I arrived back home from Mobile World Congress late Wednesday night. It was a busy show, for sure, filled with plenty of new phone announcements, neat new car technology and more. I’d been meaning to follow up my CES 2016 “inside a blogger’s backpack” story with a new one for Mobile World Congress.
I brought some different gear along this time, in addition to some of the same stuff, so let’s take a quick look at what kept me going. This is in addition to the regular stuff, including my Nexus 6P which I used with Project Fi, the HTC One A9 that I used with an international SIM card I picked up in Barcelona, and some other gear that I also used at CES.
1. 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display
I use a few computers for writing articles. At home, I rely on my home-built Windows 10 desktop PC and its three monitors. On the road, I either use a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 or a 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display. I used the latter on this trip, largely because it’s quicker at resizing photos than the Surface Pro 3, has longer battery life and doesn’t weigh that much more.
2. Booq Boa Shift backpack
I actually brought several bags with me to Mobile World Congress. I carried the Incase Nylon backpack, the same one I used at CES, in addition to a smaller Booq Boa Shift, which is new to my arsenal. It has plenty of pockets and is nice and compact for when I’m not carrying all of my gear. It’ll probably be my go-to bag for the next couple of months, since it’s perfect for carrying a laptop, my Sony a6000 camera and a couple of phones, which is all I need most of the time. I’ll admit I preferred the Incase Nylon for when I needed a bit more space to carry a jacket, though.
3. Nomad USB Carabiner
This is one of those products that wound up in my possession randomly. My colleague Jacob Kleinman gave it to me at CES and I figured I’d hang on to it just in case I ever needed it. Turns out it was an awesome accessory to clip onto my backpack. When my iPhone needed some juice, I just unclipped the Nomad USB Carabiner, attached it to my iPhone using the Lighting port on one end, and plugged the USB port into a battery pack. It was super convenient.
4. Libratone ZIPP Mini
OK, this one I didn’t technically carry in my bag the whole time, but I still used it during my trip. I always carry a portable speaker when I travel so that I can play tunes in my hotel room through something other than my laptop speakers. This time, I brought along the Libratone ZIPP Mini. I have the larger Libratone ZIPP at home, and they’re great speakers. Unlike earlier models, these both sport Bluetooth and Apple AirPlay, so you can easily play music from any device in your arsenal. They even talk with one another so that you can play the same song in multiple rooms. The Libratone ZIPP Mini fit easily into my checked baggage and worked really well. My only issue was a small blemish that appeared on the white surface after carrying in my bag – obviously my fault.
This is a neat little “set it and forget it” product. The TrackR basically a small coin-sized device that keeps track of your belongings: a set of keys, your backpack, your dog, anything. It communicates with other devices to pinpoint its exact location and seemed to work fairly well. I decided to bring it along to Barcelona because there’s a certain risk of pickpocketing and theft during Mobile World Congress. My wife had her purse stolen in the city a few years back, so I kept it in my nice leather travel bag as an extra set of eyes. Thankfully, I never had to track it down – but TrackR always kept its location accurately in my app.
6. Focal Sphear high-resolution in-ear headphones
There’s a reason these headphones have received near universal acclaim from reviews: they’re comfortable, durable and sound great. I usually have a pair of Bose earbuds that I use, but took these along for the trip to try something different. So far, I’m not planning to go back to my earbuds: these are much more comfortable, especially on long plane rides, and sounded great. Even better, they didn’t jiggle around or fall out while I was exercising, which is probably the most important factor for me when I pick a pair of buds. They’re also affordable, all things considered, priced at just $150, and really well built, with nice thick wiring complete with music and phone controls for iOS, Android and Windows devices – another feature my Bose buds lack.