Geek With A Sidekick

In addition to having a weak spot for music, I also have a weak spot for gadgets. Even as infrequently employed as I am, I find some way to acquire new toys, though it does help out when Amazon is selling them for close to nothing. So as much as I didn’t need a new PDA (or mobile phone for that matter), I picked up one of the T-Mobile Sidekicks. I’ve been drooling over them since they came out. I recently got one of the new Palm Tungsten T handhelds, which I’ll be putting on eBay if I end up liking this Sidekick thing. I’m just not quite sure if the Sidekick can replace my Palm and regular mobile phone, which is the main reason I picked it up in the first place.

The good and bad news is that they sync to a web site and not to your computer’s hard drive. That’s a good thing because as soon as you update your info on the website, it updates the device immediately. It’s also handy because you don’t need to carry a computer around with you hoping that you can find a place that has wired or wireless Internet access. Since the Sidekick is GPRS (always on/connected to the net), if you change info in your device’s address book or calendar, it updates the web site. This is all assuming that coverage is good in your area. Los Angeles happens to have great coverage. If you are an AIM user, you’ll certainly enjoy the fact that it has AIM built into the device as well as a web browser and email, all of which work really well. You can even add other email accounts to the device. For instance, I can receive my EarthLink and email while I’m away from my computer. The camera attachment is kinda nifty, but I could give a shit about my cell phone being able to take digital photos the size of iZone photos.

What doesn’t work so well is the phone. Without the earpiece that comes with it, it’s terribly awkward to use and the service isn’t as good as a regular mobile phone. And to be totally honest, I’ve never found the earpieces to be all that comfortable either. I never use one with my regular mobile phone. The other thing I miss is being able to jot notes down on the actual screen. The Sidekick has a thumb keyboard for entering data, dialing phone numbers, etc. After a few days of using it, I’ve found it to be pretty easy and fast, but it’s not as fast as scribbling. Also, the device needs to be charged at the end of the day. The battery is pretty weak, at best. Unlike a Palm device, there are no third-party applications to expand the device, which isn’t possible anyway.

I’ve still got a week and some change to decide if I want to keep the Sidekick. T-Mobile allows the return of a device within 14 days for a full refund. I could see it replacing my Palm device. I don’t use half the features of it anyway. As for replacing my phone, Verizon’s service and coverage is tops and I don’t know that I want a T-Mobile device that depends on Cingular’s towers for coverage. The minute I go outside of the greater L.A. area, I’m sure the service won’t be as great. And I guess the two main obvious questions are, do I need two mobile phone/devices and why would I want to be so connected? I mean, it is just another toy for which I have to pay another monthly fee, but it’s one of the coolest toys I have played with in a while. Decisions decisions… Feel free to drop me an email to my Sidekick with some personal experiences, etc. brad[at]

3 thoughts on “Geek With A Sidekick”

  1. Does the Sidekick seem to be to bulky? It looks like it would be hard to carry around.

  2. Put it this way, a Palm device is way more bulky (in most cases) and this has way more functionality. I put it in the front pocket of my jeans without a problem, unless someone sits on my lap. Just go check one out at a T-Mobile store to check out the form factor. I’m happy with the device…if only T-Mobile service were better…

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