Underneath the display is a navigation array, which consists of two soft keys, a circular toggle with a middle Menu/OK key, a dedicated camera key, and a Back key. The toggle also doubles as shortcuts to four user-defined functions. Below the array are the Talk, speakerphone, and End/Power keys. We didn't quite like the Eclipse's keypad. The navigation keys were all right, but the numeric keypad felt too slippery and flat for our tastes.
The Katana Eclipse has a 500-entry phone book, which seems a little small, but each entry is able to accommodate up to seven numbers, two e-mail addresses, a Web address, a home address, and a memo. You can then organize the contacts into caller groups, pair them with a photo for caller ID, or any of 32 polyphonic ringtones. You can also pair each contact with alert tones for incoming text messages, picture mail, voice SMS, and e-mail. You can also assign a specific illuminating or lighting effect for each contact's calls and messages as well.
Other basic features include a vibrate mode, a speakerphone, text and multimedia messaging, a calendar, a scheduler, a to-do list, a world clock, a calculator, a stopwatch, an alarm clock, and a countdown timer. More advanced features include voice command and voice dialing support, voice SMS support (the capability to send each other voice messages), wireless backup support for contacts, stereo Bluetooth, GPS functionality for use with Sprint Navigation, a wireless Web browser, instant messaging, and e-mail (POP3, IMAP, AOL Mail, AIM Mail, Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, Gmail. You also have the capability to check work e-mail as long as your office uses Outlook Web Access for Exchange).
Since the Katana Eclipse is an EV-DO device, Sprint has also granted it access to Sprint's 3G services like Sprint TV, which has a wide array of live television programming from content providers like CNN and Fox Sports, Sprint Radio with more than 150 channels, plus the Sprint Music Store, which lets you download songs over-the-air for 99 cents per track. The price also includes another copy of the song to download to a Windows PC.
The music player is pretty generic, and it's tied to the Sprint Music Store interface. You get to see the album art, plus the song and album title, and of course, there are controls for rewind/previous track, play/pause, and fast forward/next track. Music player settings include song repeat, shuffle, and the capability to create and edit playlists. The Eclipse has a microSD card slot that can take up to 8GB of additional storage, so you have room for plenty of songs.
Another step up from the Katana LX is the Eclipse's 1.3-megapixel camera. You can take pictures in three resolutions (1280x960, 640x480, 320x240), three quality settings, and five picture modes (Normal, Beach/Snow, Scenery, Mirror Image, Night/Dark). Other settings include brightness, white balance, sharpness, contrast, a self-timer, multiple shots, shutter sounds, fun frames, color tone, and up to 12x zoom. Photo quality was mediocre for a megapixel camera. Colors looked dark and overcast, and images appeared slightly blurry. There's also a built-in camcorder that can record video in two resolutions (176x144 and 128x96) in three different quality/lengths (Normal is 35 seconds, Fine is 25 seconds, and up to available storage). Other camcorder settings are similar to that of the still camera.
You can personalize the Katana Eclipse with a variety of graphics and sounds for wallpaper, screensavers, alert tones, and more. If you want more, you can always download them via the Sprint browser. The phone also comes with five games--Diner Dash 2, a demo version of Galaga, a demo version of Platinum Solitaire, and a demo version of Sims 2. Similarly, you can download more via the Sprint store.
We tested the Sanyo Katana Eclipse in San Francisco using Sprint's service. We were very impressed with the call quality, as were our callers. Callers reported that they could hardly tell we were on a cell phone, and our voice sounded natural, loud, and clear. On our end, we could hear them loud and clear as well. Speakerphone calls were also quite admirable; callers had no problem hearing us. We did think they sounded muffled and on the tinny side, but that's typical for most speakerphones.
Music quality was quite decent as well. It was lacking in bass, but other than that, the songs sounded crisp and clear. Of course, we recommend using a stereo headset to get better audio quality.
Download speeds were admirable. It took us an average of 40 seconds to 45 seconds to download a typical 3-minute song. The video quality of the streaming TV wasn't too bad, but it's hard to tell with such a small screen. Quality worsened noticeably when we were watching high-action sports though. That said, there was little to no buffering time, and the sound quality of the stream was good.
The Sanyo Katana Eclipse has a rated battery life of 4.6 hours talk time. The Eclipse has a tested talk time of 5 hours and 10 minutes. According to FCC radiation tests, the Sanyo Katana Eclipse has a digital SAR rating of 0.912 watts per kilogram in the PCS mode.