CES Las Vegas 2014: How to travel with technology

David Phelan discovers how to survive a Las Vegas trade show

This week, thousands of exhibitors, analysts and journalists converge on the world's biggest electronics expo, the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Tomorrow, I'll be reporting on the biggest announcements, but first, here's my survival guide - it applies as much to regular workers who suddenly find themselves away from home as journalists wanting to break stories, but not their backs.

Full-time road warriors have worked out how to travel light, but for the rest of us, choosing the most effective kitbag for maximum productivity with minimum weight and bulk can be a challenge. Here are some tech essentials...

Airlines and hotels can make a difference

Travelling with tech: it's all about efficiency. Working in the air, as Aled Jones almost sang, can be limited by connectivity. Very few flights from the UK have wi-fi (the BA flight to JFK from London City Airport being an honourable exception), so prepare to be offline. US domestic flights, however, are different and wireless connectivity is common.

Most hotels have wi-fi, though it's not always free and can be grindingly slow. In Las Vegas, CES visitors staying at Caesars Palace in its Octavius Tower are treated to multimedia capabilities through a MediaHub which works with apps from Netflix to Keynote. It has so many connectivity options you could give a presentation from your room (though please time it for after the maid's been in). It also means it's easier to plug in your own iDevice, say.

Journalists attend the first press event 'CES Unveiled' in Las Vegas.

Don't get caught short - carry a portable power supply

Before you had a smartphone there wasn't much problem with battery life, was there? Easily enough for a full day's charge, often for two. Some phones, like the Nokia 6120 went on for ever, it seemed.

Now, big-screens and 4G take a toll on batteries. So the only way to be sure you won't run out of power at just the wrong moment is to pack a rechargeable power supply that will serve phone, tablet and other gadgets. Here are the best...

The Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation Duo is the daddy. It's big, solid and sleekly styled with an aluminium edge and a discreet series of four LED lights which are only visible when you press a button to reveal the charge. It's pretty hefty, so you will know it's in your pocket. It boasts a whopping 6000mAh capacity which means it's powerful - two USB sockets mean it can charge two gadgets at the same time, and quickly, too.

The PocketCell Duo can charge a range of devices, including Android and Apple smartphones.

Innergie's PocketCell Duo is also very impressive and even comes with a fiendishly clever cable which connects the battery to microUSB, miniUSB and Apple 30-pin connector devices. It also has two connectors and capacity that even beats the Mophie - 6800mAh. This is the best combination of power and portability. It’s much lighter than the Mophie.

Sony's model, the CP-V3 (catchy name, Sony) is a slim lozenge with the de rigueur USB and micro USB connectors so you can get the power in and out. The 1500mAh capacity is enough to get you out of a spot, and this is much lighter than the more powerful but less pocketable Mophie. It's also much cheaper than the other two rivals here at £30.

Stay connected affordably

Check your mobile tariff, as well as your hardware. Data roaming charges are still preposterously exorbitant, though some networks make it easy to keep track of what you spend. With EE, you can't log on to data in a foreign country without buying a bundle of data. Here in the US, 1GB is on special offer at the moment, for 25GB - bargain. That should be enough to get the most ardent web user through a week.

But Three is going further: in some select countries, and the USA has joined the list just in time for CES, thank heavens, the network is treating overseas use as though it's done at home. So calls, texts and even data come out of your domestic bundle of minutes and megabytes. Even pay-as-you-go users can pay home rates overseas. It's an amazing deal and everyone should look into it before travelling. Note that you have to have the sim active for 30 days before you go abroad to qualify.

Combine gadgets and plump for the smallest one

So maybe don’t take your SLR - if you have a phone with a decent camera, like the 41MP Nokia Lumia 1020, you can save a lot of weight in your bag. If you're carrying it all round a trade show for eight hours, you'll appreciate this. Most smartphones can also admirably work to record interviews or meetings, so you can spare yourself carrying a recorder.

The Nokia Lumia 1020 allows you to cut down on what you carry by offering both phone and camera in one.

Your laptop should be an Ultrabook or the Apple MacBook Air with its insignificant weight but extended battery life.

Or travel lighter still with an iPad Air and Logitech Ultrathin keyboard, say. My great CES experiment will be to take a laptop in the form of the elegant Nokia Lumia 2520 tablet matched with Nokia's Power Keyboard. I'll report back later in the week how this goes, after the froth of big-name press conferences settles later today.

Video: CES 2014 rundown

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

    £35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

    Recruitment Genius: IT Support Technician / Helpdesk - 2nd / 3rd Line

    £22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: IT Support Technician is requir...

    Recruitment Genius: Application Developer

    £20000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Based in the centre of Glasgow,...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Manchester

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: Recruitment and Sales People wanted f...

    Day In a Page

    Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
    Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

    Fifa corruption arrests

    All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
    Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

    The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

    In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

    Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
    Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

    How Stephen Mangan got his range

    Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
    The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

    The ZX Spectrum is back

    The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
    Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

    Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

    The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
    Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

    Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

    If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
    The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

    The quirks of work perks

    From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
    Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

    Is bridge becoming hip?

    The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
    Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

    The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

    Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
    The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

    The rise of Lego Clubs

    How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
    5 best running glasses

    On your marks: 5 best running glasses

    Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
    Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

    'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

    Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
    Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

    Please save my husband

    As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada