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As our lives become more enveloped by ever-improving, ever-evolving, ever-more capable technology, extra devices tend to seep into our lives to fill every possible nook and cranny. One might carry a laptop everywhere they go only to be an arm's legth away from their mobile work space. Another might toss a tablet in their bag before leaving the house each morning for some entertainment on their commute to work or for taking notes in class. And who even dares leave the house for a full day of activities without a smartphone in their pocket?

Yesterday, Google's Tim Bray asked a fantastic question on his personal blog. It's one that has been on my mind quite a bit lately, especially as more devices start to fill my bag on a daily basis: "Does it make sense to carry around two, three, or more portable computing devices?"

With so many intermediate steps in affordable technology (the Nexus 7 being a perfect example), it's easy to find yourself carrying more than one device each day. Bray made note of his day-to-day configuration, stating that he carries a 15-inch or larger laptop, a "one-hander" (or 7-inch) tablet and a smartphone every day. And he asked for readers' input with their own setup, selecting from a list of five choices:

  1. Regular-size laptop; say 15"-screen or higher
  2. Skinny laptop i.e. Air at 13" or even 11"
  3. Big tablet at ~10" as in current iPads
  4. One-hander tablet, typically at 7"
  5. Handset, 3½"-5"

(Bray's setup is a 1, 4, 5.)

Lately, my satchel has been filled with 2, 3, 4, 5, 5 … and another 5. That puts my configuration at six devices that I have been carrying with me as of late. I will be the first to admit that this is excessive. But, for the most part, I can justify everything in my bag.

As you all probably know by now, I have learned how to maximize the usefulness of my iPad, and I have turned it into a hardcore writing machine. It's perfect for focused, long form writing as it keeps me from getting too distracted and allows me to make it through an entire day on a single charge (versus charging my laptop two or three times). For the past two weeks, I have also been using it for a few games before bed at night, social media and most of my leisure browsing. (Chrome for iOS has made a huge difference.)

The 13.3" MacBook Air (base model, 2011), which is my computer of choice, is my clean-up hitter. I usually write from the iPad and switch to the computer to refine and publish my work – that is, unless I'm in a bind and need to crunch time. I also use it to tie multiple cloud storage services together, syncing them from the same directory in my file system. It's thin, lightweight, and I even forget it's in my bag sometimes. But it's still powerful enough to handle just about anything I can throw at it.

For the past week, the Nexus 7 has almost tirelessly been at my side. It's a great little tablet, and I'm with Bray 100 percent in that I could use a small tablet in the place of one of my smartphones if it had its own data connection. But now that my review period is over with the Nexus, I imagine it will occupy space on my night stand rather than in my bag. There may still be a few days it can tag along, though.

Last are the smartphones. I've been carrying the iPhone 4S with only one short sabbatical since it released in October 2011. It's my go-to phone for taking pictures and sharing them to social accounts. Lately, however, I have been giving a lot more attention to my Android handsets. Now that Jelly Bean is (unofficially) available, I've been using the Galaxy Nexus that I purchased last week. But I have also been carrying around the HTC One X, planning on switching back to it at some point in the not too distant future.

So why so many devices?

I don't need them all; this isn't about needs, it is entirely about preferences and comfort. I could get by with a 2, 3, 5 (that's a "skinny laptop", a 10-inch tablet and a smartphone) configuration with ease. And that's what my setup normally looks like, except I always carry two phones. The main reason for that is that I enjoy both the iPhone – mainly for its camera – and Android. If there were one Android phone with a camera even remotely close to the iPhone 4S shooter, I would consider consolidating to just one smartphone.

So, at the very least, my messenger bag is filled with a 2, 3, 5, 5 every single day. What about you, readers? How many devices do you carry? Do you need them all? How many does it take?


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82 Reactions to this post

"How many devices do you have?"


