Sunday, May 26, 2024

Summer Vacation Gear Guide

By Benjamin Yong, 21 May, 2019

    A guide of the best products to bring along to make your summer journey even more memorable than the destination.


    Before heading out wherever your summer travels take you this year, we’ve put together a guide of the best products to bring along to make the journey even more memorable than the destination.

    Roku Express

    Pick up the redesigned Roku Express and join the cable-cutting movement, at a price point of under $50. The portable streaming player is five times more powerful than the outgoing version, and installs using the bundled HDMI cable to connect to the TV, instantly granting access to 4,000+ channels. For example last year, the Roku Channel finally launched in Canada containing hundreds of free movies, television shows and documentaries. Controlling the Express is easy, either with the included remote or on a mobile device via the proprietary iOS and Android app.

    Amazon Echo Input

    By now, most people have probably seen or experienced digital personal assistants like the Amazon Echo and Echo Dot. This latest member to join the Alexa-enabled family, however, possesses one major difference: no onboard speaker is present. Even slimmer than the Dot resembling a flattened hockey puck, the Input connects to an external speaker through a 3.5-milllimetre audio cable or Bluetooth. Otherwise, functionality is no different allowing users to queue up music, call a friend or family member, set an alarm, and much more.

    Away Bigger Carry-On with Pocket

    Founded only in 2015, direct-to-consumer travel brand Away has since garnered an eyebrow-raising $81 million in funding and sold in excess of 500,000 pieces of luggage. Focusing on one main item, the Carry-On, there are several variants and one of the newer ones is simply called the Bigger Carry-On with Pocket. Besides boasting sharp looks, the suitcase also packs a bit of tech, like an eject-able 10,000 mAh power bank hidden underneath the telescoping handle to keep smartphones and tablets juiced up during a layover. Open up the combination-locking zippers and you’ll find some innovation on the inside as well, like a foldaway laundry bag, a large zippered compartment on one side and on the other, a compression pad capable of squishing down clothing when the adjustable straps are tightened, to create extra space.

    I’m normally not a fan of hardside luggage due to a lack of exterior storage options, but that’s where the Pocket model comes in. Essentially an attached padded case, up to 15-inch laptops fit with ease, as do passports, important documents, and anything else requiring quick retrieval.

    Bounce Off

    It’s not truly summer vacation unless there’s a board game to break out on the road. Try something different and pick up Bounce Off from toy giant Mattel. Forming two teams of up to a total of four people, each side picks up one of the nine challenge cards depicting different patterns. Then, taking turns, they must bounce the ping pong-like coloured balls onto a plastic grid to recreate the pattern. Or, to really ramp up the action, teams can engage in free-for-all play in a race to the finish. Games last approximately 15 minutes. Ages seven and up.

    myGEKOgear s200 STARLIT

    With technology in dashcams getting better, and more importantly more affordable, what’s the reason not to own one? The myGEKOgear s200 STARLIT is an excellent choice, utilizing a Sony Starvis sensor providing 1296p high-resolution video even in low-light conditions. A G-Sensor mode automatically write-protects footage taken after impact or emergency vehicle manoeuvres are detected, and a motion-detection feature can begin recording once any movement takes place in front of the camera, and stop after one minute of inactivity.

    Installation is super easy, either by hooking up the suction cup to the windshield or sticking the 3M adhesive mount flush to the dashboard. Then, plug in the 12-volt adapter to power the unit. What’s nice is myGEKOgear includes a 16-gigabyte Micro SD card in the box so owners are able to get up and running immediately.

    Amazon Kindle

    The already-excellent Amazon e-reader recently received a major update in the form of a new thinner, flat-front waterproof casing. The base memory has been bumped up to eight gigabytes, twice the storage as before, and is available in up to a 32 GB capacity. The razor sharp glare-free 300 ppi display truly makes reading a joy on the eyes, and variable backlighting means you can read anywhere, anytime.

    Unsure of a word? Simply tap and a dictionary definition appears above, while the built-in Wi-Fi sources supplementary info directly from Wikipedia. Whispersync saves and synchronizes the last page read, bookmarks and annotation across all your compatible devices. Audible is now supported, so enjoy favourite content streamed wirelessly to a pair of Bluetooth headphones. Among all the highlights, my favourite might be the battery that lasts at the minimum a couple of weeks.



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