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USB rechargeable batteries! Photo by USBCell.
USB Battery by USBCell


GoNOMAD Review New Travel Products

We've compiled another travel gadget review for you! Everything from sleep headphones to solar chargers to USB rechargeable batteries have been field tested by our staff to give you the best advice on what will work for your roaming.

USB Rechargeable Batteries

These neat little gadgets are a godsend in the era of digital cameras. Better yet, its a reusable power source for the eco-conscious, and simple for the techno-wary.

All you do is remove the little green cap and plug in to your nearest USB port. A little green light should turn on when charging, will start flashing when it's 90% of the way charged, and will turn off when the little suckers are good to go.

A warning though, and perhaps the only downside, the batteries take five hours to charge up properly, And the ever important cap to cover the USB connector? It's tied down to the base of the battery.

Anyone who's ever cursed the $20 worth of batteries necessary for per trip has found their solution; they're quite a popular gagdet in the office but we only have one pair with overlapping press trips coming up... can I take them Max, pretty please?

The Complete Support Travel Pillow

The complete support travel pillow can be a life saver for the regular traveler. The memory foam give the pillow a more luxurious feel over the other bean bag like pillows on the market. The lateral stabilization supports (a fancy way of saying a raised lip) keep the head upright.

The removable cover is a soft velour fabric that comes in basic black or gray, and washable to boot. Other features include a media pocket for your mp3 player or cell phone and a toggle drawstring to secure the pillow around your neck.

Scosche flipSYNC iPod Cable
Scosche flipSYNC iPod Cable

This pillow is great compared to other travel pillows on the market, but it maybe a bit too firm for the soft pillow lovers. Not sure how well it holds up for those extended flights, but it's going to Thailand with the luckiest intern in the world, so we'll report back with our findings in the field!

Scosche flipSYNC iPod Cable

This compact iPod cable is perfect for travelers who want to cut down on their cable necessities. A smidgen larger than a quarter and half as light, the Scosche flipSYNC IPUSBM has the same ports as the familiar iPod connector, but in a small bean shaped dispenser.

Because of it's short cable design, you also save on having all those floating wires around while you charge your devices, saving you the cable shuffle if you adjust your position. There's even a hole large enough to slip it onto a set of keys, making the flipSYNC IPUSBM an even more portable device.

Packaging promotes compatibility with the iPhone 3GS, iPod Nano 5th generation, iPod Touch 2nd generation, and iPod classic, but it also works with iPod Nano 3rd generation and similar devices of that era. Neat, compact, easy to use, and the same price as an iPod cable from apple, the flipSYNC IPUSBM is undeniably a good buy.

Hulk smash! Coloud's Marvel themed headphones are great for kids.
Coloud Marvel Comic Headphones in Hulk

Coloud Marvel Comic Headphones

Coloud, an offshoot of Zound Industries, teams up with various entertainment brands to create flashy, colorful, and seemingly noise canceling headphones. Well, they've finally reached the Marvel Universe and have created headphones based off of the Hulk, Iron Man, the Punisher, Wolverine, and the X-Men in their classic retro heyday.

Our set of the Hulk themed headphones are visually stunning with bright green cord and an awesome picture of the Hulk in all his green glory on either side. But as much as we love bright and obnoxious gadgets, the headphones kind of fizzle out in action.

The sound quality is quite crisp, especially compared to the ever popular ear buds that are rampant, but product itself is kind of cheap. The ear covers are very small, too small for most adults, thus not really effective in blocking out other sounds.

Literally 30 minutes into our listening test, the cord got fussy and wouldn't channel the sound 100% unless it sat at the right angle with the iPod device, a quirk usually held for older headphones that have seen A LOT of heavy wear. These might be a good buy for the younger traveler in your life, but it's probably not worth the investment for the adults.

Lace-amatic
Lace-amatic
Lace-amatic

Lace-amatic is a set of two small plastic devices that you install to your lace up shoes or sneakers to avoid having to tie and untie them over and over an over again, great for the roamers who want to get going tout suite.

To use Lace-amatic, you loosely tie up the laces (loose enough to slip your shoes off easily) install the devices on the top laces, turn the lever to tighten, and go. Then when you're done, you return the lever to the beginning position and step out of your shoes.

