If you read our review of the Sidekick 3, you know that generally we think it’s an all-around kickin’ handheld Internet device. But how, specifically, is the Sidekick as a hand held Internet email device?
In a word, awesome. The Sidekick – either the Sidekick II or the Sidekick 3 – absolutely rocks as a hand held Internet email device!
Now, before we go any further, let’s make two important points. First, we are talking about “always on” handheld Internet devices. Second, it’s important to distinguish between types of email retrieval and viewing systems. For our purposes, there are three: systems where you access and read your 3rd-party web-based email (such as your Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail or web-based work email account); systems where you retrieve your 3rd-party POP or IMAP email (such as your email from your work account) and read it on the device; and systems where the device’s service provider provides you with a device-specific email account.
The Sidekick offers all three, making it the only device besides the Blackberry to do so, at least in any meaningful way. And as we have written on these pages before, we consider the Sidekick superior in nearly every way to the Blackberry.
3rd Party Web-Based Email
If you read email primarily through a web interface, such as with Yahoo or Hotmail or Gmail, or a web-mail interface through work, for example, the Sidekick is the best bet among the small-screen hand held devices. Do let’s be clear: none of them will ever take the place of a laptop or full-sized computer in terms of what you see on the screen, if only because the screens on the handheld devices are so tiny. There is no way around that. However, when it comes to small screen devices, the Sidekick’s display – particularly that of the Sidekick 3 – is among the best.
That said, you can get the same functionality and sometimes even somewhat larger screens, from some of the PDA+phone combinations, such as the Treo. But what you can’t get is:
Service Provider Provided Device-Specific Email Accounts
Only the Sidekick and the Blackberry currently offer true device-specific, native email systems. By this we mean that your device has an actual email address associated with it, and email sent to that email address is automatically delivered to your hand held Internet email device.
To us this is huge. It gives you a flexibility unsurpassed by any other device. It means that your email is always there in your pocket for you. You don’t have to check it, poll it, or retrieve it. It just shows up there, automatically. And you don’t have to give that email address out to take advantage of it. Simply have your current email system forward a copy of your email to your Sidekick’s email address, and voila.
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But what if you want to reply to an email you’ve received when it was forwarded from your primary email account? Won’t that confuse people? Won’t that reveal your Sidekick-specific email address? No, because…
Customized Account Settings and 3rd-party POP or IMAP Access
The Sidekick has a very versatile email account settings system. It is almost infinitely customizable, in part because the Sidekick allows you to use both POP and IMAP to retrieve email from 3rd-party mail servers. This means that if you ordinarily retrieve your email by POPing it from a server, or by logging in to an IMAP account, you can do that from your Sidekick as well. And you can set up multiple accounts on the Sidekick, allowing you to pull email from various accounts (and mixed types) into the Sidekick’s inbox.
It also means that you can customize your outgoing email.
So, for example, let’s say that you get email to “email@example.com”, and you ordinarily check that by having Outlook get it via POP. Now let’s say that you have a Sidekick, and your email address that goes to your Sidekick is “firstname.lastname@example.org” (tmail.com is the domain used for Sidekick email accounts).
You can have email@example.com forward to firstname.lastname@example.org. And you can set up your Sidekick so that when you reply to email which was originally addressed to email@example.com, the Sidekick will insert a “from” address for that reply of “firstname.lastname@example.org”. So as far as your correspondent knows, you are replying from your email@example.com email address, never exposing your firstname.lastname@example.org address.
And of course, this doesn’t begin to get into the nifty features of the Sidekick which allow you to integrate data which comes in via email (such as a phone number someone may send you) with your other data, which in turns allows you to use your Sidekick to keep all of your computers in sync with each other.
But back to the original point: for our money, the Sidekick 3 is the best hand held email device on the market.
And right now you can get it from Amazon, with service, and a 30-day money back guarantee! Check it out here!
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