A year ago I reviewed T-Mobile’s Sidekick II and now I have in my hands T-Mobile’s Sidekick 3 (yes, ‘II’ has become ‘3’ rather than ‘III’).
When I wrote about the Sidekick II I admitted to being in two minds about it. This time round it’s much the same thing. While things have moved on too far for it to be classed as a truly competent mobile phone, I have to admit to rather liking some aspects of it.
The Sidekick 3, like its predecessor, is a sizeable beast at 130mm x 59mm x 22mm, and it isn’t light at 182g. It does though, manage to incorporate a screen and QWERTY keyboard both of which are larger than you’d usually find on a mobile.
The Sidekick 3 can be held like an ordinary phone when you are on a call, but for other non-voice phone purposes it is designed to be held length ways. When you extract it from your pocket or the protective pouch that comes with it, the Sidekick 3 looks rather like a handheld games console.
Occupying most of the front screen is a 2.6in, 65,000 colour display. Despite its relatively large size the screen is a disappointment. Its 240 x 160 pixels are below par for a screen of this size, and the result is poor definition and clarity.
Hold the Sidekick 3 length ways in your hands and the right thumb lands naturally on a little mini trackball. This is flanked by Call and End buttons and outside of these by Cancel and Done buttons, which are marked so discretely as to just look like part of the black and silver colour scheme.
Meanwhile the left thumb lands on another navigation button, this time a square directional pad which also incorporates the speaker. Two more buttons, Menu and Jump, again discretely marked, sit either side of the navigation pad.
You get to the keyboard via what has to be one of the most eye-catching phone mechanisms ever. Prod gently at the top right or bottom left edge of the screen and it flips round a hinge at its top centre to reveal the keyboard. The screen does a very quick ‘180’ so that it is up the right way, and you are ready to choose applications using the side buttons and tap away using the keyboard.