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In the Zone

Hitting the road? Follow these 4 rules to choose the right mobile peripherals

Kevin Jacoby's picture

by Kevin Jacoby on 09/10/2021
Blog Category: devices

Now that people are traveling again, however hesitantly, this could be the perfect time for you and your customers to build a great mobile setup.

But pick your gear carefully. The ideal mobile workstation requires a thoughtful balance of peripherals. These days, there are quite a few to choose from: portable keyboards, mice, chargers, stands, controllers, and printers, to name just a few.

Choosing the right gear could be the key to increasing your productivity — and maybe your free time, too. Choosing the wrong gear could tie you up in endless support calls, pointless app downloads, and the tearing out of hair you’d rather keep.

It’s not always easy to pick the right tools for the job. But don’t worry. While mobile accessory perfection may be in the eye of the beholder, here are 4 common signposts on the road to peripheral nirvana.

Rule #1: Beware the one-trick pony

Is there an iPad in your hand right now? If so, Apple would very much like to sell you the matching keyboard. Ditto for Microsoft, Samsung and all the other big names for whom the vaunted accessory upsell is a matter of vital importance.

But at nearly $300, Apple’s Magic Keyboard for iPad may not be the best bang for the buck.  Sure, it’s got some nifty features. But only when you’re using an iPad.

By contrast, Logitech’s K780 Multi-Device Wireless Keyboard offers a more satisfying narrative: Spend a fraction of what you would on Apple’s gear, and get a small, light keyboard that switches between 3 devices with the mere touch of a button.

Logitech K780 wireless keyboard

Logitech K780: switch easily among 3 definable devices

Starting at just shy of $60 — or less than a third of the price for Apple’s Magic Keyboard — Logitech’s offering is truly mobile and truly cross-platform. It connects via Bluetooth, runs on two AAA batteries, and pairs seamlessly with iOS, Android and Windows Mobile.

Switching devices is as easy as pushing a button. Three easily accessible keys shift the keyboard’s wireless connection between user-definable devices.

Button 1 could be programmed to connect to a standard desktop PC or laptop. Click the next button and, viola, you’re typing on a tablet seated in the integrated mobile device holder.

Button number 3 may be the one you hit while sitting on the train. Once connected, you can type a lengthy email on your smartphone without succumbing to fat-thumbs-typo-disorder (FTTD).

Rule #2: If you must print, do it wirelessly

Luckily for the Earth’s remaining trees, the printed page is fast becoming an anachronism. But there are still some presentations, board meetings and signs taped to office refrigerator doors that require an ounce or two of ink on a thin slice of wood pulp.

For those who must print on the go, Epson would like to suggest a wireless, battery-operated printer small enough to nestle in next to your tablet.

The Epson WorkForce WF-110 Wireless Mobile Printer is designed to print over a wireless area network (WAN) or communicate directly with just about any tablet or smartphone.

Priced just on the shady side of $300, it ain’t cheap. It also ain’t in stock at Epson. But don’t worry, Best Buy has you covered.

Epson WF-110 wireless printer

Epson’s WF-110 printer: wireless & battery-powered

But the WF-110 does offer crystal clear prints at resolutions up to 5760 x 1440. And the durable, instant-drying Pigment ink will make fast work of your print jobs — without blackening your fingers.

Rule #3: All work and no play makes…well, you know

In case you missed the memo, cloud gaming is now totally a thing.

Are you game to give it a go? All it takes is a subscription to your favorite service and a decent game controller. This brings us to our most enjoyable mobile accessory, Razer’s Kishi Universal Gaming Controller.

Gamers in the know tend to love Razer for its forward-looking design and cross-platform compatibility. Kishi has both.

Razer's Kishi controller

Kishi by Razer: cross-platform gaming on the go

Razer very smartly designed Kishi to hug either side of your iOS or Android phone. When attached, the two sides of the gamepad combine with your smartphone to create something that looks and feels a lot like the hugely popular Nintendo Switch.

Pro gamers may argue against the ergonomics of Kishi. And indeed, it’s not as battle-ready as, say, a PS5 Dual-Sense wireless controller with a phone mount.

But what it lacks in hardcore gaming cred, it more than makes up for in portability. At just over 5 inches wide when collapsed, Kishi will fit into just about any pocket.

Rule #4: Use just enough to get the job done

When discussing accessories, the late, great fashion designer Coco Chanel would advise, “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.”

Chanel’s counsel is apt to technology, too. With so many great choices, it’s easy to end up with too many accessories. So many, in fact, that traveling with your mobile workstation could feel like lugging around the entire office.

It’s down to the intrepid road warrior to decide which mobile accessories are vital and which are superfluous. Choose wisely, and you may find yourself getting a good day’s work done from some of the world’s most amazing locales.

Happy trails!

 

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