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Sanyo Katana Review
The device was named after the Samurai sword, the Katana, and features an equally slim body. Its features are also very closely related to those of the Motorola RAZR. