The New Year has started on a brilliant note. For starters, I’ve got myself a new toy. Call me silly, but I’ve been spending the better part of last week, loading up my brand new Asus ZenPad 8 with apps and features, to accompany me on my travels this year. Since I travel so often, I have been looking for a gadget, which is easy to carry around, packed with features, that can be a practical replacement for my laptop (I sometimes find it hard to lug around my laptop, especially on short trips). The Asus ZenPad 8 fits the bill perfectly. Interestingly, it also happens to be my very first Android gadget. As an Apple boy, I found it hard to navigate the operating system at first, but I think I am getting the hang of it.
What strikes me first about the tablet is how sleek and well-designed it is. The 8-inch, screen is perfect to work on, type on or even watch movies on. The display is of high quality and is extremely sharp, thanks to the Asus VisualMaster technology, which enhances the appearance.
As soon as I got my tablet, I snapped off the back cover and snapped on the Asus Audio Cover, with its fabulous built-in speaker. I can prop the tab up and watch whatever I like, with effortless ease (welcome to India Netflix).
As I mentioned earlier, I was looking for a table to accompany me on my travels across the globe. I am growing reasonably fond of the Android interface and I’ve managed to download a few of my favourite apps. Here is a look at my favourite luxury travel apps, and how I am going to use them on my new tablet.
Kindle – I never leave the city without my Kindle. However, I have also downloaded the Kindle for Android app on my tab. Through the Amazon cloud, I can view my Kindle books on the tab and read them on the go.
Netflix – It seems to be that this the Asus ZenPad 8 has been designed with a strong focus on entertainment. In the wake of Netflix India’s launch, I have to say that movies and TV shows have been streaming on my pad seamlessly and the sound on the audio cover makes it so much better.
Snapseed – Since I’m a furious Instagrammer, I prefer to edit my pictures and make sure they are really stunning before I post them for my readers. Snapseed, Google’s photo editing app, is my favourite app and it makes my photos look absolutely gorgeous. My favourite filters on the app – Drama and Glamour Glow.
Zagat – When I am travelling to a city where Zagat has its guide, I swear by it. The famous Zagat guide is an authority of sorts on restaurants, bars, shops and hotels in a range of cities. I normally use my Zagat app for restaurant recommendations.
Airline Apps – The apps that I have on my tab are for the airlines that I fly most frequently — Emirates, Air India and Jet Airways. Check-in, seat selection, booking, flight schedules, frequent flyer miles et al, I can manage my itinerary ever so easily. In addition, I also have the Star Alliance Navigator, which helps me manage my flights on Star Alliance partners (Air India, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, to name a few).
SeatGuru – Before I do a check-in for any flight, I always make it a point to log onto the SeatGuru app, which tells me what kind of aircraft I will be flying on and which are the best seats in the cabin. This is my go-to app before I board ANY flight.
Hotel Apps — It’s always important to keep the booking.com app handy on my tablet when I am travelling. In case I need to make a change in booking, or even if there’s a change in plans requiring me to make a last minute hotel booking, I am sorted.
Four Seasons – One of my favourite luxury hotel chains recently launched their app. Besides the obvious app check-in, check-out option, there are options for spa bookings, concierge services, housekeeping requests etc. I love the interface as it is truly luxurious.
SPG – The Starwood Preferred Guest app is also one of my favourite hotel apps, and works in 1,100 hotels in over 100 countries across the Starwood group – W, Sheraton, Le Meridien, St. Regis, Aloft, Westin, among others. I like the app because it allows me to book hotels anywhere, manage my SPG account and even get round-the-clock assistance from the SPG support team. What’s more, the app allows me to access my room number in an instant. No more forgetting my room number.