T-Mobile Sidekick 3 Review: A Side-by-Side Comparison of the II and the 3 and Review of the T Mobile Sidekick 3
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Call it what you want – T-Mobile Sidekick 3, Danger Sidekick, Sidekick Phone, or just plain Sidekick (just not Sidekick III, please, because they have done away with the Roman numerals with the introduction of the Sidekick 3), the T Mobile Sidekick 3 is the hottest new device to hit the streets.

It should suprise nobody that I was first in line to order a T Mobile Sidekick 3. And I was pleasantly surpised when my brand new Sidekick 3 arrived at my door the next day, despite having requested 2-day service. Nice!


As I was actually on my way out the door, I grabbed the box, got in the car, and hungrily ripped open the box so that I could start charging my Sidekick 3 with my vehicle charger.

Surprise #1: the new Sidekick 3s have a removable battery! So you have to put the battery in before it will take a charge. Believe it or not, this will not be obvious to users of previous versions of the Sidekick, as the device is at the top of the box when you open it, and the battery is at the bottom, hidden from view under a layer of cardboard. The first instinct will be to grab the Sidekick and charge it, with it never occurring to you that there might be an intergral part of the device at the bottom of the box.

Now, before you put that battery in, note Surpise #2: they have moved the location of the SIM card. It now goes in the back, under the battery (almost like – gasp – a mobile phone).

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So, the quick-start steps for the T-mobile Sidekick 3 are: Rip open the box, remove both the Sidekick and the battery, install your SIM card, install the battery, and plug it in. Oh, and while you have the back open, locate your SD card (!) in the box, and install that too.

The instructions say to let it charge for 4 hours. Of course, you should follow the instructions. Of course, I didn’t.

Now, the differences between the Sidekick 3 and the Sidekick II are obvious before you even plug the device in. The new Sidekick 3 is sleeker, a bit thinner, and somehow a bit more modern or techie looking.

 

Sidekick 3 (left) compared to the Sidekick II (right).

Side view of Sidekick 3 (left) and Sidekick II (right)

Oh, and the Sidekick 3 stands up on its side by itself now. Nice. No more propping it up against the salt shaker at the dinner table. Or maybe that was just me.

Interface:

Upon powering up (you waited the full four hours, right?) you’ll note that even the power up screen is different, displaying a bunch of cute little icons just before you get to the jump screen (home screen). The default jump screen is roughly the same, although the icons for the applications are more stylized.

Jump Screen

Wait, did I say the “default” jump screen?

Indeed I did. Because with the new Sidekick 3 you get your choice of 4 jump screen “backgrounds”: Liquid, Rodeo, Madison, and Surface. Liquid is the default background. I’m not really sure why they chose the names that they did. For example why “Rodeo”? Perhaps it is the rope symbolizing a lasso, and hence a rodeo, or perhaps it is the palm tree symbolizing Rodeo Drive, or perhaps the designer had too many hours in a row at the screen and not enough diet Coke, but there you are.

And here you are:

Liquid

Madison

Rodeo

Surface

I don’t know who that couple is on the jump screen, but it seems that you are stuck with them unless you want a picture of your Sidekick as an angel (or perhaps it is an homage to Harley).

And while I’ve not yet found any jumpscreen backgrounds (which are, let’s face it, wallpaper) to download, it can’t be far off, can it?

About the only complaint I have about the new interface – and it may or may not be a big one, depending on how you feel about it – is that they have consolidated application access so that from the jumps screen there is now an “organize” icon through which you have to click to get to your calendar, tasks, and notes, and an “applications” icon through which you have to click to get to your downloaded applications. Similarly, you can no longer get to AIM with one click from the jump screen, you have to click on the messaging icon, which brings you to the AOL, MSN, and Yahoo messaging clients, and then select AOL. (So this is a good time to start learning your jump shortcuts!)

Input:

All of the input mechanisms on the Sidekick 3 have been retooled. Perhaps the biggest two changes (and improvements) are the keyboard and the scrollwheel, which is no longer a scrollwheel at all, but a trackball!

That’s right, the scrollwheel has been replaced by an omni-directional trackball! Tres cool, and it works very well. And it still can be depressed to select whatever it is to which you have scrolled.

