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Living with the Amstrad e-m@iler plus

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I'll come straight to the point. I've tried very hard to change my view of the Amstrad e-m@ailer plus - the phone with a small screen bolted on and a funny little keypad.

I've tried to suspend my concerns about this phone-cum-emailer-cum-Web browser.

Snag is, whichever way I look at it I come round to the same viewpoint. The metered and one-off charges for using the service deter me from using it.

Sure, if I was organised and could send a day's worth of emails and SMS messages in one sitting then the prospect of paying 12p for a single session online (plus the cost of the phone call) would be a small price to pay.

But I'm not. And I can't. And if you use email regularly, then you’ll use the e-m@iler plus regularly too. And that means the costs will ramp up quickly.

When more and more Net users are adopting unmetered services, it seems to go against the grain to opt for a premium-based pay-as-you go service such as this.

Don't get me wrong – these aren’t "hidden charges", as Ive read one reviewer put it. Far from it. Youre told about the charges in a message on the outside of the box; on the sealed wrapper containing the instruction booklet; on a quick reference guide and in the instruction booklet. The warnings are everywhere – you cannot miss them.

Despite these, though, there will be some users who'll get a shock when they receive their first phone bill. Still, they were told.

That said, I still reckon it has the potential to be a terrific gadget for the home - especially for the occasional Net user. I even like its looks. And I love its quirkiness – like how you can send SMS and faxes – but can't receive any. ®

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