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With the end of working in offices. I tend to work in coffee shops and I have a tablet that I bring as a second screen.

One thing that this working situation changes is that I carry my work laptop around. I kind of want to avoid being "at work all of the time" so it might be nice using a computer that isn't my work laptop but that starts to mean carrying around a lot of stuff.

One idea that came to mind is that maybe I could use something like a raspberry pi and use my tablets as a monitor (like I already do to get a second desktop monitor). There are quite a few "mini computers" - but after considering this for a second (and looking at some hardware) I realized that a lot of these mini computers didn't come with a monitor.

So this made me think - is there a compact way to use a raspberry pi without a power supply. Are there other computers with a similar form factor? Could I use an external usb battery like I can for my phone? Is this all a silly idea?

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If you are OK with using a lower powered computer like a raspberry pi, then I say go for it! A raspberry pi can run off the same battery bank your phone, just make sure the power bank has a 3.0V output, such as this one. (source: https://raspberrypi.stackexchange.com/questions/114239/pi-4-maximum-power-consumption#114245).

Another idea: if you have a Samsung Galaxy S8, Note 8 or newer, (a quick way to check is to see if you have a USB type C charging port. If you do, your Galaxy is compatible) you can use Samsung Dex. This uses a USB C to HDMI adapter (such as this one) to output an HDMI signal to a monitor and uses your phone as the trackpad/keyboard. You can also use Bluetooth peripherals with Dex.

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  • Thanks for the reply.Good to know that I can use a battery back with the pi. Does this work for any other "small computers" - I'm mostly motivated by avoiding the need to build stuff :D. Yeah, I'm actually planning to use a tablet as a monitor (there are plugins like duet display). There problem is that I kinda want some PC apps (docker and some more task-bases stuff).
    – Att Righ
    Aug 2 '21 at 8:39
  • Got it. Unfortunately, using your tablet as a display can get quite tricky with a raspberry pi. The only usable way I've found to do it is by carrying around a mobile hotspot and using VNC to connect to the pi. The issue with this is if the pi forgets the network for whatever reason, you won't be able to connect to it anymore. You could get a portable monitor, but that's just more to carry. You could also try a device that turns your raspberry pi into a laptop such as the PiBook (pibookpro.com/products/…) 1/2
    – Salocor
    Aug 2 '21 at 14:54
  • For your use case, it would probably be best to stick with a traditional laptop. You can get a Chromebook for around the same price (or cheaper) as making the entire raspberry pi setup. Just look on eBay and there are plenty of them for under $50 USD. 2/2
    – Salocor
    Aug 2 '21 at 14:56
  • I've had good success with a mac computer (duetdisplay.com/?no_redirect=true) and was hopeful that something down this rabbithole would work: holisticsecurity.io/2019/10/28/… It's not exactly the price the matters... more the size. I guess maybe I could just get a small linux laptop...
    – Att Righ
    Aug 2 '21 at 20:40
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    Have you tried the native Sidecar for iPad? support.apple.com/en-us/HT210380 This will only work with an iPad, though. If Mac works for you, you may want to just get another MacBook. They come in the 13-inch size, which in my opinion is a perfect size.
    – Salocor
    Aug 2 '21 at 20:58

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