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Sanyo MM-7500 (Sprint) review: Sanyo MM-7500 (Sprint)

7.0

Sanyo MM-7500 (Sprint)

The Good

The Sanyo MM-7500 has quality performance; support for Sprint's 3G EV-DO network; a 1.3-megapixel camera with a flash; a speakerphone; and a rugged design.

The Bad

The Sanyo MM-7500 suffers from a poor media-player design, a lack of Bluetooth, and an expandable memory card slot; plus, there are no external multimedia controls.

The Bottom Line

The Sanyo MM-7500 eclipses the competing Sanyo MM-9000 in look and feel, but when you cut to the chase, it does not deliver the features necessary for a complete multimedia experience in Sprint's newest EV-DO network offering.
Sanyo MM-7500
Although it takes advantage of Sprint's high-end 3G EV-DO network, the Sanyo MM-7500 borrows its design cues from the lower-end Sanyo RL7300 and the MM-7400. Integrating a rugged exterior with a standard flip-phone design, the MM-7500 includes access to Sprint's latest multimedia services, a 1.3-megapixel camera, video capture and playback, and a digital music player. Yet, when compared to Sprint's other 3G phones, the handset lacks such important elements as an expandable memory slot, external media buttons, a high-quality QVGA screen, and Bluetooth. As a result, it's a less desirable choice for those intending to use Sprint's live and downloadable services. The MM-7500 comes at a hefty $299, but you should be able to find it for less with service. With a strong, masculine appearance, the Sanyo MM-7500 flip phone is definitely a guy's mobile. The textured rubber trim on the front and the side of the flip is eye-catching and should protect the handset from minor falls. It's no Nextel phone, but it's rugged and durable nonetheless. You get a choice of changeable faceplates that contrast nicely with the gray exterior. We like blue the best, but you also get silver and red. The MM-7500 measures a thick 3.4 by 1.9 by 1.1 inches, but it's surprisingly light, weighing only 4 ounces, so it's comfortable to hold while talking. The size of the phone, however, makes it difficult to fit into a pocket, and it's a tad large for a belt clip. The antenna is external and extendable, but it's flimsy when pulled out.

The Sanyo MM-7500 has a durable design.

For accommodating the huge speakerphone directly above it, the Sanyo MM-7500's 260,000-color, 96x64-pixel, postage-stamp-size external display is on the small side. Still, it shows all the information you need, including battery life, signal strength, the time, the date, and other status indicators. It supports photo caller ID and acts as a viewfinder for self-portraits. The camera lens and the flash are well placed at the top middle of the front flap. We lamented, however, the lack of multimedia controls, which make for easy use of the digital music player when the flap is closed.

The Sanyo MM-7500's internal display measures 1.8 inches diagonally (176x220 pixels) and supports 260,000 colors. Although nice enough, it's a big step down from the 2-inch QVGA display on the Sanyo MM-9000. It's easily readable in dark and light conditions, and gameplay is clear and enjoyable, but it's not that excellent for streaming video or playback. The MM-7500 could have accommodated a larger screen, given its overall size. You can set the backlight time and change the font size.

The gray interior of the Sanyo MM-7500 is attractive and keeps with the industrial feel of the phone. The five-way navigational toggle is nicely sized and has nonprogrammable shortcuts for On Demand, music and messaging menus, and the phone book. The top soft keys access the Favorites menu and your contacts when in standby mode. Finally, the dedicated camera button is located just below the soft keys, across from the Back button. The keypad buttons are small and too flat, but they're nicely separated. All controls are backlit in blue and easy to read in dark conditions.

The right spine of the Sanyo MM-7500 has a key-guard button at the top, which acts as the voice-command menu when the phone is closed and answers incoming calls. Just below is a key that operates the camera, the voice-memo recorder, and the camcorder. On the left side of the phone, the top button activates the Ready Link menu, a two-way walkie-talkie service proprietary to Sprint. The volume rocker is located on the lower-left side and operates the volume, as well as allows you to scroll through other menu options when the flip is closed. When held down, the volume rocker also activates the blinding LED light, which is turned off by the top buttons on either side of the spine. Completing the exterior of the phone are a covered headset jack on the left spine, as well as an accessories connector port and a charger jack on the handset's bottom.

As with the Sanyo MM-9000, we are baffled as to why--with the multitude of options assigned to the exterior buttons on the MM-7500--it has no dedicated MP3 player buttons. While you can turn the volume up and down and go to the next song when in the player, you can't launch the music-player application or fast-forward, rewind, stop, or scroll through your songs. If Sanyo wants to compete with other multimedia phones, it must remedy this.

The Sanyo MM-7500 holds 500 unique contact names, with up to 700 total phone numbers, 500 e-mail addresses, and 500 Web addresses. You can organize contacts into caller groups, assign them one of 17 polyphonic (72-chord) ring tones, and pair them with a picture for photo or video caller ID. As a bonus, the ringer can be set to announce the name. Other organizer features include an alarm clock; a calendar; a to-do list; a countdown timer; a stopwatch with five lap times; a world clock; and a calculator. A voice-memo recorder records up to 18 seconds or 12 recordings for a total time of 72 seconds.

