Less is More! 7+ Devices & Tools Your Smartphone Can Replace

Tina Sieber 23-05-2013

things your smartphone replacesPhones have gone through an incredible evolution over the past few years. Besides serving as mobile phone and a tiny window into the world wide web, the modern smartphone accommodates a multitude of tools. Christian survived an entire week only using his Android tablet MakeUseOf Experiments: Going Tablet-Only For a Week & Staying Productive You took one look at the headline and thought "this guy is crazy", right? That's pretty much what I thought at first, but as the week progressed I found myself struggling with apps, multi-tasking and... Read More . Trying this with a phone would probably drive most people into madness. Yet Kannon demonstrated that it is possible to turn your Android smartphone into a desktop replacement Ditch Your Desktop! Turn Your Smartphone Into a Desktop Replacement Want to ditch the desktop and just use your smartphone? You can do that! Read More .


The things you can do with a smartphone are limited only by the imagination. Admittedly, fantasies typically aren’t realistic, but there are a lot of devices you can really replace with your Android smartphone.

Alarm Clock

Ever since mobile phones have been around, old-school alarm clocks struggle to remain relevant. They became iPod docks, Internet radios, and wake up lights. Meanwhile, many creative apps turn Android Better Ways to Wake Up: Unique Alarm Clock Apps for Android Wake up! Isn't it great when someone shakes you up in the morning and makes absolutely sure you’re up? If you’re a serial snoozer like me, you know all about stretching your alarm from five... Read More devices into the most awesome alarm clocks a sleepy brain could dream of.

things your smartphone replaces


Smartphone cameras have truly evolved over the past few years. While not yet at a level to compete with SLRs or high-end pocket cameras, they are more than suitable for high quality snapshots with destination Facebook Upload Photos To Facebook Automatically And In The Blink Of An Eye With These Tools Whether it's automatically uploading photos on the go using your phone, or automating uploads from your computer, there are several handy ways you can take the hard work out of getting your photos into your... Read More or Instagram New To Instagram? Top Tips For Newbies When you’re getting started on Instagram, there are a few tips and tricks to bear in mind to make sure that you hit the ground running. The popular app is part photo-sharing site and part... Read More . Add to that the convenience of taking photos on the same device on which you edit & upload them, as well as a range of powerful photo editing apps. In short, the whole idea of having a capable camera in your smartphone 10 Ways Your Smartphone Camera Can Make Life Easier "Does your phone have a camera on it?" said no one since 2005. Nobody even asks how many megapixels your phone's camera has anymore. With the ubiquity of smartphones today, and the resolution of the... Read More is pure bliss.

things your smartphone can do


Before you expect to win a flower pot, learn how to take great photos with your smartphone Top Tips: How To Take Great Photos With Your Smartphone Smartphone and mobile photography are becoming increasingly popular. And no wonder. Every year, mobile and smartphone cameras get better and better, until many people don’t feel the need to carry real cameras around anymore. While... Read More . And if you really want to get the best out of your photos, try Aviary for Android Aviary For Android: Screenshot Tour & Review - Photo Effects Don't Have To Be Social After All Aviary has been around forever as a Web-based suite of creative graphics tools. But they've recently made their first foray onto iOS and Android, with the new Aviary Photo Editor app. I'm here to take... Read More .


Most phones have two cameras. One in the back for taking photos and one in the front to be used as a webcam. You can turn either of the two cameras into webcams for your PC How to Use an Android Device as a PC Webcam If you need to make a few Skype calls or want to start a Hangout on Google Plus, but don't have the necessary equipment at hand, don't run off to the hardware store just yet!... Read More .

things your smartphone can do

Radio & Music Player

The difference between an iPhone and an iPod has never been immediately obvious. And why would you carry an MP3 player, if your Android phone can play music just as well? Smartphones are actually better because they can stream music from the Internet, for example radio stations via TuneIn or music via Spotify. And for those times when you cannot stream music, you can use one of the many Android music players 5 Free Apps for Managing & Playing Your Music [Android 2.2+] Whether you’re a tech-geek fanatic or a tech-illiterate layman, there’s at least one thing that resonates between both groups - a love for music. Regardless of genre, whether it's country, metal, classical, or dubstep, most... Read More  or other music apps 5 Unusual Music Apps for Android During the holidays last year, my kids all wanted music players. I actually dislike the whole concept of a music player like an MP3 or an iPod; after all isn't that the whole point of... Read More to enjoy your downloaded / saved tracks.


