Portable Video Light

Some of the biggest hardware challenges for digital nomads are in the video field. The especially portable video light is not an easy task – because light for video is often large and depends on a stationary power supply.

If you are a videographer and want to use bright light on the go, we have the most important information and the best portable video light here.

Video Light mobile

Getting smart video light mobile isn’t that easy – but with the advent of LED, it has become a manageable task in recent years.

The mobility is mainly provided by rechargeable batteries and smaller pack sizes and weights.

Tripod for light

If you’ve been taking pictures for a while, you’ve probably started to realize just how handy a good tripod would be. And if you have a simple pocket-sized camcorder or a large pro video camera, it is very essential that you choose the right tripod.

If you are using a pocket-sized video camera, you likely only need a tripod that is lightweight. There is no need to invest in the expensive larger tripod. Rather, consider something light-weight and that you can take with you.

Ring light vs. Softbox

Ring Light

With the most beautiful video lighting is the ring light (or ring light, the permanent version of the ring flash) and lately, there is also something like a little hype around the circular light, which makes with its reflection so beautiful eyes.

Youtuber Mai-Thi Nguyen-Kim with ring light

Mini light with a battery

If you want to put lights for videography, the best kind of lights to use are the battery-operated mini lights. These battery-operated mini lights are lightweight and works perfectly for your small video projects or vlogging. For the digital nomads, these are the first choice by means of video lights for vlogging as they are cheap and very flexible to carry out.

Mivitar Boling P1

This is suitable for vlogging use and comfortable to carry while traveling. This pocked-sized LED video light from BOLING is specially designed with a built-in 360° mount which enables you to select colors from 360 Colors in RGB mode. It comes with an integrated battery that will not take more than 140 minutes to get fully charged. This light also features temperature controlling that prevents the light from overheating.

Webcam with light

Another possibility is a webcam with integrated light. This is a minimal solution, here the light output won’t be so gigantic, but you’re right at the front in terms of weight and pack size.

Razer Kiyo Streaming Webcam with Mini Ring light

The Hardware Setup for Digital Nomads

Digital Nomad Hardware Setup
Digital Nomad Hardware Setup

Now that I am on the road for a few years (OK… it where two so far xD) I have put together a very interesting “Digital Nomad Setup”. When I built my little fortress in a co-working space or a remote working area, people often ask questions about it. This is what my mobile ergonomic workstation looks like:

Digital Nomad Hardware Setup
Hardware Setup for Digital Nomads

I’m just calling it “Signature Setup” now and will make a small update every year (or if there are significant changes).

Mobile, Ergonomic Workstation

The Signature Setup is a combination of portable hardware products that make an ideal workplace for digital workers. It is ergonomic and powerful, yet small and light enough for a small bag.

An ‘ergonomic workstation to go’, so to speak, with a second screen!

The special features are the two Nextstands, which rise the screens to an ergonomic height and the second monitor, which you rarely find in a portable setup.

These are the parts used:

  • Huawei Matebook X Pro
  • Asus ZenScreen MB16AC
  • NexStand (x2)
  • Logitech MX Master 2S
  • Lighthouse1917 dotted Notebook
  • Flash Wolf BW-FYE4 Bluetooth Headset

But now a little bit in detail:

Digital Nomad Hardware Signature Setup 2019

Asus ZenScreen MB16AC

The Asus ZenScreen is a fantastic part for people who have to work while traveling. It’s extremely light and flat, and it only needs a single (!) cable to connect and power it.

So there is no power supply, which makes the whole setup very small and light, although we’re talking about a 2 monitor setup here!

The cover of the monitor can be converted to a stand, and I have managed with a somewhat strange folding technique to bring it at eye level within the Nexstand . And this is really a productivity blast!

However, I hope to replace it with a higher quality successor soon, because the 1920 x 1080 FullHD resolution on 15″ seems a bit pixilated and the maximum brightness (especially compared to the incredible Huawei Matebook X screen) is not really convincing.

  • ✔️ Lightweight and flat to transport, despite 15 inches
  • ✔️ No power supply necessary
  • ✔️ One cable only (USB-C)
  • ✔️ Fits on Nexstand
  • ?? 1080 resolution only
  • ?? Not particularly bright

2x Nexstand

To be honest: When I first saw these things, I had a bit of an negative attitude: “This looks like shit” – “Then you need an extra keyboard”, etc…

But there must be something behind it because many of the people I’ve seen as “experienced digital nomads” use these things.

Because from an ergonomic point of view, looking down on a screen on the table is just bad – and almost everyone who only works on notebooks knows about the occasional itching the back and neck that can grow to a nasty pain that makes working almost impossible.

