The cheapest Android-only smartwatch
Travel Gear: One to watch out for; socks that don’t get smelly, and a pen that can write anywhere
The pen that can write upside down, or anywhere you want it to
Merino socks with super powers
Classic styling and clever features ... the ZTE Quartz smartwatch
Versions of this smartwatch will not be available to Irish buyers for a bit, as it is tied to a US provider, but there is no doubt we will have something similar soon enough. The ZTE Quartz is being positioned as the cheapest Android-only smartwatch. It has still got plenty of spec though, not to mention classic watch styling, which might appeal to many who don’t want a very techy-looking wristwatch. The display is AMOLED (active-matrix organic light-emitting diode) with a range of face designs, and Gorilla Glass shielding it. It has all the smartwatch functionality you’d expect, such as making calls, getting notifications, and you can access Google Assistant features too.
$200/€188, see zteusa.com for details.
These socks, founded with the idea of offering a range of essentials for the minimalist traveller based around using Merino wool, have the low cut profile that is à la mode just now. Phew. Merino is a sort of natural super-fabric: soft, lightweight, odour-resistant, breathable and intrinsically temperature balancing. So it is ideal for travelling, as you can cram lots of wardrobe into less luggage, and wear items day after day without triggering the anticipated anti-social consequences. Even socks and undies.
$15/€14 from unboundmerino.com
Tombow Airpress Pen
The most famous write-anywhere pen is probably the Fisher Bullet Pen, with its NASA backstory. Japan’s Tombow has embedded the same philosophy in the Airpress pen. The refill is pressurised each time you click the top. So you can write upside down – or just do the crossword lying back on a sofa – as well as on damp paper or in very dusty conditions where regular ballpoints pens clog up. Of course, you could also travel with the urban legend punchline to the NASA space pen story and use a pencil instead, like the Russians.
€8 from tomboweurope.com