakers can be stereo paired, and now you can tune the sound to fit your room with Trueplay, Sonos’ recent software update for its app. By utilizing the iPhone’s internal microphone, Trueplay measures the acoustics of the room and automatically tweaks the speaker sound. $199–499. sonos.com
Samsung Gear S2 Samsung takes aim at the Apple Watch with the release of Gear S2. The newest entry into the wearable market comes with a stainless steel body and replaceable leather band. A rotating bezel allows users to easily navigate apps including Twitter, Yelp, Nike+ and more. Samsung also introduces its own health-tracking capabilities as well as Samsung Pay, with an ecosystem growing every day. Other Gear S2 features include media storage for up to 300 songs, stylish watch faces by Atelier Mendini and optional 3G connectivity. $299.99–349.99. samsung.com
Wacom Bamboo Spark A smart folio with a smart ballpoint pen, this nifty tool bridges the gap between old school and digital age by letting you capture and store drawings and handwritten notes to the Wacom Cloud with a companion app for editing, archiving and accessing anywhere. Press the button to save your notes securely, even when you’re not connected to another device; when you reconnect, they automatically sync to the app and, once you’re online, the Wacom Cloud. You can access and edit your notes on different devices after they’re saved, or share them in PDF and JPG formats with third-party services like Dropbox and Evernote. Collaborate by sharing notes via the Bamboo Paper app with colleagues who also have the app installed. $160. wacom.com
Boostcase for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus This innovative two-piece design includes an ultra-thin snap case with a battery sleeve you can attach in a single click when you need a boost of juice and remove when you don’t. The rechargeable 2700mAh battery sleeve adds more than a 100 percent recharge for the iPhone 6. You can simultaneously charge and sync your iPhone and Boostcase, and an LED light bar shows your remaining battery level. The iPhone 6 Boostcase comes in clear, black, gold, pink coral and orchid colorways; the iPhone 6 Plus Boostcase is available in gold, black and clear. The Gemstone collection offers eight fashion-forward colors: pink tourmaline, ruby, topaz, emerald, sapphire, amethyst, onyx and clear. $99.95–129.95. boostcase.com
Dacuda PocketScan This wireless scanner — the world’s smallest at 3.75 by 2 by 1 inches — will dazzle you with its functionality. Thanks to its photo-stitching technology, anything you scan instantly appears on your screen, as if you’re painting. It’s brainy, too, recognizing scanned text or tables in virtually any language and transforming the paper versions into content you can edit on screen instantly. A built-in light source means your scans are always bright, crisp and clear. PocketScan effortlessly scans large formats (like artwork) that would never fit in a standard scanner. Compatible with Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. $149. dacuda.com
DUFL Introducing a private valet service that stores, cleans and ships your business attire. Create an account with the DUFL iOS app and receive your DUFL suitcase in the mail. Pack as usual (including toiletries) and schedule a pickup; your items are inventoried, professionally cleaned and stored in your personal closet, with all items viewable within the app, plus a list of personal items. Send all the items you like and select only those to be cleaned and sent to your next destination. When checking out, schedule a pickup and leave your suitcase at the hotel desk. Switch out your entire suitcase by scheduling a trip to your home, repacking and booking pickup. Only for travel within the United States. $99/roundtrip (including cleaning); $9.95/month storage. dufl.com
Jorno Bluetooth Keyboard This ultra-portable, tri-folding wireless keyboard folds down to fit in the palm of your hand for uber mobility, offering a sleek typing solution for your iPhone, iPad, Android or other Bluetooth device that pairs easily with them with simple key settings. The universal keyboard doesn’t sacrifice comfort for size, and the included protective case doubles as an adjustable stand to hold your device in portrait or landscape orientation for optimal viewing. $99. jornostore.com
Hammacher Schlemmer Photo to iPad Scanning Dock This groovy multitasking gizmo saves irreplaceable photos directly to your iPad while docking and charging the device, making it a snap to preserve your most precious pics (and documents). A free app controls the sheet-fed scanner, converting photos to a sharp 300- or 600-dpi JPG image in as little as 12 seconds, displaying them on screen in real time and stashing them on your camera roll. The dock recharges your iPad in five hours while holding it upright and scans sheets up to 8.5 inches by 14 inches. Compatible with iPad 4, iPad Mini and iPhone 5/s/c running iOS 6 or later. $119.95. hammacher.com
Bluesmart Luggage Introducing the world’s first smart luggage, a high-tech carry-on cool and connected enough for James Bond. Its included app offers a host of built-in features such as locking and unlocking from your phone. Sensors alert you if you’re separated from the suitcase, location tracking finds it if it’s re-routed, and a powerful built-in battery charges your devices. With a built-in digital scale, Bluesmart weighs itself, and the app generates real-time reports with data from your trips including miles traveled, airports visited and time spent in each country. A special three-layer polycarbonate provides lightweight strength while a specially designed compartment protects your laptop and tablet. $319. bluesmart.com
Mazzo Mobile PowerDrive Slim This sleek, new, pocket-sized, certified hard drive amps up the power for iOS devices with more than 15 hours of backup charging and 128 GB backup storage. While it boasts the same amp output as Apple iPad chargers and the same core processor as the iPhone 5s, it features a built-in app for managing files between devices. Save your files, such as several full-length movies and music, to your devices and access them through your iPhone, iPad or iPod while traveling. The PowerDrive app lets you manage files with just a tap. Available in 16 GB, 32 GB, 64 GB or 128 GB. From $79. mazzomobile.com
X-Project WiFi Portable Pocket Projector This palm-sized HD projector utilizes LED technology and 100 lumens to display high-contrast images in brilliant color. It generates its own WiFi signal, so you can tap into your mobile devices and stream content from online sources or from your smartphone, tablet or computer; or upload media from an SD card or USB stick. Weighing 10 ounces, XProject easily goes anywhere; just set it up to face a hard, flat surface and select the images you want to stream. With a battery providing up to two hours of continuous playtime, create your own personal movie theater anywhere in the world. Includes a remote control, AC adapter, travel pouch, mini-USB and HDMI cable. $499.99. bestbuy.com
OptiShot2 Golf Simulator This second-generation, award-winning golf simulator lets you play or practice on 3D, fully immersive, exact replicas of world-famous golf courses in the comfort of your own home with the swing and ball-shot accuracy of real golf. The 16 precisely calibrated, high-speed 48MHz infrared sensors track your favorite clubs before, during and after contact. OptiShot2 technology and PinPoint accuracy provide precise, instantaneous feedback; after each swing, the simulator transmits data to your Mac or Windows computer in real time, tracking speed, tempo, club plane and hand path. Display on your high-def TV or with a projector, and up to four players can shoot full rounds. And it’s guaranteed to improve your game in 30 days or your money back. $499.95. optishotgolf.com
Blast Golf An accurate and consistent real-time motion-capture technology for putters and drivers, Blast Golf is a removable, Bluetooth-connected motion sensor that analyzes and records putts and full swings for eight hours, allowing you to quantify your progress and share highlights with your golf buddies via social networks. The companion iOS app features Smart Video Capture, detecting metrics like swing speed, loft and lie. Identify trends through stats and graphs, capture them and personalize your video with overlaid metrics. Proprietary sensing technology maintains accuracy within less than one mile per hour. Compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch 5th generation running iOS 7.0 or higher. Includes a wireless charging base. $149.95. blastmotion.com
Nokia Wireless DC-50 Charging Plate Sometimes the best things in life are the simplest ... an idea exemplified by this eye-catching charger, which powers up any Qi-enabled device without a power source. When the plate itself runs out of juice, you can either lay it on a friend’s wireless charger or recharge it the old-fashioned way, using the included USB charger. $99.99. microsoft.com
Olloclip for Samsung Galaxy S4/S5 The wildly popular olloclip debuts for one of the world’s most popular Android smartphone brands, making it an ideal stocking stuffer for your favorite photography enthusiast. With four lenses in one — fisheye, wide-angle, and 10x and 15x macros — it slips onto your Samsung device in seconds, weighs less than an ounce and works with all photo and video apps so you can snap exactly the shot you want. Considering the camera of the S4 and S5 is regarded as one of the best phone cameras available, olloclip will elevate your already impressive shots to an even higher level. $69.99. olloclip.com
Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook Strikingly thin and light, the Dell XPS 13 features a vivid 13.3-inch display and tips the scales at just under three pounds. Perfect for those who demand top performance and portability, it boasts exceptional build quality and is crafted from aluminum and scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass. Combining the power of the Intel Core i5 processor with Windows 8.1 and a full HD touch screen for stunning brightness and crisp images, it includes a full-size, backlit keyboard for easier typing in low lighting, like on a red-eye flight. Its high-powered battery provides 11-plus hours of power on a single charge. From $1,149.99. dell.com
HP Pavilion x360 PC The latest introduction from HP, the Pavilion 360 is as versatile as it is affordable, with four user-friendly modes: notebook for classic tasks; stand for touchscreen gaming; tent for movie watching and other entertainment; and tablet for, well, anything you want to do on the go. Equipped with a nifty 360-degree hinge, Beats Audio, a diagonal 10-point touch screen, Windows 8 and Intel Pentium N3530 Processor and HD Graphics, it packs a lot of performance into a sleek, über-flexible package at a terrific price. Starting at $399. shopping.hp.com
Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet You can never be too thin or too … waterproof. At just under a pound, the world’s slimmest and lightest waterproof tablet features the first 10.1- inch tablet display, complete with Sony’s full HD Triluminos color technology for rich, natural color; and the X-Reality image-processing engine to make photos and videos pop. With its Walkman and Movies applications, access your song and video libraries and tap into Sony’s Music Unlimited (free 30-day trial included) and Video Unlimited services. A Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 2.3 GHz Quad-core processor, 3GB RAM and a 6000mAh battery provide oomph, while the Android 4.4.2 KitKat OS is user-friendly. In black (16GB or 32GB) or white (32GB). $499.99–599.99. store.sony.com
Phiaton Chord MS 530 Headphones Audiophiles, listen up: These sleek, high-powered Bluetooth 4.0 headphones pair easily with two devices simultaneously, while their 40mm titanium driver technology provides pulse-pounding, enhanced sound reproduction with deep, rich bass. Noise-canceling technology eliminates up to 98 percent of ambient background noise, while the dual microphone for Clear Voice Capture helps separate the user’s voice from the surrounding background noise and delivers it more clearly, significantly improving voice quality during calls. The headphones boast up to 30 hours of battery life, so you can groove or talk for hours. $299.99. phiaton.com
Wello The Wello health tracker doubles as an iPhone case, making it the first device to measure and record your vitals wherever you are. Put your fingers on the embedded sensors and get key readings — blood pressure, heart rate, blood oxygen, temperature and electrocardiography — with medical-grade accuracy. There’s even a spirometer attachment (currently included) that measures lung capacity. Wello syncs the data to the accompanying app on your phone via Bluetooth and connects to other fitness trackers such as Fitbit devices, so you can see all your data in one place. Available for iPhone 4s/5/5s and compatible with Android devices as a stand-alone unit. Pre-order while FDA approval is pending; expected to ship this fall. $199. azoi.com
Dyle MobileTV Tune in to live local television for free on your mobile device. The Dyle app and Dyle mobile TV compatible apps enable live broadcast programming such as local and national news and sports and entertainment content without tapping into your wireless data plan and incurring additional costs. Backed by a consortium of broadcasting bigwigs including NBC, Fox and Cox Media Group, it’s available in 39 U.S. markets (and counting) and is compatible with Android and iOS devices including iPhone 4S/5S, Samsung Galaxy S2/S3/S4 and HTC One/One X. $99.99. dyle.tv
Slite Card Case This handy case for the iPhone 5C simply but ingeniously combines two things you’re rarely without — your phone and your wallet — into one, giving you less things to keep track of. The ultra-slim design features built-in slots for your most frequently used cards (and cash), while its durable one-piece construction and soft-touch matte finish securely protect your phone from scratches and impact. A thumb release lets you easily spring whatever card you need, and it comes in a range of colors from black to purple. $29.99. cm4.com/slite
Kindle Fire HDX Tablet
When I think back on my nearly decade-long tenure as the technology columnist at Global Traveler, my beloved, trusty Altec Lansing iM1 portable speakers immediately come to mind. I can’t recall exactly when I got them — though a quick look at the corporate website reveals they were the first-ever iPod docking station, developed with Apple in 2003. I remember celebrating my 30th birthday with them in 2004, so that sounds about right. While the details of how and when they came to me are hazy, I haven’t taken a trip without them since.
