Sanyo Zio Review

Sanyo Zio Review

For years there had been rumors on Sprint forums about a Sanyo smartphone; at first it was going to kill the Treo, then the BlackBerry.  These were back in Sanyo’s heydays when the manufacturer was winning customer satisfaction awards left and right.  That mythical smartphone never appeared, and Sanyo has fallen into the ranks of also-rans since then.  Sure, there have been some decent phones, but they have yet to venture out of the featurephone market, often content to stick with entry-level devices.  But now we have the Zio, the first smartphone from Sanyo to run Google’s Android platform.  The Sanyo Zio is a bit of a mixed bag, offering at the same time higher-end features such as a WVGA display and low end elements like a bit of a cheap feeling.  Like we said, it’s a mixed bag.  Included with the Zio you’ll find a 2GB microSD card, microUSB cable and AC adapter.


The Sanyo Zio is a black slab device, except that it’s got some significant silver on it.  The 3.5” 480x800 capacitive display dominates the phone and is quite a nice screen.  With 262K colors the TFT panel looks very good, especially with a high resolution and smaller screen size (the 4” Epic 4G and 4.3” EVO 4G also have WVGA resolutions) the pixel density is very good. The colors, however, are a bit off and in sunlight the display was washed out almost entirely.  When placed next to the Samsung Transform and HTC EVO 4G you could tell that the colors were over saturated, and in the same lighting conditions we could still use the Transform whereas the Zio needed to be shaded to be used.  The display also has responsiveness issues.  We often found ourselves having to select something multiple times before our input was registered, much like you would have to do on resistive touchscreens.  Another drawback is that it does not support multitouch, a feature we have grown accustomed to even in entry level smartphones. 

At just 3.7 oz the Sanyo Zio feels incredibly light in the hand.  This is nice because the device easily slips into your pocket without being noticed, but at the same time makes it feel cheap.  The lightness is likely due to the heavy use of plastic- in fact the total use of plastics.  It is nearly an ounce lighter than Sprint’s HTC Hero, a similarly sized device with a smaller display.

You can compare the Sanyo Zio with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

Again we’re back to the mixed bag thing here, because while the device feels cheap at the same time it feels well-built. The back door has a nice coating of soft touch paint, and while it is very light, the Zio does not feel poorly constructed.  Below the display are four capacitive keys for home, menu, back and search and two physical keys for send and end/power. There is also a trackball in this navigation cluster that looks and feels very much like the one from the BlackBerry Tour 9630.  Like with the Hero we really never found ourselves using the trackball, though it is nice to have for fine navigation from time to time.  The capacitive keys offer haptic feedback.  Like the display, it sometimes took multiple presses for the input to be registered.  The physical ones are small but offer a reassuring click so you know they’ve been actuated.  Not helping Sanyo’s case is the poor backlighting on the capacitive keys: it is uneven and certain areas (like the right side of “menu”) are noticeably dark.  None of these things are deal breakers, but at the same time it is clear that Sanyo/Kyocera remains a minor player in the hardware business.

Overall we’re not very impressed with the Sanyo Zio.  On paper things look good, but in reality the design and more importantly the execution could be better.  If the phone was light and worked well that would be one thing, or the device came in at the original rumored price point of free then we couldn’t complain too much, but at $100 to have a display with color and responsiveness issues and less than stellar materials we feel we have a right to gripe.

Sanyo Zio 360 Degrees View:



1. MaxABC unregistered

It's really rare to see a 4 rating.. any other phone with low ratings?

2. TREY unregistered

That thing has to be better than a 4

3. Joshing4fun

Posts: 1253; Member since: Aug 13, 2010

Dang. I can't even remember the last time i've seen a phone with ratings that low.

4. depeche unregistered

I am pretty sure it did the multi-touch feature... this makes me want to go back to the store and see if a 4 is actually warranted ! ! !

5. stuntz

Posts: 178; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

IDK Phone arena, things like the screen responsiveness might be fixed by a firmware updated, and i thought multi-touch was there too, but i havent received my demo unit here so im not sure, as for the feel, I love how light it feels, and I like the soft touch of the plastic.

6. belivingtheword

Posts: 9; Member since: Nov 06, 2009

Four must be a fat-fingered seven.

7. Mikal unregistered

Come on Phone Arena, give Sanyo a break, it's there first Android phone and you can't expect far too much and you must admit that it is a good phone. You can have the touchscreen fixed, probably and they made it with plastic because it is nice and light, and it makes it a great start for a first Android phone both for Sanyo and the user. Besides, Sanyo has plans to make more Smartphones and Androids and they will probably be even better. So give the Zio a break, it's a good phone with plenty of features and is the best from Sanyo.

