four days of danger

i’ve had a few days to live with the danger hiptop/sidekick; while i’m generally happy with it, there are loads of issues that make it less than a homerun. i’m aware of t-mobile’s terms of service issues , but i chose to live with them given the steep discounts i got on the device at the t-mobile store, and the fact that there is an upcoming release of a syncing application that makes the whole thing less of an issue for me.

size.

it’s clunky. i knew this before i bought it, but it still doesn’t lessen the daily aggravation of having a phone/data device that doesn’t conveniently slip into your pocket. of course, if they’d have made it any smaller, i’d be complaining about the keyboard and screen being to small. in the end, i guess they got the tradeoff almost right, but i just wish it could be slightly svelter, since it’s a pain to try to constantly find a place to stash device the size of a largish bar of soap.

battery life.

i hate talking on the phone so i’m not exactly what you’d call a power user. it looks like i might be able to go the day without charging with moderate data usage and a few phone calls, so it’s basically in the “charge every night and maybe top it off during the day” category, which is not spectacular but not surprising given the tradeoffs that the engineers had to make.

converage and speed

coverage is so-so in grand rapids, which i know is the fault of the radio in the device, since i haven’t had any problems with other phones on the t-mobile network. it also seems fairly instable, in that the phone can move from 4 bars to 1 or none without moving anywhere. data coverage also seems adequate. i haven’t done any speed tests, but the perceived download speeds are 56Kbps at best. general web browsing is painful, but instant messaging is quiet pleasant. a wifi replacement, this is not.

applications

up until this point the device doesn’t have a whole lot going for it, but it has a few applications that start to tilt things back in its favor.
ssh client

terminal monkey. great geegaws words can not explain how happy this makes me. there’s no “pipe” key, but that’s
fixable
. the latency sucks at times, but i don’t care. the ability to ssh
anytime, anywhere almost makes me want to cry.

IM

it feels really responsive. and rightly or wrongly, aim if often “good enough”. i wish that there was an ssl option formore secure communications. and here’s to hoping that someday
they’ll turn on the
rumoured support
for jabber. in the meantime, i guess the support for ssh gives me some command line jabber options for those times when i might not want stuff going out insecure over aim.

synch
o.k. it hasn’t technically been released yet, but i am breathlessly awaiting missing synch. ssh, instant messaging and a good synch app, along with tmobile unlimited $20 data plan more than make up for all the other issues.

email

the installed email client is a joke. i’m an IMAP guy. and the email client only does half-way imap. you can retrieve your email from an IMAP/SSL client, but it doesn’t synch your folders – i.e. if you delete the email on the sidekick, it doesn’t get deleted on the server, which largely defeats the purpose of IMAP. a quick check of the hiptop’s forums reveals that many people just migrate to something like fusemail. i suspect i might be able to kludge something together with squirrelmail.

web browser

ugh. it’s mostly a painful affair. the browser has all sorts of css rendering issues, it doesn’t do javascript, it seems to have issues with http auth and so on and so forth. add in the fact that the network does not in any way shape or form qualify as speedy, and you quickly realize to avoid the browser on sites that aren’t
specifically designed for small devices.

camera

i didn’t get one because i’ve heard they are laughable. i might break down and get one, but at this point it’s not very high on my list.

phone

and lastly, the phone. since i put this last you can see where it sits on my priority list. i was looking for a mobile data device with a wan interface first and a phone second. and that’s exactly what i got. if you’re a power phone user you’ll definately want to pass this up. the sound quality is adequate, but nothing to brag
about. the size makes it difficult, if not impossible, to do a one-handed “pick up the phone and answer it” move. you get the idea.