The device controls are very familiar. There is a mini trackball (think BlackBerry Pearl), that sits under your right thumb and is wheeled to get around within applications and menus. Call and End buttons flank this, while outside these again, at the top and bottom right sides of the device, are a Cancel and Done key.
On the left side of the front casing are Menu and Jump keys. The former calls up whatever menu options are available within an application. The Jump key takes you to the main screen, (which in Sidekick-speak is called the Jump Screen). From here you scroll around a carousel of animated icons to move through the applications on the device.
This edge also houses a huge navigation button whose centre has an alert area which will glow various colours at you to give you different kinds of notifications.
There are various shoulder keys too. Two on the left and right top edges have functions which vary depending on what application you are currently using. When the camera is active, for example, the right one captures a shot. When you are on a voice call it toggles the speaker while the left shoulder key mutes a call.
On the bottom edge the left and right shoulder keys are the power switch and volume rocker. Meanwhile on the right edge there is a mini USB jack for mains power and PC connection, and a 2.5mm headset jack. For such an unashamedly consumer focussed device I can’t understand why a 3.5mm connector was not used.
The keyboard comprises a QWERTY set and a number row. The keys themselves are round dots in a sea of blue background and because of the slide-up screen they are quite deeply recessed in relation to the side edges.
Characters on the keys are marked in white, symbols in blue, and in some cases also embedded numbers in yellow. The symbols are marked very small and are a bit hard to spot against the blue background to the keyboard. All in all, this was a pretty difficult keyboard to use and those with larger fingers could be stymied by it. Even I, with relatively dainty digits, found it quite fiddly.
Compared to many modern phones the range of services on board is limited. You’ve got voice calling and the Sidekick Slide is Quad band GSM with GPRS.
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