Portable Monitors: The Productivity Gadget You Didn’t Know You Needed
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Portable Monitors: The Productivity Gadget You Didn’t Know You Needed

Lightweight displays and repurposed tablets can turn any space into a mobile multiscreen office.

By Nicole Ngyuen
Mon, Feb 14, 2022 11:18amGrey Clock 4 min

Hybrid workers like me tend to bounce around. At home, I’m in whatever spot is quietest. At the office, thanks to Covid-19, I’m hot-desking. And right now, at the Airbnb where I’m enjoying a skiing work vacation, my writing desk is a kitchen table.

Laptops make all this possible, but their relatively small screens tend to cramp productivity. A seminal 2007 study by researchers at the University of Utah found that participants who used a larger display completed tasks 52% faster. A few years later, researchers at Wichita State University concluded that using dual monitors boosted productivity, regardless of screen size.

So if you want to be more effective while working from anywhere, you’re going to want a monitor, and not a heavy desktop one. New lighter-weight portable screens are hitting the market, and there are more ways now to turn old devices into extra displays, too. Here are your main options:

  • USB-powered screens often cost as much as traditional monitors, but they are slimmer and lighter, and get their electricity straight from your laptop. Some products include two added side monitors.
  • Second-screen software turns your existing tablets (and computers) into extended displays. Apple built it into the Mac and iPad operating systems, and Windows is now compatible with certain Samsung tablets. There’s also an app that lets you choose other devices.

I reviewed four different multiscreen scenarios that made my work tasks easier. Whichever screen or app you choose, be mindful of your laptop’s battery—plug-in displays guzzle power—and your potential neighbours. On a plane, don’t pull out your mega triple-screen setup unless you got lucky and have the row to yourself.

EspressoDisplay v2 Touch-Screen Monitor

The appeal: Big screens, slick design

Price: $669 for the 13-inch, $749 for the 15-inch at espres.so

Compatibility: Most Mac, Windows and Chrome computers

Pros: The Espresso display looks like a superslim iMac. Colours are vivid, and pixels are barely perceptible with the screen’s 1080p resolution. Even the larger of the two models weighs under 1kg, and the magnetically attached stand, sold separately, folds flat to fit in a computer bag.

There are two USB-C ports on the side of the screen: One drives the display connection, while the other can connect to a power brick to charge your laptop, if its own ports are in short supply. The Espresso is touch-enabled, even for Macs, which don’t natively support the capability. You can use two fingers to scroll, or pinch to zoom. The display can also be used in portrait orientation.

Cons: At maximum brightness, the Espresso still isn’t as bright as my M1 MacBook Air, and the screen is reflective, so it can be hard to see in some lighting. You need to download software called EspressoFlow to adjust settings such as brightness and volume. The setup is pricey: Essential accessories such as the stand ($69) and protective case ($39) cost extra. And if your laptop still uses Mini DisplayPort, the older mobile video standard, the adapter costs $40.

Xebec Tri-Screen 2 Laptop System

The appeal: More screens, compact rig

Price: $699 at thexebec.com

Compatibility: Most Mac, Windows and Chrome laptop

Pros: The Tri-Screen 2 adds two thin 10-inch screens, each with a resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels, to either side of your laptop. An expandable holster attaches to the back of your laptop’s display. A rear kickstand supports the added weight (about 2 pounds). The style is great for smaller spaces. You can even work on the couch if you have a sturdy pillow or something else to prop the kickstand on. As with the Espresso, an additional USB-C port supports laptop charging.

Cons: The screens are small, and you need to tinker with the displays’ resolutions to make text readable. My laptop, a late-2020 M1 MacBook Air, required extra setup: an additional adapter ($70), two dongles and a cable, plus a driver download, because the computer only natively supports one external monitor. Those cables need to be disconnected every time you retract the displays. Alex Levine, the company’s chief executive, said his team is working on larger screens and simpler setups.

Sidecar for Mac and iPad

The appeal: Ready-made for Apple users

Price: Free, but requires a supported iPad and Mac

Compatibility: Macs running MacOS Catalina or later, and an iPad using iPadOS 13 or later

Pros: Sidecar is built into Macs and allows you to use an iPad as an extended display. It works with even the basic 10.2-inch tablet model. Both devices need to be connected to the same Apple ID. Sidecar can work wirelessly over Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, but I recommend using a USB cable for the most stable connection.

The feature provides basic touch interaction. Sidecar even unlocks some limited functionality of the Apple Pencil, so you can select and tap things on the iPad’s screen. Some apps, including Apple’s own Preview, also support drawing and markup.

