Planning the thin blogging kit (slate experiment)

Updated on 10 June 2018 by

Untitled-2 You might have seen me mention a thin blogging kit in a few other posts recently; well this one is here so that I can get my plan in order, and show you what the idea is. Let’s call it the TBK for now! The goal of the TBK is obviously to keep things thin & light! The result will hopefully be a super-light weight, and fully capable blogging platform.

The TBK will include the following:

As you can see, the entire kit is just under 1000 grams [2.202 pounds] (excluding the iPhone because that is always with me regardless). And the thickest that anything in the kit gets is the iGo BT keyboard (when closed) at just 17mm. Check out the relative sizes, and a comparison to an Asus Eee 1000HE [Portal page]:tbkThe pieces of the TBK will allow me to do pretty much anything I need to. The Archos 9 as you know is a full x86 computer with touchscreen which will be running Windows 7, meaning that I’ll be able to access my blogging software (Windows Live Writer) and do anything else that works best on a computer running a full OS, like media editing. The Mogo BT mouse and iGo BT keyboard up the ante on input for the Archos 9, providing essentially a full input experience, and everything is wireless.

If you’ve looked at the Mogo BT mouse, you’ll notice that it is actually designed to store and charge in a notebook’s express card slot. The Archos 9, as well as most small computers, don’t have an express card slot, but luckily Mogo also makes a USB express card adapter to charge the Mogo mouse if your computer happens to lack said slot, so I’ll be able to charge anywhere that USB is available. And while the Mogo mouse won’t be able to stow away in the Archos 9, I think it is plenty thin to fit the case with the iGo BT keyboard.

In addition to having high quality input through the mouse and keyboard, the iPhone will be able to provide important functions, such as video, geo-tagged content, and data tethering when WiFi is not available.

Have any suggestions for must-have thin accessories that might be great for the TBK? Let me know in the comments, but keep it thin!

Edit: Response to comments – Hey guys, good points about the netbook. Trust me, I didn’t overlook the whole category, in fact, I have an HP Mini 1000 already!

The TBK is just an Archos 9/slate experiment, I guess I should have made that clear. I haven’t used a pure slate, especially down at this size (I have a convertible tablet), so I’m not exactly sure how useful the Archos 9 will be. While a netbook is definitely a good solution, I must say, notebooks are boring!

I really just want to see how thin I can keep the entire kit. This doesn’t have any special practicality, but I’m wondering how compact I’ll be able to carry this setup. There is also increased flexibility. This doesn’t apply as much as this screen size, but on smaller devices, it is generally useful to be able to put the keyboard away and be able to have just the screen out for particular scenarios, like viewing media. With this TBK I’ll be able to selectively use one or more parts as I need them. So If I’m on the bus and I want to watch a show, I can essentially have just the ‘screen’. Again, this is just an experiment to see how a slate can be used, as we’re seeing many pop up in recent months.

30 Comments For This Post

  1. Charlie Seymour Jr says:

    Planning the thin blogging kit | UMPCPortal – Ultra Mobile …

  2. Carl says:

    If your phone is heavily used as a (video/still) camera, wouldn’t there be better choices than the 3GS? Most of the better smart-cameraphones (i8910, Satio, N86, etc) can tether just fine.

  3. Britman says:

    Thing is you will need pockets to put all that in. Sort defeats the object. Sure you are saving weight of the ease of a netbook. By the time you took it all out you could have a netbook open and booting. Why not just have the A9?

  4. James Pond says:

    True. And the netbook could be used on the lap to quickly type something while here a table is clearly needed. Plus the keyboard experience would be probably much better with the netbook.

    Concerning the weight of a netbook, the 9″ models are not necessarilly that heavier than this kit. The Asus T91 for instance is under 1Kg too, while still providing a touch-screen/tablet mode and decent battery life and much more features (better CPU, more ports, better Wifi, a very good keyboard for its size, shock-proof SSD…).

    Then if a big battery-life is needed, you have to go with heavier models with bigger and/or removable batteries.

    There is of course some personal tastes involved here.