8. Mikal unregistered

The Zio is a good starter and Good Android phone. It is better than how PhoneArena describes it. I think PhoneArena has something against all Sanyo phones. They never recommend thei phones over other branded phones, even when Sanyo makes some high quality products. Sanyo/Kyocera IS a major phone manufacturer, not a minor one just because of a little problem on the phone. You can have some of these problems fixed anyway! Treat all phone manufacturers equally and don't be so much of a critic toward Sanyo and Kyocera. The Zio deserves a way better rating.

9. Mikal unregistered

Phone Arena must have something against Sanyo/Kyocera as they never recommend their phones over other phones of a different brand. The Zio is a great phone for a first Android and a great budget Android phone. It deserves a way better rating than it has. Treat all phone manufacturers equally and don't be so much of a critic towards Sanyo and Kyocera.

10. Scream.X unregistered

I just got this phone and i think its great. The screen looks great youtube videos are great. Facebook app works better then anyother smartphone iv had. Dont listen to 1/2 these people leaveing comments about this phone there just babys and everything has to work how they want. This is a great phone!!!!

11. XSR unregistered

just got this phone and ill admit the qwert keys are a little annoying but so far the entire experience is extremely appealing. its light and easy to use. the android market is bitchin and much more user friendly than the itunes market. a 4 is way too low for a phone with this much capability.

12. zumio unregistered

This is phone got a quadrant score of about 360 average and a neocore of 28 fps. That fps is better than a nexus one and an evo. I wouldn't call a phone like that bad and it's only got android 2.1!

13. SpecOps2 unregistered

A "4" is too high a rating for this piece of ABSOLUTE JUNK! I have always hated screen typing, and prefer a slider keyboard, but since this was provided to me by my employer I gave it a try. Worst screen tracking ever and no internal settings to adjust, freezes constantly, lags, totally unresponsive, slooooow, and that's if it works at all since sometimes even Android (2.2) is too much for this "smart" phone to handle. About the only thing that works all the time is the camera (and I do mean ALL the time). Since the raised external push button is VERY raised and right in the path of your fingers while just trying to hold the phone, well you can guess the rest, you get to Seriously, save yourself a lot of aggravation and pick another phone. Kyrocera has always been a few paces behind everyone else, and this is no exception. There is not enough memory available to handle even the basics, and then you run a couple background apps and it becomes a paperweight..Nope, not even good for that as it's so light! Mine came re-branded as a Sanyo, not surprising since most who know the K brand wisely shy away from it. I gave mine back to my employer, and told them I would gladly pay the up-charge for the Samsung Epic 4G or Evo Shift 4G. Since 4G isn't the reason for them wanting employees to have smartphones, from now on they are issuing Samsung Transform or Intercepts for company phones and either one (I've had both and like them equally) blows this lightweight away like a pro MMA fighter VS a high school wrestler. About the only things they got right are the size, slick chrome touches and the trackball is really nice, they should put one on every smart phone.

14. juicy unregistered

if u have always liked slide qwerty board WHY would you purchase this phone? and THEN s**t on the review?! people come on shopping for a phone is like shopping for a car. The best one that suits you. if i like to sit high i wont buy a dodge neon and then complain about it sitting low. with all that said i am big on responsiveness and accesibility with my phones. this phone over exceeded my expectations givin the width and lightness of this phone. i am impressed with sanyo's first android. fits my needs in a phone... just make sure it does for you before you buy it! its fiine...

15. pissed unregistered

This phone is terrible . Rings when it wants to ,has download issues. Cant assign ringtones, shuts off when it feels like it. Sprint is not owning up to problems. Instead they want the general public to keep the phone until sanyo desides to release the software to fix the problem. And as of yet no release date. Missed calls, mixed txt's. This is the worst phone ever.

16. Thomas willis unregistered

This the worst phone I've ever had I would not recommend this phone to my worst enemy. The touch screen is horrible, you can never touch the letter you are trying to type, the fronts are too small and can,t be increased, there is no end program function on most apps. In other words this phone sucks. I wasted $130.00 on this piece of junk. If you are in the market for a phone, DON'T BUY THIS ONE

17. Sucks unregistered

Worst phone ive owned for about five years which is sad. I used to be with t-mobile and I would gladly switch back too my nokia nuron way faster phone it is ayearolder then the zio. This phone lags like crazy loading videos is slower than old people driving.i hate this phone it close s out of theinternet browser like crazy don't even think about surfing two web pages at once it won't happen.don't even give angry birds a half a thought lags like crazy the swype keyboard technology is the only thing I like.ig ii kinda like the camera to its ok but ever y thing else gets two thumbs down I'm just glad I still have my thirty days I'm saying f**k going for a free phone and goimg with the evo 4g. f**k this phone is all I have to say.if ur getting a phone just drop a hundred dollars and get the evo u won't regret it trust me

18. Zio is garbage unregistered

They should pay people to use this phone. Those defending it I seriously doubt own one, ether that or have never used another "smart" phone. I got it for free and can't wait to go change it out, hell I'd have been happier if I had got a beeper instead.

