Dual Wielding


Previously: More Dakka

Epistemic Status: The Dakka Files

Smartphones are wonderful things.

Get a second one. And get a lot of chargers.

I did this a week ago. My phone (a Google Pixel 2) had some sort of ink leak onto its screen, so I purchased a second one (a Google Pixel 3a) while I attempted to repair the old one. When the repair attempt was successful, but I hadn’t finished transferring some features and data across, I tried carrying around both.

It was clear by the end of the day that the second phone was a huge improvement.

On reflection, this was a basic case of More Dakka. A substantial portion of the people one interacts with worry about running out of phone battery, or running out of phone storage space, or needing to toggle too many things on their phone at once.

This solution solves all these problems right away.

Battery life more than doubles because of your newfound ability to charge one phone while carrying around or using the other. I have not come close to running out on either phone since doubling up. I have also been told that draining the batteries is bad for battery life, so long term this will pay additional dividends. A battery pack is an alternative, but they seem to be similar in size to phones and don’t allow the charging swap tactic, and also lack the accompanying additional benefits of dual wielding.

Storage space effectively doubles as well. Yes, some things must duplicate, but that still means effective storage space is doubled. Which is great, because I otherwise wanted a Google Pixel 3a rather than a 3, and its one issue for me is that it doesn’t give the option of extra storage space.

I can also do things like look up information on one phone while typing it into the other, comparing two things side by side, and other neat stuff like that. There are a number of apps that actively punish you toggling out of them in various ways, which this allows you to avoid.

Only one of the phones needs mobile data. The other can be purely on Wi-Fi. This also solves the problem of needing to know when to swap the Wi-Fi on and off due to speed issues, or to preserve data. It also means you don’t have to pay for an extra line.

It also solved two problems I did not expect it to solve. When my phone in theory has access to mobile data, my podcast app would often cut off access to recordings that were downloaded while it waited for some sort of download or query. I have no idea why this is the case, but once the old phone no longer had mobile data on it, this issue went away. Its battery life also dramatically improved, for obvious reasons. I regularly travel through dead zones, including one right outside my apartment and much of the subway, so this turns out to be a big deal.

Another problem is that one can put necessary (or simply desired) but distracting or tempting apps, such as games or social media (I don’t use social media on phones, but others claim this is not an option), and types of notifications one wants the ability but not the obligation to check, on one phone but not the other. This has proven to be a reasonably large win.

A related note is that you should keep charging wires for your phones (and your laptop or tablet) actual everywhere you ever sit down. In my apartment, I now have them permanently stashed in four locations, plus another set at my desk at the office, plus another set for carrying around. Wires are cheap on Amazon. There is no reason to constantly worry about where they are, whether you have lost one, bothering to move them or plug them in or wrap them up. Just overkill this. I kept buying more, and I kept  only later realizing I hadn’t bought enough.