  5. teh.sean says:

    While I can’t defend Ben’s choice of a 9 inch slate, I think with a 5 or maybe a 7 inch slate this becomes a much more useful ‘On the go’ platform. The big benefit of taking a small slate with you is that for quick tasks, the thing is out and on in seconds compared to longer with a netbook. Then, if you absolutely MUST bang out a long email you have the ability with the extra hardware. Most netbooks require their own case, but with a small slate, you could get away with stuffing most of the stuff in your bag / purse / various pockets.

  6. Year Of Blogger says:

    Planning the thin blogging kit | UMPCPortal – Ultra Mobile …: You might have seen me mention a thin blogging ..

  7. scott joy says:

    Planning the thin blogging kit | UMPCPortal – Ultra Mobile …: You might have seen me mention a thin blogging ..

  8. Tommy Goodwill says:

    Planning the thin blogging kit | UMPCPortal – Ultra Mobile …

  9. Lisa Hernandez says:

    Planning the thin blogging kit | UMPCPortal – Ultra Mobile …

  10. jamesfongster says:

    Hi there,
    here’s my mobility kit..the S5 is a tad tiny but I found it to be quite useable as a road warrior blogging tool.

  11. Morganj says:

    I have to ask, Ben, why not something like the T91? it fulfills all of the rquirements in one small light package.

  12. jamesfongster says:

    Hi there,
    here’s my mobility kit..the S5 is a tad tiny but I found it to be quite useable as a road warrior blogging tool.

    Definitely down to personal perferences, horses for causes when it comes to netbooks or umpcs.

    My one requirement is it has to be pocketable, which pretty means anything under 600grams, less than 5″ but still capable of running at least XP home.

    Currently have 2 pocketables, the S5 running XP and the OQO 02 running Win7.

  13. Jan Olsen says:

    Planning the thin blogging kit | UMPCPortal – Ultra Mobile …: You might have seen me mention a thin blogging ..

  14. Patrick says:

    Yes, why just not T91?! I see this setting as clunky, you really have some odd views of practicality & ergonomics.

  15. Jesse Eng says:

    Planning the thin blogging kit | UMPCPortal – Ultra Mobile …

  16. marcel says:

    I’ll wait for the archos nine because of its capacity for me to be essential, the unit is light, then the virtual keyboard has to spend the day out is essential, the keyboard would be a good implement and a mouse bluethoof also may be self-contained the device digital tv, gps, 3g modem, all the usb, I’m beginning to think the 3G phones have unnecessary in that we have now that the WiMAX can be deployed quickly, anyway I have great expectations for archos 9, I hope not discouraged

  17. Blogs-O-Matic says:

    Planning the thin blogging kit | UMPCPortal – Ultra Mobile … –

  18. Glenn Jostad says:

    Planning the thin blogging kit | UMPCPortal – Ultra Mobile …

  19. Epizephyrii says:

    The only reason I see to go with a setup like this over the netbook is if there is some advantage to using the Archos 9 tablet separately from the keyboard and mouse. The problem with that is that the 9 is way too big to pocket which kinda renders it useless (in this case) compared to a 9 inch convertible netbook. Keep in mind all the extra crap you are going to have to carry around per device. Extra cables/batteries to charge the mouse and keyboard, protective pockets for each so they don’t rub up against each other, and as mentioned by others the setup time would be rather annoying.

    I think my preference would be along the lines of the demo video setting up an Archos 5 with RDP. The Archos 5 is small enough to take out of the kit and use separately for other things (media viewing, schedule checking, etc).

  20. NobbyNobbs says:

    I don`t really get this.
    Why take four devices if a single device can provide the same at even less weight? And with your kit you have to keep an eye on the charge of four devices! Ok, you won`t have to change the battery of the bluetooth devices very often, but still.
    Why not just a sony vaio p? With the high capacity battery it`s still only ~800gm and last 5-7 hours. And it has an ecellent keyboard?
    Or take the viliv s7?

