Carrying just one phone is remarkably and understandably serene

Taylor Martin
 from Concord, NC
Published: January 23, 2013

For the last four years, I have carried no less than two smartphones with me everywhere I have gone. I plug up two phones beside my bed each night; I pack (at least) two phone chargers when I plan an overnight trip; I send and receive text messages on two different numbers; and I have two separate (three, actually) accounts with different providers.

Last week, however, I started a challenge. When it started, it was supposed to be a 30-day challenge. But as the challenge went on, it turned into so much more.

I shelved my iPhone, which has been active since launch day, September 21, 2012. I explained in my first DROID DNA challenge video that I have been using an iPhone – almost exclusively – on my Verizon line since the first iPhone graced Big Red's CDMA network. Sure, I've swapped the ol' trusty iPhone out with the occasional Android device and even a BlackBerry once. But, for the most part, various iPhones have been my daily drivers on Verizon for some time now.

Hold that thought! Before you shake your finger and call me a fanboy (or worse), I mentioned that I constantly carry two phones. And for the last four months or so, that second device has been a Samsung Galaxy Note II. Before that, it was an HTC One X and Galaxy Nexus.

My reasoning behind dual-wielding two smartphones is that no operating system is perfect. Android is great for many things and is the clear winner when it comes to functionality. But there are applications and services available only to iOS. In the same respect, iOS has its fair share of faults – multitasking is sorely under-powered, access to vital Google Apps is just barely tolerable and the interoperability between applications and services is nonexistent. Not to mention, the largest iOS smartphone, the iPhone 5, limits users to an arguably tiny 4-inch display.

Both platforms excel and disappoint in their own ways. That's why I have used them side by side for the better part of two years.

But last week, I didn't only shelve the iPhone for the DROID DNA challenge. I also left behind the Galaxy Note II every day. I don't need to carry two Android phones – I used to and it's redundant and annoying having to update every app twice and get the exact same notifications twice. I especially don't need to carry two extra large smartphones.

Just a few hours after removing the SIM card and powering down my iPhone and Galaxy Note II, I realized just how much quieter it is with only one smartphone around. And I know this may sound absurd to those of you who wish they could carry two phones. But carrying a second phone because natural. Leaving it behind (on accident rather than on purpose) feels like leaving behind your wallet or forgetting your belt.

On day one, however, I was relieved to not have a second phone on my person. My right pocket was empty, I didn't have to think about which phone to use for which tasks and I didn't have to feel around and check which phone had actually vibrated or chimed. There was only one phone, so it was pretty clear where the notification came from.

I imagined when I took on this challenge that I would miss having the second device, the peace of mind in knowing if the first device failed or died, I have a backup on hand. But this could not be further from how things played out. On day two, I didn't even think about not having a second device. I left the apartment with the DROID DNA in hand and had no regrets.

Day three, I thought about how I missed push notifications on the iPhone through Tweetbot. And I started to miss the iPhone's camera. And I missed the battery life of the Galaxy Note II. But other than that, I was fine. Days four through seven were pretty much the same as day three.

Then came day eight, where I decided to cut the 30-day challenge short in favor of writing a full review and re-focusing my efforts elsewhere. (Don't worry, more DNA content is coming, I promise. I'm still spending time with it and have many things to say about the device, both positive and negative.) However, it was day eight when it hit me.

I didn't want to come back to a two-phone setup. I didn't want to switch back to carrying an iPhone 5 and a Galaxy Note II. I was all but forced to, though. I pay upwards of $150 per month for my two lines and would be throwing money away if I didn't. And I like the iPhone for its camera and the Note II for everything else.

The more I think about it, the more I feel I should step away from carrying two phones all the time. And the best way for me to do that without wasting my money on a second line (that is in an agreement until April 2014) is to swap one of phones for a small tablet, to use either the Galaxy Note II and an iPad mini on Verizon or use an iPhone and a Nexus 7 with connectivity.

Either way, I could not be more annoyed coming back to a two-phone setup, as crazy as that may sound. And I plan to spend the next few weeks moving devices around and consolidating to a more logical daily setup.

What say you, folks? Do you use more than one smartphone? Or are you perfectly content with your single phone? I know I'm ready to consolidate and downsize!