Peek review and contest

So the people over at Peek sent me one to test out, and I've been using it for a few days. The Peek is a little handheld device that allows you to have mobile email access.

I think it's a good solution to a specific problem. If you'd like to have access to your email while you're away from a computer with internet access but don't need an integrated phone and don't need web access or other features, then Peek might be perfect for you.

Peek looks a lot like a calculator, but with a bigger screen and a QWERTY keypad. The main screen is your inbox, but you can also check your sent messages file. It's refreshingly low-tech for a gadget, and I learned all the features in about five minutes, with no need for a 20-something or child assistant. (It's so easy that I'm actually thinking of getting one for my mom.)

It took me 4 minutes to set it up and connect it to my Gmail account (once I got it out of the stupid plastic package, which took 3 minutes). You can set it to make a sound or stay silent (and just have the light flash) when you get a new email. The battery lasts a long time once you charge it fully. You can change the background to one of a few different color schemes so it's easier for you to see.

I had a few complaints, but they were pretty minor. The keyboard feels a little stiff to me, and it took awhile before I thought I was getting the right technique for putting pressure on the keys. I wish there was a way to know if I'd replied to an email just by looking at the list view of my in-box and not having to flip to the sent mail folder. (My other complaint is that numbers and symbols are in different places on the Peek than they are on my BlackBerry and that slowed me way down, but I'm guessing most people who get Peek won't also have a BBerry so it won't be a problem.) Since there's no web access, if people send you links you'll have to wait to see them until you get back to your computer.

But overall, if all you want is mobile access to your email, it's a neat little solution that's reasonably-priced and easy to use. Right now Peeks are going for $49.74 apiece when you buy a month of service (each month is $19.95, with no contract).

So here's the contest: Post in the comments a story--funny, sad, touching, outrageous, sweet--of some kind of romance-related communication. (Be sure to post a valid email in the "Email" field, but if you want to be anonymous put www.fake.com or www.google.com in the URL field--that way I can see your email to let you know if you won, but readers can't.) Everyone who posts has an equal chance to win, as I'm going to have one of my kids pick the winner randomly from everyone who enters. I'll close comments on Sunday night, and will announce the winner on Wednesday.

The winner will get, courtesy of the Peek people, two red Peeks, one for you and one for a partner or friend.