Buyers Guide: Best Travel Accessories
Holidays are great – no matter whether you are jetting off to a tropical island paradise or adventuring on a hiking holiday. So what could be better than getting away from it all and enjoying some much needed relaxation? Well being able to enjoy some technology while you’re away for one thing.
There are plenty of gadgets which are great for your breaks away – everything from underwater cameras to record deep sea explorations or some little speakers so you can enjoy your music out loud – and here at AMP3 you can see our pick of the bunch in this handy little guide.
Soundasleep Pillow (£14.99)
Now taking your own pillow away with you might seem a bit strange, especially when you consider that hotels provide these to you quite happily, but you need to bear in mind that this is no ordinary pillow.
The Soundasleep Pillow is a great idea as it allows you to connect an audio device to and listen in comfort without headphones getting in the way. Moreover, as the speaker is built in to the soft hollow fibre filling you won’t feel it inside the pillow and means that you won’t disturb your partner with your music.
Simply connect your MP3 player, mobile phone, laptop and so on to the pillow through the handy 3.5mm jack, press play and enjoy.
Read reviews of the Soundasleep Pillow here.
What makes the Soundasleep Pillow great?
• Easily connect any audio device with a 3.5mm earphones jack to pillow.
• Great if you have trouble sleeping or if you experience tinnitus.
• When you’re not using the pillow at home or in a hotel it makes a great companion for long car journeys.
What isn’t so good?
• If you want to drift off to music you have to plan out a playlist on your audio device and make sure it’s set to not repeat and to turn off after a certain length of time.
• The pillow can only realistically be used by one person at a time.
• You can’t wash the pillow in a washing machine.
Verdict: The Soundasleep Pillow is a great idea and should come in handy for anyone who wants a more comfortable method of listening to music in bed; even while travelling.
Check out the Soundasleep Pillow here.
X-Mini MAX II Capsule Speakers (£29.99)
These little beauties have been out for a little while now and have received a lot of much deserved praise from users and reviewers alike.
The speakers are incredibly simple to use as all you need to do is connect your audio device through the built in audio cable and away you go. The speakers are provided in a pair and provide stereo sound – they also put out a healthy volume which is more than strong enough to enjoy in a car or by the poolside. Moreover, the speakers feature a rechargeable battery, through USB, so you don’t have to worry about juggling batteries while travelling (a USB to AC adapter might well be handy addition though).
Read reviews of the X-Mini MAX II Capsule speakers here.
What makes the X-Mini MAX II Capsule Speakers great?
• Since the speakers connect through a built-in 3.5mm audio cable you can connect nearly any audio device to them.
• Rechargeable batteries so you can top the power up at your discretion.
• The speakers neatly clip together with magnets when not in use and have a handy carry pouch.
What isn’t so good?
• If you aren’t near a PC or have a USB to mains adapter you could well run out of battery power and be left without music until you can charge them again.
• While the volume is strong they are portable speakers and as such don’t have the highest output so if there’s lots of noise in the background you might struggle to hear.
• As the surface the speakers are sitting on can affect the sound less resonant surfaces can affect the sound.
Verdict: The X-Mini MAX II speakers are one of the most portable speakers going at the moment and, considering their small size, sound great. These are ideal for travel and use nearly anywhere you’d want to listen to music.
Check out the X-Mini MAX II Capsule Speakers here.
Vistaquest Digital Single Use Camera (£9.99)
There’s not much worse than losing or breaking your expensive digital camera while travelling as even if you can recover the pictures from the memory card you’re still going to be left looking at the expensive pieces of your camera. This is where the Vistaquest Single Use Cameras come in very handy.
The idea behind these cameras is quite straight-forward as users can snap away without any worries about breaking their expensive equipment and then enjoy their photos when they get home. Moreover, as theses cameras are so inexpensive they are great for giving to the kids so they don’t miss out on the photo taking fun.
Read reviews of the Vistaquest Single Use Camera here.
What makes the Vistaquest Digital Single Use Camera great?
• They are an inexpensive way of taking photographs without the worry of breaking or losing your expensive digital camera.
• Great for kids so they can take their own photographs.
