My UK Trip: Tech Report

My wonderful wife and I just returned from a week-long trip to England where we tried many different technologies in order to stay connected while being overseas.

My findings: it’s incredibly easy and cheap to stay in touch while in Jolly Ol’ England. The tools we utilized were: an unlocked Euro Nokia N97 (my primary phone), an unlocked Nokia N82 (her primary phone), an INQ1 phone from 3 (for Skype usage) and the Asus 1005HA running Ubuntu 9.04 Netbook Remix Version and Windows 7.

Staying In Touch Via Phone

On the communications front, we found telecommunications to be absolutely amazing. The INQ1 phone from 3 gave us Skype in our pocket at all times. We were able to keep in touch with all our friends and family members both on Skype and via SkypeOut when we needed to call ‘regular’ landlines and mobiles.

3 really has a disruptive force on their hands with Skype on the mobile platform. An especially nice components of this service, is how Skype contacts are blended right along the ‘traditional’ phone contacts in the INQ1. Dialing your Skype friends is as easy as highlighting their name and pressing Send.

I’d recommend that ANYONE who uses Skype and wants to stay in touch while roaming around the UK get a phone from 3 that supports Skype. The INQ1 also integrates with MSN Messenger, Facebook, MySpace, and many other social networking platforms.

Being Connected on the PC

I decided to take my Netbook, the recently acquired Asus Eee PC 1005HA. I have Ubuntu on it, as noted above, but I mainly used Windows 7 on this trip. Skype is fully supported, with video, which made calling home easy.

Along the way in airports, I utilized Boingo, the meta-WiFi network. I had a layover in Chicago, and Boingo kept me connected at O’Hare and at London’s Heathrow airport. Also, in a few coffee shops and other places in and around London, Boingo, proved to be useful on a number of occasions.

Like the INQ1 phone, you need to check out Boingo for Wi-Fi connectivity while on the go. They have clients that work on the iPhone/iPod Touch platform, Nokia smartphones, Apple OS X, and Windows, making signing onto their network a snap.

As for the Asus 1005HA, I can honestly say that the Netbook is on my must-have list of travel accessories. the 1005HA has amazing battery life (I was getting between 7.5 and 8 hours of uptime) and is just an amazing, fast machine.

Conclusion

So, all in all, with a few tools such as unlocked Nokia handsets, a Netbook, the INQ1 phone from 3 UK, and a Boingo account, I was easily able to stay in touch while traveling overseas.

What tools/services do you use? I look forward to learning from you. Please leave a comment below.

(Photo Credit: Flickr User stumayhew)