The top six gadgets to accompany you on every journey
Whether you’re stuck in traffic or taking your car on holiday, here are some tried and tested accessories to make your journey go that little bit more smoothly.
Diono Easy View Plus (TM), £20, from www.johnlewis.com
Travelling with your new baby in tow is nerve-wracking enough, and it can be tough to keep an eye on them in their rear-facing car seat, when you're focused on the road ahead.
That's where this gadget is handy. The 360-degree rotating mirror is easy to install - simply attach it to a head rest and ta-da, you can see your baby smiling back at you in your rear-view mirror. Where this product differs from others on the market is it comes with a remote control, so when it's dark, you can turn the mirror's very own light on and easily see your little one - even better, it lights up gradually, so if your baby's in the land of nod, they won't wake up.
Draper Tools 12V DC
Vehicle to Vehicle Booster, £29.99, from www.machinemart.co.uk
Okay, hands up, if your car ran out of battery and you had to give it a boost, would you know which jump leads go where? If not, this gadget could be your saving grace.
The vehicle-to-vehicle booster works in a similar way to common jump leads - in that it transfers battery power from one car to another. However, instead of lifting up the bonnet, you can just connect this device to both cars' 12V DC sockets (the cigarette lighter socket) and a few minutes later your car will be raring to go. The lead itself is six metres - easily long enough to stretch between two cars.
THREE TIMES THE POWER
Olixar Triple USB Super Fast Car Charger, £14.99, from www.mobilefun.co.uk
When you're going on a long journey and your passengers are using their phones/tablets, it can be helpful to be able to charge them en-route.
However, with a charging port popped into the 12V DC socket (or 24V if you're in a larger vehicle), if you have more than one passenger, it can lead to arguments over whose gadget is more in need of a boost. The Olixar Triple USB Super Fast Car Charger can eliminate those car-journey squabbles. It comes with three USB ports - including two that are strong enough to charge tablets (2.1 amps each) - the other is a one-amp port for smartphones. It's worth noting the one-amp port is on top (with the two 2.1 amp ports sitting below) as it's not clear on the actual device.
Nextbase InCarCam DUO, £179.99, from www.halfords.com
Popular dash-cam company Nextbase have just launched the DUO, said to be the UK's first dash-cam which comes with both a camera for the front and rear of your car. While the front records in 720P HD, the rear camera lens comes with a 50m zoom.
The screen even play backs the synchronised footage at the same time. If you do find yourself in the unfortunate position of having to supply footage to an insurance company, you can rest assured the camera will have recorded the whole incident - it comes with g-sensor technology that will recognise an accident and store footage safely for insurance purposes. While you'll need to invest in a Micro SD card for it, everything else comes with the camera - including the window mount and power cable. It gives a good, clear view and is worth the money.
THE RIGHT DIRECTION
Garmin nuviCam LMT-D, £299.99, from www.garmin.com
There are plenty of satnavs out there and one of the market leaders, Garmin, have a great one.
The nuviCam is a two-in-one satnav. In addition to the usual easy-to-read maps and clear directions that you'd expect, it also comes with a built-in dash-cam that automatically records if your car is involved in an incident. The device also comes with two great safety features, a lane departure warning - so, if you're driving and drift out of your lane, you'll quickly be alerted, and forward collision warning notifications, so if you get too close to a car in front, you'll know about it, too. You can even use the Bluetooth enabled device to connect to your smartphone so you can talk safely. We say, two-in-one? It's actually more like a five-in-one.
Buzzard 2 From EE, £49.99, from www.amazon.co.uk
One to use on home soil rather than abroad (where you'd be at the mercy of roaming charges), this will keep the whole family entertained on long car journeys without using up your internet data.
EE's Buzzard 2 provides in-car 4G Wifi - which up to 10 devices can connect to. The Buzzard 2 comes with either 6GB or 24GB of data (the latter currently costs £103.20 on Amazon) or alternatively, you can get it for free by signing up to a monthly mobile broadband plan on the EE site (www.ee.co.uk). Before you set off on your journey, you'll need to register the sim, but then you're good to go. Useful if you want to keep the kids busy watching an online film or use your smartphone as a satnav.
App of the week
CoPilot GPS, from £19.99, from Google Play, App Store (iTunes), Windows and Amazon
This brilliant app may cost more than your usual one, but when you realise its capabilities, you'll be happy to pay for it. For £19.99, you can download UK maps and, for £33.99, EU ones, too. They work offline, so there are no roaming charges, all you need is a mount for your phone and you can head off on your journey with your very own GPS. The app responds to voice commands and there's even a Find My Car facility - just save the location of your car and then, when you return to your motor, the app will direct you back to it. Very useful.
Top 10 bestselling apps
1. Minecraft - Pocket Edition by Mojang
2. The Chase by Barnstorm Games
3. Tipping Point by Barnstorm Games
4. Goat Simulator by Coffee Stain Studios
5. Monopoly by Electronic Arts
6. Eggheads by Barnstorm Games
7. Terraria by 505 Games
8. Lifeline by 3 Minute Games
9. Plague Inc by Miniclip
10. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas by Rockstar Games