Cons: There’s no iPad camera support, so you still have to use your Mac’s camera for video calls. The touch gestures are limited to scrolling, copy/cut/paste and undo/redo. You can’t use an iPhone as a second screen. You also can’t customize iPad screen resolution to adjust text size. Sidecar won’t work on older devices or devices that can’t be updated (for instance, some employer-administered devices).

Duet Second-Screen App

The appeal: Works across different platforms

Price: $21 for iOS, $10 for Android/Chromebooks, free for Mac/Windows, pre-installed on select HP computers; $28 a year for premium features; at duetdisplay.com

Compatibility: For iOS, Android, Windows 10, Chromebooks and Mac devices

Pros: Duet is fully platform-agnostic. With a Mac or PC as the primary screen, you can use a variety of other devices, from an Android tablet to an old iMac, as a secondary or mirrored display. Touch-wise, there’s slightly more functionality than Apple’s Sidecar: You can click with a tap, and right-click with a tap-and-hold, or use your finger to pan in Google Street view or virtual real-estate tours. Duet also supports portrait orientation. People with new HP Envy and Spectre models get free access to Duet’s iOS and Android apps.

Cons: A subscription is required for wireless connections, Apple Pencil input, additional touch gestures and remote desktop access. Also, you can’t use the cameras of those connected devices for your video calls.

Coming Soon: Samsung’s Giant Windows-Compatible Tablet

Samsung recently announced new tablets, including a massive 14.6-inch Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra, the biggest tablet on the market to use the high-contrast screen tech found mostly in premium smartphones. Galaxy Tab tablets, starting with last year’s S7 models, can be used as a wireless extended display for Windows 10 computers over a Wi-Fi connection. I haven’t had the chance to test the new Tab yet, but it looks like a promising portable Windows monitor—for around $1540.

 

Reprinted by permission of The Wall Street Journal, Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: February 13, 2022.



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Booming demand for wellness tourism shows no slowing, with travel related to health and well-being projected to have reached $1 trillion last year and to hit $1.3 trillion by 2025, according to the Global Wellness Institute, a nonprofit based in Miami.

Curated wellness travel programs are especially sought-after, specifically holistic treatments focused on longevity. Affluent travellers not only are making time to hit the gym while gallivanting across the globe, they’re also seeking destinations that specifically cater to their wellness goals, including treatments aimed at living longer.

“I believe Covid did put a spotlight on self-care and well-being,” says Penny Kriel, corporate director of spa and wellness at Salamander Collection, a group of luxury properties in places like Washington, D.C., and Charleston, South Carolina. But Kriel says today’s spas are more holistic, encouraging folks to understand the wellness concept and incorporate it into their lifestyle more frequently.

“With the evolution of treatment products and technology, spas have been able to enhance their offerings and appeal to more travellers,” Kriel says.

While some growth is connected to the variety of treatments available, results and the digital world are also contributing to the wellness boom.

“The efficacy and benefits of these treatments continue to drive bookings and interest, especially with the support of social media, influencers, and celebrity endorsements,” Kriel says.

While genetics, environmental factors, and lifestyle choices such as regular exercise, a diet free of processed foods, sufficient sleep, and human connection play essential roles in living well and longer, experts believe in holistic therapies to help manage stress, boost immunity, and ultimately influence length and quality of life.

Anti Ageing and Beyond

“For years, people have been coming to spas, booking treatments, and gaining advice on how to turn the clock back with anti ageing and corrective skin treatments,” Kriel says. However, today’s treatments are far more innovative.

On Marinella Beach in Porto Rotondo, on the Italian island of Sardinia, guests at the five-star Abi d’Oru Hotel & Spa can experience the resort’s one-of-a-kind “longevity treatment,” a unique antiaging facial using one of the island’s native grapes: Cannonau. The world’s first declared “Blue Zone”—one of five designated areas where people live longer than average, some into their 100s—Sardinia produces this robust red wine varietal, the most widely planted on the island.

Known as Garnacha in Spain and Grenache in France, Cannonau supposedly contains two to three times more antioxidants than other red-wine grapes. By incorporating Cannonau, Abi Spa says its unique 50-minute longevity session increases collagen production for firmer, younger-looking skin.

Maintaining a youthful appearance is just one facet of longevity treatments, which range from stress-reduction sessions like massage to nutritional support and sleep programs, Kriel says. Some retreats also offer medical services such as IV infusions and joint injections.

Keeping with the trend, Kriel is expanding Salamander Collection’s existing spa services, such as detox wraps and lymphatic drainage, to include dedicated “Wellness Rooms,” new vegan and vegetarian menu items, and well-being workshops. “Sleep, nutrition, and mindfulness will be a big focus for integration in 2024,” she says.

