"Stellar little communications device"4.5 starson by Jinky Williams
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...