Travel Kit: Target Retail $49.99 – Mini travel keyboard; • Mini travel mouse – rubberized ; Earphone with retractable cable and built-in microphone; Mini 4-port USB hub’ and Multi-card reader/adapters for SDHC support
Travel USB Shaver: Target Retail $24.99 – Compact travel shaver ; USB port charging; Spare shaver head shield and cleaning brush
Mini Solar Charger — Target Retail $24.99 – Rechargeable lithium battery built in; Charges in 2 hours with USB; • Charges in 50 hours with solar power in direct sunlight; Fits Apple and Micro USB Phones
Battery Backup — Target Retail $44.99 – 5 plug adapters – works with most cell phones; USB cable, micro USB input cable, DC input adapter; ABS base with anodized silver aluminum body
USB Cube — Target Retail $19.99 – Multi port compatible; Compliant w/ USB 2.0; Data transfer rate 480MBPS; Over current protection per individual port; Plug and play, no driver installation needed
Travel Web Camera – Target Retail $24.99 – Fold able, highly compact travel web camera; ABS travel carrying case; Adjustable focus capabilities; 300K pixel for high resolution; CMOS built in color sensor
I tried the latter two products, the web cam and the larger sized window solar charger. I selected these, because charging a phone or other electronic device on-the-fly (literally or figuratively) is always a problem. Every time I go to an event, I see people jockying for position around the plugs, desperate to get some juice in their Android or iPhones. Apps suck power. And web cams are a great way for home-sick road warriors, college students, anyone, to stay in touch with loved ones, or connect with colleagues while away from the office.
I wish I could say that these new tools knocked my socks off, and worked well. Keeping in mind that a lot of gadgets are not really as “plug and play” as they appear to be, my test of the two items didn’t run smoothly at first, although, in the end, I really did like, and would recommend, both products.
The Travel Web Camera really excited me because it is not much larger than a standard USB stick. But when I opened the clam shell packaging, I realized that the web cam requires installation of software. Alas, that software arrived on a mini-disk that wouldn’t fit in my computer no matter what I tried. I called Samsonite directly, and while the customer service and tech people didn’t have an immediate answer about what to do or if there was another way to install the software (ie; a download), they called back the next day and left a message that there was no other way to install the software. The bottom line is that if your computer doesn’t accept mini disks, or you have a net-book that doesn’t have a CD-rom drive, it would be impossible to use the web cam. Get a friend (as I finally did) to make a stick out of the disk, and then the webcam will be fine. There should be another way to get the software installed, preferably a download-able version. Also not available (via download) were the directions to use the webcam (I misplaced mine). These are things that if you’re on the road, you really might need to access. Samsonite should re-think making them available, online.
The Window Solar Charger doesn’t require any software and is super-easy enough to use. You just attach it to a window or other type of place where direct sunlight can filter through. I have seen photos of this being stuck on airplane and car windows, as well as regular windows. The device needs to charge for 13 hours to be fully powered up, so a short car trip or airplane ride might not be enough. There is a small LED light on the side of the lightweight, square charger no larger than a piece of bread that changes from red to green when it’s fully charged and ready to go. Mine never worked with the sun, although it did charge up well with the USB cable. The solar charger is supposed to be used mostly for giving a boost to cell phones, but my phone wasn’t on the list (dozens of other phones and phone models, were). You get a lot of standard plugs that will fit a lot of different phones. To use the fully charged solar charger all you have to do is plug one end of the USB plug that fits your phone, into it, and then the other into the solar charger. I was able to test the charger with my iPod, and that worked, well. Another thing that Samsonite might want to consider in the future is adding an inexpensive case so that the charger doesn’t scratch. I put mine in a zip lock bag, but that’s not really much protection. There should be an include case to protect the solar panel and carry the various plugs around.