Friday, February 24, 2017

#MWC17 – What’s in my gear bag?

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As some of you know, I’m more of a writer here than a video maker, but I do like to dabble. Whenever I’m at a trade show though I like to travel light, so I tend not to overdo it when I pack: just the essentials. Here’s all the gear I brought to MWC 2017, with Amazon links if you’re interested in checking any of it out. It won’t be as fancy (or expensive) as Josh and Lanh’s kit, but it’ll give you an idea of what us mere mortals use.


Camera and tripod


First thing’s first, the camera. I use a Sony Alpha 6000 mirrorless with a 35mm f1.8 fixed prime and a 55-210mm telephoto lens for those long-range press conference shots. I love the balance a mirrorless camera strikes between quality and weight; I wouldn’t go back to a full DSLR if you paid me, full frame be darned.



I have a Manfrotto MT190XPRO4 tripod and the Manfrotto MVH502AH fluid panning head, which weighs more than my camera and all my lenses combined. I probably should get a more portable option for trade shows, but I’m so used to this now I don’t really notice the weight anyway. It does look a little silly having my tiny camera on top of this giant panning head though.


Audio


For audio, I have a Zoom H1 recorder and Rode Smartlav+ mic, both of which serve me fine for this sort of event (Josh and Lanh always have fancier mics if I need them for voiceovers). I carry a tiny desktop tripod for the mic which can also come in handy for simple hands on shots when the big tripod is too bulky. I also carry a simple Shoulderpod camera clamp in case I’m ever without my camera. I ordered a DJI OsmoMobile before the trip but unfortunately it didn’t arrive in time, so I’ll just steal Nirave’s.



Phones


My two daily drivers right now are the Google Pixel and the Huawei Mate 9. I love the screen size and battery life of the Mate 9 and the Pixel is all-round one of the best phones available. I have Project Fi in the Pixel and my European SIM in the Mate 9 (you’ll be able to check out my home screen layout on Instagram in our home screen Monday series in the next little while if you’re at all interested). I only use the original Huawei Supercharger and Pixel fast charging brick of course.


Power


For battery backup, I have the Anker Powercore Speed 10,000 mAh QC 3.0 portable battery, which serves me well in terms of size and weight vs capacity. Trade shows are killers on the battery and only the Mate 9 has ever made it through a full day for me without a partial recharge. These phones have two of the best cameras around right now, so it’s no longer necessary to pull out my camera all the time, but that comes at the cost of battery. Leaving the house without this is like heading to the airport without your passport: not very advisable.


Backpack


The bag is the OnePlus travel backpack which honestly feels like it was made for tech journalists. It’s not too big, so it’s easy to squeeze through those crazy trade show crowds, and it has stash pockets for several different phones, a laptop and tablet. Plus it looks pretty dapper, is super light and is comfortable to boot. I used to have a leather satchel I was fond of, but it killed my shoulder and then got stolen by a friendly baggage handler at CES.



Computer


I’m using a maxed-out 2015 MacBook Pro which I consider The Last Great MacBook Pro because it has all the ports I need: SD card, full-size USB, Mini DisplayPort etc and it still has the MagSafe charging cable. It may not be the best laptop anymore but I definitely prefer the dongle-free life. I’ll wait to upgrade again until most accessories and peripherals have all switched over to USB Type-C. Battery life is pretty horrendous though, so I also pack a backup “laptop” for lighter tasks…


Note-taking


Since CES I’ve been using the Lenovo YogaBook as a replacement notebook (I’m one of those people that would prefer to write notes rather than type them, even if I still have to transcribe them later). The YogaBook is about the same size and weight as my notebook but obviously a lot more useful. MWC will actually be my first trip without a notepad in my bag.


That’s because the YogaBook lets me take digital notes using the Halo Keyboard like a laptop or write them on the digitizer with or without paper to write on. These can then be digitized as handwritten notes. The keyboard takes some serious getting used to, but once you adapt it’s fine and the battery life is ridonculous. I can even sneak in some gaming en route to a press conference or preview.



As an added bonus, I typically Wi-Fi photos from my camera to my phone for some quick edits in Snapseed or Lightroom before uploading them, so having all my Android apps accessible on the YogaBook make it a perfect in-betweener when I don’t have to edit video on the MBP. Yes, it needs Nougat already, and yes, the Chrome OS version will be even better, but I seriously love this thing (I’m writing this on it on the plane to Barcelona).


Headphones, mouse and storage


I always travel with a couple of pairs of headphones. I still use the Audio Technica ATH-M50x for editing and on the plane and always have my Jaybird X2 Bluetooth headphones in my pocket for the rest of the time. Like everyone else, I too love the Logitech MX Master mouse and its metric ton of customizable buttons.


Then I have a Sandisk Extreme solid-state drive for offloading excess video files and the old business card holder for those free-standing phone shots. A little padded pouch holds spare batteries, SD cards, adapters and other ephemera and I don’t go anywhere without a travel adapter with multiple USB ports. All this fits in the OnePlus backpack with plenty of room to spare for additional swag (except the tripod, of course).


We’re all rolling into Barcelona as we speak, so stay tuned for all the big announcements over the weekend and all the action from the main event next week. Be sure to follow us on all the socials for up-to-the-minute coverage of the coolest stuff on the ground and let me know if you use any the same gear I do.

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