Sidekick 2008 Review

Sidekick 2008 (aka Sidekick Gekko, Sidekick Gecko, Sidekick Gecco, Sidekick Aspen, Sidekick Style 2....)

We’ve been waiting for months and months for this device. It’s been quite the cornucopia of rumors, codenames, and speculation. What once was thought to be the Style 2, then the Sidekick Aspen, or maybe the Sidekick Gekko, is officially here, and it’s going by the name of the Sidekick 2008. Yeah, we realize that 2008 is already half over too. We’re not sure why T-Mobile decided to go with an annual naming scheme this time, but as history shows, they can’t decide on a naming convention. Regardless, we’re here today to talk about the Sidekick 2008 *coughgekkocough*. We’re pretty impressed with a device that we had low expectations for. Sure, it’s not a major jump, but it certainly is a nice little device with all the familiar features that Danger does well. It’s a good upgrade candidate for anyone not yet carrying an LX or Slide, as it’s not a ridiculously expensive phone. That being said, let’s jump into the details.

(If you’re not much of a reader, check out our Sidekick 2008 Video Hands-On as well as the 2 full pages of our Sidekick 2008 Unboxing Gallery)

The Bad News
Let’s get this out of the way right off the bat. The Sidekick 2008 is not 3G. It’s on the slower EDGE network like the other recent Sidekicks. Those of you still waiting for a super fast Sidekick 3G will just have to keep waiting. If that’s a deal-breaker for you, then you may not want to waste your time with the rest of this review.

One of the most important aspects of the Sidekick is the screen and its familiar flip. It’s still here. The screen on the Sidekick 2008 is the same high resolution (400×240 WQVGA) as the Sidekick LX, but it is a bit smaller in size (2.6″ instead of 3″). This actually results in crisper images and much nicer web browsing and picture viewing on the device. You don’t have as big of a picture, but for most of the things you use a Sidekick for, you won’t even notice. Plus you shave off a tiny bit of weight and size. Screen gets a thumbs up.

Keyboard & Buttons
The keyboard on the Sidekick 2008 is very similar to the Sidekick LX. However the keys are ever so slightly smaller, but typing on it is still as easy as ever. That’s one thing that no phone on the market has been able to compete with, the Sidekick’s keyboard. I was a bit concerned with the keyboard size at first, but it hasn’t been too much of an issue. It just might take some getting used to.

One of the things I noticed about the 2008 instantly was that it was significantly lighter than the other Sidekicks. As I was carrying it around I sometimes completely forgot that it was in my pocket. I broke out the scale to get some real world measurements and found that it weighed 4.8oz, the same as the new iPhone 3G. Compare this with 5.7oz for the LX, 6.4oz for the Sidekick 3, 6.49oz for the Sidekick II, and a whopping 7.0oz for a Color Sidekick. If you’re still using a Color Sidekick, it’s time to upgrade.

One of the biggest selling points of the Sidekick 2008 is shells. These simple pieces of plastic are what can turn your phone from ordinary into something flashy and fashionable. T-Mobile will be selling all sorts of standard shells, in a typical range of colors. The device we got our hands on came with a yellow-green shell (like we’ve been seeing in all the Sidekick Gekko graphics) as well as a more subtle black one. The small parts of the device that aren’t covered by the shell (the screen frame, keyboard, and buttons) are a nice simple black as well. Yes, that’s right, right out of the box all you goth kids can finally have a black Sidekick without having to customize it. T-Mobile is also going to have a site where you can create your own shells, share them with others, and buy these custom shells. The shells are going to be created by and we hope they’ll be as nice of quality as the shells that come with the device. We’re also eager to see what sort of shell + custom theme combos people do with their devices. Maybe if T-Mobile doesn’t have a contest, we’ll throw one. Pricing for the shells from T-Mobile is $14.99 apiece or two for $9.99 each.

The camera is not a huge jump in quality, but it’s something. It’s a new 2.0 megapixel camera and it seems to get pretty good quality photos in good light. The camera takes images at a resolution as high as 1600×1200, but does’nt have a flash like the LX. Here are a few pics we snapped with the 2008:

Photo taken with the Sidekick 2008Photo taken with the Sidekick 2008Photo taken with the Sidekick 2008

The camera is slightly better, but you’re still stuck recording video in postage-stamp size 176×144 pixels. It’s handy for sending a quick video message to a friend, but don’t expect to record the championship basketball game you went to with the Sidekick. We took a quick little video: Video taken with the Sidekick 2008

Operating System
The Sidekick 2008 ships with Danger OS 4.7, a slight bump up from the current OS for the Sidekick LX. The OS is virtually identical (we haven’t found any differences yet) to what is on the Sideick LX after the long-awaited video OTA update brings you to v4.6. Just like the Sidekick LX, the Sidekick 2008 also has video playback as well as recording. The Sidekick 2008 has the newer browser that has full page mode as well as a device-optimized mode for viewing web pages. You’ll want to use the full page mode if you want a more “true to original design” web browsing experience, and the device-optimized mode for stripped down and quick web browsing. Oh, and remember that annoying flying icons bug if you had a custom theme and the MySpace app installed? It’s finally fixed. A huge thank you to the developer at Danger/Microsoft that took the time to fix a tiny, yet annoying detail like this. There’s some debate over whether it’s fixed or not.

