Great gadgets for the traveller

Whether it’s a computer-in-a-wristband, a fleece jacket with 23 pockets or a sound system that uses solar panels, these gadgets can add that extra zing




This nifty device can work wonders for travellers who have to go without Internet’s cloud services and miss the computer back home. StormFly is a handy computer-in-a-wristband which comes with storage space and a bootable open-source OS based on Linux. All you need to do is find a system (most PCs and Macs should work) and plug in StormFly in its USB port. The device will show all your application programs and files. When you are finished using it, simply plug it off and shut down the computer. There will be no file leftovers in the computer you used. Since it’s encrypted, the stored data can’t be accessed by anyone else if you lose the bracelet—a beautiful orange-colour wristband. StormFly also offers cloud back-up of your wrist-computer. The product was successfully funded by crowdsourcing website Kickstarter recently and will start shipping in April.

$59* (around Rs.3,200) at

CamelBak All Clear


This 750ml water bottle not only stores drinking water but also zaps all bacteria using UV technology, powered with a USB cable connected to your laptop. An extra pre-filter ($15) will make sure that all the flotsam and sediments are caught and trapped and you get clean, healthy drinking water on the go. The smart bottle will tell you when the water is ready to drink with an LCD display on the cap.

$99 at

Oakley Airwave

Track your descent analytics, incoming calls or text messages as you ski down a slope. The Oakley Airwave is a statistics-full ski-goggle with sensors, including an accelerometer, barometer, GPS, Bluetooth and gyro. As you slope it downwards, the goggle displays all kinds of statistics, including altitude and temperature, on the right-hand side corner of your vision, somewhat like the Terminator all those years back. If you don’t feel futuristic enough, get back online after your descent and see a detailed, second-by-second analysis of your course. The gadget visor comes with Oakley’s promise of moisture-wicking, anti-fog technology, triple-layer polar fleece foam for comfort and glasses that filter out the ultraviolet rays.

$599.95 at

Scottevest Fleece 7.0

The Fleece 7.0 is a warm, fashionable fleece jacket which comes with a whopping 23 different pockets for all kinds of electronic gadgets. There is the Quick Draw pocket, which allows you to access your smartphone on the go through a see-through fabric in the side pocket, so you don’t even need to take the phone out. Another trick addition is a hidden pocket for a tablet, a pocket for eyeglasses made of a soft cloth, and a zippered pocket for travel documents. Then there are pockets for a bottle, camera and pen. In case you forget what is where, there’s a map of every pocket. Aren’t you already wishing it was cold enough to wear this?

$160 at



Taking the rage of live action cameras a step further, the Contour+2 is a cylindrical-shaped camera that lets you record up to 120FPS videos in four different modes, including 1080p HD. It comes with a handy on-record switch, a 270-degree rotating lens, a laser beam to show you the direction of the camera, a waterproof case and a huge variety of mounts. If that’s not enough, it ensures that you record all the statistics, whether you are rafting or in the sky, with a built-in Bluetooth and a GPS receiver which can track speed, elevation and distance. Connect it to a smartphone to adjust camera settings and to preview your shot. Since the audio jack is external, expect good voice quality too.

$399.99 at

BioLite CampStove

There’s nothing like hot soup on a camping night out. Replace the tiresome work of making your own campfire with a swanky orange-coloured BioLite CampStove. The stove comes with low fire output in less than a kilogram of weight and uses the twigs you collect, instead of gas or petroleum, to cook. While the food’s cooking, the stove can also recharge your phone, light and other USB-chargeable devices.

$129.95 at


Eton Rugged Rukus

Rukus is a Bluetooth sound system meant to be taken outdoors with you. It uses solar panels to power the speakers, and to charge a lithium battery so you can use it indoors too…

Read the complete article at Livemint.

8 ways to total transformation


Convert that smartphone into a superphone with these useful little accessories and add-ons

All of us know the importance of that one-second conversation just before the cellphone battery dies on you. And when have we not wished that our phone would not lose signal in the middle of an important negotiation? If you are looking to enhance the performance of your cellphone, here are some add-ons to convert it into a superphone. Believe us, your handset will never be the same.

