Category Archives: Reviews

Road trips: what’s in my Verizon bag

I had a series of road trips earlier this year and now that fall is here (festivals, college football, weddings), I’m ready to hit the road again. I wanted to share some products I recently tried out courtesy of the folks at Verizon.

Mophie Loves You

Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation Duo

This little 2-inch by 4-inch device went in my bag nearly every time I left the vehicle, especially at events like Bonnaroo where I was taking lots of photos and video and my iPhone battery was quick to drain.

What I like most about it: you can charge two devices simultaneously, it has a special high-output battery that allows for ultra fast charging and it had 4 LED charge status indicators to let me know how much juice was left.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 4

On my 10-day trip to Tennessee, I was attending a music festival and researching a destination for a magazine article. I didn’t want to take my laptop but I wanted to have something with more screen space than my iPhone 5s. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 was a great alternative: more convenient to tote around and allowed me to check and write emails comfortably. It was lightweight, the screen was beautifully sharp and the battery lasted forever. The tablet also came to the rescue more than once when we needed to use it as a mobile hotspot.

Galaxy Tab and Delphi Connect

Delphi Connect with 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot

Maybe I’m a little too giddy about this but I don’t usually travel with a hotspot. I was pretty amped about having Wi-Fi connectivity for the duration of the driving portion of our trips. It worked great as a hotspot but I was never able to try out its full functionality. The first vehicle we drove was not compatible with the features that turn the Delphi Connect into a voice for your vehicle – letting you know more about its diagnostics, location and past trips. I love the idea of using this device to find your car in a big parking area (uh, how about a festival with about 80,000 people) and tracking your driving statistics. We thought we’d try it out with our second vehicle on another road trip, but unfortunately that vehicle had an OBD port that would not accept the device without an extension cable. I didn’t realize this in time to order one.

For any of you who followed along on our #Schummer14 30-day road trip that covered 4,500 miles – trust me when I tell you these devices would have come in handy. Even for the weekend road trip, you’ll want to consider a few of these.

Disclaimer: Verizon provided loaners of each product for purposes of this review. Views of the products are my own. You can find more reviews of Verizon products and accessories on Instagram and Twitter by following the hashtag #vzreview.

Verizon’s Google Nexus 6 review: It takes two

If you’re not an ’80s child, you might not get my headline reference to Rob Base’s It Takes Two song. In this case, I’m referring to hands – it takes two hands to operate Verizon’s Google Nexus 6, which was a downside for me. I’m sure I’d get used to it eventually but I’m pretty happy being able to one-hand my iPhone 5s and snap a quick photo.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I judge phones mostly by what they can do for me in the camera department. I also own a DSLR and several point-and-shoot cameras but I want to be able to rely on my phone for great photos, too, because I’m not always able to carry a dedicated camera. I want images I can share with friends and family on social media and use for work purposes, too, which means they need to be high enough quality to be printable at least as large as 4-inches by 6-inches.

I loved the vividness of the “pixel-rich, 6-inch Quad HD display” on the Nexus 6. The phone features a 13-megapixel camera with HDR+ and optical image stabilization as well as a 2-megapixel front-facing camera. There was something on the camera called photo sphere and to be honest I wasn’t able to figure it out but here’s a link to that tip and five other Nexus secret features you might not know about.

I used the camera while on a research trip in Rochester, New York, and the nearby Finger Lakes area, so I got lots of chances to shoot some beautiful outdoor subjects. I’ve included unedited samples of similar views taken with Nexus 6 and with my iPhone 5s.

Here are some samples.

Taken with Nexus 6

Taken with Nexus 6 (unedited)

Taken with iPhone 5s

Taken with iPhone 5s (unedited)

Taken with Nexus 6 (unedited)

Taken with Nexus 6 (unedited)

Taken with iPhone 5s (unedited)

Taken with iPhone 5s (unedited)

Taken with Nexus 6 (unedited)

Taken with Nexus 6 (unedited)

Taken with iPhone 5s (unedited)

Taken with iPhone 5s (unedited)

Taken with Nexus 6 (unedited)

Taken with Nexus 6 (unedited)

Taken with iPhone 5s (unedited)

Taken with iPhone 5s (unedited)

Interested in a more technical review of Verizon’s Nexus 6? Check out Aaron’s review.

Disclaimer: Verizon provided me a three-week loaner of this product for purposes of this review. Views of the product are my own. You can find more reviews of Verizon products and accessories on Instagram and Twitter by following the hashtag #vzreview.