The (Semi) Annual Travel Kit Weigh In!

Well it’s been literally months since I last weighed my travel kit, but with my travel ramping up, up and away lately and the kit having undergone a pretty extensive transformation, I decided it was time for an update.  Last round weight was amazing at 8.75lbs, but still significantly up from the incredible 6.3lbs from “back in the day” (my 2007 kit).  One change is that this round I also opted to weigh the actual laptop case.  In the past I was using primarily ultralight messenger bags, but these days I’m using a backpack.  On to the gory details!

First the numbers:

  1. Galaxy Note 10 LTE 2014 with Samsung cover                       1lb 8oz  (replacing the iPad Air)
  2. Nokia 1520 LTE with Nokia cover                                            12oz (replacing the Nexus 7 which actually died)
  3. Razer Blade 14 2014                                                            4lb 5oz (replacing the Retina 15)
  4. Razer Blade power supply                                                    1lb 2oz (the Achilles heal of even high end PC laptops)
  5. iPhone 5s with Mophie Juice Pack                                            8oz (the only survivor!)
  6. 2TB portable Toshiba USB 3 drive                                           8oz
  7. Accessories stack:                                                                 4lb
    1. retractable ethernet, HDMI, USB (x5), audio
    2. HDMI to VGA
    3. USB 3 hub
    4. USB multi-cable/charger (VMware swag)
    5. mini power strip with USB charging
    6. high AMP USB charger
    7. multi port USB charger
    8. Verizon LTE hotspot
    9. AT&T LTE hotspot
    10. ZyXEL travel router
    11. Plantronics USB collapsible headset
    12. Razer Orochi Mouse
    13. Logitech Presentation remote
    14. Lenmar Powerwave 6600 battery/USB charger
    15. Audio Technica headset
    16. 256GB USB thumb drive
    17. 64GB USB thumb drive
  8. VMware solar panel equipped backpack                                 2lb 3oz

Total weight: 14lb 14oz

WOW!  Now that is some serious weight right?  Basically the current kit is as heavy as the past two kits combined! Certainly not a good development with travel becoming more intense and more difficult, but there are a few clarifying points here.  First, in the past I hadn’t been weighing the actual bag, so that adds a pound or two onto the old totals (call them 10 and 7.5)  That’s still a sizable weight increase, but there are lots of extra accessories these days.  The more time you spend on the road, the more you want to really be ready for a wide range of contingencies.  So the multiple hotspots and audio devices, the portable drives and the battery backups are all new.

So netting this out, it’s a lot more weight, but a ton more capability.  The more shocking change, perhaps, is the turnover in gear composition.  Last entry I pointed out that with cloud services and cloud based data, mature file formats and more multi platform apps, and mobile devices driving commoditization, moving between platforms is pretty low friction so a move to OSX isn’t as jarring as it once was.  Well this cuts both ways and a move back is just as easy.  I documented recently the strange issues I had with the Mac which seemed to sort themselves out, but I do see an occasional odd system halt.  With the Mac coming up on two years old, and being something less than fully stable, I decided it was time to relegate to home duty and get a new kit for the road.  The mid-life refresh (Haswell/GT750) isn’t super exciting, but the new Razer really is!  With a 3200×1800 screen and a GTX870, paired with the expected quad Haswell 2.2/3.2, 8GB RAM and fast 256GB SSD, it packs a solid punch for work or gaming.  The screen quality is phenomenal and is touch based, the build quality is excellent (near Mac level), and the entire thing is almost a slightly smaller, tiny bit lighter, black version of the Macbook.  Except of course for the Windows part.  Which admittedly, is a mixed bag.  I can probably say that I have something of a love/hate with Windows 8.1.  I’ll save that for another entry though.

On the tablet front my Nexus 7 just up and died (not uncommon) so I decided to replace it with Windows Phone in order to have exposure and access to all three platforms (useful for my job).  Because I really do like handwritten notes (one thing I missed about both my old Windows tablets and my recent Galaxy Note 2 phone) I decided to sell the iPad Air in favor of the Galaxy Note 10 2014.  The new Note 10 is also a screen triumph (2560×1600), and has plenty of horsepower, but as always I have a similar love/hate with Android (even KitKat) as I do with Windows 8.1.  Google has joined Microsoft as having a lot to learn from Apple about consistent and fluid UX/UI design.

So the while Redmond had no representation last round, this time they have come raring back with two significant devices in the mix!  Maybe next time we’ll have a Chromebook!  Honestly though, I have to say that we still have a long way to go in terms of ecosystem integration maturity.  I feel there isn’t nearly enough “payoff” for fully committing to a single vendor story (even Apple).  There is of course some settings and data sync tied to universal id from all three (Google/Apple/MSFT), and there is the consistent tablet/phone app story if you decide for mobile device vendor redundancy, but I’d like to see a lot more.  Maybe next generation of service/OS things will improve.

That’s it for now, but here are some parting shots of the big weigh in!:

2014-08-17 23.07.49 2014-08-17 23.12.09