Personify LiveIntroducing the first Web conferencing tool that merges real-time video of the presenter with a PowerPoint slideshow, online demo, video or other content. Working with traditional conferencing and collaboration tools, including Cisco WebEx, GoToMeeting and Skype, this software uses a depth-sensing camera to extract video from your background and overlay it onto any desktop setting, creating a virtual “green screen.” Record, store and share presentations; use the accompanying mobile app for iPhone and Android as a presentation remote control. Compatible with Windows Vista, Windows 7 or 8 desktop, and Mac OS X. $20 per month per user; ASUS depth-sensing camera available for $199 with three months free; 30-day free trial available.personifyinc.com
Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T
HP Pavilion TouchSmart Sleekbook
TriPad Traveler This ultimate portable workspace is an ideal companion for anyone traveling with a laptop. Weighing less than a pound, the Tripad Traveler supports laptops up to 10 pounds and is designed to quickly mount on the telescopic handles of most rolling luggage. It’s great for working while waiting in an airport or train station, or for entertaining children with a computer movie at an airport gate. Made from recycled plastic, it fits inside a standard laptop bag, tote or briefcase. Available in black, white, silver and blue. $39.95.gotripad.com/traveler
GoPano micro Here’s a fun gizmo perfect for summer vacations: the GoPano micro, a lens for the iPhone 4 and 4S that enables you to create panoramic videos. Just snap the lens to your iPhone and tap “Record” to make cool, interactive, 360-degree videos. Record your next concert or sporting event, or make a streetview video in a new city. A specially curved mirror gathers light from all directions and funnels it into your iPhone’s camera — then the free GoPano app transforms this image into a live interactive scene where you control the view. Instantly upload and share your videos on the GoPano website and beyond. It’s a whole new way to come full circle. $79.95.
During a madcap evening in one of Hyderabad’s trendiest neighborhoods, hipsters rub shoulders to the tunes of Tollywood — the moniker for the local burgeoning Telugu film industry. Banjara Hills, one of the city’s bustling enclaves, is lined with nightclubs and pubs serving popular Kingfisher beer.
Beolit 12 Portable Music System World-class audio aficionado Bang & Olufsen launches its new brand B&O PLAY, which highlights a more playful and portable product portfolio. This portable music system is sure to raise the bar for audiophiles. With cutting-edge sound quality; flexible application; and a distinct, compact design, it features Apple’s AirPlay technology, allowing you to play music wirelessly from your iPod, iPhone, iPad, Mac or PC when connected to your wireless network. Designed by Danish designer Cecilie Manz, Beolit 12 is a tribute to Bang & Olufsen’s transistor Beolit radios from the 1960s but offers a superlative portable sound experience. Its 120-watt digital Class D power amplifier system drives two 2-inch tweeters and a 4-inch woofer to deliver powerful, accurate sound performance that comfortably fills a mid-sized room. Its rechargeable battery can charge an iPhone or other connected device and play back music for up to eight hours at normal sound levels. Available in gray; additional colors coming this spring. $799.
Nokia J Headset Nokia, the Finnish technology behemoth that was one of the first global mobile phone leaders, calls this new Bluetooth headset its most sophisticated yet. Light and ergonomic, with an über-sleek stainless steel design that champions its Scandinavian roots, the J is billed as “Always Ready” — just remove the earpiece from its holder and you’re ready to talk. The headset does the rest, powering on, connecting and answering calls. Put the earpiece back in the holder and the headset will end the call, disconnect and power off. A winner of numerous design awards, it boasts up to five hours of talk time and up to three months of standby time. $99.99. www.amazon.com/nokia-j-bluetooth-headset-silver/dp/B004XIB91O
Samsung Galaxy S II Samsung’s highly anticipated smartphone debut, which set sales records throughout Europe and Asia, has arrived on U.S. soil in time for the holidays. Ultra-thin and sleek, it features Samsung’s Super AMOLED Plus touch-screen display, delivering brilliant colors and high contrast for a crisp viewing experience. The Galaxy S II features an improved Samsung TouchWiz user interface, providing superior multitasking, application management and customization; and includes Live Panel, which offers a magazine-like view for immediate access to weather, social updates, email, news, photos and more. Samsung’s Social Hub service transfers email, instant messages, contacts and calendar reminders as well as social network connections including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn into “Feeds” and “Messages” folders that can be divided into tabs or combined into comprehensive lists. It’s powered by the innovative Android Gingerbread platform, with full support of Google Mobile Services including Android Market with access to more than 250,000 applications, Google Search, Google Maps, Gmail, YouTube, Google Talk and more. It also boasts Samsung’s Media Hub movie and next-day TV content service, featuring thousands of titles from major Hollywood studios and television networks. Available from Sprint (as Epic 4G Touch), AT&T and T-Mobile. $199.99–229 with two-year service agreement and qualifying plans; contact your provider for details. www.samsung.com
