/>
X

Five mobile systems for working outside the laptop

There are lots of laptops on the market, but other mobile solutions may be a better choice. These six systems can help you get work done with little compromise.
image.jpg
By James Kendrick on
00-jk-mobile-gear.jpg
1 of 6 James Kendrick/ZDNet

Think outside the box

Mobile professionals have a lot of choices in gear to use on the go. For most that means a laptop, but for those who like to push the limits of mobile tech there are some good alternatives.

Because of the work I do, I own a lot of mobile gear and use it every day to get my work done. I’m fortunate in this regard as it gives me a lot of choice for traveling light yet still being productive.

I currently have five mobile systems. Heading out each day to work remotely, each of these systems lets me get a lot of work done. I can do online work, write thousands of words, and even work with Microsoft Office documents on the go. Which system I take each day depends on how small and light I wish the gear bag to be.

My three mobile keyboards can be used interchangeably with the gadgetry, but because I buy so many I have settled on one for each device. They are all Bluetooth keyboards, so having a different one for each tablet or phone eliminates the need to keep unpairing/repairing them. I just throw the combo in the bag and head out the door.

The five systems are presented here in no particular order.

04-jide-remix-ultra-tablet.jpg
2 of 6 James Kendrick/ZDNet

Jide Remix Ultra Tablet

The newest member of my mobile kit, the 11.6-inch Remix Ultra is a choice for heavy writing days. Slightly bigger than the MacBook Air, the Remix Ultra has the advantage of removing the keyboard and using it as a tablet. It is based on Android yet has the Remix OS to make it much like a Windows system.

It can run all Android apps, and the three apps comprising Microsoft Office — Word, Excel, and PowerPoint — are particularly good on the Remix.

See my ZDNet review of the Jide Remix Ultra Tablet

02-ipad-mini-3-logitech-keys-to-go.jpg
3 of 6 James Kendrick/ZDNet

iPad mini 3 and Logitech Keys-To-Go

The iPad mini 3 is good for the days when I need to be very productive yet carry a small bag. The display is only slightly smaller than that of the bigger iPad but is sufficient for handling all of my work needs. It fits in a very small bag, making it perfect for days riding the light rail.

The Logitech Keys-To-Go keyboard is about the size of a paperback book cover, and almost as thin. The one piece construction of the keyboard makes it spill and dust proof, handy attributes while on the run. The keys have a good feel, and it is a surprisingly satisfying keyboard given its unusual looks.

See my review of the Keys-To-Go

01-ipad-air-2-ms-universal-mobile-keyboard.jpg
4 of 6 James Kendrick/ZDNet

iPad Air 2 and Microsoft Universal Mobile Keyboard

The 9.7-inch Retina Display on the iPad is a good option for working all day without eye fatigue. There are apps available for the iPad for just about any work purpose, including the outstanding Microsoft Office suite. It is a solid platform for work purposes, and excels when paired with a keyboard for those times when the slate alone is not sufficient.

The Microsoft Universal Mobile Keyboard impressed me after I bought it, and the longer I use it the better it gets. Typing on the keyboard is fantastic, and the integrated stand is perfect for the iPad Air 2.

This is my favorite all around mobile system.

See my ZDNet review of the Microsoft Universal Mobile Keyboard

05-iphone-6-plus-jorno-keyboard.jpg
5 of 6 James Kendrick/ZDNet

iPhone 6 Plus and Jorno Keyboard

For days when work is not scheduled, I carry the small Jorno Keyboard which fits in my pocket, along with the iPhone 6 Plus which comes everywhere with me. The iPhone is a better work system in a pinch than most realize, and when paired with the Jorno the combo is the most portable writing system I’ve used.

This is perfect for unexpected times when inspiration strikes. I open the Jorno, turn on the iPhone 6 Plus and I’m writing in seconds. I don’t do heavy lifting with this combination, but I’ve written thousands of words with it.

See my review of the Jorno Keyboard on ZDNet

03-mba.jpg
6 of 6 James Kendrick/ZDNet

11-inch MacBook Air

Those who absolutely must use a laptop, might as well use the standard for portability.

On days when I plan on writing 3,000+ words, having a good keyboard is essential. On those days I slip the smallest MacBook Air in the bag. The keyboard is slightly bigger than most mobile keyboards. While the other keyboards in my collection work well, the full keyboard of the Air is my choice for heavy writing days.

The MacBook Air is the right balance of screen size and keyboard, and it’s barely heavier than other mobile systems.

It is the only laptop in this collection.

Related Galleries

Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6: Electric vehicle extravaganza
img-8825

Related Galleries

Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6: Electric vehicle extravaganza

26 Photos
A weekend with Google's Chrome OS Flex
img-9792-2

Related Galleries

A weekend with Google's Chrome OS Flex

22 Photos
Cybersecurity flaws, customer experiences, smartphone losses, and more: ZDNet's research roundup
shutterstock-1024665187.jpg

Related Galleries

Cybersecurity flaws, customer experiences, smartphone losses, and more: ZDNet's research roundup

8 Photos
Inside a fake $20 '16TB external M.2 SSD'
Full of promises!

Related Galleries

Inside a fake $20 '16TB external M.2 SSD'

8 Photos
Hybrid working, touchscreen MacBook hopes, cybersecurity concerns, and more: ZDNet's tech research roundup
Asian woman working at a desk in front of a computer and calculator

Related Galleries

Hybrid working, touchscreen MacBook hopes, cybersecurity concerns, and more: ZDNet's tech research roundup

8 Photos
Developer trends, zero-day risks, 5G speeds, and more: Tech research roundup
Person seated at a booth in a cafe looks at their phone and laptop.

Related Galleries

Developer trends, zero-day risks, 5G speeds, and more: Tech research roundup

10 Photos
Drive Electric Day: A dizzying array of EVs in sunny Florida
ca3b4019-26c5-4ce0-a844-5aac39e2c34b.jpg

Related Galleries

Drive Electric Day: A dizzying array of EVs in sunny Florida

16 Photos