I love my T-Mobile Sidekick

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by BrianW, Nov 24, 2002.

  1. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    Actually, it's not mine. I got it for my wife who recently got a job that involves some travel. It's our first cell phone (yes, we've made a major leap into the 90s [​IMG]), and I couldn't be happier. I've seen PDA/cell phone devices before, but nothing that has an "always on" connection like the Sidekick. I mean, what's the point of having a mobile email device if you aren't notified when an email arrives, and you still have to invoke a dialup session to fetch it? Also, I've never been attracted to the notion of using a PDA for fear of losing it, but everything you enter into the sidekick is mirrored on the T-Mobile server. If you lose your phone, your replacement will have all the same information on it. The mirrored PDA information is also accessible from any web-connected computer.
    But the coolest thing is that I (I mean my wife) can surf the web from anywhere. I'm typing this on the Sidekick as I'm waiting for an oil change, which is way cooler than reading old car magazines.
    Does anybody else have one of these things?
     
  2. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    damn, I need one of those [​IMG]
     
  3. Kelley_B

    Kelley_B Cinematographer

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    I want one so bad! I have been pretty anti-cell phone, mostly because when I am away I don't want anyone to reach me, but god damn this little device has got me about ready to break down and pick one up. One question how is the AIM service on the unit? And also how is the phone part talk.
     
  4. Denward

    Denward Supporting Actor

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    I've got TMobile service with a Nokia 8290 that's starting to act up. I was thinking that my next unit will be the Handspring Treo 180 (Cell phone/B&W Palm OS PDA combo). I don't want to spend the money on the color Treo 270. Anybody compared the Sidekick to the Treo??
     
  5. Gui A

    Gui A Supporting Actor

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  6. David Lawson

    David Lawson Screenwriter

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    I've had mine for just under two months. It feels like they shoehorned telephone functionality into it, but I'm getting used to it (after owning the ubiquitous Nokia for almost three years).
    The lack of an external keypad is the most frustrating thing; if you want to dial a number you haven't programmed into your Address Book, you either have to flip open the screen (which makes the Sidekick feel even more awkward, since it isn't exactly shaped like a normal phone even when the screen is closed) and use the keyboard, or use the scroll wheel to open the on-screen numeric pad and manually scroll between and click each number. If you've never owned a mobile phone, it might not be as inconvenient for you, but it's still a bit of an adjustment from any phone you've ever used.
    The AIM client works just fine if you just want to chat, but it doesn't support file transfer or any other advanced features. My Buddy List shows up just like it does in the desktop clients, but I don't know if it keeps your buddies organized in separate folders since I don't organize mine that way.
    The data coverage area is sporadic in this area, to the point where it will go from full signal strength to no signal on a moment's notice, even if you haven't moved an inch. The T-Mobile/VoiceStream network is nowhere near as robust as the AT&T network I was using with my previous service, but it's tolerable. I'm not sure how the nationwide coverage fares since I haven't been too far out of Cincinnati since I bought it. I'll be driving to Florida next month, so we'll see how well my signal holds up on the drive there. As Gui mentions, there is no T-Mobile service whatsoever in Canada, which could prove problematic for me...we'll see how things progress for me in the coming months. [​IMG]
    Text messaging and e-mail work very well. The Sidekick has native Word and PDF viewing capabilities, but I haven't tested either of them yet. The camera attachment is a throwaway gadget in terms of quality, but there is a geeky sort of pleasure derived from being able to take a picture with the camera and e-mail it directly to whomever you choose. I was doing just that from my friend's bachelor party a few weeks ago.
    The Web browser also works well, although JavaScript isn't supported. I browse HTF on it quite often, and it does support the cookies used by this site, so it remembers that I'm logged in. (Spolier tags, however, are NOT supported.) I typically turn off images to speed up load times, but the Sidekick doesn't do very good at reproducing photos, anyway. I should also note that you'll need to know the mobile-specific URLS for the Web e-mail clients, as simply typing hotmail.com and aol.com (for example) and trying to use the "normal" login pages will not work. Fortunately, Danger has compiled the various links here.
    The Web interface (for managing your e-mail, Address Book, calendar, etc. from your PC) is slick but minimal; using the Sidekick's keyboard to key in addresses and phone numbers into the Address Book got old quick, so I just did it from my PC during some downtime at work, and the phone updated itself with the information almost instantly. The Web interface is also the best way to get an idea of what the camera pictures look like, since the previews on the Sidekick are horrible (and in 16 shades of gray, no less).
    The unlimited data transfer rate for the first year is a sweet deal; there's talk of capping it at 15 MB/month after that, but I barely exceeded 15 MB of transfer in the first month I had it, despite leaving images on in the Web browser and e-mailing photos left and right, just to see how everything worked. The phone plan isn't the greatest...200 anytime nationwide minutes and 1000 weekend minutes per month, but I never use more than that, anyway. Currently, this is the only rate plan available for the Sidekick. That, coupled with the unlimited data transfer, is $39.99 per month.
    My only other complaint is the battery life; the Sidekick has an internal lithium pack that requires a recharge every night (and I do mean every night). The car charger is just now showing up at T-Mobile stores, though none of the local stores have received stock yet. I can't even believe that a color version of the Sidekick is supposed to ship next year. Battery life will probably be on the order of 20 minutes with that unit. [​IMG]
    Despite its few flaws, I'm already hopelessly attached to mine. I jumped on the CompUSA deal that offered a $100 rebate (which I've already received) in addition to the T-Mobile $50 rebate, which made the final cost of the Sidekick $99.99 plus setup and activation. I'll admit that the CompUSA rebate clinched it; I was hesitant to spend $200 on something I wasn't sure I'd take full advantage of, but if I knew then what I know now, I would have spent the $200 without much of a fuss.
    Check http://www.dangerinfo.com/forums/ for more information; it may seem like I've covered a lot, but some people are more demanding than me, so there may be additional shortcomings that will bug you. I totally recommend the purchase, though.
     
