Although I'm disappointed that Starbucks has decided its Via instant iced coffee needs to be lightly sweetened, the coffee giant's rollout of free Wi-Fi through a partnership with AT&T has turned its locations into a viable mobile office for me.
There is no sign-up. The connectivity speed is quick. And within five minutes of grabbing an iced coffee or tea, I'm on the Internet.
In an effort to determine whether Starbucks is worth the $2 to $4 for a drink that is going to buy me a seat and some bandwidth, I'm going to the good old-fashioned pros-and-cons list.
There are typically a large number of outlets and tables that are the right height for working.
Starbucks is ubiquitous; free Wi-Fi is not. This does eliminate some of the guesswork in trying to track down a Wi-Fi access point, which is usually exacerbated by the fact that I don't have access to Wi-Fi at the time.
Free refills on coffee and tea after five swipes of the Starbucks Reward card.
The coffee is hit or miss. It's certainly not tops in the city.
When I forget my headphones, I have to listen to a soundtrack of music Starbucks sells, which sounds like Bruce Springsteen slowly dying.
Not everybody thinks of Starbucks as their office. The table behind me can be filled with a group of middle school age kids playing Magic The Gathering and informing me loudly who is winning and losing.