This year, CNET reporter Daniel Terdiman will be heading off to Europe for Road Trip 2011. After five years covering thousands of miles in the United States, it's time to head across the pond and see what the Continent--and England--have to offer.
To get around, Terdiman will be taking a number of trains, and will also be road-testing two vehicles from Audi. One is the 2012 Audi RS 5, which is available in Europe already but has not yet made it Stateside.
The RS 5 is the latest version of Audi's A5 line. First came the S5, and now the sport-tuned version, the RS 5. The car has a 4.2-liter V-8, and has 450 horsepower. Audi says the car gets 22 miles a gallon, but the EPA has not confirmed that number since the RS 5 isn't available yet in the U.S.
When traveling abroad, regular Internet connectivity is crucial, and you can never be 100 percent sure that hotels or cafes are going to meet your needs. That's where XCom Global and its MiFis come into play.
Similar to the MiFis available from U.S. carriers, the XCom Global models are designed to work in international countries. Users can pay a daily rental fee for unlimited service, and can substitute SIM cards for each new country. For simplicity's sake, I'll be taking seven of the devices with me, one each for Switzerland, Germany, The Netherlands, France, England, Italy, and Spain.
When traveling a long way, it's important to go light. As a longtime Mac user, I was interested in trying out the latest version of Apple's MacBook Air as a counterpoint to its larger MacBook Pro. The 13-inch Air has a 1.86 GHz Core 2 Duo processor and comes with 2 GB of RAM. It weighs just 2.9 pounds.
Having tried out a first-generation MacBook Air, I can say that having two USB ports is a big plus. The fact that it has no optical drive is less important than it used to be, especially given how many services are now in the cloud.
For Road Trip, I'll also be road-testing the latest 15-inch MacBook Pro. Weighing in at 5.6 pounds, it's a good deal heftier than the Air, but it also packs a lot of tech inside its body. Among the important features are a 500 GB hard drive, 4 GB of RAM, two USB 2.0 ports, a Thunderbolt port, and more.
Although much of my travel during Road Trip 2011 will be by car, I'll also be doing what many Europeans do: take the train. For this, I'm using a Eurail Global pass, which allows travel in 22 countries. In the case of my pass, I'm allowed to ride for 15 days in two months. The pass covers most of Western Europe, though it is not valid in England.
Given that I'll be traveling around Europe for several weeks--and visiting the Swiss Army Knife factory--it only seemed appropriate to test out some of the luggage that bears the famous knives' brand name.
The gear I'll be using includes Swiss Army's Mobilizer suitcase, its Deluxe Garmet Mobilizer, and its Big Ben day backpack.
No good journey these days goes undocumented, and Road Trip 2011 is no exception. To shoot video during the project, I'll be using several devices, including Sony's high-definition HDR-PJ30V. This little handycam stands out because it also includes a micro-projector capable of putting a 60-inch screen on any wall.
Apple's iPhone 4 has been around for nearly a year, so this is not the newest device in the bunch. However, I'll be toting the iPhone 4 around Europe, using it to make phone calls and for mobile Internet surfing. Apple is covering the cost of that service as a way of showcasing what it would be like for Americans to use their existing iPhones on European carriers' networks.