Hardware Setup for Digital Nomads with Huawei Matebook X Pro
Hardware Setup for Digital Nomads with Huawei Matebook X Pro

So the Nexstand has been my constant companion for a long time (even if I don’t always use it), and the fact that you can even get the ZenScreen (even if it’s a bit wobbly) on it is very nice.

Huawei Matebook X Pro

Sure, if you’re into OSX you’ll probably find a MacBook here, but I’m more into Windows 10 and the Matebook X is just an incredibly cool notebook.

What Huawei accomplished to build into such a tiny form factor (smaller than a 13″ MacBook Pro) is incredible. The screen is a 14″ (!!!) touchscreen with a resolution of 3000 x 2000, extreme maximum brightness of 400 Nits and the smallest bezels I know in the notebook sector.

In addition, even in the “small” version with Intel Core i5 you get an additional graphics card next to the built-in Intel GPU. The NVIDIA GeForce MX150 may struggle with triple-A titles, but it is sufficient enough for medium demanding games, helps with tasks like rendering and machine learning and I can also practice flying my FPV racing drones with simulators while being on the road.

The keyboard is also an absolute killer: In my opinion, only the Lenovo Thinkpads have a better keyboard, the Apple Butterflies can’t keep up in any way with this tactile feeling.

  • ✔️ Ultra-Slim & light despite 14″ + GPU
  • ✔️ Extremely sharp & bright 14″ Touchscreen
  • ✔️ Dedicated NVIDIA MX150 Graphics Card
  • ✔️ very useful connection selection
  • ✔️ Battery life
  • ✔️ Price / Performance
  • ?? Webcam positioning
  • ?? no SD slot

Due to the really sexy thin edges, the webcam (spectacularly positioned with a folding mechanism between the F-keys) has been moved into the keyboard. Unfortunately, this is a rather stupid position for a webcam and you can’t change the angle of the cam.

If I do video conferences, I usually add a descent Logitech C920 HD Pro webcam to my pack.

The choice of ports is also fantastic: If you have to reduce the quantity, then like this! There are only 4, but these are exactly the ones you need:

  • USB-C with Thunderbolt (for the Asus screen)
  • USB-C (for Charging)
  • Audio jack
  • USB-A (Thank you, thank you, thank you!)

Yes, USB-C is the future, but at the moment everyone still has a USB-A device somewhere, and with the Matebook the annoying dongle game is no longer necessary. By the way: The Matebook X Pro still comes with a dongle (including HDMI), but I never had to take it with me due to the successful port selection. The only thing I miss is an SD or Micro-SD slot.

Microsoft Designer Keyboard

OK, the keyboard for the Microsoft Designer Bluetooth Desktop is not really intended for transport. This is especially noticeable by the non-existing on/off switch. But the writing feeling is ingenious and with the extremely small edges and the flat construction, it is kind of easy to transport.

And as I said, the keystroke is ?. As an alternative, portable mechanical keyboards are there for real writing professionals.

Logitech MX Master 2S

As for the mouse, I have to say that the Logitech MX Master 2S is close to perfection. Quick switch between different devices: Check. Battery: lasts forever. Infinite scroll wheel: Once you’ve tried it, you can never go without it again! And most important – Ergonomics: Killer!

Lighthouse1917 dotted Notebook

I just can’t make it without analog. And a few years ago the Lechtturn 1917 in the Dotted-version replaced my good old Moleskine.

Blitzwolf BW-FYE4 Bluetooth Headset

Incredible sound and even more incredible price – more information about my True-Wireless headphone secret deal can be found here.

Pack size

Let’s let the pictures speak for themselves:

Hardware Setup for Digital Nomads Pack Size
Hardware Setup for Digital Nomads Pack Size

This is just pretty portable – what we can see here an ergonomic desktop with two screens! (I forgot two USB-C cables and the really small power supply of the Matebook in the picture – sorry!)

It’s also nice that you only need two cables and no dongle or adapter, even if you want to quickly connect a stick or a cam.

Price

I spent about 1600 Euro for the setup, but of course, the Matebook X Pro is the lion’s share.

Tip: Especially looking for the screen and the keyboard you should check out Amazon Warehouse Deals (these are the returns of Amazon – you can find them at the “used” section of an article) – This screen is often returned because of compatibility reasons and so you can find it at a bargain.

How to fly cheap FOR REAL – Skiplagging

Finding cheap flights via portals is a well known thing. But there is a hack for pros, which can give you even better prices than those from the search engine: Skiplagging. The boss among Flight-Hacking methods.

Here I’ll show you what Skiplagging exactly is, how it works and how you can get the incredible fairs (check my favorite page below!) with Skiplagging even if you are just “a normal guy”.

How does Skiplagging aka ‘Hidden-City Ticketing’ work?

