During the past month, Kyocera has touched all corners of the cell phone world with its Sanyo-branded line of cell phones. The Android-powered makes a play for smartphones; the Innuendo centers on messaging; and the new Vero brings up the rear. Sporting a simple design and functional features, the Vero, aka the SCP-3820, is built for communication. It's easy to use and it performs well most of the time. Yet, the handset's name is a bit much. Vero means "true" in Italian, and according to Sprint, that's "what this small and stylish phone delivers." Seriously...who thinks this stuff up? You can get it for just $9.99 with a two-year service agreement and a $50 mail-in rebate. At full price, it's $209.
If you're like us and have been reviewing cell phones for far too long, you start to notice similarities between handsets, even if there is a couple of years between them. Indeed, when the Sanyo Vero arrived on our desk, we thought of an earlier Sprint phone almost immediately. Samsung's SPH-M150 isn't exactly the same--its camera, for example, is on the opposite side of the phone--but its flat, glossy surface and curved lines remind also us of a skipping stone. For such a minimalist design, the Vero is a bit attractive.
The Vero measures 3.8 inches long by 2 inches wide by 0.6 inch thick and weighs 3.4 ounces. Though thin is no longer a huge trend in cell phone design, the Vero certainly fits the bill. It slips easily into small pockets, and it's almost unnoticeable in a purse or bag. The plastic skin doesn't feel entirely durable, but the hinge mechanism is sturdy. We should note that the Vero has a reverse hinge where its front flap folds behind its rear face when opened. It makes no difference in usability, though.
Front and center you'll see the postage stamp external display. It is monochrome, but it shows the time in huge font, plus the handset's battery life and signal strength. The 2.4-inch internal display takes full advantage of the phone's size. What's more, the rich color support (65,546 hues) and vivid (320x240 pixels) resolution makes it very easy in the eyes. The menu system is easy to navigate, and you can change the brightness and backlight time and add a greeting.
We'd recommend the Vero for users with visual impairments since all keys are marked with large text and numbers. What's more, the spacious navigation array is well-designed. There's a four-way toggle with a central OK button, two soft keys, a camera shutter, a dedicated speakerphone control (nice), and a Back key. The Talk and End/power keys are marked in green and red respectively. The keypad buttons also are large and are brightly backlit for dialing in the dark. Our only complaint is that the keys are flat and rather slick, but we could still dial by feel.
The rear face has a textured material, though it's also made of plastic. The camera lens and speaker sit up top. On the left spine, you'll find the tiny volume rocker and the Micro-USB charger port. Over on the right spine is the 2.5mm headset jack. We'd prefer a standard 3.5mm jack.
The Vero's phonebook holds 600 contacts with room in each entry for multiple phone numbers, plus an e-mail address, an instant message handle, a URL, a street address, a birthday, a company and job title, and notes. You can organize into groups and pair them with a photo and one of 37 polyphonic ringtones. Sprint offers a wireless backup service for your contacts in case you lose your phone.
Essential features include multimedia and threaded text messaging, an alarm clock, a calendar, a calculator, a countdown timer, a speakerphone, a stopwatch, and a world clock. You'll also find stereo Bluetooth, a voice recorder, instant messaging, speaker-independent voice commands and dialing, USB mass storage, and PC syncing. The Vero also supports Sprint Navigation, the carrier's Family Locater service.