The Trackball

Interestingly, the addition of the trackball almost seems to make obsolete the “directional pad” – I’ll bet you never know that was what Danger and T-Mobile call that big button on the left, where the speaker is! But here it is:

The Directional Pad

The other buttons are also different with a much lower profile, and in truth the “shoulder buttons” (such as power on/off, system sounds volume, and camera shutter) while sleeker, are recessed and it takes a while to get used to the new feel of them. Plus, the top ones are nearly inaccessible when the screen is open, unless you are a wrist contortionist.

Shoulder button

Of course, what you really want to know about is the keyboard, right? Because Lord knows that the keyboard on the Sidekick II was an abomination.

I’m very pleased to say that the keyboard is much better. They have completely done away with the “rubber membrane covering key stubs” design, and have gone back to genuine keys, like the first Sidekicks had. Only better! And there is better backlighting, and the embedded numeric keypad is backlit in blue to make it stand out (for when you are using it as a phone).

Bluetooth:

Speaking of using the Sidekick 3 as a phone, one of the reasons that I was so excited to get my hands on this device was that they have finally added bluetooth! It’s about time!

So let me tell you right up front – the bluetooth works extremely well. The Sidekick 3 found my Jabra 250v with no problem at all, and calls on it are clear as a bell.

I just wish that it had voice dialing. Ah well.

I’ll be playing more with bluetooth and report back as I discover more about how well it works for various uses.

Camera and MP3 Player:

I would do a disservice to the Sidekick to try and cram into this post full information and reviews of the camera and the MP3 player. Suffice to say for now that the 1.3 mega pixel camera is a huge improvement over the 0.3 mega pixel camera in the Sidekick II (yeah, yeah, I know, by 1.0 mega pixel), and the interface gives you quite a few more options.

As you can see, the picture resolution is pretty decent for what is, essentially, a phone camera:

Picture from my window

I’m not even going to go into the MP3 player in this once-over, as, as I said, it wouldn’t be fair. But in case you weren’t aware, the Sidekick 3 now sports an on-board MP3 player, and an SD card slot (and the device comes with a 64meg SD card to get you started).

All in all the Sidekick 3 is a vast improvement over what was already a wonderful device.

And don’t forget that the Sidekick has the unique ability to allow you to sync all of your computers – PC and Mac – with each other, through the Sidekick’s online sync service! Read more about syncing your Sidekick here.

And right now you can get a Sidekick 3, plus service, with a 30-day money back guarantee, from Amazon! Check it out here!


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50 thoughts on “T-Mobile Sidekick 3 Review: A Side-by-Side Comparison of the II and the 3 and Review of the T Mobile Sidekick 3
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  1. The Sk3 has the best keyboard of any of the Sk’s. I have 2 Sk3’s and 1 LX and the Sk3’s are the best. They have the Japanese quality witch is why they were so expensive. THEY WILL LAST LONGER THAN ANY OTHER PHONE OUT THERE HANDS DOWN! I have had mine since they day the Sk3 came out many years ago now and it still looks brand new and have not had any trouble. I could talk all day and all night about how great the phone is.. You guys mention about all the stuff the phone “doesn’t have” it was only made for COMMUNICATING fast! I can out text anybody on any phone with my Sk3. It only took me 3 seconds to type this whole damn thing. I would like to see sk3 style keyboards on future sk’s with video and movie capabilities as well as wifi enabled. Being able to play Mp4’s would be just fine. I would have liked to have had a regular sized headphone jack on the sk3 like the LX has. Don’t even get me started on how great the lx plays music. Sounds so good… crisp and bassy. Make sure all future Sk models are continued to be manufactured in Japan!! Not anywhere else! As anyone with a sk3 knows the charging port is very fragile and many don’t charge their own batts anymore… the update to mini usb was a smart move. Anyway sk engineers, keep up the good work.

  2. Other than the keyboard thing the sk is the piece of shit. You can not download ringtones with paying for it. U cannot set your mp3 files as a rong tone. You cannot set ur picture as a background. The camera is shit. No flash player.
    Ok enough bad stuff.
    The phone is so fancy the your friend will get jelous. Text messaging is cool. U can copy and paste text.

  3. I just got the new sidekick…its a good phone but I have to admit im thinking of switching to a blackberry. The internet is nothing without a flash player and t-mobile really messed up by not providing it with their new sidekick….very disappointing

  4. Today I was talking to a tmobile rep about why sidekicks don’t have flash and she said the just weren’t made for that but that at the extreme end of july or begining of august there was going to be an over the air update that will allow all sidekick users to have flash player and will also allow you to shoot videos from your sidekick and even put them on youtube or my space.

