This post was supposed to go live the day I left for CES, but my blog went down because it was moved to its own server and then the chaos of CES began.Before heading to Vegas for CES 2014, I spent more time charging and gathering cords for all my gadgets than packing my suitcase. I’m often asked what gadgets I take with me when I travel. I travel with more gadgets than shoes. You never know what gadget or accessory you may need.
Here is an overview of the high tech travel gear I tested at CES. It may seem extreme, but each device has a purpose and I’ll explain why I brought each one and I made note with the word “Sponsored” if I received the device.
High Tech Travel Gear Shown in Picture Above
1. Lenovo Yoga 11S (Sponsored laptop)
I love the portability of the Yoga 11S Ultrabook from Lenovo. It is easy for me to pull out and work anywhere. It is small enough for me to work comfortably on the airplane (where I am writing this post.)
CES Tech Test: I carried the Yoga in my backpack or purse throughout the entire show. I stopped several times on the show floor to participate in a Lenovo Twitter party or work on a post that needed to be completed. it’s light and turns on quickly so I can be up and working within 15 seconds.
2. Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10″ (Sponsored tablet)
The Yoga Tablet can not be beat for battery life. I can watch movies on several flights and still have battery left over for the flights home. I wish I traveled more internationally just so I could test this out on a really long flight. I travel with this tablet because I know that I can always count on it to turn on and have enough battery to check email or do whatever I need to do.
CES Tech Test: I used the Yoga tablet for watching movies on Netflix and reading Kindle books. I didn’t have to plug it in once while on my trip.
3. Netgear AT&T Unite Pro (Sponsored wifi hotspot)
I received the Netgear AT&T Unite Pro a few weeks ago and this will be the first time I’m testing it. I am in need of WiFi almost all the time and I don’t like to drain my battery on my Note 3 and tether from it. The Unite Pro (affiliate link) is my solution.
CES Tech Test: The Unite Pro saved me several times. I was having a hard time connecting via 4G on my AT&T phone, but the AT&T Unite Pro always connected. I participated in a Twitter party on the show floor using my Yoga 11S and connecting to the Unite Pro hotspot. There were times when I couldn’t connect to the hotel WiFi, but the Unite Pro came through.
4. Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom (Sponsored smartphone)
I just received the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom and I’m going to be testing it out at CES. The S4 Zoom is an Android smartphone with a zoom lens camera. I’m very curious how the pictures compare to my DSLR digital camera and my Note 3.
CES Tech Test: The camera on the S4 Zoom rocks and since you always have it with you, it’s a great device. The only problem I had was that I’m so used to the Galaxy Note 3, that the S4 Zoom feels very small to me and I found it hard to use as a phone for texting. But that’s more of a “me” problem than a problem with the device. I really do love the camera though and I’ll be doing a full review in the future.
5. Microsoft Surface 2 (Sponsored)
The Microsoft Surface 2 is my backup Windows 8.1 device. While the Yoga 11S is very portable, it doesn’t last me all day. I usually carry the Yoga and the Surface 2 because they are both small and light and between the two, I can get all-day access to my blog or files. I use SkyDrive and Office 365 on both devices so I always have my files with me regardless of the device I’m using.
CES Tech Test: When my Yoga battery ran out, the Microsoft Surface 2 was ready to go. I found that when I was working at night in my bed in my hotel room, I used the Surface because I have the backlit keyboard cover so it was easier to see in the dark.
6. Moka backup charger (Sponsored)
The MOKA charger will charge a small tablet and still have enough juice to charge my Note 3 almost completely. My kids took this charger with them on their school Drama trip to Orlando and it saved many kids from being without their
CES Tech Test: As always, the MOKA charger delivered one full charge to my Note 3 along with charging various other cameras, tablets and iPods. It’s a little heavy, but was worth the extra weight for the extra charges I needed.
7. Blueflame Plug Wall Charger (sponsored)
The Blueflame Plug Wall charger comes with me because it charges my devices quickly. Whatever device is plugged in to the Blueflame plug always charges fastest and I carry it with me because I can get more of a boost with a quick 10 minute plug than I can with any other plug I have.
CES Tech Test: Each night I would start by plugging in the device that was completely dead and as each device was fully charged, I’d move to the next lowest charged device. Hotels never have enough outlets, so being able to charge a device quickly is helpful.
