Tom’s guide to the best Digital Nomad Gadgets!
If you’ve quit the day job, booked your flights and packed your socks, relax. The hard work is almost done. Now it’s time to think about the electronic luxuries that can make your digital nomading adventures that little bit more comfortable and enjoyable. These digital nomad gadgets can offer you everything from communication with the rest of the world, to access to work, to pure and simple entertainment. They can also weigh you down and cause charging and signal headaches. You may feel you want to travel with more devices, as you’re so used to having them with you day after day. That’s why deciding which electronics to take with you can be a daunting prospect. The number of items you take can be strongly dictated by the size of your bag, the type of traveling you will be doing and where you will be going. For instance I wouldn’t recommend taking a state of the art laptop trekking through the Amazon or climbing Mt Everest, I would take a smart phone. I would, however, take a laptop inter-railing through Europe to work with.
The following is a brief overview of popular, practical and well priced products you may wish to have a closer look at. I have scoured (some of the internet) looking for these and feel they are all pretty great products!
For the digital nomad that wants to travel the world and continue working full-time(ish) in an online based job, a laptop is almost always going to be a necessity.The type of laptop you will be taking depends on what you want it for, those with serious work and projects on the brain may be interested in an Apple MacBook pro, they’re really quite expensive but are apparently the bees knees. They are fast, powerful, lightweight, thin and pretty stylish to boot. There are lots of different specs to choose from so you can be sure you’ll find something to suit your needs. The display on these machines is fantastic, ideal if you are a digital nomad whose job relies on visual work. To be honest even some of the much older ones are better than my most up to date machine. That’s quite depressing.. Although these are pretty pricey it’s hard to argue with the value for money you get, it’s not like you are paying for inferior quality, provided you look after yourself and your MacBook, this should last you a very long time. As with all laptops there is a huge range of accessories, the only 2 I would personally go for are a mouse like the ones listed below. I’ve included two because I know some people like to have all authentic products, personally I’d go for the cheaper one! And a case. Hard or soft? It’s up to you, do you drop a lot of things? Better go for the hard case in that case.
If apple isn’t your cup of tea there are hundreds of other options out there for you in all price ranges.
One of the best rated and recommended I’ve come across for those on a budget is the Asus Transformer Book. This machine is the ideal size for a digital nomad and comes as standard with Windows 8.1 and a 1 year Office 365 Personal subscription. Useful if you’re into that sort of thing! The battery life is ridiculously long if it is in fact up to 10 hours as they claim, that’s pretty great and means you can catch the overnight bus from Madrid to Barcelona without worrying about having to hear the small crying child behind you, not that I’m still bitter about. I probably wouldn’t recommend this if you are a serious workaholic or you need mega fantastic spec for your computer. The processor isn’t the best, look at the price after all, but for the medium to casual user I think it’s great. For an even cheaper option have a look at the older model, which actually has better reviews in a lot of places. A good case is a must for this machine and having looked around I found a rather natty little leather number available in a few different colours, get a few to suit your mood? Or just go for black, black is universally generic right?
Another Asus option is the Zenbook UX305FA, it has great reviews online, is fairly affordable and is very light and transportable, the whole thing only weighs 2.5lbs. The screen display is excellent meaning you’ll have no problems viewing, cropping and editing pictures to put online and show off! The battery lasts for upto 8 hours which is useful for the digital nomad and to be honest I think it looks quite beautiful. For a newer Zenbook with slightly improved specs at a higher price go for the UX303LA. That is also quite pretty, if not a bit shiny. It’s quite difficult to find a standard case for these machines so I’ve looked at a complete case, which is ideal to slip inside your backpack etc and a 2 in 1 keyboard and screen protector, handy if you are going to be wandering in dusty climes.
Maybe you don’t like Asus either, that’s cool, we have a few more to look at:
Samsung Chromebook – Running on Google’s chrome based OS this is a bit different, ideal if you are really, really, really into Google and their things. A bonus here is that all of your documents are saved to the cloud, meaning the machine is lighter for you to carry. This laptop is quick, easy to use and designed to get the best out of the web. The battery life is a solid 7 hours and there are plenty of ports to ensure you have the right one for all of your needs. One thing they are particularly proud of is there full-sized, optimised especially for Chrome keyboard, it looks a lot like a normal keyboard to me but what do I know? Best of all is it’s really quite cheap! Again, a case is a must, even if the computer is cheap you don’t want to have to buy a new one because you saw the sea, got excited, dropped your bag and broke your laptop. That would be pretty horrendous!
Dell Inspiron range: Dell is a good solid name, been around for a long time and have a pretty decent reputation in the computing world (I think?!) The Inspiron range has laptops at all levels and prices, you have the opportunity to customise many features to get the performance level you are after and there really is a lot to choose from!
Security of laptops whilst digital nomading is a concern for many, and there are a few security options out there for you. Laptop locks can offer you peace of mind and come in varying sizes and strengths. Consider whether you would prefer a combination or a key lock, it’s a big decision! It may sound stupid but not as stupid as you will feel if you lose the key or forget the code. Hopefully if you get a sturdy lock it should be enough to discourage all but the most committed thieving gits.
You can also get alarm systems for your laptop, that might be a decent idea depending on where you are going to be staying but I’m not sure how effective they are to be honest. The ones I’ve come across have very mixed reviews.
Many travellers even take it upon themselves to distress/disguise the look of their laptops with duct tape etc to deter potential thieves – this is completely a personal choice! Providing you have a sturdy travel laptop bag or a specialist rucksack and adequate insurance you’re well away.
Also have a look at anti theft software, you can get this for free from many sites or see: