Category: Pictures and Video

Powerstick’s Solar Chargers Hold Up Well Against The Sun, Not The Competition Over 5 Years

When I first received the PowerStick+ and its larger, solar-enabled cousin the PowerTrip, they were at the time impressive. Large capacity batteries able to charge anemic mobiles like the iPhone 5s, with 8GB of storage, and the ability to be topped off by the sun courtesy the PowerTrip’s embedded solar panel.

Two years later, in 2015, I reviewed the PowerStick+ and PowerTrip, whose standby time of 1 year (ability to hold a charge), was still resilient. Fast charging wasn’t as prominent then but 8 hours was becoming a long time to wait for a full battery. Recently I went back to do a Road Tested! review of the PowerTrip 5 years after I first opened the box. It’s held up well, along with the PowerStick, though its price and form-factor seem stuck in the past, when compared to rivals like the under $35 Anker Powercore 13000.

You can watch the full Road Tested! review of the PowerStick chargers in the video above but in short, unless you spend a lot of time in the desert or by the beach, without making use of the solar panels, time might have passed these batteries by for most travelers.

New Mavic Drone Owners: 60fps Will Ruin Your Videos

The DJI Mavic Pro drone, still in my opinion the best one of the bunch, shoots exceptionally crispy 4k video. Right out of the box the Mavic is configured in its sweet spot for video, that is 4k at 30fps. Try to mess around with those settings and well, you can see the results in the video above.

dji mavic  DJI Mavic Pro Fly More Combo: Foldable Propeller Quadcopter Drone

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For those of you getting a new DJI Mavic Pro soon, keep in mind 60fps is a setting you’ll want to avoid and remember to tap the screen to focus. You don’t want to come home after your first day of flying only to find you’re left with heavily pixelated, blurry videos. On the flying side, these are 12 things to know before flying your drone so you don’t crash it – compiled with experience after multiple crashes of my own.

Ultra-Portable Microphone For Traveling Vloggers Who Want Better Audio Is Just OK

People walking through airports with a phone in their face recording or live-streaming about how great airports are with a eerily exaggerated enthusiasm isn’t an uncommon sight, but no matter your particular vlogging style, audio on a phone is tricky to manage. Mobile phone mics tend to pick up much of the ambient noise so if you’re planning to upload travel videos you’re recording live, the MiracleSound Lavalier Mic might be a good fit for you. You can watch my full review in the video above or read on.

Who The MiracleSound Is For

First off, people who have a headphone jack or are willing to deal with dongles. The MiracleSound Lavalier Mic is a corded microphone that attaches to a lapel or anywhere on your clothing about 10 inches below your mouth. There are obvious audio benefits for traveling vloggers but if you’re thinking this might be a good way to improve the audio of your FaceTime calls I’ve got bad news for you. For pretty much every phone, once you plug the MiracleSound in, you’ll be able to record with the microphone, but not hear from the speakers. It becomes a one-way conversation with this MiracleSound device.

miraclesound lavalier micMiracleSound Lavalier Mic

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Good… Sort Of

The Lavalier Mic is compact, a certain benefit for portability and the cord isn’t too obnoxious. But it’s there and for a lot of newer phones that means dongle time. A cute little miniature wind screen also does a decent job of cutting out, well, wind noise, leaving your voice with a grainy, somewhat over-condensed sound. Nothing terrible but not great either, although it’s certainly an improvement in many cases over a mobile phone’s built-in mic.

Recording On A Budget

For $20, the MiracleSound Lavalier Mic might work as a starter microphone for vloggers wanting to step up their audio game. Keep in mind this is designed for phones, if you’re carrying around a large DSLR like the Panasonic Lumix G85, you definitely need something like the Rode VideoMicro. The MiracleSound Lavalier Mic seems like it’s aging out of modern technology with improved phone microphones but for now, it still has a small place for budding travel vloggers.

