Focused more on fun than on work, the sleek T-Mobile Dash is a device designed to appeal to the Sidekick set. Though it resembles the Motorola Q, the candy bar-style phone is rubberized, rounded, and otherwise made friendlier for riding along in a pocket.
Unfortunately, the Dash lacks some key software components. The handset includes Wi-Fi and its e-mail works well, but it has little in the way of office applications, bundling only the ClearVue suite for viewing-but not editing-documents. In addition, typing on the cramped keyboard is tricky, as little horizontal space separates the keys, and the tiny buttons feel all mashed together. And because I had trouble getting the Wi-Fi connection to work, I often had to resort to T-Mobile's poky EDGE network.
As an entertainment-oriented gadget, the Dash is a hit, offering a standout media player and a microSD expansion slot so you can add music to the device. But regrettably, someone at T-Mobile forgot that this device needs to work well as a phone, too. Though the Dash lasted a stellar 10 hours in our battery tests, it didn't fare well on other measures. Calls are loud and clear, but dialing them is difficult: Unlike every other smart phone, the Dash fails to supply an on-screen dialpad mode to let you dial digits by their letter alternatives. Whoops!
Still, overall, this capable and extremely svelte handset is a strong contender in the PDA phone sweepstakes.
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