Tag Archives: Review

6 Things I Like About the Incase EO Travel Backpack

I recently got my hands on a dope new backpack from Incase, so I wanted to write up a review to let you guys know what I think about it.

The bag is Incase’s EO Travel Backpack that sells for $179.95 on their site. Incase has a ton of different backpacks, but I chose this one because it was different than traditional top load backpacks and I really wanted to try something new for when I go on quick trips.

There are essentially three compartments—the main compartment that opens up more like a book or a roller bag than a traditional backpack, the back section that’s made for a computer and/or iPad, and the front area that has a ton of little nooks and crannies where I can tuck away all kinds of stuff like my chargers, mouse, business cards, and portable hard drive.

Incase-EO-Travel-Backpack-Review-01

Here are the top six things I like about the Incase EO Travel Backpack:

1. The Overall Sleek Look
I’m not into flashy colors or bright logos (anymore), so this thing is perfect in terms of how it looks. It’s just straight black, looks super clean, the logos aren’t too in your face, and the materials they use have a pretty techy appearance. I’m not even sure why it looks that way to me, but when you look at the bag, you just know it’s a really modern and high-end product and not just an ordinary backpack.

2. It Can Hold My 17” Computer
I’ve been rockin’ a huge 17” Mack Book for several years now, and a lot of bags can’t even hold a computer that big. The EO Travel Backpack actually has two sections that can hold my monster computer though—one that’s soft and padded that’s perfect if I don’t want to use my case, and another that’s still big enough to hold the computer when it’s in my G-Form case. Since I do a lot of outdoorsy and adventure type stuff and tend to throw my bag around while on the go, I usually have the computer inside the case, and this backpack has no problem accommodating.

3. The Padding & Comfort
Anyone who has spent some time walking from terminal to terminal inside airports knows that backpacks can become a huge pain in the ass real quick. Thankfully the EO Travel Backpack has super good padding on the back and shoulders, and it also has the strap that goes across your chest so you can make adjustments here and there to make it more comfortable.

4. It’s Weather Resistant
Like I mentioned before, I do a lot of outdoorsy stuff, for lack of better words. I’ve been to 35 countries and have seen my fair share of rain and rough weather conditions along the way. Having a backpack that can take a little abuse from rain and everything else is a must.

5. The Side Handle
This is one of those things that might not seem like much, but it’s actually really rad and extremely convenient in certain circumstances. Seasoned travelers will know exactly what I’m talking about, but until you’ve spent a lot of time on the road you might not get it, so you’ll have to trust me on this one.

6. Attention to Detail
I guess you can say this bullet point is pretty much the same as number one listed above, but A) six sounded better than five when I was making my list, B) it brings the list full circle, and C) it’s my list, so I call the shots. The quality of the material and craftsmanship, the treatment of the Incase logos, and the thought that obviously went into the design are all on point. As a former graphic designer and as someone who has a smidge of OCD, I notice and appreciate the small stuff, and Incase is on dialed with everything.

This wouldn’t be an honest review without mentioning a few places where the EO Travel Backpack falls a little short in my opinion, so here ya go…
– It doesn’t have any side pockets, which is something I got used to on my old travel backpack. You know, the kind of pocket that you dump random junk into? For some reason I feel like it’s missing one of those.
– The main compartment doesn’t hold quite as much as I’d like it to, which limits the amount of stuff I can cram in there. This one is definitely for shorter trips or just romping around town with.

So there you have it ladies and gents… If you like what you see and want to check one of these bad boys for yourself, hit up the Incase website!

 

Smartphone Camera Shootout: Nokia Lumia 900 vs. Apple iPhone 5

As I mentioned on my blog last week, Nokia recently hooked me up with a Lumia 900 smartphone to test out the camera on it and share the results with my readers.

After using an iPhone for the past several years (since the very first one came out), it was impossible not to compare the Lumia 900 with what I was already so comfortable and familiar with. So in addition to showing the handful of photos I posted last week shot with the Lumia 900, here’s some overall thoughts on how it stacked up to my new iPhone

(If you need a reminder, you can look at my last post to see the specs and features of the Lumia 900‘s camera.)

Overall Impressions:
– Holding the phone itself is more awkward and bulky than an iPhone has ever been. It’s heavier than an iPhone and feels really big in your hand. (Check out Phone Arena’s blog post to see a physical comparison of the Apple iPhone 5 and Nokia Lumia 900.)
– The shutter button is kind of weird to press. I feel like when I press the shutter, it is hard to keep the camera still, so the composition often gets shifted from what I intended.
– It was strange trying to get used to a new Microsoft-based user interface, but it didn’t take long to figure it all out. Not quite as sleek or sexy as Apple’s iOS, but pretty easy to master rather quickly.
– There is no way to pick a focus or exposure point like there is on the iPhone. When you tap the screen, it takes a photo. I didn’t like this lack of functionality as it often makes it difficult to focus and expose how I want.
– The digital zoom works in preset increments, so it is more limited than what I’m used to with the iPhone 5. Not that a digital zoom ever looks good anyway, but still…
– The photos look great on the phone’s screen. They seem super sharp and vibrant with plenty of contrast, but once I looked at them on the computer, that contrast and vibrancy seemed to lack a bit, especially when compared to the iPhone 5. However, I didn’t really try bumping up the contrast and saturation settings on the phone. Maybe this would have helped some, but all those custom settings seem overkill on a smartphone.
– Speaking of custom settings…There are a lot. Too many. White balance, exposure levels, metering mode, special effects, and so on. I didn’t like how any of them made the images look on the screen, so I never bothered much with them. There could be a time and a place to make some of that stuff work out, but again, it really seems overkill. I want to be able to pull my phone out of my pocket and take a great shot within seconds. (Like I can with my iPhone 5.)
– The “Auto-Fix” function inside the camera roll didn’t work very well with most of my images. In many cases it actually made the photos look worse. However, iPhone’s “Auto-Enhance” function seems to make nearly every image look better by bumping up the contrast and saturation.

Conclusion:
Am I biased towards Apple? Most definitely. But when a company offers to let me test their product, I’ll gladly give it a shot… Do I genuinely think that Apple makes a better product when it comes to a smartphone camera? Absolutely. However, that’s not to say the Nokia Lumia 900 is a bad smartphone camera. And let’s be honest…average users will never really know the difference anyway. Keep in mind that I did not set up the Lumia 900 for phone or Internet usage, so my conclusion is based solely on the cameras.

Notice the colors, white balance, and sharpness in this side by side comparison. I think the iPhone 5 image looks much better. (Click to enlarge.)

Here's a perfect example of the Lumia 900's downfalls. I tried taking this photo about six or seven times with the Lumia 900, using both the default and macro settings, and I could never get the leaves in focus, even when touching the screen directly on the leaves. However, with the iPhone 5, I touched the screen on the leaves on time, and had a great looking "macro" type up close shot on the first attempt. (Click to enlarge.)

The gallery below contains 22 of the same photos each shot with the iPhone 5 and Nokia Lumia 900. Most of the iPhone 5 photos were run through iOS6’s “Auto-Enhance” feature, but most Lumia 900 images don’t have Microsoft’s “Auto-Fix” filter applied because it usually made them look worse. None of these images were altered on the computer, with the exception of batch processing them to resize for this gallery.