In our monthly column on travel tech, we give you the lowdown on some of the finest gadgets for those on the go, be it for leisure or business.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra | Price: Rs 109,999 onwards
When the first Samsung Galaxy Note was unveiled in 2011, I was one of the many gadget writers who thought it was too unwieldy. That was a time when the iPhone (4S) featured a 3.5-inch screen and the Note, with its 5.3-inch screen, was an outlier of sorts. A year later, Samsung’s Galaxy Note II became my daily driver. It wasn’t just the functionality of the S-Pen — Samsung’s in-built stylus — but the possibilities that a large screen opened up. The Note series can take a lot of the credit for creating the current template for large-screen smartphones. It also built a cult following especially among creative professionals for its S-Pen.
When Samsung didn’t launch a Note device in 2021, focusing instead on strengthening its ‘foldable’ portfolio, speculation was rife that Samsung was killing it’s Note line. That turned out to be partially true. The Note has returned as the Ultra, the S-Pen is back, and the thrill of a large screen is one of the big talking points for Samsung’s all new Galaxy S22 Ultra. Straight off the bat, this is the best Android smartphone you can buy. It all starts with the immersive screen.
At 1750 nits, this is the brightest smartphone display out there. The 6.8-inch Quad HD+ display (3088 x 1440 pixels) with a 120Hz refresh rate packs a whopping 500 ppi (pixels per inch). A 5000 mAh battery under the hood ensures that you won’t run out of juice even if you’ve set the display to maximum brightness. At the heart of this device is a zippy Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor that combines with 12GB of RAM. There’s a choice of 256GB or 512GB internal storage options. The S22 Ultra is lightning quick, whether you’re gaming on a flight or multi-tasking during a business trip.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra was one of our favourite mobile shooters from 2021. The S22 Ultra builds on that experience with software improvisations powered by the new chipset. The basic set-up is almost identical — a 108MP primary lens, dual telephoto lenses and an ultra-wide cam aside from a 40MP selfie shooter. The S22 Ultra makes minor improvements in lowlight photography and takes a significant leap in portrait images. All of this makes it the sharpest Android shooter right now. Note loyalists will enjoy the enhanced S-Pen but the S22 Ultra’s appeal stretches beyond that cult. It combines best-of-breed hardware with a gorgeous display and a stellar camera to make it the perfect travel accessory.
Yamaha YH-L700A | Price: Rs 43,300
Yamaha’s premium over-the-ear headphones is a compelling alternative to Apple’s AirPods Pro Max. This one’s for audiophiles or anyone who takes their music seriously. It opts for a unique forward-tilted headband, a design element that ensure these headphones sit right at the centre of your head. That’s not the only design deviation, you get a more squarish-oval design for the earcups.
These cans are a tad heavy but are finished with high-quality materials that make them extremely comfortable to wear. We dig the premium embellishments like the embossed aluminium logo while the inward folding design makes it easy to pack into the carrying case.
You will find three physical buttons on these cans. There’s a power on/off button, an ANC (active noise cancellation button) that offers a choice of three ANC modes, the third button incorporates Yamaha’s biggest party trick — 3D sound modes. You can choose from seven audio pre-sets; there’s cinema mode that truly enhances on screen action and a cool outdoor live mode for live concerts.
Sound quality is terrific, it’s Yamaha’s 3D sound modes that set these headphones apart from the competition. Battery life swings from about 11 hours with the 3D mode activated, to 34 hours with just ANC on. You should still manage to get through a whole transatlantic flight with 3D sound and the cool head tracking option turned on.
Garmin Epix | Price:Rs 89,990 onwards
The Epix is one of the most expensive wellness-driven smartwatches you can buy right now. A vivid AMOLED display — easily one of the best we’ve encountered on any smartwatch — is one of its headline features.
The Epix won’t look out of place in the boardroom with its premium fit and finish, yet it’s also one of the most rugged wearables out there. Our review unit — the Sapphire-Black Titanium version, featured a fibre-reinforced polymer finish with a titanium rear cover protected with a sapphire crystal lens. The Epix is designed for the most gruelling outdoor pursuits, whether you’re rafting in the rapids or exposed to the elements during a trek.
The Epix consolidates Garmin’s reputation as a serious wellness accessory whether you’re travelling or sticking with your daily fitness routines. You get more than 40 built-in indoor and outdoor workout modes and the Body battery feature that Garmin regulars swear by.
The Epix uses a blend of heart rate variability (HRV), stress and activity to estimate your energy reserves (on a score of one to 100). A lower number tells you that’s it’s time to conserve your energy. The Epix offers Spotify integration, so you can sync playlists for offline playback and tune in with Bluetooth earbuds. But more than these extras it’s the vibrant 1.3-inch (416 x 416 pixels) touchscreen, six-day battery life (with GPS on) and Garmin’s wellness features that make it one of the best wellness-focused wearables.
Suggested read: TD Tech: Four fab travel gadgets for you this month!
Ashwin Rajagopalan is a Chennai-based content architect, writer, speaker and cultural intelligence coach. He writes extensively on travel and culture, food and drink, gadgets and trends.
Springs like a cheetah, purrs like a kitty: The Audi e-tron GT