cheap portable email appliance?
July 8, 2005 1:35 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a cheap, small, non-voice email only portable device with a long battery life that will work in NYC and has a good UI.

I would love to use a RIM 950, for instance, but it seems that the network that the older blackberry devices use is going dark and the service costs are rising. I recently saw someone on the street using an older blackberry and it just looked perfect for my needs. email is a must, IM and SMS capability would be nice but I don't need a million other things. Any help? I've used the motorola pagers that have a keyboard and found the email interface to be awful, so I think that is out too. Help me, folks! It is hard to search for old tech online.... I need some people-knowledge.
posted by n9 to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
What about a Sidekick?
posted by Rothko at 1:38 PM on July 8, 2005

Response by poster: The sidekick is really expensive and very big. A coworker has one and it is three times the size of the my not-so-small mobile phone.
posted by n9 at 1:47 PM on July 8, 2005

If you can afford it, trust me, get the RIM 950. But the service costs are still outrageous, I believe (something like $10,000/GB or something like that... LOL -- if you're careful you'll barely use 1 or 2 MB, though). Also see if you can get the latest firmware... my RIM 950 (or it could be 850... the 9 and 8 just specify network MHz) has about 7 year old firmware on it and crashed sometimes. I don't recall losing any data because of that, but it was a little annoying.
posted by shepd at 2:39 PM on July 8, 2005

Not sure if you can find service for it or not, but I just read a review of the BlackBerry 5790, an older email only model. Device info is here, and the article I read about it is here.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 2:48 PM on July 8, 2005

Wireless iPaqs (and probably all current PocketPC devices, I just support for iPaqs) can do wireless network syncs to outlook. You'd have to check coverage and pricing but I'd imagine it might be in the same range as blackberries. Personally I find the stylus style of input vastly superior to those fiddlely little keyboards but if you want the best of both worlds most of the wireless iPaqs also have bluetooth capable of communicating with a wide variety of bluetooth keyboards (folding and regular). They also make iPaqs with the little keyboards attached but I think current models with them all also include a phone.
posted by Mitheral at 2:52 PM on July 8, 2005

Ditch your cellphone and buy a second-hand Treo 600. Palm UI, email, IM, PIM etc. Blackberries can be tricky (& expensive) to get connected to a network unless you buy them new.
posted by blag at 5:29 PM on July 8, 2005

RIM 950. Sits on the Mobitex data network, which works just fine in New York. Every other RIM device I've tested -- Mobitex or GSM -- has sucked in comparison to the original 950's software and form factor.
posted by majick at 7:26 PM on July 8, 2005

Response by poster: I bought a used treo 300 on ebay for $60 and got the minimum service from Sprint that included the vision data plan for $40/mo. More than I wanted to pay, but the treo + Snappermail works very well... can send and check with gmail and has rudimentary browsing capabilities.
posted by n9 at 5:01 AM on August 2, 2005

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