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Best Travel Gadgets

Best Travel Gadgets

Nigel Cox

Here’s a 2015 travel resolution that will be easy to keep: lightening your carry-on. Credit goes to the latest crop of travel gadgets that come in myriad space-saving shapes and sizes.

In some cases, you won’t even need to pack anything. With a round face and genuine handcrafted leather strap, the Moto 360 fits discreetly on your wrist like any old watch. When paired with your Android phone, however, the smart timepiece displays trip updates, turn-by-turn directions, local weather, translations, and even boarding passes, so you won’t even have to rifle through your bag to find your ticket. It’s just one of the innovative products we’re honoring in this year’s Travel Tech Awards.

It’s been a big year for smart watches and other travel-optimized wearables, but traditional categories also saw upgrades. Most of this year’s winners in the laptop category feature touchscreens. The much improved, no-compromise computing Microsoft Surface Pro 3 further blurs the lines between tablets and laptops with detachable (and interchangeable) keyboards.

Tablets, meanwhile, are coming down in price. The Toshiba Encore Mini features a seven-inch screen and 128 gigabytes (GB) of built-in memory, and runs the full version of Windows 8.1, which gives it the same capability as a laptop. Available for as little as $79, it’s an ideal starter, which is why we named it the best tablet for kids.

As tablets get smaller, smartphones are getting bigger, giving rise to a new category of big-screen phablets. With a 5.6-inch screen that curves around onto the right side, the Samsung Note Edge is unlike any phablet we’ve ever seen. The main screen offers a four-times-HD-resolution screen that’s optimized for everything from watching movies to annotating and sharing travel plans with the built-in S-Pen. Even when the main screen is off, it continues to show the time, date, and alarm information on the curved edge display—making this our new favorite travel clock.

Whether looking for a new laptop, smartphone, or tablet—not to mention portable speakers the size of a pencil box, noise-canceling headphones, or a camera—travelers will find the right device among our winning picks.

This story ran in T+L's December 2014 issue.

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