Dave’s Travel Tech (Fall ’10 Edition)

I’m heading overseas for a short getaway, giving thanks to airline deregulation and inexpensive Skype calling from abroad. When traveling Internationally, and/or for vacation, I prefer to go laptopless. However, I found a decent-enough Incase tote ($60) to house my new MacBook Air and replace my colorful-yet-ratty old bag with no-longer-functional zipper. So it’s coming along on this trip to protect my Kindle and a variety of paper magazines, courtesy of a small amount of soon-to-expire frequent flier miles.

Also, I made the very difficult decision to return the new Canon S95 (~$370). I totally waffled on this purchase, feeling both guilt and regret. The Canon’s still picture capabilities are unmatched in a cam this small. But after shooting the quickie Hulu Veebeam video, I had to let it go. I was aware that you couldn’t zoom in/out while filming. However, the S95 will not adjust focus at all as you shoot. Meaning that initial focal length remains even as you attempt to capture objects or people at different distances.

So I raced to the Sony store Sunday night (thank you, holiday hours) and picked up the WX5 (~$270). It doesn’t have the ability to natively handle complex or low lighting situations like the Canon, but through trial, error, and trickery decent shots can be obtained. This Apple TV one is a good example. The Sony also has the benefit of being slimmer than the Canon, with a 5x zoom lens, and ability to shoot (with continual focus) 1080p video. And, unlike previous Sony gear, this camera accepts SD cards (!) in addition to the more limited Memory Stick. Hopefully the S95 will see a firmware update and I’ll return to the fold, as it’s truly a special piece of hardware. But I’m unwilling to travel with both a still and video camera.

Of course, I’ll also have my iPhone with me on this trip along with a cheapie-but-sufficient pair of Jbuds. Although, I’ll be keeping cellular services off and using it for video entertainment on the plane and the occasional email or Twitter check-in. No doubt, I’ll also sneak in some web surfing for online deals. Being the holidays, Skype will enable me to economically stay in touch with the family back home (without jailbreaking and SIM-unlocking my phone).

To make it through flight tedium, on the content front, I’ve loaded up The Expendables as a movie rental and cached several Slacker stations on the iPhone. Additionally, thanks to a shared Amazon account, Mom has provided me with the new Michael Connelley and Grisham novels. But I fully expect that an iPad, or similar, will accompany me on cross country and International flights at some point in 2011 – a single device that better performs/provides both iPhone and Kindle functionality.

6 thoughts on “Dave’s Travel Tech (Fall ’10 Edition)”

  1. The iPad is a great airplane companion. I play games, watch TV shows converted via Tivo To Go or purchased off iTunes, watch and occaisional movie, read magazines etc. Sure it’s a little bigger than it needs to be, and a little too heavy, but with the Apple Case you can prop it up in numerous different ways. Sure you don’t *need* it. But its a great distraction. And in AirPlay and a SlingPlayer and web browsing once you get to your destination and its awesome. Even works when the seat back in front of you is only inches away, unlike a laptop.

  2. Have fun, Dave!

    Surprised about video on S95. Even my Panasonic TZ5 can do both of those things

    Did you get dinged with restock fees? Even if you liked the camera, you should’ve returned it since it’s selling for $300 or so on BF.

  3. The nook has been awesome while travelling through europe. I can only handle so much BBC news in a day. Especially since the cruise and hotels charge for internet. But, sometimes the flight attendants make me turn the nook off for take-off and landing.

  4. I just replaced a stolen S90 with a WX5. Its a better camera for the all-auto-P&S crowd (wife in this case) hands down.

  5. Ivan, no restocking fee. I explained the issue to Best Buy – a Geek Squad guy then tested the camera and called it a ‘defect’ which led to a full refund.

    WX5 has been decent here in Germany and Austria. But getting proper colors sometimes requires more tweaking than I’d like as dies handling the lower light stuff. Still no perfect camera for me.

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