The holidays are rapidly approaching, which might mean family road trips for Thanksgiving dinner or a flight to a sunny destination during Christmas break.
Just because you’re traveling doesn’t mean you should be without cool tech toys.
In fact, today’s small, lightweight and wireless gadgets can help you remain informed, entertained, productive and connected while on the go.
If you’re itching to pick up a new travel companion, the following are a half-dozen recommended picks to suit varying tastes and budgets.
• 3-in-1 device
An ideal smartphone or tablet companion, Kingston’s MobileLite Wireless G2 ($53.99) is a small gadget that serves triple duty: it’s your own Wi-Fi hot spot that can stream content, such as HD movies, to five different devices at the same time; it’s a portable battery pack for charging a smartphone twice; and it’s a portable router for up to eight Wi-Fi enabled devices (with a built-in Ethernet port). If you’re running out of space on your smartphone or tablet, you can also wirelessly download photos to a memory card or USB drive connected to the MobileLite Wireless G2. Free companion apps are available for iOS, Android and Kindle devices.
• What’s your type?
You brought only your phone or tablet with you on your trip but realize you have a lot of e-mail to wade through or a document to write up for work or school. No worries. Logitech’s aptly named Keys-To-Go ($59.99) is an ultra-portable, stand-alone Bluetooth keyboard that can be used with an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Apple TV (and with iOS shortcuts, too). Available in blue, red or black, this mechanical 9½-inch-long keyboard is covered with FabricSkin, which can be wiped off if spilled on, and has an integrated battery that lasts up to three months on a single charge. Logitech has other wireless keyboards for Android and Windows devices, too.
• Game on!
Reduce the “Are we there yet?” from the backseat with MOGA portable game controllers for smartphones and tablets. Designed to feel like a console controller, the MOGA Pro Power Controller ($79.99) works with any Android device and can charge it up while you play. iOS gamers, on the other hand, might opt for the new MOGA Rebel iOS ($79.99), a Bluetooth wireless controller that locks in an iPhone or iPod touch, but can also work with iPad, as well. The MOGA (“Mobile Gaming”) Rebel houses analog sticks, shoulder buttons and a D-Pad, and is compatible with hundreds of games from the App Store.
• Can you hear me now?
Why settle for dropped calls and inconsistent data speeds? Instead, road warriors might consider a signal booster like the SmoothTalker Mobile CX1 (from $299.99), a vehicle kit that includes a universal cradle that holds and powers your smartphone, magnetic antenna and a booster box (typically kept underneath your seat). Ensuring optimum coverage for all your cellular devices, this FCC-approved product features proprietary “Stealth Tech” that automatically adjusts power and gain to prevent any unwanted noise or feedback (oscillation) while on the road.
• Watch this
Motorola’s Moto 360 ($249.99) is about time. And messages, traffic, weather, flight alerts, maps and photos. Built on the new Android Wear platform, this is a sleek smartwatch with a 1.56-inch round face, multiple digital watch faces to choose from. Available in Stone Gray and Black Leather, Moto 360 wakes up when you say “OK, Google,” followed by a number of commands, such as “Set a reminder,” “Send a text,” “Check the weather” or “Give me directions.” As with most other fitness bands and smartwatches, there’s a built-in pedometer and heart rate monitor. Keep in mind: A nearby Android smartphone is required to get the most out of this wearable device.
• Sounding off
Music lovers, listen up. If you’re still wearing those cheap earbuds that came in the box, you don’t know what you’re missing. Whether you want superior sound or to simply block out engine roar for a more relaxing plane ride, the Bose QuietComfort 25 ($299.99) are a comfortable, loud and well-balanced pair of around-the-ear noise-canceling headphones. The foldable successor to the QuietComfort 15 is available in black or white and includes an in-line mic and remote. Power lasts up to 35 hours on a single AAA battery (included).