Whenever we get our gear together to head out to an event, trade show or conference, we like to pull back the curtain and show everyone what we bring along with us. This time around it's the big show, Google I/O 2016, that has us all making the trek out to Mountain View, CA for a few days of fun in the sun and learning all about Google's latest innovations.
That means we're all bringing as many Google devices as we can carry, naturally, plus a base line of our computers, cameras, accessories and everything else we could possibly need. We pack an exorbitant amount of gadgetry with us for these sorts of conferences, but we (not so) secretly love it, despite how heavy it makes our bags.
Read on to take a peek inside our gear bags that will be accompanying us to Google I/O 2016.
What's in Phil's bag for Google I/O #theta360 - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA
Very little has changed in my gear bag since my last big trip — Mobile World Congress. Same MacBook Pro. Same Olympus camera. The phones have been swapped out, with the HTC 10 now my everyday carry, with the Galaxy S7, LG G5 and Nexus 6P serving as backup. I also brought along the Pixel C, which mysteriously grew a crack in the same place as my last Pixel C. (The Nexus 9 went around the world a time or two without ever getting a crack in the glass. Go figure.)
New phones are kind of obvious changes. The big deal this time around is the inclusion of a couple 360-degree cameras. The shot above was taken with the Ricoh Theta S. It's proving to be the best one we've used so far, with easy (but full-featured) controls and good image quality. It shares easily to Twitter and Facebook, and provides embeddable pictures through its own service, which is the one area Facebook and Google and others are lacking.
I figured since 360 is going to be BIG this year, might as well use it for this gear bag pic, right? And the bag itself remains my trusty Peak Design Everyday Messenger.
Google I/O is my favorite week of the year. I get to nerd out and learn things as well as hang out and talk about baseball or 1980's pop music with the folks I know from the Bay area. In my book, that's a win. I also want to be sure I am prepared for anything.
I have the large Timbuk2 messenger bag (the older model that's shaped like a trapezoid) and the extra-small camera insert to drop inside it. This combo holds everything I'll need, and a bunch of things I won't need but brought along anyway. I put my Sony Nex 6 (I can't give up the viewfinder) and a 35mm lens in the cmaera insert, along with all the cables and chargers and batteries and SD cards needed to use it. I also drop my Olympus voice recorder and a pair of lav mics in there, just in case.
On the computer side, I carry a 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro running OS X and Goobuntu Linux along with the charger and a handful of USB thumb drives.
The good stuff, of course, are the Androids. I'll be taking my Pixel C, along with a handful of phones — the Nexus 6P, the Nexus 5X, the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge, the HTC 10 (along with my trusty Sony headphones) and the Nextbit Robin. If there's room I'll pack my BlackBerry Priv because I still love that keyboard. Of course, there will be several Anker battery packs to try and keep them all running.
One other cool thing I'm taking this year is a Xiaomi Yi camera and a handful of mounting options. Even a selfie stick. If I can talk Andrew into helping, expect a video of Jerry rolling down the biggest hill in Mountain View with an action cam mounted to my wheelchair and something cold and frosty in my hands. Maybe with Dan Bader in my lap. All work and no play something something.
I'll probably wish I had packed something I didn't, but I think this should get me through Google I/O 2016.
Not much has changed in my gear bag from earlier this year, but there are a few considerations for Google I/O that change things up.
Starting with the bag, I'm carrying my trusty Timbuk2 Classic Messenger bag, large size, which still works great for me. I keep cables and random things organized in some super-handy zip-up mesh storage bags, and generally have room for everything I need. I'll be working entirely from my trusty old MacBook Air 13-inch for the show, and I fear this may be the last big show for this 2012 model before I move on to something new.
I carry the Timbuk2 Snoop Camera Insert, size medium, inside the bag, which keeps my camera gear safe and separate from the rest of the gear and makes it easy to manage. I've upgrade the camera inside to an Olympus OM-D E-M5 MK II, but I'm still using my handy Olympus 25mm f/1.8 prime lens, with an Olympus 14-150mm zoom lens for longer shots. During the show, my camera sits on my messenger bag strap with a Peak Design Capture Camera Clip — seriously, one of the best camera gear investments I've made.
