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Review: Sidekick LX 2009

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Is It Your Type? Body The Three S's  

I've never been a fan of the Sidekick line's ginormous size. None of them has been dainty, and the new LX is no exception. It's a big phone. It brings back memories of the HP calculators I carried to physics class in high school, and that's just not cool. It's also heavy. Yes, you can put it in your jeans pocket, but only if the pocket is large. Size and weight aside, the LX is a definite improvement over previous generations of Sidekick hardware. It is slightly thinner than its most recent predecessor, but that's not saying overmuch. Fit and finish are much better, and the overall quality of the device feels like it has been upped several notches. The soft-touch paint job on the back feels comfortable and the phone is tight all around.

There are so many buttons on the LX that novices might not know where to start. To the Sidekick faithful, they are mostly the same. Holding the phone horizontally, you have two on the left side of the screen for the main menu and options. Between them is a D-pad (with earpiece speaker built-in). The D-pad has four high ridges that make it easy to find with your left thumb. To the right of the screen you have the X key, end key, trackball, send key and OK key.

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All of the buttons have the exact same amount of travel and feedback and since each has its own patterned texture, they are easy to find. I found the trackball to be very responsive without having to make any adjustments to it.

The swivel action of the screen was the stickiest of any Sidekick I've used. I am not sure if this is because my review unit has been fully broken in yet, or not. I really had to press hard on the bottom of the screen to get it to pop open. Even then, it stopped about 90% of the way open, and I had to adjust it the last 10%.

The QWERTY keyboard is OK, but not fantastic. Because the LX is so wide and has the two rounded humps at the ends of the phone, I really felt like I was reaching more than I should have to get at the keyboard. On top of that, the keys are spread very far apart. This makes them easy to find, but you really have to reach around to get at them. I feel that with the LX your thumbs are going to get a much more serious workout than on many other QWERTY devices. Lastly, the buttons have minimal travel and feedback. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to hate on it. It works just fine. I just prefer different style QWERTY keyboards.

On the bottom of the LX (when held horizontally), there are several buttons and ports. To the far left is a nice 3.5mm headset jack that fits most stereo headphones. Then there are two separate buttons to control the volume. These two are a little bit hard to find, as they are built quite flush to the surface. They also have little travel and feedback. Towards the right side is the power button. This one was easier to find and had better travel and feedback. Last is the miniUSB port for charging and data transfer.

On the top side of the LX are two more buttons. The one to the left is a shortcut to the messaging department, and the second is a two-stage camera key. Both have good travel and feedback.

If you want to swap out the microSD card, you have to remove the back panel of the phone. Thankfully, the card is accessible without removing the battery.


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