The screen is very solid and we can't see users smashing or scratching it without making a concerted effort to do so. We're less convinced about the PocketSurfer2's exterior though. The silver hinge is stiff and we can only hope the retail version of the PocketSurfer has lost the associated clunkiness when flipping the lid open and shut.

The PocketSurfer2's casing is an attractive shiny black but this is not as hardy as the tough plastic surround the screen sits and means the back of the screen doesn't seem to be terribly well protected. It won't appreciate being trodden on – we'd almost guarantee that if you dropped something weighty on it, that black casing would shatter – but it fits snugly in a trousers pocket and will be sturdy enough for any careful owner.

It's important to note, too, how far this second version of the portable internet access device has come. Datawind's PocketSurfer2 has been a long time in gestation. The original PocketSurfer, launched back in 2004, was in effect a screen and navigation device to make internet access via a mobile phone easier. You needed to use the SIM card in your phone to get online and pair your PocketSurfer with it via Bluetooth.

The PocketSurfer2 instead has its own SIM card and can be used as an internet access device in its own right. The other thing about the PocketSurfer2 that is likely to appeal is that you pay a one-off fee of £179 including VAT, after which internet access is free. Datawind includes 20 hours per month of internet access and says the average user is unlikely to exceed it.

Our first impressions of using the PocketSurfer2 bear this out.


DataWind PocketSurfer2: Specs

  • Independent self-contained unit with built-in GPRS modem and SIM
  • GPS location information
  • lithium polymer battery
  • 5 hours battery life for active usage, and 5 days standby
  • built-in high performance antenna
  • transreflective backlit display, 640 x 240 VGA colour
  • mini USB charger
  • mouse pointer
  • backlit qwerty keyboard
  • claimed sub 7-second page-load
  • 174g
  • 152x75x15mm