Sidekick 3: The Good, Bad and Ugly

So, folks have managed to use the Sidekick 3 for almost a month now and we want to hear what the world is saying. Sure we had our own review and all, but in all honestly we could have said using the SK3 is like talking into monkey poo and people would have still purchased it. What say ye, Sidekick 3 users?


We'll open the floodgates with Nick Denton's short, but precise review of the Sidekick 3.

Okay, so I've been using the Sidekick 3 for about a week now. Here's the good and the bad.

• web access is usable finally

• ability to add storage useful, if only for carrying around files and music

• phone slightly lighter

• um, that's about it

Now, the bad...

• still a storage limit of 100 text messages on the device, so you're still constantly deleting old messages in order to make space for new ones — an idiotic limit, given the additional storage available

• max of 2,000 contacts — which makes for sync issues with Outlook — Sidekick doesn't download all contacts, and then tries to write over Outlook

• power consumption definitely heavier — phone, after a full night's charge, lasts me till about midnight — old one used to go to morning of the second day.

• flip screen catches — action isn't as smooth as with Sidekick II

• now takes an extra click to get to AIM — very annoying — menus ought to be customizable

Well said, Denton. Hit the jump and comments for more user reviews.

First the good:
1. It seems faster, probably because the camera pictures can be stored on the minisd card.
2. The camera is faster, with high resolution. It does seem a little grainy thoguh. I'm not sure I've only had it a week, and I'm still learning.
3. The funtion buttons are less likely to be hit accidently.
4. Clicking on an address in the address book brings up a mobile mapquest map. But it doesn't provide a link to get directions.

Now the bad:

1. The keys are like chicklets. Where as before I was able to nail each key with my finger nail, now they keep sliding off. May be a lack of pratice.

2. The trackball doesn't have as much feed back as the scrollwheel.

3. Applications have to be re-downloaded, what's worse is not all of the applications are aviable. Terminal client isn't even in the catalog. Further more the ring tones don't carry over. Not sure if there will be a fee to re-download the apps and ringtones a user already purchased for the sk2.

The ugly, these may not be t-mobile/dangers fault:

1. Livejournal accounts seem to be inaccessible. The browser is very quick to say that it couldn't load the page. Its like it's not even trying hmmm.

2. This isn't the sidekicks fault but it is worth mentioning. The great tech blog gizmodo doesn't even show up properly on the sidekick! Ever since the new layout it has only shown up as mostly white space. And most of the gawker media sites don't run well on a protable devie with javascript on. Come on guys you have a way of testing this, you have a sidekick!

3. While you're at it, smack your sistein-in-law-blog the comsumerist for how their website looks on a side kick. The darkgrey background has only the slightest contrast with the black text. I've been using googles page for portable devices to read consumerist and gizmodo.

-Brian (sidekick email)



Yeah... I've had mine for about two weeks now.

Note that I've only ever had a sidekick as a phone, so my feelings are based on the sidekick 3 versus the sidekick 2 and 1.

The good:

-MP3 player works well, is easy to use and doesn't seem to cause much battery drain

-Standard USB port and removable storage usage is handy

-Trackball rules.

-It feels better in your hand because the sides are curved in.

-The phone sounds better.

-It looks a lot nicer than the sk2.

-The keyboard's still the best on the market (I keep trying other keyboards to compare and the sidekick's is really so much better)

The semi-good/semi-bad:

-The screen's the same... it does its job, but aint incredible.

-The camera's bigger... but the picture quality is still crappy like most camera phones. Flash seems brighter than before.

-Web is slightly faster, but only once it starts downloading the page. Wait times to request the page from the server etc are the same, if not longer and are often the dominating factor.

-Like mentioned in the above review, the screen opening is slightly noisier and less smooth. At first this annoyed me, but after some usage I really don't mind.

-The grouping of similar applications as pointed out in the other review is slightly annoying, but also has its advantages. Personally I assign and use keyboard shortcuts almost exclusively to switch between programs, so this doesn't really affect me.

The bad:

-Battery life is terrible. As stated by the above review, it hardly lasts till midnight with regular internet usage. It seems internet usage is the dominating factor of this, so I suspect the EDGE is the problem.

-The new side buttons are terrible. They're hard to press on purpose and easy to press accidentally.

-The speakerphone sucks.

-They removed the dedicated ringer/speakerphone speaker on the back of the sk2 and use the smaller speaker used for phone calls for speakerphone and mp3 player.

The battery life is really the big downer in my mind. The phone is definitely a disappointment. So much so that I went out and tried out some other QWERTY phones....

Unfortunately the Windows Mobile 5 is a sluggish beast and in comparison to the Sidekick's UI and shortcut methods is horrible. Almost all other phone's keyboards force you to use your thumbs to press buttons very close to the edge of the phone. This is difficult because it makes for maximum curvature of your thumb. The sidekick places buttons on the end of the phone, allowing a much more comfortable keyboard experience.

All in all it gets a big "ehhhhhhhhh" when compared to the previous sidekick. If somebody came out with a decent OS, UI and keyboard for a phone I'd switch... but for now I guess I'll justhave to charge my phone twice in a 24 hour period (as obnoxious as that is).