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5 best travel gadgets from CES 2013
Never mind the booth babes; for travel-tech nerds it's the other hardware that counts
This year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) wrapped up after a whirlwind few days in Las Vegas.
From January 8-11 the tech crowd descended on the city to show off and check out the latest in clever product design.
About 20,000 new gadgets were launched by more than 3,250 exhibitors.
That’s a whole lot of sleek flat-screen TVs and tablets so smart you’d swear they have minds of their own.
1. Y-cam Home Monitor
From Y-cam Solutions Ltd comes the Home Monitor security system. Connect the camera to your home network via Wi-Fi or cable, create an account, then start viewing.
Once you’re set up, you can head away on vacation, or to the shops, without fear of leaving your property empty.
There’s a function to record short clips when people near your front door. Users can check in via mobile, tablet, computer or TV so there’s no need to feel disconnected or homesick anymore.
Home Monitor, pre-order indoor model for US$199.99 or outdoor model for US$349.99; www.y-cam.com
2. Polaroid iM1836
The iM1836 is the world’s first Android-powered smart camera with interchangeable lenses.
Better snaps are possible thanks to a 10-30mm optical zoom lens combined with Android’s user-friendly 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system.
There’s no need to keep your travel bragging for your return from vacation. Photo sharing apps allow you to upload your pics to social media without delay via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.
Polaroid iM1836, to be released in 2013 with a predicted price tag of US$350-400; www.polaroid.com
3. Fitbug Orb
You stand a better chance of keeping your New Year fitness resolution with the Fitbug Orb.
The button-sized activity tracker is Bluetooth compatible so your health data can be sent to a mobile app in real time.
The most interesting function for travelers is the sleep tracker, which records body movement overnight to analyze your sleep and times of wakefulness.
Users can then draw links between sleeplessness and sugar binges, for example, then work toward personalized healthy living targets.
Fitbug Orb, pre-order for US$49.99; https://usa.fitbug.com
4. Spare One
If you’ve ever freaked-out at a post-trip phone bill, the Spare One might be the way forward.
All it needs is one AA battery and a local SIM card to make and receive calls without astronomical fees.
The one-touch emergency services button is hard to miss.
Spare One, available for US$99.99; www.spareone.com
5. Martian voice command watches
"The Martians are coming" was Martian Watches' tagline during CES and it fits.
These watches act like phones, making and receiving calls and receiving and answering text messages. They're Bluetooth-enabled and operate on both Apple’s iOS and Android platforms.
All that voice-powered cleverness and it still manages to look like an understated, even classy, timepiece rather than futuristic handcuff. The “Passport” model was announced as a finalist in the Best of CES Awards.
In addition to the “Passport” and “Victory” models pictured, the "G2G" comes with a sporty-looking silicone strap in a choice of five colors including, yes, spaceman green.
Martian Voice-command Watches in "Passport" and "Victory", preorder now for US$299.99, or the colourful "G2G" model for $249.99; www.martianwatches.com