The Sanyo MM-7500 has a vibrate mode, a speakerphone, text and multimedia messaging, and voice messaging (for leaving a voicemail without the caller's phone ringing). There's support for Sprint's PCS Ready Link push-to-talk service, with storage for 200 contacts. Voice-activated dialing without necessary training, including commands such as Dial Number, Find Contact, Go to Menu, and Call Voice Tag, all worked well. The two major issues we have with the features, or lack thereof, are the absence of an expandable memory slot and Bluetooth. Both should be basic requirements for a 3G mobile--fortunately, however, they are available on other Sprint EV-DO phones.

As a 3G EV-DO phone, the Sanyo MM-7500 supports live radio, live streaming TV, downloadable music, and video clips, all through Sprint's Power Vision and Sprint Music Store services. The media player itself supports a variety of file types (MIDI, AAC, AAC+, and MP3), but we weren't crazy about its interface, and we would have liked more functionality, such as the ability to fast-forward and rewind within a song.


The MM-7500 has a camera lens and a flash.

The Sanyo MM-7500's 1.3-megapixel camera has resolutions of 1,280x960, 640x480, and 320x240, with three separate quality selections (Fine, Normal, and Economy). The camera also features a digital zoom; a 5- to 10-second self-timer; four fun frames; a flash; seven color filters; a brightness control; white balance with four settings; and three shutter sounds. The phone's internal 70MB of memory holds up to 145 high-resolution pictures or more than 1,500 at the lowest resolution. Once you take a photo, you can attach a 10-second voice memo to the picture and send it to a phone number, an e-mail address, or the Sprint server, as well as assign a picture as a screensaver or a picture ID. The MM-7500 supports PNG, JPEG, BMP, and WBMP images. Pictures are sharp and clear, with distinct colors.


The Sanyo MM-7500 has good photo quality for a camera phone.

The Sanyo MM-7500 also has a decent camcorder with a number of options that optimize it for every situation. When using the highest-quality setting (176x1,440), you can take only a 15-second video. The longer 30-second videos at the lower setting (128x96) weren't nearly as nice-looking. The MM-7500 supports MPEG-4, 3GPP2, and 3GPP formats. Features include programmable cue sounds and storage of up to 135 clips; six video modes, including Soft Focus and Night; a digital zoom; and editing options similar to the still camera's.

You can customize the Sanyo MM-7500's external- and internal-display color settings, wallpaper, screensavers, and animations. We were able to set 10 shortcut keys using the Favorites list for easy access to our favorite features. The MM-7500 also has a call-screening option, which allowed us to use a prerecorded message, a custom name, or a custom 12-second announcement. If you want more of these options, you can download them through the WAP 2.0 wireless Web browser. You get six Java (J2ME) games.

We tested the dual-band, dual-mode (CDMA 800/900; EV-DO) Sanyo MM-7500 on the Sprint network in San Francisco. Reception was excellent, with no dropped calls, and callers didn't report any problems either. At first, voice quality varied from sounding exceptionally loud and clear to muffled and hollow, depending on how we held the phone, but these concerns eased the more we used it. The external speaker distorts somewhat at the higher volume levels but is impressive for a handset speaker. Even the background noise and the clipping usually associated with the speakerphone remained at a minimum. The MM-7500 also comes with a decent headset.

The Sanyo MM-7500 didn't warm up when using the media services for viewing video, but a 30-minute conversation caused noticeable heat. Sound quality did not decline when we used the phone for extended periods of time, and we didn't get any interference from car or computer speakers.

As a full multimedia solution, the Sanyo MM-7500's performance is certainly in question. While the download and connection speeds are quick, we wish the playback times on the music player were quicker. Also, the songs load so slowly that they require a progress bar, which covers the name of the song. As a result, you can't see the name of the song until it's completely loaded. We are excited at the prospect of an all-in-one phone that incorporates a functional music player, but unfortunately, Sanyo is not quite there yet. We listened to the live radio service, which worked well and came in very clear.

Our other complaint is in regard to the video playback. While we have already cited the lack of a high-quality screen, which obviously affects the video playback, we were also disappointed with the buffering of streaming video when attempting to replay a clip, as well as the mismatched sound and video, which never quite seemed in sync. The browser functioned quickly, but we had repeated connection failures. Downloadable 3D-animation games have excellent-quality gameplay, with quick loading and clear resolution.

Battery life was uneven. The Sanyo MM-7500 has a rated talk time of 3.4 hours and a promised standby time of six days. In our tests, we got 3 hours, 41 minutes of talk time but only four days of standby time. According to FCC radiation tests, the MM-7500 has a digital SAR rating of 0.98 watts per kilogram.

7.0

Sanyo MM-7500 (Sprint)

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 7Performance 7