Pollution mask, map watch, e-skates – IFA 2018’s best travel tech reveals
Segway skates, a GPS-assisted smartwatch, a slip-over cyclist’s pollution mask, a powerful travel speaker and the ultimate in noise-cancelling headphones catch the eye in Berlin
Are you up on the latest travel tech? From anti-pollution masks and hiking watches to noise-cancelling headphones and self-balancing e-skates, this week’s IFA 2018 exhibition in Berlin saw plenty of tech for travellers.
Segway-Ninebot Drift W1 e-skates
Have you ever been on a Segway tour? Get ready to ditch the old two-wheeled electric vehicle and instead strap-on some e-skates, which debuted in Berlin this week. . Personal electric transport brand Segway-Ninebot set up a small skate park and had exhibition-goers moving around at 12km/h on its Drift W1 e-skates.
Comfortable and self-balancing, the Drift W1 feel very stable, perhaps because of their chunky size. Made from magnesium alloy, they are waterproof, and available for pre-order for US$399 (HK$3,132).
Casio Pro Trek Smart WSD F30 trekking watch
Can smartwatches with maps replace those handheld GPS devices beloved of serious hikers and trekkers? IFA 2018 saw the launch of Casio’s attempt at doing just that. The F30 smartwatch has a built-in altimeter, barometer and compass.
It also offers offline mapping, so hikers who want the F30 to record their GPS log on a map must download maps while they are still on Wi-fi before heading off-grid. If you allow it to track your position all day, the F30 works for about 36 hours.
With intermittent checking of your position, it goes for three days, which is more than most. Once you’re back in the city and using the F30 as a regular smartwatch for notifications and checking messages, it can go a mighty 30 days without recharge. It costs US$549.
R-PUR NANO anti-pollution mask
Cyclist wear helmets and gloves, so why not masks? Getting to know a big city by bike is a great alternative to a walking tour, but it can leave you prone to invisible and odourless pollution. Cue the R-PUR NANO, the first anti-pollution mask specially designed for those on motorbikes and bicycles.
Made in France, it uses patented nano-filtration tech that gets rid of toxic particles, fine particles such as diesel, pollen, and even viruses and bacteria in the air. It fits over glasses, and around all cycling helmets. It is on sale for US$385.
Sony WH-1000XM3 noise-cancelling headphones
If you fly long-haul often, you will know how bad is the 60-plus decibels of white noise a big aircraft’s engines and air-con system produces. IFA 2018 saw the unveiling of Sony’s latest version of its WH-1000X noise-cancelling headphones, the M3.
Improving on last year’s model by using a new QN1 processor that is four times more powerful, the WH-1000XM3 may be a headband model, but the headphones did not feel bulky. In fact, as well as being surprisingly lightweight, they fold-up easily and fit into a small carry case. They are pretty powerful in use, too; as well as blocking noises of cars, trains and planes, the WH-1000XM3 did seem to block-out people’s voices, as Sony claims.
The ‘quick attention’ mode is useful, too; wave a hand over the right ear cup and the music decreases so you can hear somebody speak, most likely the airline attendant offering you dinner or drinks. That same ear cup also acts as a touch-panel for changing the volume without taking the WH-1000XM3's off.
The WH-1000XM3 lasts for an impressive 30 hours – enough for the longest of journeys – and can be charged enough in 10 minutes to last five hours. That could be useful if you only have a few minutes to spare between flights. The WH-1000XM3 goes on sale this month for US$429.
Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay P6 portable speaker
Great for using on the beach or, more likely, in a hotel room, the portable speaker market is dominated and cheap-and-cheerful products. Not so the P6 from Danish style brand Bang & Olufsen.
With a crafted aluminium luxury look created by designer Cecilie Manz, the P6 is an effort to appeal to business travellers looking for something special to take on the road. However, it has got a more advanced design than most; its three speakers create 215W of power that delivers sound in all directions, and its battery life stretches to 16 hours.
At IFA 2018 it was announced that the P6 would be available in dark plum and limestone, and cost in the region of US$399.