• Simply connect the camera to your PC when you get home and view your photos instantly.
What isn’t so good?
• The shutter button needs to be pressed fairly hard to ensure that a photo is taken; otherwise the counter moves forwards but no image is recorded.
• The resolution is not going to match your standard digital camera.
• While the camera breaking won’t hurt your bank account you would have no way of recovering the pictures since the camera doesn’t use a removable memory card.
Verdict: A nice little idea for those who worry about losing or damaging expensive equipment. The pictures might not have the best resolution but the fun you can have with these cameras is hard to beat.
Check out the Vistaquest Digital Single Use Camera here.
Archos G9 Key, 3G USB Stick Adapter (£46.00)
This little dongle could come in very handy while travelling as it means you don’t have to be without internet on your laptop or tablet (assuming your tablet supports these dongles). Just pop in a pay as you go or contract 3G sim card, insert the dongle in to a USB port and browse away.
What makes the Archos G9 Key, 3G USB Stick Adapter great?
• Easy to use since you just need to insert a 3G sim card and then connect to your laptop or tablet.
• Great if you’re not wanting to pay over the odds for a 3G enabled tablet or just want to use the internet away from a WIFI connection from time to time (you’ll need to check the tablet supports 3G dongles still).
• The dongle is fairly small so will not take up much luggage space.
What isn’t so good?
• If you don’t want to take up another contract for a 3G sim you’ll either have to swap around the sim card from your phone or purchase a pay as you go 3G sim card separately.
• With free WIFI hotspots being available, along with cheap paid-for ones in airports, you might not get a whole lot of use out of the dongle.
• Since web browsing would be handled by 3G it may not be a quick to load pages as you might like.
Verdict: These dongles are perfect if you’re travelling and don’t want to rely on WIFI hotspots for your internet browsing needs. However, they might be better to consider if you travel more for business than recreation so you’re never without internet when you need it the most.
Check out the Archos G9, 3G Stick Adapter here.
GoPro HD Hero 2 – Outdoor Edition (£280.00)
The GoPro range of cameras have been around for a little while now and have really gone from strength to strength – no doubt helped by the high quality videos they put out of cars corkscrewing over rivers and naughty seagulls stealing the camera.
Nowadays there is a GoPro camera suitable for most uses, covering everything motorsports to downhill mountain biking, and while the quality of the videos remains the same the bundled accessories are tailored for you specific needs.
The Outdoor version of the GoPro HD Hero 2 camera has lots of clever tricks up its sleeve, such as being waterproof up to 60m, but the real highlight is the full 170° wide angle 1080p video recording and 11 megapixel still camera. Hurtling down a huge hill has never been more fun.
Read reviews of the GoPro HD Hero 2 – Outdoor Edition here.
What makes the GoPro HD Hero 2 – Outdoor Edition great?
• Easy to attach to your helmet or bike through the handy bundled mounts.
• High quality video recording means that your exploits will be captured in high definition.
• Live streaming of your videos and photos to the web through the camera itself.
What isn’t so good?
• The camera is pretty expensive so you’d really have to make good use of it.
• Since the cameras are designed for sports and other activities it won’t come in too handy for trips to the beach.
• While the camera has housing to protect it you can still damage the camera during use, for example if you have a bad tumble from a bike.
Verdict: If you’re in to adventure holidays or outdoor sports then these cameras are fantastic for recording your exploits so you can share them with your friends, family and with people online.
Check out the GoPro HD Hero 2 – Outdoor Edition here.
Liquid Image Summit 335 (£199.00)
The Liquid Image Summit 335 is ideal if you’re in to winter sports as it allows you to record your exploits on the slopes for enjoying and sharing later. Built in to the nifty looking goggles the camera is capable of recording 720p HD video and features a 136° wide angled lens.
While the goggles only have 32MB of flash memory this can be easily increased with Micro SDHC cards up to 32GB in size meaning you won’t run out of recording space in a hurry. Best of all though is that the camera lens has a hefty amount of protection thanks to the iridium coating plus it is weather resistant, shock proof and even freeze proof.
What makes the Liquid Image Summit 335 great?
