Early Hands On With The Sidekick 4G

We’re coming to you CTIA 2011 in Orlando and we just had an opportunity to go hands on with the Sidekick 4G. First impressions of the phone are pretty positive especially in terms of the hardware which just feels awesome. There is a definite Sidekick feel to the device and that’s a great thing. To be totally honest, the Sidekick 4G by Samsung feels a little sturdier or well constructed than the Sidekicks of old.

Unfortunately diehard Sidekick fans might be a little displeased the Sidekick 4G doesn’t swing open like the Sidekicks of yesteryear. Instead it just pops up, almost in the same motion as the current T-Mobile G2. Still, the phone feels completely sturdy and while I only spent a few minutes with it, I had zero concerns about the long term viability of the spring motion.

Perhaps the best part of the device itself is the keyboard and it’s just good, like really good. I haven’t owned a phone with a full QWERTY keyboard in I don’t even know how long but within 20 seconds I was kicking out paragraphs on the Sidekick 4G.

The part of the Sidekick 4G I was less impressed with was the Android software and not specifically Android itself, but the skin that Samsung has applied. There is a diagonal menu that acts as a “jump menu” and it’s sharp looking, but less functional. It feels as though they’ve tried to adopt both the Sidekick of old on top of the Android of now and the results will take some getting used to.

The bottom line from my initial moments with the device and we’ll have more picture and video tonight and tomorrow are that the device will appeal to both Sidekick lovers of old and Android fans. The phone does take some getting used to especially with the skin over Android but it’s nothing so terrible that we couldn’t recommend the device. Final thought is that Sidekick fans should definitely try before they buy but the hardware will certainly make them feel right at home.

We should mention the unit we played with wasn’t a finalized version therefore changes in both software stability and hardware enhancements could take place before launch.

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  • shadowscott

    Woo! Little discouraged about the hardware specs of the phone (not as much built in storage on the device, no swivel screen, weird keys such as pink shift and independent ‘?’ keys) but otherwise the phone seems nice. Unfortunate that it will not work when T-Mobile phones will no longer be able to use the 3G and 4G towers, since this will not take the band frequencies of the 3G and 4G of AT&T.

    • GuestTmo

      stfu, damn nerds.. get a life shadowgeek

      i wonder how many of you commenters are gonna try and add
      ” Unfortunate that it will not work when T-Mobile phones will no longer be able to use the 3G and 4G towers”

      i use to read commenters posts , now its filled with with ppl like ^

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/CeeGee-Borela/100000183782060 CeeGee Borela

      and you got this information where? AT&T is not killing off the 1700/2100 mhz AWS since it plans to use AWS for 4g so any 3g AWS packing phone will be able to ride on the LTE speeds when AT&T gets it up and running, MetroPCS uses AWS for LTE right now so the technology exists

  • wouldntyoulike2know

    Go figure David is carrying an iPhone. Great support for the company you love so much.

    • Carl

      Ha, Just what I was thinking! I’m sure it’s unlocked though.

    • GlockBuster

      He could use it on AT&T or Verizon but he uses it on TMO… so they’re getting his money every month. Not sure I’m seeing the lack of support?

  • nataliaanastasiarose@yahoo.com

    I fucking want it now they better release it soon tired of fucking waiting gimme wat I want

    • Anonymous

      return of the usual sidekick fan or users.lol

    • Deff

      gotta love you loyal SK fans. I miss mine… i dropped it in my hot tub… sadly i won;t be getting the new one. G2X is where its at.. I still remember the good old days at SKslidethemes.com…. made my own themes.. thought i was so cool ;)

  • Shalaby_Michael

    I think that the new sidekick is a good idea but isnt that amazing it’s just an updated version of the old models with a few tweaks

  • http://buyresearchpaper.org/ research papers

    I think it’s nice thing

  • Anonymous

    Still unclear WHERE the LED lights are

    Other un-Answered Questions:

    AutoText like Older SKs?
    Hidden SnowBored game?
    included games?
    phone app in landscape mode?
    Google Voice Integration?
    AIM within gchat?
    FB Chat?
    Adobe Flash?
    Any hope 4 Netflix?
    Copy/Paste?
    create own skins/themes?
    hinge sounds?
    deaf-friendly apps?
    Closed Captions/English Subtitles on videos/TV apps?

