T-Mobile Sidekick II First Impression

december 30, 2004

By the way that T-Mobile is advertising the Sidekick II on TV (with Paris Hilton, Snoop Dog, and other celebs) it is clear that they aim to sell this device to the hip youngsters of America with extra cash to fling. It is definitely cool and young and hip, but I wouldn't say it is confined to be used by youngsters. My first impression of the Sidekick II (aka "skii") is that it is one awesome machine. I have had it for only a day, so this is definitely a first impression and not a review. The best thing about the device is that it works as advertised straight out of the box. There is a five minute registration for the device and after that it is all ready to go. AOL Instant Messenger comes on the device and Yahoo! Messenger is a free download. Both work very well with the device. I use AIM more than Yahoo! Messenger though. The email application works well also. I get a free @tmail.com address which is a direct push account (when email arrives, it gets pushed automatically to the skii). I can setup an additional three POP3 or IMAP accounts, which are polling accounts (they check mail on a fixed interval of about 15 minutes). The personal information manager (PIM) is a nice application, it does all the basics that a Palm will do. The actual data entry can be done on the skii or on the website. The website is very well done and all information that is on the skii is syncronized over-the-air (OTA) with the server. So, I don't need to install any application on my machine for this to work. The drawback is that I can't (OK, won't) put any sensitive information on the server -- at least with something like a Palm Desktop, you know where your information is and who is looking at it. One of the neat things is that if I take a picture with the craptacular camera (the camera is very, very weak), the picture is automatically sync'd OTA to the server. Very nice, too bad the camera is bad -- the camera takes 640x480 pictures (VGA resolution), but don't let that spec fool you because the pictures look like they are 320x240 pictures interpolated up to 640x480. And the camera is worthless in a somewhat dark interiors, and the flash doesn't work at all (OK, it flashes, but it doesn't light anything up). The UI and physical interface to the skii is amazingly easy to pickup and learn. The phone portion of the skii is decent also, but I know I'll look weird trying to make a conversation on the skii in public since it looks like I am holding a white brick to the side of my head -- though it is a better fit than the N-Gage QD. The only thing I worry about is the mechanical nature of the swing out screen. I know that hinge will be the failure point of the skii, I can just see it. We'll see how long the skii lasts though. The skii comes with a cheap, though still functional carrying case. I'll use it for the time being, but I'll be keeping my eye out for a neoprene one or something soon. Overall, through my first 24 hours, the Sidekick II is turning out to be a wonderful machine (Oh did I mention that I can ssh out of the skii? How cool is that?). As long as it doesn't have those nasty bugs that I found in the Series 60 N-Gage QD, the Sidekick II is a definite keeper and winner. More to come after I have and more time with the Sidekick II!

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