Update on My Travel Technology Re-think

Last month I sought reader input into some new technology choices I wanted to make – a new camera, smartphone, and laptop.

Since I much appreciated all of the advice, I thought I’d share an update on what I decided to do.

  • It’s slightly old technology but I went with the tried and true Canon s95. There were mixed reviews of the pricier s100 and I’ve always liked the photos I’ve seen taken with the s95. So far I’ve been happy using it, I’ve taken better, richer photos and the auto mode works great. I know nothing about photography, just point and shoot, and this was the right size, quality, and price.

  • I’m fully migrated over to my new Lenovo u300s. It’s a little “boxy” and not nearly as sexy as some of the other ultrabooks. But what I was really looking for here was functionality in a truly portable device, that would serve as my primary computer and that I’d carry back and forth between my two offices, take home with me each day, and travel with.

    The keyboard isn’t backlit, and I’m realizing I actually miss that, but the tradeoffs are worth it. The keyboard is light years better than on my Samsung Series 9. It’s got more power (I opted for the Core i7 processor, largely because it comes paired with a much larger hard drive). And the battery life is better too, I wasn’t lasting a full DC – Dallas Westbound flight while using inflight internet with the Samsung. (Not to mention that the keys were peeling, and my second power supply in 6 months was fraying and coming apart).

    Bottom-line is I’m happy with the choice. The machine won’t get me dates (like Ben’s Chase Sapphire Preferred card apparently does for him), but it gets the job done without slowing me down.

  • I’ve punted a bit on the phone. If the next generation Blackberry operating system was coming out early in the year I’d give it a go, my interest is primarily in a work/productivity device. Blackberry seems to be a dying platform, I’m doubtful that the new generation operating system when finally released will make a difference. I’m inclined towards an Android phone, but they still seem a little clunky to me, and the best ones with the slide out keyboard (I’m a blackberry junkie..) don’t have the latest technology in other dimensions. So I’m going to suffer my current device a few more months waiting for the right replacement to hit me in the head.

Still happy with the rest of my technology – wireless pocket router, travel power strip, etc. And now I’m happy with my laptop and camera. Just waiting for the right phone solution to materialize.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. The point & shoot topc was debated a bit on Milepoint with lots of members givingnsuggestions & advice. I also went with the S95 and lve it so far! Now I need to figure out what case to purchase…

  2. I wouldn’t consider BB out yet. Nobody’s got the mythical BB X in hand so we just don’t know.

    I’m an IT guy so I’m in love with the Android platform. Though nobody does email as well as RIM and I miss my BB for that alone. Everything else was just so far behind the curve, of course.

    But in the fickle world of technology you just can’t count a company out until it’s truly gone. RIM is still a huge longshot (I think the new product will be too little, too late) but stranger things have happened. Apple mobile products were once crap. Motorola’s mobility division was dead in the water between the old RAZR and the release of Android.

  3. I’m surprised you miss the backlit keyboard. I’ve never liked it on my Mac and turn it off. If anything it distracts me from touch typing and slows me down.

  4. Nice calls, I went with the S95 as well as the P&S alternative to our DSLR. Thanks to the S100 rollout, there have been some good deals on the S95 – Amazon had it for $229 4 days before Christmas, which made the choice easy since we have no plans to shoot video with it. Getting the i7 power and better battery life, nice! Still using a Blackberry for work as well, it does the job… Well, most of the time!

  5. Get the Android phone, you will never look back (or worry about iPhone nightmares like glacially slow synching, iTunes, and other proprietary nonsense). Google Music alone is worth it.

  6. Gary, check out the Toshiba Portege R705 line, weighs 3.2 lbs, 500 Gig HD, and DVDRW. For a phone go to Amazon and check out the unlocked Nokia N8. Nokia does not have as many apps as iPhone or Android, but its features are compelling. It has a 12MP camera and shoots HD 720p video. Best of all, the N8 has a maps feature where you can download the maps to almost all nations in the world to your phone via Nokia Suite and not have to access the internet to use maps, so the N8 functions as a full GPS.

  7. Blackberry is beyond a dying platform! It’s borderline obsolete along with flip phones. 🙂
    I’m surprised you’re not looking at an iPhone. Trust me, I made the switch from Blackberry to Android 2 years ago, and then to the new iPhone. The iPhone is better than the previous 2 overall. If you like more wild customizations though (with the chance to slow your phone down), then a droid is the way to go.

  8. Also got Lenovo U300. durable and long battery life. keyboard is comfortable. very happy about this.

  9. I have the Canon S95 also. I love the camera but the zoom sucks. I am thinking of getting the S100 just for the better zoom. I also bought the Lenovo u300s earlier this year. I was eagerly awaiting it but it was a major disappointment compared to the Macbook Air. The top 3 things that I hated on the u300s: 1) It doesnt’t have a anti-glare screen. On the first day I brought the computer to my office, I couldn’t see a thing on the screen b/c my back is facing a window. 2) The trackpad (and I had the Synaptics not the Cypress) was horrendous compared to the MB air. The two figure scroll up & down had like a 1 sec delay that was extremely frustrating and I played with the trackpad settings for a couple of days and I couldn’t ever find the perfect settings. 3) The resolution isn’t ideal. Minor complaint but I would prefer a higher resolution.

  10. I never thought I would say this, but I gave up my 5 year old flip phone for the iPhone 4S and I’m wondering how I did without it.

    I always thought it would be a pain to type on it, but it is surprisingly easy. I also opted for the personal wi-fi spot, so I don’t need to lug around a wireless router.

  11. I’m far from an Apple fan boy and never used an Apple product until 2007 but their products do work and the iPhone certainly is a keeper. Between the apps, games, movies, etc. it can keep me entertained for a good 7+ hrs w/o any battery issues (I have the 4G not the latest model).

    I know some don’t like the control Apple has over the iTunes store (I don’t either) but avoiding the iPhone because of it is foolish IMO. I’ve been using an Android at work for a project and while it is fun to hack and play with I don’t see any advantages of it over the iPhone for the majority of users.

    I only connect my phone to itunes once every few months to back up some stuff.

  12. I don’t understand why you didn’t go with a MacBook Air, which was a superior product for a lower price and you can run Windows on it. That’s what everyone recommended for you, but I guess you have some kind of aversion to Apple products. To each their own.

  13. Go iPhone with a Mophi Juice Pack Plus. I stopped using BB after my Bold finally died last year and have not looked back. The Mophi Juice Pack Plus (about $80) gives you another full battery’s worth of power. Really nice when you are on the go and can’t stop to charge your phone.

  14. I have bought the HTC EVO 2 years ago and all I can say it is better than an iPhone for the following reasons:

    It has a file system that you could actually use an it is not sandboxed like the iphone
    It is highly customizable
    Legal tethering is possible
    Bigger screen

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