Samsung GALA XY Tab 10.1 The brand-new GALAXY Tab 10.1 from Samsung is the thinnest mobile tablet on the market at just 0.34 inches thick and a scant 21 ounces. A true road warrior, it boasts HSPA+ network speeds of up to 21Mbps, as well as Bluetooth and WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n connectivity to deliver rapid mobile download speeds and reduce data transfer times. Samsung’s TouchWiz user experience is designed with a Live Panel menu, so you can customize the home screen to display a variety of content including digital pictures, favorite websites and social network feeds. In addition, the interface includes an application tray of commonly used features, such as task manager, calendar and music player, which can be launched while other major applications are in use, including large file downloads and document editing. The GALAXY Tab 10.1 is also pre-loaded with Readers Hub and Music Hub, providing instant access to more than 2.2 million books; 2,000 newspapers (49 languages); 2,300 magazines (22 languages) and 13 million songs. The devices are also designed with Samsung’s Social Hub, which aggregates email, instant messaging, contacts, calendar and social network connections into a single interface. $499 (16MB), $599 (32MB).
Besides starting with the same letter, what do traveling and technology have in common? Unless you’re completely off the grid and have somehow managed to cut yourself off from the new electronic gadgets or mobile devices introduced since the turn of the century, you know the two are becoming more and more interconnected. Even though a smartphone may still not be able to physically transport you from one place to another, there’s not much it cannot do to help travelers with their myriad needs.
GOAL ZERO Guide 10 Adventure Kit April is Earth Month, an especially appropriate time to think about how we can all strive to be a bit “greener.” The Guide 10 Adventure Kit lets you do just that, providing a cost-effective, compact and lightweight charging system. Comprised of four AA rechargeable batteries, a USB output port, an LED flashlight and the 7-watt mono-crystalline solar panels of the GOAL ZERO Nomad 7M, it completely charges in four hours of full sunlight and delivers portable power to a variety of USB and DC devices. Created for broad functionality, the fully charged Guide 10 delivers 30 hours of power for a cell phone, seven to 10 hours for a smartphone, and a whopping 40 hours for an iPod. If the sun’s not shining, no worries — you can also charge from a laptop via USB connection. With nifty tools like this, despite what Kermit says, it actually is easy being green. $139.95.
Motorola ATRIX 4G Billed as the world’s most powerful smartphone, the ATRIX 4G was first unveiled to widespread acclaim at CES. Motorola’s revolutionary webtop application changes mobile computing forever by dramatically boosting the already formidable power of the smartphone. Its webtop application runs a full Mozilla Firefox 3.6 browser and supports Adobe Flash Player to open up all the rich graphics, animations and video on the web. While in the webtop application, you can run Android applications in a window, browse your favorite websites with the full Firefox desktop browser, send instant messages and make phone calls, all at the same time. Motorola ATRIX 4G includes a dual core processor with each core running at 1 GHz, delivering up to 2 GHz of processing power. It also runs Android 2.2, with access to more than 100,000 apps and games in the Android Market. The ATRIX 4G even features the AT&T U-verse Mobile application, which lets you schedule recordings and download and watch hit TV shows on your phone. And a Batman-esque biometric fingerprint reader keeps this little powerhouse safe and secure. Available exclusively to AT&T customers.
ZOMM Wireless Leash Here’s a nifty product whose time is long overdue, especially for those who have endured the hassle of losing a phone. Using Bluetooth technology, the keychain-sized ZOMM prevents you from losing or misplacing your mobile phone by vibrating, flashing lights and sounding an alarm when you stray too far from your device (better yet, you can select the appropriate distance). Features include the ability to mute the ringer and other sounds, adjust the ZOMM volume from your phone, customize the number ZOMM dials in case of emergency and even name your ZOMM. It also boasts call notification and a fully functional speakerphone with a noise-canceling microphone for safe hands-free communication — all for less than $100, with no monthly fees. Available in black or white. $99.99.
