Pros Great, streamlined OS, perfect integration between applications, great Instant Messaging suite, great phone, better keyboard than past SK's, faster Internet
Cons Just a revamped version of the past 2 SK's, HUGE price tag with minimal features. You lose ALL your premium downloads from the SK2 or SK1. Crippled Bluetooth.
Summary First let me say I've owned the SK1 and SK2, and loved both of them. If the world was the same today as it was almost 3 years ago when I first bought the SK1, the SK3 would be amazing. But the truth is, the SK is showing its age compared to smart phones like the Treo, i730, and MDA. I've used my SK's so much, I've burned off the letters on both the SK1 and SK2, and I even ripped off the rubber pad on the SK2. So yeah, I use these things a lot and I'm certainly not a hater. But, I was so disenchanted with the SK3 I returned it after a week for the T-mobile MDA. I've written a review for that as well if you’re interested.
Let me touch upon the good stuff. The SK3 easily looks the best of the SK family. It's a bit smaller than the SK2, maybe a tad lighter. It's more black and shiny, making for a much sexier look. The screen is not as smooth a flipper as the SK1 or SK2 but it's still relatively smooth, and is still the trademark feature. The OS continues to be smooth and super easy to learn. The integration is flawless, along with keyboard shortcuts and nice buttons; it lets you zip around the device software in no time. I miss this feature as the MDA and other similar smart phones take a little more effort to navigate through. The internet is DEFINATELY faster than the SK2 and SK1. I don't know if it's because of the EDGE network capability or what, but it's much easier to surf the Net on the SK3. They've increased the software space for applications and that means more catalog downloads. I didn't get a chance to max this out so I don't know how much faster the processor is on the SK3. Overall, to wrap up the good points, it's just like the other SK's but with some additional features, like Bluetooth headset ability and an MP3 player, along with a MiniSD card reader. The camera was nice, and has been beefed up. Though it doesn’t look nearly as good as other 1.3 mega pixel cameras.
Ok, on to the bad...
For me, the bad was so much more weightier than the good that I returned the phone. First of all, you lose ALL your premium downloads from previous SK's. Now, if you're a first time user, obviously this does not apply. But being a SK user for years, and with the addition of Tmoble allowing you to "uninstall" applications (taking them off your phone to make space but allowing you to reinstall them whenever you want without another payment) I had a TON of downloads. Everything from Time Traveler (an alarm clock, you believe you have to pay money for this feature?), to Terminal Client (VERY handy), tons of games and ringtones I had downloaded over my SK career. All of that was instantly gone, unrecoverable, wasted money. That's horrible. Why can't you bring the downloads over? Is it REALLY that hard to do? They did it with the SK2. This burned me by far the most since I’ve spend over 100 bucks on premium downloads over almost three years.
Next, the price is INSANE! 400 bucks??? 350 with a 2 year extension. The SK2 was 200 bucks when you traded in your SK1. They must have lost a ton of money on that deal, because there was no such deal this time. Consider what else is out there for 400 bucks: Treo, i730, MDA, 8125, Blackberry's, etc. These phones do at least twice as much as the SK3. The price was the second hardest hit for me on this phone.
Another burn was that your Tmail email account is gone if you switch this phone. This doesn't really affect users at all if you don't give up your SK, but it's good to know since they DO NOT tell you this until your account is already gone. I lost 3 meg's of saved emails because I didn't know this.
You get Bluetooth with this phone, which is nice for headsets, but is ONLY nice for headsets. There's no support for modem use, or even for transferring files. Wireless headsets are nice, but for 400 bucks, you couldn't give a full featured Bluetooth?
The key placement on the SK3 is easily the worst out of the three. The 4 corner buttons are placed closer to the screen now, meaning I accidentally hit the phone and hang-up buttons by accident while trying to hit the Cancel or Back buttons on the right side. The roller ball is great but overall I found the regular roller on the SK2 to be more effective.
MiniSD addition is nice but it's a pain getting to the card. It’s not conducive to swapping out a lot, you have to take the battery cover off and risk dropping the battery out while you're doing it.
