GoNOMAD Reviews More Handy Travel Products
By Devon Magoon
Power Monkey Explorer Universal Portable Charger
It's incredible that no one has come up with the idea for the Power Monkey Explorer sooner. This handy little device is a traveler's saving grace. Have you ever been stranded on the side of the road without battery power in your cell-phone?
Ever been relaxing on the sandy dunes of a beach without an outlet in sight and a dead iPod? The Power Monkey is a multi-faceted solar-powered charging device that you never knew you needed.
With four bright colors to choose from, the Power Monkey looks cool and might just save your butt from time to time. This little guy is compatible with most mobile phones, iPods, portable game consoles, and several other small electronic devices.
Eco-friendly and a life-saver in the most remote locations, the Power Monkey is also built to last. Backpackers can even velcro the Monkey to their pack in order to charge a device without having to slow down a single step. And with sturdy grips and a collapsible little design, you won't have to worry about this monkey taking up precious space.
For around $100, this is one monkey you're going to want to keep on your back.
Energizer Inductive Charging Pad
This new product from Energizer makes charging your Smartphone as easy as setting it down on a table. With a sleek black design, the Energizer Inductive Charging Pad makes wires and cords (except for the one needed to power the device) obsolete.
Simply set your phone down on the black plate and your Blackberry or iPhone is already charging. And you can charge two items simultaneously.
But like other induction plates like the pioneer Powermatt, there's still the fact that you have to put the phone on a case to charge it on the plate. So it means taking off your existing cover, and then fitting together the plastic case. Wish it could just be straight on, bareback if you will.
It's an innovative new concept, and the only drawback is that this gadget is for Smartphones only.
Good luck charging your three-year-old cell with the Inductive Charger. But if you really must get that old brick juiced up, there's an additional USB port just in case you need it. And that extra USB slot on the side also charges mp3 players, cameras and other compatible gadgets.
For around $90, it sure is nice to have carefree wireless phone charging capabilities.
Give your favorite electronic device (just about any device, you name it) a personal artistic touch with Gelaskins. Choose from over 100 different thin design layers to adhere to over 100 different devices for a fun vibrant twist.
If you want to personalize your phone, MP3, iPad, iPod, laptop, eReader, game controller or other portable device, check out the selection of images available from Gelaskins. And it’s not all for looks, the GelaSkin also protects your favorite gadget from scratches.
GelaSkins are removable vinyl skins for protecting and customizing portable devices. They feature photo-quality graphics ranging from fine art prints to contemporary images from artists around the world.
You can even create your own Gelaskins on a special page on their website. There's a video that shows you how to do it. And whatever image you choose for the back of the device can be duplicated by a wallpaper on the screen. Cool, huh?
The removable covers use 3M adhesive technology which allows for 'bubble-free' application. When you want to change to a cover with a different image, GelaSkins remove cleanly, leaving no trace of residue on the device. GelaSkins are also ultra-low profile, so they're compatible with other cases and accessories.
AGF Vandelay case for the iPhone 4
The new AGF Vandelay case for the iPhone 4 is one seriously high quality protective shell. Plus, for those of us of a certain age, it gives us a laugh from its reference to an old Seinfeld episode. It features a premium outer-layer with opulent inlayed materials. And not only will you look like the toast of the town with the smooth leather exterior in patterned red or black, but these holsters are functional too.
The case allows the user to dock their iPhone 4 without removing it from the shell. So you get access to all controls, ports and cameras without having to take your phone out of its protective skin. This case includes a holster with a kickstand in order to more easily prop up your phone for easy viewing.
For about $35 these cases don't just look snazzy, but keep your phone super accessible as well.
Urban Ears Headphone Set
This headset isn't fooling around. Launched by a collective out of Scandinavia, these headphones are serious about comfort with an emphasis on the most urbane of styles.
If you're interested in comfortable, nearly noise cancelling, soft and flexible headphones, you're looking in the right place. The Urban Ears Headphones are collapsible and super soft with a rope-like cord attached to a tiny microphone, so you can both listen to your mp3 player and also receive calls through the same set.
And if you're picky about what you want your headphones to say about you as you stroll down the sidewalk, Urban Ears has more chic fashion selections than you can shake a stick at.
With up to 14 different colors, alternative models, styles, and even customizable options, Urban Ears headphones are almost more fun to build and buy than to listen to music with. Almost.
For about $60 this high-quality headset will let you dress to impress.
The Boris – Chrome’s New Utility Backpack
Chrome (the leading manufacturer of utilitarian bags) is pushing the boundaries with this recent addition to their powerful line up of bags designed for bikers. If your hip and fresh messenger bag just isn’t standing up to your active lifestyle or you find yourself constantly running out of room, the big-mouth Boris will easily hold anything you can think to stuff in it.
There's room for a week's worth of groceries or even a load of laundry.
The Boris is a deep boxy backpack with Cordura shell and a 180z weatherproof truck-tarp liner sealed with military specification seam binding. Not to mention a host of compartments in which to fit anything from DVDs to heavy duty travel gear.
Check the independent reviews on the Internet and you'll see Chrome builds their bags to last. They also make a sturdy line of messenger bags.
Ideal for bike enthusiasts looking for a bag with a little muscle, the Boris will give students, bikers or anyone who needs a place to stow their stuff plenty of extra room for groceries.
The weatherproof Boris features a large U Zip opening for easy loading and a light capacity external pocket with a media port. Strong fabric, a chest buckle and a padded spine make this bag not only spacious and sturdy but also super comfortable for those long rides.
At about $120, this bag is a pretty pricey, but will probably last a lifetime.
