GETTING away on holiday does not necessarily mean leaving technology behind.
Holiday-makers should be careful about the technology they do choose, however. Some can deliver entire libraries in a tiny form, capture faraway photos straight out of your pocket, and capture video of ridiculous stunts. These are those gadgets.
The biggest upgrade to Amazon’s leading e-book reader is obvious. The Voyage’s screen boasts a greater resolution of 300 dots per inch, as well as an automatically adapting front light that can figuratively turn all the way to 11 for reading in all environments. Once seen, this screen may cause envy in existing e-book reader owners. Curiously, the new 7.6mm thin Kindle also adds pressure-sensitive page-turning controls on its bezel — a handy addition though tapping on the right or left of the screen still works and is perhaps more intuitive.
Sony 4K Action Cam FDRX1000V
Sony’s latest digital camera solves the ‘video or it didn’t count’ issue of holiday adventures. The new Action Cam records movies in 4K resolution with a 100Mbps bit rate, delivering surprisingly sharp footage and punchy colours from its 114g body. The camera’s 170-degree angle lens and f2.8 aperture allow video capture in most situations, and are helped by a waterproof case that allows dives up to 10m below the surface. Like most action cams, it can be tricky to set up and it produces slightly less detail than a GoPro in some situations, but its wi-fi preview feature and mount range is commendable.
Canon IXUS 170
Think your smartphone camera is great? This pocket-sized unit is, in some ways, better. It’s a 20-megapixel point-and-shoot camera with an impressive 25-300mm zoom that will ensure you immortalise must-capture moments. It offers a few special effects and limited manual controls, including selecting from an ISO range of 100-1600 and a macro mode that gives you a focal distance of 1cm. It also has image stabilisation and shoots high-definition video. Where it falls down in comparison to a smartphone camera is in its lack of wi-fi and its 2.7-inch screen is neither touch-sensitive nor tiltable.
Garmin Vivofit 2
As fitness gadgets and smartwatches merge, it is easy to overlook the advantages of straightforward, focused device. This second generation Vivofit activity and sleep tracker adds audible alerts, improved smartphone syncing, and a timer for more accurately tracking your calorie burn during exercise. It’s waterproof to 50m and has a battery that lasts a year so you’ll rarely need to take it off. An improved clasp ensures it won’t dislodge easily. A range of covers designed by Jonathan Adler ($45 for three-pack) gives fashionable choices while the ability to pair it with a heart-rate monitor chest strap adds functionality.
Tech21 Evo Frame Wallet
If extreme sport is on your holiday to-do list, it’s a good idea to protect your phone as well as yourself. Tech21 has created protection for Samsung’s curviest phone, the Galaxy S6 Edge, in a hybrid wallet that wraps around its entire body. The case includes a hard plastic plate that covers it back, FlexShock edges that absorb impact from falls, and a microfibre-lined wrap that seals with a magnet. The case can also be used to prop the phone up in landscape mode for video screening. Naturally, this cover adds bulk to a skinny phone though it is handy and well crafted.