    • michael

      1. Don’t know
      2. Don’t know
      3. Most likely
      4. Most likely, if it is like other Android devices
      5. Don’t know
      6. Don’t know
      7. Yes
      8. Yes
      9. Don’t know
      10. Yes
      11. Don’t know
      12. Don’t know
      13. Don’t know
      14. Don’t know

      Sorry for all the don’t knows..just based off of my Android knowledge && Sidekick knowledge

      • Anonymous

        For number 6 about AIM, if you download AIM from the market it already includes GTalk in it it also includes FaceBook chat

    • remister

      Its not the danger os, so I think a lot of things changed. I think they are calling it the sidekick, because of the form factor. I bet you the IM experience isn’t the same, as android doesn’t even have the same im experience with danger os chatting system.

  • Olographics28

    What a nice” very-soon-to-be”plastic brick!!!!!!!!!!
    The only way I could buy this OR ANY of the new T-Mobile devices is if:
    -AT&T will give same or even better service and price as T-Mobile (yeah right…..)
    -If after the sale (and IF I am with AT&T) there will be no need to replace my beautiful sidekick 4g.

    As all of you can see, the options mentioned above are,how can I say it…..almost impossible,so, no more money from me T-Mobile after my contract expires in a year exactly and OF COURSE NO MONEY AT ALL AT&T?

    Am I alone with this terrible feeling about the TMO sale?????Please let me know and THOSE BLOOD SUCKERS OF AT&T WHAT DO YOU THINK.

  • http://twitter.com/THEKeithJackson Keith L. Jackson

    I’m not impressed simply because I had Sidekicks throughout high school and I’ve outgrown the device. That being sad, I am rather excited to have the opportunity to sell this to both new and existing customers as the Sidekick name alone will create a hell of a buzz.

  • ex sklx-09 user

    i read on another hands on that there are led lights above the display, I guess like the lx 09

    • http://www.facebook.com/ElectroHop Jay Alford

      Seriously??

      • Anonymous

        yes, they are for alerts, like the track ball on the old ones (Red=battery low, Green=no messages, Blue=Messages) but these are more customizable.PCMag.com shows a settings screen to change this (but i have not seen a screen shot of WHERE the alert lites actually are. seems to be near the Jump Button in the side of the screen.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YZ32VTTM27DZ536QVW54DYFABY Timothy B

    There is really no excuse for making a smartphone without a flash for the camera.

    • remister

      I am unsure why either tmobile doesn’t buy that feature or Samsung doesn’t make it. The vibrant would be awesome with camera flash. My nexus s has a flash, but its missing a hardware camera button, etc.

      • Anonymous

        is flash really that useful?

        • Anonymous

          Flash gets better pictures

        • Anonymous

          AND! Flash also helps in the darkness if you have a flashlight application rather than using the screen for a flashlight.

    • Aerofanbig

      does it make the P H O N E work any better? No? Everyone needs to seriously quit bitching about camera crap on phones, go buy a *gasp* CAMERA. What a novel concept

  • http://www.facebook.com/ElectroHop Jay Alford

    Coming from a LONG time Sidekick user……humdiddles…I want it, yet I don’t. I don’t know. Eh, I gotta play with it first.

    • remister

      14 days tryouts
      30 days in cali

      • http://www.facebook.com/ElectroHop Jay Alford

        Well dag nabbit I’m not in Cali lol, im in NC.

    • Brittanny

      Same! I am a huge sidekick fan and really excited by the new one. I juts hope it doesnt disappoint.

  • optimusprime

    Is that the g2x on the image 10??

  • Android 3g

    i dont understand why sansung has to come up with sidekicks when sharp was the first company that make the first sidekick.. same with the nexus s HTC made the NEXUS 1 ND THAn sasung come up with that..

    • Anonymous

      Becuase google and tmobile own those respective brands and they choose who makes the device. Mostt of the droid phoned are made by motorola but their were a few by htc.

    • Anonymous

      Nope Sharp wasn’t the first company to make the Sidekick, it was Flextronics to make the first two generations the Sidekick 1 in black and white then color, Sharp started with the Sidekick 2 and went all the way til the LX’09, Motorola was the only one that manufactured the Sidekick Slide which was also out in ’07

  • Anonymous

    Is T-Mobile done announcing phones for this show or can we expect more announcements over the remaining two days of CTIA? I’ve got a BB 8900 that is shutting down constantly and ready to retire. I’ve got a full upgrade to use, I’m wanting a HSPA+ and am deciding between the LG G2X, Samsung Galaxy S II, or HTC Pyramid. The G2X seems like the only one coming out anytime soon and I don’t think my BB will hold out until the other phones are released. Any suggestions on which way to go?

    • Nick McGhee

      I like what LG is doing with the G2X but don’t count out Windows Phone 7. I think Tmobile might have a WP7 phone right around the corner considering the HD7 is a year and some old and the only other WP7 phone from them is the Dell Venue Pro which is only available from Dell’s website.

    • Nick McGhee

      I like what LG is doing with the G2X but don’t count out Windows Phone 7. I think Tmobile might have a WP7 phone right around the corner considering the HD7 is a year and some old and the only other WP7 phone from them is the Dell Venue Pro which is only available from Dell’s website.

      • http://profiles.google.com/howard.e.abraham Howard Abraham

        The HD7 came out on WP7 launch day — November 8th, 2010.

  • Meagan

    I am glad Tmobile thinks they still have enough Sidekickaz to merit releasing a new Sidekick mobile this late in the game, before releasing a (first for Tmobile) high-end Android with 4.3″ screen with at least one LED(for rear cam flash).

    Can’t wait to see a YouTube video of someone trying a AT&T sim in a unlocked Tmobile Sidekick4G, so they can show the world that they need to return it(before their return policy expires) or enjoy AT&T “Edge” happily ever-after. I’d say the video will go viral. But then again, Sidekickaz might like that retro “E” on the top of their screen, like ol’ school Sidekicks.

    • Nick McGhee

      Did you not read the entire post on this site that explained that the switch wont happen most likely for a couple years? That mean you can buy a new phone on two year contract TODAY and most likely still be using it when your contract expires? I’m done hearing from all of you people about how new phones from t-mobile don’t matter anymore because of the merger. These phones will no doubt please many people for as long as they are needed.

      If you don’t support the company now that they MAY be merging with AT&T then jump ship now to Big Red and leave us tmo faithfuls to enjoy our upcoming phones.

    • Nick McGhee

      Did you not read the entire post on this site that explained that the switch wont happen most likely for a couple years? That mean you can buy a new phone on two year contract TODAY and most likely still be using it when your contract expires? I’m done hearing from all of you people about how new phones from t-mobile don’t matter anymore because of the merger. These phones will no doubt please many people for as long as they are needed.

      If you don’t support the company now that they MAY be merging with AT&T then jump ship now to Big Red and leave us tmo faithfuls to enjoy our upcoming phones.

    • Sammie

      i hope theres a flashh for one of the cameras! i miss my sk soo much and thiss mytouch slide has given me nothing but problems! i want to know when its coming outt soo i can preorder mine!

    • Aerofanbig

      hahaha, I can just see all the hipster-scum-douche-bags scouring the net for old sidekicks to sport an “E” because its retro and they had one way before anyone else knew about them.

  • Atul0002

    Now the sidekick doesnt look as huge as it used to but might b a little too thick tho

  • Death_to_ATT

    with no swivel, it isnt a sidekick, its a g2… and it sucks… sidekicks are to thick, especially for today, its 2011 for godssake

  • Anonymous

    Regarding Deaf-Friendly Apps, Purple VRS already has A Video Relay app for TMobile MyTouch 4G, any word if they will have a Video Relay App for the Sidekick 4G?? – Sorenson VRS & Sprint VRS both have Android VRS Apps, but both are currently exclusive to Sprint Phones – but that may change in the future.