  21. marcel says:

    I also think the archos 9 is to be used as a book, you’ll get where you want and can do anything with it, that’s the idea, to use it with keyboard and other implements used in the usb and bluethoof for, to go out with him and make note there is no need keyboard or mouse, I think the idea of the apparatus is the mobility that he could provide, easy access to media, what is missing for me is a much more powerful battery, I that 10 hours would give mobility ideal for use all day, I am very interested in it

  22. Steve Renner says:

    Planning the thin blogging kit | UMPCPortal – Ultra Mobile …

  23. Realty says:


    I think I may agree with some above. If you are going with a 9 inch device, then why not jump to a netbook? All in one design, easy to set up, only have to charge one device, little to loose. How does your keyboard compare with the keyboard on a T91?

    I think your set up would be more interesting if you were going with a 5 or 7 inch device as there is no netbook equivalent.

    Just my thoughts.

  24. John Q. Public says:

    Get a netbook, dude. You’re just duplicating everything one netbook has in three separate devices. I don’t think you’ve thought this out too well.

  25. Paul says:

    Also, consider something like a 9″ Tablet convertible like the Fujitsu P1630.
    I am also drawn to the ideal of a slate since I do alot of reading on my laptop and would be nice to do without the keyboard and mouse for when I am on a plane. The thinness of the Archos9 is very attractive. I have thought long and hard about the S7, but have not pulled the trigger.

  26. animatiio says:

    well it depends a lot of the main mode ben would like to use this asset. if e.g. 70-990% will be the tablet only and for the rest to have a decent possibility to use a keyboard and mouse – this configuration will be perfect. if tablet mode to keyboard mode drops to 50:50 or less, certainly a convertible like the t91 or even something smaller might be a better choice. btw a small 4 outlet usb port replicator would not take much space but come in very handy.

  27. Vakeros says:

    Having read your edit – the point is how thin can you be. The problem is you have made out as it they filled the same area but only the thickness of the thickest part – 17mm. The reality is It should be the 16mm (from slate) + 17mm (from keyboard) + 5mm (from mouse) = 38mm. This is just as thick as the netbook you don’t want to take. Also this excludes any protective pouches you want to put the relevant bits in. Potentially the mouse could be moved so that it is next to something else – but 33mm still isn’t thin.
    So I guess you must be saying it isn’t a question of volume or area, but that you have a certain thickness you need to fit into. For my life volume is the key question as long as it fits within a certain length and width then the thickness varies as my pocket will stretch a certain amount – less width/length and a bit more thickness is possible.

  28. Mike Cane says:

    I did this with a Finnish device I won’t name because Let’s Not Go There, OK?

    Today, I’d try it with an Archos 5 Internet Tablet and an Apple Bluetooth keyboard and an undecided-yet Bluetooth mouse. The Apple KB would be the largest item, nearly the size of a netbook itself. Until Apple releases a truly portable one for its iTablet.

    And yes, I’d want an iPhone too — for the photos.

    But for just blogging, I think I could get away with using just the Archos 5 setup. No need for Windows.

  29. alslayer says:

    Ahh Mike when will you stop hating on the Nokia 770.

  30. Christianmaniac says:

    The iGo Stowaway Keyboard is ok, but the Palm Bluetooth Keyboard is much better. You don’t have to deal with those stupid function keys like on the iGo. Also, the Palm Bluetooth keyboard looks and feels more like your standard QWERTY keyboard. My TBK consists of:

    1. The Viliv S5; amazing device.

    2. The Palm Bluetooth Keyboard.

    3. The HP Rechargeable Bluetooth Mouse.

    I also keep an external Tekkeon laptop battery on hand, but it’s only for emergencies as the devices have very good battery life. The only thing I’d like to see in the future would be a rechargeable miniature Bluetooth keyboard.

Recommended Reading

Top Ultra Mobile PCs

Dell Latitude E7440
14.0" Intel Core i5-4200U
GPD Pocket 2
7.0" Intel Core m3-8100Y
GPD Win 2
6.0" Intel m3 7Y30
Viliv S5
4.8" Intel Atom (Silverthorne)
Lenovo Ideapad Flex 10
10.1" Intel Celeron N2806
Microsoft Surface Go
10.0" Intel Pentium 4415Y
Acer Aspire E11 ES1
11.6" Intel Celeron N2840
Acer Aspire Switch 10
10.1" Intel Atom Z3745
LG G8X THINQ Dual Screen
6.4" Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
Toshiba Portege Z930
13.3" Intel Core i5 3427U