IDAPT i4 Universal Charger This sleek accessory charges up to four different mobile electronics simultaneously and is compatible with the iPad and iPhone 4, as well as 4,000 different mobile electronic devices including BlackBerry, Nintendo DS, PSP, digital cameras, GPS systems and Bluetooth products. With three charging ports and an additional USB charging port to meet all charging needs, it features an interchangeable tip system, making it completely customizable. Available in black, white or silver, it includes six of the most popular tips: miniUSB, microUSB, iPod/iPhone, Samsung 4, Nokia 2 and Sony Ericsson 2. $59.99.
DROID Incredible This hotly anticipated debut from HTC and Verizon Wireless is designed for those at the forefront of mobile technology. It features the newest version of the HTC Sense experience, a seven-panel home screen with a wide selection of interactive widgets so the most important content is immediately available at a touch. The first Verizon Wireless phone to take advantage of Qualcomm’s 1GHz lightning-fast Snapdragon processor, it’s also the first Verizon phone to include an 8-megapixel camera. Besides quick and easy access to Flickr for sharing and viewing pictures and video as well as to Android Market with more than 30,000 Google applications, it even boasts a tool called Friend Stream for streamlined updates from popular social networking sites — perfect for the ultimate social animal. $199.99 (after $100 mail-in rebate and with two-year customer agreement).
Clingo Universal Hands-free Mount From the how’d-they-do-that? department: The Clingo patent-pending, adhesive-free gel pad “stick to it” technology retains a secure grip on any mobile device. Simply press your phone or PDA to the Clingo pad and — presto! The Universal Hands-free Mount has a variety of mounting options, including windshield and middle console, and works with any phone (or the iPad), allowing hands-free viewing of calls, texts, video and messages. When it loses its grip, you just wipe it down with a wet towel or rag and the lead-free, non-toxic pad is ready for repeat use. $34.99.
CarMD A winner of an Edison 2010 Best Products Award, this cool diagnostic tool includes everything needed to monitor your car’s health — including an easy-to-use handheld diagnostic device, Mac/PC software, USB cable and lifetime software and firmware updates. Completely redesigned this year to include features such as vehicle recalls and technical service bulletins, CarMD works on all vehicles manufactured for use in the United States since 1996 — foreign and domestic. Just plug it into your car’s onboard diagnostic port (CarMD.com shows you where it is) and the device’s color-coded lights will tell you if your ride has any problems lurking under the hood. If so, just use the included Mac/PC software and your computer to tap into CarMD’s online database to generate a Vehicle Health Report. You willl receive an easy-to-understand overview of what’s wrong and what it will take to fix it — down to estimated parts and labor costs in your zip code. $98.99.
O-M-G! Harried business travelers in need of some 1-2-1 attention need not look further! For the cash rich, time poor customer seeking only the best accommodations while they travel the world, there’s an app for that! Small Luxury Hotels of the World™ (SLH), a brand of more than 500 independently owned luxury hotels in over 70 countries, brings luxury to the palm of your hand with a new, free iPhone app so travelers can Discover, Enjoy and Share their experiences at SLH properties.
Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300 Mobile Scanner This mobile multi-page scanner provides easy-to-use, one-button scanning and is small enough to digitize paperwork easily and efficiently from the road. Designed for full cross-platform functionality for PC and Mac, you can use it to scan contracts, receipts, bills, invoices or business cards. Features include Automatic Quality, which increases the resolution on small documents, helping to insure that the text remains legible and searchable, and ABBYY FineReader for ScanSnap, which lets you quickly transform paperwork into editable Word and Excel files at the push of a button. $295.
