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Lately I sometimes find myself idly shopping for a digital camera, an e-book reader, or a device that will put Google and email access in my pocket. I already have an iPod (the touchless variety) that I like because it's big enough to store my entire music/audiobook library, a cellphone that's nothing special except it has a qwerty keyboard, and a digital camera that I like because it's tiny and don't like because it doesn't have image stabilization.

It occurs to me that if I follow through on this shopping, I have a fundamental choice:
  • Carry one device that does a mediocre job of most or all of these things and has one battery and power cord and computer cable and takes up one pocket in my backpack.
  • Carry four or five devices that all do their respective functions very well and all use batteries and power cords and computer cables and backpack pockets.
It also occurs to me that people I know have solved this issue for themselves in various ways. So I'm soliciting anecdata. (Hey, it's cheaper than actually buying anything.)

Do you regularly carry portable device(s) that serve any of these functions? Why did you choose the devices you did? Are you happy with your current solution?

Digital camera
E-book reader
Cell phone
Wireless Internet
Music player

This entry was originally posted at http://firecat.dreamwidth.org/661734.html, where there are comment count unavailable comments.


( 29 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 27th, 2010 09:55 am (UTC)

not the best PDA, but adequate, and sync-able
not the best camera, but fine for snaps.
fine in all other categories you list.

and more (GPS is the biggest one, others are smaller, but still good).

I can't imagine living without the machne now.
Feb. 27th, 2010 07:17 pm (UTC)
Feb. 27th, 2010 11:19 am (UTC)
I'm using an ADP1 (which is more or less identical to an Android G1).

I use it a lot for reading livejournal and newspapers - not so much as a ebook reader proper. (I have a touchbook, which makes a much better ebook reader, but most this is a schedule thing.) It has a 3.2 mp camera, though I have only started using it recently - it's easy to get good clear pictures, not sure about the color matching (though that's easy to correct).

It's a good phone, though I use it more as a data device. It works great as a router (I currently have it set up as a wifi or bluetooth access point) though there are possible issues with tmobile, and works very nicely as a PDA. Oh, and it has the qwerty keyboard.

I don't use it as a music player, though it would function as such and I keep meaning to try it. (Well, mp3, but also internet radio. I might start listening to BBC Kazakhstan again...)

And, of course, it's a linux device, so it happily talks to all my other boxen, and it has GPS and various other toys.
Feb. 27th, 2010 07:18 pm (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 27th, 2010 07:19 pm (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 27th, 2010 07:20 pm (UTC)
That's a pretty tempting option too, I have to say.
Feb. 27th, 2010 01:26 pm (UTC)
i am looking forward to this coming out http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2010/02/12/hp_europe_smartbook/ since i want a travelling laptop, mine is too swanky and heavy to take places.

i currently settled on the sony ericsson w995 because i got pissed off with the teething problems of iphone and the non mac one i tried. i got it cos it has an 8mpx camera and because it has a massive memory, and is loud enough to listen to on trains, like a real walkman.

however, i am now reconsidering my position re cameras. i like having one device, ideally for everything or at least to travel v light because i don't like to carry bags (or anything much) but want a bit more control with photography. i am actually considering a digital slr, but a good pocket one with a decent sized lens would probably be better for me. i'd really like simple controls but good quality - the olympus trip of the digital world if there is such a thing - one person, 2 people, 3 people or the mountains, and everything in wide angle would be acers.
Feb. 27th, 2010 07:21 pm (UTC)
Feb. 27th, 2010 07:30 pm (UTC)
ever since you posted this i have been researching. that new netbook doesn't look like it is as good as this one http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B002AS9T8E/ref=ord_cart_shr?_encoding=UTF8&m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE which presumably because of competition has now been marked down on uk amazon. i like a silver keyboard and non white or black in general - white is too white, black feels tiring to me. (my real laptop is a dell xps which has a ton of silverware and only a tiny sliver of black - and i got to choose the cover, which is red)

