Take Awesome Shots with this Simple Tool

Xenvo iPhone Camera Lens Kit Pro

Andy's Travel Gear Product Reviews Series

I love this wide angle lens by Xenvo, and I constantly get compliments on the photos it takes, changing my iphone camera into something just a little bit more. This wide angle lens is built in a simple construction--you just clip it on and you're ready to go.

The lens is great for just about all sorts of photography- social media, videos, product photos, real estate (think Airbnb photos), travel photography and more. The lens let's you fit in 20 people to any selfie, and you can get much closer to monuments, skyscrapers and the Eiffel Tower. 

The only drawback is that you have to remove any case you have on your phone to ensure a good fit. The lens is not that heavy, but it does make the phone unbalanced in your hands, so you've got to take good care while using it to not let your phone slip out of your hands.

 

Highlights:

- Great construction, good materials, durable

- I get compliments on it all the time, both the look and the photo

- Lightweight for what it does

 

Drawbacks:

- Only that you've got to remove your case each time you want to use it. When clipped on, the lens makes the phone unbalanced in your hand, and it's easy to drop!

 

Bottom Line:

- Ever since traveling with this lens, I've loved the images I've been able to post on Instagram, facebook, my website and more. Go for it, you'll love it!

 

Price: $35

Check out everything Xenvo at XenvoPro.com and compare products on Amazon.com.

Follow the latest on everything Xenvo on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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Hold it Right There! Xenvo SquidGrip Tripod Review

Xenvo SquidGrip Tripod

Andy's Travel Gear Product Reviews Series

Half the game of taking a nice photo is keeping your camera steady. And this all-purpose, all-terrain tripod from Xenvo does the trick in those tough situations.

The rubberized articulated arms of Zenvo's SquidGrip tripod allow for a secure grip and hold on just about any surface or scenario. The arms are long enough to wrap around pipes, fencing, banisters etc. The ball joint up top allows you to pivot the platform for your phone or camera to just the right angle as well.

The size and heft of this tool make this a tough sell for me on the road. For those who need to travel light, I don't think the functionality quite justifies how much weight and space it takes up.

 

Highlights:

- Good construction quality

- Sturdy, and well able to hold any smart phone, GoPro or DSLR

 

Drawbacks:

- Size and heft was too much for me, didn't make the cut for my long-term non-photographic-centric style of travel.

 

Price: $30

Check out your options on XenvoPro.com and compare options on Amazon.com here.

Follow the latest on everything Xenvo on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Take your selfie game to the next level with xenvo

Xenvo Shutterbug Bluetooth Remote

Andy's Travel Gear Product Reviews Series

This tiny little product does one thing, and it does it well. This is a bluetooth remote clicker. So just switch on, and pair with your phone or other bluetooth-enable electronic and control with a single click. This is great for those who love to take selfies from afar, or maybe you want to snap shots while walking away. The over-the-shoulder instagram moneyshot is ever easier with this gadget in your hand!

 

Product Highlights:

- Lightweight: Nearly weightless piece of technology.

- Well-built: Feels easily secure enough to plug onto a keychain or toss around the house. You'll misplace it long before you break it thanks to it's small, compact size.

- Simple function and strong connection: Connect and play!

- Low power consumption: A single hearing aid battery (included) powers the thing for years if you're good about switching it off after each use.

 

Drawbacks:

- None to mention. Simple, compact product that does exactly what it's meant to do.

 

Price: $15

 

Check out this product and more at XenvoPro.com and compare options Amazon.com.

Follow the latest on everything Xenvo on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Get your charge in with this Belkin Cable

Belkin Duratek Lightning Charge Cable

Andy's Travel Gear Product Reviews Series

When my Apple products break down, I usually check out Belkin to see what replacement options that have. I've traveled with Belkin products for years and have always appreciated their high-electronic accessories. Charging cords are one of the more mundane things to review, but I go for Belkin DuraTek Lightning Cables when I need replacement charger cords for my later version iPhone.

Highlights: Durable, lightweight and discrete

Drawbacks: None to speak of, they're great!

Price: $30

Check out this product and others at Belkin.com and compare options at Amazon.com.

Stay up on Belkin's exciting new products via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Never run out of juice with belkin's power pack

Belkin Pocket Power 10K Power Bank

Andy's Travel Gear Product Reviews Series

We rely on our phones more than ever while we're on the road. And those darn social media apps use up a lot of energy! Don't go dead, just pick up one of these sweet Belkin Pocket Power Chargers. Belkin shared their latest product with us, and I love that you can fit enough charge for a couple phones or even an iPad to recharge several times off a single pack charge. 

