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Tablet & Keyboard
Logitech iPad Mini Keyboard
Many people argue that vacations are a time to shun email and whatnot, but I’m unapologetic in wanting to stay connected — even if it is just to keep my inbox somewhat tidy and send a few messages to friends here and there. However, I absolutely hate having to lug around a laptop. Even a 13-inch MacBook Air demonstrates its weight when crammed into a carry-on tote or suitcase.
In my experience, a marvelous alternative has been pairing my iPad mini with a keyboard. Logitech has already established a solid reputation in building sturdy and reliable keyboards for the entire iPad family, with the battery life usually going and going for hours at a time before demanding a recharge.
I’ll admit that even for my small hands, getting used to the sized-down keyboard took some time and adjustment.
But having the iPad mini loaded with all of my digital books, magazines and movies combined with the ability to be productive (or just to get some letter writing done) pretty much enables me to do anything I want while on the road.
Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad mini. Available in black, white, and purple. MSRP: $79.99.
Bluetooth Wireless Headphones
Headphones are a must for any trip, especially on airplanes where you’re trying to drown out the noise of four engines or four crying babies (or all of the above).
My biggest problem with most earbuds is that the cords always become tangled into a gargantuan mess, either in my bag or around my neck as I (foolishly) attempt to balance my iPad and a meal on the tray on the seatback in front of me. That’s followed by another pet peeve with noise-cancelling headphones being that they are usually bulky and very thirsty for battery juice all the time — a frustration for long flights.
LG offers a stellar entry that alleviates all of the aforementioned afflictions. Not only does this almost weightless headset offer high-quality audio and fit virtually anywhere (I kept it around my neck most of the time — even through security metal detectors), but it charges via standard Micro USB. That battery charge feels like it lasts forever sometimes — or at least it survived a nine-hour haul from Istanbul to New York immediately followed by another six-hour jaunt to San Francisco.
LG Tone Ultra HBS800 wireless stereo headset. Available in black and white. MSRP: $119.99.
Attachable Camera Lens for Smartphones
Sony Cyber-shot QX10
The cameras on newer iPhone models and many Android smartphones have all but replaced the standard point-and-shoot camera, but in some spots they’re still lacking.
In case you want a boost without upgrading to a digital SLR or even an entry-level interchangeable lens camera, you may want to consider an attachable lens. Such an accessory can boost zoom levels by 10 times.
Sony offers two decent options in this category, including the lower-end QX10, which you can get for roughly $200 when on sale with some online vendors. (Looking for a good used or refurbished model on Amazon, NewEgg or Overstock is also a great way to save some cash and get nearly the same quality as a new model.)
One of the benefits of this space-saver route is the one-touch connection with your smartphone, where you can save hundreds upon hundreds of photos that can then be automatically geo-tagged (if you’re into that sort of thing) and synced with photo sharing and storage apps like Dropbox. (More on that later.)
Sony Cyber-shot QX10. Available in black and white. MSRP: $249.99.