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GEAR & GADGETS

Have music, will travel

July 23, 2006|Judi Dash

You need never be bored on the go, thanks to the following new items, which pack plenty of entertainment punch. All have been tested by the author.

Carry a tune

Why settle for luggage that merely holds clothes when you can have a bag that also entertains you? The Boom Bag, a carry-on-size suitcase, has a removable stereo amplifier, speakers and a subwoofer. Just power up the system with the AC cord, plug in your MP3 or CD player, grab the included remote control and start a dance party in your hotel room. The Boom Bag also has a microphone jack for audio presentations -- or turn any room with a power outlet into a karaoke club. When it's not onstage, the bag performs its regular duties as a 21-by-14-by-9-inch wheeled suitcase. Company President Mark Wright says the suitcases pass airport security just fine, and electronic compartments zip open for inspection by TSA personnel.

Expandable Carry-on (BBS21) is $300 from Boom Bags; (800) 927-1767, www.boombags.com.

Tell me a story

What if you could listen to that hot-selling audiobook without having to schlep your CD or cassette player, or download it onto your MP3 player? Enter the Playaway, a battery-powered digital audio device about the size of a deck of cards that comes pre-loaded with an audiobook. The unit comes with mini headphones (or you can use your own) and a lanyard, and runs on one AAA battery (included). Besides books, Playaways also are available pre-loaded with language lessons and city walking tours. The Playaway is pricey. It plays your book, or tour, and nothing else, but the convenience factor is seductive.

Playaway Digital Audio Books start at $35; (877) 893-0808, www.playawaydigital.com.

Rock and stroll

For the 21st century baby and his or her minder, the stroller that only strolls just won't do. Better they should have the Jeep Liberty Limited Stroller, with built-in entertainment. The child gets to play with an electronic toy steering wheel -- with a horn, car sounds and music -- mounted on a removable snack tray with built-in juice-box and cup holders. A "parent tray" attached to the handle has built-in speakers, a jack and space for a portable music player so everyone can groove together on the go. The stroller has three 12-inch inflatable wheels (air pump is included) for navigating uneven surfaces.

Jeep Liberty Urban Terrain Stroller is $100 at www.babiesrus.com.

Wake up!

Portable speakers are nothing new, but this set has a programmable alarm clock attached -- plus a docking station for charging and playing an iPod. It includes a jack and cable to adapt to any audio device with a headphone jack. The iHome2Go, about the size of a thick hardcover novel, features a pair of 3 1/2-inch-diagonal stereo speakers that pop up from the alarm-clock base. The speakers, which run on four AA batteries (not included), provide exceptionally full, vibrant sound without tinniness. The digital clock runs on the included AC wall adapter. A programmable sleep timer lets you drift off to dreamland with your favorite music playing for 15, 30, 60 or 90 minutes.

iHome2Go (item iH26) is $100 from SCI; (800) 288-2792, www.ihomeaudio.com.

Gear & Gadgets appears monthly.

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