in other news there is the issue of the camera. being a southpaw i don't want something to overtly right handed which the slrs tend to be. of course, having an eye for the nice i immediately wanted a leica, which was a bizillion pounds, but which you could manually do aperture and shutter speed. this is what i want, not a ton of video gubbins. this canon is a bit right handy and a bit of a brick http://www.amazon.co.uk/Canon-PowerShot-Digital-Megapixel-Optical/dp/B002LSI1HS/ref=wl_it_dp_o?ie=UTF8&coliid=I2DYMF5PUIO4ZD&colid=1J6YNIMV2HIYS but has retro compatible features and prioritises the camera and lens over the movie function, the reviews looked good. meanwhile there is a panasonic lumix that might be slimmer and still let me play old skool, but there are so many of the damn things so i am busy playing price against features to see what's what.
Feb. 27th, 2010 07:53 pm (UTC)
Re: ooh!
I've heard good things about the canon powershot.
Re: ooh! - e4q - Feb. 27th, 2010 07:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 27th, 2010 03:06 pm (UTC)
I'm happy with my Motorola Droid phone for:

Digital camera
Resolution is ok, flash is amazing. I never carried a camera with me before

E-book reader
Works great for both libravox and text books

Cell phone
Google voice works well, gives me email, sms and voicemail transcription

Wireless Internet
G3 and Wifi

Integration with google calendar rocks

Music player
Works great for this

Gps with audible turn by turn navigation,
handheld gaming platform,
shared shopping lists, synced to the phones

Get a model with a keyboard, the onscreen is ok, but real typing is better.

Battery life is good.
Feb. 27th, 2010 07:23 pm (UTC)
Feb. 27th, 2010 03:10 pm (UTC)
My Palm Pre
I got one because I loved the formfactor and UI/integration design and my old Palm had died. It's not flawless, but I love the way the different apps work w' the underlying WebOS software (e.g., notifications, multi-tasking and interrupts/pauses). If I were getting one today, I'd probably get the Palm Pre Plus (faster CPU; avail on Verizon), but I'm pretty happy with the Palm Pre.

Digital camera: 3 mp, all my pictures on FB are from it

E-book reader: 3 different apps for different purposes (free books, paid books, etc.), functionality seems pretty good to me, though I'd like more flexibility to organize the books.

Cell phone: on the Sprint Everything Data plan (70/mo?), works fine, good voice / listening quality

Wireless Internet: works w' wifi and Sprint for internet

PDA: some good apps for PDA, really like things like GeoStrings (remind me when I'm about to buy a store where I wanted to buy something, or some other errand-related place) and GeoClock (wake me up when my Metro gets to my stop). I sync w' GMail and FB (Contacts) and Google Calendar. I haven't found a notes-related app I like quite as much as the old Memo on my old Palm (though I guess I could just use the Memo function on the Classic emulator), but I haven't looked lately.

Music player: MP3 player. App that comes with isn't that great on organziation, but folks rave about some app I haven't tried. Pandora and other streaming music apps. Youtube player.
Feb. 27th, 2010 03:15 pm (UTC)
Re: My Palm Pre
Oh, I forgot to post this over on DW, sorry.

Also, it's handy enough that I've stopped bothering to take the OLPC laptop on trips, and I mostly use the Pre's Sprint Navigation (GPS) instead of my Magellan.

Feb. 27th, 2010 07:26 pm (UTC)
Re: My Palm Pre
Thanks! (Oh, and I don't care where people comment on my posts; I add the "also posted on DW" notice so people can follow the discussion there if they want.)
Feb. 27th, 2010 03:32 pm (UTC)
Re: My Palm Pre
Aaaaand as of today's update, it has a video recorder/editor, two taps to post to FB! (I'm downloading now)
Feb. 27th, 2010 03:54 pm (UTC)
Re: My Palm Pre
"I'm about to buy a store where I wanted to buy something" = where I'm about to PASS a store where I'd set a reminder, i.e., a reminder when I'm .5 miles away from Home Depot, customizable distance-warnings.
Feb. 27th, 2010 03:56 pm (UTC)
I usually carry:

Not used as a music player (only 8gb), but has reasonable camera, wireless internet, PDA functions and will function as an eBook reader. I do occasionally use it for watching movies in private/while traveling.

iPod (click-wheel):
I listen to music all day at work, and this one holds, currently, my entire collection. I can also interface it with my car stereo.