The case itself is hard black plastic and comes with two USB charging ports. At 15,000mAh, you've got enough juice for several charges on your phone, enough to last all weekend at your next rave :)

 

Highlights:

- Discrete, slim, and compact: At about the size of your smartphone, it can recharge your phone up to three times

- Charges fast: It feels like this charger charges my phone faster than standard wall outlets most days.

- Share the love: This product has two charging ports, so share the power love with your friends and keep the party going.

 

Drawbacks:

- I'd love a couple more charges out of this battery pack at a time, but we're all bound by physics, aren't we?

- A bit steep on price for a standard charger

 

Price: $50

Read up on this product and more at Belkin.com and compare options on Amazon.com.

Stay up on Belkin's exciting new products via FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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 Two charging ports and three colors to choose from at Belkin.com.

Two charging ports and three colors to choose from at Belkin.com.

 Slim construction, fits easily in your pocket. Check out all Belkin products at Belkin.com

Slim construction, fits easily in your pocket. Check out all Belkin products at Belkin.com

Tune Out & Tune In with Bose

Bose QuietComfort 35ii

Andy's Travel Gear Product Reviews Series

These bad boys are deluxe! Super lightweight, quality build and the stunning sound that Bose is famous for. The QuietComfort 35ii are the latest iteration in a dynasty of excellent noise-cancelling headphones. When I had the chance to try these out, I was so excited. Here's my thoughts:

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The Pros

The sound quality is absolutely amazing. Throw these on, and the background noise fades away. Bose has refined a technology that picks up on ambient noise and plays their opposing soundwaves to your ear, effectively canceling what your ear can sense. They are comfortable, and the over-ear headphones allow for hours of easy listening.

The Drawbacks

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On my most recent trip, I wasn't able to justify the good deal of space that they would take up in my backpack. While they're excellent headphones, you definitely need to allow for the space they take up while packed in their case. Additionally, as they are wireless headsets, you have to remember to keep a charge in the headphones. One more thing to remember to plug in at the end of the day.

These are perfect for someone's at-home life, going to work, the gym, the metro etc. But for the backpacker, I just couldn't justify the space they would take up in the bag.

Check them out on Amazon here. $349

Read up on everything Bose at Bose.com and follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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 Photo cred: Bose Instagram

Photo cred: Bose Instagram

A Backpacker's Dream Speaker

Bose 'Soundlink Micro' Bluetooth Speaker

Andy's Travel Gear Product Reviews Series

Bose is known for high quality materials, excellent sound and attention to detail across all their products. I've ponied up a little more for Bose products over the years, and every time I've been blown away with hoe much I've enjoyed them, from headphones to home theater speakers. I've enjoyed the Bose Mini Bluetooth II speakers for years, and when I had the chance to check out Bose's new gear in partnership with the drop of the second edition of my guidebook, I jumped at the opportunity.

Bose 'Soundlink Micro' Bluetooth Speaker

This lightweight speaker puts out huge sound for it's size. Built in water-resistant construction, this speaker can join you in the shower, or out at the beach without worry of spoiling the internals. Take it on a sweaty hike, or lash it onto the boat, and you'll enjoy great sound out of a small package.

At $99, the speaker is within reach of most backpacking consumers, and it's a step above what competing speakers in the micro-sized bluetooth speaker space. Those types of mini speakers usually bring a tinny sound and without much oomph.

 

Highlights:

- Impossibly Small: People can't believe such big sounds comes from a bluetooth speaker the size of your palm.

- Rubberized Construction: A layer of reubberized plastic envelopes the speaker to ramp up it's durability.

- Water-Resistant: The rubberized cover on this mini speaker means you can take it in the shower, out on rainy days, to the beach, sailing and more without a worry.

- Great Battery Life: Charge once or twice a week and listen worry-free

- Lightweight: Each iteration of Boses' speakers cut weight and maximize sound, and this set is no exception. I can throw it into my backpack and forget about it until it's time to whip out at the beach party.

 

Drawbacks:

- It's a mini speaker, so it won't put out the sound quality of it's larger sisters, like the Revolve or Revolve + but for it's size, I've got zero complaints for the Bose Micro.

 

Price: $100

Check out your color options and other products at Bose.com, and compare prices on Amazon.com.

Read up on everything Bose at Bose.com and follow them on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

 Bose's Soundlink Micro putting out great sound during a sail in Northern Italy, Lake Garda.

Bose's Soundlink Micro putting out great sound during a sail in Northern Italy, Lake Garda.

