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by Michael J. Shapiro | December 01, 2011
As meeting planners well know, technology can be a frequent traveler's best friend. The following gadgets, all of which lay claim to such distinction, are highly recommended after having been subjected to the rigors of real-life business travel.


FoxLv2 Bluetooth portable speaker $199; soundmatters.com

foxLv2 Bluetooth Portable SpeakerThe gadget landscape is littered with portable speaker systems, but this, the foxLv2, is to our knowledge the only one designed by a former NASA scientist. That's right, Dr. Godehard Guenther, who has Ph.D.s in nuclear physics, astronomy and physical chemistry, founded Soundmatters and designed this miniscule hi-fi device.  

More to the point, this thing rocks. And the very fact that a speaker this small can produce punchy bass and clear mid-tones without the distortion you'd expect is a continuing source of astonishment -- whether listening to a smartphone, iPad, iPod or whatever other music player you favor.

The little powerhouse uses an innovative design that essentially turns the rechargeable battery into a woofer, which is responsible for the rich bass sound. The sound quality is shockingly good even when streaming music wirelessly via Bluetooth -- we had no problem pairing the speaker with either an iPad 2 or an iPod touch, though we did get hear the tiniest bit of distortion when pumping up the volume to the maximum.

The foxLv2 Bluetooth also connects directly to a headphone jack using a basic audio cable (included), should your player not sport Bluetooth, and in that case can play tunes at a higher volume. Now, it won't play as loudly as our fallback Logitech Pure-Fi Anywhere portable iPod/iPhone speakers ($99.99) -- which, for the record, we still love -- but the foxLv2 speaker really is a different beast. At 5.625 inches long by 2.25 inches tall, it takes up a fraction of the space as the Logitech and is far more likely to make the cut in a road warrior's carry-on bag. It even ships with a universal travel adapter kit for overseas use, as well as a soft protective pouch.

The speaker has a built-in noise-canceling microphone, turning the unit into a hands-free speakerphone when paired with a smartphone. With the touch of a button you can answer a call and pause the music.

The foxLv2 Bluetooth speaker isn't cheap, but its amazingly good sound, innovative design and solid build make it worth the investment. – Michael J. Shapiro