  5. you cant get flash player so stop going irate over it. and the people who got their sidekicks for $250+ your a loser. Sorry but im getting mine for $99 (from t-mobile themselves) you should have bought it like now..PS: the sidekick is better than the lx (at least for me) i have had every sidekick from 3-lx and i like the slide and 3 the most …so yeaaaa just saying to those lookin on what to get ps: the sidekick slide has more stuff (compare the lx with the slide at t-mobile.com)

  6. SideKick III Rocks. Best phone I ever had.

    JD
    www.Ultimate-Anonymity.com
    “Online privacy when it Counts”

  7. I’m 12 years young lol and I’m been workin with computer since I was 4 Yea amazing right and my opion on the sidekick 3? ughh I wouldn’t say its the best I rencent phone W810 was way better it has 2.0 mp camera louder mp3 and video and had bluetooth and this phone sidekick 3 is OK sometimes I think its a rip off it dosent even have a alarm clock cmon now doesn’t have video camera the display color is terribale ppl just want it because everyone else has it like iphone its already having trouuble. well ppl should really read the review before they get a phone!

  8. I just ordered my sidekick 3 and i’m still waiting for it. I can’t wait to get it cuz it sounds SO AWESOME.. I hope I don’t get disappointed when it gets here .. :-) I hope I don’t. Peace OUT!!

  9. dus anyone no if u can play videos on the sk3? i no u cant record them but i just want to be able to play them

  10. Wassup every1 yeah da sk3 is a good phone but spendin 340 when it came out and not bein able 2 get flash sux ….any1 got any info that can help me out holla atch ya boy 973 704 2819

  11. well i got the sidekick a week ago…i luv it…i dunno what i like so much about it …seeing that its has no flash but i just luv its appearance and all my friends feel totally jealous around me…hehe…ill jus say that if u hav a sk3…it would be ideal to have a second fone but its not that bad after all…its got a sexc skidding top…and a great roll ball which makes it easy to use…id say its got a few good stuff about it though for example it has more game space than my recent razr and has a gr8 audio sound its actaully quite clear…its web servise is very fast n easy to access so even though its overall better than a razr…u should alwaiz hav another alternative incase nething…therefore its name…(sidekick) get it? lol

  12. I don’t think u can get flash on the sidekick..sucks because we sidekick users use a internet server called danger..it more or a lock down server if u ask me..they go my some motto called loyal customers.meaning if we want any app or games u gotta go to tmobile..yeah. That’s crazy….a tmobile rep told me they do over the air updates..he said who knows mayb couple months down the road you’ll get an update for flash…ill prob be gray by then.and I change phones like I change clothes an if I was to go back to a old phone it wud be the samsung sgh t809….everything was great about that phone…but yeh for the mp3 player for this sidekick if u download a program called mp3 to ringtone gold it can shrink your songs and so far I’ve managed to put 120 songs in the player an still got a lot of mem.but yeah back to danger…everthing u basically do on the internet goes through them..u can’t download nothing free.no videos games ringtones..nothing..one day somewhere down the road with the over the air updates this flash an neat tricks will prob get updated….by then sidekick won’t be ”the shit” anymore….its better off walking with a laptop computer and home phone around the place than have a sidekick…my opinion the internet is nothing without flash.

  13. I don’t think u can get flash on the sidekick..sucks because we sidekick users use a internet server called danger..it more or a lock down server if u ask me..they go my some motto called loyal customers.meaning if we want any app or games u gotta go to tmobile..yeah. That’s crazy….a tmobile rep told me they do over the air updates..he said who knows mayb couple months down the road you’ll get an update for flash…ill prob be gray by then.and I change phones like I change clothes an if I was to go back to a old phone it wud be the samsung sgh t809….everything was great about that phone…but yeh for the mp3 player for this sidekick if u download a program called mp3 to ringtone gold it can shrink your songs and so far I’ve managed to put 120 songs in the player an still got a lot of mem.but yeah back to danger…everthing u basically do on the internet goes through them..u can’t download nothing free.no videos games ringtones..nothing..one day somewhere down the road with the over the air updates this flash an neat tricks will prob get updated….by then sidekick won’t be ”the shit” anymore….its better off walking with a laptop computer and home phone around the place than have a sidekick…my opinion the internet isn’t nothing without flash.

