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 Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: Phones just got smarter
- 2 Sony Xperia XZ review: turbo-charged last-gen phone
- 3 Hisense Series 7 ULED 4K UHD TV review
- 4 Sony X9300D and X8500D UHD 4K TV review
- 5 Moto X Force review: Leading features from a mid-range phone
Latest News Articles
- Google Keep adds app shortcuts, pinned messages in update
- New Windows 10 preview adds an iPhone Live Photos rival, Windows Ink improvements
- The Note7 will cost Samsung another US$3 billion in profit
- Google Phone app 5.1 adds in new gestures and interface tweaks
- Some reports of faulty Note7s invalidated
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: The new best Android phone
- Japan Robot, gadget and car expo slideshow
- Panasonic DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review: Best all-round TV ever?
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- CCApplications Support Technical OfficerACT
- CCContract Analyst Programmer (Java/J2EE/MyEclipse) 161007/AP/vmpAsia
- CCSenior Web DeveloperNSW
- FTOperational Integrity ManagerNSW
- CCTechnical Business Analyst - Wealth/Super backgroundNSW
- CCADABAS Database Administrator - NV1 clearedACT
- CCMobile Developers (IOS and Android)QLD
- FTMobile DeveloperAsia
- FTFront End DeveloperSA
- FTIncident & Problem AnalystVIC
- CCPerformance AnalystNSW
- CCService Desk ConsultantTAS
- CCSenior Project Specialist - SchedulingVIC
- CCOracle Functional Consultant | 6mth ContractVIC
- CCLevel 3 Microsoft Resource EngineerVIC
- FTSenior Consultant Commercial PricingVIC
- FTCustomer Solutions Engineer | Voice | Data | TelcoNSW
- CCDesktop Support AnalystNSW
- CCContract Analyst Programmer (CISCO/IT Security) 161028/AP/142Asia
- CCContract Programmer (Internet/Intranet) 161019/P/615Asia
- CCIT Senior Systems Administrator- Server Patching RemediationNSW
- FT.Net CRM Dynamics Developer LeadVIC
- FTProduct ManagerVIC
- FTSenior .Net Software EngineerVIC