Since I’ve had some fairly major changes in my Daily Drivers over the last couple of months, I thought it’d be a fun exercise to explain what has changed, why it changed, and what’s on the horizon.
Old and Busted: Nexus 7 (2013)
New Hotness: iPad Air 2 (WiFi, 64 GB)
My history with tablets is a strange one, suffice it to say, I’ve gone through way too many, and I’m tired of making sacrifices in this area. When it comes to upgrade cycles, I think tablets should be more like laptops than smartphones, and in that regard, the iPad Air 2, with its top-of-the-line processor, 64 GB of storage (finally), a laminated screen (finally), and 2 GB of RAM (finally) might finally be the tablet I can use for years to come. The iPad Air 2 is an iOS tablet that outperforms a 2011 MacBook Air and that’s, frankly, pretty ridiculous. It’s also the first iPad I’ve used that – probably thanks to the added RAM – legitimately feels like a secondary computer, rather than purely a consumption device. Of course, it is also a fantastic consumption device, because it’s still an iPad, and that’s where they truly excel. I have more to say about the iPad Air 2, but that can wait until I’ve used it for a couple more weeks.
As for why the Nexus 7 got ditched – well, it’s complicated. I tended toward smaller tablets – originally the iPad Mini, and later the Nexus 7 – because I thought I’d carry them with me more. Unfortunately, I found that with devices of that size, they’re often too big to conveniently carry around without a bag, but also, almost paraodically, too small to justify using over my phone, except perhaps for games or reading. However, since I discovered that I greatly prefer a Kindle for reading books, those use cases became even smaller, and my Nexus 7 quickly became the device that rarely left the nightstand. The final nail in the coffin was that, despite Google’s best efforts, Android simply doesn’t have the software library of the iPad, especially when it comes to games – even for fairly major releases. Hearthstone? Finally coming in December, probably – almost eight months after its debut on the iPad. FTL? No word on if it’ll ever show up. After awhile, you get tired of waiting for Android tablet ports that, at best, show up “eventually”.
Old and (actually) Busted: Nexus 5
“New” Hotness: HTC One (M7)
This one is a bit different than the others, because my Nexus 5 is literally busted, in that the screen is broken. Fortunately, I had an old HTC One that was willing and able to take its place. I’ve already gotten into detail a couple of times about why the HTC One is a fantastic phone, so I won’t bore you with that again, suffice it to say that over a year and a half later, it’s difficult to find a justification to replace it. Like the iPhone 4 before it, I feel it’s a somewhat-timeless smartphone…at least as long the software updates keep coming. I certainly had my reasons for using a Nexus 5 for awhile, and I believe those reasons are still valid, but now that I’ve put the effort into making the HTC One as unlocked and open as my Nexus 5 was, I’m not in any rush to replace it again.
Old and Busted: Pebble (original)
“New” Hotness: Moto 360
I’ve written a lot about the Moto 360, but the quick-and-dirty summary: no one needs a smartwatch, but they are useful, and if you want one, and have an Android phone, this is the one I’d recommend, largely thanks to its ambient light sensor and incredibly convenient wireless charging.
Why did the Pebble get ditched? Some part style, some part software. The original Pebble is not a terribly attractive device, especially when compared to something like the Moto 360. Perhaps more importantly, however, I’ve found a huge amount of utility in Android Wear’s voice commands, particularly when it comes to setting reminders and creating to-do lists. Also, while the Pebble excels at showing me notifications, but Android Wear – and by extension, the Moto 360 – allows me act on many of those notifications, and I’ve found that makes a huge difference in utility. The only real benefit to the Pebble is battery life, but I have no problems charging my smartwatch daily, as long as the charging method is convenient and it doesn’t die on my wrist.
So what’s next? I honestly don’t know – I’ve reached a surprisingly happy medium with my current line-up, with each device filling an important niche, and no device feeling underused. The most obvious candidate for replacement is the HTC One, given its age and the fact my contract is up early next year, but right now, I don’t see anything I’d jump to replace it with. The only real candidate is the new Moto X, but even then, I’m not sure it’d be a huge upgrade. I’m excited to see what comes out next year – especially from HTC – but if nothing strikes me as being better than my HTC One in most or all areas, then I’ll wait it out.
It’s perhaps my dirty little secret that as much as I love technology, I don’t love buying things on a near-constant basis. It’s that love of technology that drives me to find the ideal devices that fit so seamlessly into my life that I don’t want to replace them, because replacing them could actually make things worse. People who know me in person will laugh at this, and they’re right to do so, but for the first time in awhile, I’m not itching to buy anything new any time soon – and it feels good.