Tech journalist and frequent traveller Nafisa Akabor on new tech you can use on your travels
Travelling with the right gadgets makes all the difference. Recently, I’ve been playing with the iPhone Xs camera, giving the Fitbit Charge 3 a run for its money, using a Bluetooth tracker for my luggage, and killing time with Netflix documentaries. I also found a convenient way to organise my cables.
The iPhone Xs is a worthy, though pricey upgrade from an iPhone 7 or older. The camera is leaps ahead with improved bokeh (the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light) on Portrait mode, adjustable after a shot is taken. And say goodbye to under- and over-exposed photos with the incredible Smart HDR update that is sure to make your travel photos pop.
From R21 999
Fitbit Charge 3
The ergonomically designed Charge 3 now has an improved display with smart features and easily-interchangeable bands. Aside from the expected fitness, heart-rate and sleep tracking, the biggest improvement is the 50m swim-proof feature. It works in the pool or ocean, making it the perfect companion for your next adventure; just don’t dive with it.
From R2 999
The nifty Tile Mate Bluetooth tracker is suited for small items like keys, bags or travel items that need extra protection. Switching between my house keys or bags, I’m able to ring or geo-locate my stuff through the app with its 45m Bluetooth radius, which is battery operated. Bonus: it’s compatible with Siri shortcuts on iOS12.
R1 099 for four
Thule Subterra PowerShuttle
My pile of charging cables need to be easily accessible while traveling, and Thule’s Subterra PowerShuttle does more than keep it separate and tangle-free. It has a nifty powerbank slot on the inside, with a cable pass-through for convenient charging, held in place by an exterior pocket. This also ensures you’re not leaving anything behind.
What to stream
The Netflix original documentary Explained is an extension of the Vox.com’s Youtube channel that tackles topics that aim to be relevant a year down the line. The 18-minute episodes range from topics like cryptocurrency, and the world’s water crisis to the stock market and e-sports, and are ideally suited for offline play during your next flight.
Netflix from R99 a month
Smart Singapore train ticketing
I was fortunate to attend the World Cities Summit 2018 in Singapore this year and found the location apt as it took top honours in the Global Smart City Performance Index 2017. The region has masterfully integrated technology into mobility, healthcare, and public safety, but one particular thing stood out for me…
And that’s the ability to use a MasterCard contactless Tap & Go credit card on the MRT without having to purchase a train ticket. This means I didn’t have to visit a ticketing booth or find a helpdesk before getting on the train and bus. It blows my mind how something so simple could be beneficial globally, considering that I’d be lucky if a subway station’s self-help ticketing booth in New York accepts my credit card without hassle.
If you ever find yourself in Singapore, consider using a contactless prepaid MasterCard credit card to tap and pay your way around the island.