Ultra Mobile Reporting Kit V12. No Cables.

Posted on 03 September 2013, Last updated on 03 January 2014 by

Ultra Mobile Reporting Kit 12

It’s been a long time since I wrote about an Ultra Mobile Reporting Kit. V11 was back at CES 2012 and since then I’ve attended a number of important trade shows where the kit hasn’t changed much at all. Bridge Camera, Nokia Cameraphone, Tablet, Ultrabook. For IFA and IDF, two back-to-back events that start on Wednesday this week I’ve put together something new. It’s Windows-only and the plan is that there won’t be any cables involved outside of overnight accommodation. That means no chargers for laptops and no USB cables for charging phones. It’s a bold move.

Reporting kit V12 has been made possible by some major battery-saving changes in Intel  architecture. Introduced in the Atom world a few years ago the system-on-chip design with extremely tight power ‘island’ control is now available in Haswell Ultrabooks and brings the same level of battery life advantage. We’re reaching up into 10hrs of on-time per charge which means that mains cables can finally be left at home.

The heaviest processing load on my kit comes from video editing and although some advances have been made in the Atom platforms, they haven’t kept up with the demands of YouTube viewers. Those demands come from the urgency and the quality requirement. Although I still limit myself to 720p, I’ve pushed the quality up a notch. Ultimately means that I need Intel Core under the keyboard. It’s a shame because that’s about the only thing I need an Intel Core-based device for; Otherwise I’m just cropping and popping photos, typing or reading – activities that can easily be achieved on the new Clovertrail-based Windows 8 devices. I use my Acer W510 a lot!

I’ve decided to take both a Haswell-based Ultrabook (Harris Beach review here) and the Acer W510 Clovertrail 2-in-1 (review here.) Total weight: 2.8KG. Total battery life, approx. 20 hours.

I know, it’s a lot to carry, and it doesn’t include the camera or phone but I’ll save a lot on the cables and chargers, about 400gm, and I’ll have a backup laptop should something happens to one of them. That’s important for such an important set of events.

The camera is still the Panasonic Lumix FZ150 with its long zoom and impressive optical stabilization. I won’t move to a bigger sensor camera because it’s too damn heavy and for 600px wide images there are some tricks I can use to get usable photos from a small sensor.


Since I bought the ASUS Fonepad earlier this year it’s been with me everywhere but it’s not coming with me this time because I’ve taken on a Windows Phone 8 device that will replace it. Actually, I’ve got two Windows Phone 8 devices.

Since I bought the Nokia Lumia 620 recently (a quality bargain) I’ve been confident that I can drop the Nokia 808…if I can find the right camera to replace it. Windows Phone 8 is, without any question, a huge step up from Symbian Belle and I’ve found enough in the Windows Store to cover almost everything I need to do on a tablet. I’m missing some Google Plus capability but to be honest, I’m using Plus less and less these days.

The Nokia Lumia 925, kindly loaned by Nokia, is working out well. The cam on the Lumia 925 is extremely impressive in low-light scenarios and the optical stabilisation really helps to avoid times when a flash might be needed. I’ll be missing getting a few party shots but that might be a good thing for all concerned! Windows Phone 8 has a hotspot facility which is something that the Nokia 808 never had. It will also be my Amazon Kindle reader although the lack of screen rotation lock can be awkward  when lying down.

The Lumia 925 has good battery life, until you really use it hard when, like any phone, it drains quickly. I’ll take the Nokia Lumia 620 to supplement it. Total weight of the phones is 270gm. The Nokia 808, with a bumper, weighs 194gm so I’m not adding much by taking two phones. The set-up also gives me multiple SIM flexibility.

And that’s it. No battery packs, no cables, no chargers. Risky?  Perhaps. I’ll let you know how it goes.

I’ll be covering Bay Trail news at IFA and IDF so stay tuned here for that. For Haswell-based 2-in-1’s and Ultrabooks, go to Ultrabooknews. (I’m expecting some interesting mobile computing devices in the lower-TDP end of that category.)

Other kit in the bag…

  • USB SD card reader
  • USB Ethernet adaptor
  • USB Wifi adaptor (high quality dual antenna, dual band, dual channel  ASUS N53)
  • Mini headphones (for editing video in the press room)
  • Business cards, wallet, mints, energy bar etc.


Mobile reporting kit V12 isn’t the lightest but it’s got power, battery life and redundancy and won’t need cables. I’m looking forward to reaching into a tidier backpack this time round.

Extra: I’ve be taking a closer look at solar-powered mobile reporting…in extreme conditions.  The Scott Expedition is taking on an amazing set of kit. I’ll be interviewing the expedition leader this week too so watch out for updates on that here at Ultrabooknews.


History of Chippy’s Mobile Reporting Kits.

  • V11 (Jan 2012) is here.
  • V10 (August 2011) is here.
  • V9 (Nov 2010) is here.
  • V8 (May 2010) is here.
  • V7 (Feb 2010) is here.
  • V6 (Jun 2009) is here.
  • V5 (March 2009) is here.
  • V4 (Sept 2009) is here.
  • V3 (Feb 2008) is here.
  • V2 (Sept 2007) is here
  • V1 (March 2007) is here.

7 Comments For This Post

  1. Alan says:

    Are you also not using cables to transfer photos and videos from your phones to your notebooks? Are the built-in WiFi in both the notebooks so bad that you need a USB WiFi adapter?

  2. Chippy says:

    I always TX photos from phone via SD card or from phones via BT.
    WiFi on the Windows 8 devices is not perfect so i’ve got an additional USB WiFi stick with me which might help in extreme conditions. I’ve also got 3G on the Ultrabook.

  3. ArchiMark says:

    Good luck with your plan, Chippy…..

    Interesting concept taking 2 laptops with no chargers…

    I probably would have gone for taking the W510 and a charger….but can also see your point about having a spare, just in case….

    Let us know how it goes….

  4. lasvfy says:

    Instead of taking 2 of everything wouldnt it be easier to just take a charger?

    How in the world you could choose WP over Android completely boggles the mind.

  5. Chippy says:

    What features would you be missing on WP?

  6. Stan says:

    A Past iterations of this kit inspired me when building my new kit. Glad to see this article since I’m finally putting the Viliv X70 ultra kit to rest.

    Here is the replacement:

    Kupa Ultranote X15 ultra, VanGoody Hydei bag black (10″), Bracketron Itilt stand, spare x15 battery, Logitech M187 mini mouse and an Anker Ultra-Slim(4mm) Wireless Bluetooth 3.0 Keyboard. Everything fits in the bag including the cable and charger but I tend to leave the charger (cable) and bring my Nokia 520 (I only call, text and email).

    Now to weigh this kit minus cell at the deli close to work lol. Need to know if I meet Chippy’s standards. I definitely met my goal but my ultimate kit would have a 7 or 8 inch variant of the x15 same specs but that’s not possible at the moment.

  7. stan says:

    1.5kg or 3.3 pounds for my new kit.
    (spared the local lunch counters and did the math using spec sheets)
    Will invest in an Energizer xp18000 and hit 16h without using a power outlet but add at least 2 pounds to my kit and I’d need a bigger bag.

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