Recommendations for good wifi device?
April 28, 2010 8:37 AM   Subscribe

Cheap, reliable mobile wifi device?

I'd like to pick up a mobile device (unlocked smartphone, portable media player, whatever) that meets the following criteria:

a) Pretty cheap. Like around $100.
b) Has good wifi access.
c) Decent video player would be nice.

I'm mostly going to be using this at work. My employer has a secured network that blocks me from streaming audio and I want to use my subscription to listen to baseball games. They have an unsecured guest network available which I can use. This device will usually sit on my desk and maybe on the treadmill in the fitness center. At some point in the next year I'm going to bite the bullet and get a nice full-featured phone like a Nexus One or HTC Evo, but that's a little ways off, so I don't want to spend too much on this.

An out of date device that fits the bill would be perfect. I've read about the Archos 605 which seems decent. iPod Touch might work but is a little spendy and I don't care for Apple products. Anything else? Thanks!
posted by look busy to Technology (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Have you tried maybe a used ipod touch ?
posted by majortom1981 at 9:12 AM on April 28, 2010

I haven't tried it (yet) but a Zipit Z2 can be hacked to run real Linux and mplayer. This guy has a bunch of posts and videos showing you how to do it, including links to the relevant files.

For $50, it looks like it's worth a shot. Getting one and trying this is on my personal to-do list.
posted by suetanvil at 9:39 AM on April 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oh wow, the Z2 guy is intense. I wish I had the time to fiddle around with that.
posted by look busy at 10:18 AM on April 28, 2010

The Archos 605 is terrible. Lots of potential, but the software is buggy and slow.

You're pretty much stuck with a used iPod touch or Windows Mobile/Palm PDA to meet your price range. You can probably find the iPod touch the cheapest. You also may want to wait for the plethora of Android PMP/Tablets coming out in the future.
posted by wongcorgi at 11:12 AM on April 28, 2010

Buy a used Nokia n810 or n800. You get a full browser with Flash if you need it, a hardware keyboard, nice speakers, and it plays videos just fine.
posted by circular at 11:20 AM on April 28, 2010

Nthing the iPod Touch. While you may not be big on Apple products, you might be amazed at how much the little thing can do.
posted by azpenguin at 11:25 AM on April 28, 2010

Wait ... so your employer has a secured wireless network that blocks streaming audio, and you want a wifi — which is to say, 802.11b/g — device? Which will connect to ... your employer's secured wireless network? Which you are trying to avoid?

I think there is a hole in your plan here. Unless there is something more to the story, like you are sure that the blocking is being done on your workstation and not somewhere at the network gateway level. But I doubt that's the case, unless your employer is really incompetent.

What you need is a cellular data device. And you will need a cellular data plan. Because if you don't want to use your employer's locked-down network, you need some other network instead ... and (again unless there is something more to the story, like another wireless network in the area for you to use) that would mean the cell phone companies.

An iPod Touch is not going to work; you need the full-blown iPod and associated data plan. Or the Droid or Google Phone. You'll want to check to see if the one you choose works with, as well as making sure that the carrier you choose has 3G data service in your office, but any of them ought to work. A cell-data card (AirCard) plugged into a PC laptop via USB or a card slot would also work, and might be a bit cheaper than a smartphone, although it might require you to have an extra laptop.
posted by Kadin2048 at 3:29 PM on April 28, 2010

That's "full-blown iPhone," not iPod. The iPod Touch is a stripped-down iPhone. Grrr.
posted by Kadin2048 at 3:31 PM on April 28, 2010

I love my Verizon mifi but I got it through work so I have no idea of the price/data plan. It sets up its own secured wifi network through cellular.
posted by tamitang at 6:25 PM on April 28, 2010

Kadin2048 - sorry, I didn't explain well. Work has a secure network for work stuff. They choose to block things like streaming baseball games, Facebook, etc. Which is their right and I don't question it. They also have an unsecured wireless network for guests (customers, contractors, visitors, etc.), and it is conveniently available to employees using personal devices. So, my coworkers are using iPhones and Droids and their own personal laptops to access content unfiltered. That's what I want to do, on the cheap.

Looks like the iPod Touch may be my best option. Thanks everyone.
posted by look busy at 6:35 PM on April 28, 2010

used blackberry
posted by bruinbruin at 12:18 AM on April 29, 2010

« Older Suggestions for well-written and cheerful books?   |   Severe child sensitivity Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.