So what is the pocketsurfer2?
Well it does pretty much exactly what it says in the name, it goes in your pocket and surfs the web. Great! No - not really.
This product definitely meets it's requirements in terms of being pocket sized as despite being quite a lot bigger than the average mobile, it is indeed a lot smaller than any other type of computer that you will find. It definitely does fit in your pocket but sticks out and looks a little bit bulky so I would advise either sticking it in a briefcase or handbag.
What does it do?
This is where the product lives up to the 'surfer' part of it's name. It surfs the internet, and it does it at quite a high speed too! The problem being the tiny screen and tiny keys which prove to be extremely difficult to use. Every third or fourth key press for me comes up incorrectly as my fingers are just too large to type of the full QWERTY keyboard. Personally I think it would have worked better with a more condensed keyboard that would be bigger and easier to use.
The second problem I mentioned was the tiny screen, which really is too small for web browsing, it doesn't shrink the pages like other mobile devices and therefore scrolling from left to right is frequently required, as it scrolling up and down (which is commonplace with all web devices).
What exactly are the costs involved?
The product retails for various prices depending on where you purchase it, but if you look hard enough online you can find a new one for close to the £100 mark (which isn't really that bad). This comes with a year's worth of 'free' internet browsing. This means you get twenty hours per month of web browsing included, for the first year. And this is costs extra to renew for the second year. Now don't get me wrong, I consider that to be quite a generous amount to receive for free. However, in reality you will find yourself using this up quite quickly especially if you use the product for business (which is the last thing I would advise). Therefore the advertised 'Free web browsing for a year' is a tad misleading, in my opinion.
Should I get this?
No, I wouldn't really advise purchasing this unless you are extremely desperate to access the internet on the go and prefer not to use a mobile or other portable web browsing device. This isn't easy to use, it isn't that economical to run and it isn't really very well adjusted to the job it is required to perform. I am sure, however, that there are people out there who have genuinely good uses for this device and for those people I am sure it works well. But on a personal note, I hate it. I don't advise you get it.
Datawind Pocket Surfer 2
Well, where do I start with this? Ok so I read some reviews that seemed to rave about this little device and watched a clip on you tube and I was convinced this was the device for me! So as a person who is always on the look out for a bargain, I bid on ebay and got one of these for only £50 'brand new' which I thought was a bargain.
When I received the item it was fully boxed and in as new condition with pouch, charger and cd drive. 'Whoopee' I thought........ I got it out the box, charged it up and couldn't connect to the internet. contacted the seller who just said 'well i havent used it its not my fault if it doesnt work' great I thought, typical! And one of the reasons I have begun to hate ebay now.
Anyway, I rang Datawind who helped me out and told me to send it back to them as it has the wrong sim card in it and it would be replaced for free. Datawind did speedily sort this for me, I sent special delivery as requested by them and they sent it back out the same day they received it so I got it back very quickly, so good customer service there definatley!
Having got the device back I realised it was the same device, they had just changed the sim card, fair enough I suppose, at least it worked now and has 20 hours of free internet for 12 months. Trust me you would use every last second of this useage limit because it is so slow! I only wanted it for checking emails and facebook and silly things like that when I was away camping or just away from a computer basically.
The device was just so slow opening web pages, sometimes stopped and didn't re-load so I had to keep switching it off and back on again, each time taking a good few minutes to load.
'worlds fastest hand held web device' it claimed, erm, no definatley not, maybe a few years ago it was but this info seems very out of date.
The satellite GPS was telling me I was in London (I am in Durham) and I couldn't get it to work at all.
The mouse pointer was quite hard to move around the screen using only buttons for it to move, although I think the later version has a touch mouse pad which seems a way better idea to me.
I found it very hard to understand where and how to enter text on the device and sometimes wrote a long string of words only to find it did not post it on the web page I was on. Very frustrating.
Overall I wouldn't recommend it if you needed internet as a neccesity, if you only need it occasionally and use rarely and are not in a hurry to check your emails, then this is for you, otherwise you will get very frustrated and want to throw it out of the window on more than one occasion!
Its a shame as this little device is a great size and the idea is brilliant but what with new mobile phones and netbooks around, you're better off getting something else.
I thought I had found the most amazing gadget when I saw this Pocket Surfer advertised. I reach online via a virtual classroom so it seemed like an excellent idea. I expected to be able to connect up to the classroom, schedule lessons, leave and answer messages and that sort of thing.
At £149 it wasn't too expensive as it would save me having to rush home for lesson start times and I would be able to pick up schedule changes and rebook lessons easily, no matter where I was. At least that's what I thought the device would do for me. I'd seen loads of hype about these devices on TV selling channels and I was convinced of its usefulness.
