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Sanyo PRO-700 Review

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Interface:

Home screen - Sanyo PRO-700 Review
Main menu - Sanyo PRO-700 Review

Home screen

Main menu

The PRO-700 features a familiar Sanyo interface, though there are a few differences. The top level menu has nine subcategories: History, Messaging, Tools, Web, Missed Alerts, Contacts, Navigation, My Content and Settings. This is identical to previous models, like our recently-reviewed Katana LX, except that Pictures has been replaced with Navigation. It can be viewed either in list or grid view, and the subcategories can be accessed via keypad shortcuts in each. There are three style options; Plaster offers white icons on a black stylized background with blue highlight, Calm Tone is black on white with yellow highlight and Carbon offers white on carbon fiber, with a green highlight. All three choices are visually pleasing.

The menu structure is nearly identical to the Katana LX, which unfortunately means we still have a plethora of subfolders under the Settings menu. In fact, with the addition of a Direct Connect option we are up one to 22 in all. Like we noted in that review, many of these could be better grouped, moved elsewhere or completely done away with. It makes the phone appear more complex than it really is, which is not a good thing when trying to ease in the Nextel users. To be fair, iDEN units are just as unorganized and the Sanyo is by far the lesser of two evils.

Favorites - Sanyo PRO-700 Review
Phonebook - Sanyo PRO-700 Review

Favorites

Phonebook

The phone is very customizable too, something we always like to see. The left and right Soft Keys are hardcoded to Favorites and Contacts, but Favorites allows the user to assign up to 12 shortcuts. So, with the 4 hardcoded and 4 soft coded keys around the d-pad, and 12 favorites, the user has 20 shortcuts that can be accessed in one or two clicks. Pretty impressive. The Sanyo menu system has a lot of things going for it, we just wish they’d clean it up a bit.

The phonebook can hold up to 600 entries and a total of 4200 numbers, 1800 email addresses and 600 web addresses. Obviously, each contact can store multiple phone numbers along with a NDC number. Contacts can be customized with personal ringers and a picture ID. In addition to personal contacts, the phone can hold up to 25 Group Connect entries (which in turn contain up to 40 NDC numbers) and 40 TeamDC numbers. More on how those work later.

Unfortunately Sanyo’s archaic voice tag system is back, making voice dialing cumbersome and limited. We were excited to see VoiceSignal on a low-end model like the Katana LX and hoped it meant all models would be getting the wonderful voice dialing program, but unfortunately not.


Software:

Sanyo PRO-700 Review
Sanyo PRO-700 Review
The Navigation menu option takes the user to Sprint Navigation. Sprint is heavily pushing this service and its Everything plans, so it is not a big surprise to see this as an easy-access menu item. The rest of the user’s applications can be accessed from the My Content folder. The phone runs Java apps, and there are countless free and paid programs out there for the user to download.

The 700, and some other QChat phones, are the first EVDO devices not to offer Sprint’s multimedia suite of applications. We’re sure Sprint TV and the Music Store will show up on later, high-end QChat phones, but since the hardware is there it’s a curious decision for Sprint to leave these out. We understand the lower-end devices are meant to be simpler, but if you want to entice Nextel users to switch offering more rarely hurts.

The WAP browser is the same Access Net Front browser found on past models. The Sprint deck is lightning fast over Rev. A, but it doesn’t handle HTML pages all that well. As usual, we recommend Opera Mini for a better browsing solution.

WAP Browser - Sanyo PRO-700 Review
WAP Browser - Sanyo PRO-700 Review
WAP Browser - Sanyo PRO-700 Review

WAP Browser

The 700 has Bluetooth 2.0 and supports the HSP, HFP, DUN, OPP, PBA and BPP profiles.

Other standards are in place, such as a basic planner, calculator, alarm clock, world clock, etc. The user can set up to five alarms, and has several recurring options such as a specific day, weekly and only on the weekends. The calendar is thin on features as you’d expect, but setting up basic appointments works well enough. The rest of the applications are all basic, but get the job done. No one is buying this phone for its PIM functionality.

