I don’t know about you guys but my work involves a lot of traveling. I am in a different town every week and worryingly away from my desk computer or my personal laptop. Sometimes I carry my laptop but if I’m only away for a day or two, I opt to leave it because carrying it becomes a great burden – You’ll never know how bulky your laptop is until you start traveling regularly, trust me. It has reached a point where I’ll only leave the house with my laptop when I really need it – like seriously need it. Anyway, a computer still plays a big part in my life hence the big question – What do I replace my laptop with whenever I’m on the move?
Mobile phones are considered mobile computers nowadays but for me they are never enough. There is always something missing. I handle 90% of my email conversations on my phone including work email. However, if I have to review a document before sending it via email, I’ll have to resort to my computer. I know mobile phones have office applications but I find them too cumbersome. I cannot type a proposal on my phone. How do I even start? In fact I only use my phone for emails as mentioned and for social media. The remaining tasks like browsing the web, downloading stuff and consuming media are handled by my computer. Yes, I prefer listening to my ‘neighbor-annoying’ rock music on my computer as I send my crush weird telegram stickers on my phone.
“Mobile phones are considered mobile computers nowadays but for me they are never enough. There is always something missing.”
What about tablets then? Okay, thanks for that question mysterious reader. So I’ll ask you this. What tablet do you have in mind? If by any chance it is an Android tablet then refer to the above paragraph.
The other casualty are iOS tablets also known as iPads which honestly don’t handle productivity well so don’t even think about it. That leaves us with Windows tablets. These tablets must be paired with detachable or Bluetooth keyboards to maximize on productivity. The downside is that they tend to be either underpowered or too expensive. However, the atom processors that I consider underpowered are capable of the casual web browsing, Microsoft office wizardry and media consumption which is all you need when you are on a business trip.
Another point to consider is battery life. You want these mobile computers to last for as long as possible to encourage you to save on luggage space even further by leaving behind the power plug. The battery longevity will also be a plus for those long journeys where you still need to be connected to your business world in a remote area where power is hard to come by. Therefore tablets are okay but at the moment they have to be the right Windows tablets for example the Surface line-up.
For some people, tablets will always be gimmicks and an ultra-portable computer would be the best deal. Here you have a wider selection. You could pick up a MacBook, a Chromebook or a Windows Ultrabook. Chromebooks are the cheapest option but you should be prepared for the limited usage scope and limited storage.
Whether you want to pick a MacBook or a Windows Ultrabook will depend entirely on the ecosystem you have invested in. Whichever you pick, be prepared to pay a hefty sum. If you do proper research, you could get yourself an economical Windows Ultrabook. Whichever the OS of choice you will be guaranteed (in most cases) the ultimate portable machine. Some will even handle light gaming or replace your laptop/computer effortlessly.
In conclusion, the best alternative for replacing your bulky computer while you are on the move is obviously an Ultrabook or a MacBook but the only problem is that they are too damn expensive. Anyway, chances are that if you are always going for business trips then you might have that extra cash. Other options are either underpowered or won’t do all the tasks your regular PC can do. This creates a niche that needs to be addressed.
There are several ongoing projects that may try to solve the issue. One of them is Remix OS. This is an Android based operating system but re-designed to run applications in a windowed mode for better multitasking. It can be installed on current Windows machines and Android tablets. This improves productivity greatly on these tablets. I know what you are thinking – Windows machines already have a capable OS, so why would I need to install Remix on one? Good question. Windows is a capable OS but try and think about it differently. You remember those mini-laptops that you want to carry around but they always seen underpowered? Remix OS in theory could make them usable again.
Another project is the Kickstarter Superbook project. The idea is simple. You buy a 99 dollar computer shell that kinda looks like the new MacBook. Connect your Android phone to this shell and it comes to life running Andromium OS which is like Remix OS. Your phone will provide much of the horsepower except battery which the shell contains. The shell will therefore charge your phone in the process. This can turn your phone into your only office making it the ultimate portable device.
In the end we still need to look to the future. The idea of a portable office still needs tweaking to serve the common people. For now it is still safe to use an Ultrabook even though they are a bit expensive as compared to normal laptops. The hope, of course, is that portability will be matched by good performance and a lower price. But until then I will be in the market looking for an affordable Ultrabook.
images via: pixabay