It’s been a while since I updated this site with clever phone-as-desktop updates, but not for lack of thinking about it a lot. I ran into several fairly large issues with my setup that caused me to re-think how to compute in a lightweight format. That lead me down a weird path of experimenting with a variety of setups.
It started with the iPhone 8 and it’s wireless charging – which is to say, the backplate must be easily accessible. So much for ring stints! I could opt to do everything with a cord but I kinda wanted to stay away from that except for travel. I’m a bit paranoid about wear and tear on internals with plugging in and taking out cords over and over again. I’ve seen a great many phones break due to this wear and tear. So wireless charging speaks to me. But no ringstint is a big deal.
The second big problem is that I often don’t want to carry a backpack around with me – especially to bars but I had to due to the huge Apple keyboard. It’s just so easy to forget, or get messed up, and like my age old complaint – I really don’t like the idea of carrying a backpack to the bathroom. It’s much nicer to have everything on my person. So I started researching different types of stands and different types of keyboards.
I landed on the iClever wireless keyboard after doing a lot of research. It’s a tad large but technically it does fit into a larger back pocket. It folds open and has a number of interesting features. For instance, it has the ability to be used with both a phone and a tethered computer with just a single keyboard command (the modern day KVM setup).
The iClever also has backlit keys (though I wouldn’t recommend them if you want to use it for a prolongued period of time – it does burn batteries). It has various brightnesses and color schemes which is very cool.
The iClever keyboard has dedicated select, cut and paste keys, which were a bit annoying at first, but I quickly learned that they’re pretty useful and I kinda wished all keyboards had them. It lacks an escape key (or at minimum it doesn’t send the escape ASCII key – instead it’s the home button). Which gives you a severe disadvantage if you’re a VIM user, but you can use the ctrl-[ keyboard combo to send that character. I find this pretty darned annoying, but it’s managable once you get used to it.
The iClever keyboard has little kickstands to keep it stable, which is nice, but it doesn’t have a feature to keep it open, so for positioning on unstable surfaces like your lap, it’s a bit of a chore compared to other keyboards. I do wish it had some sort of locking feature to keep it open.
Other positives are a dedicated search key, which makes context switching way easier. Just hit f1, then type in “safari” and hit enter to jump into Safari. It’s still nowhere near as nice as an alt-tab feature, but I blame Apple for that, not the keyboard. I do wish there was software to configure the keyboard, but other than that, it’s a really nice keyboard, and I spent an entire day using it at a coffee shop with virtually no discomfort at all.
As for the stand, I decided to try out the Yonisun Smart Phone and Tablet Stand – Foldable Vertical and Horizontal Mount which is a really lightweight and foldable stand, that easily fits in a pocket. In early tests it seems compact, lightweight, works well in both landscape and portrait mode. Thought it does make it slightly hard to see something if the text is butted up against the bottom of the screen, and there’s a bit of an unnecessary amount of material that could have been removed to save weight – though to be fair it’s already very light.
My only other complaint with the Yonisun stand is you can really only use a charging cable if it’s in landscape mode. Not a huge deal, but will certainly be difficult for some people who need to use apps that only support portrait mode.
Overall I’m happy with this setup for the time being, and will keep trying it out to see what other issues pop up. For now though, this setup all fits in my pockets and that is really what mobile life is all about.