Should We Bring A Laptop?

VS. BT Keyboard and Smartphone

 

If we want to blog while we are on the road then a laptop would sure make things easier.   It would also let us watch movies and TV shows during relax time.   We have an old (2009?) Acer Aspire 1810T Special Edition that is a great little 11″ ultraportable.  It plays HD movies, still gets about 5 hours battery life and runs Windows 10 Pro without breaking a sweat.  The big problem though, is that with the power adapter it’s 1.7Kg!  Pretty ironic for a carry on round the world blog no?  With a 40L pack and small laptop we’d already be up to 3Kg.  That’s almost 50% of some low cost carriers weight allowance!  So should we bring a laptop??

If we did bring a laptop I can imagine we’d be always thinking about it’s security and being extra careful with moving our packs around.  However sometimes you are just out of the equation no matter how hard you try.   You can’t control the friendly guy who’s just trying to help out you from failing to catch your pack as it’s tossed from the pier to the ferry.  So what else is an option?

Internet cafés?  They used to be everywhere and in some countries they still are.   However there’s more free WiFi than Internet cafés now.   They are cheap but they ain’t free.   So ideally you’d want your own device to take advantage of the ubiquitous free WiFi.

Buy another modern Ultrabook/Surface Pro?  That might get the weight down to around 1Kg but the paranoia about laptop safety would still be there and then some due to the high cost.  Tablet?  Seems more reasonable.   Cheaper, lighter and a decent screen for movie and TV show watching.   Definitely an option.

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Then there’s this.  I paired our old Logitech Bluetooth keyboard and our tiny Dell Bluetooth travel mouse to my Nexus 5 and I’m using the setup to write this post.   I took the picture above with our point and shoot and quickly downloaded it to the smartphone via an NFC triggered WiFi connection.   It’s amazingly slick!  😀  I’m actually shocked at how easy this is to use with the BT mouse and keyboard.  The obvious downside is not having a larger screen,  but man, the pros sure to outweighs the cons.

Pros
  • There’s no way we’re not already taking our “phone/flashlight/address books/mp3player/internet browser/alarm clock/budget tracker/ebook reader/map/calculator” Smartphones!
  • Folding Bluetooth Keyboards are cheap and work well
  • We already have a travel sized Bluetooth mouse
  • No worrying about extra expensive gear
  • Huge weight savings
  • Only extra gear required to buy is a folding Bluetooth keyboard
  • The BT mouse and keyboard go for weeks on a single charge
Cons
  • We won’t enjoy TV shows and Movies on our phones as much as on a laptop screen
  • Work on the road would be limited by how long I could handle using the small phone display.  Wouldn’t be bad for some short ssh/vim sessions but I doubt I could stare at it all day.

Hmmm….  So we’d get to binge watch some great shows when we stop travelling and I couldn’t do development work all day.  Those are some pretty good-looking cons right there! 🙂  I have a feeling that a Chromecast would allow us to use any TV/Monitor with an HDMI input as a screen.   So maybe we could watch TV and movies that way and if I had to, work for longer periods?

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Alright, decision made.  Should We Bring A Laptop?  Nope!!   😎  Forget lugging the 1.7Kg laptop and find a good folding Bluetooth keyboard.   Stay tuned to hear how it turns out.

Dell Travel Mouse

Update 1: Making this post with the Smartphone setup was a breeze.  I also picked up a light (34g) Chromecast 2015 and a folding BT keyboard on Black Friday.  The Chromecast plays videos and casts the phone screen on TVs with an HDMI connection really well.  This might just work.   😀

Update 2: Picked up a Chromecast V2 and installed Mixplorer (to copy TV shows and movies from an Exfat formated, no root required,  2TB external USB 3 drive – Seagate Backup Plus Ultra Slim) and Megacast.  Once the media is copied onto the phone via the USB C OTG dongle I used MegaCast which transcodes all typical mkv’s on the fly to play the video on the Chromecast.  Worked like a charm!  For email, blogging and geek stuff I just used Google Home to screen cast the phone to the monitor and used my BT mouse and keyboard to edit the website, write emails etc.

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