When you're at San Diego Comic-Con, your must-have survival gear isn't just sunblock, granola bars, and bottled water.
Like it or not, being at Comic-Con means that you have to stay connected, which means you need to lug around more than a few pieces of technology. A smart phone is essential. And if you’re a part of the media like me, trying to capture every iota of the experience in order to share it online, you need a lot more tools to do your job right. Sure, lots of you will be taking tons of pictures and Tweeting your hearts out throughout the week just for fun, but for media folks, having the right equipment can determine how well we do our jobs. But whether you’re part of the media or not, here are just a few things that are essential to keeping media folks connected while at Comic-Con.
Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation Duo
When you not only need to charge your drained smartphone, but your tablet too. At the same time! I carried this thing around E3 and it saved my life more than once. And, for some reason, people with dead batteries kept finding me. So I hooked them up. This handy portable battery with 2 USB ports, simultaneously charged my phone and a complete stranger’s after a long day on the show floor. At Comic-Con, I imagine it will get sucked down even faster. It’s good for multiple full charges and is essential to staying connected while roaming the convention floor. Mophie also offers charger cases, which are very convenient, but not as stylish as my R2-D2 case. That’s why I swear by the Powerstation Duo to save my life during the big, power draining shows.
Price: Portable batteries vary from $35 to $100. The Powerstation Duo goes for $99.95. http://www.mophie.com/
This is a laptop stripped to its core essentials, but it’s fast, it’s light, and it’s surprisingly powerful with a long lasting battery. There are other Chromebook models out there, but for my purposes, the Samsung model is the one I need. As long as I have a decent wifi connection, I can upload images and post reports to GeekExchange wherever I am. While people see the lack of a Windows OS and a sizable hard drive as a drawback, this machine does just fine with a number of offline components that let you work even when you don’t have a connection. It comes with 100 GB of Google Drive space for 2 years FREE and does what needs to be done. No, I won’t be doing a lot of intensive graphic design or hardcore gaming on this machine. But to post stories and do some quick, light work on the fly, there isn’t a better machine out there.
Price: $249 http://www.samsung.com/us/computer/chromebook
For a number of folks heading out to Comic-Con, recording a podcast talking about their experiences each night is a requirement. We’ve discovered that the microphones from Blue fit the bill nicely, though I wonder if they just might be a little too good for what we use them for. The Spark and the new Nessie mics are excellent for capturing conversations or even live music, while the Mikey is perfect for plugging into your iPhone or iPad to get excellent quality sound that the basic device microphone just can’t handle. The Mikey especially is the tool for interviews with celebrities walking the red carpet or recording that live concert (when you want it to sound good, not distorted).
Price: Around $99 http://bluemic.com/mikey_digital
Install this on your smart phone and you will save yourself a lot of time trying to coordinate texts and calls between a bunch of people. It’s essentially free group messaging. For example, if I wanted to text everyone on our team that’s covering Comic-Con without GroupMe, I’d have to send out multiple messages or be the subject of a dozen different discussion threads gone insane and have no control over them. You can create as many custom groups as you want also, cutting down on the time needed to select and reselect certain groups of people. I expect that I will have no less than 3 or 4 different groups I’ll be communicating with while at Comic-Con this week using Group Me and it will save me lots of headaches. https://groupme.com/
A lot of my time at Comic-Con is, unfortunately, spent in front of a computer, logging in the day’s activities, writing posts, and editing images. It can get tough on the ol’ eyeballs. Gunnar glasses exist to take away the strain and make you look good while hunched over your laptop in the corner of your hotel room. The yellowish lenses make you look like a badass cop (depending on the style you get), but no matter what, it alleviates the weariness you get from staring at a computer screen all day. They’re also useful if you spend all day in the video game area, playing the new Xbox One or PS4. They have a variety of styles for work or play and they are all pretty sexy.
Price: $79-$149 http://gunnar.com
San Diego Comic-Con International app
The most obvious technological tool you’ll want to have in your pocket during Comic-Con is the Comic-Con app. If you’ve set up a My Sched account, you’ll be able to keep track of all your favorite panels and events throughout the week with relative ease. It has maps, programming info, details on exclusives, and lots more. And, best of all, it’s free!
Price: I just said it’s FREE! http://www.comic-con.org/apps
Are there any pieces of tech you can’t live without while at a con? Let us know in the comments below!
Images: Mophie, Blue, Gunnar, GroupMe, Comic-Con International, Samsung