We’ve been fans of the idea behind the Pocket Surfer device since it was first launched, and now they have upgraded the unit again, and provided an even more compelling product.
Firstly, the Pocket Surfer 3 adds an Active Matrix TFT Screen, probably the major complaint about the original anddevices. Weighing just 174g and featuring a 640×240 display, the device has a backlit QWERTY keyboard and a touchpad mouse, and features about 4 hours of active use, or 4 days standby time, and recharges via a miniUSB connector. The device also features a GPS (previous units relied upon cell ID triangulation), although you won’t find any SatNav type software available for it; the device is designed to be used as a web terminal.
With a built in web browser (and server based compression technology back at Datawind), the device is capable of loading many webpages in less than 7 seconds, despite being limited to a GPRS connection. As with the, this is via , and included in the £159.99 device price is 12 months of 30 hours per month. This will cost around £29.99 for another 12 months, and if you need more than the 30 hours, you can either pay an additional £5.99 per month for unlimited browsing per month (if you haven’t paid the extra, the device simply stops working, as opposed to racking up huge additional bills).
Of course, if you are a heavy user, then you may be better paying a one time £59.99 for unlimited web browsing for the lifetime of the device (if you fail to use the device for 90 days, you will need to pay a £29.99 reactivation fee). Travelling abroad is the same as the, with either a charge of 5p per minute (Europe & USA) or 25p per minute (Rest of World) for when you use it, or you can pay £29.99 to credit your account with 600 minute of usage (valid for 12 months).
With email, IM, web browsing, and many other services linked via the online menu system (eg free online translation services, travel information etc.) this is still a handy little device, and one well worth considering for those who want more than just a mobile phone, but don’t want an all encompassing smartphone.
Two things to note: the Pocket Surfer 3 (£199.99) is still lacking audio (so no voice chat, watching video or listening to music), and the Pocket Surfer Lite (£129.99) doesn’t have the GPS or touchpad. Both devices will be available fromshortly, who are currently selling the Lite at a discounted £129.99 (presumably to clear stocks).