The email application is fast, functional and can open smaller JPEG, MP3 and text attachments, but you can't then save these files to the phone for use as wallpaper or in the media player. What's worse, your inbox is limited to a miserly 8MB, even if you have a huge miniSD card in the expansion slot (hidden under the battery cover if you're having trouble locating it). This is no business-focussed BlackBerry.
Other messaging is well handled, with the usual SMS and MMS options plus AOL Instant Messaging for thumb fiends. While the Sidekick 3 does have Bluetooth, it's only for pairing with headsets -- there's no wireless data transfer on offer (and no infrared either).
Multimedia options are simply shocking. The 1.3-megapixel camera seriously lags behind today's standards, and there's room for just one full-quality snap on board (although you can also save images to the memory card). Even the cheapest camera phones have a digital zoom or can capture some form of video nowadays, but not the Sidekick 3.
It's also fussy when it comes to audio, playing back nothing but unprotected MP3 files, albeit via a decent-enough graphical media player. There's just one game installed: a playable Asteroids clone.
One cool feature of the Sidekick 3 is the ability to access its data online. You can sign in at T-Mobile's UK Web site from any PC to read emails and download images from the camera. If you then download the Intellisynch application, you can also synchronise contacts, calendar entries and to-do items from Outlook.
Audio calls sounds fine in traditional phone configuration, but we suggest you avoid the tinny, mono speakerphone where possible -- and this goes double for music playback. The supplied stereo earphones are nothing special, so it's good to see the Sidekick 3 sporting a standard headphone jack for easy upgrades.
Data use with T-Mobile's Web 'n' Walk service was fast and reliable, with no terminated connections during our test period. T-Mobile also offers a good selection of free ringtones, games and PDA-light software to download via the Catalogue application.
The 1.3-megapixel photos were better than expected, with fine colours and less-than-usual amounts of distortion and softness at the edges. But its low resolution and limited features offer no competition for any of the latest camera phones from Nokia or Sony Ericsson.
Battery life is also behind the curve, owing to the large screen sucking a lot of juice. With typical use, you'll need to charge up the Sidekick 3 every other day.
Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Kate Macefield