There is a total lack of features for this expensive phone. Here's what the SK3 CANNOT do that other smart phones can:
CANNOT use MP3's as ringers
CANNOT download and use third party software
CANNOT use an alarm clock feature without buying one
CANNOT use voice dialing
CANNOT do video of any kind, though they've said you could, I've never been able to get it to work
CANNOT connect to WiFi networks
CANNOT download things from the Internet
CANNOT send multimedia text messages (video, pictures, etc)
CANNOT beam info to other phones via Infrared or Bluetooth
Bottom line: The SK3 might be worthwhile for a new user, but for a returning user, it is a total waste of money. As I said when started this review, a few years ago this thing would be top tier, cutting edge technology. But right now, it's trailing behind. The majority of its support comes from the young crowd who cares more about looks than guts. If you are one of them, this is the phone for you, to be perfectly honest, as there are not many phones that can compare to the SK3’s looks. But for anyone else who desires more than aesthetic worth for a device costing 400 dollars, search elsewhere.
Pros Many: UI, connectivity, keyboard, style, features
Cons Few: Listed below
Summary Bottom line first: I am a gadget nut and communications and information freak, and this phone fit the bill perfectly.
Firstly, this phone is only worth it if you pay the extra $20/mo for "Sidekick Unlimited". This includes unlimited internet access, instant messaging (AIM, MSN and Y!), text messaging and emailing. If you don't want to spring for the package, don't even bother looking at this phone.
The internet connection is on 24/7, as long as you have reception. You don't have to sign on to use it, and you can keep it on in the background while you do other activities.
This segues nicely into the next best thing about it: The UI. Danger has done a bang-up job in creating a great, intuitive interface to allow you to quickly access the myriad features available. It is a necessarily complex system, but they make it very easy to manoeuvre through. There are universal key shortcuts that allow quick access to any of the main applications, and then shortcuts inside those applications. There's also a slick menu system that you can use if you'd rather not learn the shortcuts. It really only took 30-45 min to familiarize myself enough with the interface to become comfortable with it.
The keys are awesome. The QWERTY keyboard is perfect, with raised, separate keys that are spaced apart well and have enough resistance to avoid accidental keystrokes. I have longer, slender fingers, so I don't know how people with different hands would fare. I haven't done a typing test, yet, but I could key in 23+ WPM with my previous phone, which was just a standard alpha-numeric, so it's at least that. The four proprietary buttons on the face are well-positioned and good-sized, but the shoulder buttons are a *tad* too small and/or recessed. The bottom ones are fine. And the trackball rocks! It's just this little polymer ball that you can click, and it works great.
It's very stylish, and everyone who sees it is like "Oh, that's so cool!" especially with the rotatey-flippy screen dealie.
As stated above, there are lots of features that are easy to access... and it even works well as a phone! What a deal! Speaker phone is very functional and has good volume. It's a bit tinny, but I wasn't expecting Klipsch-quality audio from a portable device like this.
The ability to have applications running in the background is awesome. I can be composing an email or doing a web search, and then if I get an IM or text message I can switch to that application, do my thing and switch back without any hassle. It's as easy as ALT+TABing in Windows.
Now for the few complaints I have:
1.) The inability to use uploaded MP3s for ringtones. The *only* reason for this that I can see is they want to force you to pay for additional ringtones. What crap. Hopefully some dude with lots of time on his hands will figure out a way around this.
2.) Inability to send picture messages through SMS. You have to email them. What gives? This makes no sense. There's no reason why the SK3 can't handle this.
3.) Lack of a simple, quick alarm. Now, there's a possibility I just haven't found it yet, but I doubt it. Currently, the quickest way to set an alarm is go to the Calendar, make a new event, set the time, and click "Reminder" and set it for 1 minute before the event (it won't allow 0 minutes). I am pretty quick at it, now, but it's nothing like the quick and simple, "Menu > 6 > 1 > 1 > [enter in time] > set" that I could do in 3 seconds with my eyes closed and half-asleep.
4.) Inability to use Google Maps. Since the browser runs "like the big boys do" (except it can only read one frame at a time), it tries to use the standard version of Google Maps, and it just doesn't have enough memory to use it. I then tried to use the three provided Google Maps Mobile apps, but none of them were compatible. Very sad. Hopefully Google will make a SK3-friendly version in the near future. You can (barely) use Yahoo! Maps to find the dopest route, but Google Maps is best. (True that! Double true!)
5.) Right now, when it's idle, it goes to it's nice little "T-Mobile Sidekick 3" logo screen with a tiny clock in the corner. What I'd like to see is an option for it to go to a full-screen digital clock.