Ipevo PoV Web Camera This handy, über-portable Web cam lets you capture images and video from any angle and vantage point. Thanks to its pen-like design, the PoV Pointer Cam is easy to pick up and point at any subject. It can also rest on its base or be clamped to a laptop or monitor, and includes an integrated microphone to capture sound for shooting video clips or video-conferencing. The PoV is compatible with major instant-messaging applications including Yahoo! Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger, MSN Web Messenger and Windows Live Messenger. It also comes with Skype software to let you send snapshots to your Skype contacts right out of the box. And its tiny size is rivaled by its even smaller price. $39.99. (http://www.ipevo.com)
Navigon 2100 max The latest release from the leader in GPS devices is chock full of useful, cutting-edge features, including DirectHelp, a program that pinpoints your location and provides instant links to nearby services such as hospitals, pharmacies and roadside assistance; Reality View, which provides photorealistic, 3D images of confusing highway interchanges; and Lane Assistant, which helps you make the correct lane choice for upcoming turns and off-ramps. Predictive data entry and route planning, as well as millions of pre-loaded points of interest, help make finding your destination a piece of cake. $299. (http://www.navigon.com)
magicJack Just plug this nifty device into your computer’s USB port, then connect any regular phone to the other side, and make free local and long-distance calls within the country. Take it with you on your travels around the world (or send it to friends and loved ones overseas) to make free long-distance calls back to the United States and Canada. Approximately the size of a matchbox, it comes with a phone number, free voicemail, caller ID, 911 emergency service and a feature called FollowMe that forwards incoming calls to your office, mobile and home phones when you’re not online to receive them. Backed by its own network, the most magical thing about it — besides its ability to make your phone bills disappear — is the price, which includes a year of service. $40. (www.magicjack.com)
Samsung BlackJack Samsung continues its well-known tradition of combining sleek style and serious substance with this new handheld, which includes a QWERTY keyboard with high-resolution QVGA color screen, MP3 player, 1.3 megapixel camera with digital zoom and camcorder, Windows Mobile operating system, stereo Bluetooth version 2.0 and streaming music and video. It charges in less than three hours and weighs less than four ounces. Thanks to a wide range of features and the gotta-have-it buzz since its launch, we bet BlackJack will be one of the hottest gadgets this year. $199.99 with two-year Cingular contract. (http://www.cingular.com)
Myvu Made for iPod Personal Media Viewer Wow your friends with your up-to-the-minute gadget savvy. This funky eyewear display looks like a pair of cool wraparound shades and offers a viewing experience comparable to watching a large TV screen from six feet away. Composed of lightweight eyewear with built-in video viewing and audio systems, as well as an ultra-thin battery pack that doubles as a protective iPod case, the Myvu is the perfect solution for watching movies on the go. Designed for use with the new iTunes 7, it’s compatible with 30GB, 60GB and 80GB iPods with video. Slip the Myvu on and you’ll instantly become the most plugged-in person you know. $299. (www.myvu.com)
Delphi SkyFi3 XM Satellite Radio Although some might argue that satellite radio’s popularity has already peaked, this latest offering from Delphi is sure to help keep it squarely on the hot list. The most recent addition to the popular SkyFi family is the first portable satellite radio to feature a removable microSD card slot, allowing you to combine your own MP3 files with up to 10 hours of XM programming — essentially synthesizing the best features of an MP3 player with the best of satellite radio. It also boasts a 30-minute pause/replay feature and is 65 percent smaller than its predecessor, yet still features an easy-to-read 2.8-inch display. And it can be oriented horizontally or vertically, for easy use in the car or in your pocket. $199. (http://www.shopdelphi.com)
Pantech PX-500 Mobile Broadband Card Speedy broadband Internet access is a snap with this new broadband connection card from Pantech. Compatible with the Sprint Power Vision Network, it delivers wireless access at broadbandlike speeds for busy travelers. No more wandering around the airport in search of a WiFi hotspot — just plug the card into your laptop and jump online at rapid-fire speed anywhere served by the Sprint Network. It operates at 3.3V for longer laptop battery life, and is among the best-value data cards currently on the market. $199.99. (www.sprint.com)
Bushnell PinSeeker 1500 with Slope +/- What makes this laser rangefinder different from others on the market? It’s equipped with a built-in inclinometer that provides you with a compensated distance based upon the degree of incline or decline — so if you’re aiming uphill or downhill, the handy 10-ounce PinSeeker will adjust the yardage reading for the distance and angle to better aid with club selection. It’s capable of ranging distances from five to 1,500 yards and is accurate within plus- or minus-one yard, and is 100 percent waterproof. Hey, we need all the help we can get on the links. $643.75. (www.bushnellgolf.com)
