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Sanyo SCP-3100 review: Sanyo SCP-3100

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The Good The affordable Sanyo SCP-3100 is a solid Sprint clamshell that comes in several colors. It supports Sprint's Ready Link walkie-talkie network, and it features a VGA camera, voice recording, analog roaming, and a speakerphone with great sound quality.

The Bad The Sanyo SCP-3100's monochrome external display doesn't show picture caller ID. Also, the colors on the internal display appear washed out.

The Bottom Line The Sanyo SCP-3100 has a solid feature set that belies its simple exterior. While it may not be the most attractive phone, the SCP-3100's Ready Link support, VGA camera, voice recording, speakerphone, and great audio quality add up to a decent midtier mobile.

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6.6 Overall

Sanyo SCP-3100

The Sanyo SCP-3100 is yet another sign that push-to-talk (PTT) phones are gaining more mainstream appeal. This Sprint clamshell comes in not one, not two, but four different colors--Blue Energy, Always Pink, Espresso, and Pure Silver--which are definitely aimed at a wide audience. The SCP-3100 is also one of very few PTT phones that come with a camera, another sign that it's geared toward more users than just industry professionals. The SCP-3100 is currently available for $199.99, though you can get it for $49.99 after a two-year service agreement with Sprint.

At first glance, the Sanyo SCP-3100 may remind you of a kid's walkie-talkie, thanks to the plastic exterior and the large speaker grille; the phone looks a bit cheap as a result. Its size and heft (3.31 by 1.83 by 1.01 inches; 3.5 ounces) are good for smaller hands, but the clamshell too bulky to slip in a jeans pocket. Though it isn't a big deal, opening the SCP-3100 takes some effort due to a springy hinge, but the phone cradles your ear comfortably. The SCP-3100 also has an extendable antenna.

The Sanyo SCP-3100 reminds us of a kid's walkie-talkie.
Underneath the aforementioned speaker grille is the 1-inch-diagonal, 96x32-pixel monochrome display, which is backlit in bright orange when activated. It displays the time, the signal, battery strength, and caller ID but not photo caller ID. Below that is an LED indicator that flashes when the camera is activated, while at the bottom of the front flip are the camera lens and a self-portrait mirror. On the phone's right spine are the headset jack, a Ready Link button that doubles as a voice-memo button when the phone is on standby, and the volume rocker. On the left spine is a dedicated camera button.

Open the Sanyo SCP-3100, and you'll be presented with a rather lackluster 65,000-color, 128x160-pixel display measuring 1.75 inches diagonally. The clamshell's screen seemed more washed out than that of other phones, and we weren't impressed with the color scheme on the main menu. As for customization options, you can adjust the backlight timer for the main screen, the keypad, and the external display. You can also adjust the font size, the internal screen's contrast, the sleep-mode timer, the greeting, and the menu style (grid or list view).

Below the internal display is the navigational array, which consists of two soft keys and a five-way toggle that provides shortcuts to messaging, the phone book, the My Content folder (a collection of games, ring tones, screensavers, and applications), the My Favorites folder (a list of shortcuts to frequently used applications), and the main menu. Farther down are the dedicated camera button, a dedicated speakerphone button, a Back button, the Talk and End/power keys, and the keypad. All buttons are well laid out and tactile, as well as easy to press and dial by feel, but we wish the Back button were directly under the toggle instead of the speakerphone key. The keypad has a green backlight when activated.

The Sanyo SCP-3100 comes with a slew of features that belie its simple appearance. The phone book holds only 300 entries, but each can accommodate 7 phone numbers, an e-mail address, a Web address, a personalized ring tone, and a picture. Of course, you'll have to open the phone to see the picture caller ID, since the external monochrome screen can't display images, as we noted earlier. There's also a separate Ready Link contacts list with access to 200 personal contacts and 200 business contacts. There are 10 polyphonic (32-chord) ring tones to choose from, as well as 8 short tones for message or alarm alerts. Organizational features include an alarm clock, a calculator, a stopwatch, a world clock, and a calendar. In addition, you get text, multimedia, and instant messaging; e-mail; 18-second voice memos; voice dialing; a speakerphone; and a WAP 2.0 wireless Web browser. There's also a feature that utilizes GPS technology to detect your location.

The Sanyo SCP-3100 has a VGA camera and a self-portrait mirror.

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