Cool Tool Friday: The Danger (T-Mobile) Sidekick 2

I usually stay away from hardware on Cool Tool Fridays, but this week, I can’t resist. After having my Sony Ericsson T616 quit on me about two weeks ago, I’ve been madly searching for a new phone/PIM device. The timing was all wrong because the new Treo 650s are due out sometime next month (as is the Sony Ericsson P910), both of which I had my eye on. I’ve never owned a “smart phone” before (combination PDA and mobile phone), so I thought it was time I gave it a try.

But I needed a phone now, and couldn’t wait for products to finally ship, and for exclusive agreements with carriers to expire, etc. So I went to the AT&T store, and had a look around. I ended up walking out with the “top of the line” Nokia device which even the employees drooled over: the 6620. It was a great phone, which I’d been watching since its introduction a couple of months ago, and I found I immediately liked the Symbian OS. The problem was Mac compatibility. Usually, Nokia’s Symbian devices are very Mac friendly, and I have no doubt that Apple iSync will eventually support the 6620, but as of now, the only “integration” you can do is to transfer vCards via Bluetooth (which only works marginally well since no phone number types are preserved).

Although I loved the phone, it wasn’t doing me any good as a PIM device, and it’s primary feature — streaming video — was too expensive for me to justify, so I decided to return it, and simply replace my T616 with the updated Sony Ericsson T637.

The T637 is a decent phone. It’s very small, very light, and has a solid feature set (bluetooth, IR, etc.). It’s also fully supported by iSync. What really sealed the deal, though, was the IM clients. The T637 comes installed with AIM, ICQ, and Yahoo! Messenger — the three services I use on a regular basis. I loved the idea of always staying connected via IM, and I found my old T68i thumb-board interfaced perfectly with the T637.

I used the T637 for a few days, and was relatively happy with it except for:

  1. The camera was really bad. I don’t really care that much about cameras built into phones (that’s why I have a separate digital camera), but this was so bad that I couldn’t even use it to take pictures for wallpapers.
  2. Sending instant messages was $.10 per message! Paying per IM defeats the purpose of IMing, in my opinion. No :), or “lol” or “brb”, etc, if you have to pay for it.
  3. The phone had the same flimsy feel as the T616, which had just broken on me, and had gotten difficult to see due to massive amounts of dust under the screen.

I did some additional research, and came across the Danger Sidekick 2, sold exclusively though T-Mobile as of right now. A couple of very positive reviews from people I trust had me interested enough to take a chance, so I am now a few days into my 14 day evaluation, and so far, I think the Sidekick is the coolest device I’ve ever used. I won’t go into too much detail since there are already several great reviews out there, but I’ll mention a few of what I consider to be top features:

  1. The best key (thumb) board I’ve ever used on any device. Even better than my Sony Clie UX50.
  2. Cool flip screen.
  3. Nice form-factor. It may appear to be a little large at first, but I actually think the size is perfect. (I don’t like phones that are so small that you can’t even pin them against your ear with your shoulder.)
  4. For a single price, I get unlimited data (web browsing, email, instant messaging).
  5. Always connected AIM and Yahoo! Messenger clients. (No ICQ, though.)
  6. Auto synchronization of PIM applications with T-Mobile’s online application.

This is a very different type of device which is easy to find faults with at first: no bluetooth, no IR, no huge library of 3rd party applications. But after using it, you begin to realize that Danger was really thinking outside of the box when they designed and built this thing. You don’t need bluetooth and IR since updating information on the web updates your always-connected device in real time (amazing!). And no, I can’t download a carb counting application or a tip calculator like I could with a Treo or Pocket PC smart phone, but the Sidekick either comes with or makes available all the basic applications I need, and they are better than many of their counterparts on other platforms. And finally, being a Mac user (primarily), I really appreciate the platform independent nature of the Sidekick. Whether I’m using Windows, Mac, or Linux, I can manage my information in the exact same way, from wherever I happen to be.

The Sidekick is a unique little device that certainly would not suit all smart phone users, but it’s by far the best solution I’ve used — in the last two weeks, anyway.

What mobile phone/PIM “solutions” are you into?

17 Responses to Cool Tool Friday: The Danger (T-Mobile) Sidekick 2

  1. I’m really happy with my Sony Ericsson T610, particularly because of the Bluetooth interoperability with the Mac, but it sounds like you need more of a PIM than I do. I had the Danger Sidekick 1 for a while, but it was TERRIBLE as a phone (extremely bad reception compared to any other phone I’ve used in the same geographic area), so I hope the Sidekick 2 is better. I loved the Sidekick in every other way so I was a bit sad to get rid of it, but it was 100% worthless as a phone.

