The Sanyo SCP-200 is an entry-level phone for Sprint PCS. Aside from the integrated speakerphone and some interesting color options (you can get it in blue or pink), the SCP-200 offers few surprises. In fact, with below-average battery life and limited features, the SCP-200 is best suited for users that value simplicity and affordability over form or function. At $169 or cheaper with service, it's also a great option for a family plan, though kids will bemoan the lack of trendy features. In most respects, the Sanyo SCP-200 is a run-of-the-mill flip phone. The 3.6-ounce mobile is compact but not dramatically so, measuring 3.3 by 1.9 by 1.1 inches with the standard battery. We're disappointed that there's no external display, which many of us rely on for caller ID, as well as to check the time and the mobile's signal strength and battery life. A stubby antenna adds girth, but the handset still fits in a pocket with ease. It also feels comfortable when held to the face while talking.
Inside, the phone sports a relatively small, 1.6-inch-diagonal screen that is capable of showing 65,000 colors. It's hard to see in direct light, but you can change the font size and the backlight time. As with most Sanyo phones, you navigate the phone's menu via a centrally mounted round toggle that offers one-touch soft-button access to your contacts and your shortcuts. At the center of the navigation circle is the Menu/OK key. There are also dedicated buttons to quickly access your messages or to turn on the speakerphone.
The keys themselves are mounted flush with the face of the phone and can be slippery. A standard 2.5mm headphone jack is on the side of the phone, just above a volume rocker. Two design details that distinguish the SCP-200 are the handy integrated speakerphone on the front flap and a tiny LED light that blinks when the mobile is on. We especially like that the handset is available in two colors besides the staid silver. You can select an edgier Deep Blue and a downright sassy Pink Fusion.The Sanyo SCP-200 offers a collection of features designed for making voice calls but not much else. The phone book can store an ample 300 entries, each containing seven numbers, and as many as 300 e-mail and Web addresses. Just remember that since there's no external display, you have to open the phone to see who is ringing. Calling features include voice-activated dialing, a choice of call answer modes, and a call-screening option that delivers a prerecorded or custom 12-second announcement to select callers. The phone collects your call history, including 20 outgoing calls, 20 incoming calls, and 20 missed calls. Unfortunately, there is no call timer, so you can't see how long you've talked or keep track of your minutes.
The phone also comes with a host of built-in ring tones, including eight polyphonic (32-chord) and eight monophonic melodies. The variety is essential because without access to Sprint's online site, it isn't apparent how you can add ring tones. Other options include a vibrate alert; text (but not multimedia) messaging; and a standard selection of productivity tools such as a calendar, an alarm clock, a stopwatch, a world clock, and a calculator.
We were surprised to see a speakerphone and voice dialing on such a basic phone. You also get a voice-memo tool that records up to 12 audio messages, each of which can be 18 seconds long. As stated previously, since the SCP-200 is designed primarily for making voice calls, there's no Web browser or e-mail access. There also are no preloaded games and no way to download them from Sprint. You can personalize the mobile with a variety of wallpaper, screensavers, and sounds.We were impressed with the call quality and signal strength on the triband (CDMA 800/1900; AMPS 800) Sanyo SCP-200. We tested the phone in the New York metropolitan area on Sprint's CDMA digital network and consistently got a clean, clear signal. The speakerphone was also able to pump up caller's volume to a decent volume, while still making our voice heard. Callers said they could hear us clearly, although there were a few complaints about background noise when we made calls on the street.
Battery time was less than stellar, however. We were able to get only 3 hours of talk time out of the SCP-200, even in digital mode; that is less than the phone's rated 3.3 hours. If talk time is your priority, you will want to invest in the extended-life battery, which Sanyo claims will deliver as much as 5.8 hours of talk time in digital mode. For standby time, we managed 7 days on a single charge compared with the promised time of 13 days. According to the FCC, the SCP-200 has a digital SAR rating of 1.18 watts per kilogram and an analog SAR rating of 1.36 watts per kilogram.