 Boses' Soundlink Micro doesn't scare at a little sand or spray at the beach. Photo cred instagram: @bose

Boses' Soundlink Micro doesn't scare at a little sand or spray at the beach. Photo cred instagram: @bose

 Boses' Soundlink Micro fits in the palm of your hand. Great for traveling! Photo cred, Instagram: @bose

Boses' Soundlink Micro fits in the palm of your hand. Great for traveling! Photo cred, Instagram: @bose

Incredible Sound from Tiny Bose Bluetooth Earbuds

Bose SoundSport Free

Andy's Travel Gear Product Reviews Series

I'd never ponied up for a set of bluetooth headphones like these, though they looked so cool! When I had the chance to try these out for Bose, I happily obliged. Very quickly, you realize Bose's commitment to high-quality sound isn't compromised by the tiny size of these innovative earbuds.

The next thing you notice when you enjoy the sound from this pair of buds is just how liberating it is to go wireless. With these, you can now wander the house, take care of chores, do laundry, organize your room and pack, all without worrying about the cords plugged into your phone. I'm a big podcast listener, while I take care of things around the house, and it was such a pleasure disconnecting from my phone.

These headphones make for great travel headphones, though I was always afraid of running out of juice. And my phone would burn through it's battery faster as well while I was using these. So ideally, you'll use these while your phone is plugged in, or you're at least near a power source.

They do make great calls, and the caller can clearly hear your voice, even though your mouth is far from the receiver on the right bud in your ear.

 

Highlights:

- Great construction: For how tiny these are, they feel sturdy and durable in your ears

- Well-fitting and comfortable: It took me a little bit to get used to earbuds in general, but thanks to these formfitting ear socks, I can leave these in all day if I want to, enjoying podcasts and music and taking calls.

- Strong connection: It feels great to disconnect from your phone and be able to take care of chores, hit the bathroom, get dressed without taking a break from the action.

- Great Sound: These little guys deliver all the sound that Bose is famous for despite their small package size.

- Relatively discrete: For whatever reason, if you were sporting a bluetooth headset like those 'Jawbones', you always looked like 'tool' to me. But these don't make me feel that way... Why? Who knows, they're basically the same thing. I think these are small enough that I can convince myself they're easy to miss.

 

Drawbacks:

While I loved these headphones, there were definitely some things to keep in mind.

- Charging: The charge doesn't last all that long. You're essentially forced to remember to charge these headphones each night. It's one more thing to remember to plug in.

- Battery burn: Not only do these buds require a diligent eye to the charge, but you'll also be burning through your smartphone battery or computer battery that much faster with bluetooth. Not a bother for those who are never far from a charge. But for travelers, this can be a headache.

 

Bottom Line:

When I had the charge, these headphones are ideal for runs around the park or chores around the house. I found myself opting for these consistently over my wired headphones. HOWEVER, the charging issue is a bit of a headache. The charge seems to last a couple hours, and the case they come in to charge can offer another couple hours of listtening, but if you're traveling with these, you'll also want to carry standard headphones for when these die.

A side note: While these headphones are discrete in your ears, they do stick out from your head just a bit. In tight passageways, doorways or even on a sailboat I was chartering, I've knocked these out my ears by catching them on something as I walk by. When I was on the sail boat, my right earbud was lost to the sea :(

Check them out on Amazon here. $200

Read up on everything Bose at Bose.com and follow them on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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 Fits comfortably in your ear and stays there. Check them out at Bose.com!

Fits comfortably in your ear and stays there. Check them out at Bose.com!

 The carrying case also charges the earbuds to 100%. More at Bose.com.

The carrying case also charges the earbuds to 100%. More at Bose.com.

21st Century BoomBox

Bose Revolve+ Bluetooth speaker

Andy's Travel Gear Product Reviews Series

This is a bluetooth speaker that can fill up just about any great room in a house with beautiful, complex, non-directional sound. This heavy hitter from Bose (also has a little sister, the Bose Revolve) is great for home entertainment systems, or a day out at the beach or the park.

The speaker is built in single-piece construction- clean, simple and attractive. It pairs up quickly with any phone or computer nearby and you can enjoy hours of clear, crisp sound.

This speaker is too big to backpack with--it doesn't make sense to lug a speaker of this size around unless you're a perfromer or something. But it works great for camping or road trips where you've got the room, and aren't shouldering the weight. You'll be the coolest kid at any bonfire when you bring this around. The carrying strap makes it easy to pick up and bring along to the party.

 

 Photo Cred: Bose

Photo Cred: Bose

Highlights:

- Sound: It's hard to believe that this grand sound comes from a single speaker which is easy to conceal on a table or behind a chair if you want. 

- Material Quality: By sight and touch, it's obvious this is a high-quality and durable speaker.

- Battery Life: With this larger package, Bose can fit in a much bigger battery to charge full days of audio enjoyment.

 

Drawbacks:

- The only thing to consider is the size and weight of the speaker. Best for home theaters over backpacking.

 

Learn more here. $299

Read up on everything Bose at Bose.com and follow them on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

 Photo Cred: Bose

Photo Cred: Bose