Many thanks to Nordialog for sponsoring this small but great mobile phone.
When walking the Great Wall, I do not carry the laptop. I carry the htc S740 which gives me all the functionality I need, apart from editing pictures.
The htc S740 is sturdy and has a steel frame around it. It is slightly larger than a regular phone and weighs 140 grams (4.94 oz). It has a regular small keyboard on top for dialling numbers, sending short messages and answering calls. But underneath it has a slide-out four-row keyboard. This keyboard is very easy to use and writing my daily reports on it goes quickly. The keyboard is illuminated from underneath so I can write the reports without the need of any light.
I have bought two additional batteries for the mobile phone and these three batteries last between seven and ten days depending heavily on how much I talk, and how cold the weather is. I turn it off while walking the Great Wall, and in the evenings I turn the screen brightness down to the lowest level. I bring an ultrashort USB cable so that I can charge the batteries when I get to a computer along The Wall.
In addition to updating the website, checking mail and the weather, making calls and sending messages, I have a Fluentz Chinese course on it. It has a large microSD memory card, and I plan to transfer music and books to it so I have something to listen to on the odd rest day along the Great Wall. I also have a small Excel sheet on it that I use to convert GPS positions from the format on my GPS to the format Google maps uses. (This is how the Great Wall Route can be updated)
When I am invited to stay overnight with Chinese people along the Great Wall I like to show them pictures of life in Norway. I might transfer these pictures to the mobile phone to save some weight. The phone has a 2.4 inch screen which is good for writing reports, but perhaps a little small for pictures. The plus however is that the 2.4 inch screen doesn’t use too much battery power. Another plus is that the screen is not touch sensitive as they often don’t work well in cold temperatures.
To update my website I usually write the report locally firest on the htc S740, then log on to my own website using an interface that was designed to be very lightweight in terms of the amount of data being sent to and from the server. This keeps my costs down. Then I update the blog entry and log off. I usually also check my main mail account, and then check the weather for the next couple of days. All these things help me stay sane while out walking, and can prepare me for bad weather.
For some reason, I cannot answer emails on the phone because of the sim card. But in one way this is a blessing as I can always text friends and family, and don’t want to spend lots of time writing long mails in the little tent.
I keep the mobile phone in a protective envelope. The sand in the desert is a killer, and I want to keep the S740 away from it. In sub zero degrees the envelope keeps the moisture from getting in to the itsy bitsy parts of the phone. I have lost the phone by accident to the ground a couple of times, and luckily it survived these falls.
So – to sum up – without this phone in the field, I would lose all contact with you readers, friends and family!