Similar to the T-Mobile Sidekick LX, a majority of the upgrades were made to the design of the T-Mobile Sidekick Slide and not so much to the feature set, which is disappointing. However, there are some new additions. We'll start with the messaging capabilities, since that's a huge draw of the device. Like previous models, the Slide comes with its own T-Mobile e-mail account with an always-on push e-mail solution for real-time message delivery. You can also access up to three additional POP3/IMAP4 accounts, and for the first time ever, T-Mobile is offering the same push solution for Yahoo and AOL accounts. The carrier will roll out this feature as an over-the-air update to Sidekick Slide and LX owners with the hopes of reaching all customers by the end of November. Once you receive the update, you'll just need your user login ID and password to get things set up.
As usual, the Sidekick Slide also comes preloaded with three of the major instant-messaging clients: AOL, Yahoo, and Windows Live Messenger. You can hold up to 10 simultaneous conversations, and if you happen to lose your network connection in the middle of a session, the Sidekick will save the chat until a connection is restored. The Slide also supports text and multimedia messaging.
The Slide's phone capabilities include quad-band world roaming, speed dial, call forwarding, three-way calling, a call log, a vibrate mode, and a speakerphone. The Sidekick's address book holds up to 2,000 contacts (the SIM card holds an additional 250 contacts), with room in each entry for five numbers, an e-mail address, an IM account, a Web URL, a street address, and notes. For caller-ID purposes, you can pair an entry with a photo, a group ID, or one of 22 ringtones. The Slide is also a myFaves-compatible phone, giving you unlimited calling to five contacts, regardless of carrier. Plans for myFaves start at $39.99 a month.
Other wireless options on the T-Mobile Sidekick Slide include Bluetooth and EDGE. Supported Bluetooth profiles include those for use with wireless headsets, hands-free car kits, or you can wirelessly send a vCard to another Bluetooth device. Unfortunately, you won't be able to pair the Sidekick with stereo Bluetooth headsets since there's no love for A2DP. As for data connection, you're left to rely on T-Mobile's EDGE network with speeds of around 100Kbps to 130Kbps. EDGE is OK, but we would have also liked to have seen the inclusion of Wi-Fi to have another option for Web browsing.
For multimedia, there's a built-in music player that supports MP3 and AAC files, but the Slide requires the use of a storage card to take advantage of this feature. The Slide's expansion slot can accept up to 4GB cards. You can search for songs by artist, album, genre, or composer, as well as organize tracks into playlists. The Slide is also equipped with a 1.3 megapixel camera but disappointingly, there's no flash or video-recording capabilities. There's a photo counter, and you get your choice of three image sizes (1,280x1,024, 640x480 or 320x240) and two exposure settings (normal daylight or night/lowlight). Once done snapping photos, you can organize them into albums, view them in a slide show, or send them to family and friends via e-mail or multimedia message. Now, despite the lack of a flash, the Slide produced some OK photos with clearly defined objects and decent color.
Finally, like the LX, the T-Mobile Sidekick Slide also works with the new MySpace Mobile application, which you can get through the device's Download Catalog. The mobile version of the social-networking site allows you to do many of the things you'd be able to do on a PC, such as edit your profile, upload photos, and so forth. In addition, you can get real-time updates on new messages and comments, friend requests, and see which friends are currently online. While it took a while to download and upload, we were impressed with how functional the application was as it wasn't just a watered-down version of MySpace with limited capabilities.
We tested the quad-band (GSM 850/900/1800/1900; GPRS/EDGE) T-Mobile Sidekick Slide using T-Mobile service, and call quality was OK. There was a noticeable hissing sound as we talked to friends, though it didn't prevent us from carrying on conversations or interacting with our bank's voice-automated system--more of a nuisance than anything. Meanwhile, our callers said we sounded tinny and as if we were talking from the bottom of a well. Surprisingly, audio quality improved once we activated the speakerphone, as voices sounded clearer on both ends. We had no problems pairing the Sidekick Slide with the Logitech Mobile Traveller Bluetooth headset.
Armed with 225MHz Texas Instruments OMAP 850 processor, general performance was snappy. The device really excels at messaging, though browsing the Web will test your patience a bit with the slower EDGE speeds. Finally, music playback through the phone's speakers was loud but lacked richness and bass.
The T-Mobile Sidekick Slide's battery has a rated talk time of 5 hours and up to 3 days of standby time. In our battery drain tests, we were able to get 10 hours of continuous talk time on a single charge, which is impressive. According to FCC radiation tests, the Sidekick Slide has a digital SAR rating of 0.67 watt per kilogram.
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