Why I Carry 4 Different Devices (And the 1 Problem They All Have)

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I’m currently functioning on a few hours sleep today (#uniproblems), and the fact that midterms have arrived has only encouraged me to focus less on those and more on Nokia-related things.

So this is a topic I’ve wanted to speak out on for quite some time now, and you’ll know what it is quite soon. The reason I bring it up is because while I’m known around my university for being unhealthily obsessed with anything Nokia and mobile tech, it shocks people when they see me walking around with 4 different devices in hand. And mind you, this doesn’t include my laptop, which is also almost always with me. The devices I carry with me are my Lumia 810, Nokia N8, iPod Touch (5th Gen), and T-Mobile ZTE MF61. So, the answer to the common question as to why I’m schlepping around these 4 devices: battery life.

My 4 Mobile Devices
Left to right: Lumia 810 (Aiden), iPod Touch (Kin), Nokia N8 (Nathan), T-Mobile ZTE Hotspot (Ten)

No one can deny that the mobile industry has grown at an incredible pace in the past several years. It’s almost scary (but mostly exciting) to think of where we may be in the next 5 years! Unfortunately, one thing that hasn’t seemed to catch up is the technology powering these devices. Lithium-ion batteries are used in many, if not all, consumer electronics, powering mobile phones, cameras, notebooks, handheld gaming consoles, tablets, you name it! On smartphones, they last an average of about a day or more before needing to be charged again, and each charge actually depleted the battery capacity a little. For example, my Macbook Pro has been in use for 35 months, and 601 battery load cycles later, my battery capacity has depleted from 5770mAh to 4897mAh. And while the battery had an estimated 10hours between charges when I purchased it, I now get an average of 5 hours per charge.

Nokia Battery
The BP-4W Lithium Polymer Battery found in the Nokia Lumia 810

While battery life isn’t not completely atrocious, I don’t think it’s nearly where it should be. When I purchased my Nokia N8 2 years ago, it lasted me over 3 days on average use (and I was snapping photos left and right). Of course, Symbian was less power-hungry of an OS, but nowadays with Android constantly sucking the life out of smartphones, and the industry pushing quad-core and soon octo-core phones, the current battery capacities we have just don’t really cut it. And the thinner-is-better approach isn’t helping the cause either! It’s forcing companies to use Lithium Polymer, and while it allows for thinner batteries to be manufactured, the trade-off is less energy density. Granted, I’m impressed with Motorola for squeezing 3300mAh batteries into their RAZR Maxx HD, but I still feel like it’s not enough.

Nokia N8 Camera
Nathan and his battle scars from the past 2 years.

So back to my devices. I have my Lumia 810, Aiden, which is my main device for doing phone stuff like calling and texting and whatnot. I will use it to blast music once in a while, but I purposely store about half my music collection onto it as I don’t expect to ever use it as my main music device. I prefer to preserve the battery for the phone stuff that I need, and leave the music to my next device, Kin.

My current 5th Generation iPod Touch makes the 4th iPod (touch) that I’ve owned in the past 3 years. Most people know me to openly hate on Apple, so they’re always shocked to see me with an “iPhone” (I always have to explain that it’s an iPod Touch, and that I will never in a million years own an iPhone). To be honest, I don’t hate Apple… I just.. disdainfully appreciate them for pushing the industry and forcing Nokia to change its way of working. And I have always openly admitted that the iPod touch is the best standalone music player on the market (but let’s be honest, who else is still even in that market?). And not only can I listen to all my music on a device that’s made for that very purpose, but I get all my favorite apps that Windows Phone doesn’t have! Sucks to say it, but that’s the truth. Grindr still doesn’t have a Windows Phone app (it’s a gay man’s necessity). So that basically means that the app usage is split between my Lumia and my iPod.

But oh, it’s just an Pod! How am I supposed to connect to the internet without a cellular connection or wifi at every corner? That’s where my T-Mobile Hotspot, Ten, comes in. I’ve been a long-time customer of T-Mobile, and while they do not have the best network of the Big 4 (especially on campus), I know they’re working hard at improving not only their coverage, but also on their relationship with customers and their demands with their new Uncarrier approach. Anyways, in order to keep my iPod connected in areas with no WiFi, I take my hostpot everywhere with me.

For a while it was just those 3, but I recently (and by this, I mean last week) resurrected my Nokia N8, Nathan, from a year-long coma that was induced by some odd software issue that was keeping him from booting up. I was ecstatic to know that I had my camera back! It had always planned to keep Nathan around when I decided to upgrade to a new phone, as I figured there wouldn’t be anything worth replacing him with (other than the 808 PureView and Lumia 1020). So far, I still see no reason to replace him just yet! I mean let’s be real, a 12.1MP camera with Carl Zeiss Tessar lens? On a phone? In 2010? I captured some pretty awesome photos and videos with this brick, and to this day people are still shocked that they came from a phone! So now that he’s back in my life, he takes another load off my Lumia 810, which I may still use for a quick shot here and there. But if I want to capture something good, I go to my Nokia N8.

T-Mobile ZTE Hotspot
My mobile hotspot, Ten, which connects to T-Mobile’s 4G HSPA+ network.

So there you have it. The reason I carry all 4 of these devices together is mainly to keep from draining the battery of my poor Lumia 810, which can technically do all of the other things that I use the other devices for. But I will continue to spread the love until battery technology gets better, which will hopefully be in the near future. Lithium Ion is good, but not great. Nanowire, anyone? Graphene? I know there has to be some solution to out depleting power problems!

Tell me, am I crazy for caring this much about the power consumption of my devices? Am I alone in my struggle, or are there others out there that feel my pain? Let me know! Let’s start a support group!

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