I have been on the road mostly for the past three weeks on a rather interesting project which I can’t talk much about, however besides discovering many parts of Nigeria I’d never had had a chance to see (mostly rural areas) and living the hotel life, I have had to readjust my device habits seeing as my day-to-day activities have changed drastically.
When I was packing to hit the field, I put some thought into what devices to pack given the tasks ahead. Here is what I have got with me and why:
BlackBerry Passport: This has been my daily driver for a while now (I’ve got a long overdue review which I will write as soon as I get back to civilization). It’s an awesome phone. On my field trip, I take notes, write report drafts, write quick posts, surf the web and basically do everything that has to do with the Internet. I also do a great deal of reading on it, the combination of the wide display and the touch-sensitive keyboard makes it great for reading. The Blackberry Passport battery life is great as well and it’s the only device I have that I can constantly use all day on one charge with data on.
The Samsung Galaxy S4: I tend to always have an Android device close by, mostly because there if anything comes up impromptu there is almost always an android app or hack that can meet my need. And for this trip, I wasn’t wrong. Rather than log a camera and a GPS device, I am using the Galaxy S4 to take all the pictures I need and get GPS coordinates for every site I visit. The network fluctuations kill the battery a lot faster than it shou ld, so I have to resort to turning it off after each use at some point, to stretch it out for the whole day.
A BlackBerry Z30: I’m totally past using feature phones at this point, like I couldn’t use one even if I tried. The few ones I had to try in recent times have been too cumbersome and limited to be useful. The only two reasons why I think anyone should still have a feature phone is for Battery and ruggedness. The BlackBerry Z30 is decent on both fronts. With data turned off and the screen brightness set to the lowest, the Z30 will do three and a half days on one charge, so it is my feature phone on this trip…for calls and SMS only.
A BlackBerry 9320: This is beginning to sound like a BlackBerry Ad, right? That wasn’t the plan. To be honest, I haven’t taken this out of my bag since I packed it. The idea was to carry a device that could do emails pretty well with 2G data, incase I got holed up somewhere with only 2G network and I had urgent emails to respond to. I haven’t needed it. Mobile Data coverage while still far from ideal, has been a lot better than I expected.
I’ve also got my Mac as well, for everything else, which can wait till I get to the hotel room.
Besides these though, here are a list of things you should also pack when you are going on the road:
- An extension box: With the number of devices one has to charge these days, the sockets in hotel rooms are almost never enough to go round and when they are, they are in placed in the oddest places. So an extension box becomes a necessity.
- A hard drive or HDMI cable or Slim port cable: Most hotel rooms come with HDMI-ready Tvs. If you are like me and aren’t a big fan of cable, you can use any of the above to watch content from your phone’s storage which can be mighty convenient sometimes.
- Earphones: These are almost compulsory. When I am away from home, sometimes I just want to drown the strange sounds around me with some music, other times you just don’t want to be a nuisance, either ways, whether it’s to watch a video or play a quick song or maybe just talk on the phone for a while without having to hold your phone up to your ear, earphones are very useful.
- A Battery pack: I personally don’t own a battery pack currently. In fact, I’ve never had one because I tend to focus on only devices that can go from morning to evening with one charge when I am picking a daily driver, but I actually considered it for a fair bit of time before I hit the road. If you can, choose one that can charge phones and a laptop.
- Mutiple SIMS. While mobile data has been much better than I expected, it has only been bearable because I am constantly switching between three different networks, so if you are on the road and need to have internet access, best to pack as many different sim cards as you can.
That’s it for what’s in my field bag, what’s in yours?