Travel Gadget

The Kindle 2 vs The Kindle DX
spot cool stuff TRAVEL

Amazon offers two “current” versions of its popular e-book reader: the Kindle 2 and the Kindle DX.

Both Kindles are among Spot Cool Stuff’s favorite gadgets, especially for traveling. But why? And what’s the difference between the two Kindle models? And which one is better?

For the answers, Dear Reader, continue on . . .

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iWaterproof Your iPod and iPhone

When Spot Cool Stuff travels with an iPod we always have it in a waterproof case, whether we plan to being near water or not. A case that protects an iPod from water also protects it from sand (which, we suspect, is a more common cause of iPod mortality than water is) and from everyday dust and grime. A good waterproof case will also protect an iPod from knocks and dings.

Not all waterproof iPod cases are created equal. In fact, most are inferior. Some are little more than glorified zip-lock bags—they’ll work okay at first, not so much after a few months. Other cases are prone to accidental opening, provide an obstructed view of the screen or make operating the iPod cumbersome.

Here’s our selection for the best waterproof iPod cases. Read on or click directly to the portion of the review that interests you:

iPod Nano (4rd generation) iTouch & iPhone
iPod Nano (3rd generation) iPod Armbands iPod Classic (6th generation) Waterproof Headphones

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On the Spot GPS Tracker and Satellite Messenger

Spot Cool Stuff has spotted The Spot. The Spot Satellite Messenger, that is. This rugged cell-phone sized device allows your friends and family to pinpoint your exact location while you are out on an adventure and allows you to signal for help should need it.

Here’s how it works:

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Inexpensive Travel Netbooks: Acer vs Asus

The Acer Aspire One and the Asus Eee PC each weigh only 3 pounds (1.3kg). Each are highly portable, as thin as a 450-page paperback book. And each have high-quality models that cost only $350. So which one should bring on your next trip? Read on . . .

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APC, The Truly Universal Plug Adapter

Most so-called universal plug adapters aren’t. Universal, that is. They are capable of converting between the most common outlets like the C-type (used in much of Europe) and the A-type (North America and Japan). But your typical plug adapter can’t conform to the M-type of plug (southern Africa) or L-type (northern Africa and the Middle East). Some even have a hard time with the “sunken” plugs used in Europe, like the J-type (common in Switzerland) or F-Type (found in Germany).

The APC is one of the few universal plug adapters that can handle every residential outlet type on the planet. And it is by far the smallest and most lightweight of those that can. The APC is so efficient because it consists of two parts, each of which can be twisted, turned and attached together in a multitude of ways such that its users can be forgiven for thinking that they are playing with a transformer toy. The design is unusual, but it works. Always. Making the APC adapter one of Spot Cool Stuff’s must-pack items for any international trip.

BUY | WHAT TO PACK FOR A SAFARI TO AFRICA | OUTLET & PLUG TYPES

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Zippo Hand Warmer

handzip Zippo Hand WarmerAutumn is upon the northern parts of the northern hemisphere and we’re stocking up on our cold weather gear. First up, the new hard warmer from Zippo. Unlike the company’s famous lighters, this Zippo produces no flame. Instead, the radiant heat comes from a smoldering of lighter fluid within an ultra-thin platinum-catalyzed burner. A mere 4 ounces of lighter fluid can produce heat for 24 hours, virtually pollution free.

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Kindle Reading Device

Before Spot Cool Stuff headed for a month-long stay with the family on the coast we picked up a the new version of Amazon’s Kindle electronic reading device. We are big readers. Instead of packing a small library of bulky novels (and one travel guidebook) we loaded our Kindle with all our literature. The Kindle, we soon found, was also able to replace our need to buy paper newspapers.

As we write this review it is a month later and we find ourselves on an airplane headed home. What we learned about the Kindle during that time was this: It is really cool. (Hence the review here and not on Spot Mediocre Stuff). In fact, the Kindle has reach that highest Parthenon of devices we consider a must-have. But before you shell out $350 on your own Kindle you should know that it does comes with a few downsides along with its superlatives. Read on for more . . .

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Solio Solar Universal Hybrid Charger

We at Spot Cool Stuff see our fair share of gadgets that are more hype than, you know, useful. The Solio Universal Hybrid Charger is not one of those.

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