Tech – Tablets, Chargers, Batteries and More

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Besides being Signal Corps (Army IT), Nick’s already something of a nerd – and has been passing that on to the kids. With us making multi-day trips a few times a year, entertainment in vehicles is key. For the adults, Hillary has an iPad and Asus convertible laptop, and Nick has an LG G Pad 8.3 Android Tablet and Kindle Paperwhite. The kids are the ones that are loaded:

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Nexus 7 32gb (2013) Android Tablet in Bobj Rugged Case with Tempered Glass Screen Protector

The key with these is having plenty of games and offline media. While our kids love YouTube (watching videos about toys) and Disney Jr, those don’t do any good while there isn’t WiFi (i.e. your typical AMC flight to Korea). Each tablet is loaded with movies and TV shows from our Home Theater PC, tailored to each kid (i.e. Cars and Planes on Ian’s, Tinkerbell on Olivia’s, and a bit of everything on Nataliya’s). Since it’s a 32gb tablet, there’s room for a good 15 movies and 50 or so TV episodes (all compressed using Handbrake). They charge with a Micro USB cable.

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Nintendo 2DS with Carrying Case, Screen Protector, and USB Charging Cable

The 2DS is much cheaper than the 3DS, and I don’t think our kids care much about the 3d features. The 2DS plays every 3DS game, just without 3d. Big whoop. The carrying case holds the 2DS as well as 12 games. Since the games are so tiny, we keep them all in Olivia’s case, and when the kids want to play a different one they have to give us their old one. It uses a propietary charging cable with a hardwired power adapter, so I was glad to find a USB charging cable.

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LeapPad 3 with Carrying Case, Gel Case, Screen Protector, and USB Charging Cable

The older kids don’t use theirs as much, but Nataliya loves hers. While they come with a short USB cable, I wanted longer ones and the ones from Cable Matters are great. Thin, easy to wrap, and durable.

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The Charging Setup

On the left are several extra Micro USB for charging battery packs, a Lightning for the iPad, a USB C car charger, and two USB C for our phones. The Grid-It in the middle has the Anker 10 port USB charger, three Nintendo 2DS cables, three Micro USB for the tablets, and three Mini USB fr the Leap Pads. USB battery packs are on the right, from the 25,000 mAh on top to 5,000 and 3,000 mAh on the middle and bottom.

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The Anker 10 port USB Charger is money. It lets me charge all the kids devices simultaneously, as well as one more device.

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I also grabbed this Travel Surge Protector that came in handy at the Yokota Air Force Base. Without many outlets, I was able to plug in the Anker 10 port, an iClever 6 port, and still have two other USB outlets. That let other people charge their devices off our plugs. Here at the hotel, I can charge the kids nine devices, our three phones, iPad, Kindle, Asus laptop, LG tablet, Nick’s Asus Zenwatch 2 and Hillary’s Fitbit Surge. Everything can sit on one desk, instead of being strewn around two rooms.

Lessons Learned

  • Battery Packs: Too many. I wanted to keep all the charging equipment together, and it was enough stuff to pretty much fill my 5.11 MOAB 10 sling bag to capacity.
  • USB Chargers: Just right. Being able to charge all our stuff while only taking up two outlets is money.
  • Cables: Also good. Keeping everything USB makes managing it much easier. Having quality cables (almost all of ours are from Monoprice, Anker, Aukey, or Cable Matters) helps too. Things ended up getting separated through the trip, so at one point both our phones were dead. I should have done a better job of making sure those cables always went in the same spot.
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