Ultimate Mobile Setup

Monday, February 1st 2010 | Ismael Ghalimi

If you find yourself on the road as often as I do (every other week) and most of your traveling is done abroad (Japan, Korea, Philippines last week), you will want to optimize your mobile setup for portability, connectivity, and affordability. I tried quite a few combinations of countless devices, and I learned a few things along the way. Here is the setup that I am quickly converging toward.

First, as described earlier, I am planning to replace my MacBook Air with a Sony VAIO X complemented by an iPad. Same total weight, same total cost, three times the battery life, and a lot more fun…

Second, in order to reduce weight and bulk, I banned any electronic devices that could not be charged over USB. That way, I only have to carry my laptop charger, Apple’s ultracompact USB Power Adapter, Belkin’s USB 2.0 4-Port Ultra Mini Hub, and a few ReTrak cables to make it all look like a cute little octopus.

Third, I replaced all my cables with retractable ones. There are two reasons for that: one, they are lighter and take less space; two, they are quicker to pack, making it faster to check out of my hotel room. I usually carry the following cables:

Fourth, I ditched my 3G USB modems and replaced them with mobile WiFi routers. There are many reasons for that: first, many of these USB modems are difficult to configure, especially when using a MacBook laptop; second, they deplete your laptop’s battery very rapidly; third, they only provide mobile Internet access to one device at a time. In order to reduce roaming charges, I bought one device for each country that I travel to more than once every quarter. By the end of the month, I will cover the following geographies:

Fifth, I keep my local mobile WiFi router turned on all day long. That way, my smartphone (iPhone 3GS 32GB) is always using WiFi for Internet connectivity, therefore reducing my roaming charges and allowing me to use Skype. In order to power my router beyond its 3 hours of battery life, I carry a HyperMac External Battery 60Wh, which fits neatly into one of the two pockets of my Incase Nylon Sleeve. It’s perfectly sized for a small laptop, and the back pocket can neatly house my Kindle DX, soon to be replaced by a much more versatile iPad.

Once complete, the whole setup including Sony VAIO X, Apple iPad, Apple iPhone, HyperMac battery, mobile WiFi router, and carrying bag will weigh less than 4.5 pounds, which is what the Apple MacBook Pro 13” alone weighs. It will give me over 20 hours of battery life on the VAIO X plus 10 hours on the iPad, with 7.2Mbps instant Internet connectivity on all three devices.

I can’t wait…

In the meantime, I am adding the following components to the setup:

Entry filed under: Cloud Computing

One Comment - Add a comment

1. Eric  |  December 3rd, 2010 at 1:01 pm

Thank you for the advice. I travel quite a bit also. Many times I pack more electronics than anything else.

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