As part of my vacation at the end of 2009, I decided to give a bunch of new hardware a try and see how things went… and then forgot to talk about it.
The collection of goodies included: an iPhone 3GS, a Nintendo DSi, Zune HD, and MacBook Air.
iPhone 3GS – nothing to report here really, aside from the fact that Connecticut has about the same coverage and connection issues that Redmond, WA has… 3G is usually peppy, you never know when you’ve missed a call, and Voice Mail notifications are a spotty thing. That aside, it got no usage on the plane but a bunch of usage across Manhattan, Queens, and southern CT – the only application I didn’t think to try was Zillows and well… that’s because I’m not looking to buy a house there.
Nintendo DSi – no idea because I didn’t use it. Anywhere. Not in the airport, not in flight, not landside. Of course, part of this could be because Jolene and I timed our arrival at Sea-Tac well enough that we didn’t have to kill time and we had a total of 1.5 minutes to breathe at JFK… anyway, I’ve got no news to report on the DSi except to say that it’s pretty lightweight to carry.
MacBook Air – one of the things that I’ve tried to do over the last few vacations is to unplug from work. True, I keep an eye on email, but mostly to clean out the crap; if I don’t my mailbox will overflow and it will make the first day back to work that much more annoying. Of course, with the iPhone connected to work email, I can wipe that out throughout a day at my leisure and without digging out a laptop. And because of this, I can say that the Air didn’t get much use either. The size and the weight made it amazingly portable; enough to say that I forgot I had it at the airports. I planned to use it a bit in the air – enough to have downloaded Alcohol 52% FE to mount ISO’s off a flash drive, since the Air has no optical drive – but I never got around to using it. When I did need a laptop on the ground, the Air was totally fine. I never bothered to boot it to OSX; Windows 7 was more than fine for browsing and home email checks… could use an updated driver or two for battery life and heat, but other than that, it was all kinds of fine.
Zune HD – 32GB isn’t as big as it sounds and I can honestly say that I miss having the 80GB of space that I used to have on my HDD based Zune. Now that that’s out of the way, I have to say that I loved having this device with me on this trip. It’s because of this device that I didn’t take out any of the other three on the plane. I watched about 3.5 hours of video on each flight and both times I landed with 1/2 of my battery still remaining. My Zune 80 – which Jolene was using this trip – only lasted about 3 hours before completely dying. Whether the battery life has increased because of the solid-state storage or because of the OLED screen, I don’t know but the device worked absolutely flawlessly on the trip. I cranked through multiple movies, had to scroll back a few times if I fell asleep, and I never dimmed the lighting for longer life – best device of the trip.
Of course now the question is: could the iPhone have done the same? Truth be told, I don’t know. I’m sure an iPod touch may have better battery life than the iPhone because it has less crap to power, but I simply refuse to have an iPhone and iPod touch at the same time. Way too much overlap. Then if you use the iPhone, will you have no power left to make a call when you land? I know the iPhone has a number of peripherals that can extend battery life… one from Kensington even acts as a stand for when watching video. But then you’re looking at an extra device anyway. For me, I don’t need all of my devices to converge into one device. Not until I can get a device that can be used for a full 24 hours without dying. For this trip I would need something I could use in the departing airport, in the air, and then still make a call when I land. That’s at least 10 hours for a trip like this… the iPhone’s not up to it without the extra battery and while it has games, they aren’t as good as the DSi…
For now, I’m glad to have the device diversity and props to Zune HD – it performed better than all of the other devices in the magic bag this trip.