Bye Bye Blackberry!

Posted by Chris Green on Thursday June 8 @ 4:01 pm

Sidekick II

Another era came to an end today – I have just got off the phone with T-Mobile having cancelled my Blackberry service.

I’ve been a Blackberry user since RIM launched the device in the US, and I was one of the first UK users when BT Cellnet (Now known as O2 and best remembered for its appalling customer service) launched the first Blackberry service in Britain.

Nowadays I get Blackberry service from T-Mobile – or at least I used to. After some initial teething troubles, T-Mobile’s service has been extremely good, and I have been very happy with the quality of service and the very cheap standard price plan for Blackberry Instant Email. However, T-Mobile recently launched the Sidekick II in the UK, which can best be described as a Blackberry on steroids. Hugely popular in the US among celebrities, this device, manufactured by Sharp and designed by an Israeli company called Danger, has achieved the unthinkable – it has persuaded me to ditch my Blackberry!

As much as I love the Blackberry as a device, and will still happily recommend it to anyone I meet, the fact is that the Sidekick II actually suits my extended needs more effectively than the Blackberry. The Sidekick’s email handling is equal to that of the Blackberry, and the two share many common keyboard shortcuts, but the Sidekick leaps ahead thanks to its bright colour screen and excellent Web browser (which handles normal web pages as well as Wap pages).

My only gripe with the Sidekick II – the battery life is rubbish! At most you will get about 3 days out of it if you are lucky. For me it is more like two days. But I have chargers everywhere so I can work with this, but it is one point where the Blackberry puts it to shame. However, battery life alone does not make the perfect mobile device.

21 responses to “Bye Bye Blackberry!”

  1. dlwprompt says:

    Interesting to see you opted for the Sidekick II, Chris.

    I was in the market for an uber-smartphone myself a couple of months back and was tempted by the Sidekick myself (did you see the scary black ‘boy’ version and the pretty pink ‘girl’ version available to some markets? Crikey).

    Instead I opted for the 02 XDA Exec, branded differently depending on the operator. I was mainly lured by the promise of Windows Mobile, Office and a very nice touchscreen, but I have to say I’m sorely dissapointed by the battery life on this as well, not helped by the fact applications don’t *really* close when you click the big X, and you have to stop any redundant apps running manually in memory settings. WiFi also drains the battery like a vampire.

    But, for updating documents and spreadsheets on the train (or watching Goal!) it does the job, as long as you arrive somewhere near a plug socket.

    Let us know how the Sidekick II continues to treat you after a couple of weeks? I’d be interested to read it.

  2. shinoyukii says:

    hi there, i was wondering if you can help, you seem to know alot about mobile phones, i wanted to ask if i bought a sidekick 2 or 3 from US can it be used in the UK? i know it is a tri-band phone, so maybe? and also do you know if the sidekick 2 or 3 can be unlocked? so it can work in UK? sorry to trouble you.

    Thank you for your help!

  3. Chris Green says:

    A Sidekick 2 or 3 bought in the UK will not work on the UK Sidekick service or with a UK T-Mobile SIM installed. A US Sidekick 2 or 3 will be SIM locked to T-Mobile USA, and the firmware is hardcoded to use the US Sidekick server for its home access. The UK devices are SIM locked to use T-Mobile UK SIMs and to use the UK Sidekick server, which although hosted on the same infrastructure as the US service, uses different settings.

    In short, if you want one for the UK, buy a proper UK one.

  4. Naz says:

    Hi Chris,

    I accidently stumbled across your blog whilst searching for some info on a Blackberry. Having read about your ‘upgrade’ to the Sidekick, i’m interested in how you are getting on with it. What are the ‘running’ costs etc. I run a small business and want to treat myself to a device where I can check my mail etc on the move. Any advice would be appreciated.

  5. Gemma says:

    Hi chris,
    SO can you please tell me – will a US sidekick DEFINTELY not work in the UK??

