12Aug, 2018

What is the ultimate work-from-anywhere device?

In this modern age of busy lifestyles and constant communication – weekend getaways can provide a much needed escape for many of us. Sometimes, for those of us who are fortunate enough, these weekends can sometimes be extended by a day or two. Or with the assistance of an Ekka Holiday mid-week, a birthday coming up, and an amazing wife – even more! Inevitably though, our attention will be needed to address some pop-up problem, some email, or some deadline that can’t wait until Monday.

In my position running an IT business – I’ve had my fair share of working from anywhere and everywhere. Most notably:

  • • Working (or pretending to) in between getting married in Brooklyn & honeymooning in Hawaii
  • • Trying to resolve critical server issues in a Brisbane Datacentre from the floor of an airport in Jakarta
  • • Working while attending the Smart Company Innovation Festival for a week in NYC
  • • Regularly working from various beach-side and hinterland escapes in Northern NSW and NSI
  • • Catching up on day-to-day activities in taxi’s and uber’s between on-site work in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth
  • • Desperately trying to get an email out before the 4G drops out on 737’s

Reflecting on some of these, and planning to work remotely for two days next week, I thought it would be a good opportunity to review how I work remotely. More specifically what device(s) I have used over the last decade of doing this – and what I think is my favorite go-to for trips like these.


1 – The trusty iPhone 8

No, not the iPhone X with it’s superior battery life but poorer 4G speeds and stupid sized screen you can’t quite

fit your hand around. The iPhone 8 is the fastest (non-dedicated) mobile hotspot you can get your hands on. Every man and his dog has a charger for them (they are even in bus stops these days).

As I sit here in Northern NSW streaming the Rogers Cup on the iPad (only thing they’re good for) so I can watch Nadal dig himself out of a hole with Cilic – my trusty iPhone 8 (with three devices hot-spotting) is achieving a cruisy 48MBit over Telstra. The only con here is the data can be expensive, but if you bundle a few phones, or get on a modern plan with Telstra, you can quickly reach a huge amount of pooled data.

The iPhone is your first port of call when it comes to getting things done. Typing any more than 50 words is horrible, but reading is fine.

It is normally my indication that I might need to get back to the mothership to get some actual work done, at which point you abort all of the amazing fun things that you’re doing and move to something bigger.

So if you can’t delegate, defer, or dodge the work that you need to do – you move on to the next device!



2 – The Laptop – (Currently) Microsoft Surface Pro

The current generation of Microsoft Surface has made some minor improvements in size, speed, and battery life. These are all lovely, but the most important addition has been the 4G/LTE modem option. Tick this box, and you can be online extremely quickly for minimal cost and fuss. ($5 p/m for a bolt on sim with Telstra if you’re on the right plan).

The other advantage of this is that if you’re strapped for battery life on your phone – it obviously won’t smash your battery while you hotspot. Rather the internal 4G modem is quite efficient and doesn’t do too much damage to battery life.

My main gripe with the Surface (and all devices like this) is the high gloss screen (that is incompatible with polarised sunnies) and the kickstand. If you’re working on a solid surface, no dramas. But take that work somewhere that relies on your lap, like the car, and you’re forever trying to master balancing a relatively heavy screen against whatever you can.

If your work can be done in under an hour and doesn’t require manipulation of large spreadsheets or multi-page word documents, then the Surface Pro is the quickest way to get back out in the lineup.

If you’ve got more to do, move on!


3 – The Desktop- (Currently) Microsoft Surface Studio

What is the ultimate test of how well designed and constructed an all-in-one desktop is? How long it lasts in the office before your wife steals it and takes it home as her own.

After seeing the Studio at the Microsoft event in Sydney last year I’d decided we needed at least one in the office. 27 inches of more than 4K display with an amazing touchscreen and compatible pen. The super high res display makes living in spreadsheets and documents just that little more bearable.

It would want to though, Microsoft charge drug money for it, with the entry level model setting you back $4699.

But – I continue to revert back to my “list of things you need to spend money on” – which includes:

• Beds
• Office Chairs
• Whatever makes you productive (i.e. technology)
• Coffee

And then I buy it anyway

Now – when we travel for more than a day or two, the Studio get’s thrown in the back of the car with it’s seatbelt on.

Given it’s an all-in-one, and the keyboard and mouse are wireless – it’s very easy to move around. Yes it’s big, but it’s only one thing you need to pack up. The productivity improvements are well worth the minor hassle.

Please feel free to contact us on advice on any of the above products, or tell us about your remote working experiences. Good or bad!

There Is 1 Comment

  • g.ryan@prodex.com.au

    14 Aug, 2018

    Totally agree with the WOW factor of the Surfacer Studio….I’m also suffering from “My wife wants it more than me syndrome”……. but it might be the only way to get everyone in the house off Macs and onto Microsoft technology.
    I’m not anti Mac ….just frustrated by having MS at work and then trying to trouble shoot Macs at home. Looks like MS is displacing Apple for the design led business users….just not for I-phones….YET

Comments are closed.