The latest high-tech gadgets will help you stay connected, entertained and informed on your commute. They can also help reduce the dreaded “Are we there yet?!” from the backseat on grueling road trips. Here are a few roadworthy suggestions.
Available through multiple carriers, the Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone includes a feature called S Voice Drive, designed to give you information safely while your eyes are on the road and hands at 10 and 2. Using voice commands, you can hear your text messages read aloud in a human-like voice or you can ask for GPS directions, weather, make calls and more.
On your next road trip, don’t waste time hunting for a wireless hotspot for your tablet, smartphone or other Wi-Fi-enabled devices. Instead, bring your own connection with you, which is also more secure than public Wi-Fi. Portable hotspots, such as the Novatel Wireless MiFi 2, are about the size of a deck of cards, yet they allow multiple nearby Wi-Fi devices to all get online via high-speed 4G LTE connectivity (monthly data plan required).
Another example of smart wireless connectivity is the Seagate Wireless Plus, a pocket-size hard drive you can load up with 500 movies (or other files) from a PC or Mac via USB cable (included). Then, when you take it to go, turn it on to create a wireless hotspot, allowing up to eight people to stream video from the hard drive onto a smartphone, tablet or laptop. Each person can even watch something different at the same time. This device can be a lifesaver for those with bored kids on long car rides.
Regardless of the make of your mobile phone or smartphone, an in-vehicle wireless speaker kit is a safe way to chat hands-free. The Parrot Bluetooth MKi9000 car kit features an easy-to-use wireless remote with six large buttons, a high-quality microphone and it automatically syncs with your device’s phone book. If you like, this product can also read your text messages aloud via simple voice commands.
There’s nothing worse than being away from home and having your gadgets run out of power just as you need them. Instead, be prepared with the Motorola P4000, a slender and compact battery charger that lets you juice up your devices from anywhere. It has both a micro USB connector and a full-size USB port so you can charge up two devices at once. The P4000 can charge up a typical smartphone twice before it needs to be recharged itself.
APP IT UP
Never leave home without it: The GEICO App for Apple iOS and Android devices gives smartphone and tablet owners a number of convenient features at your fingertips, such as adding or replacing a vehicle on your policy without making a phone call, arranging for roadside help with a single tap, or filling out a step-by-step accident guide to help you record all the info you need from the scene (including photos). Policyholders can also securely store digital insurance ID cards, pay bills, view discounts and coverage, and much more. From your smartphone, text MOBILE to 43426 or visit your app store to download the free GEICO App.
What gadgets do you keep in your car? Tell us in the comments below.