The holidays are over and it's definitely been an interesting time off from work. During this time off traveling, we had to decide which tech to leave home and which devices and accessories to bring with us...
1. Smartphone: While I do some work on my phone, like keeping abreast of the latest tech news, I mostly use it for fun and social networking. I rarely check my email on my phone, as I check it a couple of times a day because I use Inbox Zero. The long car rides, long dinners and plenty of downtime passed easily thanks to the smartphone. I no longer take my iPod with me, as the most recent music is on my phone.
2. Tablet: Tablets have come a long way in the last couple of years, and they allow you to do a bit more than a simple phone. From checking up on what's going on on Facebook, to playing games and watching some YouTube vids, my tablet got a lot of daily use during the holidays. Thanks to the streaming apps, I was also able to watch lots of movies.
3. Extra Battery: No matter how good your smartphone or tablet's battery is, at some point you'll run out. I use two external batteries, including a cheap iPhone battery case, which will give me almost a complete charge, doubling battery life. The other one is a no name 5600 mAh battery that can be plugged into iOS devices and others using a microUSB and USB port.
4. GPS: It doesn't take you long to appreciate the convenience of a GPS. Google Maps works well, but it doesn't compare to a real car-based GPS. By telling you exactly where to go, without giving you any doubt, they have definitely replaced maps. The only drawback is how much power they use, needing a charge up every day after only a couple of hours of use.
5. Earphones/Headphones: I have a couple of different earphones and headphones at home these days, ranging from the low end to mid range. This time, I left my bulky Beats Studio with active noise-cancellation at home and opted for two lightweight headphones from RHA. The RHA MA450i earbuds worked as well as my girlfriend's Beats Tour, and were a third of the price. It's amazing how well they are insulated, cutting me completely off from most external sounds. At night, I popped on the RHA SA950i, which were lightweight, but offered better sound than the earbuds.
6. DSLR: This year, I've taken quite a few pics with my iPhone (~6,000), but I've quickly hit the limit of usability, due to the optics and sensor, so the DSLR was back in my hand to grab all of the shots that my phone couldn't handle. I'm thinking of adding a high-quality smaller camera as well, since the DSLR does get pretty heavy and big to carry around everywhere.
7. Bluetooth Speaker: I took my Braven 625s along for the holidays. It allowed us to listen to music when we had no other ways of sharing music. Bluetooth allowed anyone with a smartphone or tablet to pop in their tunes. I like the fact that it also doubled as an external battery.
LEFT AT HOME
8. Laptop: Since I wasn't planning on working, I left my laptop at home. The MacBook Pro 17 is a good machine, but it's big and heavy, and best left at home.
9. External Keyboard/Folio Case: I just got my Logitech Solar Folio back from repair, and it's working again, but after having it break so easily, without much abuse, I'm somewhat worried about taking it along on a trip. Also, a silicon case makes the iPad nicer to handle in bed or when you're watching something.
10. Work: When I was away from home, I honestly didn't do much or any work. OK, so I might have gone through my reading list in Google Reader through Flipboard, but that's it! I didn't write or check my email more than once a day when I was on the road.
(Images: Flickr member Josh Janssen licensed for use under Creative Commons, all others by Range Govindan)