  7. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    Gui, thanks for the link. I would have provided one, but I can't cut and paste on my Sidekick. (Or if I can, I certainly don't know how.)

    David, thanks for the rundown in features and limitations. I'm in agreement with all your comments, except that I think I must live in an area (North Dallas) where T-Mobile service is much less spotty and a lot more reliable.

    Also, thanks for the forum link. It looks like a great resource.
     
  8. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    MAN, if I could find one for 99 bucks I'd get it right now, how long ago was the rebate deal?
     
  9. Paul Jenkins

    Paul Jenkins Supporting Actor

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    My wife and I both have the Sidekick and we both love it. We are hooked. It doesn't do everything perfect, and there are some critisms above that certainly ring true, but overall this is the best piece of mobile gear I've owned. I no longer am out of touch anywhere, and I find my phone usage going down given that the wife and I can email/IM each other and save minutes for quick "get some milk" type conversations, etc.

    The thing I'm really hooked on is the ability to hit the Internet, anytime, anyplace, and most any web site. An example, we are driving to the airport to pick up people and I can check flightarrivals.com and get up to the minute info on the flight (altitude, speed, time to land, etc). As another, I can load up maps.yahoo.com and get driving directions anytime I'm lost (often, it seems!). Way cool..
     
  10. Kelley_B

    Kelley_B Cinematographer

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    Does the Danger desktop software support MacOS X or is it PC only?
     
  11. David Lawson

    David Lawson Screenwriter

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    The CompUSA rebate deal ended November 2, if I remember correctly. I'm not sure if the Danger $50 rebate is still in effect.

    Kelley, it really isn't "desktop software"; everything is done through your Web browser. I haven't tried it under Mac OS X yet, but it works just fine in Internet Explorer and Netscape 6 under Mac OS 9.X. I can test it under OS X later tonight, but I don't see any reason why it wouldn't work if you're using one of the standard browsers.