Casio Exilim e70 digital camera:
I have this with me because I often want a better camera than the iPhone.

Note: I also carry a purse most of the time, as I also want to have my meds, sunglasses and a sketchpad with me, pretty much all the time. I do sometimes want to not carry it and will load some music on th iPhone and just take that.
Feb. 27th, 2010 07:28 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I suspect I'm likely to end up with a solution like this (but with iPod touch/cell instead of iPhone; I'm resistant to paying ten times as much for cell as I do now :-P ).
Feb. 27th, 2010 05:53 pm (UTC)
I currently do all of those things with an iPhone 3GS, which eventually replaced a total of three separate devices and added a camera. (I do have a small Canon digicam, but don't take enough pictures to carry it around under normal circumstances so I don't count it.)

I was carrying a Palm TX (E-book reader, Wireless Internet, PDA), an iPod, and a Sony Ericsson cell phone (which the TX could use to get Internet access via Bluetooth). I replaced the TX and iPod with an iPod touch in 2008, and then replaced both the iPod touch and the phone last year.

I'm very happy with my current solution, because it fits my usage model nicely.

Wireless Internet, PDA, and e-book reading are the main things I use it for; the iPod touch lost points here for not being able to tether through my phone (unlike the Palm TX).

Music (media) player: I'd like more capacity than the 32GB I have, but it's good enough for my day to day listening and watching...on longer trips, I take a laptop anyway.

Cell phone: I don't use it that much as a phone, though now that I don't have to put up with the T9 keypad stuff I send more texts than I used to. Since I need to have a cell phone, though, having it fit inside my PDA/etc device is helpful.

Camera: I use this mostly as a toy, for quick "look, I'm at a con!" posts to Facebook and such.

Most important accessory: I have a "Gum Pro" external 4400 mAh battery pack that can recharge my phone about 3x, which I keep in my backpack. If I'm really heavily using it, that means I don't have to find a spot to plug it in; I can put the battery in my pants pocket, and run the charging cable out to where the phone sits on my belt. :-)
Feb. 27th, 2010 07:29 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I love the battery in the pants pocket idea. :-)
Feb. 27th, 2010 08:09 pm (UTC)
In my backpack I always have my iPod from 2005 and my digital camera from 2003. If I'm going on a trip or going to be waiting somewhere for some hours then I'll take one of my laptops and my broadband card along too. I'm not a cell-phone person. Having taken a big financial hit last year I'm not in the market for anything else at the moment, but I can fantasize that at some point in the future when some super device comes out that really does it all very well and cheaply, I may have the money to buy one.
Feb. 28th, 2010 03:12 am (UTC)
I regularly carry:
  • iPod shuffle (2nd gen), mostly for listening to podcasts during the walking part of my commute. I prefer it to a full-size iPod for this purpose because it's easy to hold onto in my pocket or access clipped at my waist to quickly change volume and turn on and off, which is necessary due to varying noise levels and distractions. I didn't choose it but received it as swag. Best swag ever. I've used it nearly every day for two years.
  • cheap cell phone with VirginMobile service. Doesn't get used much, but it's there when I need it. I chose it because it was cheap--thanks to recommendation from you and your OH.
  • iPod touch (8 gb). Apps I use most often are e-book reader, and a shopping list. I also use it for playing music and as a PDA, as well as internet access if I'm in a location where there's wi-fi and I don't have my netbook with me. I chose it because I decided it was time to replace my Palm, and it seemed the most affordable and usable. I do like it a lot.
I often also have my Kindle with me. I wasn't really looking for an e-book reader, but had a special opportunity to buy one cheap through my employer. Although there are things I like about it, and I do use it regularly at home, I suspect I would have chosen another eReader if I'd been actively shopping for one. The main reason I carry it with me when I remember to is that I can use its free 3G wireless to check email, and do basic internet browsing, although I don't do so all that often when I'm out and about. I truly find my iPod touch to be my preferred eReader, and the main reason I use my Kindle for reading at home instead is because I'm afraid I'll leave the iPod laying around somewhere outside of my handbag.

