I'm a mobile tech kind of guy, as anyone who follows my work here on ZDNet can attest. I have used thin, light laptops and tablets exclusively for my daily outings in the city for years. Carrying a work system that weighs more than three pounds is something I do rarely, if ever. The small size of my devices means the gear bags I carry are as little as can be.
When I test a device sent to me by vendors I always put it through its paces by using it for its intended purposes. When I was recently sent a large 5.2 pound laptop to test that meant it had to come with me on a typical work outing across town. The heavy weight and large size of the laptop ended up demonstrating how much the small devices I normally use have left me out of shape to carry the big notebooks common not that long ago.
I love how small my work gear has gotten as I live in the city and depend on walking for my primary transportation. I take the train when I need to go outside the downtown area and walk everywhere else. I do this almost every day, and usually I walk a few miles over the course of each work day.
This tiring day made me realize how my normal mobile gear has turned me into a wimp.
The morning I prepared for the outing with the big laptop started like any other day. I first grabbed the biggest gear bag I own to gather up the stuff I needed to carry. This bag isn't very big but it can carry any of the laptops I own that I use regularly.
Unfortunately, the big laptop wouldn't fit in this bag. It was too long and too wide to fit the bag. I would have to find one of my old backpacks to carry this giant sucker.
It took me a while but I found a backpack in the back of a closet that was big enough to handle the laptop. The empty backpack weighs about five pounds and is a lot bigger than I remembered. A big backpack for a big laptop.
I loaded the laptop into the backpack along with the iPad mini, which I carry for use as a mobile hotspot should wi-fi not be available everywhere. I threw just a couple of other little things including earbuds into the backpack and headed out for the day.
I immediately had flashbacks to days gone by. The big backpack didn't sit right on my back and I was constantly having to adjust it as I walked the streets. The weight was a lot more than I am used to dealing with too, but the big pack was the primary cause of the discomfort I was feeling.
As I walked around town the bag sat lower and lower on my back, dragging me down more as the day wore on. Every time I stopped somewhere to work the bag seemed to get heavier. Taking the big laptop out to set up was harder to do each time.
I couldn't believe how wimpy I had become if this was so hard to do. People carry heavy bags like this every day so why was this so hard? By the end of the day I was actually dragging as I walked home with this monstrosity riding low on my back.
This tiring day made me realize how my normal mobile gear has turned me into a wimp. The entire day was spent hauling this heavy gear around and feeling the pain of the effort. Sure, the backpack was big but it wasn't that heavy. Yes, it was clumsy given its big size but it shouldn't have caused me such trouble.
The outing made me realize that my small, light gear has spoiled me. The devices I carry each day, whether a Windows 8 hybrid, Chromebook, or iPad with keyboard, are extremely thin and light. They fit in a gear bag so small I don't even notice it when carrying it around the city.
I was surprised how great an impact carrying a big, heavy backpack around town had on how I enjoyed my day, which was not much. Having a little bag with light gear inside makes my day pleasant, an unexpected benefit over the big gear of yesteryear. Yes, I have become a wimp as a result of the gear getting smaller, but given how capable my mobile gear is I'm OK with that.