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Joyce Miller
Joyce Miller . Buf v vuz
MurphyC91
MurphyC91 Gs3, One X, iPhone 3GS, 4s, iPad 3, BB Playbook and the retina MBP ;p
Anonymous
Anonymous A compaq presario pc, motorola cliq, ipad 2 16GB, and a samsung galaxy s2
Anonymous
Anonymous I have a 1 (HP G62 Laptop), a 4 (VIZIO vTab), a 5 (HTC One V on Virgin), and I don't know if this counts as a 5, but I have a 32 GB 3rd Gen. iTouch.
Cameron Lovell
Cameron Lovell 4 old desktops (experimental purposes) Laptop,iPod 2nd Gen,iPad,HTC One X
Jordan Crawford
Jordan Crawford 2 an iPhone 4 and htc inspire
Onni Tolonen
Onni Tolonen Mac mini,Ipod touch,htc one x
Melissa Petersen
Melissa Petersen Do u have a panteic crossover
Melissa Petersen
Melissa Petersen How much is theinmate
Melissa Petersen
Melissa Petersen Wat is the andr
Hank S. Christy
Hank S. Christy An HTC Rezound, an iPod touch (4th gen, white), a Nook Tablet 16gb, a 1st edition nook, a nook simple touch,
John Anthony
John Anthony A Lumia 900 and an the new iPad
Juan Jose Rios
Juan Jose Rios Two tablets, One android other iPad, two cell phones
Mean D Green
Mean D Green 1 device my galaxy s3 but trading my old galaxy note for an ipad 2 so that'll be carried around daily also
Shashank Hegde
Shashank Hegde SGS2, HTC wildfire, Dell Latitude, IPAD 3.
woodlawndairy
woodlawndairy 2. A tablet And Smart phone
Kevin Joel
Kevin Joel Dell Venue Pro, Asus Eee Pc Netbook, Xbox 360 (personal count)
Antonio Vazquez
Antonio Vazquez hp laptop 17.3 inch, iphone 4, iphone 4S, Verizon Samsung Galaxy Nexus, HTC Rezound, HTC Thunderbolt, HTC Droid Incredible, Motorola Droid X and OG Motorola Droid. plus some gaming systems lol. i love them all
Owen Regan
Owen Regan 3
John Luttrell
John Luttrell Not counting Laptops and PC's we have 3 my wife has an HTC ONE X (amazing) I have an iPad 2 and an iPhone 4.
Chris Kang
Chris Kang iPod for media, Pre for everything else.
Han Lee
Han Lee S2, ps3, psp, laptop, desktop, wii, ps2, asus eee pad transformer
Vicente Reyes
Vicente Reyes Galaxy tablet 2 7.0
Vicente Reyes
Vicente Reyes House hold lol. 2 PC's. Xbox with kenict. Itouch, Droid milestone, Droid razr, atrix2, iPhone 4. 4pc laptops. 1server.
Shahid Khan
Shahid Khan You guys are very luck to have all these high powered devices. Although some are clearly untrue, I.e. multiple xbox guy! I have samsung galaxy ace & a six year old Dell computer. Although looking to buy ipad 2!
Mufaddal Juzar
Mufaddal Juzar 2 Samsung galaxy s3's, blackberry bold 9900, blackberry curve 9300, iPhone 4g, MacBook pro, Nokia c3, imate pda2k,
Aaron Latham
Aaron Latham Asus Transformer Prime, Motorola Atrix 4G, iPod Toich
Brandon Le
Brandon Le 7...
Brandon Little-spoon Levesque
Brandon Little-spoon Levesque Htc one s,htc wildfire s, and iPod 4g,
Joseph Salvagna
Joseph Salvagna I have 3 devices I have an android phone a samsung galaxy tablet and a ipod touch 4th generation
Shahul Hameed
Shahul Hameed S2, galaxy nexus, iphone 4 s.
Gaurav Bhardwaj
Gaurav Bhardwaj Galaxy note. ..one device for all..along with my hp laptop..
Evald Adekvaatne
Evald Adekvaatne S2 , MBP13, Dell Studio 17, iPhone ( the first and the most awsome)
Michelle Perez
Michelle Perez One S, Kindle Fire and upgraded Dell Vostro A90 (aka Mini 9) netbook from 2009, but I'd love to ditch the Fire and the netbook for one really good 8.9" - 10" Windows tablet with a keyboard dock - I am hoping the Surface will fit the bill without too much pain to the wallet.
