Affection

I’m thinking a lot lately about what draws a person to a particular device. As you might know, I’ve been trying a gazillion different different phones, in some possibly futile attempt to settle into the “perfect” device, or in other words, the thing I’ll stick with for about a year as opposed to a month or so.
Not too long ago, I was convinced that, despite its drawbacks, the Nexus 5 was my one true love. But I was convinced I needed something with better specs. After a few million switcheroos, I landed on a Galaxy Note 4. It’s by many accounts the Best Phone Available, but it’s nonetheless failed to win my heart in the same way the by-all-measures inferior Nexus 5 did. But why?

Think about that brand new MacBook, the one I know I can’t make use of due to its single port and low-end processor. It’s not winning on points, but by the looks of it, it’s going to hook folks on an emotional level.

A couple years ago, I was trying to decide between the 15-inch MacBook Pro (pre-Retina) and the 11-inch MacBook Air. These computers could not have been more different, and based on the idea that the 15 was “better,” I agonizingly went with that. But I was pulled, oh was I pulled to the 11. I mean, it was just so damned adorable. I returned the 15 and went with the 11, and I was delighted. It was capable of less, its screen was scrunched and wee, and yet I had a palpable emotional attachment to it. I hugged it! I’m certain the SSD was a huge factor there, but it was also just something about its size and, well, cuteness.

The same happened when I first switched to Macs with my first 12-inch Powerbook in 2004. I could have gotten yet another Windows laptop for far less money and with more power or screen real estate, but the Powerbook wooed me with something intangible. I was drawn to it all the time that I owned it. I think the iPod halo effect had something to do with it, because I had a similarly fluttery heart for my 3-button 2003 iPod. Obviously the iPod brought me the wondrous ability to carry my music collection everywhere in a svelte little cigarette-pack-size object (that glowed!), but I think it was more than that.

All things are not equal here. Often there is more value and utility to be gotten out of one device that doesn’t tug at one’s heart strings than the one that does. I’m typing this on a 13-inch MacBook Pro Retina, and it’s definitely the right machine for the work I do. But I don’t feel much for it other than satisfaction from its usefulness.

The 2013 Moto G was on some flash sale at Best Buy for $25 today. It’s Verizon-only, and I don’t have Verizon, but I grabbed one anyway. It seems, I dunno, cute.

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