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Review: Samsung Sidekick 4G

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The Sidekick 4G makes some really dumb mistakes with the phone app. The phone software is a slightly reskinned version of the stock Android phone app, The dialpad is nice and spacious, but is a bit confusing to use. Most Android devices have four tabs that run across the top of the phone app (dialpad, call history, favorites, contacts/voicemail). The Sidekick 4G has these, too, but they are extremely small. And rather than being actual tabs, they are just underlined text pressed up against the top of the display. It's unclear if you press or swipe to get to the next choice. They are much more difficult to use than they need to be. Worse, if you press the voicemail tab, it doesn't show you a list of voice mails, it dials the voicemail system. That kinda sucks. Where's visual voicemail?

The biggest problem for a seasoned Sidekick user, however, is that the phone application doesn't support landscape mode. Really, Samsung? This isn't Windows Phone 7, you can turn the phone app on its side if you want to. For a device that will likely be used in the landscape mode more often than portrait, this is a major failing. It makes using the speakerphone really annoying, and if you want to dial a call from landscape mode, you have a lot of extra work to do.

At least the Sidekick 4G offers Wi-Fi calling, though this feature isn't as useful as the old UMA-based Wi-Fi Hotspot calling T-Mobile used to offer.

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Thankfully, the contacts application *can* be used when the Sidekick 4G is in landscape mode. The contact app works mostly as it does on other Android phones, save for one neat trick. When viewing a contact, swipe to the left to start a text message, swipe to the right to start a call. It's a useful shortcut.


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