What's New, What's Hot: March 2013

By Joe Rosen
What's New, What's Hot is Travel Weekly's look at useful and fun travel gadgets, edited by Joe Rosen. Click on the image to open a slideshow of all of the featured products for March.

Relax Ally Travel Restband. When you nod off on a long plane flight, assuming you are not flat-bedding it in first class, two equally odious conditions are likely: for you, a stiff neck, sore shoulders and an interrupted, restless sleep and, for your unlucky seatmate, your slumped body and drooping head intruding upon his precious seat space. Welcome, then, to the Relax Ally Travel Restband, which keeps your head in an upright, ergonomically sound position while you doze, thereby relaxing your neck muscles and shoulders while securing you comfortably in your seat. The headband consists of two adjustable loops, the larger of which encircles your head and the smaller of which attaches around your seatback. A gentle tug on a snap button connecting the two bands quickly frees the wearer for ease of use and safety. $39; www.relaxally.com.  

Relax Ally Travel RestbandWireless Blood Pressure Monitor. If you suffer from hypertension and keep careful track of your blood pressure while on business trips and vacations, this product should be among the first items packed in your baggage. Designed with Bluetooth capability to wirelessly read out on an iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch, the iHealth BP Monitor, whose cuff attaches to a user's upper arm, records systolic/diastolic numbers, heart rate and pulse wave, stores the readings and possesses the ability to generate custom BP graphs by date and time. In addition, the monitor, which weighs 4.8 ounces (excluding the cuff), enables the user to share the results instantly with family or healthcare providers (a lighter cuff that attaches to the wrist is also available). $79.95; www.ihealthlabs.com.  

Cases for the iPhone 5 are a glut on the market these days, but the following are worth your consideration:

• Mophie Helium Juice Pack: The thinnest Juice Pack yet in the successful line of rechargeable Mophie iPhone battery cases, this newest charger consists of a small bottom section that plugs into the iPhone 5's Lightning port and a larger section that houses a 1,500 mAH-capacity battery and covers the rest of the phone. When your iPhone 5 runs low to empty on its charge, all you have to do is flip a switch on the back of the case, and the Juice Pack start charging. The case's lithium polymer battery is good for more than 500 full cycles, with each cycle good for as many as six hours of additional talk time, seven additional hours of WiFi and up to 30 hours of audio playback. One caveat: You might need the special included extender when plugging into the iPhone 5's recessed headphone jack. $79.95; www.mophie.com.  

• OBEX: The ultimate in wall-to-wall security, this iPhone 5 case is designed not only to withstand drops but also to keep it safe from water, snow, mud, other liquids, dust and sand. In fact, an iPhone 5 encased in the OBEX can be safely submerged continuously down to 3 feet and down to 6 feet for as long as 30 minutes. A combination of polycarbonate and thermoplastic materials provide impact insurance, as do raised edges on the case's corners and a tough screen protector. The OBEX allows for full use of your iPhone and, despite its defensive posture, will not interfere with radio signals, Bluetooth connectivity or WiFi. $79.95; www.seidioonline.com.  

• Brenthaven BX2 Protector Case: Protecting the integrity of your iPhone 5 is a notable attribute of this case, inasmuch as it features foam padding on its main surface and four corners as well as a contoured grip and a custom-fit, clear-screen shield. What makes the case unique, however, is a push-release stand built into its back that swings out and enables horizontal and vertical viewing. $44.95; www.brenthaven.com.  

Genius Packer 22-Inch Carry On: This innovative product features a space-saving, integrated air-valve compression system that enables you to separate your laundry from your clean clothes, squeeze those dirty shirts, etc., into the wall of the bag and ultimately extract the bundle in its own laundry bag by way of an exterior chute. The Genius Packer also has dedicated compartments for a recharging station for your cellphone (a charger is sold separately for $28), an integrated mini-speaker (sold separately, $28) and an easily accessible mini-umbrella (you guessed it, sold separately, $18). Included are a detachable toiletries kit, the usual array of exterior pockets for documents, magazines and a beverage. Completing the picture are four spinner wheels for easy mobility, a permanent packing checklist, an expansion zipper and a handy exterior strap to secure a jacket or coat while maneuvering through an airport. $198; www.geniuspack.com.  

MagicJack Plus: This new, improved MagicJack device supports free domestic and international phone calls. Although it works easily with the built-in microphone and speaker common to almost all laptops, no computer is required for use, just a high-speed Internet connection. In fact, MagicJack Plus will work perfectly well with a corded phone plugged into its RJ11 phone jack. You can use the phone number MagicJack provides with its easy-to-follow installation and setup instructions or, for a fee, transfer your existing landline number or create a new number. Call waiting, caller ID and voicemail are included in the service. $74.95; www.magicjack.com.  

Got something for What's New, What's Hot? Email Joe Rosen at jrosen@travelweekly.com. 
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