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Top-of-the-line toys for the high-tech traveler

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What technology gadgets do the experts love, or would love to have? CNN.com is asking experts in several fields about their favorite high-tech toys. This week, we asked Travel + Leisureexternal link magazine Technology Editor Adam Baer.

(CNN) -- Adam Baer spends his days testing and reviewing the latest gadgets for travelers who like to put something extra into their suitcases at vacation time.

Baer has hiked the Rockies, sailed the Mediterranean and navigated the busy streets of Jerusalem.

Here, he shares with CNN.com his personal picks for best travel-tech gear:

1. Leica M8external link

There's no autofocus on this luxe snapper -- a tuned-up, digital version of an old-school Leica rangefinder -- but that's how I like it.

I test cameras all the time, so I'm tired of the flashy models that do everything for you.

An avid architectural and nature photographer currently working with a mentor who made his career with actual film cameras, I also want to learn to take memorable, pro-level shots on my own -- and bask in superior picture quality -- with a stylish digicam that accepts different types of lenses while remaining less bulky than a top-flight digital SLR.

Here's my answer for every voyage if money isn't an issue.

2. Swimman's waterproof iPod Shuffleexternal link

I'm not religious about all iPods, but the tiny, clip-on iPod Shuffle is the best, most convenient workout music player that I've used.

I used to think that I took mine everywhere I went, but now Swimman has released an internally waterproofed version of the iPod, sans clunky case.

Sure, it's thrilling to hear the natural sounds of the ocean as you wait for an epic ride among the dolphins. (Even if some surfers prefer a soundtrack to their carving, I like the sonic rush of the waves.) But having my favorite tunes with me in a hotel gym pool really helps me get my daily exercise laps done before heading out for a day of exploration.

3. Samsung SCH-u740external link

I am not a Blackberry or Treo guy.

I like to keep travel restorative, so I don't want too many interruptions on trips, or to become addicted to my e-mail any more than I am.

Complicating matters, I have Verizon Wireless -- not the mobile carrier to get if you want the coolest phones.

So I was very happy to see the release of the Samsung SCH-u740, a unique dual-hinged flip phone with a QWERTY keyboard. It also has both portrait and landscape mode screen -- with which I can write and read only the most necessary texts and e-mails on the go while enjoying some of my VCast video in widescreen. If only it was time to trade in my Moto!

4. Sony Vaio SZexternal link

For years, I thought I didn't need a premium travel computer.

But last December, after nearly a decade of reviewing notebooks, I paid (a high) sticker price for Sony's crème de la crème, carbon-fiber, 13-inch portable laptop with seven-hour, longlife battery -- and I haven't been sorry.

I had been waiting to see Apple perhaps release a MacBook Pro meant for travel, but the "Go Beyond Vista" crew didn't follow through. And frankly, I find my Sony, with its built-in microphone and Web cam, just as helpful for the creative, digital-life stuff -- photos, movies, free Internet video phone calls -- as a Mac, while remaining much more fun on flights than a top-of-the-line travel ThinkPad, which denies you a DVD drive.

Aside from its blazing-fast Intel dual-core processor, my new Vaio also has a switch that turns it from "Stamina" to "Speed" mode, allowing the razor-thin screen to brighten and for you to use your battery to the max. It's roomy for larger fingers, but eminently stowable and powerful enough to launch a new space shuttle. And it comes with a true forward-delete key -- a writer's requirement.

5. Schwinn electric bike: 2007 Campus with rear cargo rackexternal link

I love to take bikes on trips -- especially to popular cyclist cities like San Francisco or Seattle.

But next time I plan to pedal from North Beach to The Haight, I'm definitely going to have this new electronic hybrid bike with me.

This is just one in Schwinn's new stylish line, which flaunts a "Plug'n Drive" system that also gives me the chance to enjoy 60 miles of power-assisted pedaling with each four-hour charge.

Enough to get me up that crazy hill separating me from another urban discovery, and just the right impetus to use my ozone-destroying car less.

You've seen what one expert loves. What technology do you crave? Send us photos of yourself with your favorite gadget. (I-Report)

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Travel + Leisure magazine Technology Editor Adam Baer

CNET.com
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