Sidekick Slide review [Update]

Many of you may recall my recent rants about the Sidekick 3 and how much it sucked ass. I mean, seriously, I paid over $400 for the biggest POS known to man. Danger makes a phenomenal OS and Sharp and T-Mo go and screw it all up. The hardware was atrocious and that’s putting it lightly. The phone was horrible. Everyone complained of echoing and I could never hear what they were saying. I regretted spending so much money regardless of the fact that I snagged it early enough to cash in on the non-contract extension fiasco. There was no point in upgrading from the Sidekick 2. I didn’t need Bluetooth, an MP3 player or any of the other asinine features that lured me in. What the hell were you thinking, T-Mobile/Sharp/Danger? And what was the iD all about? That was just a trimmed down SK2 sans camera. Whatever.

My faith has been revived with the LX and Slide, but I’ve grown tiresome of all the features that the LX boasts. Don’t get me wrong, the screen is gorgeous and huge, but like I said, I don’t need all the media functions it possesses. I just need e-mail, AIM (Danger’s AIM client will always be the best) and a decent Web browsing experience. The Slide essentially fills the messaging device’s shoes rather nicely. When I first saw both devices a few months back, I was quickly drawn to the Slide. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, though. Was it just the new hardware from Motorola or…hell, that’s why I was drawn to it. So, really, all we need to discuss is the hardware. The OS has slight changes that aren’t really worth mentioning. But feel free to ask in Comments. So, as a hardcore Sidekick fanboy were my expectations finally fulfilled? Maybe.

Form factor-wise the Slide is the best Sidekick to date. It’s slim, lightweight and the black and purple color scheme is fantastic. I can finally tolerate putting it in my pocket, too. But I do have my gripes with it. The keyboard isn’t the best. The buttons are too small and cramped together. Some of the keys don’t seem to move at all and I’m constantly checking to see if I’ve missed a letter, but to my surprise it’s all gravy. Which is a good thing, but I just wish there was more of a tactile response. The d-pad is a little too big IMO, but the Slide’s sleek design quickly extinguishes any misgivings I begin to have about it. It works fine and I just need a few more days to adjust. The trackball is a little too recessed for me. I feel like I’m digging into its cubbyhole when using it to scroll through the menu. But it’s now black and doesn’t show as much dirt so we’re par for the course. The screen is considerably brighter, though, the LX’s screen is much bigger and way nicer since Sharp dropped in their AQUOS screens. It’s still a step up from the SK3. I also like that the blinking indicator moved from the trackball to the d-pad on the Slide. It’s not as bright and obnoxious now. The 1.3-megapixel camera sucks. There’s no flash and it’s still 1.3, so whatever. I rarely use it anyway.

So how’s the phone? It’s fine. I haven’t had any complaints and the speakerphone is leaps and bounds above the SK3. I can actually hear people now without constant crackling. Reception is exponentially better then the SK3 and even the iD, which I thought had killer reception. Upon exiting subway stations I already have service before I step onto the street. The SK3 usually took a few minutes before reconnecting to the network while the iD took a minute or less. The strange thing I noticed over the weekend when I was in Brooklyn at Biggs’ house was that I had a better signal strength then Biggs’s LX, but my GPRS was being wonky and not connecting. A simple soft reset did the trick, but I’ve had to do that a couple more times since then so I’m a bit skeptical now.

Here’s my biggest gripe with the Slide. I want my swiveling screen. That’s what sets the Sidekick apart from all other phones. The form factor is nice, but I don’t like the sliding screen. It makes it very difficult to use one handed where as the swiveling screen was a piece of cake. Why did they even market this as a Sidekick? I still like it, but I miss my swiveling screen. Battery life isn’t the greatest either. I took my Slide off the charger around 8am today and it’s already at 60 percent. I haven’t even used the phone today. I’ve been IMing infrequently and texting with a two minute window where I was browsing the Web. Thankfully you can charge via USB so I’ll forget about the battery life. It also helps that I have my Solio with me at all times.

All in all, the Slide is what I had hoped the SK3 would have been. Its small form factor and design is top notch. I don’t look like one of the kiddies anymore. It’s nice to see someone other than Sharp take a swipe at the Sidekick line. It’s refreshing and I hope they continue to manufacture future handsets, but I want my swivel screen back.

Update Ok, so the camera isn’t that bad when the lighting is perfect, but the lack of flash that’s existent on the SK3 and LX makes me wonder why Moto didn’t include one.

I should also mention that there is an MP3 player on the Slide, but it can only be activated when a microSD is inserted with content or you’re connected via USB.