As consumers, we’ll judge for ourselves which travel products and services genuinely provide value. To that end, here are five travel gadgets that really can improve our travel experiences:
1. Suunto 7
Suunto, maker of sporty smartwatches, arrives at CES with the reveal of Suunto 7, a wearable that boasts “smart features” from Wear OS by Google. These include offline outdoor maps with a 50+ km range, enabling users to follow their location via a bright OLED touch-sensitive display, as well as wrist-based control of music playlists. For adventurous exercise junkies, the smartwatch also includes wrist-based heart rate tracking, a barometer for elevation readings, and a built-in GPS so you won’t get lost traversing foreign terrain.
2. NexOptic’s Binoculars
Typically, when we think of binocs, we envision old-school birders in safari jackets admiring the feathers of a fiery-necked nightjar. No more, says NexOptic Technology Corp, which presented an updated version of its “DoubleTake” binoculars at CES 2020. These 3D-printed binocs enter the Jetson’s age offering a 10x digital zoom via its wide field lens, which is more than my iPhone can do. It can also shoot 4K video and photos, which are easily shareable on social media when connected via Nexoptic’s app. Think of this gadget as half-binocular, half-camera, with the zooming power of a telescope.
3. Pow Audio’s Biz Speaker
Wireless bluetooth speakers aren’t new. But Pow Audio has just made them more relevant to business travelers with the CES debut of a product called “Biz.” Designed to improve teleconferencing audio, Biz is a hand-held portable speaker with a 360-degree microphone, automatic echo cancellation and noise suppression for bigger, better sound. With more professionals working remotely, and increasingly relying on the sometimes-sketchy audio from Zoom and Skype, Biz could make conference calls that much clearer. Can you hear me now?
4. Trova Go, the Mobile Safe
Most avid travelers know by now that vacation rentals such as Airbnb often do not offer safes for storing valuables. Trova Go is simple, sleek, and helps solve that problem. It is a lightweight, portable safe that wirelessly connects via Bluetooth, and can open via passcode or biometrics. Their slogan is “enjoy the luxury of privacy.” If the box is opened, you will be notified via the Trova app on your smartphone. It also has a “never lost” feature that marks the device’s last-used location, giving traveler’s that little bit of extra peace of mind.
5. SOURCE by Zero Mass Water
This company’s mission is to “make drinking water an unlimited resource.” So far, they’ve installed water production sites in over 35 countries by using solar panel technology and an integrated sterilization system to convert water vapor from the air into liquid water. This is particularly relevant to travelers visiting countries without a reliable supply of safe drinking water, or which suffer from extremely arid conditions. Already hotels and resorts in Mexico (Hotel MUMEDI), the Philippines (Seda Vertis North Hotel), and South Australia (Mistere Eco-Resort) have installed Source hydropanels on-site to provide their guests and staff with safe drinking water. In this case, sustainability isn’t just a buzz word.