Best Travel Gadgets from CES 2010
The ultra-mobile Tunebug Vibe ($69.95) transforms any flat surface into a speaker. Just hook it up to your favorite portable audio source, put it down—boxes and other hollow surfaces work best—and rock out. There's also an upcoming Bluetooth version ($119.95) made specifically for affixing to snowboard, skate or bike helmets.
Sanyo's eneloop pedal-assist hybrid electric bicycle (MSRP $2,299.95) could quite literally change the way you travel. You can pedal it just as a normal bike. Or, allow this synergetic three-speed regenerative bicycle to sense when you need help on tougher terrain and give you a boost of power. Since it recharges along the way, it's definitely a greener, healthier alternative to consider for any short distance trip up to 46 miles.
In a similarly green vein, Scosche's solCHAT II solar Bluetooth speakerphone ($99.99) initially charges directly via USB or car adapter. But then, suctioned to your windshield or clipped to your visor, sunlight continually recharges the unit. With one-touch voice dialing and voice announce caller ID, it's a great, environmentally friendly way to stay hands-free without having something clunky stuck in your ear.
Avoiding clunkiness is part of the thinking behind Hybra Advance Technology's amazing O.R.B. ($129 suggested retail). In one position, it's a ring that can worn on a thumb or finger and display incoming caller IDs, text messages and pre-programmed reminders. Twisted open, it's a wireless headset that fits comfortably over the ear. It's certainly more fashionable and functional than the average Bluetooth earpiece. But it also uses advanced technology to create a more discrete, natural listening and speaking experience that doesn't isolate you from the outside world.
Nikon's pocket-sized COOLPIX S1000pj ($429.95) allows you to project the 12-megapixel stills and 30-frame-per-second videos you just shot onto a nearby surface with an image size from 5 to 40 inches. The 5X wide-angle zoom and myriad other smart features allow you to capture great shots. But that projection clearly adds another dimension to sharing them on the spot.
When you really don't want to share, it's time to strap on a set of lightweight ITG-Vidix goggles ($289.99). Just like other multimedia goggles, you can plug into an outside video source for a big virtual screen with instant privacy from Nosey Nellie in the next seat over. But what makes these babies great is that they have 2 GB of internal memory and a micro SD card slot. So you can also load your movies, photos, music and e-books right into the goggles for easy viewing, without having to lug around a separate DVD or other media player!
iLuv's i1166 portable multimedia player ($269.99) boasts a similarly economical architecture. Open up the device and pop in any standard CD or DVD—or best of all, your whole iPod! While docked inside the i1166, your iPod can charge and you have full control with a user-friendly graphical interface. You can also slide in an external memory card or USB drive to experience TV or movie files through its stereo speakers and bright 8.9-inch widescreen display.
Should your travels take you underwater, you'll definitely want one of Liquid Image's video masks (from $109.99 to $309.99). Even casual snorkelers can shoot decent video hands-free and 5-megapixel stills. (No more shelling out for subpar disposables!) And serious recreational divers can get all the wide angles, filters, lights and high definition they can handle. At whatever your preferred depth, no trip to the Great Barrier Reef (or your backyard pool) is complete without one of these fun masks.
Lastly, you've probably wondered at some point in your travels what's going on back at the ranch. Avaak's Vue personal video network ($299.99) can help you find out, with zero technological intimidation. Easily positioned little low-power wireless cameras send signals to a gateway connected to your router. So from any Internet browser—even on your iPhone—you'll be able to view, save and share live video clips indicating what shape the house is in, if the cats are still alive and what the kids are up to.