Finding great mobile technology at a good price is hard to do these days, especially during the holiday time crunch.
Did you know, as of Dec. 1, the FTC is making journalists and bloggers source when they get free or discounted products from manufacturers? We’ve been testing all sorts of products for years in our professional reviews. Be assured that every product in this guide has been real-life tested by myself and my assistants (mostly my very creative, discerning and lucky family and friends).
Totally Cool Netbook: Can’t be without your computer while on the road, but don’t want to take a heavy, dinosaur of a laptop? There’s another smart choice for travel: HP’s Mini 110 Netbook ($399). Created by Dutch industrial designer Tord Boontje, we just love the cool white flora and fauna print with slight 3D effect. While on road trips, we often sit in the rear seat and work wirelessly using Sierra Wireless broadband modem with excellent AT&T connectivity. With HP’s Mini 110 Netbook on our laps, we enjoy the crisp graphics (Intel Atom N270 CPU), small size, light weight, more than six hours of battery life and handy one-on-the-right and one-on-the-left USB ports. The HP Mini 110 Netbook also comes with one gig of RAM, a 160 gigabyte hard drive and Windows 7 Starter. Wireless heaven!
Cars Get Connected: A recent study estimates that more than 62 million people will be connected via their cars by 2016. Do you need your car to be connected? YES! More and more, wireless is coming to your car via your mobile phone as in Ford’s super cool SYNC technology or via embedded Bluetooth wireless in all GM’s vehicles, which come standard with OnStar. The winter holidays is one of the best times to buy a new car. If you are considering a new car purchase for yourself or a gift, make certain to grill your dealers about your car’s connectivity package and options.
Get Charged Up: Need a way to charge multiple devices while on the road? The Chargepod is a versatile six-in-one charger that simultaneously charges popular portable devices including your Blackberry, iPod, iPhones and Palm Treo in addition to hundreds of other cell phones, PDAs and portable gaming devices. We found this easy-to-use device is handy and really can charge several devices at the same time. Next time, we want to try the Fueltank Uno/Due, which can charge one or two devices without an outlet.
Never Get Lost Again: If you want to buy yourself or a loved one a portable GPS navigation system, we’ve tested Harman Kardon’s Guide+Play GPS. The easy-to-use touch screen system has lots of cool advanced navigation features as well as Bluetooth connectivity, MP3 audio playback capability, a photo viewer and a video player. I also found Guide+Play is super functional as it only takes one hand to quickly and easily snap into its dashboard mounted bracket. The downside? This mobile tech gadget was a bit temperamental and refused to start up on occasion.
Gotta Have Headphones: Great headphones are a necessity when driving in the car for hours, especially with the kids. Audio-Technica claims its noise-canceling headphones block 85 percent of environmental noise while delivering outstanding sound. On our road test, we found Audio-Technica’s in-ear headphones as well as the sleek and stylish over-ear headphones really do cancel road noise and give you excellent sound quality. Plus, they are both lightweight and come with cool carrying cases.
HP, Callpod, Harman Kardon, Ford, GM and Audio-Technica provided products or vehicles for this review.