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Review: Sidekick LX

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Is It Your Type? Body Three S's  

The Sidekick LX is finally slim enough to slip into your pants pocket. Sure, it shows a little, but now all your friends see is a slight outline, not a huge bulge. And they certainly won't see a grimace on your face as the old handles dug into your thigh. You can barely feel the new sleek shape against your leg.

Other than the reduced thickness, the LX is relatively unchanged from the Sidekick 3 as far as the shape and navigation buttons are concerned. The only way a stranger might know you're not using a sidekick 3 is if he noticed how positively huge and bright the new screen is.

As on the Sidekick 3, the LX is basically a large rectangle that you hold sideways to use. It has buttons lining both sides of the screen as well as on the top and bottom edges. The D-pad, to the left of the screen, also doubles as the speaker. These left and right edges - where you hold the Sidekick - are tapered, making the device very comfortable to grasp despite its large size. The new, thinner profile also make the sidekick easier to hold sideways when you're holding it to your ear to make a call. Holding the LX to your ear is also more comfortable now the the channels that went down the edges of the 3 have been filled in to create a nice round curve from front to back.

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Unfortunately the thinner profile has reduced the size of the shoulder and volume buttons beyond what had been done to the Sidekick 3. Now they are even more difficult to find as they are integrated right into the edges with no texture or other indicator to find them by feel.

Dedicated Sidekick users will appreciate two ways the Sidekick LX has regressed. Danger has returned to a rubber coated keypad similar to the Sidekick 2. The keys are not raised quite as high as on the 2, but they feel almost as good, and are much easier to type on than the hard plastic keys on the 3. The screen also flips open as easily as it did on the 2. It does not catch on anything and a light tap in the upper right corner easily sends it flipping around.

The only part of the LX's design that is not an improvement is the plastic used in the body. It is not any worse than past Sidekicks (although the appeal of glossy dark brown is debatable), however considering what so many other phone companies have done with plastic bodies, the Sidekick LX looks a bit cheap. The solid build quality and nice heft, however, prevent the LX from actually feeling cheap.

We also had a problem with the microSD slot, which is hidden beneath the battery cover later in our tests. At some point when popping out the card, the spring inside the slot broke and wouldn't allow us to properly slot the card back in. This is the first time this ever happened to us in all our years of testing.

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