things your smartphone can do

The only downside of a smartphone that doubles up as radio and music player is that your battery will drain even faster. Other than carrying a spare battery (sorry some HTC & Motorola users), you can try other strategies to save battery power How to Make Your Phone's Battery Last Longer and Hold More Juice Battery life is one of the biggest struggles of modern-day electronics. Smartphones, tablets, and laptops all deal with it -- so what can you do to maximize the amount of time you get per charge? Read More , fix issues with battery sucking apps Battery Woes Got You Down? Supercharge Your Battery With Wakelock Detector [Android] My phone's anemic battery life really drained the fun away from an otherwise awesome phone, the Nexus 4. Overnight, it would typically lose about 30-50% of its battery charge – while idle! I would get... Read More , or use emergency chargers 5 Ways To Charge Your Phone In An Emergency Smartphones can be important tools in an emergency. Besides providing the chance to call for help, a phone can act as a flashlight, compass and GPS. But all of a phone’s functions rely on the... Read More .


This is one of my favorites. You will never carry a flashlight with you or find it when you really need it. But chances are that your phone is only an arm’s length away. If the display by itself isn’t bright enough, you can use an app to activate your phone camera’s flash light and turn your phone into a flashlight. Tiny Flashlight is my favorite flashlight app for Android The 10 Best Free Toolbox Apps for Android Want to turn your Android phone into a toolbox? Here are some useful Android apps for measuring distance, level, sound, and more. Read More .

your smartphone can replace it


GPS & Maps

Since your smartphone contains a GPS How GPS Works [MakeUseOf Explains] As an avid gamer, I’m surprised by the correlation between GPS-like features in modern video games and the proliferation of GPS technology in mundane life. When I was a kid, paper maps and cartography were... Read More , you don’t need an external one. Apart from identifying your location and navigating from A to B, you can do some interesting things with the GPS feature, for example track your speed How To Keep Track Of Speed & Location With Android Read More . Many new outdoor games 10 Fun Outdoor Games to Play Using GPS-Enabled Smartphones Using the GPS functionality that's built into all modern smartphones, you can now walk out the door and start exploring the world -- and make a fun game out of it. Read More rely on GPS data and you can use those same games to make your date a little more interesting 4 Ideas for a Fun Date Using a GPS Smartphone and Some Romance Almost everybody has a smartphone with a GPS these days, but they're still sorely underused when it comes to creative days out of the house. If you're a geek looking to impress a date with... Read More .

Obviously, GPS can be used to track a phone’s location, or you may prefer to say you want to use your phone as a tracking device How to Use an Android Phone as a GPS Tracker Device Need a GPS tracker? Use your Android phone! Here's how to turn yours into a makeshift GPS tracker device. Read More , which does have legit uses. Several GPS apps 8 Best Free Offline GPS Navigation Apps for Android Need directions on your phone but don't have an internet connection? These offline GPS apps for Android will help you navigate. Read More  are available for your Android smartphone.

your smartphone can replace it

Remote Control

It’s not like you still have many devices to control when you have a smartphone, but well, it can’t quite replace everything yet. TotalMedia Theatre has a remote app for Android TotalMedia Remote: An Android Remote Control for TotalMedia Theatre Media Player Read More . Android users with access to a Mac will get a kick out of Mac Remote for Android. You can also remote control YouTube How to Control Netflix, YouTube, and VLC on PC Using Your Phone This nifty mobile app lets you control playback from afar for Netflix, YouTube, VLC, and Windows Media Player on your PC. Read More  from your Android.


your smartphone can replace it

Finally, some devices like the Samsung Galaxy S4, the Xperia ZL, or the HTC One come with a built-in IR blaster, which can emulate an infrared remote control, thus allowing you to control your TV or DVD player.

And Many More…

The above are just some of the devices you can replace with your smartphone. Being so versatile, you can also build a document scanner How To Build Your Own Smartphone Document Scanner Have you ever tried to take a photo of a document with your smartphone camera, hoping to convert it using OCR software into a PDF or Word document later on? Perhaps you’ve attempted to take... Read More with your smartphone, create a motion detection 5 Ways to Have Fun With Your Android Phone Camera Most Android phones and tablets come with a small camera, often two. Typically, the in-built webcam is used for video chatting or video calls. If these are the only tasks you use the camera of... Read More device, turn it into a DIY projector How I Built A Projector For My Phone When I first saw Photojojo's DIY iPhone projector I was intrigued. The science behind it was sound in my mind, but I wondered how usable it really was. The only way to find out was... Read More , install surveillance The 5 Most Effective Cell Phone Surveillance Apps to Monitor Your Kids Concerned about your children's safety? Install one of these cell phone surveillance apps on their Android phone. Read More apps, detect magnetic fields The 10 Best Free Toolbox Apps for Android Want to turn your Android phone into a toolbox? Here are some useful Android apps for measuring distance, level, sound, and more. Read More , replace your home phone How To Use Skype As Your Main Home Phone Line It's 2013 - stop paying for a land line. If you've got broadband Internet you can set up Skype, pay for a subscription and and keep your total home phone bill under $5 a month... Read More , or read books The Kindle App for Android and iPhone: As Good as a Real Kindle? You don't actually need a Kindle ereader to read ebooks. The Kindle app on your phone does the job. Here's how to use it. Read More . As mentioned earlier, your imagination is the limit.

