Best mobile device for web-browsing?
December 28, 2006 5:09 PM   Subscribe

Which phone/PDA/super-gadget is the best for mobile web-browsing?

Push, text-messaging, IM... not very important.
GPS, fun software, large screen, fast connection... very important.
Open-source would be nice...

Will anything provide me with a half-decent browsing experience? Or should I just lug my laptop and an aircard around with me?
posted by willie11 to Computers & Internet (21 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I love my Palm T|X!

The wireless card is only B, but for basic browsing, IMing, e-mail and GPS it works great.
posted by k8t at 5:13 PM on December 28, 2006

I have a Palm Treo 700p (not the windows version) and I love it. My friend has the new Sidekick 3 and we both agree that my web browser is better. The Treo does not support IM however.

The data package for the sidekick is better. For one set monthly price, all web browsing, calling, text messaging, emails, and IMing is included. The verizon Palm Treo plan does not include text messaging. It only includes email and web browsing.

However, I still prefer the Palm Treo.
posted by pikaboy202 at 5:58 PM on December 28, 2006

I also love my TX. As well as the Wi-Fi, Opera Mini makes occasional browsing over GPRS (through a Bluetooth connection to my phone) just about financially reasonable. There are tons of fun programs for painting, music creation, etc. too. Obviously it's nothing like browsing on a PC but for basic stuff like catching up on news I often choose to sit back in a comfy chair with the Palm instead of using the desktop.
posted by teleskiving at 5:58 PM on December 28, 2006

Is it a matter of the gadget? Well, the faster the processor and the better the screen, the better the experience. Any modern phone device with a 320 x 240 or better screen should be fine. For me the crucial differentiating factor has been use of the opera mini (free) or mobile (paid for) browsers. its user interface the best, imo, Above all - and this may be unique - your web pages are reformatted by opera servers before they reach your phone: it's quicker and saves bandwidth, i e money.
posted by londongeezer at 6:36 PM on December 28, 2006

Nokia 770 (800 x 480 resolution)
Nokia 9500/9300 (640 x 200 resolution)

I prefer the 770 for pure browsing but bear in mind that it doesn't include any phone functionality so you'll need to make a bluetooth connection with your mobile if you're outside of WiFi range.
posted by blag at 7:05 PM on December 28, 2006

I've got the nokia 770 if you have any questions you need to ask an owner.
posted by adamwolf at 7:37 PM on December 28, 2006

The T-Mobile Dash does a pretty damn good job. And it has WiFi!
posted by gsh at 7:47 PM on December 28, 2006

Pikaboy202--what do you mean by IMing, when you say the Treo can't IM? I have a 650 and I can certainly IM with that; I do so all the time. Granted, I had to get online and purchase a program to allow it, but I can get on almost any IM client with it. It runs in the background and works great.

I second the Treo--my 650, which is a somewhat outdated model, works great for it. Pages look pretty good and it's reasonably fast.
posted by DMan at 7:54 PM on December 28, 2006

I have a nextel Blackberry 7100i that I'm very happy with. Bit light on the application front, but it has a decent display that's bright enough to read in direct sunlight, gets reasonable mileage on a charge, and the browser doesn't do CSS unless I tell it to, but *does* do Javascript.

AIM, YMGS, MobiPocket reader...

It's a bit out of the mainstream, but I consider that a feature.

And it's less unwieldy with the 5-wide SureType keyboard, which spells about 95% of my words correctly the first time, and 99% on second try.
posted by baylink at 8:47 PM on December 28, 2006

IMO, devices that rely on a stylus and non-full-QWERTY keyboard are much slower and clunkier to use than something like a Sidekick 2 or 3. With the Sidekick you can type really fast, move around the menus, etc. very quickly, even if the data transfer speeds are about as fast as basic dial-up. I own a Sidekick 2 and, for almost everything I need (checking GMail, MeFi, Drudge, eBay, etc.) it is awesome. It can't handle Flash, video, advanced JavaScript, CSS, AJAX, or anything else dynamic.
posted by JPowers at 9:34 PM on December 28, 2006

I have a T-Mobile MDA (which has about 20 names, the Jam, Q-Tek, etc.) that does web browsing, IMing, e-mail and all quite well. It has bluetooth, WiFi, GPRS and infared. Haven't gotten a bluetooth GPS gadget for it yet, but the forums suggest that works well.

