It's that time again. The time to say goodbye to families, pack a couple of bags and hit the dusty trail for another major show. This time out it's Mobile World Congress, the annual gathering of the world's biggest and best that the mobile industry has to offer. For me, MWC is what I'd class as a home event after CES, with Barcelona a mere 2 hours away by plane.
The event may be closer, but to cover it properly for Windows Central and Mobile Nations as a whole I still need to take a fair amount of gear. So here's what I'll be packing for this years MWC.
Dell XPS 13 (2015)
It's so secret we're big fans of Dell's newest 13-inch Ultrabook, and that started right at the announcement in Las Vegas at CES. As a thing to look at it's stunning, but paired with a range of Intel's latest 5th-generation CPUs and the option for a QHD+ touchscreen, it ticks most of the boxes. But for someone who travels, the 13-inch laptop in an 11-inch form factor is amazing. It takes up less space in an already crowded gear bag, has a great keyboard and precision trackpad, and decent battery life even on the range topping i7 version. And it's tough, too, which is also super important for the hectic trade show.
It's my main laptop now, and will be for some time to come.
Nokia Lumia 830
The Lumia 830 is my current Windows Phone of choice. The Lumia 1520 is too big for me to use as my primary phone and I never really felt that happy with the Lumia 930 for whatever reason (though getting really hot didn't help, there.) The 830 is a great compromise of great design, solid camera and features such as Glance Screen. I didn't think I would miss Glance until I didn't have it any more. Now I have it back I know how much I appreciate it.
Sure, the internals don't compare to its bigger brother, but that doesn't concern me at all. Windows Phone is such a slick experience on even low-end hardware that I never feel like I'm missing out. It has Lumia Camera 5 (albeit without 4K recording, which I'd never use), and I'd not hesitate in saying it's my favorite current Windows Phone. And since it's European and unlocked, I should have no issues popping a Spanish SIM in there.
I really like the Microsoft Band. There are things I would change about it, sure, but on the whole I'm very happy with it. I love to see how far I'm walking at big events like MWC, and having something like the Band forwarding my notifications and allowing me to use Cortana for quick actions on the go, it's a great tool to have on the road. What I'd really like next is music controls so I can use it to change tracks without needing to pull my phone out of my pocket.
And in Europe you still get people asking about it. Because we can't buy it.
I recently moved away from using a DSLR for the same reason I last moved away from using a DSLR; size. Too bulky to carry comfortably in my gear bag of choice, and for my purposes, I've never used more than 10% of its capabilities anyway. So I went mirrorless again and landed on the Samsung NX3000. I like that it has onboard Wifi, I like that it's compact, and that it takes good pictures and didn't cost the earth.
And I still don't know how to use more than about 10% of it. OK, maybe 20%.
- Buy Now - Samsung NX3000 - Amazon
The bag - TYLT Energi Backpack+
I picked this bag up at CES and it quickly replaced my old bag. It's got tons of pockets, albeit it many are too small for anything substantial, and has safe places to stash my camera, phones, even a pair of sunglasses without them smashing. But the party piece is the included 10000mAh battery pack. The bag is designed in such a way that you can run cables through it and charge three of your devices while you're on the go. And at a show like MWC that's pretty much a day saver. It's not cheap though, but a good bag is a worthwhile investment.
- $169.99 - Buy Now
RHA T10 earbuds
I'm reviewing these earbuds at the moment from RHA (coming up soon) so I'm using them wherever possible. I do really like them, though. They're comfortable, have a great all round sound and with passive noise cancellation do an OK job at blocking out the world around me. These ones were designed not to have an in-line remote since they don't work with all the phones, all the time. And as such have a slightly lower price than ones that do.
- $189.95 - Buy now
Moleskine and Cross
Old school tech. I still like to write things down from time to time, for personal or professional purposes. I usually write with a Fountain Pen but I don't like trying to travel with one, so I'm using a Cross rollerball on this trip. Notebooks will vary between Field Notes, Rhodia and Moleskine, but for this trip I just packed a 3 pack of Moleskine journals.
The pen was a gift, and one I've not had the chance to use properly yet, at that. Just hope I don't lose it.
I've tried to pack light (for once) and while other phones are in my bag for related work, this is what I'll be primarily using. Follow all the Windows Central and Mobile Nations coverage of MWC at our dedicated page here