This chunky but funky little device – which isn't really designed with the corporate business user in mind – offers full web and webmail access, phone and basic PDA functionality and can be used for IM chat. And if you're not familiar with its user-friendly Hiptop 2.0 operating system, that could be because its creators, Danger, weren't good enough to launch previous devices this side of the Atlantic.

The eponymous Hiptop gadget caught our eye a year or so ago, so we were particularly pleased that the Sidekick II made the voyage. It's a joint effort between Danger and Sharp that's available only from T-Mobile and has many compelling attractions, chief among which is its ease of use.

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The Sidekick looks as much like a teen's gamepad as a communications device. The screen, which features large, attractive icons, flips up to reveal a qwerty keyboard with small but pleasingly responsive rubberised buttons.

You jump through menus by scrolling the BlackBerry-style wheel on the right then select options by clicking it, which is in some ways less fiddly than the touchscreen approach of the similarly sized Qtek 100. Chunky buttons provide shortcuts to applications and act as quick keys.

As well as standard mobile phone functions there's a to-do list, calendar, notepad, VGA camera, SMS and MMS messaging, photo ID, Java-based games and a catalogue to grab ringtones and other downloads.

Contacts can be imported from your phone SIM and in addition to the T-Mobile email address you're given you can have mail from up to three other external accounts delivered to it.

T-Mobile Sidekick II: Specs

  • GSM and GPRS phone-cum-PDA
  • talk time up to 4.5 hours
  • standby 2.5 days
  • integrated qwerty keyboard
  • VGA camera with flash
  • tri-band mobile phone
  • 32MB ROM
  • 16MB flash
  • charger
  • pouch
  • hands-free headset
  • 129x66x23mm
  • 198g
  • GSM and GPRS phone-cum-PDA
  • talk time up to 4.5 hours
  • standby 2.5 days
  • integrated qwerty keyboard
  • VGA camera with flash
  • tri-band mobile phone
  • 32MB ROM
  • 16MB flash
  • charger
  • pouch
  • hands-free headset
  • 129x66x23mm
  • 198g

OUR VERDICT

Inserting the SIM card is a little fiddly and we found it prone to popping out – something that wasn't terribly easy to sort out as the thick rubber cover was hard to remove. Otherwise, if you don't need corporate email access and can get by with T-Mobile's webmail, this is an admirably easy-to-use device.

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