Using the Right Tool For the Job

I have way too many devices. Ask anyone that knows me well, they will probably tell you that I do not need all of the phones, laptops, and smartwatches that I have. The reason I call this blog “Not As I Do” is to stress that I buy products so that you don’t have to. I can inform you about what you need, so you don’t make the same buying mistakes that I have.

That being said, I may be going against the grain when I tell you that you may also need multiple devices. Even if two devices can accomplish the same things, that doesn’t mean that they are complete substitutes for each other. Let me give you an example. The iPad Pro (of any screen size) is one of the most versatile products that Apple has ever made. Along with the Apple Pencil and the dedicated Smart Keyboard, a user can convert the iPad into a pseudo laptop for more productivity.

Don’t be that guy.

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Let me give you some background. When I first got to college, my only computer was a Dell XPS 15z. While Dell marketed the 15z as a sleek and compact powerhouse, it ended up being way too heavy to lug between all of my classes, and it was too big to fit on those cafeteria tray-seized desks. I was also waiting in the wings for the greatly anticipated release of the Microsoft Surface, which came in October 2012. While the Surface RT was quickly demonized, it was the perfect device for a college student who used nothing but the Microsoft Office Suite for school. Meanwhile, the tablet capabilities made it great for watching Netflix (in a traditional 16-9 aspect ratio, no letterboxing) and the Windows RT UI, while flawed, lent itself well to tablet usage.

My honeymoon period with the Surface RT came to a halt when I started a class that required me to use MATLAB, which forced me to once again haul my old 15z around campus on the days that I needed a more powerful device. My next step was upgrading to the Surface Pro 2, 3 and so on, which helped me bridge that gap.

As a result, I am a big fan of the Surface Pro family, and what it has done for the entire PC market. I will readily sing the praises of a two in one device…if it is what you need.

Unfortunately, the state of Windows 10 on tablets is quite sad. The few times I have used modern Surface Pros or my Surface Book as tablets, I find it too difficult to hit some of the small touch targets, and I miss some of the intuitive gestures that made Windows 8 quite good (for this use case).

It is important for you to evaluate how many devices are ideal for you. You should base this on how much money you’re willing to spend, what you use your devices for, and where you use your devices.

Here is my lineup:IMG_0335Smartphone – It is no surprise that smartphones are now the primary content computing device for the majority of the population. The portability and capability make the smartphone the biggest contender for your eyes. There are a few shortcomings though.

I do not use tablets very often anymore. My tablet usage has been replaced for two reasons: 1) I frequently use phones with greater than 5.5″ screens, and it is always easier for me to pull my phone out of my pocket or to continue using my phone for viewing content than to go and find a tablet, log in, get back to wherever I was on my phone, and continue viewing the content. Meanwhile, my fondness for thin and light laptops makes tablets less worthwhile for viewing content on a larger display

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Thin and Light laptop – I do not consider myself to be an very mobile person, but I still like to have a portable device available to bring to and from work and whenever I travel.

 

Heavy duty business-class laptop – Earlier this year, when I used my first Dell Latitude, I gained appreciation for high end business laptops. Modern Latitudes (along with HP Elitebooks and Lenovo ThinkPads) are fantastic devices to use, mostly because of their tendency to implement tactile, high-travel keyboards.

Desktop – My desktop is where I get the most work done. It is by far the most capable of any of my devices, and it is often more powerful than I need it to be. It has all of the storage that I could ever need for old pictures, videos, and documents. I have never experienced any slowdown on it.

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