Mobile Sync is a new program launching with these devices, and will also be found in the Instinct. Similar to Sprint’s previous offering, Wireless Backup, Mobile Sync offers real-time OTA sync with an online contact management tool. Users can enter contacts either into the phone or via the web tool, and the two will mirror each other. Unlike Wireless Backup, Mobile Sync is a free program.

Mobile Sync offers some significant advantages over Wireless Backup. From the web tool, users can mark numbers so they do not show up on the phone, and in total you can store up to 5000 contacts online even if the phone wont’ hold that many. More importantly, this means that if a phone is lost or stolen the user can remotely wipe the contact list by marking all contacts as web only. The online tool also can synchronize with Outlook and can be used to create and manage groups for the NCD Group Talk feature. Mobile Sync Admin is a more power version for enterprise users which lets administrators sync information across multiple phones. All-in-all it looks to be a very powerful feature at a perfect price !


Nextel Direct Connect:

With the move to CDMA NDC has been improved a bit, and we’ll see more upgrades in the future. QChat works over Sprint’s Rev. A network, so unlike iDEN there will be places where voice works but PTT doesn’t. The QChat devices are initially launching it in 46 markets where Rev. A closely mirrors iDEN coverage, and will be available in more markets by the end of the year. Though it will not be sold in all markets, the service will work wherever Rev. A is available.

The main thing, namely Direct Connect between two users, works just as well as it does on iDEN. We experienced no difference in call setup and latency when talking to other QChat users compared with iDEN users. Alerts came through instantaneously, and users even have the option of sending a canned text message with the alert.

The service wasn’t perfect though, and when using the PRO-700 and PRO-200 side by side we sometimes found that one of the phones wasn’t available for DC (as indicated by a status icon) while the other phone was. Usually the issue resolved itself after a few minutes, but this meant the data connection was dead and we could not access the web either. Needless to say, this may be frustrating for users. We’ve actually seen some internal Sprint documentation that references this, and advises that a power-cycle will fix the issue. That fix didn’t seem to work for us, more often than not the issue was still there when the phone booted back up. Nextel struggles from network and capacity issues, so in some ways this will be business as usual for Nextel customers, but it’s an issue that Sprint needs to fix ASAP if they’re going to win over users.

There are still some things that NDC on Nextel offers that NDC on Sprint still doesn’t. Direct Talk (off network DC) is only available on certain Nextel phones and CDMA phones cannot make international DC calls. CDMA users also cannot talk to iDEN users via Group Connect, but that will be interoperable by the end of the year. Push-to-x features, such as NextMail and Direct Send are also not supported, though future push-to-x enhancements have been mentioned by Sprint CEO Dan Hesse. Lastly, Talkgroup, which allows up to 200 local users in the same fleet (first 3 digits of the DC number) to be on a call, appears to be being replaced with TeamDC, which only offers 35 contacts but can be used with any number nationwide.

NDC on Sprint has some advantages, not the least of which is the single number option. No longer will users need to have a separate DC and phone number, though users may opt to retain separate numbers if they wish. Nextel users who switch will automatically have DC calls to their old number forwarded. The one glitch to a single number is that if the seventh digit of a phone number is 0 then the user cannot use it as a DC number and must have separate numbers. Other features include missed DC call notification and OTA provisioning. Users now have the ability to block or allow DC calls from specified numbers. As we mentioned earlier, Mobile Sync can be used to manage contacts and groups online.

There is no doubt that Sprint is making the right move in moving to QChat. No matter how much testing you put a product through there will always be hiccups at launch, but in our experience they have been generally minor. DC performance is undoubtedly just as good as on iDEN, and that’s the most important thing. Another large benefit is that PTT users will now have the expanded voice coverage of the CDMA network, a huge benefit over iDEN. Sprint has done a good job to ensure that iDEN users will get the PTT performance they count on with QChat, they just need to make sure it’s available when it ought to be.

1 Comments
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posted on 20 Oct 2010, 01:55

1. (unregistered)


You refer to a "Test" button several time in the article, but the button at the top of the D-Pad is a dedicated "Text" button.

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Display240 x 320 pixels TFT
Size4.00 x 1.80 x 0.80 inches
(101.6 x 46 x 20 mm)
3.80 oz  (108 g)
Battery1050 mAh, 5 hours talk time

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