Got my traveling shoes on, and unique gear in the bag

Got my traveling shoes on, and unique gear in the bag

Summary: I have a business trip coming up and will only be taking a couple of gadgets with me. They all have one thing in common that is a first.

TOPICS: Mobility, 4G, Android, Google, iPad

I'm excited I will be returning to San Francisco in a few days on a business trip. I love the city and can't wait to get back for a brief visit. It's a short trip, only a few days, and I will be traveling very light. I've been considering what gadgets to take with me, an arduous process given how many I have.

Traveling gear
(Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet)

My days in San Francisco are totally booked but I still need to get work done in the down time. That means carrying a good work system that can handle anything I might need to do.

The Chromebook Pixel fits that need so it will be my work machine on this trip. I wish the battery life on the Pixel was longer, but it should suffice for my needs this time. Having the gorgeous display along will be just as great as it is at home.

I'll have my Galaxy Note 2 with me, of course, as it is my primary phone. It fits in my pocket (barely) and will handle all smartphone duties. These include calls, texts, email, and navigation duties should I need them.

I always read ebooks when traveling and the iPad mini will be in a pocket of the bag for that purpose. The iPad mini has become my primary ebook reader due to the size of the display and the light weight of the device. It can handle typical work tasks that don't need a keyboard, too.

That's the entire kit I plan on taking, and it will all fit in a small gear bag. Even the power adapters are very small, but I pack them in the suitcase anyway. The days of traveling with a large backpack full of stuff are long gone for me. The gear is more capable than that of yesteryear, too.

iPad traveling
iPad in ZAGG Profolio+ keyboard case. (Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet)

I'm toying with bringing the iPad 4 with a keyboard/case, too. This is not certain, as it really isn't necessary. The only reason I'm considering it is to have redundancy for work tasks. I've been burned over the years when my laptop had problems on trips which interfered with getting work done. The iPad doesn't add much weight to carry so it may be worth bringing. 

This gear allotment is unique in that all the gadgets have integrated 4G LTE. The Note 2, Pixel, and iPad mini all have LTE inside. Even the bigger iPad has LTE if I decide to bring it along. This will be liberating, as no matter what device I happen to be using, I can get online with either wi-fi or LTE. No more planning my schedule around public hotspots, which is significant in an unfamiliar area where I don't know where hotspots might be found.

This will be the first time I've had any device other than a phone with LTE on a trip. I'm curious to see if this makes a difference over years past when I had to either rely on wi-fi or use a phone as a hotspot. I will definitely have a job getting airplane mode activated for all these gadgets during flights.

Upated, 8.50am PT: Upon further consideration about bringing the iPad with keyboard along, I realized that there is a better solution. I'm already bringing the iPad mini, so all I need to bring is the ZAGG Mini 9 keyboard/case I already have. This adds little to the bag, yet provides a backup work system as needed.

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Topics: Mobility, 4G, Android, Google, iPad

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  • All Android...

    Last Christmas I managed an all Android device getaway. Because of my work status I couldn't really take a whole week off, but my boss did allow me two work remotely two of those days. I did this on an ASUS TF300, using the Citrix Receiver to connect to a Windows 7 VM at work that is my primary work platform. I also took my Nexus 7 and HTC Evo phone.

    When I'm working from home I prefer the dual monitor setup on my Windows desktop, but on vacation the ASUS transformer solution worked brilliantly.
    • A Surface RT

      .... + a BB10.and that's it. You get the ability to connect to your other computers, work on Office documents, an excellent browser, Gigs and Gigs of free synced storage,.... and no Google to spy on whatever you do.
    • I considered a transformer

      but ended up getting a Samsung Chromebook 3 and putting ubuntu on it. I'm very happy with it. I would have gone for a transformer, but the specs are pretty damn out of date... Asus needs to make a refresh soon. and the chromebook was more than $100 cheaper, and it's mega light with amazing battery life.
      • the other reason I went for the chromebook

        was because though android has some nice office suites, LibreOffice has features I need that no android office suites have. remote computing isn't bad, but I want to have offline access to my work too.
  • free inflight

    Wifi on Delta if you bring a real work device (Blackberry)
    • Yep, same with

      BA business, I can use my bb and receive/send my e-mails.

      I also prefer using my Carbon X1 during travel, with Win7 instead of toy-tablets with toy-OSes (I include Windows 8 in the toy category too).
  • I am not sure why you need

    the iPad mini. The note II works great as a reader. If I am traveling on business, I need to take a laptop. I no longer take one for personal getaways. I used to take a iPad for weekend trips, but now just take the Note II. It has replaced the need for a separate phone, GPS, netbook/laptop/iPad, camera with all the requisite multiple chargers and connectors. There are some compromises, but as a consumption/text/email device, it is more than adequate and the simplicity of only needing one device is a huge improvement over the days of lugging an entire bag full of gear.
    • I was thinking the same thing

      The note 2 is almost the size of most e-ink readers.
    • Technically you/re right

      I don't NEED to take the iPad mini but I WANT to. As stated, I love the ereading experience on the mini plus it's a great video player. That's just me. You're right, though, I could easily leave the mini at home.
  • My three vacation or business items

    A Surface Pro, an iPad 3 and my iPhone 5.

