Ready to go in Rome © Emma Sparks
Straight up: I received these products for review courtesy of Three UK. All opinions are my own, totally honest and not skewed by the fact I got a freebie.
UK mobile network Three is all over the place these days. Their recent #holidaybraggie and #holidayspam campaigns have taken over social media and for good reason - ‘tis the travelling season for most Brits, and Three is undoubtedly the best network for holiday-goers, allowing customers to roam FOR FREE in 16 countries, including Australia, Hong Kong and the USA.
To aid you further in your quest to drive your friends back at home to tears, Three sell the essential travel accessory pack, including a power bank, a mini portable speaker and a waterproof pouch. I took it on a test drive on my recent holiday to Italy with my rickety old trusty old iPhone 4s. Here’s what I thought:
This nifty portable charger is a super compact (about 8cmx2cm I’d guess) black cylinder with USB and mini USB ports at one end and a few attachments to connect to various phones. It’s a pretty convenient size and shape; it fit easily into my DSLR camera case or small day bag and could easily be kept comfortably in a pocket. A light within the device turns from red to green once fully charged and ready to go. I made use of it on a number of occasions - most notably while admiring the Pantheon in Rome.
At the Pantheon in Rome © Emma Sparks
- For budget travellers who can’t afford to pay £50+ for a portable charger, this is ideal. It charges up in a matter of hours and provided me with a full 100% extra battery on the go. Unless you’re expecting to charge multiple devices and spend hours and hours on your phone, this will do just fine.
- It’s light and slim, which is important. I hate being lumbered with too much stuff when out and about exploring.
- The power bank got rather hot while charging my phone on the go - which although not necessarily unusual for a battery like this, was a teensy bit concerning. Could it overheat in high temperature conditions abroad? I had no problems in sweltering Rome - but I’ll have to put the charger through its paces a bit more to find out.
Charging my phone in the wild © Emma Sparks
I happened to give my mum an iPod nano for her birthday during our holiday, so this cute portable speaker came in very handy for playing her MJ back catalogue.
A small and portable speaker from Three © Emma Sparks
- This is essentially a key ring. The sound quality for such a compact piece of kit is impressive. I’m no music buff but this is more than good enough for getting ready for a night out in your hostel or playing some tunes at a picnic.
- Unsurprisingly, the sound gets slightly tinny if you turn the volume up full - but that’s unnecessary.
- Increases your chances of being an unwanted source of noise pollution. Enjoy your music responsibly people - sometimes fellow sunbathers/neighbours are trying to sleep!
Whether we like to admit it or not, our mobile phones are precious to us; we all know someone who’s dropped their phone down the loo or into a full pint glass - we know because they whinge about it for weeks. If you’re an accident-prone traveller, this case would be handy simply to protect your phone while hopping into a long-tail boat in Thailand, or sailing around the Whitsundays. It’s perfect for splashing in the pool or sea (like I did), but as well as this I’ll be using it when camping and trekking, and when I’m, erm, at home in Wales.
- Your thumbs will never be idle again. Your phone can now be taken snorkelling, rock-pooling, rowing, you name it. More likely: texting in the shower.
- This genuinely does open up new options for photography and video, if you’re a person who likes to document your travels (of course you are :) ). Underwater instagrams are just plain cool and you know it.
- Despite the usual warning that the company takes no responsibility for broken/damaged phones due to misuse of the case, there were no instructions provided. It was pretty self evident I admit, but I would have felt more confident had I had a diagram, or a few lines to reassure me that I wasn’t about to drown my beloved mobile in the pool.
- Once underwater, you lose the ability to use the touchscreen capabilities of your phone. This was a shame for me as I wanted to make a vine, which requires you to touch the screen in order to record. So for video (but not vine) and photos, on an iphone at least, you need to use the volume controls rather than the screen, which isn’t so bad.
Is it worth the money?
Yes. The Three Travel Bundle Pack costs £29.99. For three nifty little products - two of which are essential travel items in my book (portable charger and waterproof case) - this is worth the price. Decent waterproof cases and portable chargers on Amazon often cost this amount alone, so you’ll possibly save money there. The packaging is no frills, but the products are solid. They enhanced my travel experience significantly and I’ll continue to use them in the future.