Onto the phones — and yes, Google I/O warrants bringing lots of phones. I'll be carrying my Nexus 6P primarily (with a Spigen Thin Fit case, but my bag will also have a Nexus 5X, a Nexus 6 (running Android N), a Galaxy S7 (with a handy battery case. I'm bringing both my 10400 mAh Xiaomi Mi Power Bank and a 5200 mAh Samsung Fast Charge power bank to keep 'em juiced up, plus my 6000 mAh dual-USB Project Fi power bank for a backup (and some extra Google cred). As for cables, I like my Ventev tangle-free ones — a couple micro-USB, and a USB-C.
Odds and ends time! For any sort of voiceover or podcasting work, I have my Samson GoMic portable microphone. For the plane rides, I'm still using the AKG N60NC on-ear headphones, but those stay in the hotel in favor of the OnePlus Icons earbuds when I'm out. I bring a compact Ventev dual-USB wall charger to carry around, plus my Belkin travel surge protector for the hotel.
For this year's Google I/O I'm packing my usual trade show stuff, with a Googley twist. I'm still carrying my trusty Jasper Conran messenger bag, into which I'll be bundling a reasonably hefty loadout of camera, laptop and phone-related goodies.
First up, my daily driver will be the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge, which I've found has by far the best battery life of any mainstream, high-end Android phone — important for getting me through long days in Mountain View. But just in case, I'll also be carrying a 5,200mAh Samsung Fast Charging Battery... and just to be sure, an additional 10,000mAh courtesy of this Aukey fast-charger. My backup phone will be the Nexus 6 — fitting for a Google event, and I'd expect to have a new Android N preview build ready for it during I/O week.
My main laptop is still an ancient MacBook Air (2012 model), and yes, I'm still holding out for a refreshed MacBook Pro later this year. For now, the Air does the job, even if it's surely seen better days by this point. And when it's time to take pictures of cool stuff, I'll be relying on my Olympus OM-D E-M5 II, paired with a 25mm f/1.8 pancake lens for shooting small things close up, and a 14-150mm f/4-5.6 superzoom lens for liveblog duty. As I've said before, this camera is capable enough for most of the photographic duties of the job, while not completely dominating my carry-on luggage.
Finally, I've been reacquainting myself with iOS lately, so I'll be packing an iPad Air mini 4 alongside an aging Nexus 7 2013. And for music on the flight over to I/O, it's gotta be HTC's excellent high-res audio earphones, bundled with the HTC 10 in some countries.
Gear! Google I/O! It's my favorite time of the year.
In years past, at my previous job, I was a one-man reporting machine, and always brought way more than I needed. But with this illustrious team alongside me, I plan to be a bit more selective with my gear choices this year.
It all starts with my trusty Timbuk2 Showdown backpack -- I try to minimize back strain, so a messenger just isn't in the cards for shows like this -- which features a super tough nylon exterior, plush pockets and, for the size, an enormous amount of storage.
Inside, my Sony RX100 IV pocket camera will surprise you with its beautiful photos and smooth 4K video -- one of the best travel investments I've made in recent memory -- and will be paired with a Manfrotto BeFree travel tripod, which attaches to the Timbuk2 through handy loops. Elsewhere, my Zoom H5 microphone will capture interviews with Googlers, developers, and maybe even our own team.
My mid-2015 MacBook Pro will be the workhorse of the trip, capturing my written thoughts on its keyboard while rendering my mediocre video. Seriously, I need to work on that. I'll also have a bunch of phones, including the beautiful platinum Samsung Galaxy S7 edge, which I find has some of the most consistent performance and battery life in the Android space. I'll also be bringing a Nexus 6P to soak up all the inevitable Android N goodness, and a Nexus 9 to do the same on the tablet side.
I'm also playing with Samsung's new Galaxy TabPro S, a Windows 2-in-1 that has so far impressed me a lot.
And for the planes, trains and automobiles, I'll be bringing my favorite in-ear headphones, the Sony XBAH1's, which despite lacking a microphone, sound so good I want to cry.
Check out our full coverage from Google I/O on our dedicated I/O 2016 page!
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