Skiplagging aka the “Hidden City Loophole” works as follows:

The goal is to get from A to B, but you do not search for flights that end at your desired destination (B), but at another destination (C), which the flight connection ends AFTER your desired destination.
So the desired destination is only a stopover. What you do is getting off in B an skip the connection from B to C (“Skip the last lag”).

The amazing thing: The flight booking from A to C is often cheaper than from A to B.

It is important that you have at least one day in between the flights so that you get your luggage after landing in B.

How can this be cheaper, even though an additional flight is being booked?

If you add another flight to a connection, how can it be cheaper? I mean: you are flying even “more”. That doesn’t make any sense at all!?

Well, it’s something the airlines constructed , yield management and supply and demand. The airlines want to offer both connections (A-B and A-C). However, there is a higher demand for A-B than A-C and therefore they can sell A-B with a higher price. It may also be necessary to just get the aircraft to C, if more lucrative flights can be made from there.

How do I get the cheapest flight (easily)?

The service I can recommend in almost any Situation: Flighfox. Flightfox.com is a service that is finding those connections for you.

You will pay 50 bucks for this service, but only if you save at least $50 compared to the connection you have specified. Otherwise you won’t have to pay anything. So you will never pay more than you would spend anyway.

To let Flightfox search for you, you have to specify a reference price. Flightfox will use this price as a target and tries to undercut it by at least $50, so that they get their commission and you get a cheaper flight. Of course, this usually only works with more expensive international and intercontinental connections.

Besides the reference flight you can also specify the time frame in which you want to start the flight or flights (other dates), how many stopovers, etc… After you have entered the information on the page, a “Flight Expert” will contact you and start the search.

The Flight Expert is looking for your connection, but you have to book it yourself. You will get exact instructions where and how to do this.

How do I find a a good reference price?

You can go to the “usual suspects”. Most of the time I use:

My Flightfox Eperience

My experience with Flightfox is very good. I’ve used the service a few times now and the guys from Flightfox really know what they are doing.

On my last request Lauren and Matt from Flightfox have sent many further (cheaper) connections, although they had already undercut my price with the first attempt by $100.

I recommend that you should write as much information as possible in the first request (alternative departures, stops, maximum stopover time…) so that you can save time by having less check backs.

How can I find Skiplagging connections by myself?

There is a platform called Skiplagged.com. It became famous because the portal was sued by United Airlines – and United lost.

But I have to admit that I haven’t really had much experience with Skiplagged yet – and the connections I looked up weren’t really Skiplagged (with added flights that you skip).

Skiplagging on the airlines websites

Otherwise, it works like this: Find the hub of the respective airline and try to add flights from or to the hubs connecting over your desired connection and watch the prices. This of course requires some insider knowledge or a lot of experience.

Is it legal?

It’s a grey area. Most of the airlines’ terms and conditions prohibit booking flights and not taking part in partial flight connections. But if the last flight is from a different date, it is possible that you can’t take this flight for health reasons etc. For giving you trouble the airline would have to prove your intention. And that is not so easy.
You can’t skip the first flights, because then you have the no-show and you can’t start the following flights. If you leave out the last lag – that works. However, this is something airlines don’t want you to know. Which is why (as mentioned above) they have filed lawsuits against Skiplagged.com or – like Lufthansa – directly against their customers. But most of the time with little success and a following Shitstorm.

Best Portable Mechanical Keyboard

Looking for a portable mechanical keyboard? You can get your typing job done easily with your old keyboard. But if you have decided to buy a portable mechanical keyboard for a comfortable and satisfying typing experience, then nothing can beat a portable mechanical keyboard.

Here are the list of 5 best portable mechanical keyboards:

#1 Keychron K1 Portable Mechanical Keyboard For Typing

Keychron K1 Portable Mechanical Keyboard For Typing

Keychain K1 is an ultra-slim minimalist design, wireless mechanical keyboard with self-contained switches. This magic keyboard is designed for great typing experience and productivity. There are three different types of Keychron K1 – 87 Single LED Black, 87 RGB Space Gray, and 104 RGB Space Gray (where 87 & 104 indicates the number of keys). This keyboard is available both for Mac & Windows platforms.

Check it out at Keychron.com

Pros:

  • Tactical Feel
  • Ultra Slim
  • Low Profile Mechanical Switch
  • Mac Layout
  • Wireless & Wired
  • Type-C Plug
  • Compatible with Mac & Windows
  • One Key Active Cortana or Siri
  • RGB Backlit

Cons:

  • Low Profile Battery Life

#2 Cooler Master QuickFire TK Gaming Mechanical Keyboard

Cooler Master QuickFire TK Gaming Mechanical Keyboard

Cooler Master is the most renowned company who provides the best computer peripheral solutions. The QuickFire TK is an excellent mechanical keyboard designed for the gaming population. For comfortable and enjoyable gaming experience QuickFire TK is the best! This mechanical keyboard comes with three different Cherry MX switches – Red, Brown, and Blue.

