Living with a Laptop: First Steps (Premium)

Way back at the beginning of the pandemic, perhaps in very late February or early March, a coworker pinged me to ask whether I was starting up another “Living with” series anytime soon. Yes, I told them. I was going to try switching from the Xbox One to the PC for my daily gaming needs. That seemed like a rich area for exploration, given the number of available services and Microsoft’s renewed interest in this market.

But as the reality of the pandemic hit home---oh, this is going to impact us, too, and not just for two weeks---we entered a period of great uncertainty and of dulling day-to-day sameness. And while most were reeling from suddenly having to work from home, I had been doing that for 25 years. What changed for me was a bit different, not so much the workday but everything around it. No going out. No traveling of any kind. No … future, really.

And with this, my desire to experiment was killed off by a need for familiarity, and I simply continued doing what I always did from a game playing experience: I continued playing Call of Duty on the Xbox. And then time elapsed. A lot of time.

I assume that’s all normal and understandable. But as that time went by, my mind did wander to the next “Living with” series. I have a few queued up as possibilities: Living with Linux, for example. And Living with Web Apps. But I had this other idea that’s been brewing for years. It won’t sound all that revolutionary or even difficult, but I’m particularly interested in this change because I often think about the future and how I’ll adapt as our life situations change. I’m always thinking about being more mobile, in particular, so that we can move around as much as we want and I can work from anywhere.

That idea is “Living with a Laptop,” which I realize doesn’t even sound like a great idea for a series. I mean, what’s the big deal? After all, I use laptops around the house every day, I travel with laptops, and I work from a laptop for three weeks at a time when the world is normal and I can swap homes in the summer.

The big deal is two-fold. First, most of my day-to-day work occurs at the desk in my office, and I’ve been using a desktop PC, and not a laptop, in this location for the duration. There’s never been a time when a laptop has been my primary PC. Instead, I rely on the magic of OneDrive to sync the files I’m working on so that when I do go upstairs, or wherever, and work from a laptop, I can access those files seamlessly, and without any wait or interruption.

Second, I really do want to try my hand at that what I think of as “Living with PC Gaming.” I’m an Xbox guy, and I feel like I always will, but I’m still very interested in what’s available on the PC, and on the broader range of choices there.

What I needed was a laptop that would be good for both work and play. And that laptop landed in my, um, lap last week when HP shipped me an Envy 15 for review. I could tell as ...

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