As someone that travels a lot and loves to travel lightweight I am upset with how much tech I carry and especially all the cables and chargers that come with it. I do a lot of hotel and restaurant reviews on my travels and for that I need a lot kit for the photos and videos.
My current tech kit that I take with me on my travels currently consists of:
- Dell XPS 15 Laptop – I do a lot of video editing and I like the larger screen and dedicated graphics card. I do struggle with the laptops weight (2 kg) and even more so with the weight of the of the charger (400 grams). This laptop has a proprietary charger but also the option to be charged via USB-C.
- Asus Zenfone 4 – I got this phone in Taiwan and was drawn to it by its specs, price and that it had dual Sim slot. USB-C connection
- Amazon Kindle Voyage – best Kindle in terms of weight vs price. Micro USB connection.
- DJI Osmo+ Gimbal – proprietary charging dock for its batteries. I love the good quality videos it takes but struggle with the weight, short battery life and the time it takes to set up.
- Sony RX10 camera – I just love the F2.8 28-200 lens that it comes with, I hate the fact that it is 850 grams in weight. For a camera that is 5 years old I have not been tempted by newer or lighter models yet – Micro USB charging.
- Go Pro Hero 2 – Mini USB
- Portable 10000 mAh power pack with USB, Micro USB and USB-C connections.
As you can see that is quiet a lot of kit and with all chargers and cables, I currently carry 5kg of tech in total. This will still fit in my carry on compliant bag, but with the weight of my bag and clothes I am looking at a total weight of over 11 kg. Travelling through South East Asia I have had to check in luggage and keep the tech in a day bag to meet the strict 7 kg allowance. How can I change my technology over time and reduce the weight.
I recently bought a new laptop for my wife and it was the Huawei Matebook X, an amazingly speedy laptop weighing just over 1 kg with a 13″ screen and at a price of only $999. This laptop has done a similar move that Apple has done with its MacBook and Macbook Pro, it has only got USB-C ports, in this case there are two of them instead of only one on the MacBooks. The Matebook X gets charged via a USB-C charger and the charger itself weighs only 110 grams. I straight away used this charger on my Asus Zenfone 3 and it worked like a treat. However it could not charge my Dell XPS 15 as it needs a higher wattage. If I could find a USB-C charger that could charge my XPS-15 it could also charge all the other USB-C devices me and my family carry with them.
More and more laptops come with USB-C charging, it initially started with high end laptops but now mid range laptops see also USB-C charging. It is not all that easy and interchangeability between brands is not guaranteed, but it is improving however.
If the USB-C charging trend continues which it looks like it is starting, then I could eliminate a lot of cables and chargers from my tech travel kit and travel lighter, easier and stress free.
USB-C Mobile Phones
We see more and more USB-C capable mobile phones being launched, initially in the high end only, but now more and more medium spec phones start having USB-C connectors. The benefits of USB-C are faster charging capabilities and an increased data transfer. USB-C seems to be only used on Android and Windows phones, Apple is still using its lightning connector for the iPhone, although there is now a USB-C to lightning cable that allows data and charging to happen. If Apple will eventually use USB-C on its iPhones in the future will have to be seen, it might not meet the design criteria for ultra thin phones.
With tablets it is the same as with smartphones, with Android and Windows tablets more and more embracing the USB-C connector, It starts with the high-end models first and then moving down to the mid segment. Apple still sticks with the lightning connector on its iPads.
Go Pro switched to USB-C with the introduction of the Hero 5 range. As with other cameras it seems to be a slow move here. Panasonic with the Lumix GH5 (however only data here and no charging) and Sony with the latest Apha A7 III (both data and charging) have now included USB-C. It seems here is a similar trend with high end models getting USB-C first. USB-C on cameras allows photographers to transfer files to USB-C only computers like the Macbook Pro at high speed without the need for external card adapters.
USB-C Kindles or Other E-readers
There are no USB-C based Amazon Kindles out there at the moment and none of the latest release e-readers have a USBC-C connection.
As you can see the future of one cable or one charger that can charge all your devices is not here yet but it is coming steadily towards us and will allow for less gear. Can you imagine one charger, one USB-C memory stick, one USB-C cable and one USB-C power pack that will be all you have to carry for all your gear. Bliss.