Help me pick blackberries!
May 17, 2007 6:58 AM   Subscribe

Blackberry for non-business use (mostly): It would be really useful for me to have Blackberry or Blackberry like functionality for my University/personal/computer support work.

However, doesn't one need to be subscribed to an expensive package to actually have the email 'pushed' out? i.e. there is no Pay-as-you-go possibility?

I'm in the UK and if anyone has managed this or something like it without massive expense (especially the recurring charges) I'd be interested to know more. Thanks!
posted by dance to Technology (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Don't know about the UK, but I can tell you from the way that a Blackberry functions, you'll almost certainly have to have an unlimited data plan. The Blackberry is in constant contact with your email server, so every few seconds the server is contacting the Blackberry to match up information. I don't know of any US carriers that offer a pay-as-you-go Blackberry service. Some other smartphone that doesn't connect constantly, but which can be directed to "pull" your email rather than having it "pushed" via the Blackberry could be an option, but likely you'll be purchasing a cheaper limited data plan over an unlimited plan for the Blackberry.
posted by Phoenix42 at 7:30 AM on May 17, 2007

I use a blackberry with "normal" (non-exchange, non Blackberry enterprise) email. I simply have a forward rule on my personal email to forward all non-spam mails to my operator-provided blackberry email address ( I believe.) The mail appears instantly, much faster than my desktop Mail client. On the device I set my reply to address to my personal account. When I send mail from the device it looks just like it came from my normal account.

I pay a normal data + voice plan. It's expensive, because I got the unlimited monthly plan. I use the web browser and SSH client a lot so I didn't want to worry about going over. I checked my usage -- I receive about 2-5MB of mail alone a day on the device. The plan (with 400 minutes, unlimited data, 500 SMS I think?) is ~$80US/mo. They also offered transfer-limited data plans for much less.

The Blackberry servers are cool if you can set them up, my lawyer friends all use them-- it syncs addresses & calendars, not just mail, over the internet. But off that grid the BB is very useful as a personal/small business email device.
posted by neustile at 7:30 AM on May 17, 2007

Would you care for an answer from someone who knows something about the UK? :)

T-Mobile have an unlimited data package that is £7.50 per month on top of the usual contract cost (I've got the cheapest contract so I pay about £22 a month). They have three Blackberry models listed on their site.

I have a Nokia E61 and while I don't use 'push' email, I do look at my webmail on it, so I guess you could say I use something similar. What I don't know is what kind of subscription charges you might pay for 'push' email.

Might be worth going to a T-mobile shop and asking? Other mobile companies don't seem to have caught up with cheap data plans yet. Orange in particular has ruinous charges for data usage.
posted by altolinguistic at 7:54 AM on May 17, 2007

I use a T-Mobile Dash (smartphone) and for 5.95/month I get unlimited internet. I use The gmail mobile applet, to which all my personal emails are forwarded, to pick up mail. Attachment manipulation is going to be less robust than a Blackberry, and there's no google calendaring applet (that I know of) available for smartphone.

the 5.95 internet is a hack, and I have no idea whether it works in the UK.

Also, t-mobile coverage sucks out loud, at least in the philly area.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 7:56 AM on May 17, 2007

I would say get the crackberry and take the plunge. I take it you are a student there are some wonderful apps for the blackberry that make it well worth the investment especially if you conduct most of your life by email, text message and work in comptuer support.

1. Jive Messenger allows you to sign on nearly every chat network that you have an account for and multi screen names as well. Plus if you have used GAIM/Pidgin or Trillian and renamed all of your contacts they will show up that way
2. Google Maps
3. Berry Search
4. Tons of more apps.

In addition it adds subconscious creedence to what your clients think of your ability to work on comptuers. They think oh ok if he has a blackberry he will offer quick response to my questions, emails, and phone calls, plus he is sufficiently geeky.At times I work with elderly clients and even though they have know clue what a blackberry is they still ask about the strange device on my hip we speak about it briefly and they are blown away and they genuninely feel better about my skills to help them out.

As far as which blackberry to go with I love my 8700c and the Pearl is sweet but type on it first to see what you think of it and if it will work in your hands. Skip the 8800 unless you "NEED" gps the blackberry curve is around the corner and it kicks the 8800's posterior. Lastly make sure you get unlimited internet as it is pointless to have one without it.
posted by the_binary_blues at 8:52 AM on May 17, 2007

Check out the Nokia e series too. I have the e61 and I really like it, you can use it without the expensive data plan.
posted by bigmusic at 8:54 AM on May 17, 2007

Well, you'll obviously need a data package with your plan. I'd also look into treo/palm or windows mobile PDAs as well as the BBs. BBs in my experience are nice when paired up witha BES server/Exchange but as stand-along devices you can do a lot better for your money.
posted by damn dirty ape at 9:44 AM on May 17, 2007

DISCLAIMER: I currently work for Three Retail, so this isn't *exactly* impartial, but I believe it will help answer the question..

Many of Three's phones support push email. I personally use the Nokia E65. The push email package is £4.50 (ex. VAT) per month. My current setup is £25/month - 750sms, 150 voice mins, 25 mms, 25 video call mins. I pay an additional £5 inc. VAT for X-Series (1GB internet access via 3G-UMTS / GPRS, including "pull" email, Skype, MSN Messenger) and £4.50 (Ex VAT) for "Mobile Office Email" - i.e. push email.

In total, I am about £35/month inc VAT and the phone kicks ass. Symbian is handy for my home-based business (not related to my 9-to-5 in the shop).

Be wary of the Nokia N95 - we had some for testing and we found they don't work properly with all network services and I've heard some operators who are selling them are also pushing disclaimers saying that you understand the phone might not work as expected. The next software revision should resolve all the problems though and we'll start selling them then..

Again, sorry if it's impartial cos I work there but I do also have a T-Mobile contract and have had Blackberrys in the past but find this 3 setup is the best for my purposes.
posted by dcbarker at 9:59 AM on May 17, 2007

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