BoxWave Presentation Capacitive Stylus

The trend of the stylus is back for new-generation touch screens. Use this one if you like to be precise in writing and drawing on a tiny screen or simply want to keep it scratch-free. This stylus is slightly heavier than a pen and comes integrated with an LED reading light as well as a laser pointer. All you need to do is put slight pressure and the stylus works smoothly even on screen protectors. The clip-on at the side ensures you will not leave it behind in the cab. It even has a headphone jack plug anchor if you prefer it to dangle stylishly. It comes in four colours—black, silver, ruby and white.

Money matters: $19.95 (around Rs. 1,020) at Shipping charges extra.

Violight UV Cellphone Sanitizer

A March study by the London School of Hygiene says your cellphone has more germs than a toilet seat. Kill the germs on your device the ‘Star Trek’ way with Violight UV Cellphone Sanitizer. It is a metal basket with a lid in which you can put your phone, charger, MP3 player, PDA, even earbuds or anything else which will fit in the slim box. The germicidal UV rays will zap the viruses and bacteria in just 5 minutes. It can only be used for flat phones and not for flip phones or sliders—those are too bulky.

Money matters: $49.95 for the Violight UV Cellphone Sanitizer, Portable versions for toothbrushes and earbuds are cheaper. Shipping charges extra.

iZon Remote Room Monitor

Want to keep an eye on your child or pet while you are in office? This app-controlled camera live-streams video and audio of any space. The camera connects to your iPhone via an app called Stem:Connect. The camera has a magnetic base so that you can position it at any angle. Once set, you can see a live feed from the camera (with about 15 seconds delay) anywhere in the world on your iPhone. It can be configured to alert you when it senses motion or sound in the room. You can set the app to record feeds and upload them to a free, private YouTube account. The live stream is encrypted and sent only to your device. It works only for iOS products now (iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad), but the company is also developing Android and Mac apps, and a Web browser interface.

Money matters: $129.95 at Shipping costs extra.


Continue reading “8 ways to total transformation”

A personal trainer at the press of a button

Technology is changing the way people get in shape. Here is a round-up of fitness gadgets that can help you look good


Actor Hrithik Roshan apparently has two expat personal trainers to help him shape his already fab body for Krrish 3. It is rumoured that Aamir Khan has also hired an expat trainer to beef up for Dhoom 3. It is a good idea to hire personal trainers because not only do they encourage and push you, but also figure out a fitness routine especially made for your body. But not all of us can afford to pay hourly fees of Rs. 500-Rs.2,000 for consultation. If you fall in this category, fret not; you can buy new-age fitness gadgets and technology that can play the part of your very own personal trainer. Be it running, swimming, walking, dancing or gymming—these devices track your steps and heart rate and give a detailed analysis of your daily workout. The right gadget depends on the type of exercises you do, so we found the best in each category.




A pedometer/keychain that acts like a cheerful trainer, encouraging you to walk more daily through various games. It counts every step you take and every stair you climb and gives a daily/weekly chart of calories burned and distance covered on its 2-inch high-resolution touch-screen display. It also gives you goals whereby you can make a social contribution: Take 60,000 steps and Striiv will donate a dose of polio to a child in India; take 18,000 steps and it will conserve one parking-spot size rainforest in Tanzania or provide one day of water for one child in Bolivia. The more you walk, the more you give. Then there’s ‘Myland’, a game in which you build huts and plant trees in various territories—growth and moving up new levels are based on walking, running, and taking the stairs. A new feature lets it make personalized challenges geared for you after it adapts to your progress and performance. You can even use the device to challenge a friend and outdo them by real-time walking. All this, by simply keeping Striiv anywhere on your body—in your pocket, purse or attached to your belt.

