Staying productive on the go isn’t hard, but being really productive while traveling is another story. Most of today’s laptops, tablets, smartphones and cameras are perfectly adequate yet not particularly enjoyable to use away from home. Performance and portability are often lacking.
There are, however, some gadgets that stand out from the crowd. They manage to be easy to carry but are also exceptionally productive. Let’s take a look at four of the best.
The ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity is the latest, best incarnation of the ASUS Transformer Prime. There are two features that make it excellent for mobile use. One is the display and the other is the keyboard dock.
Apple’s iPad 3 offers a higher resolution and better overall quality than the Infinity, but the 1080p widescreen panel on this tablet is nothing to laugh at. It also offers an “IPS+” mode which raises brightness to about 500 nits. This makes the tablet much easier to use outdoors or in brightly lit rooms than most competitors. Only the BlackBerry Playbook can rival the Infinity in this area.
Of course, maxing out the brightness can drain your battery. That’s where the keyboard dock is handy. Underneath the keys is additional battery capacity that can extend life from about 10 hours to 20 hours or more. There aren’t many devices that can handle a flight over the Pacific. This is one of them.
Apple’s MacBook Pro has always been a favorite among travelers. The Pro offers all of the performance most users need and also ships with an incredible keyboard and touchpad. Most users will find that they’re just as productive with a Pro as they would be on a desktop computer. Even battery life is excellent – most models achieve between six and eight hours of endurance depending on size and equipment.
The new Retina display takes all of this to the next level by offering an incredible high-resolution viewing experience that’s beyond what is available on any other laptop or desktop computer. Upping the resolution increases display clarity and makes it possible to view extremely small text without issue. It’s also a fundamentally good display with superb color accuracy and a wide gamut. Writers and photo editors alike will be hard pressed to find a better travel companion.
Travel is has always been an issue for photographers. Excellent camera equipment is usually bulky and difficult to carry. There’s no easy way around this – but there are finally some portable cameras that don’t make photography enthusiasts scoff.
One of the leading products in this emerging segment of portable enthusiast cameras is the Sony NEX-5N. Though not quite pocket-size (the lens can only be made so small) the NEX-5N is substantially smaller than a standard DSLR with or without lens attached. It can easily fit into a small messenger bag and will vanish into most backpacks. Its lighter weight also makes it significantly easier to lug around at a trade show or convention.
Image quality is not quite on par with a DSLR. The difference is only likely to be noticeable in carefully set, high-resolution shots, however – which isn’t the kind of photo you’ll be taking if you’re on the move all day. This makes the NEX-5N a suitable replacement for anyone that needs to cover a lot of ground in a short time.
There are a lot of phones to choose from for the traveling professional. Many of them will do just fine. If you want the best of the best, however, go with the Samsung Galaxy S III.
This phone is preferable partially because it is one of the quickest phones on the market and offers an excellent high-resolution display. These are two features that anyone can appreciate. The phone is particularly quick in its quad-core International version – which is a bit hard to find in North America and a handful of other regions.
Yet there’s more to it than flash and speed. The Galaxy S III also benefits from a thin profile, relatively light weight and a removable battery. HTC’s One X is a very competent competitor to the Galaxy S III, but its battery is integrated it can be easily replaced or upgraded. This makes Samsung’s offering a better choice for serious travel.
These devices are ideal for travel. They’re portable, yet also capable. Unfortunately they are also expensive, though I’d argue they all eventually will pay for themselves by increased productivity.
What do you travel with? Do you think fancy hardware is required, or are you okay lugging around a heavy but inexpensive laptop, camera and phone? Let us know in the comments.