Gadgets: making travel easier

Sun power, golfing Garmin-style and lens-like cameras from Sony


Amp Solar Charger
There are lots of solar chargers on the market as battery life and digital life compete. The Amp Solar Charger from Voltaic Systems gives more juice than most and is flexible enough to handle recharging anything from a smartphone to a sat nav. Its case unzips to reveal 2 x 2 watt panels, which means an hour in the sun delivers about 90 minutes of talk time. Charging is by USB port and it has an integrated pocket to carry a couple of different cables as you might need them when you’re going off-grid.
$99 from

Garmin Approach S4 GPS Golf Watch
I’m not for a moment suggesting golfers start using their mobiles while playing, but the Approach S4 GPS watch from Garmin will let you surreptitiously monitor texts and emails from a wirelessly synced smartphone. And you can claim you’re just checking the hole layout, as it holds over 30,000 courses’ data, including almost 400 here in Ireland. In white and black only: sorry, no loud checks.
€350 from

Sony DS CQX camera
At first glance, these new “lens-style” QX Cameras from Sony look like the gimmicky bolt-on lenses that are supposed to make smartphones more camera-like. But in fact, these are self-contained cameras in themselves, that have nothing to do with your phone’s own camera. Instead they connect with the smartphone by wifi, using its screen as a viewfinder. And if you fancy shooting blind, you can even use them without your phone at all.
From $250, see

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