Wallet dent: $99, on




All you need to do with this device is select a goal-based plan. The gadget offers options like iSlim, ExpressFIT, Brazilian Butt, KidFit, Weekend Warrior. All are available through the official app which can be downloaded in App Store. While iSlim is free, the other options cost $9.99 each. Once your plan is selected, the iBike POWERHOUSE uses power management and analysis technology to guide you through 45-90 minute bike rides over four-six weeks. The plan tracks your real-time performance and automatically updates your workout plans. It encourages you to pedal at the right levels for better performance. You can even take calls or listen to music while cycling though that is not really recommended. The only drawback is that it works only with iPhone and iPod Touch.

Wallet dent: $269, for the device, the Powerhouse app and the iSlim plan. Extra plans cost $9.99 each and are purchased through the app. Order

All in one

Basis B1 band

Launched in January

If you thrive on numbers and stats, then pick up this wrist band. The gadget won the Best of Innovations Design award as well as the Engineering Award Honor by The Consumer Electronics Association at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, US, earlier this year and is available on pre-order from The Basis looks like a wristwatch and is the neatest health tracker. You must wear it at all times, and it tracks quite a lot of fitness stats: It has a 3D accelerometer to track activity (walking, running and strolling), then there are extra sensors to monitor your temperature, galvanic skin response, heart rate and through that, the number of calories you burn. In addition to all this, Basis also monitors the quality of your sleep—how long you slept, how often you woke up and how often you turned on your side. The gadget then crafts all these little pieces of information into a comprehensive picture of your health. The Basis syncs via USB to the website where you can get an online update of your overall activity and health. You can even share the charts with your friends online.

Wallet dent: Expected to be $199 (or around Rs. 9,751), on


Continue reading “A personal trainer at the press of a button”

Plug in, and tune out everything else


Looking for headphones? Don’t make do with the free pair you get with your gadgets. Get a pair that suits your needs

Earphones are being used with every gadget today: a tablet, a smartphone, an MP3 player or even a wireless set with the TV if it is in a bedroom. “Most of us don’t hesitate to invest in a good gadget, but forget about the earphones,” says Bangalore-based Sridhar Reddy, 38, an audiophile and independent consultant on custom-made audio systems.

“The earphones that come as a package deal with most gadgets are basic. They don’t fit our ears well and if they do, they don’t do a good job of blocking out external noise,” says Reddy.

These generic earphones also fail to adapt to your lifestyle needs—answering calls on the go or running while listening to music. “A good pair of headphones is necessary to enjoy your gadget to its full capacity. Serious audiophiles, for example, will never go for in-the-ear earphones. They like them big and round so that music can breathe,” explains Reddy. In the same way, if you answer a lot of calls while on the move, the last thing you want is static in your Bluetooth headset. We list headphones to match your every need.

• Music on the move

Want headphones that stay with you and give you good quality music while you run, sweat and work out in the gym? The Sennheiser Sports series has three different designs, PMX 680i, OMX 680i and MX 680i, for medium-to-heavy workouts. They are highly flexible, so you can run faster or work out harder without worrying about dislodging the headphones. All of them come with a powerful stereo sound, an integrated remote, built-in volume control and a microphone to track and take calls in the middle of a workout. The kit includes many accessories and sleeves, to make sure you find the perfect fit for your ears and the earplugs stay firmly in place. The earphones are sweat- and water-resistant.

Money Matters: Rs. 3,990 for PMX 680i and OMX 680i and Rs. 3,290 for MX 680i, available at select stores. Check for discounted prices on

TV watching

Don’t want to disturb your partner with your idiot-box viewing? Help is at hand with Sennheiser RS120 Wireless Headphones, which come with a charge station. Though they are older than the more recently launched Sennheiser RS180, they are still our favourites for the amount of listen-time they give in one charge (20 hours, rather than 6 hours in the newer model), so you can use them for longer without having to get up and charge them. These wireless headphones have a range of up to 100m, come with volume control, and give a detailed sound reproduction with strong stereo bass. The reception works through walls and ceilings. They are lightweight and very comfortable to wear.

