The "1-Minute" Review
The Danger Hiptop2/Sidekick II was released in Canada in Spring 2005. The version tested was tri-band GSM world-phone (900/1800/1900 mhz) for use in almost all countries. It's sold as the Hiptop2 in Canada and sold under the Fido brand. In the US, it's branded as the T-Mobile Sidekick II. This handset was tested on the Fido & Rogers GSM networks in Vancouver, British Columbia area. Although the phone is SIM Locked (you can only use it on Fido), we were able to roam on Rogers with the Fido SIM. The phone will be referred to as the Hiptop2 throughout this review, but a lot of the information also applies to the Sidekick II.
Dimensions & Design
The Hiptop2 is quite similar in shape and design to the original version. It has a mass of about 184g (6.49oz), and takes up the space of 13.0 x 6.6 x 2.2 cm (5.12" x 2.6" x 0.87") (W x H x D). The first thing I noticed was the absence of an obvious power button. I searched and looked everywhere. I actually had to have a look at the manual to find it, and I’m a pretty tech savvy guy. I knew at that point that this wasn't going to be an easy phone to use.
The design is quite unique. When closed, all you have access to are the 4 buttons on the front. One to go to the main screen, one to go to the menu, one to close something and one to open something. There's a jog wheel on the right hand side & a 4-way button on the left hand side you can use to scroll through the menus or dial a phone number using the software based number keypad. To open the phone, you press on the tab at the bottom left of the screen. The screen flips up revealing the QWERTY keyboard underneath. On the back of the screen is the IMEI and the model number information, along with "SHARP ELECTRONICS. Made in Japan," printed quite clearly for all to see.
The keyboard buttons were small, but not that hard to use. They were nicely separated from each other, so it would be hard to press more then one by accident. The keyboard isn’t quite big enough to type normally. You really have to use your thumbs or fingers on this one, which is expected for a small handheld device. Dialling can be a pain sometimes because you either have to use the jog dial wheel, or flip the screen open to use the keypad inside, which I was hesitant to do in the heavy Vancouver rain.
On the bright side, the phone was sturdy and didn't creak, or squeak when I squeezed it. The screen was quite nice; nothing spectacular, but easy to read in all conditions. The VGA camera was pretty decent; pictures looked quite good (for a camera-phone) on both the Hiptop screen and a computer screen. You can view any pictures you take instantly on the Danger server, in our case, http://www.fidohiptop.ca, which was quite cool.
Coverage & RF
As I mentioned earlier, this is a tri-band GSM world-phone (900/1800/1900mhz) that will work not only within North America, but also in almost any other country in the world. The phone was able to pick up signal fairly well in weak areas, about the same as a friend’s Fido Motorola V400. It still struggled behind my unlocked Nokia 3595, the RF king, with another Fido SIM. For some reason, the Hiptop2 takes longer then most phones to find service. It usually took about 30-45 seconds after powering the phone on.
This phone's incoming and outgoing sound quality is actually quite good. I was able to stand at the side of one of the busiest roads in the city and talk to Rogers' & Translink, the local bus authority's, voice recognition robots without any problems what so ever. Incoming sound is quite loud with the volume turned up. Again, standing at the side of a busy city road, I had no problem hearing the other party. It's quite clear. Almost as good as the Motorola V400 I compared it to, and better then my Nokia 3595.
Wireless Data, Web Browser, Email & Organiser
The "push" email on this device worked great. The "push" part means that you automatically receive any new email on your device without having to press any buttons to check your email, like you would have to on a normal data device. The email comes through Danger's server, so you have to forward your email to your Danger email, which was email@example.com for us. It may be able to check POP3 email as well, but I was unable to get that feature to work properly. The organiser also worked very well. You can add appointments & reminders online at Danger's website, in Fido's case, http://www.fidohiptop.ca, and they'll automatically appear on your device, similar to Blackberry's service.
From the Fido Press Kit I received, the battery life should be 4.5hrs (talk time) and 2.5 days (standby). That claim is accurate.
This is a good device for someone who wants a good mixture between a personal organiser and a phone. It has a good show appeal. I got lots of attention when I had this device out on the bus. However, if you’re someone who wants a device to browse the internet on the go, look elsewhere. The browser on this device is not good.This editorial review was written by Eric Johannsen / ejohan (ejohan[at]cellphones.ca).
All rights reserved. Copyright 2005. Used with permission.
Read what others have to say about this phone by visiting the HipTop 2 user reviews. Or, check out some reviews we've found for you from around the web:
Prices (Where to Buy)
Sharp released the Hiptop 2 on March 8, 2005.
We've got you covered! Download a free PDF copy of the Hiptop 2 user manual here.
Sharp backs up the Hiptop 2 with a 1 Year parts & labour warranty.
If your Hiptop 2 has problems and is still within its warranty period, you could contact Sharp support or the retailer you purchased the phone from. You'll find Sharp's contact information here. If your phone is off warranty and needs repair for a physical problem such as a broken screen or bad battery, you should visit an authorized service centre or a local phone repair shop. You can also connect with others in The Informr Community Forum to find and share answers to questions.