Smartphone Versus Hard Copy: When is it Best to Print?

I love my smartphone (currently htc’s G2) because I can do almost everything on it, including editing documents, reading books and websites, and finding directions. Despite it’s amazing abilities, though, sometimes I find that I am better off using print alternatives. When, you might ask, is hard copy superior to a smartphone? Here are some thoughts:
1. Battery life. The great thing about printed books is that they never run out of batteries (except for those children’s books with the built-in sound effects, which seem to run out of batteries about five minutes after you buy them). Smartphones, on the other hand, can run out of batteries when you are in the middle of a book or, more annoyingly, when you are driving around looking for an address. That’s why Lifehacker recently recommended creating printed map books instead of relying solely on your smartphone to navigate.

I know you can have car chargers – and I have one myself. But when you are driving down a busy road looking for an address, you don’t want to pull over and wait for your phone to charge, then re-enter your destination, and wait for directions before hopping back on the freeway. In that circumstance, it would be nice to have a printed map.

2. Ease of use. I have no problem reading e-mails and websites on my smartphone. But for larger works, such as e-books, I find the tiny screen kind of frustrating. That, presumably, is why e-book readers like the Kindle are generally significantly larger than the typical smartphone. But size is not the only issue; eye strain can be a problem with smartphones, as well. For reading long books, print copies are simply easier to use.

3. Dynamic content. One area where smartphones are clearly superior to printed copies, though, is with content that changes – such as websites or applications. This, really, is why we need smartphones. And even when looking for directions, the ability to make changes and recalculate routes can be helpful.

Overall, smartphones win the battle between smartphones and printed material, in my mind; but clearly, there are situations where printing is more practical.

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