We’re hearing from T-Mobile that the Sidekick 2008 isn’t going to break the bank and will be available for $149.99 with a 2 year contract. This isn’t the cheapest phone out there, but it’s definitely appealing to get the Sidekick LX features without paying several hundred dollars. The price for the phone without a contract extension will be a bit more for those that don’t want to lock into another 2 years. No official word on this price, but the leaked info from Best Buy makes us think $299.

In the box you’ll get the typical array of accessories. The new charger is well designed, with a plug that flips out when needed. You’ll also get a stereo wired headset/mic, but we bet almost everyone will be picking up Bluetooth headsets since you can now listen to music over them with A2DP now. Two shells are included, a yellow-green one and a plain black one. Once T-Mobile gets the shells site up and running we should see the available options for shells explode.

I like the Sidekick Gekko. It’s not a groundbreaking phone, but it’s a nice daily-use communication device. I’ve been recommending it to friends who are still limping along with a Sidekick II, or an older device. Danger still owns the mobile device instant messaging trophy, as well as the “Best Keyboard” award. If you have any questions, please drop them in the comments below and we’ll do our best to answer them in one post in the near future. Also, we’re curious to see who’s going to pick up this phone:
[poll id=3]

77 Responses to “Sidekick 2008 Review”

  1. jesse Says:

    this lookz so cheap

  2. carolyn Says:

    does it let you go on youtube and watch videos ? cuhs then that would be great!
    And does it show the whole page when u go on the internet or does it crop the page like the SK iD . ? vital informationn. thnks in advanced for those who answer =)

  3. kare Says:

    I have a sk3 now, but I broke it 2 nights ago indefinitely. If I get a sk08, do I need to pay for another Internet contract or does it switch to my new sk?

  4. Brandohhh Says:

    kare on August 11, 2008 at 9:08 am said:

    I have a sk3 now, but I broke it 2 nights ago indefinitely. If I get a sk08, do I need to pay for another Internet contract or does it switch to my new sk?

    Nah you just have to put the Sim Card into your new SK and all your stuff would transfer (except ringtones and apps). As long as the account you have the contract with is active and the Sim Card is with that account, you’re good to go.

    In my opinion, it’s better than the LX (I had an LX and now I have the 2008) and it’s WAY better than the SK3 (Also had that).

  5. Phoebe Says:

    Does anyone know if u could watch you tube on the SK08?

  6. kare Says:

    thanks brandohhh! Getting mine tonight!

  7. lala Says:

    im stickin’ with my LX..its the same thing..all u gotta do is get the OTA uprgrade on it and it’ll be the same.. LX rocks!

  8. BRedd Says:

    bump… i still need an answer people,can anyone help me out??

  9. k Says:

    hey i’m thinkin bout gettin a sk08 but i have at&t and my parents rnt gonna change providers so i was wondering if I got it unlocked would it b able to work with an at&t sim card and have all the features it would have with tmobile?

    also how’s the music player?
    and can like set smaller music files (600kb or less) as a ringtone like the sony w580i can?

    thx guys for ur help

  10. Anonymous Says:

    just got it on saturday & i LOVE it!

  11. a Says:

    can the sidekick 2008 be unlocked?

  12. timtimtim Says:

    Yes, the sidekick can be unlocked but when you do unlock it you can’t use:
    -download Catalogue
    – Or aim I believe.

  13. Michelle Says:

    I would not recommend this phone to anyone the quality of the phone is no where near 299$ the battery life is maybe a day! When you flip the phone open you have to give it an extra push. I have had 2 and they are both the same! The keys are very cheap horrible horrible phone has given me nothing but problems.

  14. Lindy Says:

    @BRedd ;;
    Yes, the SKGekko/2008 is perfect for a first time SK user. I upgraded from an iD&Im very pleased with all the new features :p

    Bytheway- No, YouTube does not work on the SKGekko. I was trying it out earlier today. It goes to the site&lets you search for the videos. It basically lets you see everything EXCEPT the video ! It brings up a 404 error kindof page.

