Sanyo PRO-700 Review

Introduction and Design
This is a CDMA phone offered with Sprint.

In every company’s history there are a few special dates. Sprint is banking that June 15, 2008 is one of those dates. On that day QChat went live nationwide, the first tangible step in bridging the deteriorating gap between CDMA and iDEN customers. The Sanyo PRO-700 is an important part of this; its rugged exterior and no-frills appearance will no doubt be the choice of many iDEN customers looking to reap the benefits of CDMA while keeping their beloved PTT. This isn’t a hybrid device like we’ve seen in the past, the PRO-700 and the other QChat phones offer CDMA PTT that is interoperable with iDEN. The PRO-700 is certified to Military 810F specifications for dust, shock and vibration. It, along with the other phones launching that day, will be the first non-Motorola phones to offer Nextel Direct Connect (NDC.) Other features include a QVGA display, GPS and EVDO Rev. A data.

Included in the box you’ll find:

  • Lithium Ion battery
  • AC Adapter
  • Holster with swivel clip
  • Users guides


The PRO-700 is a no-frills, rugged device and that is apparent from the first time you lay eyes on it. Most of the phone is coated in black rubber, and the front display is housed in bright milled aluminum. The sharp contrast between the two materials, as well as the black (probably fake) hex nuts that holds the housing on only enhances the phones ruggedness. The rubbery finish, combined with a narrow design, give the phone a much better feeling than anything iDEN has ever had to offer. In fact, in-hand the 700 really feels like a rugged KRZR.

You can compare the Sanyo PRO-700 with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

The display and its milled housing dominate the front of the flip when closed. The external display is a high contrast black and white that is perfect for the outdoors. There are several different style options, but by default the numbers are large and black, set on a white background. Even your grandma could read this without glasses in direct sunlight. Above and below the displays, screen printed on the aluminum, sit the Sprint and Sanyo logos, and at the four corners are hex screws that at least give the appearance of holding the trim on. At the top of the flip the speakerphone microphone sits above an embossed “GPS,” both in a trapezoidal recess of the black housing. The flip is shorter than the overall length of the phone, and the large speaker sits on the RAZR-like hump. It is a very industrial-looking 3x8 grid of small square holes, and centered above it is a hidden LED that to indicate NDC call status.

Along the left side, from top to bottom, is the volume rocker, NDC button and a covered microUSB port. The right side features a covered 2.5mm headset jack, speakerphone toggle and side end key. The keys are all rubbery which makes them a bit sticky and easy to use, they have good travel so you know they’ve been pressed. Like we’ve seen from some PowerSource hybrid phones, the NDC key on the 700 features a blue backlight when in use. It also blinks to alert the user of a missed NDC call. It’s a very cool small detail.

The back of the 700 is very plain and comprised almost entirely of the battery door. The only feature that sticks out is the “Nextel Direct Connect” sticker that points to the NDC button. The fact that this is a sticker, and not printed directly onto the door, is quite odd. It’s a very low-quality move in an otherwise highest of quality phone . Near the bottom of the door is a sliding lock that keeps the cover in place. At the top, as part of the phone, are two recesses for screws. The recess on the left does double duty as a lanyard loop.

The flip opens securely, but thankfully that familiar Sanyo click is gone. Reminiscent of a slider, the flip offers some resistance when being opened or closed, but past a certain point finishes the process nearly on its own. The hinge feels great, and we don’t see it loosening over time. When opened the user is treated to a 1.9” QVGA display. It is bright and crisp, and even at only 65k colors it has some visual pop to it. The display’s small size probably plays a factor in this, but even still it’s not quite as deep as similar, 262k color screens we’ve seen from Samsung.

The keypad below has more buttons than most yet remains plenty usable. The five way directional pad is surrounded by a ring of keys. Starting at 12 o’clock and moving clockwise are Text, Right Soft Key, Back, End, Speaker, Talk, Web and the Left Soft Key. Shortcuts can also be assigned to each of the d-pad directions, giving the user four hard-coded shortcuts and four soft-coded ones. At the center of it all is the Menu/OK button, and below is a standard 12 key dialpad. Everything is backlight in a cool blue, which looks even better against the black backing. The buttons themselves are on the small side, especially Text and Speaker. They are a bit shallow, though do offer a reassuring click when pressed. Given the narrowness of the 700 we can’t fault Sanyo for the small keys, but those with fat fingers may have a slightly harder time pressing them.

The PRO-700 is a well designed phone. It’s not going to win any awards for beauty, but it will win the respect of Nextel users and that is what Sprint is going for. Even with the rugged design the phone is still relatively small, and it feels well weighted in the hand. The rubber finish makes it easy to grip, and the Military spec construction means it can be tossed around without worry. The success of QChat relies heavily on Nextel users feeling comfortable with their new phones, and the 700’s design makes a great first impression.

Recommended Stories

Loading Comments...
FCC OKs Cingular\'s purchase of AT&T Wireless