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How Choosing My Own Device Changed the Way I Work (and Play)

Client Computing | Posted on October 17, 2013 by Trevor Rief

My technology life has gotten pretty cluttered. Two laptops for work due to refresh issues, a tablet and personal PC at home, and an Android smartphone connected to me at all times.  Each has its strengths and drawbacks but none are the perfect fit – the smartphone is probably the closest but still could be better at creating content and using my business related applications.

Faced with this ever growing IT closet worth of devices, I had mixed feelings about being a participant in the Softchoice Choose Your Own Device pilot – did I really have room for more hardware?  Luckily I was given a pretty wide selection of devices from Dell, HP, and Lenovo and it was up to me to pick the one that I would be the most comfortable using.

Ultimately the goal of tying all of the best parts of my existing devices into one led me to selecting the Dell XPS 12 as my device for this CYOD project at Softchoice. I wanted a device that was powerful and useful enough to be my primary work device while still meeting my personal desires of being light, power efficient, and easy to hold or handle. I was also attracted to the idea of being able to convert from an Ultrabook into a tablet through the rotating screen.

Once I received the machine it took me about a day to get fully set up.  This included getting email and business apps installed, single sign on through Okta, connecting to network printers, and transferring files through Box. While this was simple enough after the fact, I would recommend that future CYOD programs include a “Getting Set Up” best practices or walkthrough document. Anything that would have reduced the number of calls to helpdesk when I got stuck would have been great.  After the initial set up was completed, I only needed to add a mouse and MiniDisplayPort to VGA connector and I was ready to use the device as my primary PC.

After three weeks I can say that the XPS 12 is meeting my needs better than expected and has become my primary device. The startup time is fantastic compared to my main work and home notebooks and the battery life is strong enough for me to spend an entire afternoon at client meetings without needing a charge, a solid 4+ hours (The new Gen 4 Intel processors are even supposed to get almost 3 hours more than this!!). Mix in the light weight and flexible design and you have a device that works great for walking around town to meetings, taking notes in crowded conference rooms, or answering emails and checking fantasy football on the couch.  The XPS 12 also has the best screen that I have ever used, even with my fingerprint smudges.

The biggest challenges so far have been figuring out Windows 8 and some of the behaviors of the Dell touchpad. I kept accidently pulling up my OneNote app when using the touchpad and have learned to just close the App and use the desktop version of OneNote instead. I have ended up just relying on the mouse while at a desk but am still working on an effective way to use the touchpad when working from anywhere else.

Overall I have been greatly impressed by the performance and usefulness of the Dell XPS and look forward to using this as my primary PC for a long time.

Additional Resources

If you have any questions about CYO, feel free to comment below. You can also discover what our CYO participants are talking about on Twitter by following the hashtag #SCYO

CYOD: A New Way to Embrace Mobile Devices

Consulting: The Secret Ingredient to CYOD Success

Putting CYOD To the Ultimate Test – 8,000 Miles Away

4 Steps to Choosing the Right Devices for CYOD

Why CYOD Didn’t Work for Me (And What You Should Do Differently)

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