8. iGo Power Trip Charger (Sponsored)
Theis my go-to charger. It always works and it is so light that I carry it with me all the time. It is intended for the iPhone so I can’t charge my Note 3 completely. When I get to about 25%, I will plug it into the iGO and usually get close to a full charge. It’s always in my purse to give my kids an extra charge or boost when we are out (they all have iPhones.)
9. Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (Sponsored smartphone)
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is my current phone. I have been a huge fan of the Note phones since the first one came out. I love the Note 3 because it has an awesome camera, the screen is bright and clear, it’s super fast and I can get through a business day on one charge.
CES Tech Test: CES is a unique conference because there are over 100,000 people descending upon Las Vegas and all of them have major devices trying to connect to the 4G. Phone service isn’t the best because the system is so overloaded. My battery on my phone doesn’t last as long because it is always trying to connect. I used the Note 3 often to take photos and I’m really happy with the photos One mistake I often make (with any smartphone camera) is moving my hand too quickly. I forget it takes a few seconds longer than my DSLR.
10. iPod Touch
I always take my iPod Touch because there are a few apps (especially camera apps) which are not available for Android. The battery isn’t the best so often it runs out before I even use it, but it’s small enough to easily carry with me all the time.
CES Tech Test: My biggest complaint with the iPod touch is that the battery does not seem to last more than 2 hours. I don’t know if I have the settings in some funky way that is causing that, but since I don’t use as my first device, I haven’t spent a lot of time figuring it out. I use it more for testing iOS apps. Since I had the iGO to keep it charged, it wasn’t a huge problem.
High Tech Travel Gear Not Pictured
Samsung Galaxy Gear (Sponsored)
The Samsung Galaxy Gear is a watch device which connects via Bluetooth to my Samsung Galaxy Note 3. I just received this device last month and so far I’m loving it. When my Note 3 rings, I don’t need to dig for it in my purse. I can answer the phone on my Gear.
I’ve found that I don’t carry my phone in my hand as much because I can get notifications, text messages and calls on the Gear. To respond I need to use S Voice or the speaker phone, but it’s good for quick conversations (or when you are in the car.) I can also take a quick picture from the Gear and it will transfer to my Note 3 immediately.
CES Tech Test: At CES this was invaluable tool. I kept my Note 3 tucked away in my backpack or purse and when I received a text or call, I could see whether it was important enough to pull out my phone to respond. It was difficult to respond using the Gear because of the noise levels.
I use my iPad Mini to connect to my TiVO back home. I usually download a few shows from the TiVO before I leave, but now I will be able to get access to the TiVO and watch shows Live or from the DVR while I’m away. If that feature was available on my Android tablets, I wouldn’t need the iPad Mini anymore.
CES Tech Test: I was able to watch the shows I downloaded while on the plane and at the hotel I watched a show that was live from my TiVO. Such a cool feature.
Samsung Galaxy Note Tablet 10.1″ 2014
My husband bought me the Galaxy Note 10.1″ 2014 tablet for our Anniversary/Christmas. I like using the stylus when I’m reading books and PDF files because it feels very natural. I’m working on a few projects now where I’m using a lot of PDF files and making notes and I find it is easiest on the 10.1″ tablet.
CES Tech Test: Each night I transferred the digital press kits I received to my SkyDrive using the Yoga 11S and then I went to the Galaxy Note tablet to make notes on the PDF files. It has helped me remember why I am interested in that product and what made it stand out to me.
Sony NEX-5N compact DSLR Digital Camera
The Sony NEX-5N (affiliate link) is the camera I use when I want DSLR-quality photos (and what I used to take the above photo.) I find it very easy to use and I have been very happy with the photos. It gives me more control of the settings and I have a zoom lens which helps when I am at CES and I can’t get close to the product because of the crowds.
CES Tech Test: Once again, the NEX-5N camera delivered excellent photos. There were many photos that the only fixes I needed to make were to crop in closer to the feature I was highlighting. The only thing missing is the ability to transfer the photos via WiFi directly to another device, although that feature was added to the newer versions of this camera.
My CES Tech Travel Gear Test
So, there it is. That is the high tech travel gear I took with me to CES and with me on any trip. Sometimes I swap out a charger or camera to test it out. As new gadgets come out, I will upgrade and swap out when the new features are awesome. What can I say? I’m a sucker for an upgraded gadget.