What's the best wireless email device with a QWERTY that can open MSWord documents?
February 5, 2005 9:36 AM   Subscribe

Blackberry versus Treo. I am a sycophant who has offered to help his luddite boss select and purchase a wireless email-access device. A QWERTY keyboard and the ability to open word attachments are the key requirements. Price is no object, but value is.

Meh. Since there's no question in my post, how about: "Which model or models would you recommend? What are the advantages and drawbacks of each?"
posted by Kwantsar to Computers & Internet (15 answers total)
I know several people that own each sort of device and the handsdown winner for email is the Blackberry. I waive people off the Treo because while I do know a couple of people that still like it, I also know several who have moved throuh a cycle of (a) loving it, (b) being annoyed that's unstable, (c) getting it replaced, and (d) often moving through (b) and (c) again. The Treo 650 may be a better device than the Treo 600 (which is what the folks I know have owned) but I know two people who are on their second repacement Treo.

In contrast, every Blackberry owner I know loves it. Though they do tend to become twitchy, compulsive email checkers. (Leading to "Crackberry" remarks.)
posted by donovan at 9:49 AM on February 5, 2005

Blackberry, Blackberry, Blackberry.

If email is your main concern, then it doesn't get any better. The 7100's are pretty slick (they don't look like calculators) and the phone capabilities, while not as good as actual cellphones, are not that bad either.
posted by purephase at 9:53 AM on February 5, 2005

I have a crackberry. It's great for email. I don't use it for anything else, though.
posted by subgenius at 10:19 AM on February 5, 2005

I have a Treo (the older 300), and my experience has been exactly as donovan describes. My next one will be a Blackberry.

What the Treo does best is Palm-based PDA applications (calendar, contacts). The phone aspect is not great (weak reception, an uncomfortable earpiece). The web browsers I've tried (Blazer, iPanel, a couple of others) are painfully slow and can't handle java at all (no webmail, no hotmail, no gmail). I've had it for a little over a year and have had to replace the unit twice. Meh. The 600 series may be better, but from all accounts the Blackberry is better.
posted by Alylex at 10:24 AM on February 5, 2005

My boss has a Treo and I've been responsible for its upkeep.

Get the Blackberry.

I had to get 3 replacements for his Treo 300 and I've had to get 5 replacements for his 600.

Steer clear.
posted by mudpuppie at 10:39 AM on February 5, 2005

Is the decision just between the two? Because there are some killer handhelds available from Japan if price is no object. The XP-based models could load Outlook at Word natively (no CE stuff).

For instance:
Sony U50/70
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:59 AM on February 5, 2005

If you have unlimited budget, the blackberry is the way to go. I loved mine, the only reason I gave it up is $50 a month was just excessive for email.

The interface was awesome, the keyboard was a joy to type on, man, it was tough giving up.
posted by shepd at 10:59 AM on February 5, 2005

I must offer a dissenting opinion here...

The Treo 650 has made HUGE leaps and bounds over the older models most people are using here for comparison.

If indeed, all you care about is e-mail, honestly you can't go wrong with either. Perhaps the BB is simpler to use and dedicated primarily to e-mail, and so it's the natural answer.

However, the new 650 is far more functional as a phone, with amazing integration of the PalmOS apps like the address book. It's functional (though clearly limited due to screen size) as a web browser, the screen itself is gorgeous, it can be used as a wireless modem with your laptop, it has bluetooth, can play mp3s (granted a battery drain), voice record, play video (quite passable actually), and oh yeah... all the nice stuff about PalmOS and PalmOS apps. On my Treo I have dictionaries, medical references (full length textbooks) I can't live without, games, my photo album, the last episode of Arrested Development, and a million other useful utilities... Plus you get your internet access at a much cheaper rate (ie $20/mo from Sprint for unlimited bandwidth). Granted, being a tech geeks is a big help in taking advantage of a lot of these features, so for your luddite, maybe it's all for not...

Still bang for the buck, I can't think of anything better.
posted by drpynchon at 11:39 AM on February 5, 2005

"wireless email-access device" = blackberry.
posted by Jairus at 12:20 PM on February 5, 2005

I hate my bberry, just to offer another dissenting opinion. It's just not very well elegant or integrated. The UI is tuned for professional "road warrior" types, which, while your boss might be, I'm not. The screen is not very bright, and the backlight is also sub-par. There is no developer community, so if you don't like the only webbrowswer available for the bberry, then you're out of luck.

It's nice for email and txt messages, tho.

I guess the grass is always greener.

People are right about treos being delicate / of poor build quality (but nothing like the sidekicks v1!). My blackberry has been dropped, splashed, and generally mistreated. The case looks like crap, but the device is fine after 2 years of hard use / abuse. The devices are rock solid in terms of build quality and they also get *amazing* battery life. I mean 4 days of normal (phone / email) use, no problem. You could do a full week if you turned off the device every night before bed.
posted by zpousman at 12:54 PM on February 5, 2005

piggyback question: Is there a blackberry-like device that can open Excel attachments?
posted by bingo at 3:07 PM on February 5, 2005

I've had a Treo 600 since January 2004; works great. I'm sure the 650 is even better. Lots of nice apps, good phone/contact book integration, photo album (which doubles as a map browser), foreign language dictionary, etc. (Last 2 bought separately, o' course.) Unlimited data use for $20/month, which includes using it as a wireless modem with my laptop. That modem capability isn't perfect - connection drops more than dial-up does - but it's good enough that I don't need a separate dial-up account for when I'm on the road. The built-in camera sucks, in my opinion; maybe I'm just spoiled by all the 5+ MP-with-flash cameras I've had.
I typically don't check email via my Treo; mine didn't come with a good IMAP-SSL client, and I'm still working on setting up webmail on my server to use with it.
Never tried a Blackberry, but I hear they're pretty good too.
posted by mistersix at 3:49 PM on February 5, 2005

Is there a blackberry-like device that can open Excel attachments?

According to the Blackberry attachment information, Microsoft Excel files are supported.
posted by purephase at 3:59 PM on February 5, 2005

I have had both devices, and I prefer the Blackberry. I believe they're about equal as phones, but for email and attachments, the BB wins.


To take full advantage of the BB's capabilities, your enterprise needs to either run Blackberry Enterprise Server or you need to pay for a 3rd-party hosting service like MobileWeb4U whom I have used and has outstanding service.

Otherwise, the email delivery isn't nearly as fast, and IMAP, in my humble opinion, sucks.

One other thing....on the Treo, it can do a lot, but often to make that happen you have to buy a lot of 3rd party applications. They can add up pretty quick. The BB is more business-oriented, and much easier to work with in general.

Also, the BB will kick the Treo's arse in battery life.
posted by TeamBilly at 4:46 PM on February 5, 2005

Having owned several iterations of both, I much prefer the Treo; I find the interface far faster and easier to use. Additionally, for anyone who lives in or regularly travels to major metropolitan locales, Vindigo is truly indispensable.

Be forewarned, though, that going to either will ruin you for life; you'll never again be able to go back to a non-PDA phone.
posted by thomascrown at 4:58 PM on February 5, 2005

« Older How likely is it that this person lied to me about...   |   Friendly online website builder? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.