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09.10.2014
If we were to recommend the best travel tech a few years ago, we may have picked a few laptops, portable peripherals, cables, and MP3 players. It’s easy to misplace things when you’re in unfamiliar territory, whether it’s your keys, camera, or luggage.
Microsoft’s (nee Nokia) Treasure Tag Mini ($17) is an affordable fob you can attach to a handbag, camera bag, keys, or whatever you hold dear. Bluesmart claims to be the world’s first smart, connected luggage, but we see it as the ultimate traveler’s bag. Luggage maker 24-7 International recently unveiled the Andiamo iQ smart bag at the 2015 Travel Goods Show.
If you care more about staying healthy than being connected, the ThermalStrike Heated Luggage ($250) is for you. As we’re carrying more and more power-hungry gadgets when we travel, there is this constant need for juice. The Energi 2K Smart Travel Charger ($40) from TYLT doubles as a wall charger and a 2,200-mAh battery. The same portable battery you use to recharge a smartphone can also jump a car battery when it’s dead. Mobile road warriors are often burdened with heavy equipment, but laptops aren’t the only things getting smaller and lighter. If you need to print on the go, skip the hotel business center and bring along Epson’s WorkForce WF-100 portable printer ($350). ZTE is still relatively unknown stateside, but the company unveiled its second compact, portable projector that doubles as a Wi-Fi hotspot. Panasonic isn’t the first to create a smartphone-camera hybrid (that honor goes to Samsung), but it has built the most powerful and sexiest device yet. If you want to leave the DSLR at home, but you hate the image quality of your smartphone, the CM1 may be the best travel camera alternative.


From wireless fobs that keep track of your possessions to luggage that knows how much it weighs, here are some of the latest tech advancements designed for today’s traveler.
Thanks to wireless technologies like Bluetooth and radio-frequency identification (RFID), you now have a better chance of tracking down lost items. When paired with the Treasure Tag app, you’ll be alerted when you move too far away from the tagged item. Airlines still use an old system that relies on bar codes that are scanned into the system along the way, but the industry is incorporating RFID to better track a bag’s whereabouts — provided it’s in the airport area. Big-name luggage makers like Samsonite and Rimowa are creating bags that offer techie conveniences like tracking, charging, and Wi-Fi hotspot, but there are other startups developing innovative luggage as well.
Trunkster offers nearly the same features as Bluesmart (battery charging, digital scale, luggage tracking), but it has a zipperless opening and it’s water-, drop-, and impact-resistant. This bag’s cleverness comes not from electronics, but simply the ability to transform from a small carry-on into a larger-size check-in suitcase, using a small motor and air.
The sleek hard case, available in fall 2015 (pricing TBD), is similar to the Bluesmart: paired with a smartphone app, the iQ has smart locks, digital scale, battery charger, and distance alert. When plugged in, internal heating elements can reach 140-degrees Fahrenheit, which, according to ThermalStrike, is enough to kill off bed bugs and eggs, but safe for other items (do not put chocolate souvenirs in there). It works with any device that recharges via USB, so you can pack fewer plugs that add weight to your carry-on. When fully charged, the main unit, called the PowerLight can power 3.5 GoPro action cams, three smart phones, or an LED torch for 72 hours. The Juno Power Junojumpr ($100) uses a 6,000-mAh portable battery to provide enough power to jumpstart most cars. Not only is it the world’s smallest and lightest – it weighs 3.5 pounds – but you can produce full-color documents and small photos. Introduced at the 2014 Photokina show, the Lumix CM1 packs a 1-inch sensor and Leica-designed lens into a 2.3-GHz quad-core smartphone running Android.


We already use our smartphones for mobile boarding and tablets for working remotely, and smartwatches are expected to play a major role in the travel and hospitality sectors.
But one product called Trakdot ($50, plus subscription) goes one step further: Instead of RFID, the device, which goes inside your luggage, uses cell towers to pinpoint its location. Whether it’s a YouTube clip or a video source connected via HDMI, the built-in 200-lumens projector can output a 720p image (during a preview at the 2015 CES show, we thought image and sound quality were great). It isn’t larger than most new smartphones, but its body doesn’t protrude out like Samsung’s Galaxy Cameras. The anti-theft product is compatible with Android 4.4 and later, iPhone 5 and later, and iPad 3rdgeneration and later. When it’s out of range, it goes into sleep mode, but as long as it has a signal, you can quickly determine whether the bag has made it to the same destination. Paired with the Epson printer and a laptop, and you’ve built yourself a mini office, wherever you may be. We include already installed batteries, simple instructions, the Bluetooth 4.0 compatible tracker, and the free mobile application for you. The Treasure Tag Mini works best with Windows Phone devices, but can be used with iOS and Android.
From our experience, we found performance to be incredibly responsive and image quality to be excellent.



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