6.) Limited Bluetooth connectivity. You can only use it to pair headsets to your phone. No data transfer. What the farmer? Maybe a firmware or software release will remedy this issue. Again, it's nothing that it shouldn't be able to handle, as lesser phones are able to with no sweat.
The negatives may look like a lot, but they are really pretty minor. They are nothing that prevent me from utilizing it on a large scale.
Bottom line, reiterated: This little hummer rocks. If you are a communications-centric individual who loves to look up definitions and Wikipedia entries on the go, who text messages like a crazy man, or just plain wants the coolest rotatey-flippy QWERTY-keyboard packing rootinest tootinest galootinest big phatty of a six-packy illinist swassest ho-downinest big mama I-can't-believe-its-not-butter of a phone ever...
Pros With the new Bluetooth technology added as well as a megapixel camera, the SK3 is paving the way for the up and coming generation.
Cons No video playback and low screen resolution keep it from being everything it could be.
Summary The Sidekick III is several steps up from the lineage of Sidekicks that it has come from. Adding the Bluetooth technology has greatly improved the connectivity. It also features a better keypad as well as a new track ball for navigation. While the screen may leave some things to be desired, it works well. Email, texting, IMing and websurfing are much faster with the addition of the T-Mobile Sidekick Data Service.
There seems to be some confusion as to who this phone is for. I'm not quite sure why business people think that every smart phone is made for them. This phone was NOT made for the business crowd. And Danger seems to want it that way. The OS does not have that "professional" look to it that some other handhelds do. This phone is made for the hip crowd who demand style, sophistication, and the ability to organized their life from their mobile phone.
Looking for attachment opening features or modem teathering? Go get a Blackberry. This phone should really be advertised for people in the know, and all others need not apply.
All in all, if you are looking for a PalmPilot on your phone, go get the sub par Treo. Looking for a stylish, user-friendly phone that does everything a socialite needs and wants, go invest in the new Sidekick III.
Pros Better keyboard, good body, very solid
Cons Opening the screen to expose they keyboard can be tedious to not damage it
Summary I got this phone earlier today and I have been using it to see if it compares to the Sidekick II. The screen is the same as the Sidekick II, if it seems dim, turn the brightness up.Volume is great on speakerphone and handset mode. Aww mann...the keyboard is phenomenal.. It's better than the 2's keyboard. Each key is individual unlike the rubber stick on buttons for the 2. The trackball is pretty stylistic. Navigation buttons are set up nicely too. When you open the screen, it sounds like the screen is scraping the left side. Maybe that's just a worry I have. More customization options too. Oh, and ringtones and applications from my previous sidekick II did not load onto the device when I activated it. I guess I have to buy them again. Overall, it's a wonderful change from my sidekick II...
Yep...it surely is. Better be in T-Mobile's line at 6am because I have a strong feeling that the 3 will disappear faster than tacos at a fiesta
Pros Bluetooth, best keyboard on the market, desktop-like IM, fun to play with, cheap data plan
Cons horrible camera, losing signal alot, low-res screen, froze a couple times, horrible speakerphone
Summary Nobody ever rates this based on what it does well. People insist on rating it when comparing it to other phones and complaining about the features it doesn't have. This without a doubt is a horrible price for a phone; especially seeing the fact that the mda, which does a hell of alot more, can be found for $250 with a new contract while this is $100 more with less features. Let's talk about what it does right and then depress you with what it does wrong right after.
What it does right: I was just on a forum where someone complained about the sk3 saying "a keyboard shouldn't be the main feature". Bullsh**! Since when are the ergonomics not a feature? Just look at the razor phone. It didn't get popular based on it's untuitive OS. The keyboard is amazing. The learning curve for adapting to this is in the minutes. The second i picked it up, i knew what to do. I can type about as fast on this as i can on my desktop. The design, for typing, is damn near perfect. Some people say a great keyboard isn't a nice feature: those are the feature-nuts that will complain about anything to feel smart. When you have a comfortable keyboard, you tend to type more. When using the mda, it had a decent keyboard, but since i didn't feel comfortable with it, i didn't type as much and was less descriptive in my words.
IM: coming from my razr and mda, i had no idea how great im'ing could be on a cell phone. On my razr my buddy list was basically a page that needed to be refreshed constantly. No smilies, no notifications, no cool sounds, nothing. Whereas on the sk3, it's virtually the same as the desktop version. Same sounds, different smilies for each messenger and nothing needs to be refreshed. It's all real time.
mp3 player: I had no faith in an mp3 player based cell phone, but it's actually decent. After loading songs on my puney 64mb minisd card and listening for a couple days, it sounded just as great as my former 30 gig ipod. I still use itunes since my music needs to be converted to mp3 to play on the sk3, but i don't have any plans to get the new ipod anytime soon. Now a 2 gig memory card, that is definitely in the plan.
