While there have been a few fancy multimedia Sanyo handsets such as the Sanyo M1 and the Sanyo Katana, most Sanyo phones are made with simplicity in mind. The Sanyo SCP-7050 is one such basic handset, though it does support Sprint's Ready Link push-to-talk network and has built-in GPS. The SCP-7050 is especially useful for those who work or play in harsh environments, as it is the first Sprint phone that is military spec certified against dust, shock, and vibration. It will be available for $149 with a two-year agreement with Sprint.
The Sanyo SCP-7050 is the very definition of a rugged phone. Clad in a rubberized, no-slip material, the SCP-7050 is built with durability in mind. As a result, it isn't terribly attractive. It's quite a chunky phone (measuring 3.6 by 2.0 by 1.1 inches and weighs 4.1 ounces), it has a stubby extendable antenna, and there's a large speaker grille on its front face. Though it's not terribly small, we still managed to keep it in our pockets. Its heft also contributes to a very solid feel in the hand. Flipping it open can be done with one hand, and the hinge feels nice and secure.
Underneath the speaker grille is the 1.0-inch diagonal monochrome external display that shows information such as the time, battery life, signal strength, and caller ID. On the left spine are the headset jack, a voice memo/Ready Link button, and the volume rocker. The right spine is home to a voice dial button, plus a Call List button, which shows a list of Recent Calls on the external display when the phone is closed.
Open up the phone and you'll be presented with a 2.0-inch diagonal internal display. With a 240x320 pixel resolution and 265,000 colors, the screen looked great. Images looked sharp and saturated with color. We were a bit disappointed that the phone didn't have a camera to take advantage of such a nice display. You can adjust the screen's backlight, the default greeting, the background color tone, the color of the screen when there's an incoming call, plus the font size for both internal and external displays. The menu interface was intuitive and easy to use as well.
The navigation array on the SCP-7050 is fairly standard for most Sanyo phones. It has two soft keys, a circular toggle with a middle Menu/OK button, a dedicated Web key, and a Back key. The toggle also doubles as shortcuts for text messaging, the contacts list, the My Content folder, and the calendar. Underneath that are the Talk and End/Power keys, plus a dedicated speakerphone key in the middle. Although somewhat slick, all the keys in the navigation array were raised enough above the surface, so navigation was a breeze. The alphanumeric keypad had a nice bubble-like bump texture to the buttons, making it easy to dial by feel. The whole keypad has a pleasant blue backlight when the phone is active.