I'd recommend going with an Android.
Accessing email and other things, such as newspapers, youtube, Netflix, dictionaries, etc. can be done on any smartphone.
Apart from the functionality of a particular sort of smartphone (android vs. Apple), you should do some research. This means looking at the several different providers. AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint and others. Cost of either a pay-as-you go phone or monthly plan. Call coverage - are there areas where signals are weak. Internet access, including how many mbs or gbs are included in the monthly charge (after which, costs may rise substantially)
I have an android, no troubles. Coverage through AT&T.