    The iPhone camera subsystem is good enough for casual video and digital photographic tasks. The Surface Pro has the full and current Adobe and MS Office suites installed. And the iPad has numerous apps that take advantage of it's retina class display. Plus, with the beta drivers from Avatron installed, my Surface Pro can use the iPad as a wireless secondary extended monitor.

    There is one device that I currently do not own but would consider purchasing for an extended trip is a battery/case combo for my iPhone. Morphi makes a nice one now for the iPhone 5 and I could use the extra juice in case I needed to enable an LTE hotspot from my phone.
    • Surface Pro

      How's the battery life... in comparison to a MBA?
      Michael Alan Goff
      • I don't have an MBA or an MBP but I have a 2009 MacBook

        Battery life from on my Macbook (5,2) model was about 3.5 to 4 hours of relatively heavy use. With it's thin plastic protective sleeve it weighs about 5 pounds. (Actually, that was with it's 500 GB Seagate HD. Over the winter, I installed an OWC 480 GB SSD and I'm somewhat curious how this addition will effect it's battery charge duration. It's an experiment I will try someday.

        But to get back to your main point about the Surface Pro's battery life, I noticed something the other day.

        Normally, I have either a touch or type cover attached to the SPro and the battery charge life is between 4.5 to 5.5 hrs. (I think I have been using the SPro since mid February.)

        However, just the other night, I decided to use it as a tablet and view videos on it. (and surf the web and normal content consumption activities). I got the distinct impression that after several hours, my battery had more "life" to it than normal.

        Since both MS SPro covers draw power from the SPro, I wonder if there is a parasitic battery drain on the system when either cover is attached to the Surface Pro. I don't think it would be much but, none-the-less, it might contribute to a slight reduction in battery charge duration.

        Again, that is just a late night observation and by no means - not anywhere close - to being a scientific test. But, I was left with the impression that if the covers are not attached to the tablet than I was getting better battery charge life times.
        • Just an addendum to the above.

          My battery duration times for the Surface Pro are much closer to the 5.5 hr value I cited and my times with the MacBook's battery duration times were much closure to the 3.5 hr value.

          The Surface Pro is 3 pounds lighter and smaller. However, with the addition of the OWC SSD, the overall system performance of the MacBook and the Surface Pro are about the same. It's surprising.

          The Surface Pro boots up in about 9 seconds with full WiFi availability about six seconds later.
          The SSD equipped MacBook boots in about 25 seconds with full WiFi availability about five seconds later.

          It's amazing how easy it is to transfer files between the two systems using a variety of cloud based services and, of course using flash drives.

          One advantages of the OS X file transfers between OS X machines (I also have an iMac) is to use AirDrop over WiFi. It's sort of slick and easy.

          Since I'm relatively new to the Win 8 ecosystem (I skipped the Vista and Win 7 generations), I'm not sure if there is a similar (to AirDrop) wireless file transfer capability between two Windows based machines.
        • Interesting..

          ..when you were in 'consumption' mode, did you restrict yourself to the Metro apps? I read somewhere that that app stack does memory and power management very differently from the free-for-all that happens on the desktop. Traditional apps simply don't nice when it comes to managing power. Could it be that if you restrict yourself to Metro apps on the SPro, you'd see a significant improvement battery life?
          • I tend to recall only using Metro Apps in consumption mode.

            Interesting observation, Chewber.

            There is a possibility that I sometimes switch to using the classic desktop browsers for certain web sites. (I have Chrome installed but I actually am beginning to appreciate the Classic desktop IE browser. It has it's charms, no pun intended. Grin.)
          • Appreciating IE

            I was wondering if there's anything specific that you like.

            I'd have assumed you'd just have Chrome for both metro and desktop (when you need it, that is).
            Michael Alan Goff
          • No need for the Chrome Metro version

            The Metro version of Chrome has the same code restrictions as the IE Metro has and they both share the same browser engine - at least that is what Toddy says.
          • On Windows RT, that's true.

            Or is it true on both Windows RT and full Windows 8 devices?

            You should check.
            Michael Alan Goff
        • That's always good

          If the keyboard is taking down the battery life, maybe it can be fixed.

          Thank you for the response. :)
          Michael Alan Goff
  • Less is more for me.

    HP Envy x2
    Any phone with a hotspot [currently: Samsung Galaxy S3]

    Covers work, play, tablet, laptop, internet, all day battery and phone at under 4lbs total.

    No need for vpns, remote desktops, swapping devices to read, play or work.

    Having a hybrid device that runs a full powered desktop operating system have been completely liberating. It makes my previous Asus Transformer completely obsolete.