Even with it's clear plastic design, the devices aren't that incognito, but they do work as advertized. This also can be a good solution for the traveler with arthritic and/or back problems who can't reach their laces, but if you really can't reach at all, you're a bit out of luck. And it may be because of this specialized market that the Lace-matic is sold in limited locations and very rarely available online.

Visiting their website is highly recommended. There they have a complete list of stores that carry the Lace-amatic as well as a few instructional videos that help clarify the somewhat confusingly specific directions.

Colorful and effective Banglz Bracelets.
Banglz Bracelets

Banglz 1/2 lb. Everyday Weighted Bracelets

Our Editor in Chief swears by Banglz' weighted bracelets and has been wearing them around for weeks.

Specifically designed to be worn for up to 8 hours a day, these bracelets are an easy way to incorporate some strength training as you roam. And because of the smaller weight, you hardly feel the resistance until they're removed at the end of the day.

They're also fashion friendly, available in a variety of colors and patterns depending on your mood. Both the cover and weight are hand washable and come in sets of two. If the 1/2 lb. bracelet isn't challenging enough, they have 1 lb. bracelets as well as 1 and 2 lb. ankle bands.

Moshi Bluetooth Handsfree Car Kit

Moshi Bluetooth Handsfree Car Kit
Moshi Bluetooth Handsfree Car Kit

The Moshi Bluetooth Handsfree Car Kit is the perfect bluetooth enabled mobile phone accessory for the road tripper or can even serve as a more general handsfree device in other settings thanks to a 6 hour talk time and 40 hour stand by battery life.

Essentially the device syncs with your bluetooth phone and allows you to perform a multitude of functions all thanks to the voice recognition controls. The device itself is pretty easy to use, with just four buttons: power, volume up, volume down, and the catch-all call button that receives and ends calls as well as begins and cancels a command.

And on the back of the device there are two magnets that can attach to the included metal clip if you so choose to hang it on the visor of your vehicle. Also included is a USB cable and charger that will plug in to the cigarette lighter if the Moshi device needs a quick charge.

The voice recognition commands are pretty simple, and syncs up with your already included speed dials, checks your battery, connects to the handsfree 411 service as well as allows you to receive or ignore calls depending on your mood.

The full SleepPhones System with nature sounds CD and a rather strong smelling lavender satchel.
SleepPhones

There's even a “what can I say” command that will go through all the commands that Moshi can perform. The voice recognition works pretty well, even with a bit of noise going on in the car.

Call quality is equally clear both ways (both receiving and picking up your voice) as well. The only perceivalbe downside would have to be the price tag at $79.99, but for safety sake alone it might just be worth the investment.

SleepPhones

SleepPhones sound pretty self-explanatory, headphones meant to be worn when sleeping. The headband is made of a recycled plastic based fleece that's washable and guaranteed to not pill.

The headphones are small and besides a small bulge in the headband, they're relatively unnoticeable, even when sleeping on top of them. The speakers are and wiring are removable from a back Velcro slot to make for easy washing of the fleece.

The fabric proved to be nice and soft but the unmarked size provided for our sample is bit snug for people with larger noggins. But the website lists three sizes with suggested head measurements so this is an easily avoidable issue.

PhD Pocket Disc
PhD pocket disc

The only drawback to the design is where to put your music player; there's no mp3 player pouch and since they're not wireless a CD player in bed might be a challenge. That aside, this would be a perfect accessory for the overnight plane ride as an alternative to uncomfortable ear buds or cumbersome noise canceling headphones.

PhD Pocket Disc

What started off as a botched crochet craft project, the PHD Pocket Disc is a perfect substitutes to the less packable, hard plastic Frisbee.

Available in tons of bright colors and patterns, the pocket discs are 100% cotton and are weaved by hand in the more impoverished areas of Nicuargua and Guatamala. But don't worry, they're paid full and fair wages, so each PHD Pocket Disc purchase gives a bit back.

Performance-wise, the PHD Pocket Disc holds its own considering its collapsible form. It's probably better suited for the casual player, as it tends to fall off to the side on those longer distance hammer throws.

Read more reviews of travel gadgets on GoNOMAD

 
sarah



Sarah Cavicchi
is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts and a former editorial assistant for GoNOMAD.  Now she works in publishing in Philadelphia.

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