Con Tested: Two Tech Expo-Essentials
by Brian Walton on September 1, 2013
Comic cons can be hell on a human being. Long lines for panels and exclusives, massively crowded floor shows and more often than not, overly full hotel rooms with people piled upon one another. Now think about how much you put your gear through. A con is no place to have a piece of tech that can’t keep up, which is why that’s where we’ve been field testing some devices that can make your expo experience better. Here are a couple of items to consider keeping on you for your next cons,,,.
If you’re having to crash with friends, or happen to be in a hotel that is throwing one hell of a party outside your window, you’ll definitely want to make sure to keep a set of noise-canceling headphones. During Comic-Con International we put Polk Audio’s Ultra Focus 8000 Headphones through their paces. The Focus phones are lighter than expected for noise-canceling headsets. The carbon fiber headband that removes a bit of the weight is also fairly comfortable. The headphones have a full sound with strong bass while balancing quality with effective noise cancellation. Striking that balance is often tough when it comes to silencers like these. There is a mild white noise that is noticeable but not distracting.
The earpieces are extremely comfortable and make a nice seal against the wearer’s head, allowing you to listen to loud volumes without becoming a nuisance. The controls built into the earpiece are great for when using it with an iOS device. Unfortunately, as a Galaxy owner, I was unable to test the set’s call taking abilities with its built-in microphone. The biggest disappointment is the reliance on AAA batteries and not allowing for a more cost-conscious rechargeable option. In a convention environment the Polk headphones are a dream. At a decently loud volume the headphones didn’t disturb those around me sleeping and I didn’t have to suffer through snoring while I worked at night.
If you’re anything like us, at some point in every convention your eyes start looking down the walls to find an outlet. While Samsung’s charge truck and battery trade-ins at Comic-Con and E3 were of great assistance, we found the Ful Powerbag to be a great option for both carrying your tablet and phone and keeping them fully juiced. The bag is comfortably padded and light but has the added benefit of containing a rechargeable battery pack for charging tablets and smartphones. This bag, combined with a Samsung Galaxy charging dock and two spare batteries, kept my phone in power for the duration of SDCC. It felt as if I was switching out empty clips. There are a multitude of “charge cubes” that can also be used in the same fashion, but the bag is sleek and comfortable and carries enough juice to fully recharge about 3-4 devices before it needs a charge of its own. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to attend another convention without it.