T-Mobile Sidekick 2008
This smartphone is a slimmer, sexier take on the Sidekick, but it's really meant for kids.
- Best keyboard on a phone, Trackball makes for easy navigation
- Poky EDGE network for data, Still doesn't support Word documents
The Sidekick 2008 isn't a bad phone — not at all. In fact, I wrote this entire review on its perfect little keyboard (in the body of an e-mail message, of course, since the phone doesn't support Word documents). It's just disappointing that after all these generations on the market, the Sidekick has been relegated to fashionista status.
Note: Pricing for this product is in US$.
The Sidekick 2008 has the best cell-phone keyboard I've ever used, and its trackball lets you whip through messages at lightning speed. Even so, that isn't quite sufficient to sway me to T-Mobile's newest hipster smart phone. Why? I blame the poky EDGE network, the phone's limited productivity uses, and the fact that I'm apparently not young enough.
The newest Sidekick measures 4.7 by 2.3 by 0.7 inches; it's roughly the same size as the iPhone 3G, but a little thicker. The Sidekick 2008 is a refined Sidekick LX that costs about US$50 less than its predecessor (when you sign up for a two-year plan, the 2008 model costs $200).
Anyone familiar with Sidekicks will be happy to know that the interface and all of its handy shortcuts have pretty much carried over from the Sidekick LX. The phone's features continue to evolve: For example, it's a snap to add more e-mail accounts (AOL, Windows Live, Yahoo, and POP/IMAP e-mail such as Gmail--but don't try to get the corporate-oriented Lotus Notes working). I've also been a big fan of how Sidekick handsets easily integrate instant messaging (AIM, MSN Messenger, and Yahoo) with fewer hiccups and slowdowns than on other smart phones I've used, and the Sidekick 2008 is no exception.
I found the phone comfortable in the hand. It feels solidly built, with its formidable keyboard hidden beneath the 2.75-inch screen.
Audio sounded good but a little muffled in my tests. The microphone didn't pick up a lot of ambient noise, and the Sidekick felt all right pressed against my face. And, according to the PC World Test Center's battery tests, motormouths can gab for just shy of 9 hours before the Sidekick needs a recharge--good enough for the unit to earn a score of Superior in comparison with other PDA phones we've evaluated recently.
You also get Bluetooth support for stereo headsets if you don't like the wired kind; and, if you plan to use this phone as your primary MP3 player, you can plug any headphones into the 3.5mm jack. The player supports the audio formats you'd expect (WAV, WMA, MP3, AAC) and some video formats you might not (3GP and simple-profile MP4).
While the Sidekick line has never been known for stellar images, the Sidekick 2008's 2-megapixel camera is capable of snagging 1600-by-1200-resolution photos. No flash, mind you, but it's still good for casual snaps. The camera can capture video, too, but only in 20-second clips.
Unfortunately, along with a lot of the old things I like, many annoying issues linger in the newest Sidekick. The Sidekick's Danger OS remains constrained and sluggish. Maybe I'm a little spoiled by the ability to hack Windows Mobile 6.1. The Sidekick still can't read Microsoft Word documents--a feature that has been lacking since the first Sidekick hit the scene. And the T-Mobile EDGE data network crawled along at insufferably slow speeds when I browsed the Web.
My greatest frustration with the Sidekick is its wasted potential: It could be much more than just a kid's phone. Oh, sure, I could drop $10 for Intellisync so that I can move my Outlook contacts over to the device, or I could dig up the small handful of productivity apps that hide in the download store. And that store holds some gems, such as Melodeo's Mobilcast for grabbing podcast feeds, but even that app needs to get the kinks worked out (audio hiccups and unfulfilling lists of podcasts). For the most part, though, you're choosing from apps such as "Flirting 101," "The Pocket Idiot's Guide to Getting Girls," and a blinged-out digital timepiece for your phone's screen-saver mode. Together with its customisable removable backplates (gotta love the leopard-print shell!) and the default Web bookmarks to places such as PerezHilton.com, everything about this phone screams "teen." That's a far cry from the Sidekick's original billing as a data communicator.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Samsung Galaxy S8 phone: full, in-depth review
- 2 Ryzen 5 vs Intel Core i5 CPU Australian review
- 3 Mass Effect Andromeda review: One for the fans
- 4 LG G6 phone: full, in-depth review
- 5 Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 phone: Full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Fake heads and robot probes: testing smartphones prior to launch
- Rumor suggests the Note8 will be a bigger S8+ that adds a missing feature
- Xiaomi's Mi6 has the Galaxy S7’s looks, the S8’s power, and iPhone 7’s camera for half the price
- Samsung DeX turns your Galaxy S8 into a shockingly good desktop PC
- Find My iPhone helps nab a thief at Coachella with 100 phones in his backpack
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Samsung Galaxy S8 phone: full, in-depth review
- Ryzen 5 vs Intel Core i5 CPU Australian review
- Mass Effect Andromeda review: One for the fans
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- CCServer SOE EngineerACT
- TPBusiness Analyst - Qld Health - Short term contractQLD
- FTPMO Lead, Project Delivery PracticeNSW
- FTTechnical WriterACT
- FTTIBCO Support Analyst - PERM DESKVIC
- FTSenior Business AnalystNSW
- FT.Net DeveloperNSW
- FTPMO CoordinatorACT
- FTVDI EngineerACT
- TPSenior Project Officer HSQQLD
- FTSystem AnalystSA
- CCBusiness Project ManagerNSW
- FTMidrange Application Developer (.Net)ACT
- CCAutomation DeveloperNSW
- CCVisual DesignerACT
- TPApplication Support EngineerQLD
- CCService Delivery Analyst - Port MacquarieNSW
- CCTibco Integration Specialist l Port MacquarieNSW
- FTSenior Systems Engineer x 2NSW
- FTSecurity Architect - Perth BasedQLD
- FTPre-Sales Solution Architect - Global Cloud OrganisationVIC
- FTSenior Java DeveloperVIC
- TPSOE EngineerACT
- FTSQL Server Database DeveloperSA