Essential Gadgets for a Summer Vacation

We Highlight Four Devices to Take with You


Being lucky enough to have access to a wide range of mobile gadgets I always face the problem of which devices to take with me on vacation.

This year I took a beach holiday with the family. I knew I’d want a tablet to entertain me on the long flight, but also to keep up with the news while I was away. My natural inclination was to select either the iPad or the iPad mini. I’ve nearly always chosen one of these in the past, but as the gap has narrowed between Android and iOS, my options have broadened.

After much deliberation I selected the Sony Xperia Tablet Z. I have to say that I was far from certain whether this was the right decision, but after two weeks I can honestly say there’s no other tablet I’d recommend for a beach holiday.

In previous years I’ve used a waterproof and sand-resistant case for the iPad but the Tablet Z’s ability to resist water and sand makes it a sure-fire winner. As the photo shows, this is a seriously resilient device. Being able to bring it back from the beach and rinse the sand off under the tap was mind-blowing every time I did it.

What also sealed it for me is that it’s light, it has a microSD card slot that makes transferring images and content a breeze, and it seemed to have no problems with overheating in the Caribbean sun. This leaves me wondering when Apple is going to overhaul the iPad so it matches the more-innovative Android challengers. Admittedly Apple’s results show the iPad still has lots of sales momentum, but I’d argue it’s better to keep pushing further ahead than risk being overtaken by a nimble rival.

Of course as anyone who knows me will testify, one gadget was not enough.

Although the Tablet Z was perfectly readable in direct sunlight and allowed me to read all the books I’d bought on Amazon, nothing beats the Kindle Paperwhite. It has to go down as one of the great innovations in the e-reader market. The Paperwhite sets the benchmark for anyone who loves reading. Lightweight, with incredible battery life, it’s a no-brainer for any traveller. It would be even better if it were waterproof and sand-resistant like the Tablet Z, but at the price I can hardly begrudge having to buy a waterproof case.

Another gadget that came into its own was the Nokia Lumia 925. We took an adventure into the Mexican jungle to visit the one of the Mayan temples a couple of hours from our resort. I have to admit I’ve been pretty sceptical about some of the claims that Nokia’s Here maps team has made about its off-line mapping and navigation capabilities, but the latest version of the software really does deliver. I can definitely say that without Here maps, we wouldn’t have found our way to the landmark we were visiting — and the phone was in flight mode the whole time.

Finally, although the Lumia 925 has a great camera, I’d have been lost without my Samsung Galaxy Camera. A sunny summer vacation presents lots of great opportunities to feed your social stream on Facebook, Flickr or Instagram, and this device, with its built-in connectivity and 21X zoom, does everything I expect from a connected snapshot camera. Admittedly I’ve been using it a lot since it was launched, so it wasn’t just the holiday that encouraged me to take it, but once again I was very pleased with the results.