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
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.
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.
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