Gifts that work for business travelers and vacationers, from a miniature pocket projector to clever charging devices and Bluetooth speakers.
Speakers the size of gingerbread cookies. Digital projectors that fit in your pocket. Mighty mini-chargers.
The travel market is flooded with tiny tech devices. Many are aimed at business travelers, but many work well for vacationers, too.
Beam it up: One of the strongest sellers from Brookstone, the popular retailer, is a $450 projector that’s about the size of a McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish sandwich.
The Pocket Projector Pro lets a traveler beam presentations, HD movies, videos or business presentations onto a screen with a diagonal up to 100 inches from his or her smartphone, tablet or laptop. (Apple devices require an adapter, sold separately.) The device has two built-in speakers and can run up to two hours once fully charged.
Charge and store: Among the most buzzed-about new chargers for mobile devices is Mophie’s Space Pack ($150 to $250). Introduced this year, it’s a backup-battery-cum-phone-case for iPhone 5 and 5S that doubles the life of your phone and can also provide up to 64GB of additional media storage. That’s more than 30,000 photos, 28 hours of video and 18,000 songs on your smartphone thanks to a case that’s about 2.6 inches by 5.7 inches. Any file type can be stored using the Space Pack (not available for the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus).
The new LaCie Fuel is a narrow, 4.5-inch square that lets you store and view more than 500 movies or thousands of photos, songs and documents. (It includes 1 terabyte of wireless storage for $180; 2 terabytes for $250.) Up to five devices (iPhone, iPad, Mac) can wirelessly access the data simultaneously, and the company says the battery can last up to 10 hours. The Fuel can also connect to Wi-Fi hot spots and share its Internet connection with up to four wireless devices.
At a hotel or airport lounge, business travelers can charge their smartphones and up to three other devices (tablet, backup battery, iPod) simultaneously with the new Sharper Image 4-USB-Port Charging Tower ($35), which plugs into the wall and is about the size of a remote control.
A multifaceted cable, like Brookstone’s 3-to-1 USB Cable — which has a USB connector on one end and Lightning, 30-pin and Micro USB connectors on the other — is also handy ($35). It allows travelers to charge any device they or their colleagues happen to have, be it from Apple, Samsung or Nokia.
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Silence or music: For a potentially more restful sleep in the hotel, there are diminutive noise machines, like the Tranquil Moments bedside sleep-sound machine ($130), available at Brookstone, that has settings for “thunderstorm,” “summer night” and “celestial.” It also doubles as a Bluetooth speaker when you’re not trying to drift off. Many other Bluetooth speakers are available in portable packages, including Jawbone’s Mini Jambox ($130).
Bang & Olufsen just introduced its first portable Bluetooth speaker, the BeoPlay A2 ($400). It’s under 2 ½ pounds, comes in green, black and gray, and has a leather strap so it can hang from a doorknob or hook in a hotel room. There is also a long strap for slinging it over a shoulder. Just don’t forget to slip it back into your bag before checking out.
For those who prefer to keep their playlists private, there are a variety of listening options, including Sharper Image’s new wireless, lightweight Bluetooth headphones ($120) that, while an over-the-ear style, still fold up nicely.