TRAVEL ESSENTIAL | Goodbye Dear Mobile Phone

Don’t you just hate it when you’re on the road and your primary means of contact goes dead on you. Literally. 

Fit for travel! I got this for all it’s magnificent feature. Totally for taking pictures and videos, — with auto and fine focus, perfect for macro shot (yeps!!!!), vibration and shock proofing, and with 3megapixels for it’s so-crazy-it’s-small-and-I-can-throw-it-around-and-not-feel-guilty phone. If there’s a phone that did justice for a clumsy and test-it-for-what-they-say owner– Samsung E590 was it for me!

Since I had to work, my mama and brother left early for a family trip out of town, and I was expected to catch up with them. I was at the mall where I’m suppose to meet them, when my phone went out on me. I tried to revive it. But like in movies, the doctor would say after all means were exhausted — DOA! Dead On Arrival.
What was I to do?! Get a new phone? Work my charms on someone to contact my mom? Find a little brown fox or a dove to carry my message, or build a fire and send out a smoke signal? LOL! Or travel back home, or continue the trip regardless of doing it solo, let them worry in the process, and then feel sorry later during the long sermon from my mom? 

Here were some tips I considered on the basic features that you might need to consider when shopping for a mobile phone with a travel lifestyle in mind. I, first considered functionality and hand coordination above all else (*ofcourse), then ran down the important features. Be nice to yourself, and remember — any gadget should be of your necessity and comfort.

Alphanumeric Vs. QWERTY Keys
Alphanumeric
A 3×4 grid of keys that corresponds to the number and/or letter by pressing the buttons a couple of times. Pro: This makes the mobile more compact.
Con: The pressing of button a couple of times for letter/character use for full text can be a hassle. And can be a predisposing factor for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, in addition to other hand use/coordination activities.
TIP! You can always use the T9 feature. T9 predictive messaging makes it easier to compose full text faster on non-QWERTY pads.
QWERTY
The keyboard-arranged letter/characters placed on mobile phones.
Pro: Really helpful for  full text messaging. Especially if you’re using your mobile other than SMS/MMS. When I went on QWERTY, I never looked back. Really handy when doing business, updates, and lessens out the jejemon messaging.
Con: It makes the mobile wider even if the keys are drastically reduced in size.
TIP! You can choose from a wide range of models/units out there. It’s the “fitting-in-you-hands” to make you feel comfortable using the mobile less compact.

Keypads Vs. Touch Screens

I’ve long moved on. My contacts had vanished along with loads of pictures, videos, and memos on that phone. I have been sporting a new phone, and yes, I am a Samsung user, still, but have long been a convert to QWERTY keypads. I am still weighing the option on, possibly, shifting to touch screens. But my hand coordination will die struggling on that. iP is tempting — for all its glorious features but  it’s not smart for me to travel with it given my careless “Where did I left my phone moments?” and to go on the road with some flashy cellular phone, when half of the time I just throw it around (like, literally).

Features and Specifications
Here are some phone features you need to consider and what these are about, 
in a non-techy girl translation.

+++2G and 3G Network
Are your operating frequency bands. I had a hard time understanding this, but to simply sum it up — your phone specifications works on this. The supported frequency bands determine whether a certain handset is compatible with a certain network carrier. It is not an operator-specific feature. It is helpful if you are choosing a handset to use in your home country or if you are making sure your phone will work in the country you are heading to. It is best if you had both 2G and 3G network on your phone, it is helpful in network connection, and using the services it offers.
+++Wireless Local Area Network

WiFi technology falls here. It provides short-range wireless high-speed data connections between mobile data devices (such as laptops, PDAs or phones) and nearby Wi-Fi access points. You get to connect to the internet whenever there’s a Wifi spot or connection.

+++EDGE and GPRS data transfer.

High-speed data transfer = increase performance. It means it will  delivers higher bit-rates per radio channel, resulting in a threefold increase in capacity and performance compared with an ordinary GSM/GPRS connection. 

+++GPS with A-GPS support

This used to be an emerging trend but has evolved to a must-have feature to get real-time position tracking, text- and voice-guided directions, and points of interest in applications.

+++OS (Operating System)

Usually depends on whether you’re an Android, BlackBerry, or iPhone user, there’s Windows Mobile, iPhone 2.0, and Android to Symbian, BlackBerry, and Palm. So what’s the use of it? The saleslady I asked was not helpful. But your mobile OS, actually, will reflect your lifestyle because it determines the choice of apps and phone functionality. There are a growing trend of apps for travel and photography sharing — it makes it easy to get people updated with what’s keeping you busy at wherever you’re at. But for this, also consider that Android, Palm webOS, and iPhone OS are frequently updated with new software features, followed by BlackBerry and Windows Mobile updates. Symbian is updated irregularly and installing the latest update is not as suave as the others update.

+++Camera and Video.
Camera with 2 MP, 1600×1200 pixels is more than enough for a photo to use on your blog (*from my own POV). For smartphones, BB, and iPhones it can go way pass that. If you carry with you camera/s and  extra battery life all the time, and you’re the type that would rather take shots with your camera — by all means you can consider this a least priority. BUT keep in mind — the best camera is the one you have at a certain umpt!-moment! You might consider to have a phone ready for those moments, just in case!

Other features and specifications like body dimensions, sound and display, memory and data transfer, and battery life — that you can consider on your own preferences. Coming from some non-techy Pinay Travelista, I hope some of the features to consider for a travelers mobile phone comes in helpful. It sure did for me!

So how did my day ended up then? My brother decided to take my mom on a bend, and saw me looking for a phone on a shelf of one of the shops. So it saved me the trouble of  finding a fox or dove to deliver my message, or the disappointment that both my mom and brother don’t know how to read smoke signals. Did I get a new phone then? Nope. My non-techy brain did say not yet. I sulked and grieved for 3 days – for the phone that died on me on the road, before getting a new one. And it took me 3 months to put this one up. Am I happily adjusted with my new phone ? Yes but I could only wish for one thing — for it to have fine focus for macro shots the way it’s predecessor did.

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“Don’t worry so much about not supposed to.” 
– Armande | Chocolat
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