Small and light gadgets can make a journey easier, but sometimes
performance and features get squeezed out in the bargain. What we have here are tech toys for vacationing that are among the smallest and most versatile in their classes, like the tiny 3-megapixel Nikon (shown) which helps you compose even the toughest travel shots. The priorities are the same for luggage: You want innovations to ease the schlep-because it's not a real vacation if you don't buy a lot of cool stuff to cram into your suitcase for the trip home.
1. Take Windows with You
This tri-band GSM cellphone from HTC is the first globe-trotter to incorporate Microsoft's Windows-esque Smartphone platform. The Orange SPV phone was launched in Europe last fall. The first U.S. version of the Smartphone, Samsung's small clamshell SCH-i600, (no price set) is expected by year's end.
2. Arrive on Time
Oakley's GMT wristwatch ($575 to $650) tracks time in all 24 time zones: Just point the big red hand to a location indicated on the rim of the watch face, and one of the small dials tells you the time. One drawback: It's mighty heavy.
3. Pack a Travel Mate
The svelte (.67-inch deep) Palm Zire 71 ($299) has a 16-bit, 320- by 320-pixel color screen—perfect for map reading. The PDA's 640- by 480-pixel (VGA) digital camera has a long shutter lag, and there's no flash included, but the camera captures decent images when on the run.
4. Compose Your Vacation
The Coolpix 3100's ($350) four Scene Assist modes suggest the best composition for 14 possible scenarios—from sporting events to portraits to architecture. Simply frame your subject within the lines on the display, press the shutter button, and you can't go wrong.
5. Make the Long Haul Easy
Flip a lever on Swiss Army's Triax roller ($499 to $679), and the interior expands 3 inches. Nearly indestructible, the Triax is made of the Kevlar blends used in motorcycle apparel and bulletproof vests. And the handle rotates in three directions to accommodate ergonomic hand positions.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.