The Sidekick may have achieved infamy as Paris Hilton's hacked phone, but despite T-Mobile constantly telling us about how popular it is in the US, it's never really caught on over here. Now T-Mobile is trying again with the Sidekick Slide, which is slimmer and smarter than the previous device and now manufactured by Motorola instead of Sharp.
The phone is free on T-Mobile's Flext 30 and Web'n'walk tariff.
The Sidekick is a sort of BlackBerry for idle youth. It lets you send and receive email, use instant messaging, browse the Web, listen to music and play games. The software the device runs on is designed by a company called Danger and unlike a normal mobile, the contents of its memory is constantly synced with a central server over the mobile phone network. If you lose your device you won't lose all your contacts, pictures and other files.
Previous Sidekicks were manufactured by Sharp, but the Slide is made by Motorola and the company has certainly done a good job of the reworked design. The handset is around 25 per cent smaller than the previous model and a good deal slimmer too.
When you slide up the phone's screen, a small Qwerty keypad is revealed and this makes it a breeze to compose emails or text messages and to enter Web site addresses. For navigating the menus, you can either use the conventional directional pad on the left hand side of the handset, or the mini trackball on the right, which is similar to the ball used on the.
The main menu is a sort of carousel that you rotate to get to the feature you want to use. It's pretty easy to understand and is presented with colourful and cute graphics, although when you enter some of the menus, things aren't as immediately obvious as they could be.
As well as picking up email from a T-Mobile account tied to the device, it can also be set up to fetch mail from three different email accounts, so you really can use it to manage all your email traffic. You can also read email attachments in common formats like Word and PDF.
As well as email, the handset also has instant messaging built-in. Naturally there's a camera too, an organiser and a good music player. You also get a games menu with one relatively simple game pre-loaded. However, new games and applications can be bought and downloaded directly on the device via the Sneak Peak menu.