Money Matters: Rs. 6,190, available on

• Cut off sound

Your work requires you to make transcripts from audio recordings or your office is just too noisy and you need music to help you concentrate. Or perhaps you want to listen to music while on your way to work, but the noise from the road makes it impossible to enjoy yourself. Noise-cancelling headsets help here and the Bose QuietComfort 15 is the best option. Each headphone earcup comes with an inbuilt microphone both inside and outside. The microphone senses and cancels the sounds that are filtering in from outside, keeping your ears noise-free. You can use its microphone for a hands-free phone conversation too, though that works only with an iPhone. An average AAA battery makes the headphones last about 35 hours. The QuietComfort 15 is comfortable, with ear cushions, lightweight and collapsible, and can be packed compactly in case you want to use them while you travel.

Money Matters: Rs. 17,550, available on

Also try:Sony MDR-NC200D Digital Noise-Cancelling Headphones, $179.99 (around Rs. 9,750), plus shipping, available on Its noise-cancelling technology drains battery faster but the headset is quite good at blocking external noise. It is also lightweight, cushioned, and can be folded compactly.

• Pure audio

If all you want to do is listen to music as if it was being performed right in front of you, opt for Audeze LCD-2, manufactured by the Las Vegas-based niche company Audeze. The headset prioritizes quality over portability or affordability. The technology used is rather different from most headphones—each pair comes with tiny dynamic drivers that are mini versions of the drivers used in box speakers. The Audeze uses thin-film planar magnetic drivers and larger diaphragms that project sounds around your ear rather than straight into it, creating more depth in the notes. The thick lambskin earpads sit softly on your ears and are comfortable to wear for long hours.

Money Matters: On special order for $995, with $115.58 in shipping, available on

Also try: The Audio Technica ATH-M50 for Rs. 13,913, available, offers performance on a budget. Meant for professional studio monitoring and mixing, its over-the-ear cups create a seal for maximum isolation


Continue reading “Plug in, and tune out everything else”

In the right direction


These GPS navigators are custom-made for Indian streets, so you won’t need to stop and ask about the route any more

Shweta Taneja


A map in hand is worth two on line when you are driving, says Amit Prasad, founder and CEO, SatNav Technologies, a Hyderabad-based GPS map-making company.

“You don’t need a phone GPRS connection, and re-routing is much faster in on-board systems,” he says. After all, cars honking behind you in traffic will not wait for the map to buffer on your smartphone. “A good GPS system talks to you and says ‘turn right’ at exactly the point where you need to take a turn,” explains Prasad. And since the maps are updated every six months, the very latest constructions are included in your map.

According to a report published last year by IE Market Research Corp., a Canada-based market intelligence and business strategy research and consulting firm, the navigation industry in India will be worth $158.4 million (around Rs. 793.58 crore) by 2014. New Delhi-based navigation company MapmyIndia’s director Rohan Verma claims his company has grown 600% in the last three years. “This is a testament to the significantly growing demand for GPS navigators,” he says, adding that guidance, turn-by-turn instructions, ease of use and detailed maps are the main advantages GPS navigators have over smartphone maps.

Some GPS services available in India are:

Via by TomTom

Via by TomTom. Guidance, turn-by-turn instructions, ease of use and detailed maps are areas where GPS navigators score over smartphone options.

Via by TomTom. Guidance, turn-by-turn instructions, ease of use and detailed maps are areas where GPS navigators score over smartphone options.

The Dutch navigation-system makers entered the Indian market in September with their Via series. The maps come loaded with TomTom’s unique Landmark Navigation functionality, wherein you can search for a specific place by a landmark around it, be it a famous monument, temple or park. The console also includes a “Help Me!” emergency menu that provides information about hospitals and other emergency services on the road. Of the three models available for India, Via LIVE 120 and Via 125 have voice controls, so you don’t have to stop or take your hands off the wheel. These two models also come with a mobile car-kit feature that can convert this device into a hands-free Bluetooth speaker. The mount which comes with the device attaches to the windscreen and can be turned up to 180 degrees. It comes with an 11cm or 13cm touch screen, depending on the model.

Continue reading “In the right direction”