A couple years back I was lucky enough to take a trip to Italy. It was breathtaking, but the language barrier did make things difficult at times. How I wish I'd had a Pocketalk in my pocket. This insanely convenient device allows for fast and easy translation of 74 different languages in over 120 countries.
It originally sold for $300, but for a limited time, and while supplies last, you can get the. That's the lowest price to date. It's available in your choice of black, white or gold. (If Amazon happens to sell out, that sale price is .)
Unlike some translators, the Pocketalk Classic doesn't rely on your phone. It's a standalone device with its own touchscreen, one that makes for easy setup and language selection. (The onscreen keyboard is pretty tiny, so it can be a hassle to input, say, a Wi-Fi network password, but you probably won't need to use it very often.)
The Pocketalk does require a data connection. If there's no Wi-Fi available, no problem: The unit comes with a global SIM card and two years of unlimited data. (After that, data will cost you a reasonable $50 per year.) It charges via USB-C and has a battery that can easily last a full day.
Once you're connected, you simply choose your two languages. Then you hold down one button and start talking. Release the button and presto, instant spoken-aloud translation. (It also appears onscreen.) The other person holds down the other button, speaks, releases. Presto, you've got English (or whatever is your preferred language).
In my quick, informal tests of the device, I was thoroughly impressed at how well it turned my spoken words into French (and back again; I still remember a bit of what I learned in high school). CNET hasn't reviewed it, so I'll turn you over to ZDNet's Pocketalk Classic review. Its rating: 9.2 out of 10.
Now for the key question: Why this instead of, say, Google Translate, which is free and available for both Android phones and iPhones? And what about the in iOS 14? Those are great options, no question, though Apple's translator is limited to only about a dozen languages, at least for now. But Google Translate is hard to beat, with support for over 100 languages and an offline mode that works with nearly 60 of them.
One point in the Pocketalk's favor: It has dual noise-canceling microphones, so it might do a better job in noisy environments. There's also something to be said for a dedicated device, one that doesn't put additional strain on your phone's battery, use additional data and so on. It's just really cool, too.
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When you want to listen to music, podcasts or whatever, sometimes a Bluetooth speaker is the right option. Sometimes headphones are better. But there may be times when you'd prefer a speaker you can wear around your neck.
Like this one: For a limited time, and while supplies last, thewhen you clip the on-page 5% off coupon and then apply promo code CXVWMLC5 at checkout. That's only a $3 savings in all, but if you could use something like this, a deal's a deal!
Though made of hard plastic, the speaker rests fairly comfortably around your neck. Sound gets directed up at your ears; it's much louder while worn than it is to people nearby, kind of a personal sound bubble. It can play audio from your phone or tablet (via Bluetooth, natch), but also has a microSD (aka TF) card slot and an FM radio mode. (Choosing stations is, as you might expect, kind of a pain.)
Sound quality? Decent, based on my informal tests, but a far cry from headphones. Battery life? Bluedio doesn't say, and I wasn't able to test that. So here's the upshot: If you want a speaker you can wear, rather than one you have to move around, this is a solid option at a pretty low price.
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