A dumbphone with email access?
May 29, 2012 2:51 PM   Subscribe

Not-so-smart-phone filter: I'm looking for a Sprint-compatible cellphone with a full keyboard and the ability to read/send email. The catch is, I don't need (and actively don't want) more internet access than this; I'm already too connected as it is! Does a phone like this exist? Or is there a way I can juryrig one, as someone who's only half tech-savvy? Am I doomed to a flip-phone and a separate pocket email-reader thingy?

For what it's worth, I'm happy to buy a used phone on ebay or get an old flip phone from a thrift store; I'm downgrading from a much-smarter-phone & it's email access that I'm most attached to. Idea #1: get an old BlackBerry with very slow internet and a tiny display, & I won't use it anymore. Idea #2: could I just have Sprint block all internet connectivity except a gmail app/some kind of email reader, etc, on my existing smartphone? Idea #3, which I'm less excited about: get an email reader-thing like this now-archaic Peek thing. Idea #4: root existing phone, an HTC EVO, and somehow figure out how to restrict it (I'm least happy about this idea, mostly because I'm not super-savvy re how to do this, and really don't like this level of connectivity regardless).

I'd love suggestions of specific phones (old and new), email-reading gadgets, and anything else that springs to mind.
posted by tapir-whorf to Technology (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Eliminate all web access apps, delete the browser, empty your home screen of everything except the email icon and buy a plan where you pay for bandwidth as you go.
That's a simple "lower-tech" way of using "smart" technology.
posted by Gerard Sorme at 3:03 PM on May 29, 2012

The Kyocera Wildfire would be pretty good for that. I used it with Virgin Mobile, which is Sprint now. The Qwerty keyboard was especially nice for email.
posted by COD at 3:42 PM on May 29, 2012

i have an LG cosmos 2 VN251 phone (on verizon, but i think it's sprint-compatible too). the phone is fine, nothing to call home about, but it does have a flip-out qwerty keyboard. on verizon i pay just $4/month for "data" and use it to check my gmail 1-3 times a day. that i do through the phone's web browser, not through any sort of email app, so i have to log on every time; the phone doesn't tell me if i have new email all by itself. i find it to be a nuisance for actually responding to email, but i imagine you'd get adept if you did it regularly. it's a great cheap way to have the security of being able to check and access email from anywhere.
posted by nevers at 4:06 PM on May 29, 2012

You're only as connected as you want to be. If you don't want Facebook, Twitter, Foresquare, etc on your phone then don't install them. Or if they come with the stock configuration, don't configure them. Problem solved!
posted by sbutler at 4:09 PM on May 29, 2012

The Kyocera Brio is a Sprint feature phone with a full keyboard and web-based email, but would probably work to curtail your internet use in the same way as an old Blackberry would (slow, frustrating browser, small display.)
posted by zombiedance at 4:24 PM on May 29, 2012

Depending on your email usage, this may not be featured enough for you:

You can send and receive email messages via SMS (the text messaging protocol). You can send text messages to an email address and receive emails-via-text through a special email address.
posted by muddgirl at 4:28 PM on May 29, 2012

I have a Sprint Palm Centro that would probably do what you want. I'm not sure if you could get a limited plan from Sprint anymore (the Palms didn't require the "Everything Data" plan when I had it...I've since upgraded to an Android for more features). Are you looking to save money on a monthly plan or just block all the extra web stuff?
posted by MultiFaceted at 5:45 PM on May 29, 2012

I used an LG Rumor (the original, not the Touch) on Sprint for quite a while. I could do little more than email and text with it, but it did both of those things pretty well with it's slide out keyboard. It looks like they're going for about $50 on eBay right now.
posted by piedmont at 5:59 PM on May 29, 2012

I'm just trying to block all web stuff--this is yet another version of the ubiquitous AskMe "help me not waste so much time on the internet!" question--I actually have unlimited data on Sprint already, but am both trying to eliminate distraction in my life & streamline (I rarely use the internet-on-my-phone in useful ways, whereas I do get productive internet work done on my laptop).

muddgirl: I'd totally forgotten about that! I haven't used it since 2004. I get far too much email to use it reliably, but it's good to remember!

I kind of already asked this above, but am still curious and it hasn't been answered yet: could I have Sprint block all email except access to the gmail app (or some-such port-specific thing)?
posted by tapir-whorf at 7:30 PM on May 29, 2012

i currently use a samsung reclaim from sprint which they gave me when another phone i had crapped out. it's in a blackberry style with a full qwerty keyboard. if i close one eye and wait five minutes i can use it to surf the web but overall the performance there is so bad i don't bother. i could also easily remove all the apps that have web access. i think it would fit your needs very well.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 8:14 PM on May 29, 2012

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