CNET First Look
Sanyo ZioThe Sanyo Zio isn't the fanciest Android phone, but it's an ideal beginner smartphone for Cricket customers.
Hi, I'm Kent German, senior editor here at CNET.com. Today, we'll take a first look at the Sanyo Zio. This is a phone that's marketed by Sanyo but made by Kyocera, actually. When this phone first came out, a lot of people were confused about how to pronounced it. I thought it was "zi-yo" at first 'cause it's spelled Z-I-O but it's actually "za-yo" so "za-yo." In fact, the carrier had to come out and say, "Oh, this is how you pronounce it," and they had to spell it phonetically in the press release so, remember, it's zayo and that's "ki-yo-sera" not "ka-yo-sera." I get in a lot of trouble for saying "ka-yo-sera" so I try not to do that. In fact, they had to send me a pronunciation guide, how to spell their company name. But anyway, back to that phone. It is a midrange Android phone. You know, design is pretty basic, minimalist. I don't think there's anything wrong with that, it just doesn't have a lot of flashy things. It doesn't have a slideout keyboard, no sort of any kind of mechanism that does anything, just a big touchscreen with a few navigation controls underneath so pretty slim, pretty comfortable, nice tactile, sort of a soft touch feel on the back here. Phone doesn't have a lot going on inside. I think that's fine, though, so I'm not gonna knock that they're just offering midrange features. It just has 3.2 megapixel camera, it has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, all that you ned, but it doesn't have 4G or anything like that. Of course, Cricket doesn't have that yet, but my biggest problem with the Zio is that it runs Android 1.6, so that does mean that you're not gonna get a lot of features you want. You don't get multitouch zoom. You're not gonna get any kind of tethering, anything that comes with those higher end upgrades so that is disappointing. I wish Cricket and Kyocera and Sanyo would really upgrade that very soon. Back to the phone now, we do have some navigation controls down below. There's this little trackball. It's a little recessed, maybe a little smaller than we'd like but I still thought it was pretty easy to use. A couple touch controls down below for the standard search keys. You see that there's Menu, Home button, and the Back. They're pretty sensitive, I could touch them easily to get what I needed to do. Down below, there's physical controls for the Talk and End buttons. You only get three homescreens which is a little disappointing. I'd like to see a little more than that, but the Zio does have the standard pullup tab, you just pull that up, you get to the menu keys, so very basic features there's. You can populate the homescreen with whatever you need, folders, widgets. You can change the wallpaper. Pretty standard but I think that's fine. You should get everything that you need here and this is Cricket's first Android phone. It is one of the first Android phones for a smaller carrier. Cricket isn't quite national yet so in San Francisco, we weren't able to test it on Cricket's home network. We had to use roaming, but the phone quality was fine. Felt like it had what I needed. The nice thing about the Zio is it does have a really cheap data plan. You get almost everything you need, unlimited call, unlimited text, just in the $50 range so that's pretty cheap compared to other carriers. Because Cricket does not require contracts, the Zio is going to be more expensive so it's about $229 if you bought it online, $249 if you don't so that's much more expensive than what you might get for, if you had this phone with a regular carrier, it might be about $99 but it is simple, easy to use, and it offers functional features. I'm Kent German, you're with the Sanyo Zio.