Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I need a cell phone that will help me keep an eye on my servers and services when I am away from my computer/desk/workplace.

Which smart phone would you recommend for sysadmins?

  • An SSH client is a must.
  • I haven't used an iPhone, but I guess having a keyboard would be better.

Currently I'm looking at this alternatives:

  • iPhone would be the "default" smartphone.
  • Nokia E71 has got good recommendations, including from Joel Spolky's.
  • The Android platform looks good, but I'm not sure the few models (HTC G1 / HTC Magic / HTC Dream) are mature enough.
  • I'm not sure about Blackberry.
  • WinCE / Windows Mobile phones?
  • Any Nokia phone better than an E71?

Which choice did you make? What would you recommend?


locked by Iain Feb 19 '13 at 11:29

This question exists because it has historical significance, but it is not considered a good, on-topic question for this site, so please do not use it as evidence that you can ask similar questions here. This question and its answers are frozen and cannot be changed. More info: help center.

Joel kicks ass, so he should be right about E71 (besides the landscape window which is funky, and the fact that the voice recognition for E65 works better on my case). – elcuco Jun 8 '09 at 19:41

34 Answers 34

Believe it or not....I never would have recommended this phone if circumstance hadnt stuck me with one, but I am going to say the Sprint Samsung Instinct. There are some features I like, but the SSH client tops it off.

I have had Windows Mobile devices my entire life, but recently my latest died and I purchased a brand new 1st gen Instinct for $50.

First, let me say that Sprint/Samsung/whoever thought of everything. It comes with an extra battery, charger for said battery, data cable, wall charger, headphones and 2 gig removable memory card! All of that is in the box, no extra charge.

The internet browser is very fast, no wifi, but fast. It syncs with my Outlook (including contacts) and is easier and faster than any phone I have ever owned when checking my various gmail accounts and my Outlook. It has a very handy notepad and calendar, easily watches youtube videos, checks Faceboon (and others if you are into that), takes and sends decent pics, there are too many featured to list here. It seems like they thought of everything. No matter what I wanted to do, it was already there.

As for 3rd-party apps, I downloaded MidSSH and Opera Mini. MidSSH works wonderfully. If you can use Putty then you can use MidSSH.

Opera Mini also works well.

I am very happy with the phone despite the lack of available apps and non-compatibility with MS Office.


For what it is worth T-mobile in the US has started taking orders for its new MyTouch Android based phone that looks physically similar to and iPhone. You should be able to buy one in August. I am waiting until I can play with one before making up my mind between and iPhone and the MyTouch. I will note that T-mobile also has said no to tethering - something that I would want to have. This may sway me to the iPhone when I hear what AT&T has to say about tethering.


Pretty happy with the iPhone. My biggest complaint -- and it's actually surprisingly important -- is the inability to make pages persistent and loud without jailbreaking the phone. I have no desire to risk bricking my expensive device (my company pays for data service, but not for the device), but I need a better way to be awoken in the middle of the night than three short, not-loud signals. That's all you get with their crappy SMS configuration unless you jailbreak. Three alerts, all with short sounds that probably won't wake you up.


The HTC Hero recently released is supposed to be pretty good. A guy in our office has just got one. I'll keep you posted. Personally, I'd choose the iPhone but having seen some of the things done with the Hero, I'm tempted to change it.


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.