Follow up to “Can a Smartphone be your main computing device?”

In my last post I spoke about taking on the challenge of using my recently acquired Motorola Razr as my main computing device for seven days.

I lasted four.

No experiment should ever be considered a failure if you learn something along the way and the fact is I learned several things.

1. The Smartphone is, well, a cell phone

This often gets lost in the myriad of phone apps and access to the Internet, we often forget that we can still make a phone call from them or send a quick text message instead of typing out a lengthy email. I made a few more calls than I usually do during the experiment and I definitely sent more text messages.

2. The screen is just “too damn small”

For reading it might be fine but for typing out anything longer than a dozen sentences or so it just doesn’t seem to work for me. I gave it a try on more than one occasion and found the need to constantly scroll back to read what I had typed to be a bit annoying. You do have to type in portrait mode as in landscape the keyboard takes up most of the screen.

3. Voice dictation is nice but can also be awkward

I have to say that one of the things that I’m taking away from this experiment is a new found respect for voice dictation. I have found that I’m using it more frequently for things but have also discovered that it can also be awkward. When dictating responses keep in mind that those around you are not aware of the other end of the conversation, similar to when you speak on the phone – I got more than a few raised eyebrows sending messages this way.

4. Swype is a fantastic tool

I’ve used Swype before on other Android phones and found it easy to use and responsive. On my Razr Maxx with Ice Cream Sandwich it is a fantastic keyboard replacement and I frequently wish I had it when I’m on another device.

5. The Smartphone is not a computer

Somethings you just need a computer for, not because you can’t find an app to do the work (like photo editing) but you just sometimes need a bit more horsepower or screen real estate. In my case things really started to get difficult when I wanted to started editing files in my dropbox – if it isn’t small and text based you’re better off going to the desktop.

I do have to admit, while I only lasted four days into the experiment the desire to push the limits of my phone never really diminished.  I’m still toying with different applications trying to find the right balance of tools for what I do and once that’s done I might even track down a game or two.

Have you tried to use your Smartphone the same way? How far do you push it? Why not share your experiences in the comments below.