By Nimish Dubey
As 2010 is confined to history, we decided to take a step back and look at our favourite travel gadgets of the year. Although we saw no significant move in the GPS gadget territory, apart from almost all smartphones coming with GPS, there were a number of gadgets that seemed tailormade for the traveller. Here are five that we thought were the best of the lot: (and in case you are wondering why there are no cameras in the list, that is because Ajay is the expert in that department)
Finally, a great laptop for travellers who have had to make do with low power netbooks and ultraportables. The new MacBook Air came with a terrific display (11 inch and 13 inch), flash memory for faster operation and protection and crashes, a very good Core 2 Duo processor, decent onboard graphics, and an extra USB port, even while hanging on to that ubersleek and lightweight form factor. The perfect notebook for travellers who did not wish to compromise on performance, while not lugging a deadweight with them.
The ultimate phone for travellers, we think. It had a reasonably responsive touchscreen (not in the iPhone/ Android category, but still very handy), a scratch proof body, a very good 3.5 inch display, every connectivity option in town including the option to plug your USB flash drive into it via an adaptor, GPS with free Ovi Maps, push mail…and all this without mentioning the supremely good 12 megapixel camera that was capable of capturing HD video. Top that off with the best battery life we have seen on a touchscreen of that size (it comfortably lasts more than a day) and you can see why we consider it to be such a terrific device for all ye who travel.
It was considered by most pundits to be the tech gadget of the year and we think it was a pretty good option for travellers who wanted a device that would keep them connected , while not weighing a tonne and being lighter than most notebooks. The 9.7 inch display of the iPad was just gorgeous for viewing videos, Websites, games and even e-books. The stacks of apps available for it only made it even more useful. We would recommend buying a really solid case for it though, as it is not built to survive falls.
Amazon Kindle 3
The third generation of Amazon’s iconic e-book reader might not have seen any spectacular updates but we think its more compact shape made it that more easy to lug around for book-loving travellers. We also loved the new improved Internet browser which made browsing the Net a real option on the device rather than just a handy add-on. Of course, what we really love are the huge library of books and the lifetime free Internet connectivity. Not as versatile as the iPad, some might say, but we will just point out that it costs a whole lot lesser and while totally incapable of handling video or colour, does just enough in terms of Internet connectivity.
Garmin Asus A10
The Garmin Asus alliance might have ended, leaving this as a phone with no future but we must admit that we loved the A10, which was the first phone we have seen since the Nokia Navigator to have been centred around navigation. It had maps and navigation which worked even when there was no cellphone signal, pedestrian and in-car modes, a decent 5.0 megapixel camera, Android 2.1 goodness, a terrific touchscreen, and well the feature we loved best of all – geotagging an image of a location and sending it to a friend who can find the place by just clicking on it. And at Rs 18,990, it was decently priced too. Alas, it was undone by the corporate break-up of its creators.