David DiPilla
David DiPilla Ps1 ps2 ps3 Xbox Xbox 360 Xbox 360 Simpson limted edition Xbox 360 halo edition Xbox 360 halo reach Wii sega Saturn sega gennesis Sega gennesis mega drive Sega gennesis 3 jaguar NES dreamcast game gear game boy game boy color game boy pocket game boy advance game boy sp game boy micro game boy ds game boy ds lite game boy 3ds neogeo Pocket n- Gage game gear gamecube and the star track phone whole bunch of boost phones Nextel phones and more just can't think of it right now pluse iPhone 3g iPhone 4 htc thunderbolt droid 3 htc resound 2 Dell laptops plue one Allenware laptop and.a desktop game con Virtual boy PSP 47 inch 3d led Samsung tv super Nintendo game boy micro Mario edition dam I.forgot what else dont feel like looking I'n my closet to see what else
Chris Downs
Chris Downs Droid incredible 4g, HTC rezound.
Piotr Wichniarek
Piotr Wichniarek Less is more
Steven Pereira
Steven Pereira I've got two laptops, a Motorola xoom and my Galaxy Note. But ill tell you besides some serious gaming I could live with just my note.
David DiPilla
David DiPilla Ps1 ps2 ps3 Xbox Xbox 360 Xbox 360 Simpson limted edition Xbox 360 halo edition Xbox 360 halo reach Wii sega Saturn sega gennesis Sega gennesis mega drive Sega gennesis 3 jaguar NES dreamcast game gear game boy game boy color game boy pocket game boy advance game boy sp game boy micro game boy ds game boy ds lite game boy 3ds neogeo Pocket n- Gage game gear gamecube and the star track phone whole bunch of boost phones Nextel phones and more just can't think of it right now pluse iPhone 3g iPhone 4 htc thunderbolt droid 3 htc resound 2 Dell laptops plue one Allenware laptop and.a desktop game con
Warren Saunders
Warren Saunders HTC one X, Sony tablet S, Sony mylo com 2,PS vita 3G,PS3,asus pc powered by AMD phenom 2 hexa core
Tony Abiama
Tony Abiama I forgot my XBox 360
Sean Watson
Sean Watson Well if we're going there, I have a ps3 and a psp as well. But I don't consider those necessary tech like I do my phone and my laptop
Melissa Washington
Melissa Washington iPhone 4 HTC Inspire (hate) iPad (new) 3rd gen nano MacBook PSP go
Chris Rogers
Chris Rogers "here we go" mac mini, dell laptop, Lenovo NetBook, iPad, touchpad, galaxy tab 7, galaxy epic, evo 4g, iphone 3gs, 8g touch gen2, 8g touch gen3, droid 2, 3x lg optimus, 2x zte score, moto triumph, 2x roku xs, 2xapple tv 2g, apple tv 1st gen, and i think that's about it, and practically every device on that list gets used every day!
Allan Michael Carcamo
Allan Michael Carcamo 3 devices... I have a work phone... The old sprint evo 4g because that phone is really dependable n its strong as i work in the oil industry... N i recently purchased my galaxy note which i do mostly everything on... N my ipad 2 which i carry around because i have everything sync there.
Gibby Garcia
Gibby Garcia maybe for some people they need more than one or two gadgets in their daily lives but for others, it's just plain gadget LUST...
Maria Lincoln
Maria Lincoln 1 device - my phone hehe
Joey Drew Bucek
Joey Drew Bucek Ipad1, ATRIX 4g. iPod 4g,imac 21.5 in, 3ds PS vita ,32 in LCD HD TV ps3 . I'm 15. Before you call me spoiled I'd like to say I have a job and I bought all of these myself
Alberto Garcia Flores
Alberto Garcia Flores Galaxy S 3 with I got yesterday, iPod 4 and PS3, low house hold count laptop, iPad, Wii, XBox.
