Sanyo Katana LX review: Sanyo Katana LX

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
  • Overall: 7.0
  • Design: 6.0
  • Features: 7.0
  • Performance: 7.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good The Sanyo Katana LX has an attractive translucent OLED display and a mirror-finish exterior. Features include Bluetooth, voice dialing, and GPS functionality. It has excellent performance as well.

The Bad The Sanyo Katana LX has a lackluster screen and disappointing photo quality.

The Bottom Line The Sanyo Katana LX is a decent entry-level camera phone for its price range.

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Sanyo and Sprint launched two Katana flip phones a year ago, dubbed the Katana DLX and the Katana II. Both handsets followed the first Sanyo Katana released about two years ago, which was nothing more than a scaled-down Razr competitor. The Katana DLX saw a number of impressive feature upgrades, but the Katana II only saw slight design improvements. Well, the Katana II is now replaced with the Sanyo Katana LX, which debuted for Sprint in April 2008. The Katana LX looks very different from any of the other Katanas, complete with a reflective surface and translucent OLED display. Features include a VGA camera, Bluetooth, GPS location services, and not much else, so this is meant as an entry-level camera phone for those who don't need a lot of fancy multimedia features. The Katana LX comes in Pacific Blue, Elegant Pink, and Liquid Graphite. It's also very affordable at $49.99 after a two-year service agreement with Sprint.

If you were to tell us the Katana LX followed the line of the previous Katanas, we wouldn't have believed you, based on its design. While the other Katanas opted for the slim and wide Razr look, the Katana LX is completely different. Measuring 3.7 inches long by 1.9 inches wide by 0.7 inch thick, the Katana LX is thicker, curvier, with rounded edges and a smooth reflective front surface. The surface is so reflective you could use it as a mirror. It's not too heavy at 3.4 ounces and has a nice heft in the hand.

The Sanyo Katana LX has a translucent OLED display.

At first glance, you might think the Katana LX doesn't have an external screen. But when you hit any button along the side, you will activate a very cool translucent OLED display. It is right in the middle of the phone and displays the usual date, time, battery, and signal strength information. Because of the translucent display, the letters and numbers appear to be floating in the middle of the phone, resulting in a modern space-age sort of look. Since it is OLED, however, you can't view photo caller ID. It also won't act as a camera viewfinder, but the surface of the phone is reflective enough to be used as a self-portrait mirror. Above the display is the speaker grille, and above that is the camera lens. A dedicated camera button, volume rocker, and charger jack sit on the left spine.

Flip open the phone and you'll find a 65,000-color internal display. It's a tad smaller than the Katana II at around 2 inches diagonally. Not only does the screen appear lackluster, its menu interface lacked color as well. You can adjust the display's backlight time, font size, and contrast. You can also change the foreground with a clock/calendar or greeting.

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Where to Buy

Sanyo Katana LX - Liquid Graphite (Sprint)

Part Number: SCP3800KTB
Pricing is currently unavailable.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Talk Time Up to 288 min
  • Technology CDMA2000 1X
  • Combined with With digital camera
  • Service Provider Sprint Nextel
  • Weight 0.2 lbs