Take Home Message

Your smartphone is the new Swiss Army Knife.

things your smartphone replaces

What other devices did you replace with your smartphone?

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  1. Johnny5isAlive
    March 23, 2016 at 10:57 pm

    I used to have an iPaq (not iPad) Pocket PC that I used as my main email device, camera, mp3 player, organizer, voice recorder, and map viewer (screen grabs from Google Earth aerials). I had to use a ton of SDIO cards, but keep in mind that this was around 2003. That thing retailed for over $400 (not counting the SDIO cards), and it had only 64MB of volatile storage, Bluetooth 1.1, expensive applications, a scratch-prone resistive touchscreen, and couldn't handle SDHC cards.

    Now here I am using this Lumia 640 that cost me only $30, and it does everything better and so much more. It has replaced so much stuff, and it's made packing for vacations so much nicer because you only have to worry about the phone and one charger. It's crazy how technology has improved in the last decade. Even the most basic Windows Phone or Android amazes me, especially since I used to listen to music on cassette tapes. Those of you who grew up with things like the cassette players and VCRs know what I'm talking about.

  2. Ashish C
    June 25, 2013 at 9:25 am

    The man looks like he wants to go to the Loo !!! :D

    • Tina Sieber
      June 25, 2013 at 10:06 am

      The 1980s or the 2010s guy?

  3. Mel Gutierrez Cisnero
    May 28, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    i just remember when i get my first GBC was great!!! but now when i use my xbox 360 i just cant think in the past that the game can do that we do now!

  4. Hani Al Jamal Jr.
    May 25, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    Nice post :D

  5. David Moreira
    May 24, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    My Android is also my main note-taking "device". The old paper block is gone.

  6. Cindy M
    May 24, 2013 at 4:18 am

    I listen to audible books, read, track mileage, use as calculator, and I love the flash light app too.

  7. Jaypee Cruz
    May 24, 2013 at 4:17 am

    still useless if you don't know about it

  8. melanie s.
    May 24, 2013 at 1:09 am

    calculator, electronic dictionary/translator, transit pass... lot's of other non electric things

  9. Doc
    May 24, 2013 at 1:06 am

    The top picture's wrong; the first CD wasn't pressed until 1981, and the first commercial CD to go to mass production wasn't until 1982. They first reached North America on March 2, 1983.

    • Guy McDowell
      May 24, 2013 at 1:07 pm

      And that guy was way younger in the 80's, if he was even born at all! What a lie - this whole article is invalid now! For shame MUO, for shame...tsk tsk tsk.

    • Tina Sieber
      May 24, 2013 at 3:11 pm

      Ideally, it should say 1980s or 2010s. It was / is the feeling at the time and over several years, not just during a single year.

  10. James
    May 24, 2013 at 1:02 am

    I don't wear a wristwatch or carry a pocketwatch....does that count?

    • Guy McDowell
      May 24, 2013 at 1:03 pm

      Yes! The impact on watch sales has been enormous. Seen any teenagers with a watch lately?

      • Tina Sieber
        May 24, 2013 at 3:12 pm

        Actually they do!!! At least here in Berlin where everyone is hip and trendy and where cool girls wear cotton bags rather than the old handbag. The watches look ridiculous though.

      • Yovanny Guzman
        May 24, 2013 at 3:24 pm

        That has been overblown. The watch industry makes billions a year. Good luck getting the time when your cell phone dies

      • Yovanny Guzman
        May 24, 2013 at 3:27 pm

        My Cowon dedicated MP3 player has a physical DAC, 60 hour battery and enough juice to power my expensive headphones accurately. Please name me a cell phone that can replace that?

        Or am i expected to listen to low-quality music that will drain my battery? Or carry spare batteries in my pocket at all times?