The Gadget: The Sidekick 2008, which follows up the Sidekick LX and Sidekick Slide as a "main" unit (read: not low-end like the iD) in the Sidekick series. It's got improved features like a 2.0-megapixel camera, 2.6-inch display (400x240), video recording/playback, stereo Bluetooth, custom "shells" and most importantly, a smaller body.
The Price: US$149 with two-year contract.
The Verdict: It's more features for less money. Not only is the Sidekick 2008 US$50 cheaper than the US$199 you'd currently pay for the Sidekick LX, it comes with more stuff. The best hardware improvement has to be the reduced size, and at 11.9 x 5.8 x 1.8 cm, it's as long as the iPhone, slightly narrower, but about twice as thick. The second most important feature on a SK is the keyboard, and remains pretty much the same as before: chicklety. If you liked previous iterations, you'll like this one.
The UI and inputs are definitely trademark Sidekick, with the standard trackball on the right for scrolling and button layout that's just about the same as the LX's. It's got video capture and video playback, which were added to the Sidekick LX in an automatic update. Also unique to the 2008 is the ability to custom-design your own external shells at sidekickshells.com. One for uS$9.99 or two for US$14.99.
The Sidekick 2008 continues the tradition of nicely designed and intuitive apps, like email, instant messaging, picture messaging and video messaging. The Sidekick started out as a data communicator—something it still continues to do well—but now can be safely called just a "communicator" because of its more well-rounded features.
The call quality was very good—loud and clear with only minimal background noise—and thanks to its newly reduced size, speaking on it is much less like holding a plastic taco up to your ear. The battery is only 1030mAh compared to the LX's 1540mAh, which may partially explain the reduced size. The Sidekick has never been known to take great photos or video, but the video on the 2008 is decent enough for an MMS, and the photos are only slightly blurrier and darker than the iPhone's. Not fantastic, but manageable.
The most important bit of information that you want to know is if we'd recommend it to T-Mobile users. Definitely. If you're a current Sidekick owner and you're happy with the platform, you'll want to upgrade to this for its improved features and reduced size. If you're not a current Sidekick user but have always eyeballed the series, it's a good time to jump on.