What’s new in the world of travel tech?

New Travel Bags

The new WaterField Air Travel Backpack is a new type of carry-on travel bag designed for these times where our office might be most anywhere – a coffee shop, a backyard, or a park. It’s a large bag, 22.5 x 16 x 7.5 inches, with a dedicated office compartment for two laptops and other work necessities, plus details like lockable zippers, multiple comfortable carry options, and a professional aesthetic. It’s called the Air Travel Backpack that can be used as a large suitcase or backpack, and fits on the handle of a rollerboard.

The company explains, “Most of us need a travel backpack for walking through airports, hailing taxis, and going to hotels, not for trekking the Amazon forest, so we don’t need cumbersome and unsightly dangling hip straps. We need a streamlined, elegant Travel Backpack to comfortably transport our belongings from car, train, or plane to our hotel or straight to a business meeting.”

Check it out athttps://www.sfbags.com/blogs/waterfield-newsroom/air-travel-backpack     Costs $419

Peak Design makes thoughtfully designed cases that puts an emphasis on organization. I recently bought their popular Tech Pouch ($60) to keep all my bits of stuff organized on a recent trip. I used it to store a variety of cables, EarPods, chargers, batteries, pens, a small notebook, memory cards and more. It’s a cleverly designed case with a couple of dozen pockets of all sizes and shapes.

While the Tech Pouch ($45) has been available for a while, a new carry pouch was just introduced that can clip to your belt or carried over the shoulder. The Field Pouch has a rolltop hook-and-loop closure for easy access and expandable capacity and expands from 1.5L to 3L. It’s made of recycled and Bluesign approved material and is 100% carbon neutral

Peak Design has made it a part of their business model to be environmentally and socially responsible, including “understanding and accounting for a product’s entire lifecycle, from complex supply chain to design that extends usefulness as long as possible. It also means policies and advocacy that aim to improve the lives of our employees, contractors, customers, and people the planet over.”

Apple MagSafe Battery Pack

In spite of designing generations of phones, Apple continues to prioritize making their phones very thin rather than using thicker batteries that can last from morning to night.   We’re using faster cell connections, streaming more audio and video and are using higher resolution and brighter displays, all consuming more power, yet battery capacity has barely increased.

Leave it to Apple to turn this liability into a new accessory – the MagSafe Battery Pack. It’s a battery that magnetically attaches to the back of Series 12 phones that have MagSafe built in. Power is transmitted through the back of the phone without requiring a cable or connector. The case provides about 40-70% of additional capacity, depending on the phone model.The battery can also be used to charge AirPods by placing the two together. It’s a neat solution, albeit pricey at $99.

Sony WF-1000XM4 Wireless Earbuds

Sony has been one of the leaders in noise cancelling headphones, providing products comparable to Bose, the inventor of the category.  Their recently introduced WF-1000XM4 earbuds establishes their leadership in the earbud category. For the first time, they’ve put noise reduction technology equal to the best over-the-ear headphones into these tiny buds. But along with that, they deliver some of the best audio in a wireless product.  While wireless earphones can’t deliver hi res music, the best ones are able to approach CD quality. These products are ideal for air travelers because of their tiny size and effective noise cancellation. They come in a tiny case, much like the AirPods.  I’ve compared them to the AirPods Pro and they are far superior for both audio and noise cancellation. The product costs $279, $30 more than Apple’s AirPods Pro.

by Phil Baker