The unit itself is very small and at six inches by four, it fits easily into a pocket, or bag. However, it is its very compact size that caused me operating problems.
I had to scroll the screen left and right all the time and keep scrolling down in-between. This made it hard to read text and was quite stressful of the eyes.
The keypads on the keyboard are too small to use with fingers. I kept catching two at a time which made it virtually impossible to type email or messages quickly.
It did connect to the internet quickly but seemed to disconnect at intervals. This of course is no use if I am in a virtual classroom.
It is cheap to run as twenty hours internet per month are included in the price for a year and then it costs £40 for another year, or £5.95 unlimited connection time.
The actual unit looks sleek and modern with its black shiny case but for me it was a complete waste of money. It is good for anyone who just wants to be able to surf the web for leisure, or who wants to check their mail but it is not any use as a business tool. I was really disappointed after getting so excited about my new purchase.
I ended up giving the thing away because I got so frustrated with it.
I am a self confessed internet junkie and I can waste many, many hours surfing the web through basic browsing. An episode of the Gadget Show had, what I thought was, a fantastic 'new' device that enabled users to access the internet any time, any place. Despite having the ability to access the internet through my DS (through a specialplug in) and my Archos 605 (through a special plug in) I really wanted to try the Pocket Surfer 2 ("PS") since web browsing on my other two devices was so slow it was a real chore and not at all pleasurable. Besides, if Suzy Perry said it was a great product then it must be good and worth a purchase.
****What is it?****
Essentially the PS is a mobile web browser. "There are so many other ways of mobile web browsing, like mobiles, smart phones/PDAs, lap tops and notebooks" I hear you say but in my opinion none of these are as good as the PS.
The PS is sleek, compact and ultra-thin hand-held device. It's dimensions are 15.2cm x 7.5 cm x 1.5cm and weighs a meagre 174g. It's size means it is a bit bigger than a mobile and many smart phones but not quite as big as a lap top or notebook, hence making it a desirable device that can easily fit in a pocket or bag.
The size of the unit allows the PS to have a generously sized (when considering it's size) 640x420 LCD colour wide screen display.
The keyboard is a full QWERTY type and the buttons are large enough to enable the user to 'thumb' the keys rather than use the finger tips. This is a great feature since it makes it harder to mis-type than is the case with QWERTY keyboards on other devices that can be used for web browsing. The keyboard is robust and, being made of metal it is dirt resistant. It also has extrusion-grooved rubber to separate the keys. A useful feature of the keyboard is that the numerical values are lined along the top row, just like a 'proper' QWERTY keyboard.
In order to get on to the world wide web the PS has its own built-in GPRS antenna and SIM card.
****My experience of using the PS****
When the PS is closed it looks sleek and stylish and, in my opinion, is a desirable piece of kit. When the PS is opened things begin to rapidly go downhill. As you open the PS the hinges make an ear popping 'crack', which is quite alarming at first although as you realise this is going to happen every time it gets less worrying. I have tried greasing the hinges and 'tinkering' with them but nothing seems to work.
Once open the screen of the PS is unstable and wobbles, suggesting it is not made out of the best quality materials. Given the low price and modern technology of the PS I guess the inferior quality materials is expected but I don't think they should be this poor. I seriously question how long the PS is going to last before it breaks beyond repair.
The manufacturers description of the screen sounds impressive but in reality it is a big disappointment. It is very dim, faded and does not appear to have many colours, which is a massive let down. In addition, text is often difficult to read and since the mouse pointer doesn't change shape when you hover it over a link, it can be difficult to navigate around the screen.
The coverage is fantastic and I have never had any issues with the PS not being able to get a strong GPRS signal. From cities to rural areas, from Northern England to Southern England the PS can get on the internet any where, even in areas where my Blackberry (on the O2 network) struggles. I have not used the PS abroad, so therefore can't comment on how it would work in other countires.
I understand that 3G data connections are much faster than GPRS, but despite this the web pages on the PS load up fairly quickly, the manufacturers boast that a page should load up in under 7 seconds, although this is very optimistic in my experience and I find that around 15 seconds is the norm. This said it is much quicker than my Blackberry and I am pleasantly surprised by the speed the pages load up. It is a shame that the PS does not use 3G technology. Whilst I am impressed with the speed of load up I am not impressed with the quality of the web pages once they have loaded. The text is small, the images are compressed and it is difficult to read and the clarity is poor.
Whilst using my Blackberry I have noticed that there are some web pages that just will not load up. Many friends have experienced this issue with other smart phones and mobiles on many of the popular networks. I can honestly say that I have never had this problem with the PS and it has managed to load up every single web page I have requested of it.
