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January 13, 2009

Top 5 Tech Items for Travelers at CES

by Deborah Dunn

The most visible signs of the economic downturn at this year's Consumer Electronics Show, which wrapped up yesterday in Las Vegas, were shorter taxi lines and thinner crowds ogling the booth babes (except for the throngs huddled around the cheerleaders at the Casio booth). But while there may have been slightly fewer attendees than in past years (Sin City's largest convention usually draws some 140,000 tech junkies), I uncovered just as many lust-worthy new toys as I scoured the thousands of exhibits. All the major electronic companies unveiled their latest products, including a slew of great new gear for travelers, everything from Lilliputian laptops to ever-more clever cameras. The only hitch is that most of the gadgets won't be available until later this year and some were only in the prototype phase. Over the next several months, Condé Nast Traveler will be rigorously testing and reviewing as many of the new products as possible. In the meantime, here are my top five favorite finds:

LG watch 1. The star attraction at the LG booth was concealed behind a glass case: a sleek-looking watch (left) (albeit a little on the big side) with a built-in 3G phone and a music player. It's also equipped with voice recognition and a touch screen. James Bond's Q couldn't have designed it better (slated to go on sale mid year in Europe; price hasn't been announced yet).



Sony Webbie HD2. Sony's candy-colored mini camcorders, the Webbie HD line (right), are as fetching as they are affordable ($169 and $199; on sale in March)




3. Netbooks--small laptops designed primarily for web surfing--made a big splash at this year's CES but the two-pound, no-fuss Asus Eee PC T91 seemed to pack more punch than the others, thanks to its TV tuner, FM transmitter, GPS, and best of all, swivel touch screen. (slated to go on sale in mid to late 2009; price hasn't been announced yet)

4. Powermat's foldable travel mat (right) charges three wireless devices at once, including laptops, iPhones, GPS devices, even batteries--and only requires a single cable ($100, plus $30 per casing for each of the devices; on sale at the end of the year).

Worldsavers5. Polaroid's Pogo is a digital camera and mini photo printer in one pocket-size package. The photo quality is only fair, but the instant gratification can't be beat ($199; available in March). 




Deborah Dunn is Condé Nast Traveler's Deputy News Editor.

Further reading:
* Video: Las Vegas shopping, dining, relaxing and dancing
* Gear, Tech, Etc.
: Travel meets technology


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