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If you happen to be a travel junkie, or are forced to trot across the globe for work, chances are you either have an arsenal of gadgets that accompany you on journeys, or you require an arsenal of gadgets to accompany you on journeys. If you’re one of the latter, this piece is for you.
The Gearburn crew is often found 30 000 feet in the air, flying from A to B to cover events across South Africa and when we’re lucky, the world. It sounds great, but it’s awful if you don’t bundle along what we deem as essential gadgets.
But the list below doesn’t simply find their uses on a plane. Oh no.
While nothing beats a good film camera, an old tattered classic novel and a pair of weather-worn sunglasses, there comes a time when some good tunes from great earphones, a documentary about penguins and a resultant games of angry birds can only do.
Have a look at our essential list, and let is know if we happened to leave anything out.
1. Fitbit Charge HR
Why: For sleep and activity tracking
Even when I’m not in the skies, I have my trusty Fitbit Charge HR around my wrist. You don’t have to switch it off during takeoff or approach, and thankfully, it displays the time more efficiently than any other smartwatch you’ll find.
It’s not exactly a smartwatch though: it’s a fitness tracker, and logs biometric data like distance travelled, calories burnt and hours of sleep obtained, so you can adjust your habits accordingly.
It’s essential when you’re forced to chance your daily routine.
2. Huawei Mate 7
Why: Huge battery, brilliant camera and dual SIM
It’s remains Huawei‘s best phone, ever. The 6.0-inch screen provides enough real estate to use two apps side-by-side, while the huge 4100mAh battery keeps the lights on for up to two days (I managed three during my review).
While these two factors are important, the Huawei Mate 7 also features a dual SIM, so you can place your home and destination SIM card into the phone before the flight. And did I mention that the camera isn’t too bad either? If you’re looking for a phone that focuses more on the camera than its battery life or dual SIM capabilities, check out the LG G4.
3. Proline A933L
Why: an ultra-light portable machine
We’re not millionaires (if we were, we’d say the Microsoft Surface almost instantly), so the R2999 Proline A933L tablet-cum-mini laptop does the trick.
With a modest battery life, Windows 10 installed and an 8.9-inch screen, it’s the perfect carry-on companion. The real crowning glory is that it can be charged with a powerbank.
There’s a 3G modem embedded in the tablet as well, so if you can’t find WiFi, at least you’ll still be connected when you land.
4. Romoss Polymos 10
Why: A dependable, large, always-there powerbank
Of course, almost every other one will, and that’s where the Romoss Polymos 10 comes into its own. I bought one of these, and have never been happier with my choice.
It boasts a 10 000mAh battery, which can charge the Huawei Mate 7 twice, and the Fitbit Charge HR about twenty times, so you definitely won’t be short on power. At 260g, it is a bit heavy, but it’s well worth it when you’re stranded in a terminal without any wall outlets.
5. BeeWi Smart Tracker
Why: Keep track of your luggage constantly
Anyone, even the most paranoid and clingy of fliers, can lose luggage that’s why it’s important to keep track of it. The BeeWi Bluetooth tracker alerts users if their bags have wandered off beyond a predetermined distance, and the app will help you recover your bipedal laptop bag.
More importantly, it’ll last for up to a year on one charge, so if you do fancy travelling the world, at least there’s one device that won’t need to be charged.
6. Travel adapter
Why: Well, they’re essential locally or globally
Damage: Anything from R39 to R299
Whether you’re crossing the Vaal River or the Danube, you’ll need a power adapter when the lights eventually go out. Unfortunately, we can’t recommend a branded unit, but we do rely on a number of generic units.
As a quick tip: have a look at the power requirements before heading to a new country, or if you’re heading into the Karoo, be sure to pack a longer power strip to fit all your devices into one wall socket simultaneously.
7. OTG USB hub
Why: Store and swap files on your laptop, tablet and phone
Damage: Anything from R199 to R399
The Proline A933L has a microSD card slot, but wouldn’t it be great if you could transfer your photographs and videos recorded on your other devices to a flash drive? An OTG (USB on-the-go) drive allows users to swap between a full USB port and a microUSB port without the need for two distinct drives or a cable.
It should work with Android devices as well and is also a great back up solution to storing essential information such as passport and VISA scans or, if the in-flight movies are awful, the entire Star Wars collection.
8. Happy Plugs in-ear earphones
Why: They’re light, cheap and brilliant noise-cancellers
Arguably the most important device you’ll lug along on a long haul flight. The noise-cancelling Happy Plugs in-ears are easily the best budget audio accessories we’ve tested this year.
Out unit came in diva Gold, but cerise, turquoise, cobalt, black and practically every other colour imaginable is available. Selling for R369, they deliver great bass, peaky highs and punchy mids, while rendering that crying baby two seats ahead of you a figment of your carefree imagination.
Feature image: Nithi Anand via Flickr