• Record high definition video while snowboarding or enjoying other winter fun without having to faff around with camera mounts.
• The goggles will accept a 32GB Micro SDHC so you can record tremendous amount of video.
• You can submit the Liquid Image Summit 335 to some fairly rough treatment thanks to the iridium coated lens and tolerance to the elements.
What isn’t so good?
• Since the camera is housed within the goggles you can only really use it while wearing them whereas other ‘action’ cameras can be used normally as well as mounted.
• You can only expect around 1.5 to 2 hours of use out of the battery while recording HD video.
• If you are travelling over rough terrain you could well see a lot of shake in your videos.
Verdict: If you’re in to winter adventures on the slopes then these might be worth a look at. After all sharing holiday photos with family and friends is nice but showing them a video of you hurtling down the piste is so much better.
Check out the Liquid Image summit 335 here.
Made By Zen NA50 Compact Air Purifier (£21.99)
In general most hotels will have a pretty high standard of cleanliness but what about if you suffer from allergies or have concerns about airborne foreign bugs? Well then you might want to consider taking one of these Made By Zen NA50 Compact Air Purifiers with you in your luggage.
There isn’t a whole lot to this little gizmo as all you need to do is plug in the purifier and then sit back and enjoy some nice clean air. Furthermore, as the purifier doesn’t release any chemicals it doesn’t rely on refills like plug in air fresheners do and have a very low energy consumption rate of only 3 watts.
What makes the Made By Zen NA50 Compact Air Purifier great?
• The purifier is effective up to 30 cubic meters which is more than enough for most hotel rooms.
• Effective against odours, such as food or cigarette smoke, as well as airborne allergens and pollutants.
• Small and light so you can easily take it with you from place to place.
What isn’t so good?
• Will possibly be of more benefit in the long run when used in your home; although it’s still going to be effective for freshening up hotel rooms.
• While the design is neutral, so the purifier blends in well with your home décor, the purifier does look a bit ‘plasticy’.
• Possibly better for allergy suffers who want to protect themselves while travelling as opposed to general use.
Verdict: This little gadget is great if you suffer from allergies and are about to travel to a foreign location since it removes impurities and other nastiness in the air and should help you relax in comfort when in your hotel room.
Check out the Made By Zen NA50 Compact Air Purifier here.
iFuzen HP-1 Portable Headphone Amplifier, Battery Extender and Protective Carry case for iPhone 4/4S (£69.00)
The HP-1 could quite easily be considered to be one of the most helpful carry cases for the iPhone on the market at the moment. Not only does the case protect the back and sides of the iPhone it also acts as a headphone amp and will even increase the battery life of the iPhone through the battery conditioner.
The iFuzen HP-1 is also rechargeable (good for 500 full charges), features twin jack outputs for connecting to a stereo or so a friend can connect their earphones at the same time and has a nifty touch panel for controlling volume.
With one of these genius cases on your iPhone you’re guaranteed to be able to enjoy high end sound no matter where you are in the world. Plus you’ll protect your iPhone while travelling to far flung locations.
Read reviews of the iFuzen HP-1 Portable Headphone Amplifier, Battery Extender and Protective Carry case for iPhone 4/4S here.
What makes the iFuzen HP-1 Portable Headphone Amplifier, Battery Extender and Protective Carry case for iPhone 4/4S great?
• The battery extender will come in very handy for travel since you can coax a bit more life out of your iPhone.
• Take premium quality sound with you on your travels.
• The battery is rechargeable and as the charge port is mini USB you can attach the case to a generic USB to AC adapter while away.
What isn’t so good?
• Unless you take a USB to Ac adapter away with you could run out of juice before your holiday ends.
• The case adds significant bulk to the iPhone.
• If you don’t want to enjoy the increase is sound quality through earphones you’ll need to bring along a portable speaker.
Verdict: This case is fantastic if you travelling thanks to the battery conditioner and amplifier for improving sound quality. If you can put up with the added bulk on your phone the case should make an ideal travel companion.
Check out the iFuzen HP-1 Portable Headphone Amplifier, Battery Extender and Protective Carry case for iPhone 4/4S here.