[Ed’s Note: This review of the Peek email device is written by copy chief Tony Long, who in addition to ensuring every sentence posted on get-gadget is clean, correct, and contains a witty headline, also chimes in on the state of technology and culture as the Luddite.]
Sometimes, Freud said, a cigar is just a cigar. In an industry that offers an endless supply of tarted-up gadgetry as phallic substitutes for Freud’s cigar, the Peek handheld represents a refreshing, if puzzling, exception to the rule that says, the more crap you can cram into a small device, the better.
The Peek, which bears more than a passing resemblance to the classic calculator, was built to send and receive e-mail. That’s it. It doesn’t do anything else. Nothing. No phone. No internet access. No instant messaging. No camera. No music player. Zilch. Nada. Nichts. Just e-mail. It’s about as stripped down a tech device as exists — or has ever existed.
That’s why, when the editors of the Gadget Lab were looking for someone to review this oddity, they settled on the lowest-tech editor in the joint — me. It makes sense, seeing as how this device will have little appeal to people who equate being connected in every way possible with their quality of life. That certainly isn’t me.
That said, the only real advantage to owning a Peek is that you can check your e-mail away from a computer. The thing is, of course, is that a lot of other devices already do that, while giving you all the other stuff to boot. Because the Peek is limited to a basic function, using it is a breeze. Even without operating instructions, this Cro-Magnon was able to figure out how it worked with only a minor assist from the Gadget Lab. (“Push the scroll wheel in, Tony.”)
Bottom line: If you’re a Luddite at heart but still have reason to fiddle with e-mail from time to time, or if you believe that simplicity in all things is the key to life, the Peek is for you. If dining a la carte at the tech buffet is not your idea of a square meal, then skip it.