Sanyo Katana II review: Sanyo Katana II

Behind the Katana's slim silhouette is a disappointing feature set. It doesn't have nearly the multimedia clout that the Razr and the Samsung MM-A900 have in terms of a megapixel camera, media-player functionality, and 3G support. Yet the Katana II has several basic features that should satisfy most users. The dinky 300-entry address book holds up to seven numbers per entry, an e-mail address, a Web site URL, a home address, and a memo. Plus, you can assign a contact to a group, a photo ID, and one of 16 polyphonic (72-chord) ringtones. There's also text messaging, instant messaging, e-mail, picture mail, voice recording, Bluetooth, a calendar, an alarm clock, a countdown timer, a stopwatch, a world clock, a calculator, a vibrate mode, a speakerphone, and a wireless Web browser. We liked that you could activate the speakerphone before you make calls. The Katana II also has a built-in GPS that has access to location-based services like Sprint Navigator.


The Sanyo Katana II took mediocre pictures.

The Katana II offers a VGA camera, which produced predictably disappointing picture quality with washed-out colors (not to mention way too much orange) and blurry object edges. You can take pictures with three different resolutions (640x480, 320x240, or 160x120 pixels), three quality settings (Fine, Normal, Economy), and the choice of either two shutter sounds or silence. Other camera settings include five picture modes (Normal, Beach/Snow, Scenery, Night/Dark, and Soft Focus), a self-timer of up to 10 seconds, multiple shot, stitch shot, 10 picture frames, eight color tones, brightness, and white balance.

You can customize the Sanyo Katana II with a variety of screensavers and animation graphics, though there doesn't seem to be an option to change the wallpaper. Plus, you have the option of downloading more screensavers, graphics, and ring tones from Sprint via the wireless WAP 2.0 browser. On the gaming front, the phone comes with Midnight Pool, World Poker Tour, and demos of Ms. Pac-Man and Tetris. You also have the option of downloading more games from Sprint.

Performance
We tested the dual-band, trimode (CDMA 800/1900; AMPS 800) Sanyo Katana II in San Francisco using Sprint's service. Signal strength and call quality were great, as both parties could hear each other loud and clear. Speakerphone quality was similarly good, and we were impressed with how loud the calls were. We successfully managed to pair the Sanyo Katana with the Cardo S640. Browser speed was predictably poky, taking a few seconds to load each page.

The Sanyo Katana II has a rated talk time of 3.5 hours and a rated standby time of seven days. Impressively, our test showed a talk time of 4 hours, 27 minutes. According to FCC radiation tests, the Sanyo Katana II has a digital SAR rating of 0.554 watts per kilogram.

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