The navigation array shows a slight departure from that of other Sanyo models. Instead of a circular toggle, the SCP-7000's control is octagonal. The change of shape hardly makes a difference, but we like that the toggle is slightly depressed in the center and that the central OK button is easy to find by feel. The toggle also acts as a shortcut to the phone book, the My Content folder, the My Favorites folder, and the messaging menu. The other controls included two soft keys, a back button, a Web browser shortcut, the talk and end/power controls, and a dedicated speakerphone key. The controls are mostly easy to use, but the soft keys are a tad slick. Also, it's worth mentioning that in standby mode, the Talk key activates voice dialing rather than opening a full list of recent calls. The rectangular keypad buttons are raised slightly above the surface of the phone and have a bright backlighting.
Though the SCP-7000's feature set won't wow you, it comes with all the basics. The 300-contact phone book is a bit small, but you can store six phone numbers, an e-mail address, and a Web address under each contact. For more personalization, you can assign contacts to caller groups and pair them with one of 16 polyphonic 32-chord ring tones. Photo caller ID is available as well, but since photos don't appear on the external display, we wonder why Sanyo even bothered. Also, it's disappointing that the SCP-7000 can receive multimedia messages but can't send them.
Other features include a vibrate mode, text messaging, access to Sprint's Ready Link PTT service, a voice memo recorder (the phone holds as many as a dozen 18-second recordings), an alarm clock, a calculator, a stop watch, a world clock, a calendar, e-mail, and instant messaging. There's also support for Sprint's Wireless backup service, and parents can activate a number of family-friendly features inherited from the SCP-2400. You can restrict certain features, limit calling, and lock the phone book.
You can personalize the SCP-7000 with a selection of screen savers, animation, and alert sounds. You can get more options form Sprint via the WAP 2.0 wireless Web browser. Gaming options are limited to demo versions of four Java (J2ME) titles (Diner Dash, Midnight Bowling, Pac-man and Tetris) so you'll need to purchase the full versions for extended play time. Alternatively, the SCP-7000 supports Sprint's PCS Vision service for a variety of applications such as the carrier's NFL Mobile application and Sprint Radio.
We tested the dual-band, dual mode (CDMA 800/1900; AMPS 800) Sanyo SCP-7000 in San Francisco using Sprint service. Call quality was admirable and was on a par with that of the Sanyo SCP-2400. Voices sounded loud and clear, and we encountered little static or interference on our end. At times there was a slight echoed effect at higher volume levels, but it wasn't too much of a bother. We had slightly more trouble hearing in noisy situations but that's not entirely unexpected. Callers said they could hear us without any problems, though they also reported slightly more trouble when we were in a noisy environment. On the other hand, voice-automated systems had little trouble understanding us. Speakerphone calls had remarkable clarity on both ends, yet the sound does become muffled if you turn up the volume too high.
The Sanyo SCP-700 has a rated battery life of 3.5 hours talk time, and our tests showed a talk time of 3 hours and 42 minutes. An optional extended battery lengthens the promised talk time to 5.5 hours. According to FCC radiation tests the Sanyo SCP-7000 has a digital SAR rating of 0.9 watt per kilogram and 1.08 watts per kilogram.