When you think of pimping out your car, your mind probably conjures up images of spinning chrome rims and more lights on the thing than a night club. Well, it's time to give your car a little more love of the techy variety. We're talking gadgets that won't break the bank yet will still add many layers of comfort to your drive.
Check out seven tech toys for gadget-loving car-nuts after the jump.
1. TomTom Go 2505
The TomTom GPS Go 2505 is great because it conducts continuous routing. By regularly monitoring traffic information, it will automatically update your route. The touchscreen controls will be familiar to fans of Apple products, as well, as it works with swipes, touches and pinches to zoom. Of course there is Bluetooth, voice recognition and finally — in answer to a personal pet peeve — a simple, effective window mount.
2. Ecco Personal Pocket GPS Locator
It's embarrassing to admit but I've lost my car in a parking lot before. By the time I found it I'd lost an hour, but saved myself from having to buy a new car. Something like this Ecco GPS keychain attachment is built to avoid that frustration. You just click it and marks the spot of your car, hotel or even your camp site. When you want to return, the Ecco will point you there. No cell signal necessary and you can store three locations at one time.
3. Plantronics K100
An in-car speakerphone is a great tool, but there are other uses for this sweet sounding technology as it syncs to your iPod, Blackberry or cell. The Plantronics K100 broadcasts calls, GPS navigation and music from your mobile phone while you drive. But consider this: When you arrive at you destination, you can take it with you and play your music (via Bluetooth) at the picnic, beach or in the hotel room. Sounds good to me.
4. XM Snap Satellite Radio
Sure we know about satellite radio, but the temporary car install is a pain in the neck. Enter the XM Snap. The setup is easy with no mounting or hardware needed. Plug it in the cigarette lighter and slap the antenna on the roof. The adjustable stalk is can be set anywhere and with five preset keys and a rotary knob it is dead easy to use.
Price: $60 for the Snap, subscription is extra
5. The Powercup
Powercup Coffee Cup Inverter might seem like a novelty, but don't be fooled, it's really very practical. It provides two 120 volt outlets and it's powered by your car's lighter outlet. We can never have enough outlets for our devices and this one fits snugly in your cup holder. With 200W of continuous power (400W peak), it is not going to run a campsite, but its good enough for most devices.
6. Mothers PowerBall
Mothers PowerBall is not a lottery. It's hundreds of high quality foam fingers shaped into a sphere, allowing it to form fit in all crevices. This foam ball attachment for any quarter-inch drill will clean every nook and cranny of you vehicle. After applying liquid polish you can even buff with it. That beats the hell out of hand waxing with a cloth.
Price: $25 - $30
7. BlueAnt Q1 Headset
The BlueAnt Q1 voice-controlled headset uses voice recognition software that controls many of your cell's functions. It's also easy to use: If you need to know the available commands, for instance, just ask it "what can I say?" You have two cell phones? No problem. Answer the one you want, the Q1 rolls like that. Pairs with eight devices, has five of hours talk time and 120 hours of standby.