While there have been a few fancy multimedia Sanyo handsets such as the Sanyo M1 and the Sanyo Katana, most Sanyo phones are made with simplicity in mind. The Sanyo SCP-7050 is one such basic handset, though it does support Sprint's Ready Link push-to-talk network and has built-in GPS. The SCP-7050 is especially useful for those who work or play in harsh environments, as it is the first Sprint phone that is military spec certified against dust, shock, and vibration. It will be available for $149 with a two-year agreement with Sprint.
The Sanyo SCP-7050 is the very definition of a rugged phone. Clad in a rubberized, no-slip material, the SCP-7050 is built with durability in mind. As a result, it isn't terribly attractive. It's quite a chunky phone (measuring 3.6 by 2.0 by 1.1 inches and weighs 4.1 ounces), it has a stubby extendable antenna, and there's a large speaker grille on its front face. Though it's not terribly small, we still managed to keep it in our pockets. Its heft also contributes to a very solid feel in the hand. Flipping it open can be done with one hand, and the hinge feels nice and secure.
Underneath the speaker grille is the 1.0-inch diagonal monochrome external display that shows information such as the time, battery life, signal strength, and caller ID. On the left spine are the headset jack, a voice memo/Ready Link button, and the volume rocker. The right spine is home to a voice dial button, plus a Call List button, which shows a list of Recent Calls on the external display when the phone is closed.
Open up the phone and you'll be presented with a 2.0-inch diagonal internal display. With a 240x320 pixel resolution and 265,000 colors, the screen looked great. Images looked sharp and saturated with color. We were a bit disappointed that the phone didn't have a camera to take advantage of such a nice display. You can adjust the screen's backlight, the default greeting, the background color tone, the color of the screen when there's an incoming call, plus the font size for both internal and external displays. The menu interface was intuitive and easy to use as well.
The navigation array on the SCP-7050 is fairly standard for most Sanyo phones. It has two soft keys, a circular toggle with a middle Menu/OK button, a dedicated Web key, and a Back key. The toggle also doubles as shortcuts for text messaging, the contacts list, the My Content folder, and the calendar. Underneath that are the Talk and End/Power keys, plus a dedicated speakerphone key in the middle. Although somewhat slick, all the keys in the navigation array were raised enough above the surface, so navigation was a breeze. The alphanumeric keypad had a nice bubble-like bump texture to the buttons, making it easy to dial by feel. The whole keypad has a pleasant blue backlight when the phone is active.
The SCP-7050 is quite a basic business phone in terms of features, without a camera or a music player to make things too complicated. The address book holds up to 500 entries and each entry can hold up to seven numbers, an email address, a memo, a web URL, and a home address. Each contact can be assigned one out of 17 polyphonic ring tones and also can be placed into groups. Photo caller ID isn't available, and that's just fine, considering the phone doesn't have a camera.
Other features of the phone include a vibrate mode, text and picture messaging, voice messaging, voice-activated dialing, e-mail, Bluetooth, a speakerphone, instant messaging, voice recording, an alarm clock, a stop watch, a countdown counter, a world clock, a calculator, mobile web access via Sprint Vision, built-in GPS, and support for Sprint's Ready Link push-to-talk service. There's also Wireless Backup, which lets you back up your contacts list remotely to Sprint's servers, just in case you lose your phone. Plus, you can use your phone as a modem if you're signed up on the appropriate Sprint plan.
Personalization options are somewhat limited with only a handful of background themes, screensavers, and alert tones. You can, however, download more screensavers and sounds from Sprint. Included games are a demo of Brain Juice, a selection of Gameloft games, a Pac-Man demo, Tetris, and a demo of World Series of Poker, and you can always purchase more Java (J2ME) games from Sprint as well. You can download quite a few handy applications too, such as Sprint Radio, which lets you access Sprint's audio streaming service with everything from the latest chart toppers to podcasts from NPR. Another handy application is the Telenav GPS Navigator, which gives you turn-by-turn driving directions to your destination.
We tested the dual-band dual mode (CDMA 800/1900; AMPS 800) Sanyo SCP-7050 in San Francisco using the Sprint network. We were very impressed with the call quality; audio came in loud and clear and callers could hardly tell we were on a cell phone. Speakerphone calls were impressive as well; though there was a noticeable hiss at certain points in the conversation, it was nothing to worry about.
The Sanyo SCP-7050 has a rated battery life of 4.4 hours of talk time and a tested talk time of 4 hours and 34 minutes. According to FCC radiation tests, the Sanyo SCP-7050 has a digital "="" rel="follow">SAR rating of 1.22 watts per kilogram.