Sidekick's Worthy Update

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At a Glance
  • Danger T-Mobile Sidekick II

T-Mobile offers the new Sidekick II.
T-Mobile offers the new Sidekick II.
The first Sidekick revolutionized mobile Web access by offering users a decent-size screen, a usable keyboard, and solid applications. Two years later (an eternity in tech time), the Sidekick II is finally here. Fans of the original, trailblazing model will find much to like, but critics of that device probably won't be swayed by its evolutionary successor.

Offered by cellular provider T-Mobile and co-developed by Danger and Sharp, the $300 Sidekick II addresses many user complaints about the first device, notably the fact that it was a lousy cell phone.

The Sidekick II is a much improved phone, offering voice quality comparable to that of most dedicated cell phones (although its flat form did feel awkward against my ear). But dialing numbers manually remains a clumsy endeavor.

Exhibiting a more refined-looking design than its predecessor, the unit combines a comfortable keyboard with numerous user-programmable buttons. The built-in 640-by-480-pixel camera includes a flash and is perfect for fun, throwaway shots, but not for photo-album keepers.

The Sidekick II excels at instant messaging and e-mail, providing easy access to AOL, IMAP, and POP3 e-mail, plus AOL Instant Messenger and Yahoo Messenger.

But Danger didn't address all of the original model's failings. There's still no way to connect the unit to a PC physically, although T-Mobile now offers an optional service that permits you to sync Outlook or Exchange contacts, appointments, and to-do items, using its network. As before, you can't sync to Outlook or Lotus Notes e-mail. And the device still lacks a memory card slot, Bluetooth, or infrared port.

The Sidekick II does most things right, though, and it's a pleasure to use. If you're the type who needs to be connected all the time, this may be the handheld for you.

T-Mobile Sidekick II

Simple, fun, and affordable Web-enabled handheld still lacks a few features you'd expect from a PDA/cell phone hybrid.
List: $300 (plus a monthly T-Mobile service fee)
Current price (if available)

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At a Glance
  • Danger T-Mobile Sidekick II

  
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