Gadling's top ten travel technology products of 2010
Now 2010 is safely behind us, we can take a look back at the ten best tech products to hit store shelves in the past 12 months. And what a 12 months it has been - Android rose to new heights, the iPad became a (totally expected) instant success and more airlines than ever offer inflight Wi-Fi on their entire fleet. T'is a good time to be a traveling geek.
2011 will probably put 2010 to shame, but until those new gadgets actually appear, lets look back at the ten tech products that we consider to be the best of the year.
In 2010, Apple once again did what they do best - they delivered a product that started a revolution. There is no denying that the iPad has changed how we travel, much like the netbook did several years before.
But perhaps more importantly than the iPad itself is how it has triggered a new wave of tablets from competitors. Nothing has come close to knocking the iPad off the top spot yet, but 2011 will undoubtedly be an amazing year for the tablet computer.
Product page: Apple
Price: From $499
T-Mobile MyTouch 4G
Launched towards the end of 2010 with an aggressive ad campaign featuring a sexy new spokesperson, the Android powered MyTouch 4G can easily be considered one of the best Android phones ever made.
For travelers, the phone is close to perfect - with Wi-Fi calling built in, 3G compatible video calls and a pretty decent 5 megapixel/HD video camera - and with a price tag under $200, it is a hard package to beat.
Product page: T-Mobile
Price: $199 (on a new 2 year agreement)
Jawbone JAMBOX Bluetooth speaker
The days of traveling with 12 D cell batteries and a massive ghetto-blaster may be long gone, but the desire for music on the road is still there. The JAMBOX was designed by Jawbone, who made a name for themselves with their amazing Bluetooth headsets. By combining their Bluetooth knowledge with the audio skills of Dr. Godehard Guenther, Jawbone created one of the best portable speakers on the market.
Sure, you won't be found walking down the street with this on your shoulder, but pop it out of its (included) case and you'll be able to fill your hotel room or conference room with some amazing audio. Then, when work calls, use the JAMBOX to hold a conference call.
Product page: Jawbone
Windows Phone 7 / HTC HD7
Talk about a complete surprise... After years of outdated and disappointing new releases, Microsoft sat down to create a brand new mobile operating system, built from the ground up. Windows Phone 7 entered the market two years after Android and three years after the first iPhone - putting it at a distinct disadvantage. But in every possible way, the operating system delivers. It is snappy, has over 5000 great apps and comes on a variety of great hardware. Time will tell whether Microsoft can get a decent momentum going on its sales, but as things stand right now, they earned themselves a well deserved spot in this top ten.
One of the first phones to feature Windows Phone 7 is the HTC HD7 on T-Mobile. Based loosely off the Windows 6 powered HD2, the HD7 features a brilliant kickstand, massive display and 5 megapixel camera with LED flash.
Product page: T-Mobile HD7
Price: $199 (on a new 2 year agreement)
Toshiba Portege R705
Since a lot of travelers still need to get some real work done, not everything on the road can be handed off to a tablet computer.
This is where the impressive Toshiba Portege R705 can help - despite weighing just a little over three pounds, the R705 features a DVD player, desktop grade processor power and a great keyboard. Match it with a price tag under $900, and you'll see why it grabbed itself a well deserved spot in this chart.
Product page: Toshiba
Price: From $899
Briggs & Riley BRX Explore 22" Upright
In 2010, luggage maker Briggs & Riley introduced the BRX line - and for the first time, adventure travelers gained access to a full assortment of luggage, without having to settle for a rigid frame backpack or cheap duffel. The BRX bags are designed to be lightweight, rigid and suitable for global travel.
From their lineup, we picked the Explore 22 Upright as the best piece of luggage of 2010 - because it lets you travel with a bag that doesn't scream "business traveler" yet still allows you to drag it through the mud.
The bag is semi-rigid, which allows for a decent amount of over-packing without having to worry about the overhead compartment. But best of all, the features also work the other way around - if you are not exactly the type of traveler who likes to roam the world, the Explore 22 Upright does everything a business class bag can do, without looking like you are on your way to a PowerPoint convention.
Product page: Briggs & Riley BRX
Technocel Battery Boost
This tiny gadget took us completely by surprise - we've reviewed countless battery booster packs, but none of them were as well designed as the little Technocel battery booster.
Inside this key chain mountable pack is a 500mAh battery, a MicroUSB cord, a retractable USB charger plug and a MicroSD memory card reader. Slap a $24 price tag on it, and you have yourself what could very well become your best friend when on the road.
Product page: Sprint online store
500mAh from the Technocel not enough juice for you? Then consider the ZAGGsparq 2. With its folding AC prongs, international power compatibility and dual USB charger ports, the 6000mAh battery pack inside the ZAGGsparq has the capacity to keep your (smart) phone going for up to a week.
In its 2010 2.0 update, the Sparq received a high-power charger port, capable of powering the iPad or any other power hungry device.
Griffin Technology Travel Stand
This is one gadget I can't stop recommending to people. With no batteries, lights, buttons and just one moving part, the Griffin Travel Stand is the ultimate in easy to use gadgetry.
When folded shut, the stand holds and protects your headphones, and once opened, you'll find the perfect movie watching stand for your iPhone or other mobile device. Best of all, with a price tag under $10, you have virtually no excuse not to pick one up.
Product page: Griffin Technology
Joby Gorillatorch Switchback
In 2010, flexible tripod maker Joby started making the transition into other gadgets. By adding flashlights and device stands, they expanded their already popular lineup into an assortment of great travel accessories.
Towards the end of the year, they announced the Switchback The brilliant design of the Switchback turns an ultra bright 3-LED headlamp into a lantern. Top the design off with an included flexible tripod, and you end up with one of the smartest lights on the market.
Product page: Joby