What’s in Kevin’s CES gear bag?


Sierra1Holy cow! Do I really leave for the CES in Las Vegas at the end of this week? I’m not prepared just yet, but somehow, I suspect the show will go on… with me or without me. Time to start getting my gear together and just like James did, I’ll share the list of items coming along. This is my third CES in a row and each year I take fewer items. It’s just too hectic of a week to pack heavy.

Since I’m on a tighter budget this year over last, I really haven’t added that many devices to my current stable so regular readers might be disappointed with the list. Still, these devices are serving me well; if they weren’t, I’d find a way to replace them for sure! Here’s what I’ll take for sure; all devices will be in my carry-on bag as it’s cheaper and easier for me to replace clothes and not devices that are configured the way I like in the event of lost luggage:Samantha, the Samsung Q1P UMPC. This is my primary device when out and about. It’s working very well running Vista thanks to the 2 GB RAM upgrade. I have no issue using the touchscreen or a stylus to get through my day and it has plenty of horsepower to use the web-apps that I’m currently gravitating towards. I can also use it to comfortably watch a movie or play Sudoku on the plane since it’s a long trip for me. The standard battery is old so I’m topping out near two hours on it. Fortunately, my extended battery is sill pretty solid and nets me a good 4.5 hours of runtime. I’ll put the extended battery in the device and place the standard in a clear, plastic bag as the result of the new travel rules for batteries.Apple iPhone. I could take my unlocked T-Mobile Dash and just use the AT&T SIM from my iPhone, but I don’t see the point, given the scope of this trip. I’d rather have the larger screened phone with the better camera. I don’t expect to use the camera on my phone, but you never know. I’m also very used to the implementation of Google Maps on the iPhone and since I’ve only been to Vegas twice, I’d rather have that in my pocket. If the Dash were 3G capable, this would be a completely different story. Last year, I had my EV-DO-capable XV6700 to use as a tethered modem.Sprintvzwusb727USB727 modem. Speaking of modems, I’ll take this small, lightweight 3G USB modem. It works just fine with the Q1P in Vista, not to mention the Asus Eee PC running XP. Additionally, if a friend with a Mac needs to borrow it, no additional drivers or software are needed to use it. It does double as a microSD card reader as well, but I currently only own SD and miniSD cards. Vegas is fully covered with Rev. A EV-DO, so I anticipate good throughput pending the amount of use by others in the area.Panasonic Lunix DMC-FZ7 Camera. It’s not the best camera out there, but I caught it for a good price just before last year’s show. It’s simple to use, has Leica optics, 6-megapixel resolution, offers image stabilization (a must for “crowd jostle”) and a 12x optical zoom. In a pinch, I can record video with it.Shure SE210 headphones. The passive noise-blocking is perfect for the plane ride and the sound quality is more than good enough for me.SanDisk Ultra II SD / USB card. This was one of the best purchases I made and this 1 GB card goes everywhere with me. It looks like a standard SD card (which it is) so it fits in my camera. It also folds in half to reveal a USB interface, so it works with every one of my computing devices. I’ll use this for pictures, crack it in half and throw it in a USB port of the Q1P to edit, crop and use the pics.ThinkOutside Sierra Bluetooth keyboard. Another great purchase and a must for a small slate when you need to write the day away. I considered taking the Apple Bluetooth keyboard I just bought for my MacBook Pro since it too works with the Q1P and Vista, but I prefer the folding aspect of the Sierra.What I might takeAsus Eee PC: Although I plan to travel light, I might allow Eeegor to make the trip. I suspect not everyone at the Tablet PC / UMPC meetup will have had a chance to play with an Eee PC, so I may take it along. I’ve upgraded the RAM to 1 GB and XP is humming along nicely. If I have a melt-down with the Q1P, I can use the Eee with my USB727 modem as a backup blogging machine in a snap.Wibrain UMPC: This is a tough call because the unit isn’t mine; it’s on loan from Dynamism. Again, could be good to share at the meetup and podcast co-host Matt Miller has specifically asked to see the device. My obvious concern is that something happen to the review unit and I have to eat the cost. However, due to the holidays and our new family addition, I’ve had less time than I wanted with the device, so it may just sneak in the bag.What I won’t take15-inch Mac Book Pro. The device is rock solid and what I use when at my desk, but it’s too heavy for me to lug around CES. Since I’ve upgraded to Leopard however, there’s practically no data I need on the device while away. Web-apps, Gmail and cloud storage keep the gadget bag light.An optical drive of any type. The times I need an optical drive are far and few between. Software installations are about the only time I need one and these days I often use a Virtual CD / DVD drive application as opposed to a physical drive. I realize I’m likely in the minority here, but I simply don’t need one, either external or internal. It’s a waste of weight and space in my work environment.Canon Elura 100 video camera. I took this last year only to not use it. CES is just to chaotic to tote or set-up and use a video camera on a tripod. While I do have a small QuikPod for it to stand on, I know there’s little room and way too much noise to do a useful video. There’s an off-chance to get quiet rooms for videos and interviews, but I’m on the move way too much for that.There you go: all of these devices will be with me on the plane and likely on the floor. I hate to carry items I won’t be using, so I’m still not sure about the Eee and the Wibrain. Then again, I don’t want to leave them in the hotel room either. Tough call. OK, gotta run. Forgot to get a bevy of business cards printed out!


