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Festival Essentials: Our picks of the best mobile festival kit

It’s festival season, and as we pack our bags ready for Glastonbury this weekend, we’ve brought together what we think are the essential mobile gadgets you need.

Phones keep developing at an amazing speed, and if you own a smartphone, you could find it replacing plenty of other gadgets in your bag – making more space for snacks, a change of clothes – and more paracetamol.

Festivals are the perfect place to make the most of your smartphone – it’s the Swiss Army Knife of gadgets, and apps are its pull-out blades.

First, check to see if the festival you’re headed to has its own app. Glastonbury and the Isle of Wight Festival both released apps in conjunction with phone networks.

The Glastonbury app has a great schedule feature that allows you to plan out your time in Somerset, and attempt to avoid missing your favourites. It’s also good at linking to social media services, so you can make friends and family jealous quickly and easily as you update your status or add photos.

Make sure to setup the alarm on your clock app too. We know it’s very easy to sleep-in after a big night, but an alarm should help gently nudge you out of your tent to make the most of the festival.

If you’ve packed headphones and have an Android phone, it may be worth putting your FM radio app at the front of your phone. You’ll then be able to keep up with which acts are where from the Beeb’s live coverage.

Spotify is our music app of choice, and we’ve already downloaded a playlist that features music from a load of artists set to play at Glastonbury this year to get into the mood. Spotify is also great for discovering new music – may of whom may be performing live at one of the festival’s smaller stages. Check out ShareMyPlaylist for plenty of festival-related Spotify playlists curated by other users.

Download a photo app like Instagram or Hipstamatic to make the most of your summer snaps; with the high-resolution cameras found on phones, you may want to leave that compact camera at home.

Onavo for the iPhone could also help dodge a huge tax bill after a data-heavy festival. It uses compression algorithms to ensure data traffic is kept to a minimum, meaning more cash for falafel and noodles.

If you’re fearing for the safety of your brand-new Samsung Galaxy S2 or iPhone, and would prefer not to lose/break them, then buying a stop-gap feature phone could prove to be the ideal solution. (Especially if you’ve already sold your old phone on.)

We like the look of the Motorola Wilder. It won’t break the bank at under £50, but has impressive festival credentials for a feature phone.

It’s a touchscreen handheld that’s both splash-roof and dust-resistant, and whilst we didn’t expect to be wowed by the range of apps- there is no app store- there’s Soundhound to tell you what you’re listening to, as well as an FM radio, and a selection of games like Need For Speed and Tetris.

More importantly, feature phones like the Wilder are known for their rugged battery life, and it’ll keep you in contact with your mates at the festival. That what a phone’s for, right?

The Wilder isn’t out just yet (although may be around in time for the later festivals like the V Festival). Alternatively try the Samsung Solid Immerse, it’s not as stylish as the Wilder, but is scratch and shock resistant.

There’s no shortage of portable chargers to re-juice your phone. We’d choose Apatchy’s PowaPatch, which we tested when trying to live without a plug-in charger.

It offers a double-hit for battery-hungry phones; you can charge the device ahead of the festival, and then recharge it using the expansive solar panel on the front

When we used the Powapatch, it gave us about one and a half charges on our iPhone, and it comes with several different adapters, meaning it’ll work with most phones. It’ll also work with any gadget that can be charged through microUSB, like Sat-Nav or cameras.

It also arrives with velcro patches and a lanyard meaning you can connect it to the outside of your tent or your bag to soak up the rays.

There’s even an LED torch at the front- another reason to leave that battery-eating, single-function flashlight at home.

We may have been a bit over-zealous at getting a full solar charge out of The Great British summer, Overboard’s waterproof lanyard may seem a more logical choice. There’s a range of different sizes to suit all phones, and you can hang it around your neck, along with your tickets and passes.

If the festival weather does turn into a monsoon, fear not- the waterproof case, is “guaranteed submersible to six metres“. Best to be safe, eh?

If you’re nervous about data allowance stings, or reception issues, a Mobile WiFi device from one the mobile networks could be a good option.

Pictured above is the Three MiFi– if your phone has a WiFi connection, you can use this to access internet and email, and can be bought on pay-as-you go or monthly.

The Pay-As-You-Go device arrives with 3GB to start with, and data top-ups start at 500MB for £5.

Whatever festival you are going too, it’s worth checking out the coverage before you go.

If you’re after some chillout music in your tent, the Orbitsound T3 has to be heard to be believed; there’s a mighty audio-wallop behind the tiny speaker system. It even comes with a lanyard if you’d like to share your esoteric musical tastes with fellow festival attendees.

Orbitsounds’s airSound technology gives a rich sound-sound effect, and there’s a 3.5mm port to plug in your MP3 player or phone. (Don’t worry; the T3 arrives with the cable in the box.)

It’s the best-sounding portable speaker we’ve tried. We raved about it in our review, if not about the lanyard option.

The Etymotic MC3 in-ear headphones arrive with four different in-ear tips, and are also compatible with custom-fit earmolds, if you’ve got your own pair.

Getting to sleep at festivals is always tricky, with these to block out the noise, and substitute it with the comforting sounds of your own music collection or Classic FM.

The clever part is the microphone on the headphone’s cable, picking up nearby residual noise, so you should be able to hear your mate shouting at you to get out of the tent.


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