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).
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.
|No Paywall Here! The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free?|
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.
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.
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:
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!)
|Get notified of new Internet Patrol articles for free!
|Or Read Internet Patrol Articles Right in Your Inbox!
as Soon as They are Published! Only $1 a Month!
Imagine being able to read full articles right in your email, or on your phone, without ever having to click through to the website unless you want to! Just $1 a month and you can cancel at any time!
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.
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.
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).
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!
No Paywall Here!
The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free? Thank you!
|Get notified of new Internet Patrol articles!