If you're the type of person who enjoys mobile e-mail and text messaging, but don't need the full business functionality of a PDA or smartphone, then you should seriously consider choosing a phone like a Sidekick. The fun cell phone from T-Mobile may be the first hip QWERTY device to come to mind, but there are many other options out there! Check out our guide below and you'll have no trouble finding just the right Sidekick-like phone for you!
Choosing a Phone like a Sidekick
I guess before we start, we should probably discuss the most popular cell phone itself: the Sidekick 3 from T-Mobile. As you can probably guess, the Sidekick 3 (oftentimes abbreviated as SK3) is widely considered to be the third incarnation in the series. Each generation improved on its predecessor, culminating in the current machine. This portable messenger, created by Sharp and designed by Danger of California, is also known as the HipTop in other markets.
The first Sidekick (sold primarily as the HipTop) only had a monochrome display, but a quick update brought color to the scene. The HipTop 2 (Sidekick II) added a camera, top buttons, a speakerphone, and a unique screen swivel style. The current Sidekick (SK3) upgrades the camera to 1.3 megapixels, includes Bluetooth Technology, and adds a miniSD slot and music player.
The Sidekick is exclusively available through T-Mobile in the United States. It is also sold by other T-Mobiles of the world, including the United Kingdom, Germany and Austria. In Canada, it was marketed as the HipTop by Fido, a Rogers Wireless subsidiary, though Fido does not carry a version of the Sidekick 3.
Key features include a full QWERTY keyboard, integrated web browsing, and instant messaging capabilities. If you want to take AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo! Instant Messenger, or MSN Messenger with you on the road, the Sidekick is a good choice.
Depending on how much you are willing to spend and what additional functionality you would need (or like), there are a few alternatives out there to the T-Mobile Sidekick 3. For the purposes of this guide, only reasonably compact cell phones that come with a full QWERTY (computer layout-like) keyboard have been selected.
- Nokia 6800: Although no longer available through a major service provider, you can probably find a good deal on a used Nokia 6800 (or its newer variations, the 6810, 6820, and 6822). What's unique about this phone is that it may appear like a somewhat strangely-designed candybar phone, but you can flip that keypad up and over the display to reveal a full keyboard. You then turn the device on its side and use accordingly.
- Motorola Q: Strictly speaking, the Q is marketed toward the more business-oriented user, but if you want a more powerful device that just one designed for text messaging, then the Q is clearly a worthy option (as are many BlackBerry PDA Phones). Motorola Cell Phones are known for being slim (the RAZR and SLVR are the best known examples) and the Q is no exception. What's more, it runs on Windows Mobile 5.