My laptop replacement for shorter trips: A mobile phone and a bluetooth keyboard
I was traveling recently and forgot to take a notebook charger with me. My notebook lasts a few hours these days, but I had three days ahead of me and I needed to work.
My first idea was to buy a universal laptop charger and I ordered it while on a train and later picked it up. However, sometimes “universal” is not truly universal. This one had 11 different connectors and supposedly supported Dell models as well, but in reality it didn’t fit mine.
I returned it next day and got my money back (thanks to EU consumer laws a 14 day return period applies to all online shopping). By then I still didn’t solve how I was going to work remotely.
And then I had an idea. I had seen those rubber or foldable USB keyboards before. They were usually a good fit for tablets. Unfortunately I found out that it was almost impossible to buy them (apparently, the era of tablets and their accessories is now gone). However, there were plenty of bluetooth keyboards available. So I ordered one online and went to pick it up. I tested it immediately with my smartphone and indeed, it had paired without a glitch.
I was still missing some apps, though. So I went and installed all the necessary work apps such as Basecamp, Slack etc. I had my work profile already set up in my phone, so I could easily access my email, calendar and others.
Anyway, I was using this combo of my smartphone and a compact bluetooth keyboard for two days and it worked pretty well. Only downside is that mobile phone display must be on and therefore drains battery a lot. But charging is never a big deal. Also, I might look for some foldable smartphone stand for vertical support.
And the best thing about this setup? You can ALT+TAB through the open apps. This and other working shortcuts that we know from desktops make the whole experience even better.