Travel Gadgets

Holiday gift guide

Looking to get a head start on shopping for the gadget-loving traveller in your life? Here are six electronic goodies to keep the mobile members of your family smiling.

Apple iPod Nano
$249–$299 CAD

No surprise that this is the season's must-have digital music player: The iPod Mini was a huge hit and this is the same thing… only mini-er. The Nano is thinner than a pencil but stores up to 1,000 songs. Its full-colour screen can display everything from album artwork to family photos. It's small and light enough to fit comfortably into your shirt pocket. The only problem is that it's so small, you just might forget it's there! Expect about 10 hours of playtime on a single battery charge.

Etymotic Ety.Com headset
$80 CAD

Whether you're in a moving car or a noisy airport, cellphone communication can be frustrating. Well, curse no more. The Ety.Com mobile headset uses a sound-isolating earpiece – which plugs right into your ear canal like an earplug – to make sure you can always hear the person on the other end of the call. And the attached microphone boom can be positioned right next to your mouth so you can be heard too… without passersby becoming privy to your conversation.

Garmin StreetPilot i3
$460 CAD

Never again lose your way when driving – without breaking the bank. The StreetPilot uses Global Positioning System satellites to determine your location, which is then mapped on its tiny colour screen. Stick the StreetPilot's suction cup to the inside of your windshield; then let it tell you (using the built-in speaker) where you need to turn. The StreetPilot i3 comes with maps for both Canada and the United States and is bundled with a cigarette lighter adapter in case the two AA batteries run low on power.

Memorex 2GB TravelDrive
$230 CAD

USB memory stick capacities are getting so big that it's tempting to leave your bulky notebook behind. Instead, why not just load all of your work onto the USB stick and use a computer at your destination? Memorex has high-end versions for the executive type (complete with aircraft-grade brushed aluminium housing and push-button retractable USB connector), but this basic model is cheaper. And, at only a few centimetres wide, it's still small enough to clip onto your key ring. Oh, and its two-gigabyte storage replaces over a thousand floppy disks. Remember those?

Socket Mobile Power Pack
$200 CAD

The worst part about travelling with a bucketful of gadgets is managing all of the power adapters. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to charge up your gear while you're away from an outlet? The Socket Mobile Power Pack is a small travel kit that does just that with a five-volt lithium ion battery plus adapter tips for cellphones, PDAs, digital music players and other USB-powered devices. As long as you remember to pack the MPP's own AC adapter (which fits North American, European, U.K. and Australian wall plugs), you'll be able to keep your various gadgets charged up most anywhere.

Sony PSP
$299 CAD

This may sound like a kid's ploy to allay parental suspicion, but Sony's new mobile gaming device really isn't just for games: It also doubles as a photo viewer, movie player and digital audio device. Invest a few extra dollars in a high-capacity Memory Stick Pro Duo card, and you can even watch all your favourite video podcasts while you're on the move.

(Sean Carruthers is a freelance technology writer, cohost of the Labrats.tv podcast, editor of GlobalHermit.com, and tech researcher at G4techTV Canada. When he travels, he often takes more gadgets than clothes.)


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November 2005