T-Mobile Sidekick II Review


I’ve spent several months with the Sidekick II one way or another. I’ve only had the model I am reviewing for a couple of weeks, but a while ago, and long before the UK launch, the American company behind it, Danger, loaned me a unit for a few months. Both times I’ve played with this kit I have been unable to decide whether I like it or not.

This is not something we reviewers like to admit to very feely. We’re supposed to be opinionated. Then again, I guess being undecided is actually having an opinion, and the reality is that my view is more complex than simply ‘I don’t know’, because there are elements I really like about the Sidekick II, and elements I don’t.

When you see one as you walk by a T-Mobile store (the company has the Sidekick II exclusively), you will be struck by two things: it looks a whole lot more like a games console than a phone, and it is big.

Size-wise you are going to need a spacious pocket to accommodate this device. It measures 129 x 66 x 23mm, and weighs 198g. The fact that it looks like a game console is related to the various uses for which the Sidekick II is designed, mostly messaging and entertainment. Making voice calls isn’t at the top of the list. Sure, voice calls are technically possible, but the Sidekick II feels like a brick to hold to your ear, and as it lacks Bluetooth you can’t use a wireless headset instead. You could opt for the mono earbud which comes in the box if you like, though.

Why, you are thinking, is the earbud provided mono and not stereo? The Sidekick II is aimed at a younger market, the kind that likes its music. But they can’t have it with the Sidekick II, which has no facilities for music playback built in.

Even if it did have, you’d have trouble getting enough music in the thing to keep you happy. There is 16MB of internal memory and no way for you to augment this using flash memory as, for all its bulky size, there is no housing for a flash memory slot.

Now all this sounds a bit negative, but it does make clear some of the reasons I don’t like the Sidekick II. Let’s look at the other side of the coin, and see what is good about it.