Searching for Portable Nirvana

I love traveling light. The less I bring the happier I am generally. Easier on planes, lighter to carry, less to fuss with. Packing the technology used to be the hardest oart for me.

  • Laptop
  • Phone
  • iPad
  • lots of cables and accessories.

I would always prepare for evey possible computing solution. Over the years I have been able to pair my "stuff" down. If I am not traveling for work I can leave my laptop behind and rely on the iPhone and iPad.

On a trip to Maine I decided to go with just the iPhone 6 plus. What could I do? What would I not be able to do? The size is great and it is much easier for me to respond to emails and tweets. But would I enjoy working with it if I wanted to write something long form. I normally bring my Logitech Tablet Keyboard. It is full size and still very portable. This time I decided to try an iWerkz Universal Foladable Keyboard.

The keyboard comes with a protective case that doubles as a stand. The keyboard is hinged in the middle to open to a near full size keyboard. Opening it up for the first time I was reminded of another bluetooth keyboard made by Stow-away that I used to use with my Handspring Visor

  Compared to iPhone 6+

Compared to iPhone 6+

 Thickness of keyboard in case next to iPhone 6+

Thickness of keyboard in case next to iPhone 6+

The setup is nice. Using the keyboard case as a stand allows you to use the phone in portrait or landscape orientation. In landscape mode it did cut offf the bottom a tiny bit but not enough to disrupt working. For a travel stand it was perfectly adequate.

My first impression of the keyboard were mixed. The size was nice, light enough but the keys were very squishy with little travel movement of the keys. I figured this is something I could get used to because it was not a primary input device, just for travel packing. Using it that weekend proved otherwise. The spaceing of the keys was a little off. Not being a touch typist I also found the split spacebar to be harder to get used to then I had imagined. But there were two major issues I ran into.

The first was the keyboard functions. This is a universal keyboard. It works with Windows, Android and iOS. Figuring out the correct key combinations to use the functions was a nightmare. You can see looking at the number keys there are 3-4 functions on each. Below on the Q,W,E keys you can see the primary options for each operating system. One thing I found was that it was very easy to "knock" you out of the Operating system and end up in another one. I found this frustrating.

The second issue was within 20 minutes of typing on the keyboard I had broken two of the keys. One popped off the base altogether and the other would depress and then not pop back up. The spring was essentially stuck. I was able to pry it back up with a butter knife but the next time it was depressed the same thing happened again. Not what you woudl expect in a keyboard.

The long and short of it was this was not an adequate solution at all and was returned to Amazon. The reviews of the product seemed to indicate that you either got a good one or a bad one.

For now I will contunue to use my Origami case with the Apple blurtooth keyboard or the Logitech tablet keyboard which are both full size but a much better typing experience.

First week thoughts on the iPhone 6 plus

There is not a lot remaining that has not been said about the new iPhones. Many great reviews and technical breakdowns have been written.  Instead I wanted to provide my thoughts of the first week with the new device. 

  1. Yes the device is large. Everyday I use it though I feel that it is getting more comfortable for me.
  2. The battery life is amazing.* Under normal conidtions I start my day around 6:45 am with 100% battery on my iPhone 5s.  I usually check mail and listen to podcasts as I drive to work (plugged in during the drive).  I will check twitter multiple times a day and continue to listen to music and podcasts throughout the day.  Email and iMessages are in heavy use.  Throughout the day I would plug the phone in to sip a few minutes of power here and there.  By the time I went to bed I am in the red usually below 10% even after the top-offs.  Using the 6 plus, doing the same activities and not charging I am around 67%.  
  3. It is a two handed device for sure.  Yes you can use it in one hand but it is harder.  One thing that I did not realize is I suck at typing on the 5s period.  One handed, two handed whatever.  For me my speed and accuracy on the keyboard has greatly improved.  Did I give up some typing ability on the go, yes but there are people understanding my emails and messages better now.
  4. By day three holding the 5s in my hands felt comically small.  Beautiful, but it felt more Fisher-Price like.   
  5. Within the last yeat I had to start wearing reading glasses.  Prior to getting them the older iPhone looked clear ennough. When I got the glasses wow what a difference!  Until I was not wearing them and it was painfully hard to use it.  With the Iphone 6 plus It is much easier with or without them.  I appreciate the screen size a lot more. 
  6. I read a lot in my spare time.  I usually use my iPad Retina mini at night.  Often I would leave it in another room and grab the 5s from the nightstand (purely out of laziness) and read on that but it was never enjoyable.  There was always an element of work. If you have to flick 5 screen pages to equal 1 book page it felt like a drag.  In the last seven days I have finished two books just on the iPhone.  The Ipad minis' days are numbered, most likely in favor of an iPad Air reading around the house. 
  7. There is one thing about the Iphone 6 plus that I did not take into account when I ordered it and that is being self conscious.  Android users have always had several screen size options.  I have seen a lot of the Samsung Note users in stores with large phones.  iPhone users have been limited to a 3.5 or more recently 4" screens for the last seven years.  Having a larger phone (even the iPhone 6) has made me more aware of those around me and feeling a little odd.  I am sure as more users get newer iPhones and I become more accustom to the device this feeling will fade away.

* Yes I know I am comparing it to a one year old device with 300 charges or more on it and that the internal capacity of the iPhone 6 plus is larger.