The Essentials: Power Trippers

Five brilliant new devices for playing at home and traveling abroad.

Mar 11, 2010
Outside Magazine
Power Trippers

   Photo: Photograph by Inga Hendrickson

It's a marriage made in geosynchronous orbit: GPS company Delorme teamed up with Spot—manufacturers of satellite tracking and emergency beacons—to create the PN-60w, the first top-tier GPS (with topo maps, aerial photos, nautical charts, and 3.5 gigs of internal memory) that can communicate with the outside world. Paired wirelessly with the included puck-size Spot transmitter (not shown), it can not only send "I'm OK" and SOS messages from anywhere on the planet—the standard SPOT fare—but also lets you type free-form, 48-character text messages to friends, Twitter, or Facebook. Available in May. $550 plus subscription;

There are a gazillion highly sophisticated auto nav systems out there. But here's why we like this one: It's idiot-proof. The highly intuitive Motorola Motonav TN700 delivers pinpoint directions, automatically syncs with your Bluetooth phone to voice-dial your contacts, and runs Bing searches to get more info on restaurants and hotels, all done seamlessly and with your hands on the wheel. Price TBD;

Etón's Scorpion is a little like a mullet. This cool, rugged, splashproof device is half business (solar- or hand-powered flashlight, AM/FM radio, and NOAA weather updates) and half party: Designers tossed in a USB port to charge your iPod, an audio input to play it, and, of course, a bottle opener. $50;

Garmin has made plenty of full-featured GPS bike computers, just never at this price. The Edge 500 is half the cost of previous iterations and has everything a rider needs: speed, distance, power meter, heart-rate monitor, and 18 hours of battery life—plus an altimeter that allows data addicts to track their ascent rates. $250 alone; $350 with HRM;

After four months testing T-Mobile's Android-based myTouch 3G on two continents, we're taking a stand: This is the best smartphone for travelers. With quad-band/3G coverage in 200 countries, it works in more places than its rivals. It might have fewer apps and entertainment options, but if your goal is to bring home and office with you, its multitasking, Outlook e-mail, and Google services more than make up for it. $150 with contract;

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