  15. wonderboy198 Says:

    sidekick 2008 is good but so is the lx i like the lx screen but i like the 2008 because it smaller a it is and newer it also curved differnt i really like that so i would buy the 2008 its also cheaper for some reason i playedvwith both of them and they both have the same featuers but theres just something about the 2008.

  16. sklx bluee (: Says:

    k wells im qettinq a sidekick 2OO8 tommorow && ii was wonderingq if i can usee ma sidekick LX charqers on the O8 .? ; becausee ii havee 3 charqerss . ; had aboutt 4 lx brownn & bluee . ;

    can someeonee write an comment under mee , nd tell mee pleasee thankss .

  17. Anthony Says:

    I have had the sidekick 2008 for almost two weeks and I love mine, except for the fact that mine doesn’t last me but likw six hours. I don’t know whether or not its just mine or not but im havin it looked at tomorrow. But this is a great phone except for that tiny, but yet huge problem with the battery.

  18. larry Says:

    tinableee on July 29, 2008 at 10:26 pm said:

    great review, but you completely forgot a very important point.. SOUND QUALITY. many people suffer from the LX’s pathetic speakers, and so calls in noisy areas are hard to hear clearly. is the gekko any better??!!

    Hi every one my name is Larry. I my self own a gekko it is a good phone. But i had better cell phones that was able to do more with like getting free ring tones in game downloads. But if you ask me save your money or get a unlocked pda of some kind.

  19. Michelle Says:

    deluding on July 29, 2008 at 10:46 pm said:

    yeah besides the sound, how is the battery life?
    compared to the lx its 1030 vs 1530 right?
    theres seem to be no flash

    The sound is awsome!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s the loudest and clearest I have ever heard on a phone! 😛

  20. Michelle Says:

    What is that tiny circle on the top of the screen?

  21. shawty Says:

    This is the worse phone ever. I had it since it came and all I get from it are problems. Its not worth the hassel or the money. I wouldn’t recommend anyone buys this phone. Smh what rip off. If your going to buy a sidekick get the lx.

  22. shawty Says:

    This is the worse phone ever. I had it since it came out and all I get from it are problems. Its not worth the hassel or the money. I wouldn’t recommend anyone buys this phone. Smh what rip off. If your going to buy a sidekick get the lx.

  23. Amanda Says:

    im gonna get this phone like pretty soon and i was wondering if it’s like possible to go on gmail in any way on this phone? cuz gmail is like the only email i use. & also overall what would u rate this phone from 1 to 10 1 being worst and 10 being best? Need help!! Plz from more than one person! want dif peep’s opinion. thx love u!! :] 😀

  24. Nathan Says:

    Is there a huge noticeable difference in the internet speed vs 3G phones?

  25. Liss Says:

    The 2008 Sidekick….

    Trackball problems, I have had to send the phone back time and time again. My sound is now going out….idk wth is going on but I have had enough. My hands are small, so this phone was not a good idea, after prolonged use (almost having a year) my hand cramps up all the time even when I am not using the phone. I am reay to get rid of it. My emails do not always come through, or my calls. I am not sure if this phone gets bad reception or if it is just Memphis and TMobile are not the best for call signal??

    Either way I am in the market for a new phone.

    And…yes this ohone can be very slow with internet.

    Had a lot of calls dropping as well, but got a new sim card, that seemed to change things a bit.

    My backlight on keypad has also gone out. 🙁

  26. Jello Says:

    Alright uhmm Im a current owner of the SK08. Price all depends how long you’ve been a tmobile customer. I’ve had the phone for a year and two months. It’s awesome if you like texting course cuz it has the full keyboard and I’ve read complaints about they keys on the phone? I think they’re fine. Yes it is smaller and thinner so I find that better. I wouldn’t really get this phone if you’re a guy I don’t know why but I just don’t seem to see this as a guy phone because to me it seems more of a feminine phone. Speakers are nice and yes there’s a music player. Camera is good and I don’t know about the video cause I really don’t use it. The IMing is nice. The Internet isn’t all that great but I mean common it’s a sidekick. Talk time isn’t that great, battery runs out pretty quick. So definitely not for any buisness person. It’s a good phone mostly for texting I say. But I’ve had issues with it. It takes a while to start up when you turn it off and back on, Im not too fond of the battery life and a while ago I had to exchange it for another because the trackball stopped working completely and now with the one I got for my old one it rarely eve works. It says I have no signal but that’s not true cuz I tested it around other tmobile phones and they worked fine and the phone will keep showing no signal unless I take out the battery and sim and place it back in but now that’s not even working so I exchange it again and see if it’s my phone or just the sidekick in general. Honestly, I don’t recomend switching to SK08 or buying one.

  27. monty Says:

    Good upgrade from a basic cellphone. I would purchase a smartphone of some type. Sk08 is a rip off I expected more from a sidekick its just a step up from a flip phone.

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