Last month (April 2017) we shared a theory put forth by some analysts that travel-warrior laptop computers may be on their way out, replaced by smartphones that can pair with accessories like Bluetooth keyboards. Why? Soon you may not be able to carry on your laptop onto a flight. Already banned on certain flights from the middle east to the U.S., the Department of Homeland Security is considering expanding that prohibition to include several more countries.

Now, a few weeks later, some companies are already promoting their Bluetooth lego-like laptop alternatives that can keep the digitally dependent tech user online with a smartphone and Bluetooth attachments. A recent CNN article listed some accessory gadgets and gizmos already available that, when pieced together, can come close to a working “laptop-ish” smartphone.

Here is their list of devices for a lego-like laptop, followed by our response.

iPhone Clamps

A company called “Lockjaww” makes a clamp that holds onto your phone or tablet and latches onto the tray table in front of you. (Amazon, $20)

Cordless Headphones

Apple’s AirPods ($159) or Bragi’s The Headphone ($149). The AirPods’ batteries only last five hours, so if you’re flying across the Atlantic and want to listen continuously, you’ll need a backup pair.

Bluetooth keyboards

There are plenty of inexpensive bluetooth keyboards that connect to any device, like OMOTON’s Ultra-Slim Bluetooth Keyboard (Amazon, $14). There are also slimmer, but more expensive, options like LG’s Rolly 2 keyboard (Amazon, $50). It also has a built-in dock, which you can set your smartphone.

Battery Charger

Since many economy seats still don’t have a USB port, you’ll need a solid portable battery charger. The Anker brand is consistently among the highest rated on Amazon. They start at $23 and promise to charge an iPhone 6 for 3.8 charges.

Our Observation

Next month (June, 2017), Apple is expected a to refresh its line of laptops (MacBooks). They will be the first major line of laptops released since the ban. While it likely will not happen, Apple engineers have probably been in non-stop discussions with TSA engineers to explore the possibility of making a plane-friendly laptop. (Just a guess.)

However, one thing we can say for sure. The lego-like configuration of devices in this article is missing a screen that can be used on an extended flight. Even with the largest mobile phones, the necessary squinting will grow tiresome soon. (Maybe binocular glasses?)



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