Web browsing: I love this. This is literally the best quality in this one. The way pages are formatted takes some getting used to since every webpage you go to is formatted to fit a column-like view for the screen and flash isn't supported, but once you get on you won't be able to stop. The browser reminds me of way back when i had webtv back in 1999. Almost identical. Loads everything perfectly though. I'm constantly going back and forth to my myspace, to forums, to my hotmail, everything. When in edge areas i'm getting fast internet too, so that's a plus. Unlimited text and fast internet all for $20 a month: not too shabby. I was almost going for the moto Q before i got this. I made a good choice.
Now for the bad:
Voice dialing: gone. I never used it that much on my previous phones, but in the rare situation that i wasn't near my phone, this was useful. Not having voice dialing isn't a deal breaker though.
No video: This is a con to everybody else, but i couldn't really care less. Video? on a teeny little cell phone screen? I'd rather use something else dedicated to video that won't suck up my cell phone battery leaving me stranded without a phone at the end of the day then have video inside my cell phone. Really, this is no con
Speakerphone: My issues with speakerphone are common with all sidekickers. The speakerphone when heard, sounds great. When the person on the other end hears you, you're a distorted robot-like voice in a tunnel with a phone. Horrible speakerphone. My girlfriend and i have done tests with it's quality on different phones. Signal was no question, location was no question, system memory was no question; the speakerphone is just horrible. But i don't use it anyway. That's what bluetooth is for.
Still cam: This cam is so horrible i don't even know why they put it on. They could have easily omitted the camera and knocked off $50, but they decided on forcing consumers to buy a camera that takes unusable pictures. Nice. Nomatter what setting you are on, nomatter where you are...this will almost make you regret buying the sk3 in the first place. This is nowhere near 1.3 MP quality. It has to be upscaled from vga, because even my razr phone took better pictures. When you read reviews on here about how bad the cam is, you won't know how true it is until you try it out for yourself. This isn't something alot of nitpicky people are complaining about because they have nothing better to do. The cam really is that bad. I don't use cell phones to take pics, but man. Even by low standards, this just plain sucks.
Reception: You'll be lucky to get it. I live in a highly populated downtown area. I'll get full signal one minute and without even moving, it will go down to 0 bars. This gets irritating, but i put up with it anyway because it's a fun phone overall.
Conclusion: This phone is just plain fun. A perfect way to kill time at work or even a creative way to ignore your girlfriend. The overall presentation is just amazing. There is nothing better then flipping open your screen, hearing the sound it makes and feeling like you just took a phone right out of an episode of star trek. This phone won't fit everyone. It has to fit your needs and price concerns. Considering price, you're getting ripped off. Less features for more money. What you pay for is the experience. Just like with sony products, you pay a premium for quality. Don't listen to anyone to make your decision for you. Hell, don't even listen to me. Make your own choices. Go to the store and try it out. Take the opinions on this site with a grain of salt because 90% of them are biased. Either people that want to bash it for what it doesn't to or 14 yr old teenyboppin kids that would love anything their parents buy. I'm in my 20's and i'm a parent myself. I know people on forums that are in their 40's and have a sk3. Fun has no age limit.Updated
I read over my review and wanted to add a couple things:
call quality: better then my razor phone when not using speakerphone. My razr's audio would be heard as faint or hard to hear. Sometimes i'd have to ask people to repeat themselves because even at highest volume, i couldn't hear. On the sk3, call quality is great. When all you want is a phone to make calls without all the extra crap, this will definitely satisfy even the nitpicky-est of people.
Bluetooth: Works a little better then my v330, razr phone and mda. I never get disconnected and call quality is almost as good as on my handset. I'm using the hs850 i bought for only $20.
Price: Sk3 is one expensive sucker, but when you consider the data plan and how long you'd have it, it all pretty much evens out.
sk data plan which includes unlimited email and texting: $20 monthly
MDA with data plan and unlimited text: $35
I'll have this phone for the next couple yrs, so an extra $15 a month adds up to $360. My savings just payed off my entire phone just from the dataplan/unlimited texting alone.