Any of you following our channel over the past week or so will have noticed that I went out to Barcelona to cover the cool new gadgets announced at MWC. But with every trip abroad for PhoneDog comes the battle to decide what I’m going to take with me.
Here’s what I took with me to Barcelona.
1. The Bag - Booq Boa Shift
Booq has a reputation for building amazing tech-oriented bags. And the Boa Shift is no different. It’s super-light and incredibly comfortable to carry, which means I didn’t get neck and shoulder ache from carrying it around for 4 days. More importantly, it has a special compartment at the back for laptops that’s really well padded. Inside is a plethora of pockets and compartments perfect for carrying all my gadgets and gear. It also opens really, really wide, so it’s a breeze to put stuff in and take it out again. It has a Terralinq code to help you locate it if it gets lost, and it’s water-resistant. Unsurprisingly, it’s not cheap. The Boa Shift will set you back around $150 to buy in the US from BooqBags.com. In the UK, they’re around £130 on Amazon.
2. Smartphones - Note 4, Passport and iPhone 6
I have to admit, I went out with the aim of just using two of my phones on a daily basis. But that didn’t happen. In the UK, my iPhone 6 is my primary device, but it didn’t want to play nice with the networks in Barcelona for some reason, so I switched my main SIM in to the BlackBerry Passport. And it was awesome. For replying to emails and setting up meetings on the move, I loved having the keyboard and the insane battery life. I still my iPhone while I was back in the apartment and using Wi-Fi. Mostly for iMessage and FaceTime calls back home to my family.
The Note 4 was my daily Android device, for three reasons: My contract plan for that device includes the ability to roam really cheap. I could use the minutes, texts and data from my personal allowance while abroad. It was also hooked up to the Moto 360 which - along with Google Now - practically made the day to day moving around possible. Third: Battery. It lasts more than a day, which is a must.
3. Keeping my gadgets charged up - Power bin and UNU battery pack
Being on the move all day using my smartphone(s) for everything takes its toll on my batteries. And I couldn’t bank on there being tons of outlets where I was staying or at the venue, so I’m took along three potential lifesavers. First was a 4-port USB power adapter which comes with international plugs to fit any power outlet anywhere in the world (almost). I could crash at the apartment at the end of each day and charge four devices at once from one outlet.
Since iPhones generally don’t have the best battery life, I couoldn’t risk my device dying halfway through a day, so I took along two different iPhone power cases to compare. I’ve had the Incipio OffGrid Express and the UNU DX6 battery case for iPhone 6. My favorite of the two was the UNU, it has a nicer soft-touch feel and feels sturdier.
4. Work on the Move - MacBook Air 13”
Since I couldn’t take my 21.5-inch iMac with me, I took my 13-inch MacBook Air. It doesn’t have a lot of internal storage, but it’s powerful and fast enough to handle my video editing and article writing where ever I go. It’s light and thin, so it wasn’t a pain to carry around either.
5. Shooting - Canon EOS 700D, ZOOM mic and compact tripod
Part of the challenge of shooting at trade shows like this is finding gear that’s portable enough to take around with you. So, I took my daily driver Canon EOS 700D with me to shoot all the videos, my handy ZOOM H1 for recording sound as well as a compact tripod that collapses small enough to fit in my bag. I also had two batteries for the Canon to ensure I could shoot plenty of footage each day.
6. Accessories - SD cards, cases and headphones
I fear running out storage for all my video, so I have three SD cards. A 64, 32 and 16GB. And I don’t go anywhere without my V-MODA XS earphones. They’re incredibly well-built, and they’re big enough to offer great sound, but small enough to not be uncomfortable to wear. I can use them for hours at a time without getting sore ears.
Also - LOTS of USB cables.