    I would LOVE to know more about how strong the vibe function is.

    Interesting that it looks like it has TWO speakers – 1 in front and 1 in back (is there a reason??)!!

    Android Central’s recent hands-on video (http://www.androidcentral.com/hands-t-mobile-sidekick-4g) shows an interesting problem with the placement of the HOME button (where old MENU button used to be) & the MENU button (where the X/CANCEL button used to be) that for android folks used to pressing the home button while scrolling, it seems awkwardly placed. Is there a HOME button within the pop-up Menu where you can hit the MENU button then click on a Home icon on the Menu Pop-Up??? — Seems to be only big design flaw.

    Also, is there a true accelerometer or is the orientation forced? (landscape if keyboard is open & portrait if keyboard is closed) Or can this be set?? Or is it App-dependant (phone app, for example, seems to always be Portrait mode even with screen open)?

    • svox

      the front “speaker” is the earpiece. for you know, phone calls.

  • Anonymous

    This phone sucks! It has no camera flash, no HDMI port, and look how thick it is! The back of it isn’t even attractive. I can’t beleive Samsung would even let this out, whatever happened to QC (quality Check).

  • Anonymous

    I held out for the Sidekick 4G b/c I’m entirely hooked on sidekicks for 10 years now. After using it for almost a week, I have two concerns.

    1- the tactile keyboard is a huge part of why I stick w/ sidekicks. For some reason they moved the comma to the left, which takes some serious getting used to. Other alt-keys have moved as well, all to make room for an emoticon key & other stuff. There are alt-emotes now. And I keep hitting the @ key b/c it’s futher over.

    Major concern? Missing keystrokes entirely when I’m typing fast-ish. I’ve corrected three missing letters since starting this comment & there may be more I haven’t caught yet. This seems to be a Droid issue, since I’ve seen other people complain about this on other Droid phones…

    2- I unplugged the charger & the touch-screen stopped responding until I reset the phone… another Droid issue, apparently?

    This is unsettling…

    …oh & I just realized there’s no tilda symbol in the keyboard anymore. :(
    2janae (@gmail)

    5 total missed letters I had to correct…

  • Mcginnis_daquan

    I have many problems with this phone..

    1. The left side of the keyboard is loose (i can tap the left side and it make noises)
    2. It goes black and just stays like that for about 10 minutes
    3. It shuts down when I’m on the internet
    4. It locks and I press the unlock/lock button and a black screen comes up.
    5. The little thing that’s suppose to be a trackball only works on certain things
    6. The camera has no flash
    7. The camera is only 3 mp
    8. The keyboard is good but they have moved keys
    9. The messed up the sidekick generation by making the screen like the G2 instead of like the rest of the brands that did the swivel.
    10. It keeps telling me I have a message and i go into messaging and its empty. (And it does this with emails)
    11. When i put in my lock pattern it says that its wrong.
    12. It did a factory reset when i was in Gmail.

  • Mcginnis_daquan

    I have many problems with this phone..

    1. The left side of the keyboard is loose (i can tap the left side and it make noises)
    2. It goes black and just stays like that for about 10 minutes
    3. It shuts down when I’m on the internet
    4. It locks and I press the unlock/lock button and a black screen comes up.
    5. The little thing that’s suppose to be a trackball only works on certain things
    6. The camera has no flash
    7. The camera is only 3 mp
    8. The keyboard is good but they have moved keys
    9. The messed up the sidekick generation by making the screen like the G2 instead of like the rest of the brands that did the swivel.
    10. It keeps telling me I have a message and i go into messaging and its empty. (And it does this with emails)
    11. When i put in my lock pattern it says that its wrong.
    12. It did a factory reset when i was in Gmail.

  • Sophiawilborn

    I want to no how to copy and paste on dis phone