T-Mobile Sidekick 3 mobile phone review

Loved by Paris Hilton and Everyone in the movie Be Cool staring Uma Thurmn and John Travolta, the Sidekick has a massive following in the US. Unfortunately that same following hasn't taken off in the UK, so is the latest handset, version three, about to change all that? Pocket-lint took a closer look.

With our big fan Charlie Brewer now based in Australia, it fell to me in the office to take the look at the phone. Having never played with one before I was interested to see what the fuss was all about and to see whether it lived up to the hype already bestowed on versions one and two.

The styling on the large palm sized device has been kept very much the same as pervious models. The large screen still takes centre stage and it flips out rotating as it does, like, wait for it, a sidekick.

Once rotated, it reveals a small, but ample QWERTY keyboard that is still slightly bigger than those found on the BlackBerry devices.

The keyboard, which you are expected to use with your thumbs is very easy to use and the keys are well spaced out and the number pad clearly marked, although it is a two handed job unlike the BlackBerry or the Palm Treo.

Other keys such as menu shortcuts, d-pad and a nipple, which Danger, the phone's makers refer to as a trackball, are all positioned around the keys and the screen. The trackball, which glows when you get messages looks very similar to the BlackBerry Pearl from the device with the same name.

The back contains the now oblitiatory digital camera, this time a 1.3 megapixel one.

Fire it up and the Sidekick offers access to everything via its on screen menu system that requires you to scroll through the applications rather like a Rolodex does with addresses.

Here you have access to a web browser, email, instant messaging via AOL chat, the camera, media player, games and of course the phone.

Scroll through, select what you want and it's as easy as that with everything taking a decidedly graphical approach, even if the screen's capabilities aren't as good as they could have been.

That said everything is extremely easy to use and accessing the internet or collecting your mail and you can connect up to three additional external POP3 or IMAP accounts on top of the one you get with the phone.

Unfortunately you can't access your Hotmail account via this method, something to do with a security issue with Microsoft rather than T-Mobile, but you can still check your Hotmail via the internet browser.

The other problem we found was running out of memory very quickly on the email side of things, again suggesting this is a device to catch up on your email rather than accept lots of work related emails with heavy attachments.

Verdict

We were actually quiet surprised with the Sidekick and its performance. It's not a Palm Treo or BlackBerry by any standard, however it is a simple alternative for people who want a QWERTY keyboard device without the business focus.

Yes the device is big, but then the screen and keyboard make up for this.

Simple and easy to use you can see why the "trend set" use it. However it's when you come to reading a Word document or checking those figures on PocketExcel that you realise its limitations. Still how often do you want to do that?

A messenger for those without the need to stay in touch the office, this is a good all round package if not a little dated in its looks.