19. phoneinezer unregistered


20. pi***d off sprint customer unregistered

i got the phone a couple years ago with an upgrade it sucks a** it has a ringing that just happens when it wants to and the only way to stop it it is to turn down the incall volume wich makes it where u caint hear anyone on the phone it freezes up u caint set ringtone the internet sucks on it it is always coming up with errer messages i absalutly hate it i would pay somone to take it and use it when i went up to sprint with my problems they wouldent do anthing the 6th time i went up there i threaten to shove it up somones a** and they said sanyo will come out with a software to fix it well its been a month and still no date on when it will come out im about to take this phone to the shooting range and be rid of it forever

21. pi***d off sprint customer unregistered

o ya i almost forgot screen freezes alot! battery sucks ass after a couple weeks it gets slow as hell sends txt to wrong people keyboard a f**king joke but main problem is the ringing it has a wierd ass ringingthat comes from it restarting the phone somtimes works for a whole 2 minuts i put my phone on vibrate when im in a place that ur suposed to but that f**king ringing has gotten me into all kinds of s**t

22. jclubb unregistered

This phone is junk and i would never recommend it to any one i rate it a 1...

23. giveitabreak unregistered

I had a lot of the same problems that everyone else has had, the phantom ringing, the lagg, texts being sent to the wrong people ect......what i did was swith to my wifes old bb for two months, with the thought that maybe if i gave it a break it would relieve some problems....i just recently swithed back and so far my idea has worked....its nottop of the line or anything, but for someone who is new to andriod or smartphones in general phones like the zio are good ways to get your feet wet.....sometimes i think some of us smartphoneaholics forget that not everyone is ready for the top end phones, the zio is just my personal phone, it shys in comparisson to my work phone (thunderbolt) but that doesnt mean it isnt a decent phone for new smartphone users

24. Disgruntles_Sprint_Cussor unregistered

A horrible phone. Delayed text messages and mostly inoperable keyboard, can't enter phone numbers so can only receive calls. Been a Sprint customer for 10 years now and would have gladly gone back to my first Sprint phone. Took it back after 3 weeks and traded for a Samsung Galaxy S. Much better but had to pay a $35.00 restock fee. On the restock fee, not sure what I actually paid for--Sprint Store drug their feet on returining it to the mothership. I have had to do all the leg work to keep from being charged a $200 early termination fee. Still unresolved.

25. mad phone user unregistered

I AM curenty using this phone. I HATE IT!!!!! It rings at random times, is slow nomatter what you do with it. Battery life sucks. I can't upgrade, i'm not paying a Sh**load of money for a new phone. guess i'm stuck with this crap. I'm tired of hearing all of my friends and coworkers tell me how they hate my phone and about how crappy it is. I HATE THIS PHONE. i read this and i think it deserves less than a 4!!!!!! it sucks!!!!!!ughh, sombody please come take this crap away from me.!!!!

26. TDC unregistered

I've had this phone for 9 months and have had nothing but problems. I was given a new phone 30 days in and still have issues. It drops calls, sends them right to VM, will just shut down without any reason, does not put through text messages. I have done every update and been to the service centers. This phone is not worth the money or time.

27. embrashine

Posts: 1; Member since: Oct 24, 2011

This phone is awful. At first I thought the lagging problem is because I'm a multi-tasker. So, I watched what I was doing & started being takes 45 seconds for the camera to load. AND that is if I press the camera button for that long. If someone calls, the LCD starts to blink, the phone vibrates but the screen remains blank until the 3rd ring. Then when I unlock to answer - it lags. I have missed so many calls just because of the lack of response, it's pathetic. If I get the market updates for any app (gmail or google maps too), the internal memory goes nuts - starts warning me of low memory & starts rejecting my text messages. It freezes at least twice a day & I have to remove the battery. I just despise this thing. And there is nothing I can do as I cannot afford a different phone.

28. Babydolla

Posts: 1; Member since: Dec 27, 2011

This is a CRAP phone. We got them as an upgrade. Can we say downgrade! They shut off all the time. There is no space internally that when you get an upgrade it causing you to have a message that says, "phone space low" and starts rejecting my texts!! I have no voice mail or texts and that stupid message will not go away.I hate that is syncs to my email. No thank you! That should be a choice and if you delete the messages on phone they delete off the server. Other phone gave me option to just delete off phone. Battery life is horrible. My husband can't take his off the charger or it dies within a few minutes. If my daughter sets hers down it shuts off. The charger piece is a joke too. After awhile it seems to loosen and you have to find angles and other ways to get it to charge, Today was the final straw. My phone reset and I LOST everything. I feel like throwing it against a wall, but it is all I have. It wiped out everything!!! IMiss my blackberry.
Zio M6000
  • Display 3.5" 480 x 800 pixels
  • Camera 3.2 MP
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon S1, Single core, 600 MHz
  • Battery 1130 mAh(6.00h talk time)

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