Check price at Amazon.com

Pros:

  • Led Backlight
  • 7 Easy Access Multimedia Shortcut Key
  • One Press Windows Lock Key
  • Mechanical Cherry MX Switches
  • Easy Cable Management
  • Compact Layout

Cons:

  • No Software or Macro Keys
  • No Additional Navigation Keys

#3 Cooler Master MasterKeys Pro S RGB Gaming Mechanical Keyboard

Cooler Master MasterKeys Pro S RGB Gaming Mechanical Keyboard

MasterKeys Pro S RGB. To get the brightest LED lights and best tactical feeling, MasterKeys Pro S RGB is the No.1 Gamer’s choice. This well-performing keyboard has Cherry MX keys. Cherry MX keys made this keyboard durable and reliable on the go.

Check price for the MasterKeys Pro S at Amazon.com

Pros:

  • Hassle Free Software
  • On-the-Fly Functions Keys
  • Durable & Sleek Casing
  • Brightest LEDs
  • Fast S-Tier Performance
  • Cherry MX switches

Cons:

  • Expensive

#4 Velocifire K61WS Wireless Mechanical Keyboard For Typing

Velocifire K61WS Wireless Mechanical Keyboard

Velocifire K61WS Wireless Mechanical Keyboard is a mini-sized wireless keyboard that has 61 keys. Check this out if you are looking for a mini-sized mechanical keyboard. You will save a lot of space on your desk. As a result, you will be able to use your mouse more frequently.

Check price for the MasterKeys Pro S at Amazon.com

Pros:

  • Mini Size
  • Wireless
  • Anytime Charging
  • Easy setup
  • Brown Switches
  • Less Sound
  • Less Expensive
  • Long Battery Life

Cons:

  • Less Functional Keys

#5 Logitech G Pro Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Logitech G Pro Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

You can’t have a list about keyboards without Logitech, right? On no #5, we have a mechanical gaming keyboard from this company – the G Pro. The Logitech – G Pro. This is a wired slim mechanical keyboard designed to give you the competitive edge. G Pro is a fast, durable, and high-quality tenkeyless model for gamers.

Check the price and the fantastic ratings at Amazon.com

Pros:

  • Faster
  • Ten Keyless
  • Romer-G Tactile switches
  • Key Rollover
  • Light Sync RGB
  • Customizable Gaming Mode
  • Function Key Macros

Cons:

  • No Dedicated Media Keys
  • Expensive

Zoom into the future of convenience and efficiency with a portable mechanical keyboard. Portable keyboards are highly flexible and almost indestructible.

Are mechanical keyboards better?

What’s the best gaming mechanical keyboard 2019?

What’s the best mechanical keyboard for typing?

External Notebook Graphics Card

An external notebook graphics card is exactly what it sounds like: an external graphics card that is connected to a notebook. However, the official term is eGPU (External Graphic Processing Unit). Generally, this is well known as “external notebook graphics card”.

In general, an external notebook graphics card is a case which is connected to the computer via USB-C and contains a normal (mostly PCI) graphics card.

The 6 Best External Graphics Cards

The best external graphics card, can you say that so easily? Technology is still a little in its infancy, but if you want an eGPU that is compatible with your computer, you can choose from here:

Gigabyte Aorus Gaming Box

The Aorus Gaming Box from Gigabyte is our winner due to its compatibility and portability.

Razer Core v2

The Razer Core v2 is not only very good but also (and above all) a feast for the eyes and a real designer accessory on your desk. Unfortunately it is quite expensive.

Dell Alienware Graphics Amplifier

Watch out! The Dell Amplifier is designed with a special connection and is only compatible with Dell Alienware notebooks.

Akitio Node

The Akitio is the successful all-rounder in our test setup.

ASUS RoG XG Station 2

HP Omen Gaming Expansion Box

Are external graphics cards slower than desktop graphics cards?

The Best External Graphics Card for the Mac

Why is the performance of an external monitor better than of a notebook screen?

It is the USB-C connection that forms the bottleneck. If you connect an external monitor, it is connected directly to the external graphics card and the output to the monitor no longer needs to be routed additionally via the USB-C cable.

If you use the internal screen, the data is first sent via the USB-C line from the notebook to the external case, where the image calculated and the finished image is sent back via USB-C, which puts additional strain on the line. That’s why you have a little less line when you play on the notebook screen.

The “return” of a 1070Ti takes up about 10% of the frames. I.e. if you use an external monitor you have about 10% more frames.