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Glastonbury Festival 2015: Smartphone survival essentials

Toddy offers up some sage words for festival-goers concerned about their smartphone’s well-being ahead of 2015’s Glastonbury festival.

The lineup looks awesome, you’ve bought sunnies and wellies for either eventuality and a crate or six of beers to sit around your tents with your mates at 5am, but you’ve still got your smartphone to think about.

Although the music doesn’t officially kick off until Friday, the gates open up as early as Wednesday and if you’re planning on taking up residence in the famed Somerset field for the duration of the event, you and your phone are going to need a few things.

Batteries and power banks

Battery packs should be first on your list of mobile essentials. They come in all shapes, sizes, designs and capacities. Some of the most popular smartphones on the market, such as the two latest generations of iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy S5 and S6 can also enjoy the benefit of battery-laden cases too.

I recently looked at Tylt’s Energi Sliding Power Case, it slots around your phone to minimise bulk whilst giving you an additional full charge without a wall plug, however these solutions aren’t available for every phone out there.

Glastonbury batteries

Thankfully there are a ton of external battery packs available too. Alcatel’s Gecko Power Banks feature a smart design that attaches to the back of your smartphone using suction cups and are ideal for emergency power.

Anker and the like operate at the other end of the scale offering huge 5000mAh and even 12000mAh power banks for those with serious battery anxiety. These will serve you well for around three smartphone charges or a charge and a bit on a tablet. Just remember, bigger batteries cost more and weigh more, so once they’re spent, you’ll be carrying around a lot of dead weight between the stages.

Cases

I’ve already covered charging cases, but when you’re not letting your smartphone sip on precious power, a good case goes a long way to ensuring it’s safe, even if it should take a tumble in the crowds.

If you prefer to shed bulk in the pursuit of a lower profile, there are a myriad of options from case makers including Apple, Belkin and even fashion brands like Barbour (to name but three of thousands of brands in the case game). But if you’re accident-prone and fancy some serious protection, cases from Urban Armor Gear, Lunatik and Griffin have been tested to destruction and lived to tell the tale.

Glasto cases

I trialled the Survivor at the end of last year and proceeded to drag it throughout my trip to Thailand (including the ocean) and it exited the other side unscathed. Heavier duty cases don’t come cheap, but they may be the difference between a protected smartphone and a muddy, smashed, bent mess on the underside of someone’s wellington boot.

Camera accessories

One of the benefits of forking out cash for a top of the line flagship smartphone is that you can leave your compact camera at home and just carry one item.  As such you want the best chance of snapping Kanye (or *Insert preferred artist here*) and there are a wealth of camera accessories to augment your photographic experience.

I’ve been making use of Olloclip’s iPhone 6 lens system for a few months now and the newly launched Active Lens looks like the perfect tool for the job. You’ve got both a telephoto lens with a 2x optical zoom on one side – ideal for grabbing shots of performers on stage and a wide angle on the other – great for group shots with you and your friends or to capture a dramatic view of the crowds.

If you’re a selfie addict you’ll be pleased to hear that unlike this year’s Wimbledon and Coachella in the US, selfie sticks are not banned at Glastonbury 2015, however, do use them with consideration. They’re ideal for squeezing more people into your shot, especially if you don’t have a wide-angle lens to hand, but can also serve you well when you want to snap a photo up and over the crowd.

Just think about the view the people behind you have; if your phone on a stick is popping up between them and the stage every five minutes, they’re not going to be best pleased.

Extra tips

Whilst I’ve covered the primary pieces of mobile gadgetry you might want to consider taking with you, there are also a few tips you might find useful too.

EE Glasto

  1. Try not to use apps like Snapchat or Periscope if you don’t have to; they’re a major battery drain and your phone will go dark long before the stage lights do if you’re not careful.
  2. EE’s running the show (at least from a mobile technology standpoint) at this year’s festival. As such customers of the network can expect solid 4G coverage and if you’re not part of their gang you can still enjoy site-wide WiFi connectivity courtesy of what EE’s calling the ‘Charging bull’ – a life-sized green and yellow bull made of fibreglass that broadcasts a ‘moobile’ WiFi network (EE’s words, not mine) and lets you recharge your device.
  3. If your phone does run out of power there are also recharge tents marked out on EE’s official Glastonbury app and customers with an EE Power Bar can also have an empty swapped out for a fully-charged one there and then.
  4. Whilst we’re on the subject of EE’s Glastonbury’s app, it’s great for organising when and where you’re favourite acts are performing and if you’re friends have the app too, you can even compare notes on line-ups. It’s also got handy features like a check list before you head down.
  5. Conserve power. Should you forgoe the free WiFi, it makes sense to disable apps that would otherwise use your mobile data connection. Your bus timetable app doesn’t need to be polling the internet every hour and neither does Fallout Shelter. On iPhones, head into the Settings menu, open up mobile/cellular and untick ever app you want to stay off the mobile network. Android should look for their Applications Manage, choose an app and select ‘Disable’ to achieve the same result. Just re-enable it when you want to use it again.

Beyond that there’s little I can impart to you for now except to say don’t forget the three W’s: waterproofs, wellies and wet wipes. Enjoy Glastonbury, I know I will.

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