How to Create a Better Home Office Setup With Ultrabooks

How to Create a Better Home Office Setup With Ultrabooks 150 150 Patrick Ciccarelli Patrick Ciccarelli

On many an early morning I’m often sitting at home getting a head start on emails and other work (I’m known for my 4:00am emails). For me this is a time when things are quiet, and I have room to breathe and calmly get some work done. Although traveling with my MacBook Air has been great, I find that using it for extended periods of time – while sending out my early morning emails for example – just isn’t comfortable or convenient. But rather than switch to using a tablet like a Microsoft Surface or the Samsung Note, I thought I would look at alternative configuration for using my laptop to better suit my various work environments.

The Problem

Working on an Ultrabook for 15 minutes at Starbucks or from an airplane, isn’t all that bad. But when you sit in a less than ideal position for an hour or longer, it wears on the body. The first problem is that ultrabooks like the Air have a smaller screen (13″ on mine), and therefore don’t sit as high. This causes the user to have to tilt their head downward – have you ever been sitting there staring at your screen, when something diverts your attention and suddenly you realize how sore your neck feels?  I needed to either get a separate monitor (not feasible for me) or find a way to elevate the laptop screen.

The second issue is a side effect of fixing the first problem. If I elevate the screen, I will no longer have access to the keyboard or the trackpad.

The Solution

After reviewing several products to solve the screen height problem, I decided to go with the Belkin Loft. The product is very nicely finished and slender. Compared to other notebook stands, this unit is worth it. It looks great, so I can leave it out at home when I’m not working, and let my Air rest on it.

The second issue to tackle was the mouse. This solution was pretty easy. I’ve used a Logitech wireless mouse for some time. The Anywhere MX model with its unifying receiver has worked great and been very reliable. Pair that unit with Sanyo rechargeable batteries, and you are looking at five to six months of use without changing the rechargeable batteries.

Finally, the loss of the keyboard had to be addressed, otherwise I would be looking at a severe and unusual case of carpal tunnel. Given that I am using a MacBook Air, I took a look at the Apple Bluetooth Keyboard. But for the money, I don’t particularly like that keyboard. Plus I didn’t want to worry about recharging the batteries. So I found another option, the Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K760. It isn’t a full size keyboard, but for my use it is a great size compromise. Now I can quickly throw it in a bag, take it from room to room, or store it in a drawer out of sight. I’ve been using a full sized Logitech solar powered keyboard for some time, with great results. In fact, we’ve outfitted our entire office with this keyboard. Couldn’t be happier. What is also nice is that it has versatility – I can swap the keyboard with my wife’s Air, the iPad, or any future tablet I might consider using.

If you try this setup, let me know what you think. And if you have used something different and perhaps even better, I would love to hear about it.