Best Gadgets for Missionaries

AFresh1 @flickrThe right electronic gadgets overseas can be a big help.

Many gadgets have ministry purposes, but they also have other benefits.  They can allow access to a library without having to move it all over the world with you!  They can also help keep you connected to loved ones back home without having to lug around a laptop.

This article will quickly become outdated as newer and better gadgets become available.  For now, here’s a brief overview of some of the best.

(Note: there are no affiliate links in this post.)

Tablet: iPad.

This is the biggest hitter of the bunch.  It allows you to access all your media.  Also, as long as you maintain an appleid with a US credit card with a billing address in the US, you are able to purchase more media while overseas.  However, this is ethically blurry and a point of discussion.  Also, with a VPN, you can stream Netflix while you are overseas if your internet speed allows it.  (I have not done this myself, but reliable sources tell me they do it!)

As far as I can tell, no other company allows you to buy US movies and TV while overseas, so this could be a big plus for you.  (Though see the caveat above!  We here do not recommend you do anything to violate your user agreements with any company!)

However, the main drawback is that the ipad is so darned expensive.  You can get 2 or 3 gadgets for the price of just one ipad!  If you do spend the money, you will be happy with the device – but you may not get the biggest bang for the buck.

Non-iPad tablets:

Amazon’s popular Kindle Fire HD has some real pros, but I don’t recommend it for overseas missionaries.  Amazon allows you to buy books and magazines while overseas, but not movies or TV shows while overseas.  This severely limits the attractiveness of the Kindle Fire HD.  You can buy books for the Kindle if you maintain a US credit card and billing address.  But if you can only get books, then just get the Kindle Paperwhite which is much better for reading anyways (see below).

My recommendation: get a Google Nexus 7 or 10.

For the common guy and for everyday use, it has comparable specs compared to the iPad.  (No please don’t email me to inform me that the iPad actually has a processor that can do the Kessel Run faster than the Nexus, or something similar!)  Like the iPad, you can use the Kindle app to read your ebooks from Amazon on your Nexus.  However, you can’t buy movies or TV shows while overseas, so an iPad may be better for you.

The main plus: it’s cheaper than an iPad, but offers more flexibility than the Kindle Fire HD.

Ereaders.

The best ereader is Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite.  The screen is lit up so it works great in the dark without an extra accessory.  It looks great in bright sunlight as well.  Amazon has better selection than the Nook or other readers.  You can also access all your ebooks from Amazon on other devices using the Kindle app.  If you have a library card from the US, you can also check out many books online for your Kindle – even while overseas.

Cell phones and Smartphones.

If you want to bring your smartphone overseas, there’s a good chance it won’t work overseas!

If you want to buy an unlocked iPhone in the US and take it with you, it will cost an arm and a leg.  Also, if the iPhone is available where you will be overseas, it can cost an arm and a leg there as well.

Fortunately, there is a great option.  For the price of an iPod, you can get the Google Nexus 4.  It’s basically a smartphone without a SIM card.  It accepts a GSM SIM card, and you can buy a SIM card locally almost anywhere in the world, and it should work.  Without a SIM card, it’s an iPod like device.

And it costs a fraction of an unlocked iPhone!

The only catch right now is that they are unavailable for order because of their popularity.  Keep checking for availability.

Are there other gadgets you are interested in for overseas?

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