****Cost of web browsing****
The manufacturers web site boasts that users can surf the web for free. At first glance this appears to be the case, however it is not strictly true.
There is no contract or activation fee to use the PS although you will only get 20 hours of surfing per month for the first year. This is not a great amount and even moderate users are likely to use this up in a very short space of time. Once you reach the 20 hours of surfing time the PS will automatically disconnect from the internet and you won't be able to access it again until the following month, or you put your hands in your pockets again. For a monthly fee of £5.99 you can enjoy unlimited usage, which whilst not that expensive it is another 'running' cost that you need to take in to consideration if you are thinking of buying one of these.
If 20 hours is enough for you then you will only get this "free of charge" for the first year. Once this has expired you will have to fork out another £40 for the second year, that is if the PS actually lasts that long (as previously stated I do question how long the PS will last based on the inferior materials used).
Despite the above, and after making a few calculations, it appears that the cost of running a PS is much lower than a comparable mobile internet devices, however, the quality is definitely not up to scratch.
****Price and availability****
I paid £179.99 for my PS, although at the time of writing it can be bought for as little as £108.91 (excluding P&P) from Handtec and as much as £139.00 (excluding P&P) from IWOOT.
As with most electrical items there are several offline and online retailers and it pays to shop around in order to get the best deal.
As with most mobile devices I think that it is essential to protect the PS in order to keep it in tip top condition. In fact, thinking about the quality of the materials used I think it is even more important to have a sturdy case to protect it. After a lot of research and looking around I am still unable to locate a specific case for my PS and have had to make do with a an alternative case that is no specially built for the PS, hence the protection is limited.
I have not managed to find any accessories for the PS which surprises me since accessories are a great revenue stream and consumers of the main product are likely to purchase additional bolt on and custom accessories.
It should be noted that the PS is purely for the internet. It cannot play MP3s, display Jpeg files, play DVD/AVI/MP4 or any other video files, or play games. It is not a multi media device, which is a shame because I think the manufacturers have missed a trick here.
The PS is a great idea but in practice it is a poor product. It relies on old style GPRS technology and whilst web pages load fairly quickly the quality is very poor due to the compression. Personally, I think the only reason the web pages load so quickly is as a result of this compression, and subsequent loss in quality.
Whilst the PS looks sleek and stylish once you get up close to it you soon realise that it is made out of inferior materials that results in an overall shoddy product. The screen hinge 'cracks' and the screen's stability is awful since it frequently wobbles. I seriously doubt this product will last a long time.
I think that the manufacturers falsely market this product. They claim "free access" to the internet, which is true but only for 20 hours per month for the first year. If you want to use the PS after a year then you have to stump up another £40. If you want to use the PS for more than 20 hours per month then you have to stump up £5.99 per month for unlimited usage. These additional costs have to be considered before buying a PS.
This is just another gadget that you will have to carry around and since many mobiles and smart phones have web browsing capabilities I would recommend getting a top of the range smart phone instead of a PS. Whilst you may have to wait a little longer for the pages to load up the quality is far better, and in addition you can use a smart phone to make/receive calls, send text messages etc. negating the need to carry multiple devices.
I was given this as a gift for christmas, mainly because im a computer addict and i love being able to surf the internet, 24/7. I do have a laptop but this bulky and not always the easiest to carry around. So I initially thought this pocket surfer was a brilliant idea, its about 6 inches wide, 4 inches length and an about an inch high. You can literally put it into your back pocket and hardly realise its there.
Now though its handy, i must admit i found it very difficult to use. It connects to the internet pretty quickly, and immediately you get a main screen up. However, as the screen is so small, you only get half a screen, and i found it difficult to scroll across all the time to read the pages. The connection also seemed to lose connectivity alot, and this became a little frustrating. I did like that the network is always secure though i dont think i'd trust it to do my banking on personally.
The battery life seemed to last just a few hours, so if you wanted it on a long trip and had no power source you may be in trouble. The other thing i found difficult to use was a the keypad. I have small fingers, but i constantly hit the wrong keys and this made it quite tiresome to search for things.
You can use this pocket surfer for 20 hours per month for free, and as soon as you go over this, it stops working, so you dont have to worry about going over your time limit. This costs a measly £40 a year or £5.95 a month, and normally you get a years free with every new pocket surfer.
Lastly, what about the speed, well for me it varied, sometimes it was pretty fast, but other times my screen would freeze and i'd be waiting around like a lemon for 20 minutes. Overall, its not awful, and it has some advantages if you wanted to check footie scores, etc. But if you wanted it as a business tool then i couldnt recommend it, as it just wasnt reliable enough for me.