|Which PDA/phone does it all? |
By Joni Blecher
Section Editor Joni Blecher, a.k.a. the Cell Phone Diva, wants to answer all your questions about cell phones, service plans, and wireless connectivity. Send her a question!
Pining for Palm
Q: I want a cell phone that runs Palm OS, functions like a pager (akin to the BlackBerry), and has built-in Bluetooth so that I can use a wireless headset. I own a Kyocera 6035 smart phone, but it doesn't double as a pager and lacks a BlackBerry- or Treo-style keyboard. Also, because I travel in nonurban areas regularly, I would like to stay with Verizon or a similar carrier that does not charge roaming fees or long distance. Can you help?
A: Many of the Palm OS-based phones lack an integrated keyboard; since that seems to be a key feature for you, I recommend the Treo 300. It runs the Palm OS, comes with a keyboard, and handles numeric pages. If you download the Business Connection software, you can view e-mail on the device, as well. The downside is that it doesn't feature analog roaming, which limits use in some nonurban areas.
To add Bluetooth functionality to the phone, check out the Jabra Bluetooth headset with adapter; just plug the headset's charger/base into the phone's 2.5mm jack for hands- and wire-free use.
Q: I am currently looking for a device that handles e-mail filtering and notifications, as well as Web browsing. Should I invest in a BlackBerry or go with something that is more like a PDA with Bluetooth to use wireless?
A: For e-mail, the BlackBerry is a good choice. However, it's not the best option for Web browsing. That said, before you do anything, you need to be realistic about how much surfing you plan on doing. The GPRS networks aren't superspeedy; you'll still wait for pages to load, regardless of the device you pick.
I wouldn't rule out the T-Mobile Sidekick. It offers a slick interface for browsing the Web, and although it runs on GPRS networks, its surfing speed seems to be better than most. Another perk: The Sidekick offers two POP3 e-mail accounts.
The e-mail that binds
Q: I travel frequently and would like to access e-mail on the go. I want a phone that I can use to check my Web-based e-mail and acts as a modem for my Palm and laptop, though that would be only an added benefit. My ultimate goal is to do this as cost effectively as possible. I would be checking mail only at night for about 30 minutes per day. Can the Nokia 8390 or others do all of the above and, if so, for about how much money per month?
--Tied to E-mail
A: Technically, you can use the Nokia 8390 as a wireless modem if you download the appropriate software. Since the 8390 has an IR port, you don't need to buy an extra cable to connect your Palm, which is nice.
To save money on surfing, get a plan with unlimited nights and weekends. Many carriers deduct data calls from the overall bucket of minutes, so you'll need an all-inclusive plan. Be sure to sign up for unlimited data usage, as well; it's typically $5 to $10 extra, but it's worth it. If you don't, you can end up paying as much as 10 cents for each message sent and received.
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Joni Blecher is a section editor for CNET Reviews.