If you're an aficionado of Sanyo cell phones, your only recourse for a carrier is Sprint. And if you're a Sprint fan with a fondness for solid, basic phones that just make calls, then Sanyo handsets tent to be perfect choices. The latest model we've come across is the Sanyo SCP-7000. Though it supports Sprint's Ready Link push-to-talk (PTT) network, the SCP-7000 doesn't offer many frills. Yet you do get a user-friendly phone with a decent call quality and a sturdy design. It's cheap, too, at just $29 with service.
The Sanyo SCP-7000 closely resembles other Sanyos before it, such as the SCP-2400. A large speaker grille dominates the front face, while a rectangular external display sits just below. Like the SCP-2400, it's not the prettiest phone around, but the SCP-7000 comes with a couple of design improvements that make it slightly more attractive then its predecessor. Though the phone is black overall, you can swap out the faceplate with an eye-catching blue covering. Also, the rubberized sidings give the phone a solid feel in the hand.
At 3.4x1.9x1.05 inches, the SCP-7000 is about average size as flip phones go, but its 3.7-ounce weight puts it on the somewhat heftier side. It's hardly enough to be a bother though, as the phone slides easily into a pocket. The stubby antenna extends even more, but its construction is pretty flimsy so you'll need to be careful. On the other hand, the hinge feels mighty burly, and we like that it clicks into place when you open the phone. The 1-inch (96x32-pixel) external display is monochrome, but that's to be expected on such a basic phone. And in any case, it shows all the necessary information, including the time, battery life, signal strength, and caller ID (where available). Other exterior features are limited to a covered headset jack, a volume rocker, and a Ready link button on the left spine.
The internal display measures 1.8 inches diagonally (128x160 pixels). Though that may sound adequate, it's actually a tad small for the phone's overall size. The 65,536-color resolution isn't exactly eye-popping either, but on the whole, it's serviceable. You can change the backlighting time and the font size for both displays while the internal screen's contrast is customizable as well. The menu interface is standard Sanyo--nothing special but easy to understand. You can choose from two styles and change the overall background color.
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.