This past weekend I took a short trip down to the Florida Keys just to get away before the beginning of a fairly large project. Since I was only going for two days, I thought seriously about leaving my laptop behind. But, part of my job is staying in touch, so in the end I decided to take it along.
Of course, I never leave home without my cell phone, and since I have a brand new Audiovox XV-6700 from Verizon, I was interested to see how well I could stay in touch, and how often I would have to pull out my PC. I was amazed at just how much I could get accomplished with only the phone, in fact, there were times when I could not have been connected without it.
As a network administrator and consultant, I rely heavily on email as my main method of communication and support with many of my clients. For me, one of the problems with traveling is the two days I feel out of touch, getting there and back means a lot of time with no internet access. Many airports have WiFi hotspots available, but most of them charge $5 dollars to $10 dollars an hour for connectivity. Of course, paying $10 dollars in Atlanta does not guarantee you’ll get online in Orlando.
On this trip, I passed through a total of 9 airports, some were repeats, but the end result would have been approximately $65 in fees if I wanted to stay connected the entire trip. I almost paid for access in Greensboro where I had a three and a half hour layover, but instead I stuck with the phone. Since I pay an extra $40 a month for unlimited internet access, I wasn’t concerned about burning up minutes.
The XV-6700 comes with Windows Mobile, built-in WiFi, Bluetooth, and a full featured keyboard. Since one of my issues with phones and typing has always been the three-tap method of entering text, the keyboard was one of the biggest draws for me. The XV-6700 also has a camera, Internet Explorer, and can even run Terminal Services if you’re patient. I had a little trouble getting used to some of the functions, but after a few days I had made a complete shift from my Motorola t720 to the Audiovox.
I did have some minor complaints, although I don’t think complaints is the right word. Turning on the WiFi client disables the phone itself, so if you don’t remember to turn the WiFi back off when you’re finished you can’t receive any calls. If you don’t call out to anyone it could be a while before you realize it’s off. Also, once you turn on the camera, it isn’t obvious how to turn it back off again, but what I found really strange was that there is no external speaker for the phone itself. I don’t use the speaker phone often so I don’t really miss it, but I know a lot of people who would.
As we become more reliant on personal electronics in our day to day lives, I’ve wanted to carry less of them. Having my phone and PDA all in one piece of equipment is a huge convenience for me, and the data access is worth every penny. I did end up using my laptop a few times along the way, but only to finish a PowerPoint presentation I was working on. The XV6700 actually does come with Powerpoint, but I don’t think I could have done what I needed to do. At 43 my eyes aren’t quite what they used to be, but maybe I should have tried just to see if I could get it done. This phone is really a wonderful business tool, and so far I’ve found it easy to use completely reliable.
Maybe next time I’ll leave my laptop behind, if I do, I’ll let you know.