Smartphones and Netbooks

Help! Too many choices!

Jeff, I am in need of a portable device for accessing email when I'm on the road. Of course it would be nice to have access to the internet in general and stuff like a GPS, etc. So I'm thinking it may be time to get an IPhone. The 8G is only $200 and the 16G has come down to $300. I heard there is a new one that is supposed to be Verizon capable.However, it is not the easiest thing to type on (I hear) and everyone says if you are primarily going to use it for email, get a blackberry. But if that's the case, maybe I should look into mini notebooks which seem really cheap and I could watch movies on the plane! What do you think about what's out there and what's coming soon.Help! Too many choices!

Dear Help

The Iphone is very expensive as it requires a high speed data plan (and 2 year contract). The question is how much email do you need to do as well as other full-screen needs (how much working on documents, accessing websites, etc.).

Smartphone (2.5-3.5" screen)


  • Small screen
  • Thumbboard instead of keyboard
  • Limited app support (e.g., Office apps)


  • Very portable (essentially replaces current phone)
  • If you get a good high end one with camera/video can replace your current camera for greater portability (sell camera on craigslist). Note that the iPhone does not actually take video (very cheap camera in it) but high end Nokia, Samsung, and Blackberries do have 3mp+ video cameras in it (Sony is too expensive as well).

Netbook (10.2" screen)


  • Have to manage it like a laptop (e.g., app installs, configuration)
  • One more thing to carry around (though 3 pounds is not bad)
  • Apple doesn't have one of these, and when they will, it will be expensive
  • External cd/dvd only (another thing to carry)


  • Prices are getting lower (5 hours out of the battery even with wifi
  • Full operating system/computer, can do anything desktop can
  • They now have 120gb and bigger drives for lots of video/audio collection
  • Can act as desktop if plug in monitor, keyboard, mouse, sound


  • Get a smartphone AND a netbook. That way you have two options, are fully portable, and are 2k10-ready. Put everything up on Craigslist (phone, camera, desktop) to recover some of the money.