I occasionally carry my netbook with me--typically in cases when I'm going to be away from home overnight, or have specific computer things I want to be doing. I chose it because it's portable and has great battery life, so it's not even necessary to always carry the power cord around. This is my primary computer when I'm at home also.

I have an iPod (classic), but I don't carry it with me regularly now that I have the touch. It mostly serves as a backup for my whole MP3 library.

I have a very old, very bulky digital camera that rarely gets used. I'm not much for taking pictures.

I've now had my iPod touch long enough that I know that I would love an iPhone if the data/phone plan wasn't so damned expensive. I can neither afford nor justify paying $70 a month--I simply wouldn't get $70/month worth of value out of it. If a cheap enough plan were offered I happily replace my phone and iPod touch with an iPhone, and would also stop carrying the Kindle around. I'd still keep my shuffle though (it's perfect for what I use it for--I fear the day that it breaks, because I doubt earbud cable controls are going to work so comfortably).

Edited at 2010-02-28 03:21 am (UTC)

Feb. 28th, 2010 05:05 am (UTC)
Thanks! My cell is still from Virgin too. :)

I'm surprised that you prefer the iPod Touch to the Kindle as an eReader, since I gather the Touch has a smaller screen. Is it easier to use? How do you tolerate the onscreen keyboard?
Feb. 28th, 2010 02:44 pm (UTC)
Reading in landscape orientation gives a column width that's not very different than on the Kindle itself. You do have to turn pages more frequently (which might be annoying for very fast readers) but I find that turning pages on the iPod Touch is more intuitive (you have more options for how it works and you can set your own options)--for me the previous page and next page buttons on the Kindle are very awkwardly placed, and not comfortable at all for one-handed reading (neither are print books). Whem I'm on the bus or train (where I do most of my not-at-home e-reading) the iPod is much easier to quickly retrieve and stow than the larger Kindle, and it's easy to use when I'm standing with one hand on on a pole and the other on my iPod. I also don't really like the Kindle's "electronic paper" (though I do like its battery life) because I find I need brighter light to read it than I do for paper books. My at-home reading is usually bedtime reading, so I'd prefer to keep the overall lighting a bit low, and with the Kindle I can't (options I've seen for clip-on lights seem awkward and slightly unpleasant in terms of light quality). With the touch, reading in low-light or dark is easy, and I actually find the screen-glow soothing.

I don't have much problem using the onscreen keyboard in landscape mode, but I don't do a lot that requires lengthy use of the keyboard, or great accuracy (e.g. if I'm making a quick temporary note for myself, I don't care about punctuation and spelling). For those cases where there isn't a landscape mode, the keyboard is definitely more difficult to use.

As touch screens go, well I had occasion recently to play with a Blackberry Storm, and the iPod screen is so much more responsive and intuitive (the Storm has more safeguards that basically require you to do more touching to ensure you've selected the right thing--since I've rarely experienced a problem with selecting the right thing first try with the iPod, I found the extra clicking required on the Storm to be annoying.)
Feb. 28th, 2010 07:12 pm (UTC)
Thanks, that is *really* helpful.
Mar. 3rd, 2010 05:30 am (UTC)
My current phone is a Samsung Rogue from Verizon. It meets my camera needs, which are fairly minimal. It works fine as a phone. It's mostly fine for on-the-go internet -- works as well as anything else that fits in my pocket would, I think. The calendar app on my previous phone was a little better; I can't schedule something to recur on "the second Saturday of the month". But it works for one-off appointments, birthdays, etc. I think it has some kind of music player capability, but I've never tried it. For that, I use a 3rd gen iPod nano. It does not hold my entire collection, but it holds more than enough to get through any trip I've taken it on without a repeat. When I bought it, I went into the Apple store intended to get a Classic, with enough capacity for the who shebang, but the appeal of the pocket-size nano was too high. I also have a standalone GPS, and a netbook, but I don't carry either on a daily basis these days. I occasionally read e-books on the netbook or on my home PC, but neitherr is ideal, so I don't do it often.
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