GIMME: Have gadget, will travel
Travelling is easier when you have the right accessories. Whether you’re about to go on holiday or hop on a plane for a business trip, these travel-improving gadgets will help make your trip that much better
Zagg universal tablet keyboard
Usually, a slim and light tablet is a great device to travel with — it has more screen real estate than your phone and less heft than your laptop. And with device-responsive apps such as Word (with an Office 365 account) you can easily do your work on them too.
But if that work involves a lot of typing and text editing, the average touch-screen keyboard experience leaves a lot to be desired.
The Zagg universal tablet keyboard does just what it promises. It connects to your tablet by means of Bluetooth, and provides a keyboard and stand (for tablets, and smartphones if you want, 12inches or less). The cover gives a bit of extra protection without adding much bulk to the package.
Selling point: connection via Bluetooth
The "global village" might be a remarkable place to do business or simply explore, but navigating the complexities of different network providers and roaming rates from country to country is much less fun. If you’re prepared to embrace roaming, you can stay connected, but at a hefty price tag.
KnowRoaming seems to offer one of the best workarounds available, especially for multiregion or frequent travellers. Applied as a sticker on your own SIM card, KnowRoaming lurks inside your smartphone, staying inactive while you are on your local provider network. But head across the border, and it disables your cellular data and connects to a local network at a set fee.
It offers connectivity in 200 countries and unlimited data packages in more than 90, at a rate that starts at US$7.99/day. You manage your prepaid spend, and see rates and usage from a linked app.
Granted, $8/day for unlimited data packages is not nothing, but it’s a lot better than the R100/MB or so you might be spending, depending on where you roam.
Selling point: adds on to your existing SIM; managed spend from app
Price: about R399
Duet from Protag
Misplacing your keys or phone in your own home is a pain. Misplacing something abroad, or on a busy beach in Cape Town, for example, is another matter altogether.
Manufacturers the world over are scrambling to tag and track all our stuff. One of the options on the local market is the Duet. This small plastic square can be connected to your keys, smartphone or laptop, or it can be dropped into your handbag or wallet. You can then pair up to 10 Duet tags with the app using Bluetooth.
Once paired, the Duet lets you find something that’s genuinely misplaced, but it also tracks things that grow legs, which occasionally happens in almost every urban centre on the planet. You can track tags from the app on any device, and the tag batteries last up to six months.
Selling point: compact tracker for your belongings