Mar 04 By mobileman
As my loyal readers will know, I spend a fair amount of time commuting to and from Manhattan. Part of my commute is via NJ Transit trains. During this one hour per day, I try to find ways to either be productive or amuse myself. Since I carry a wide array of wireless devices, I get to try out different modes of time-killing. I also get to observe how my fellow travelers deal with the drudgery and boredom of train travel.
So here are my top five devices for train travel.
If you happen to be lucky enough to snag a seat and have at least 30 minutes of travel, a laptop with an EVDO card is tops. You get to do work, watch movies, shop or whatever. Nothing is as efficient at wasting time then a Web-enabled laptop.
Choices 4 through 1 are for the cases where you may not have a seat – an all-too-frequent occurrence on NJ Transit trains.
WAP and video-enabled phone. Using video on a phone is awkward in a crowded train because you need some form of headphone. Also video on a very small screen (a la a Krazr) is at best a 30-second distraction rather than a 30-minute entertainment. Reading some news articles on WAP or engaging in some social networking is fine for killing a little time. And if all else fails, your phone can make voice calls!
My previous blog offered a review of the Kindle. It is a great device for killing 30 minutes on a train. You can easily read a book or a newspaper in a very small space. The screen is very legible and the selection of content is huge. But, you can’t make a phone call, which your fellow passengers will probably appreciate.
Nothing compares with the iPhone for non-phone infotainment. You can browse the Web, listen to music or watch a movie. Email and chatting are also possibilities, although the lack of corporate email features keeps this device in the number-two spot. The iPhone is also the sexiest device, and as I have said in previous reviews, can actually make you more attractive to a potential mate.
I know, I know – you are probably thinking … boring. Well, the BlackBerry gets top marks obviously for email. The Java game capability, with a large screen and trackball has many possibilities for entertaining distractions. I became a Sudoku addict/expert in less than a week on my BlackBerry! There are some okay video options, although much inferior to the iPhone. As long as I don’t want to listen to music, I prefer the BlackBerry for the mix of work productivity and entertainment.