Saturday 1 October 2016

Adrian Weckler: My five top tech gadgets that will make travelling easier for everyone

Published 06/03/2016 | 02:30

'The best gadgets and work tech tools are totally different for trips than they are for everyday life' Stock photo: PA Wire
'The best gadgets and work tech tools are totally different for trips than they are for everyday life' Stock photo: PA Wire

There is a scene from the 2009 movie Up In The Air where George Clooney's character narrates an airport security scene, pointing out the tell-tale signs of which queue moves faster.

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The scene resonates with many frequent travellers. But it's not the only shortcut. The best gadgets and work tech tools are totally different for trips than they are for everyday life.

As someone who's been travelling a lot lately, I think I've figured out what the most efficient, useful and comfortable tech gadgets for trips are. Here are the five go-to tech products and accessories I currently don't leave home without.

1 Techlink 12,000 (€99)

If you use your phone as much as I do at a conference or on a flight, a power back device up is essential. And this is the most useful, most reliable one I've found to date. It's about the size of a large phone and twice as thick. It comes with mini cables for iOS (iPhone, iPad) and Micro USB (Android phones, other gadgets).

And it lets you charge two devices at the same time, one of which can be done at an accelerated rate. Crucially, its 12,000mAh capacity means you can charge an iPhone 6S five times over. That's one heck of a reserve in a relatively small package. It is cleverly designed too, with a flap that opens to let you stand your phone or tablet upright (to watch a movie, for example) while it's charging.

2 Sennheiser Momentum Wireless 2.0 (€399)

If you're looking for peace and calm in a wash of commuter noise, there is probably no better accessory out there than this pair of noise-cancelling headphones.

With soft leather making them light and comfortable, these block out a huge chunk of the grating goings-on around you, thanks to the technology they have. Switching them on (they're rechargeable via a Micro USB connection) genuinely feels like you're taking back control of your own environment. The audio quality is excellent too. The onboard microphone also means that you can use them as a wireless Bluetooth phone headset. They even fold up for easy transportation in their own case.

3 iPad Pro (€939)

For the last five years, I've been a MacBook Air (11-inch) devotee when travelling, with occasional switches to Microsoft's Surface Pro. But lately, I've found that the iPad Pro is the one I most have in my bag.

One important reason is that I can recharge it on the move with any of several power back-up devices (such as the Techlink 12,000 above).

It's also slim and light enough to fit more easily into bags than almost any laptop (even a MacBook Air).

As a work device, it fits the bill just fine for me. I mainly need it to write quickly on (I use Apple's iPad Pro Smart Keyboard, which is excellent, although pricey at €179).

And for leisure, it's pretty unrivalled. For Netflix and video users, its high-end speakers and amazing 13-inch screen make it a top-of-the-range entertainment unit.

The only occasional compromise is that it sometimes isn't as sturdy for use on a lap as a laptop. But that's not enough to negate its other superior attributes.

4 Panasonic LX100 (€699)

Unlike phones or laptops, cameras are luxuries. I still like to have a good one with me when travelling, though, for both personal and professional reasons.

Right now, Panasonic's Lumix LX100 is my pick. It produces just about the best photos (and videos) you can get on a pocket-sized camera with the minimum impact on my bag space.

It has a brilliant lens, a really nice zoom range (from 24mm to 75mm) and is only slightly bigger than a compact camera. It also connects wirelessly to my phone for immediate uploading.

Finally, and this is not to be underestimated, it's a beautiful object in its own right, being mostly metal and really nice in hand. It's a thing I always want to pick up and use.

5 Lowepro Streamline 250 Bag (€50)

I've always found it really hard to find a good gadget-friendly travel bag. Overnight models are just too big to bring around once you've arrived wherever you're going. The one I fall back on is Lowepro's Streamline 250.

It's perfect: light, water-resistant and has the weird trick of being both slim and spacious. I can fit everything else I mention in this column into it and still have room for a book, toiletries and a change of shirt.

If I'm going somewhere for three days or more, I can still bring it as it's compact enough to fold into a larger bag. It has a couple of different internal and external pockets and zipped sections, while the main divided inside is padded, too. It's supremely practical.

Although I bought mine in a Chicago Best Buy store, it's available on Amazon.co.uk.

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