Only downside is that it is Windows. There are a few people working on running Linux on it, but it doesn't look like they are making a lot of progress.
posted by QIbHom at 9:45 PM on December 28, 2006

If you really want to browse the web, don't go with any Palm devices. The browser is really lacking.

You'll want something that runs Opera (not mini), like a Windows Mobile device or the Sony Ericsson P990 or M600 (QVGA, touchscreen, jogdial) or related model. I'm sure theres other phones that run Opera but I don't know them off hand.
posted by mphuie at 12:48 AM on December 29, 2006

Oops, thought you meant phones only.

Get a VGA PocketPC (like the Dell Axim x51v).

Its has a nice and large 640x480 screen and fast. Windows Mobile has the best GPS software, as well as plenty of fun games.
posted by mphuie at 12:51 AM on December 29, 2006

As stated above, it sounds like you want a Nokia 770. Keep in mind a newer version is coming out in 2007.
posted by lovejones at 7:06 AM on December 29, 2006

I loved my 770, it was great for browsing the web- but that's it.

I got the q because I was tired of carrying around both a cell phone and a quasi-pda (syncing was pretty much out for me) and other than giving mobile web browsing back to my laptop, it's been a great pda- a little slow though. Check out the PPC HTC phone for cingular and the soon to be released update for the same phone xv6700 for verizon.
posted by eleongonzales at 7:24 AM on December 29, 2006

I love my Palm TX too (mainly for the other features), but I have to think there must be something better than it for web browsing. I'll have to try Opera Mini—maybe it will be better than Blazer, the built-in app. Notably the TX needs a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection to the Internet, so if you want to connect directly you'll need a Treo.
posted by grouse at 9:26 AM on December 29, 2006

WM5 devices that have Bluetooth will run a slew of GPS applications. I have both TerraSync and Mapopolis on mine, and they're fully usable. BT-enabled antennas run from a few hundred bucks to a few thousand.

Opera mobile, although payware, is worth it. Portable IE is the usual miserable Microsoft mess of lock-in, failure to adhere to standards, and sluttishness.

There are a few FLOSS applications available for WM5 and my favorite is Qmail . It takes a little work to get it running right but it's worth it - you can use your POP mail with SSL and bypass most worries about having your passwords sniffed.

I have a HTC k-jam, equivalent to the Cingular 8125.
posted by jet_silver at 10:33 AM on December 29, 2006

In order to save my eyesite and because I like slightly larger screens than offered on todays PDAs I grabbed a used HP Jornada H/PC and an old WifI card. Its a bit bigger than todays PDAs but does damn near everything my laptop did and also is instant on. I have used it to IM, check email, browse, write memos and quicky emails. It works ok as an mp3 player after I installed a 1gig memory card. Best of all since they don´t make them anymore you can find them very cheap on Ebay.

Note: To run alot of the more recent software for windows devices you may be required to dig around under the hood of the Jornada but if you just want a cheap mobile browser with decent screen real estate, email and Im capability it should serve you quite well.

posted by zona_sul at 12:34 PM on December 29, 2006

I'll have to try Opera Mini—maybe it will be better than Blazer, the built-in app

It isn't really better than Blazer overall, it's just better for situations where you're paying per megabyte downloaded because pages and images get sent through a proxy that compresses everything. It's still worth trying even if you're not in that situation, sometimes you'll find that a site that sucks in Blazer is better in Mini.
posted by teleskiving at 12:43 PM on December 29, 2006

(jet_silver's HTC k-jam is the same device as my T-Mobile MDA, under another name.)
posted by QIbHom at 12:34 AM on December 30, 2006

Also have a look at the e61 by nokia - you have to get it unlocked to use it in the US but it has great software and a WiFi! Cingular has the e62, but it has no WiFi.
posted by bigmusic at 4:47 PM on January 3, 2007

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