Data-Driven Wellness

Skyler Stillings, an exercise physiologist at Sensei Lanai, a Four Seasons Resort—an adults-only wellness centre in Lanai, Hawaii—says guests were drawn to the social aspect when the spa opened in November 2021.

“We saw a huge need for human connection,” she recalls. But over the past few years, what’s paramount has shifted. “Longevity is trending much more right now.”

Human connection is a central draw for guests at Sensei Lanai, an adults-only and wellness-focused Four Seasons Resort in Hawaii.
Sensei Lanai, A Four Seasons Resort

Billionaire co-founder of tech company Oracle Larry Ellison and physician and scientist Dr. David Angus co-founded Sensei. After the death of a mutual close friend, the duo teamed up to create longevity-based wellness retreats to nurture preventative care and a healthy lifestyle. In addition to the Lanai location, the brand established Sensei Porcupine Creek in Greater Palm Springs, California, in November 2022.

Sensei has a data-driven approach. The team performs a series of assessments to obtain a clearer picture of a guest’s health, making wellness recommendations based on the findings. While Sensei analyses that data to curate a personalised plan, Stillings says it’s up to the guests which path they choose.

Sensei’s core three-day retreat is a “Guided Wellness Experience.” For spa treatments, each guest checks into their own “Spa Hale,” a private 1,000-square-foot bungalow furnished with an infrared sauna, a steam shower, a soaking tub, and plunge pools. The latest therapies include Sarga Bodywalking—a barefoot myofascial release massage, and “Four Hands in Harmony,” a massage with two therapists working in tandem. Sensei Guides provide take-home plans so guests can continue their wellness journeys after the spa.

Sensei Lanai, an adults-only and wellness-focused Four Seasons Resort in Hawaii.
Sensei Lanai, A Four Seasons Resort

Sanctuaries for Longevity

Headquartered in Switzerland with hotels and on-site spas across the globe, Aman Resorts features an integrative approach, combining traditional remedies with modern medicine’s advanced technologies. Tucked behind the doors of the storied Crown Building in Midtown Manhattan, Banya Spa House at Aman New York—the brand’s flagship spa in the Western Hemisphere—is a 25,000-square-foot, three-floor urban oasis.

Yuki Kiyono, global head of health and wellness development at Aman, says the centre provides access to holistic and cutting-edge treatments benefiting physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social well-being. Aman’s customisable “Immersion Programs” consist of a three- or five-day immersion. “The programs encompass treatments and experiences that touch every significant aspect to create a path for longevity, from meditation and mindfulness to nutrition and movement,” Kiyono explains.

Banya Spa House at Aman New York.
Robert Rieger

The spa’s “Tei-An Wellness Solution” features 90- to 150-minute sessions using massage, cryotherapy, and Vitamin IV infusions. Acupuncture is also on offer.

“With its rich history of Chinese Medicine, modern research, and the introduction of sophisticated electro-acupuncture medicine, acupuncture has been proven to assist with problems and increase performance,” Kiyono says.

Resetting the Mind and Body

Beyond longevity, “healthspan”—the number of years a person can live in good health free of chronic disease—is the cornerstone of Mountain Trek Health Reset Retreat’s program in British Columbia, Canada.

Kirk Shave, president and program director, and his team employ a holistic approach, using lifestyles in long-living Blue Zones as a point of reference.

“We improve our daily lifestyle habits, so we live vitally as long as we’re meant to live,” Shave says of the retreat. He built the program from an anthropological stance, referencing humans as farmers, hunters, and gatherers based on their eating and sleeping patterns. Food includes vegetable-centric meals sans alcohol, sugar, bread, or dairy.

Guests wake at dawn each day and have access to sunrise yoga, several hours of “flow” or slow hiking, spa treatments, forest bathing, calming crystal singing-bowl and sound therapy sessions, and classes on stress reduction—one of Mountain Trek’s primary goals. The program motivates people to spend much of their time in nature because it’s been proven to reduce cortisol, the stress hormone that can lead to inflammation and disease when elevated for extended periods.

While most guests aren’t aware of how immersive Mountain Trek’s program is when they arrive, they leave the resort revitalized after the structured, one-week program. Set in the Kootenays overlooking its eponymous river, the resort and adventure promise what Shave calls a “visceral experience of transformation.”

“They’re interested in coming to be in nature,” Shave says of the guests. “They hit a wall in their life and slipped backwards, so they know they need a reset.”

Banya Spa House at Aman New York provides access to holistic and cutting-edge treatments benefiting physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social well-being.
Robert Rieger

This article first appeared in the Winter 2024 issue of Mansion Global Experience Luxury.

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