Travel Tech Tidbits
Laptop: Asus Eee PC
If someone showed you a 2-pound notebook computer, you'd be looking for the $1,000-plus price tag--unless that notebook were the tiny Asus Eee PC. Like a miniaturized version of a conventional laptop, it has a full qwerty keyboard, built-in webcam, 7-inch screen, Wi-Fi, three USB ports and an SDHC card slot. Its thrifty Linux OS runs on a 4GB or 8GB solid-state hard drive. The 4GB model costs $399, while the 8GB costs $499. Preloaded Firefox, OpenOffice and Pidgin Internet Messenger are among the many open source applications that can handle most regular business duties. The Eee PC is a friendly, lightweight machine that familiarizes you with Linux. The keyboard is very small, but most users will still be able to type just fine with a little practice. A custom interface makes it easy to navigate, and its extreme portability will appeal to the road warriors out there.
Gadget: Duracell PowerSource Mobile 100
Running out of battery power is a problem when you're traveling. For $140, you can buy yourself some extra time on your laptop, cell phone and other gadgets. The Duracell PowerSource Mobile 100 is a 1-pound rechargeable battery pack with a standard three-prong AC outlet and two USB charge ports for powering up your mobile electronics. The AC outlet is particularly handy since it works with any normal power adapter. A vehicle adapter lets you charge up in the car. When we tested it with the Asus Eee PC, we got an extra two hours of battery life. Expect to add a lot more life to less power-hungry mobile gadgets like phones, Bluetooth headsets and MP3 players. Think of it as a security blanket for your batteries.
Cell Phone: Samsung BlackJack II
The Samsung BlackJack II smartphone offers a nice suite of improvements over the popular original version. This AT&T network offering brings Windows Mobile 6, a 2.4-inch display and a slim 3.5-ounce design to the table. A 2-megapixel camera, a built-in GPS, a qwerty keypad, Bluetooth and 3G support are all work-friendly features that can come in handy when you are away from the office. It also offers a lot of flexibility if you need to keep track of multiple e-mail accounts. Prices vary in stores, but BlackJack II can be picked up online for $99 with a two-year contract and mail-in rebate. That makes it a very affordable, as well as a very capable, smartphone.