Emma Rawson explores the latest mobile phone, TV film and sound innovations for RVs.
Life on the road doesn’t mean you have to leave your favourite music, social media and TV shows at home. Motorhome and caravan travelling in the 2020s is very much a home-away-from home experience where the latest entertainment is at your fingertips.
Phone it in
Smartphones have become so ubiquitous in our lives in the past few years they have quickly become a holiday essential. Google Maps has got many drivers out of a pickle and our phone also doubles as our holiday camera. There are now many RV power devices with apps that help you monitor power usage and charge. Plus, there’s a slew of entertainment apps (Spotify, RNZ, iHeart, Audible, Apple Arcade, Netflix, Neon, to name a few) to keep you movin’ and groovin’. Top tip: it pays to upgrade your apps before you hit the road – this will stop you using data while you’re out and about and apps that aren’t up to date can be a power drain. If you’re in the market for a new phone, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 is one of the latest Android phones with a 7.6 inch Main Screen, big enough to use as a TV viewing screen or in place of a PC while you’re away from home. The Armor Aluminum casing is durable, and folds in half to protect your screen. If you prefer something more pocket sized, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 folds down to the size of a small wallet. For the team Apple fans, the iPhone 14 Pro comes with a 48MP camera and has a crash detection service, where the phone will send an emergency signal and call 111 if it detects a serious crash.
Even if you have a smart TV in your RV, it’s worth installing the apps on your phone for your favourite streaming services as many allow you to download movies and entire seasons of TV shows, allowing you to watch your favourites without the need for a Wi-Fi connection.
To get Wi-Fi i you’ll need wireless broadband: essentially high speed internet that connects via a mobile network. Vodafone/One New Zealand, Spark and Wireless Nation all have wireless broadband data plans to suit your usage (Wireless Nation has an NZMCA plan) and can provide a portable modem that has its own SIM card. Wireless Nation’s modem can run off 12-24V battery power (an adapter may be required) but it comes with a 230/240V to 12-24V wall plug for mains power.
Once you’ve got your favourite music playlist playing on the Spotify app on your phone, if you want the whole vehicle to sing along there are several player and speaker options. A dashboard multimedia player like the RSE Double Din multimedia radio with Bluetooth is like a traditional car stereo on steroids. This multimedia system allows you to connect via Bluetooth to your phone and other devices ike a car rear view function. A sound bar stereo like the 12V Sound Bar with Wireless Audio Technology is a great option and can be used as a speaker for any device with Bluetooth. or to enhance your TV’s sound. If you want to take your music outside, opt for a portable Bluetooth speaker, which can go anywhere. The JBL Charge 5is a great option due to its 20-hour battery life.
Cinema under the stars
For a little something special, consider the Samsung Freestyle Projector LSP3B, which is a portable film projector that connects to an external battery pack with a USB-C cable and allows you to watch movies or TV under the stars. The projector has a built-in 360-degree stereo and can project onto any surface, even a motorhome door or coloured walls. The angle of the projector can be easily adjusted and the auto levelling function will easily compensate if you’re on uneven ground.
Ever wondered why you might be on no bars of cellphone coverage while the person next to you has full connection? If your cellphone coverage is bad, it could be due to the distance or line of sight between your phone and your mobile provider’s closest tower. Another reason your coverage may be bad could be because of the frequency of the network (mobile networks use radio communication). Newer phones tend to have bigger antenna, which can help with signals. Ever wondered why your phone runs out of power quickly while you’re on the road? When driving through very remote areas your phone will use a lot of power as it tries to connect to mobile networks. Putting your phone on airplane mode until you’re in regular coverage could be an option if your phone is low on juice.