  6. Chris Green says:

    Yes – a US Sidekick will definitely not work with a T-Mobile UK SIM installed in it.

    However, if you are a T-Mobile US customer, and you come here with your Sidekick, it will happily roam on the UK network.

  7. Emma says:

    Okay im very confused, i want a sidekick 3 however i was under the impression it wasn’t out in the UK…

    Therefore where can i purchase one? I was brousing them on Ebay and people were claiming their US sidekick worked which i can’t see possible, also some people were saying that their sidekick is a UK version, but how is the buyer supposed to know that is realy is!?

    Anyway what i am trying to say it, where on earth, no.. where in the UK can i buy one!!?!?!?!?!

  8. […] another recent request for help in the form of a comment, this time about the Sidekick 3 Blackberry killer, so here […]

  9. […] I switched to the Sidekick II in March last year, having previously been a fierce and loyal Blackberry user. I still think Blackberry devices (the proper ones, not the hybrid phone ones) are great, but the Sidekick II offers certain features, such as a fully-features web browser, that trumps the capabilities of a Blackberry. I also really like the Sidekick’s ZX Spectrum-like rubber keyboard. […]

  10. owen says:

    So where in the Uk can i buy a Sidekick 2

  11. helen says:

    hi i have just bought a uk sidekick II off ebay, was told it was payg but tmobile assured me these are contract ONLY and will not work with a payg sim (it wont either).
    rite my problem….
    i put a sim in doesnt matter what network (seems as if been unlock cos surely it wud come up like wrong sim or something like that wen i put in a o2 1 but it dont) and i make sure its in the rite way (dum guy in fone shop tried tellin me it was in rong wen it was him tryin put it in rong!) any way it says ‘SIM ?’ all the time, it says sim inserted so it knows its there, wen u go to txt msgs it says sim not ready.
    tmobile says it will not work with payg but i have read people have sucessfully done it and its worked, i dont want to unlock it as im on tmobile and want to use all the features, am i just wasting my time and money even trying???
    helen xxxxx

  12. Chris Green says:

    Hi Helen

    Yes, you are wasting your time. T-Mobile has correctly informed you that they do not offer the Sidekick-specific services on PAYG. I recommend you get a contract on FLEXT with T-Mobile, and make sure they add the Sidekick Push service with it.


  13. helen says:

    cool ty so much chris i am already on flext35 on 18m contract so i ll use this sim in the sidekick yay!

  14. Jessika says:

    so where is the best place to buy a sidekick 2?

  15. Chris Green says:

    Nowhere, the Sidekick 2 is long since out of production. You are afterall replying to a thread that is two years old.

    You need to be looking at the Sidekick slide which is the current model on sale from T-Mobile.

  16. Melissa says:

    Hi Chris
    I have a Sidekick 2. It works fine no problem all features apart from the web. It just says something about GPRS and no service and won’t connect to any pages?
    Is there somethin i need to do to set up the web?

  17. Lauren says:

    What is the cheapest contract available to get a Sidekick on?

  18. Chris Green says:

    Try looking at the T-Mobile web site.

  19. Paul Simpson says:

    I am really interested but I need to know if the Sidekick has User Selectable Fonts like the Blackberry. This should be the standard in all mobile phones.

    I am concerned that in the future we are making a problem because phones are getting smaller and fonts too. What about peoples eyesight.


  20. Chris Green says:

    Hi Paul

    There is no user selectable fonts on the Sidekick. You should also remember that outside the US, the Sidekick is basically a dead product. T-Mobile UK has one Sidekick model in its range, and it doesn’t actively market it.

    In short, nobody is buying them any more – save your money and wait for the BlackBerry Bold.

  21. sam says:

    hi guys. its sam(aged 15 from uk).the only one i can find available is the slide and i dont really like it. is there anywhere that i could get a different type of sidekick? are any of the other types available in the uk yet because i cant seem to find them?

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