So, you get to the gym after downloading your favorite episode of that new TV series you love so much. But how are you going to watch it and tone your thighs on the Elliptical at the same time? Don’t worry, you’re in luck because the PodFlexPro is a fun little accessory to slip portable media players into and stick right onto anything in front of you. Problem solved!
When your hands are busy and there’s no way to watch your iPhone, iPod Touch, or Android phone, the Pod Flex Pro will be your extra pair of nabbers. The Pod Flex Pro has a synthetic exterior covering a pliable endo-skeleton that allows the little gadget glove to shape to just about any surface you can mold it around.
And how about audio? There’s a built in slot for headphones and a dock connector cable. And the clear plastic cover protects your personal media player while affording you the best possible view, all for around $25.
Joby Gorillapod Video
Remember those home videos that made you a little green in the gills from all the unnecessary motion and shaky unprofessional grip? The Joby Gorillapod Video is here to help. The little tripod has magnetic feet, a smooth 360º pan, 135º tilt and an omni-directional positioning video head.
The bendable, flexible legs will stick to any magnetic surface to hold your point-and-shoot mini and pocket camcorders at the ready (just as long as they weigh no more than 325g) for the ultimate steady shot.
But keep in mind, this little guy may be named after one strong monkey but it’s really only intended for
mini and pocket camcorders (FlipVideo and Kodak Zi8) and point-and-shoot cameras with video capabilities.
It’s about $25 to catch the smoothest shots in the neighborhood.
Wicked Chill Headphones by Wicked Audio
If the appeal of the black graphics on the box doesn’t reel you in, then the bold style and slick demand to ‘Feel the Groovy’ should. The Wicked Chill Headphones are a whole lot of fun and deliver just enough of your hardest rocking tunes to match the bubbly decorative designs on the headband.
It’s clear right from the get-go that these headphones are for fun and show. As the back of the box proclaims, ‘Your ears have never looked so chill.’
So if you’re looking for a sweet set of headphones to bestow upon junior (he’s had that rebellious glint in his eye ever since he turned eight anyway) then look no further. Plus, for around $8 a pop and a lifetime warranty, this groovy headset will put a smile on a kids face and won’t put a dent your wallet.
The Perfect Bungee
Is it truly perfect? That's for you to decide, but it might just be true. With a special polyurethane formula void of rubber and latex and excellent memory retention, this bungee can be used in an endless variety of both light and heavy-duty applications.
Just Ducky Products has released this bungee cord in several shapes, sizes, lengths and colors all of which can withstand exposure to oil, ozone, salt water, and any other household chemicals that it might possibly come into contact with.
So next time you need a bungee that will stand up to the toughest kinds of climates, or performs 'perfectly,' remember that they've made a cord for that. Secure anything from people to things to automotive needs for about $3.
The Cocoon Grid-It
Everyone has those little items that are small enough to get lost in your pocket but still worth keeping around. Gum, pens, tic-tacs, chap stick, itineraries, cell phones, you name it. Well, if you consider yourself a little bit scatterbrained and need an organizer that lays all these knickknacks out for you to see at a glance, then the Grid-It Organizer will be your new best friend.
This firm elastic organizer lives up to its name. The Cocoon keeps all your trinkets in order and safely secured through a network of intertwining elastic straps with a nearly endless array of configurations. Need somewhere to stash your iPod? The Grid-It will grab it. How about those car keys you don’t want to lose sight of? The Grid-It has got it under control.
Hang this handy 10" by 5" flat panel anywhere in plain view and start strapping your hard to find gadgets in for all to see. And it’s even got a little pocket on its back to hold any important documents or items you don’t trust to the stretchy bands.
For several different sizes and optional color choices at around $15 this organizer will help keep your busy life strapped down.
The holidays are creeping ever nearer, so what better way to kick off your holiday season than by saving your knuckles and thumbs from difficult to open packaging.
If you’ve ever cut your fingers on difficult plastic cases or are familiar with beating your fists against your head in frustration from those packaging zip and twist ties, we’ve got an answer.
Open It will do exactly what it promises, and it doesn’t just slice. This handheld device resembling a combination between garden shears and pliers will snip, cut, unscrew, slice and even ‘pop’ (it includes a bottle opener) even the toughest packages.
Designed in collaboration with female consumers from around the country, The Zibra Company has put their heads together to produce this minty green device including a utility knife, a screwdriver, a bottle opener, lockable handles for storage and a pair of patented offset jaws for a safe and easy to manage cut.
So next time you feel that frustration bubbling up, take a breath and reach for the Open It. As seen on TV. Set your fists at ease for about $20 this holiday season.
Moshi Bluetooth Handsfree Car Kit
Moshi Bluetooth Handsfree Car Kit is voice controlled gadget that will keep you from fumbling for that important phone call while doing 75 on the open road.
If you’ve ever been nervous about using your cell phone in the middle of merging or in heavy traffic, the Moshi will let you drive without interruption.
With no installation or hands involved, all you have to do is say “Hello Moshi” to activate the voice control when in the driver’s seat and you can talk without the concern of needless distraction. And it’s not just for the car either.
You can use this little guy in any environment where you don’t want your hands to be tied up by holding a phone. Just clip it nearby and you can chat to your heart’s content. For about $80 you’ll get the Moshi Bluetooth device, the magnetic visor clip, and the car charger.
It’s got a talk time of about 6 hours before you need to think about recharging and effortlessly connects to your phone through automatic pairing. Just make sure that your phone is Bluetooth enabled before making this investment!
Editor's Note: GoNOMAD does not receive compensation for these reviews and accepts samples from manufacturers to be tested by our staff. If you have products you'd like us to test, please email us and we will let you know if we are interested.
Devon Magoon is an editorial assistant at GoNOMAD and attends the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.