John in Norway

I’ve just come back from a week in England and all I took was my OQO (with extended and normal battery), K800i phone (Excellent for MMS, mp3, photos), 4GB USB stick (Vista DVD and programs on it), 2GB USB stick for backups and my Panasonic DMC FZ3 camera (which I only used once!). Due to fog and ice I spent almost a whole day walking around Oslo airport and in queues trying to get a connecting flight. Thank goodness I was traveling so light!
The OQO served all my PC needs including showing my family my videos and photos from the last few years. It was very cosy all of us sitting around the little screen :-)

Dion Forster

Hi K,

Nice list! I would take the Eeepc along if I were you! Just to be safe.

I always travel with two PC’s, and a back up of all my important documents (since my work is in text) just in case one of my machines crashes.

My backup PC, however, is an old Sony U50 (actually a U8). If my trip is a single day, I will normally just take my UX180 as the primary device – strangely I always take the dock (so that it has a solid surface to stand on), my foldout bluetooth keyboard, and my Nokia E90 3G phone (tethered as a modem).

If my trip is longer than a day or two, and I know I shall need to do my ‘regular’ work at night or inbetween meetings, I’m afraid I bite the bullet and take my 15″ Macbook pro… I just can’t do sustained and serious work without it! I also use my Nokie E90 as the 3G modem with this phone (no cables, no USB etc.).

I have also given up on taking optical drivers with me. I carry an OLD 2gig Sony thumbdrive, and the same Sandisk SD/USB drive that you have.

I always carry a second phone as well. It used to be the Treo 750P (which was slow, unreliable, but had a great keyboard), now however, I take my 1.0.2 Firmware unlocked iPhone (on the MTN network in South Africa). We don’t have a good implementation of Google Maps here in South Africa – rather my iPhone is used for phone calls, text messages, reading PDF ebooks, browsing the Web, watching Video and listening to podcasts and audiobooks (oh, and showing off! There are probably only about 20 iPhones in the whole country at this stage!)

The other items I always carry with me (in my Lonsdale gear bag) are a ‘generic’ 16v/19v Extended battery (gives me about 15 hours on the Sony’s and 6-8 hours on the Mac). A Sony 8.1 Megapixel point and shoot camera, various USB cables, my iPhone sync cable, an MP3 voice recorder, and a card reader…

Have a fantastic time at CES! I look forward to reading all about it!

Regards from a HOT South Africa,



Oh! The humanity! Whither will Kevin go?

I wish I had your problems!

Good luck and have fun.


Antoine of MMM/Brighthand

Nice. When I went last year, all I took was my Yreo, my external keyboard, and spare batteries. I had exactly one bag with me until I got to the show, and only carried one additional bag when I left (both carry-ons too).

Personally, considering the ability of most of us in the news/blogging area to go mobile, one would think that we would do it more often. And considering the ability to post via MMS, it would make it very easy to post right from the show floor once conversations are done. I admire your restraint in packing, and I can tell you that while you might have moments of disappointment, you will be satisfied when you aren’t looking for a powerstation just so that you can type a few words down.

Unfortunately, I will not make it to CES this year, so I will be engaging things from the sidelines, but I do wish you and all others who will be there a blessed time. Just don’t be like me and run into the flock of nurses when you pass the LG and Panisonic booths ;)

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