I’m a big fan of Peek, the “just email” device introduced late last year (read my review).  The NEW Peek Pronto was just released and I’ve had hands-on.  It’s much improved over my original Peek, with just one unexpected change of which I am not a fan, but to each his or her own.  Read on, please.

The original is still available for just $50 at, for example Target, but with the Pronto’s improvements, I say go with the new for only $80. Monthly charge for use is the same at $20 and still with NO CONTRACT needed.

If you’re already a Peekster you can upgrade to Peek Pronto, possibly for free, and we love FREE!  Check HERE for details. Upgrade?  How’s that possible? Yes, keep reading.

Bone up on the original via my article link above or the Peek link above and let’s have a look at what’s new.

Peek Pronto offers up email nearly instantly instead of every five to 15 minutes for the original.  The industry calls that “push” in that as soon as there is new email, it gets “pushed” to your device right away without intervention on the part of the user.  In its original product, Peek email was still push, but it is not instant, taking from five to 15 minutes for new email to reach the device.  Were it “pull” email, users would have to “pull” it down by clicking somewhere to ask for it NOW, for example, to bring in email each time the user would want an update. It would not just be there for you.

Peek, the new as well as the old, provides unlimited texting support, so users can text until blisters cause a pause.  This alone might be worth the cost for many users (or their parents!).

Peek Pronto also is set up to perform searching for a key word among a few different criteria in existing email, so users can find old email or text messages that are still on the device.

Whereas the original Peek supported only a pair of email accounts (or three, depending upon which software version is on the existing Peek), Peek Pronto supports a generous five email accounts.  Most of the popular email providers’ systems are compatible with Peek.  In my case, for my own MrGadget.com domain, they were able to set up my Peek account to receive and send all my email.  More about email compatibility is here.

Finally, the original Peek learned to open most JPEG photos that were not too large in the amount of data contained therein, though sometimes they appeared too small on the screen to be useful.  Peek Pronto can also open most JPEG photos, and now also PDF and DOC files on-board.  It is important to note that the available non-expandable memory on board Peek devices is 8MB.

That’s enough for a ton of email, but not a ton of email with large attachments.  Peeksters know that Peek is NOT a replacement for your computer-borne email.  Users who regularly need to interact with large file attachments will not be happy Peeksters as this exceeds the design concept and hardware capabilities of Peek devices.  Remember, Peek is designed for SIMPLE needs by users with simple requirements, and, frankly, that is the majority of consumers but not ALL consumers.  Don’t over expect and you will not be disappointed. Peek is not for everyone, not for anyone, for example, who needs a robust email and attachment capability.

Let me describe the Peek experience with JPEG images, PDF and DOC files.  First, bear in mind the most important fact to consider on the topic; that Peek is not designed to be a replacement for your computer nor is it a replacement portable device for those who would need the added performance (and expense) of a “smartphone,” be it an iPhone, a Blackberry, Windows Mobile-based device, Android-based product (such as T-Mobile G1), the upcoming Palm Pre or any higher cost to buy and run device.  Email attachments will be automatically converted by the Peek servers for optimal viewing on your Peek’s screen, but not everything works or works well.  HERE is a link to better understanding of how Peek deals with compatible attachments. In my experience, most photos that are JPEG and other common photo formats will work, most of the time.  PDFs that were originally text with images work most of the time, though sometimes they appear so small on the Peek screen as to be unusable.  Photos that are PDFs are unreliable as to whether they can be viewed on the Peek screen.  DOC files, primarily Word documents, can, most of the time, be viewed on Peek screens as attachments in email, but the formatting of the original document does not always translate well onto Peek.  Line breaks and some characters, such as apostrophes, will be shown as gibberish characters.  Also, documents may not be there in their entirety at first. When scrolling down through the doc’s lines, users will come to a point at which Peek needs to get more to display until the end of the document OR the end of the amount of data Peek can handle for one document.  This last circumstance is also a common occurrence in any long email.

I wish there was a concise and simple formula to definitively and succinctly explain what will and will not be a compatible attachment on a Peek, but such is not the case.

Peek Pronto differs from the original in one way and one way only – it’s all in the software!  Think of supercharging your current, perhaps slow computer with nothing more than a new and streamlined operating system that makes the experience as if you bought a new computer.  The new Peek software allows dramatically faster operation of all functionality along with the new features.  Though it acts as if powered by a faster processor, this is not the case.  It’s all in that fabulous new software.

For business users who do not want or need the expense, complexity or features of, say, Blackberry, but who still need email on the go and would like texting, Peek Pronto may be just right.  Peek Pronto now supports most Microsoft Exchange accounts, a boon to many interested business users.

It cannot be overstated that Peek’s mission, from the beginning, was to be that simple, go-to device that does just a few things we want and need and to do them well.  No fanfare.  No unwanted features.  Just, originally, email while away from base.  It was never to be a replacement for your computer.  It is meant to be a simple device to allow users to do simple and basic email, plus text messaging (which came after introduction), without the complexity or expense of doing these with your mobile phone.  Unlimited email and texting using your mobile phone surely costs more than $20 per month and likely requires a contract.  Peek is better for many of us, with its full and easy to use QWERTY keyboard, unlimited usage model and no contract.  What’s not to like?

As indicated, every operation using the new Peek Pronto software is a better experience than with the original Peek.

The ONLY checkmark in the negative column I see is a personal item, a double click sound per keystroke on any key when using the latest version of the Peek hardware.  While input ability with the new hardware design’s keyboard is vastly improved, it’s just too noisy for my liking. Anything that may draw attention while operating a device I see as not a good thing. One cannot help but hear each and every keystroke TWICE as if on a noisy computer keyboard.  The more Peek is used, the more the condition may be noticed.  The sound is heard when depressing the key as well as on release.

This is my personal preference and might not be an issue to most others.  It was a running change in the manufacture of Peek hardware and has nothing whatever to do with the new software.  For the next iteration of Peek device hardware, the company may decide to go with another supplier which can provide good input feel AND virtual silent operation.

Operationally, the device is wonderful, with the new software providing a vastly improved user experience as compared with the original, with thoughtful care taken to address the issues of the original user experience.  The company deserves every bit of appreciation and credit for its commitment to constant improvement of the user experience.

If you take the plunge, and I hope you do, get to know your Peek Pronto. By this I mean get to know how to operate Peek, though it is quite intuitive.  There are numerous shortcuts that do what you would want to do once you learn the Peek way to do these things.  Start with a look HERE.

So, to recap, Peek Pronto is a software upgrade to the original, available at little or no cost to original Peek owners.  New customers can buy a new Peek with the Pronto software for only $80.  The product is a pleasure to use for email and texting and the no-contract $20 monthly fee is just right for many if not most users, cheaper than many unlimited text/data plans from the big nationwide mobile carriers.  By the way, Peek operates only in the US at this time.  Now, it is also a good choice for business users who will save appreciable dollars over a smartphone they may not need if signing on with Peek.  The device keyboard along with software make using Peek Pronto for its intended purpose a very easy and enjoyable experience.  My only gripe is the noisy double-click sound made by the newest hardware that is otherwise identical to the old hardware.

The very nice Peek staff is there to answer questions and for any assistance that may be required. Call them at 877-677-PEEK (7335).  By all means, consider Peek!

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