    According to the Danger forum, there are AppleScripts that will allow you to export your OS X.2 Address Book information to the Sidekick, but they're not 100%. I haven't done much beyond load Jaguar at this point, so I have yet to even touch the Address Book.
     
  12. Dave E H

    Dave E H Supporting Actor

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    It's a pretty cool looking device. I'm still debating on either replacing my phone or getting a new PocketPC. Definetly worth a look (though the Treo is pretty sweet.) I'm reticent to leave the AT&T Network though - by far the best I've used.
     
  13. Kelley_B

    Kelley_B Cinematographer

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    Well thats really good to hear about the Danger working under OS 9.x.....BTW why the hell are you still on 9 man, come into the power of X like the rest of us and you'll be much happier!

    I think I am going to get me one!
     
  14. McPaul

    McPaul Screenwriter

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    Gui A.... Fido was rumored to be picking this up in Canada however I believe those talks have subsided. I somehow think that Fido's running out of money.. [​IMG]
     
  15. David Lawson

    David Lawson Screenwriter

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    Kelley, I'm on OS 9.X because OS X's current printing architecture (especially virtual/PostScript printing) is a joke, and that's more or less my line of work. Designers can get away with using OS X, but printers can't. [​IMG]
    I do find myself using X at home more often (and the T-Mobile web interface does work fine in Internet Explorer under Jaguar, by the way), but it's just not ready for workplace use, as far as my workplace is concerned. The Jaguar update did speed up the old G3 a bit, but I still need processor and video card upgrades to take full advantage of it. Sigh...
    Have fun with the Sidekick! You'll be stuck with it for a year unless you want to incur a hefty fine, so you might as well enjoy it. Fortunately, it's almost impossible not to enjoy it.
     
  16. Kelley_B

    Kelley_B Cinematographer

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    The only thing that is keeping me from jumping on this is the fact that my friend had nothing but trouble with his VoiceStream phone and service.
     
  17. David Lawson

    David Lawson Screenwriter

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    In case anyone's still interested in getting one, Amazon has the Sidekick for $50 after rebates and activation:
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...469799-7276918
    My M and N keys are starting to give me trouble, but reports on the Danger forum indicate that Danger and/or T-Mobile are good about replacing them. Still, it's disappointing...
    The Sidekick worked very well on my trip to Florida, by the way. I only lost data connectivity for extended amounts of time in Tennessee, particularly Knoxville. I'm not sure if they have no T-Mobile/VoiceStream presence whatsoever, but I was on the Cingular network while passing through most of the state. Connectivity in Florida was the best I've seen, unless I went into a mall.
     
  18. Allan

    Allan Stunt Coordinator

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    A few Questions re: the Sidekick:

    1. Is there any roaming or long-distance charges?
    2. Is there any way to hook up work email to it? If not, will there ever be a way?
    3. Is it annoying to use as a cell phone?

    Thanks,
    Allan
     
  19. David Lawson

    David Lawson Screenwriter

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    1. According to T-Mobile's site, there are no long-distance or digital roaming charges, though I'm not sure how international calls work. They've since added a second rate plan. The initial plan was 200 anytime minutes + 1000 weekend minutes per month for $39.99, and the new one is 500 anytime + 100 weekend for $59.99.

    2. This would depend entirely on the e-mail server, I would think. We run POP service on ours, so I could access it if I chose to, but I don't due to the file sizes on the majority of the attachments I receive. Unlimited bandwidth notwithstanding, it still takes the Sidekick a while to retrieve any sizeable attachments.

    3. As I indicated above, it's annoying at first if you're accustomed to the feel of a "normal" phone. I still get frustrated by the lack of an external keypad, and flipping the cover open to type numbers is less than convenient. I no longer have an issue with the shape of the Sidekick itself, though it was awkward for the first few weeks.
     
  20. Matt Gordon

    Matt Gordon Supporting Actor

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    Where did this thing go? I'm looking at the T-Mobile website and can't find it. Has this product been discontinued? Can't find the thing on Amazon, either. Maybe that new model is coming out soon?

    Matt
     

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