A Review of the New Tmobile Sidekick 4, Actually Known as the T-Mobile LX – 3 Thumbs Up for This New Sidekick Cell Phone!

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If you’ve been thinking of getting a new Sidekick – waiting for the T mobile Sidekick 4 – wait no longer! The Tmobile Sidekick 4, actually known as the T-Mobile Sidekick LX, was launched this week, and it was definitely worth waiting for! This Sidekick cell phone is a beauty! And with its amazing new screen – plus new features to take advantage of it such as screenshots and choice of font size – we say don’t bother waiting for the Sidekick LX’s little brother, the smaller Sidekick Slide.

First, if you don’t already have a T-Mobile Sidekick, let us tell you why you should. You can sync your entire life with the T-Mobile Sidekick, and whether you are a Windows or Mac user, you can sync all of your machines using the Sidekick – all at once! We truly believe that the T Mobile Sidekick cell phone is the best handheld Internet device available today. You may also want to read our review of the Sidekick 3, so that you can have a point of reference for the differences between the Sidekick LX (the Sidekick 4) and the Sidekick 3.

Ok, here we go!

The first thing that you will notice when getting a new Sidekick LX is that you have to choose between two different body colors – either Midnight Blue, or Espresso Brown- no more silver and black. Personally, we found this kind of lame, and further evidence that T-Mobile has really missed the boat by continuing to market to the hiphop and cool crowd, rather than the professional crowd, who not only have more discretionary cash to spend on a high end device, but who would really appreciate the power behind the Sidekick – the Sidekick is the ultimate portable business device, and blows the Blackberry away.

The next thing you will notice is the packaging – it seems that T-Mobile must have hired someone away from Apple’s packaging and marketing design team, because the packaging now has a distinctly Jobsesque flavor – definitely a package designed to be more appealing – sleek and black, rather than clunky and white.

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As you rip the package apart start to assemble your new Sidekick LX, you’ll notice a few more, important changes. First, in the evolution to ever increasing storage capacity in ever smaller packages, the Sidekick LX uses a micro SD card (the Sidekick 3 uses a mini SD).

Second, and perhaps of more impact to those with previous generation Sidekicks – the Sidekick LX uses a mini-USB port for charging. Only. This means that unlike all other versions of the Sidekick before it, you cannot use your existing wall or car chargers with the new Sidekick LX. You will have only the one wall charger that comes with it, and you will need to buy all new car chargers, and any additional wall chargers you may need or want. The good news (and it is very good news indeed) is that the Sidekick LX also comes with a USB-to-mini-USB cable that allows you to charge your Sidekick LX via your computer’s USB port, and it works with both PCs and Macs.

It also means that you can browse your Sidekick’s SD card from your computer!

In fact, you can use the micro SD card in your Sidekick LX as an external drive, and even as a portable backup device! Micro SD cards are currently available in sizes up to 6 GB, and right now Amazon has a 4 GB micro SD card on sale for only $45.86.

You will also no doubt notice that they have gone back to using a membrane keyboard – shades of the Sidekick II. We personally liked the more button-like keys on the Sidekick 3, and we know of several Sidekick IIs (ours included) that had the keyboard membrane stretch and lift away from the underlying keys – let’s hope that they have finessed that with the Sidekick LX’s keyboard. It does feel more robust.

Curiously, while the keyboard area on the LX is wider than that of the Sidekick 3, the keyboard itself is the exact same size. It’s hard to imagine why they didn’t take advantage of that extra space to make the keyboard just a smidge bigger, but there you have it. Those of us with small hands found it a bit of a stretch and thumb-typing on the LX a bit tiring the the first few hours, but we quickly adapted.

So many changes, and we haven’t even put the Sidekick LX together and powered it up yet! But before you power it up, give it a heft in your hand. The Sidekick LX is considerably lighter than its predecessors, weighing in at a measly 5.7 ounces! The Sidekick 3 weighs 6.7 ounces, making the Sidekick LX a full ounce lighter – and while an ounce may not sound like much, you can really notice the difference!

The first thing you will notice upon powering up your Sidekick LX is that the screen is, in a word, gorgeous. We mean, really gorgeous. The LX is outfitted with a snazzy WQVGA 400×240 screen, with Sharp’s Aquos high-definition LCD technology, and it looks really, really good. There are screenshots below, showing both the sharpness of the screen, and how the newly updated OS takes advantage of this awesome new screen. And speaking of that new version of the OS, those screenshots were taken with and sent from our Sidekick LX, because another nifty feature is that you can now take and email screenshots from the Sidekick with ease! In fact, now that the screenshot function has been documented in the Sidekick LX, we tried it on our Sidekick 3, and it works on the SK3 too!

To take a screenshot with either the Sidekick LX or the Sidekick 3, press – all at the same time – the menu button, the shift button, and the upper right shoulder button (the one you press to take a picture).

The new and improved (much improved) screen, with the finer resolution, allows the Sidekick LX to really take advantage of custom backgrounds – and in fact with the LX the Sidekick can now accomodate entire themes. A perfect example of how much nicer even backgrounds render on the LX’s screen is the background “Butterflies”. With the larger, crisper screen, the application icons on the jump screen, for example, become smaller, and allow for more real estate for the background itself:

And look how awesome the Internet chat screen looks:

By the way, another untouted, but awesome – we mean AWESOME change to the OS is that you can finally change the overall size of the font on the Sidekick! Check it out:

And we’d be remiss if we didn’t talk about the newly redesigned mini music player which you can pop up from anywhere on the Sidekick LX! Just hit the jump button (the one on the lower left) and the “done” button (the one on the lower right) and the mini music player will pop up over your application to let you play, pause, or switch your music. Hit ‘done’ again, and it disappears to let you get on with whatever you were doing.

Speaking of mini apps that pop up on the Sidekick, another nifty feature is the “quick jump”, which will immediately pop up a list of all of your unread messages in all messaging applications (email, instant messenger, picture messenger, etc.), and allow you to go directly to the message. You can either have it show you just your unread messages (including picture messages, which you can now send after taking them with the 1.3 megapixel camera, as well as receive):

…or your unread messages plus your most recently accessed applications:

Other new features include that the email application will now alert you if you hit 80% of your email quota, and you can create your own custom sound profiles!

Oh, but don’t go looking for Rock’n’Rockets. Rock’n’Rockets, while available through the download catalog, has now been replaced as the default game on the Sidekick with a game called “Bob’s Journey to the Center of the Earth”:

If you want more – or even the full – information about the Sidekick LX, you can check out the [Page no longer available – we have linked to the archive.org version instead].

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2 thoughts on “A Review of the New Tmobile Sidekick 4, Actually Known as the T-Mobile LX – 3 Thumbs Up for This New Sidekick Cell Phone!

  1. Why can’t u set the date and fime right away. What the hell. Even the tracfone can do that

  2. Can you change the wallpape easily. I cant seem to set pic as a background. And what about mp3 tones…can I use an mp3 for a tone?

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