Alberto Svergiz-Siri Sita
Alberto Svergiz-Siri Sita 34.
Adrian Anguiano
Adrian Anguiano iPhone 4S MacBook pro retina iPad 3 Xbox 360 slim with kinect
Tahrim Ehsan Abir
Tahrim Ehsan Abir 4
Antoine Everette
Antoine Everette I have three devices both are smartphones i have a motorola citrus and a blackberry
Abram Wenevermet Dennis
Abram Wenevermet Dennis Apple tv & ps3
Mike Aguero
Mike Aguero House hold count ... 3 iPads 1 apple tv ..3 iPhones 2 iPod touch .. 1 mac book And 1 android razor
Bill Siembida
Bill Siembida 7 I have 2 smartphones and a tablet and then the wife and kids have the rest
Shawn Sedha
Shawn Sedha 2 HP touch pads, 1 galaxy nexus, 1 iPhone4, 1 ipod touch 2g, and about 9 computers (1 Mac)
Abram Wenevermet Dennis
Abram Wenevermet Dennis Ipad1,new iPad,iphone4s
Zach Cline
Zach Cline 11 " inch MacBook air, iPad 2 , iPhone 4s and my google nexus 7 will be here in a week or so.
Randy McCamman
Randy McCamman Galaxy Nexus and soon Nexus 7!
Nikola Karovic
Nikola Karovic I have Iphone, Galaxy and Xperia. Design of Xperia is best, but best all around device is probably iphone ( didnt have any problems with him till now)
Tony Abiama
Tony Abiama Asus 15" Windows 7 laptop, iPad 2 and Sprint Galaxy Nexus.
Shawn Poling
Shawn Poling And one apple MacBook and windows laptop and apple desktop
Shawn Poling
Shawn Poling iPhone 4s, galaxy nexus gsm, droid charge, droid x and iPad.
David DiPilla
David DiPilla Oh I forgot my computers I have 3 laptops 2 are Dell one is Alienware and a desktop
Daniel Onofre
Daniel Onofre iPad 3 iPad 2 iPhone 4s iPhone 3GS iPod touch iPod classic 160gb apple tv 25inch touchscreen computer laptop and a palm pre
Devin Martinez
Devin Martinez Galaxy nexus iPhone 4s iPad 3rd gen Apple TV 2nd gen M11x-r2 iPod nano 6 I think that's it....
Auston Groth
Auston Groth iPod touch 4th gen, galaxy sII, iPad, two laptops(Levano, HP) Hp desktop. blackberry
David DiPilla
David DiPilla I have a iPhone 3G iPhone 4 had a htc thunderbolt have a droid 3 and a htc rezound my next phone is either a s3 or iPhone 5
John Cruz
John Cruz Sucks for the guy with all the apple products
Eric J. Powers
Eric J. Powers A few, and im about to add the nexus 7 to the collection!
Curt Popejoy
Curt Popejoy Toshiba Laptoop, Acer netbook, Dell Streak 7 inch tablet, and Dell Venue Pro Smartphone. Dumping the smartphone next week for a dumb phone. Teaching in a new district and the city have no 3G or 4G for 20 miles in any direction so no sense is paying for data.
Joshua Aaron
Joshua Aaron sony w395, xperia x10, htc sensation xl
Jose Angel Santiago
Jose Angel Santiago Gs2 & galaxy nexus
Eduardo Ordaz
Eduardo Ordaz 1.
Pinny Gildin
Pinny Gildin 3 two IPad 2's and an IPhone 4s
Kyle Tran
Kyle Tran 1 iPad 2 iPhones 2 iTouches 2 iPod nanos And coming soon Apple TV.
Sean Watson
Sean Watson 2. My htc thunderbolt, and my hp i7 laptop. Well, and an old core 2 duo laptop as a backup... No tablets or anything tho
Derrico Brown
Derrico Brown 2...An HTC EVO 3D and a iPod Touch 4. On school days I'll also carry around my 15" laptop.
Matthew Dyer
Matthew Dyer I now only have a LG Cosmos 2 just switched from AT&T to Verizon
David DiPilla
David DiPilla You said 2 dffrent things lol
Too Late Gabe
Too Late Gabe Two Galaxy S2's... for SALE ACTUALLY!! http://www.ebay.com/itm/251104483503?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649#ht_500wt_1416




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