Review Of The Dell Premier Backpack: Built For Business Travelers

I once said the Dell Premier Backpack might be the best electronics backpack for travelers and having taken another look at it again, would say the same – with a caveat. Finding the perfect backpack is difficult because it’s a very subjective measure and rather than trying to make something for everyone, Dell focused on the business traveler. In doing so, Dell very nearly created a perfect, generalized electronics backpack – but ended up with a very good bag for a particular type of travel. Frequent business travelers who need more storage for gadgets than other generalized travel gear like extra clothing should take a close look at the Dell Premier Backpack. My full review in the video here.

dell premier backpackDell Premier Backpack (1PD0H)

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These Photos Of Beirut Tell You Nothing And Everything About Lebanon’s Capital

beirut corniche

Beirut is one of the most interesting cities I’ve ever been to. It is a city that works but absolutely shouldn’t – with the shouldn’t part being particularly easy to overlook.

pigeon rocks lebanon

Along Corniche Beirut, the Mediterranean Sea is both doorway and barrier; a reminder of how connected Beirut, Lebanon is to the world while concurrently dangling on the edge of war in Syria and open hostility with Israel .

beirut

Depending on which way you’re looking at the sea, it can seem as either.

beirut sunset

Beirut’s corniche though, a strip of a few kilometers along the Mediterranean, feels jovial, normal, and only odd when you add everything up. The variables in this equation shouldn’t yield this result. The breeze in the wake of the rollerbladders skating past whisks away such math problems, another thought for another day.

beirut lebanon

As you feel the touch of perfection, reality nags, leaving you to wonder how, just how does this city work?

beirut pigeon rocks

And work well, all things considered.

beirut coffee

I’m not sure if I was ignoring the issues Lebanon has or appreciating what Beirut has become in spite of them. Vibrant as ever, especially along the corniche.

beirut shisha nargile

The corniche is brashly comforting and safe, yet as you stroll through the other parts of Beirut, you start doing the math. It’s a complicated equation I’ll be writing more about soon but these views sum up a lot of what Beirut is and what Beirut is not.

What’s The Best Mavic Drone To Buy Right Now?

A few weeks ago I answered the question on whether the original DJI Mavic Pro drone was still worth buying in 2018. At the time, there was no new Mavic Pro to compare it to and the 2016 original was still the ideal drone for travelers. Earlier this month, DJI announced the Mavic Pro 2 and the Mavic 2 Zoom, making the question is the Mavic 1 still worth buying even more relevant.

For those of you considering a drone to take on your travels, I break down the differences between the Mavics and compare them to the entire DJI lineup in the video above or you can read on below.

New Drones Simplified

The simplest way to break down the new Mavic lineup is to start with the Mavic original and the Mavic Zoom. They’re very similar drones except the Zoom has a 24-48mm lens you can use to get even closer to your subject. The sensor of the camera is the same size as the Mavic original and if you scroll down the spec sheet, there aren’t a lot of major differences. I’m talking at a high-level of course but if you look at the Zoom and Mavic Pro, it’s the zoom feature all the way.

DJI Mavic 2 Zoom Drone Quadcopter with 24-48mm Optical Zoom

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Now the Mavic 2 Pro is something different. Better camera? Yes. And a much bigger, full one inch sensor (vs 1/2.3in) that has a color profile of a billion (vs 16 million)? Yes. In terms of the actual, physical drone, the Mavic 2 Pro is a lot like the original Mavic but the Hasselblad camera and internal hardware makes it clear DJI wanted to focus on a major improvement in video quality.

Physically, all of the Mavics have folding arms although the new Mavics weigh around 900 grams, 200 more than the Mavic 1. The newer Mavics are also quieter thanks to more efficient motors and have a 31 minute flight time whereas the Mavic 1 is only 27 minutes.

drone down

Pricing Points

Both Mavic 2s are improvements to the original Mavic. They’ve got better specs but higher prices as well – DJI didn’t drop the price of the Mavic 1 (still $999) and the Zoom runs $1249, the Mavic 2 Pro $1499. Those are odd decisions in pricing, because generally new tech products tend to maintain price points, especially when you consider both Mavic 2s are refinements, not revolutions in drone technology.

To Mavic Or Not To Mavic

Given the price points, DJI seems like they’re marketing these new Mavics to people who are primarily interested in videography. Obviously all drone owners, to an extent, care about video quality but it looks like they’re drawing a line at the Mavic Air. The Mavic Air and all of the DJI lineup below it are for people who want advanced selfie cameras and to take some fun videos occasionally – beyond the Mavic Air it’s everyone who’s more serious about video. In other words, if you’re planning to use Final Cut Pro to edit all of your drone videos into sleek YouTube videos, you should probably look at the Mavic Pro and beyond.

At $1499, the Mavic 2 Pro is bumping prices with the Phantom series where big drones begin. Unless video quality is your primary concern, you might want to take a look at the Mavic Air. As far as Mavic Pros go, the original is still an excellent 18 month old drone with a very current price.

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About Anil Polat

foxnomad aboutI'm the blogger and computer security engineer who writes foXnoMad while on a journey to visit every country in the world. I'll show you the tips, tricks, and tech you can use to travel smarter. Read More


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