Travis Touch Plus review

Breaking down language barriers

Travis Touch
Image credit: TechRadar

Our Verdict

This handheld translator is much more convenient than using a translation app on your phone, particularly when purchased with the 1GB global SIM card. It's not perfect, but it'll give you much more confidence when traveling and make the world seem like a smaller place.

For

  • Small, slim design
  • Great battery life
  • Translates 105 languages

Against

  • Limited offline language options
  • Global SIM must be bought separately

Price and availability

Travis Touch Plus is the successor to Travis One pocket translator, and retails for $199 (about £150, AU$280). It's available from Amazon, and ships globally from the manufacturer's web store.

Travis Touch

Image credit: TechRadar

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Design

Travis Touch Plus is a glossy, lozenge-shaped device that fits neatly in your palm. It's available in black and white (the latter being a recent addition), and a silicone case is available to protect it from scratches. The case features a wrist-strap to help avoid accidental drops.

The device features a touchscreen with three physical buttons underneath – one for translating your speech, one for the person you’re talking to, and another one for giving voice commands. The touchscreen is responsive, and its tiny size (2.4in) is rarely a problem, but if you need to connect to a Wi-Fi network, you might struggle to type the password on the minuscule on-screen keyboard.

USB charging and headphone ports are hidden under a rubber dust seal at the bottom of the unit (which also supports Qi wireless charging). The left-hand side of the device features a SIM card slot, which accepts a nano-SIM.

It might seem strange having a separate device for translations when there are so many apps available that serve the same purpose, but Travis Touch Plus has a lot of advantages. Firstly, it avoids the need to keep pulling out your expensive smartphone while you're traveling. Travis Touch Plus certainly isn't cheap, but it's a lot more affordable than a new flagship handset, and isn't packed with your personal data like your phone.

Using Travis Touch Plus also means you won't run down your phone's battery (which is particularly important if you're going to be straying away from power outlets for an extended period of time).

Performance

To have a conversation using Travis Touch Plus, just select the input and output languages (using the touchscreen or a voice command), then press the left-hand button and speak. The words will be translated into speech, accompanied by on-screen captions. When the other person is ready to reply, press the button on the right and the process will be reversed.

Travis Touch Plus supports a truly impressive collection of languages (105 in total), but bear in mind that it can't translate all of them straight out of the box.

There’s offline support for translating English to Catalan, Finnish, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai (only written output) and Turkish, but this is only suitable for short, easy sentences. To use Travis Touch to its full potential, you’ll need a data connection of some description.

Travis Touch

Image credit: TechRadar

(Image credit: TechRadar)

This can be a Wi-Fi connection (using your phone as a hotspot, for example), but the most convenient way to connect when you're traveling is via the pay-as-you-go global SIM sold as an optional extra. The SIM comes with 1GB data, which is enough for 83 hours of translation, and you can top up with more online.

It's also worth bearing in mind that not all are supported equally; some less common languages (such as Welsh) can only be translated one way, so if you're considering buying the device for a specific country it's well worth checking the full guide before you invest.

In our tests, the translations were impressive (Travis Touch Plus uses 16 translation engines, which is another reason to choose it over a translation app for your phone). The pronunciation for some minority languages (Welsh, for example) can be a bit robotic, and sometimes the playback pauses in unnatural places, but for the most part it's clearly legible and the accompanying captions mean it's not a problem.

Conclusion

We'd feel much more confident using Travis Touch Plus to connect with people on our travels than relying on a smartphone app. For translating text and signs you'll still need something like Google Lens, but for real conversations, Travis is definitely more convenient.

There’s definitely room for improvement, and we’ll certainly see significant upgrades with future versions, but Travis Touch Plus helps make the world a little smaller.