Modern smartphones are a far cry from the basic mobile phones of yesteryear. Not much larger than a packet of cigarettes, a smartphone has more in common with a computer and is steadily replacing more tools and devices, allowing you to travel with lighter pockets without sacrificing convenience.
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More people are eschewing paper books for e-books they can read through an application on their smartphone. While bibliophiles may shudder at the thought of printed books becoming obsolete, it is undeniable that storing multiple books in your phone's memory can be more convenient than lugging about several pounds' worth of volumes. The fact that e-books are relatively inexpensive and many public domain texts are available free of charge is the icing on the cake.
Gone are the days of struggling to fold and unfold a paper map or printing out directions from the Internet - just tap the map application on your smartphone and you can easily find out where you are and how to get to where you want to be. Depending on what smartphone and app you are using, you can also download an offline version of the maps so you can consult them even in areas that don't have connectivity.
While a smartphone's camera is not a substitute for a professional-level DSLR, it works just fine for the average person both in terms of quality and convenience. If you carry a smartphone, you can always take a photo or record a short video, making it easier to immortalise holidays, parties, impromptu get-togethers and other memorable moments from your daily life.
Stand-alone music players still exist, but unless you're an audiophile with a massive music library, you're unlikely to need one. Even the most modest of smartphones has a player app and a few gigabytes of storage space; many also include streaming music apps, giving you even more choice when creating a soundtrack for your life.
A smartphone eliminates the need to carry a separate alarm clock with you when you travel. You can create multiple alarms and set them to repeat daily or on certain days of the week, wake up to an alarm sound of your choice or your favourite music. Many smartphones automatically adjust to whatever time zone you find yourself in, ensuring you always wake up when you intend to.
Calendar apps make it easy to keep track of appointments and to-do lists on your smartphone without needing to carry around a paper diary or personal organiser. If you need to make a note of some information, note-taking apps run the gamut from bare-bones notepads to full-featured information organisers that can easily deal with audio, videos and photos in addition to text.
A smartphone is not a replacement for playing games on a computer; portable gaming consoles remain more powerful and offer games you won't find in an application store. However, smartphone games work quite well for more casual use and can be an excellent way of passing the time when you have nothing else to do.
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