  14. I let go verizon cuz they charge 2 much so T mob.. hooked me up with a bomb @zz phone SIDEKICK TREZ its da chiznitz pluz I got a great deal in mins and web. Now I can surf in da net which I’m glad cuz I don’t own a computer and I’m in da net most of the day. Finally I opened up my space account and I wanna send picz to and I can’t cuz I aint got no flash player I been looking how 2 download and I found out about this site so let me know how can I fix my problem hit me up guys thnxz! Arriva Sidekick 3!!

  15. I let go verizon cuz they charge 2 much so T mob.. hooked me up with a bomb @zz phone SIDEKICK TREZ pluz I got a great deal in mins and web. Now I can surf in da net which I’m glad cuz I don’t own a computer and I’m in da net most of the day. Finally I opened up my space account and I wanna send picz to and I can’t cuz I aint got no flash player I been looking how 2 download and I found out about this site so let me know how can I fix my problem hit me up guys thnxz! Arriva Sidekick 3!!

  16. I paid over 250$ for my sk3 and I am very dissapointed it does not have a flash player nor can it shoot vdeo like other less xpensive phones. I feel I desrv more for my $. My sister bought a blkbry around the same time I got my sk3 and she paid less and can do everything my sk3 cannot. She also can get more free games downloads and rngtones. I can’t find any downloads without having to pay $9.99 per mo after downloading anything that says free.

  17. Um, well yeah, I just got it yesterday, and I am using iy right now! I mean I gave up my razor, and I don’t regret it. But, yeah how do u get flashplayer? Cause when I was on th screen, it said that the info wasn’t supported. Although I am amazed that some of the stuff does work without flash player, so ya, does anybody know? If you do please reply!

  18. I love the new SK3 but I was wondering if I can download a flash player on it so I can watch movies and play flash games. If any one knows how please let me in on the secret. Thanx——–The Spyder

  19. here…this is how you get the pass code out…you connect ur phone to the computer using the usb chord…WALAH…if that doesn’t work…then call cutomer care or go to the tmobile store…the will definately fix it!

  20. to teff. wow you are really something. it does have mp3 ringtones if you didnt know. you probably havent looked hard enough. it does have an updated bluetooth if you havent even tried. the capacity can be made larger by buying a bigger mini sd? yeah well its a major improvement from the old sk.

  21. the sk3 is a piece of crap….the interface is a little different but its crap….all 06 phones moved to 2mp cameras or more…n this came with a low end 1.3 phones have bluetooth 2.0 and this came with 1.2 and a low res screen. sidekick 3 is a rip off it should cost no more than 200 dollars honestly…..I like da fact its connected to the network but ¢’mon….u pay for programs n ringtones…and u can only have 10 at a time? and the tones are short….don’t get me started on the non existent video….
    missing,
    1. video player or recorder
    2. mp3 ringtones
    3. full internet functionality incl flash
    4. high resolution screen
    5. updated bluetooth
    6. bigger email
    7. greater picture gallery capacity
    etc….

  22. i forgot the security passcode to my sidekick3 for the starting screen and i dont know what to do can someone help me

  23. Gues wat da sidekick3 is da shit sept it doesn’t have flash player and I wana no how to get windows xp on it I have da sidekick3 it rox

  24. I wish that the Sidekick would take video and the screen be sharper and brighter, otherwise it works for me.

  25. hi I’m a loser name virginia and I don’t know what on EARTH is a sidekick! because i’m on crack!

  26. who ever sed wut is a sidekick 3 is the dumbest person I’ve ever heard. that’s like saying “wuts water?” r u high?

  27. WE SELL ALL KINDS OF MOBILE PHONES SUCH AS THE TMOBILE SIDEKICK 3 FOR JUST $150, NOKIA N93 FOR JUST $210

    CONTACT: PACETIDINGSCOMM@HOTMAIL.COM

  28. WE SELL ALL KINDS OF MOBILE PHONES SUCH AS THE TMOBILE SIDEKICK 3 FOR JUST $150, NOKIA N93 FOR JUST $210

  29. Yes it looks to be very useful and improved! I like the removable battery. How much does a spare cost?
    Whats the max size of mem card?

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