Handheld Or Smart Phone With Internet Browsing Ability

by on November 27, 2007

Q: Is there a handheld/smart phone out there that you can enter information into fields of a web page. I am constantly filling out forms and am looking for a device that will get me away from my desktop.

A: There are actually a lot of options out there for you that will let you get away from your desktop to be able to use the web and fill out forms on the web. The biggest problem is that it seems like there are new items added every week so it depends on what you are looking for.

Lets start with WiFi enabled handhelds first because they are going to be able to allow you to access the internet with faster speeds than a smart phone would. The obvious downside to these devices are that if you are not near a WiFi connection then you cannot do your work so you will have to decide if that is okay with you or not. The upside to them besides being a lot faster than using a phone network to get on the web is that there is no monthly fee since you will use your existing WiFi or a WiFi hot spot.

The first device I want to look at is the iPod Touch. Currently starting at $299.00 the iPod Touch has built in WiFi, which will allow you to get on the internet using your WiFi connection. The iPod Touch has a build in safari web browser that should work on just about any web page or web form you would like to use. It also has a mail program too that will allow you to check your e-mail. We are going to ignore the ability to play music and movies since we are more worried about doing work.

The second handheld WiFi device is something most people probably wont expect. It is the Nintendo DS Lite for $129.99 with the Nintendo DS Browser for about $30.00 for a total of $159.99. This might not be the perfect solution for everyone but it might be for some. Anyone with children probably has a Nintendo DS Lite so it might be a good first try for only $30.00. The major downside to the Nintendo DS Lite is that it only supports some secure WiFi networks not all of them. The major downside to the Nintendo DS Lite is that it only supports WEP encrypted networks so if you have another type of encryption you will not be able to use it.

Along the same lines I also have to say that the Sony PSP currently $129.99 also has a web browser that you can buy for it too so it is an option but I do not like it as much. The reason the DS Lite is on the list is because it uses a stylist to make it easier to type. The Sony PSP requires you to use the game controls to go select each letter and that can be very time consuming.

That rounds up my choices for handhelds with WiFi ability that will allow anyone to browse the web and get some work done. There are others out there and I would love to hear what others suggest.

Now lets move onto Smart Phone options. The first thing you need to know about smart phones are that most of them are tied to a certain service provider so depending on who you are stuck with will determine what phone you can use. Unless, of course, you are willing to break your agreement and pay the penalty and move to a new service provider.

The first smart phone I would suggest is the iPhone and I do so for many reasons, from it being one of the hottest products of the season, because I tend to like anything Apple, and because we selected the iPod Touch previously. The iPhone is really the same device as the iPod Touch except that it is also a phone, which allows you to use the AT&T network to do work even when you do not have a WiFi connect. You should know that the AT&T data network is like using a dial up modem 5 years ago so it will take time for pages to load but you can still certainly do what you need to do when you are on the go and don’t have a WiFi connection.

The next options have issues in that most of them do not currently support WiFi. The reason I say this is in issue is if you are in a spot where there is WiFi then using WiFi over the telephone company’s data network will be at least 100 times faster and that is always nice when trying to get work done.

So from here my next suggestion would be a Blackberry. Almost anyone that has to be contacted via the internet anytime of the day or night uses a Blackberry. They are certain great for email and they do do web browsing. The problem here though is that their web browsers are not standard like the one on the iPhone. The iPhone uses the same web browser that all Apple computers use so you can expect the majority of web sites to work with it. The Blackberry on the other hand will have fewer sites that work with it so you will want to test out the sites you use specifically before committing to it.

Over the next few months we will see many competitors to the iPhone that will use WiFi and the telephone companies data network so certainly keep your eyes open if it is not something you need to buy today. Hopefully our readers will post some comments about what their favorite device is for doing work away from their computer too in order to help us get a longer list.

You will want to check out CNet.com’s review site related to Smart Phones too in order to get a full run down of all the options right now.

I hope everyone has found this helpful and I hope that our readers post comments to help make this even better because everyone would like to be able to get up and move around instead of sitting in one spot all day while doing work especially as the holidays come around and we try to balance our work life with our family life.

2 Responses to “Handheld Or Smart Phone With Internet Browsing Ability”

    I have a dell axim (pocket pc) that i link with my laptop with hotsysc from microsoft and sync them so I always have my office data with me. It also has pocket excel, pocket word, windows media player and microsoft reader. Mine is an older one and works great.