T-Mobile Sidekick 2008

This smartphone is a slimmer, sexier take on the Sidekick, but it's really meant for kids.

T-Mobile Sidekick 2008
  • T-Mobile Sidekick 2008
  • T-Mobile Sidekick 2008
  • T-Mobile Sidekick 2008
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5

Pros

  • Best keyboard on a phone, Trackball makes for easy navigation

Cons

  • Poky EDGE network for data, Still doesn't support Word documents

Bottom Line

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.

Would you buy this?

  • Price

    TBA (AUD)

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 newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?