There’s been some discussion lately started by Kevin over at jkOnTheRun about the compromises we are willing to make when choosing our mobile devices. As some of you may remember, I got an HTC Shift a couple of weeks ago. Well, I have been struggling with this over the past few weeks and I made a decision. The Shift doesn’t work for me, and I have already replaced it with something else.
Let’s start it off this way. I wasn’t particularly impressed with CeBIT this year. As I was walking around the fair grounds it was hard to find something that truly lured you in, something that would make you say “wow”. Sure the MIDs were there, the EEEs also. But I pretty much covered everything that truly interested me in one day. What was the most interesting for me? The new EEE. Oh and also the Pleo – but that doesn’t fit here. Steve borrowed me his Q1B with HSDPA and it proved to be quite useful during the trip. I was able to check email and read feeds while taking a break in one of the restaurants. Unfortunately without the keyboard it turned out to be quite a pain to enter text.
The day after I came back I had two surprises waiting for me. One of them turned out to be me being sick for a week, the other an HTC Shift. The Shift is no ordinary device. It is THE 2nd generation ultra mobile PC that was supposed to be revolutionary. HSDPA? Check. Great form-factor? Check. It was unfortunately much delayed and it turned out to have a pretty average battery life. Still, once I finally had it in my hands I was amazed and happy. Over my sick-week I set it up and had a lot of time to use it. It seemed perfect for me until it came to actually using it in real life.
Instead of my huge laptop, I packed the Shift in its leather case and the accessory pouch in my bag. First thought? I had less space in my bag. I carry a messenger bag and the combination of the shift and pouch actually turned out thicker and I had less space for my books. That was a minor issue – a trade-off, for my bag was now way lighter.
Once I took it out in class I realized the mobility the Shift gave me wasn’t worth the trade-off of having a smaller keyboard, screen, and less power. Not for me at least. When in class I usually look at PowerPoints or research on the web. I also use my computer in Web Design class, and I realized there is no way I was going to be typing code with the Shift keyboard. Making graphics in Photoshop and putting them into Dreamweaver wasn’ t very fast or intuitive either. It was also a bit too slow for my liking. I’m no the sort of person who likes to wait for my computer, but expect it to keep up with me. The Shift was having a bit of a hard time with that.
What ultimately killed it for me was the battery life. One class period and I was down to 20%. That was not going to work. If only it was about 4 hours, everything would have been fine as I rarely use my laptop in more than two classes a day, but 2 hours just wasn’t cutting it. I could carry an extra battery, or an external one. But what’s the point? The Shift was not worth the hassle of charging extra batteries.
Aside from that I also wasn’t using HSDPA or SnapVue. I’m not really a mobile a person. I basically move between two WiFi zones, so no HSDPA needed. I have a couple of USB HSDPA modems, and I can use them when I need them.
I still had the money from the sale of my old P1610 and a friend was coming back from the US. With the dollar being so weak now, it would be a have been a waste for me not to take advantage of this. I decided to replace the shift with a small notebook.
So what did I choose? I needed small and light, yet full size keyboard and a 12 or 13 inch screen. I also often need to quickly check something and I need my machine to be able to multi task with ease – so a Core Duo at least. Then came the OS choice. I don’t really like Vista and I ditched XP in favor of Mac OSX about 4 years ago. I think you can see where I’m going with this.
Meet my Macbook Air.
Considering the exchange rates and the Edu discount I ended up paying 1080 Euro (1700 USD) – that’s less than I originally paid for my P1610. And that’s about all you are going to hear from me concerning the Air – although if anyone has questions about either device feel free to ask in the comments.
So what’s next? I still love mobile devices so I’m going to continue to obsess about them and stay current. I’m just a bit disappointed in the ultra mobile PC scene at the moment, there’s nothing really innovative coming out and most OEM are now just trying to get a piece of the EEE market. I will probably be looking to buy a netbook-style device (HP, EEE) in the summer since I want to take my geekiness to the next level. I’m going to take a laptop to the beach.
By the way, I will be selling my Shift (HSDPA) so if anyone is interested PM me with your offer.