  2. I’m kinda with Matt here- I tried out a friend’s Danger 1 a while back and was somewhat unimpressed, and have gotten really comfortable with my T610 so far (I use Bluetooth a LOT), although can admit to being very disappointed with the camera. The web synching sounds interesting, tho- if it’s nearly as easy as iSyncing over Bluetooth then perhaps I will give the Danger 2 a serious look…?

  3. Didn’t know the SideKick II was available already. I’ve been waiting for it for months. Java-enabled, SSH access, e-mail and web browsing with a built-in camera. Don’t need it for a phone, but the server admin possibilities should more than make up for the price.Still gonna wait for a few more reviews though.

  4. Christian says:

    I love my hiptop/sidekick!While the learning curve can be a bit steep at first glance, after a day or so it comes pretty easy. What originally sold me on the sidekick though is the ability to write/load custom applications on the phone (danger has a pretty decent developer support program in place, that is getting better by the day), and the availability of decent ssh/vnc apps.The biggest flaw with the sidekick is the lack of customization. For example, something that would be nice OOtB would be the ability to change the way the “jump” button reacts, launching/choosing your favorite app instead of forcing you to the phone menu, and it would be nice to be able to (again OOtB) choose to lock the keypad when the screen is closed.Since I have yet to try a sidekick/hiptop2, these may all be non-issues as of writing this, all in all, if the phone functionality is not as high on your list as internet access, and the idea of always on messaging with a full (not wap)(could use flash lite though) browser is cool/important, I highly recommend these devices.

  5. jason says:

    how do I unlock the T Mobile Side kick.It is asking for a code to enable sim.please help!

  6. Isentaur says:

    the sidekick 2 is an awesome tool, it works perfectly as a phone and has a better form AND function than the previously available unit. It has a decent camera w/ flash, email, AIM, webbrowser, etc. there is even a telnet client you can download for it, and some decent games. I wish it supported flash, which would open up a whole new world of movies/games for the sidekick, but we might have to wait for the sidekick 2.the only downside to the sidekick for me is, its a little delicate. i throw mine around pretty good but don’t let it fall unto hard surfaces? i dropped mine into a grocery cart and the LCD screen broke and made the device functionally useless. However they replace the 300 dollar phone for 70 bucks even w/ out insurance. i’ve had my second one for 5 monthes and i haven’t had any problems. even my girlfriend loved it and had to get one of her own.

  7. andrew says:

    the same thing happen to me i drop itwhere can u get it fix a for 70 buxplease thankx bye

  8. SK2 OWNER says:

    THEY WOULDNT REPLACE MINE WHO DID YOU CALL OR GOTO

  9. oscar marte says:

    helpme to unblock sidekick as is the code that I must use to unblock it?

  10. richard says:

    I recently purchased the sidekick 2 , but am unfamilar with the phone I do like the full thumb key pad and the right size fit it has. However I can’t find no sites that offer the games and ring tones . If any body has an idea on this or any site that support the sidekick 2 please help brichard@tmail.com

  11. erick says:

    HEY IAM TRYING TO FIND OUT HOW TO UNBLOCK A SIDE KICK 2 IS ASKING ME FOR THREE NUMBERS BUT I DONT HAVE THEM IF SAMEBODYCOULD HELP ME OUT I’LL REALLY APPRESIATED THANK YOU.. MTC@2BY2.NET

  12. Alison says:

    I bought an unlocked sidekick but it was not unlocked. Can someone please help. I need that code or direction to where I can find it? Thanks

  13. chanell says:

    need code to unlock sidekick 2

  14. Ashley says:

    I have the new sidekick 2 and its wonderful, it’s the best thing that ever happened to me. I also wanted to say that it does have a carb counting application and an tip calculator you just have to download them under download fun. Don’t underestimate the sidekick!

  15. Sarah says:

    You can get unlock codes from your providers( ei T-mobile)

  16. SALMAN says:

    I have side kick2 but it requries a special code to unlock sim plzzzzzzzzzzzzz tell me my mail add is salman006@hotmail.com thanks…….

  17. rabo says:

    i have hiptop2 but also as salman it’s asking me for a special code to enable sim card someone help me plz …rabo_007@hotmail.com