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Headphones, speakers and tablets: The best new travel tech

With restrictions finally easing Kevin Courtney casts an eye over new gadgets

DJI Osmo Action video camera

DJI Osmo Action video camera


When we do finally get to take that non-essential journey, we’re going to have to relearn the art of packing. We’ll want to keep it compact and reliable – so here are the top gadgets to pack in the smart suitcase for the great post-Covid exodus.

Sony WF-1000XM4 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Harvey Norman

Music will be essential for the journey ahead, and you’ll want good, noise-cancelling headphones so you can listen to your sea-shanty playlist in peace without the sound of the ship’s foghorn or the other passengers doing their aerobics class encroaching on your headspace.

But you don’t want to lug your big B&W cans with you this time – what you need is a pair of earbuds that effectively do the job of the big over-ear headphones without the added bulk. Sony has just unveiled its WF-1000XM4 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones, taking it up a notch from the XM3 model, and it’s already got the critics raving.

Sony has packed everything you need into these compact buds: advanced noise cancelling, exceptional sound quality, and smart features that adjust the headphones to your surroundings. What Hi-Fi?

Reckons these are the best noise-cancelling earbuds you can buy at the moment, and Sony’s state-of-the-art Integrated Processor V1, new driver unit, noise sensing microphones and the company’s innovative Noise Isolation Earbud Tips bring the art of noise cancellation up to a new level. It even blocks out the wind – perfect for when you’re leaning out of the ship’s prow with My Heart Will Go On blasting away.

DJI Osmo Action video camera

Harvey Norman
DJI has already established its dominance in the air with its range of well-priced and reliable drones, and now it’s taking the camera technology it perfected in its Mavic Pro to create a viable rival to the GoPro – not an easy ask, as GoPro is pretty much the leader of the action camera pack, and its new GoPro9 is a big step up in its evolution.

Still, the Osmo compares well with earlier models like the GoPro7 – and it’s cheaper, although once you’ve added a few necessary accessories (including a crucial SD card), you’re not that far behind the GoPro price range.

The Osmo Action is packed with all the features you need to capture your outdoor adventures this summer, whether abroad or closer to home. The dual screen feature means you can frame yourself in the action, and DJI’s patented Rock Steady stabilising system eliminates camera shake even in the most tooth-loosening moments of intensity.

It takes 4K HDR video and 4K 60p UHD images, and is able to handle the many changes in light that occur in the great outdoors. It also has slo-mo and timelapse features which really, no true adrenaline junkie can do without,  all packed into a dinky unit that’s waterproof at depths up to 11m.

iPad Pro

€909 (11-inch) €1,229 (12.9-inch)

Whether you’re packing your trunks and t-shirts for Portugal, or packing the car for a staycation in Sligo, you’re going to need to pack tablets to avoid the headache of having to entertain yourself and the kids during the holiday. Let’s see . . . a Kindle for the grown-ups to read their books by the pool; a Kindle Fire so the kids can play games on the plane or while waiting to be seated at the outdoor restaurant; a Galaxy to keep up with your Netflix boxsets; oh, and better throw in the Surface Pro too, in case I need to plug in to work to make sure that merger is going okay.

Pretty soon, you’re laden with tablets, and dealing with another headache. Why not just pack one tablet that can handle all the different tasks a family can throw at it, such as the new iPad Pro? As long as everyone isn’t looking to use the tablet at the same time, this could be the compact solution to the tablet question.

The new iPad pro is powered by Apple’s turbo-charged M1 chip, making it the tablet equivalent of a Bugatti Chiron, and it features ultra-sharp XDR display for stunning visuals, with superfast 5G wireless connection to boot. The new iPad Pro is packed with a range of additional features that put it lightyears ahead of the competition, including Magic Keyboard for super-smooth typing on the go, and a new white floating trackpad that responds beautifully to your touch.

You can watch movies and make a movie of your holiday, read the latest novels and write your own novel, and rest assured the iPad Pro is made of recycled materials and meets all the highest standards for environmental responsibilty, Only trouble now is, you’ll probably hog the thing yourself the entire holiday, leaving the kids with nothing else to do but play noughts and crosses all through the trip.

Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 portable bluetooth speaker

From €82

Wherever you’re heading on holiday, it’s worth throwing a portable bluetooth speaker into the suitcase, for those times when you might be sunning yourself out on the terrazza, or chilling out on the balcony in the evening. You want something you can literally throw, as that speaker may have to survive all sorts of hazards, like getting hit by a frisbee or falling into the pool.

The Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 is the sequel that’s even better than the original: small, sturdy and stylish with a big, crisp, bassy 360-degree sound that will pump out the summer anthems like billy-o.

Pick from a range of colours and let it nestle happily in your hand luggage or in the picnic basket. It also comes with Outdoor Boost feature that cranks up the sonic levels so the sound doesn’t just float away on the breeze. It’s equipped with a stylish hanging loop so you can clip it on anywhere, and it’s drop-proof up to about 1.5m. And it’s waterproof, so you can bring it into the shower or onto the lilo – with a wireless range of 30m, that means your music source can stay nice and dry while the Wonderboom 2 floats along beside you keeping you entertained. Just don’t drift off to sea when you’re listening to your favourite vaporwave mix.

Zeuxo universal multi-function travel adapter


It’s the afterthought you wished you thought of before setting off on your travels - how to power all your gadgetry while on holiday, in a low-voltage zone with only a couple of plug sockets, one of which is already running the fridge, TV and air-conditioning.

The days of packing a bag of adapter plugs are over – what the teched-up traveller needs is one universal adapter that can handle all the different plug shapes you’ll encounter abroad, but will also be able to charge up your tablets, speakers and phones.

The Zeuxo is a block-shaped global converter that also has four USB ports plus the vital USB-C, so you can bring your charging cords along with you, but leave the plug end at home, and no more fighting with the family over who gets to charge their gadget first. The Zeuxo comes in a range of colour schemes, and it has built-in safety features that prevent short-circuiting or power overload and will charge your gadgets quickly and efficiently wherever you are.