Mobile device for long segmented commute?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by bluebomberman, Jun 28, 2006.

  1. bluebomberman macrumors 6502a

    bluebomberman

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2005
    Location:
    Queens, NYC
    #1
    I need expert advice. Starting this fall, I will be commuting once or twice a week to grad school. The trip will likely take about 100-120 minutes each way (40 minutes on the New York City subway, 40 minutes on the commuter rail, 20 minutes walking, 10 minutes waiting). I think I should get some kind of mobile device so that I can be productive on the train.

    (Before we proceed, I want to make clear that I don't want to hear any judgmental "Read a book" cracks from anybody. Sorry, I got a bit ticked after reading that on a Yahoo feedback page.)

    I don't think a Macbook is a good idea (the commuter rail ride is too short for the laptop, I'll get mugged if I use it on the subway, and I doubt I'll need it during class).

    I'm thinking the Blackberry 7250, the Treo 650, or the Treo 700 from Verizon. But I don't actually need Internet/email access during the commute, and hey, EV-DO's pretty expensive. Instead, I want to be able to write emails with a handheld with a full keyboard and then send them out from my iMac when I get home. (Why email? Because I find that I don't write a lot of email anymore because of the kazillion distractions and tasks that are in front of me when I'm using my computer. I used to write really long and eloquent emails back in the day. Not anymore.)

    Does this make sense? I don't really know anybody with these devices (most of my friends are Luddites), and most stores don't have working hands-on demo units (*sigh*, spoiled by the Apple Store). I don't even know if I can go into VerizonWireless and demand such an arrangement. (To complicate things further, my current phone's under a family plan!)

    Maybe it would make more sense to buy a used Palm or an old Blackberry and use it solely as a PDA. But then I'll have to carry that with my cell phone AND my iPod.

    Any suggestions?
     
  2. discoforce macrumors 6502a

    discoforce

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2004
    Location:
    Vermont, USA
    #2
    Sounds like a great use for a palm, and I agree, if you don't need to be sending and receiving email during the commute (could you on the subway??) then the Treo/Blackberry option is a bit unnecessarily $$$.

    But your wanting a full keyboard is the rub, because those aren't included with the regular palms. Hopefully others will have their suggestions, but I'd recommend researching at least 2 options:

    1) Buy a standard Palm & one of these: [​IMG]
    (MUCH nicer than using the tiny Blackberry/Treo keyboards anyway)

    2) Buy a Treo/Blackberry with a keyboard you can live with, but see if you can sign up for only cell service and not pay for a data plan. If they'll let you do that (and why wouldn't they?) then you don't have to cary a separate phone.

    Personally, I'm still waiting for the cell phone / iPod / palm pilot with a huge storage capacity and easy text entry. But folks keep telling me that people don't want palms anymore :rolleyes:

    Good luck!
     
  3. bluebomberman thread starter macrumors 6502a

    bluebomberman

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2005
    Location:
    Queens, NYC
    #3
    A *real* keyboard is tempting, but I've never liked typing on my lap, and that thing's useless if I'm forced to stand (which is more often than not the case on the subway).

    You can never be too sure with cell phone companies how restrictive they are with their products (which is why ringtones cost 3 bucks and Bluetooth's often crippled). Hopefully, they'll let me use a smartphone without paying for EV-DO...
     
  4. discoforce macrumors 6502a

    discoforce

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2004
    Location:
    Vermont, USA
    #4
    If you're looking for less restrictive do NOT go with Verizon. In Queens, you should have quite a few carriers to choose from no? And even up here in VT, the stores have samples of all the Treo and Blackberries. I definitely wouldn't recommend getting one of these without see if the keyboard works for you.

    Good luck! :)
     
  5. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #5
    If you can use Cingular, the Nokia 9300 has a nice keyboard... considering the competition. It's not perfect, but it's a lot better than the Trio/Blackberry ones. I don't normally promote Nokia products, but it's pretty decent and might suit your needs. No need for an internet plan: you could always compose text files and then Bluetooth them to your iMac.

    Edit: for what it's worth, no small mobile device is going to make writing long emails anything other than somewhat torturous. Tiny keyboards are not meant for long compositions.
     
  6. discoforce macrumors 6502a

    discoforce

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2004
    Location:
    Vermont, USA
    #6
    Okay, now I've decided you need one of these:

    [​IMG]

    It'll only set you back about $1800 :D

    (I'd stick with jsw's suggestion)
     
  7. bluebomberman thread starter macrumors 6502a

    bluebomberman

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2005
    Location:
    Queens, NYC
    #7
    Unfortunately, Verizon has the best network in the area (almost everybody I know reluctantly use Verizon because it's the least bad option, me included).

    Nuts, this makes my life more complicated. I never really considered devices with bigger keyboards, like the Sidekick or the Nokia 9300...

    I don't see how I'm going to be able to eat my family plan at Verizon, though; there's still another 10 months to go.

    EDIT: Because I'm on a family plan, I'm looking at a early termination fee of $350 (2 numbers). I'd rather just buy the Treo 700p than cough up that much just to switch carriers.
     
  8. true777 macrumors 6502a

    true777

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2000
    Location:
    California, Austria, Arkansas
    #8
    I would go with the new T-Mobile Sidekick that will be in stores starting July 5th. The keyboard is fantastic, and sending emails is a breeze. It also has AIM, so you could chat while commuting.
     
  9. true777 macrumors 6502a

    true777

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2000
    Location:
    California, Austria, Arkansas
    #9
    Oh, and the Sidekick (aka hiptop) of course also has full web access. The best thing is really the keyboard, it is great. It is also a phone, of course.
     
  10. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #10
    Despite what you said, I'm gonna recommend a MacBook and an iPod.

    You can write emails and have them sent later, and since you're not sending emails on the fly, a Treo or Blackberry seems to be a bit over the top and expensive for what you want to do. The MacBook might actually be a great deal in comparison to the BlackBerry. :)

    Ewww.....a book? LOLzers, are you serious? :eek:
     
  11. ipacmm macrumors 65816

    ipacmm

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2003
    Location:
    Cincinnati, OH
    #11
    I would get the Treo 650 or 700P because they are great phones and PDA's, I don't think you will need a blackberry if you do not need the email/internet and that is the main reason to get the blackberry. The 700P is a great upgrade over the 650 and has a lot of the issues fixed.
     
  12. bluebomberman thread starter macrumors 6502a

    bluebomberman

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2005
    Location:
    Queens, NYC
    #12
    That's only true if I'm forced to pay for a data plan. If not, I can just replace my phone with a smartphone and end up paying the same amount of money every month for the same voice family plan.

    A MacBook would make more sense if I was willing to lose my iMac (see signature), but I'm not. Trading in my 17-inch screen for a 13-inch glossy? No way.

    Well, the Blackberry 7250 is only $99.99. The Treo 650's been discounted to $249.99, while the 700p's a hefty $399.99.

    It's going to be a long summer trying to figure out if any of these are worth the money they're asking for...
     
  13. bluebomberman thread starter macrumors 6502a

    bluebomberman

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2005
    Location:
    Queens, NYC
    #13
    Bad news...

    I went to a Verizon Store and asked if I can get the Treo 700p on a family plan and pass on the data plan. They said yes. I then found out that they want $500! That's $100 more than online.

    But online, you have to take a voice and data combo plan with the Treo 700p; they also don't offer the Treo 700p when you choose a family plan.

    I'm stuck. What to do?
     

Share This Page