Sansa e280 MP3 Player Although some Apple disciples would argue that it’s an iPod world and we all just live in it, those adventurous souls willing to venture outside the iPod realm will be pleasantly surprised by this new MP3 player from SanDisk, which, at 8GB, is currently the largest capacity MP3 player on the market. It boasts twice the storage capacity of the iPod Nano for the same price, and also features an expansion slot so you can transfer photos, videos, music and voice recordings to your computer, PDA or mobile phone. The 1.8-inch color screen isn’t too shabby, either. $249.99. (www.lilmonsta.com)
CarMD Do you ever fantasize about being your own mechanic so you can stop torturing yourself about whether you’re getting ripped off at the shop? This handy tool brings you one step closer to becoming Mr. Fix-It. Just plug the handheld tester into your car’s OBD2 Data Link Connector (found under or near your car’s dashboard), turn on the ignition, and then wait while it collects your vehicle’s information. Its color-coded LEDs provide a quick clue as to whether all systems are “go” or if there’s a problem. Then connect the tester to your computer to download reports via the CarMD Web site, which gives users access to accurate, value-added data, including potential problems and their solutions, estimated repair costs and more. It works on all cars, light trucks, minivans and SUVs manufactured for use in the United States since 1996. $89.99. (www.carmd.com)
Remote Play’s TagAlert 200 And now, for another idea from the why-didn’t-we-think-of-that corner: Remote Play’s TagAlert. Just attach the tag to any worldly possession you’d like to hang onto — mobile phone, PDA, laptop or luggage. Then place the monitor in your pocket or on your keychain. The patented system uses wireless technology to sound an alert when you exceed the preset range (from 30 to 100 feet — you set the distance). Each tag has a unique ID, so you can use multiple tags within the same area with a single monitor. Airport lost-and-found departments may never be the same again. $49.95. (www.remoteplay.com)
BBK AM99 English/Chinese Talking Dictionary Unless you’ve spent the last couple of years exploring the outermost reaches of the galaxy, you’ve likely heard that China is the new business frontier now that it’s a full-fledged member of the World Trade Organization. If you believe the hype and have an entrepreneurial streak, you may want to start learning the language with the help of this handy electronic dictionary from BBK. It provides accurate translation and authentic pronunciation in both Mandarin and English, as well as Pinyin (Chinese phonetic) displays along with the Chinese characters. The dictionary also features bi-directional English/Chinese dictionaries, idiom dictionaries, and five specialty dictionaries for biology, computers, business, medicine and Chinese medicine. There’s even supplemental information to help you familiarize yourself with Chinese expressions and day-to-day conversation, and a QWERTY keyboard and built-in speaker for easy usage. Go East, young businessman! $99.99. (www.bbkusa.com)
Wallet Flash Are you already bored with that USB flash drive dangling from your keychain? From the what-will-they-think-of-next corner comes Wallet Flash, the world’s first credit-card-sized USB flash drive that slides handily into your wallet. A standout at this year’s Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas,Wallet Flash is waterproof, ranges in size from 64MB to 2GB, and can even be branded with your company logo and name. Just don’t try to pay your hotel bill with it. $29-$169. (www.walletex.com)
For all its cosmopolitan trappings, Singapore remains, at heart, a tropical island. The city planners determinedly preserved gennery and the high groves of concrete and glass, and for a complete escape from urban bustle there still remain patches of the jungle and mangroves that covered the island when Sir Stamford Raffles first established a trading outpost here in 1819.
In this era of 6,500-passenger mega-ships, any cruise vessel conveying fewer than a thousand voyagers is considered a small ship, including high-end luxury liners, deluxe expedition ships and the world’s riverboats. The focus on many small ships is the destination rather than the conveyance, the expert chat rather than the Broadway show, the watersport rather than the casino, the scenery and culture rather than the full-service spa and specialty restaurant. Passengers make a travel style choice, forgoing the options and pleasures of a resort-sized vessel for the deeper, more immersive experience of a yacht-scaled ship.
The biggest names in the Middle East sporting community will gather for the Sports Industry Awards as the event returns for its eighth edition. SPIA recognizes the achievements of individuals, organizations, facilities and campaigns that contributed to the development of sport in the region.
Air Tahiti Nui resumed service from Los Angeles (LAX) to Papeete (PPT) last week. To welcome travelers back to French Polynesia, Air Tahiti Nui offers fares starting as low as $775 round-trip from Los Angeles, and $789 from San Francisco (SFO). The airline also allows a free date change on all of its tickets.
Turkish Airlines, already flying to more countries than any other airline, announced its 10th U.S. gateway: Newark Liberty International Airport. Service will launch May 21, with four flights per week between EWR and Istanbul (IST). Beginning June 1, the frequency increases to daily.