T-Mobile Sidekick II Is Hefty but Functional

Version II of this mobile device is great for personal e-mail, IM, and phone calls, as long as you don't mind its bulk.

The original Sidekick arrived to much anticipation in October 2002. It was the first consumer-oriented mobile device that combined PDA and phone features along with e-mail and messaging. Even better, all of this was packaged in a very cool, innovative case. Less than two years later, the device receives its second upgrade: The T-Mobile Sidekick II (manufactured by Sharp) adds a built-in camera while enhancing e-mail, IM, calendar, and phone capabilities.

When closed, the device looks like a somewhat blocky, large lozenge (at 5.1 by 2.6 by 0.9 inches and 6.2 ounces). The device certainly isnt tiny, but its less bulgy than the previous version. The Sidekick IIs most unique feature is its huge, 3.3-inch, color flip-up screen. If you flick the closed screen with your thumb, it swivels out of the way to reveal a very usable QWERTY keyboard. Buttons let you power the device on and off as well as adjust the volume with the screen closed, so you dont have to fiddle with settings.

Reading and writing e-mail and IMs on the big, 13-line screen is downright fun. While the screen looks gorgeous when youre looking down at it (as when writing e-mail), in bright daylight it becomes horribly reflective if youre holding the device directly in front of you (as when taking a picture.)

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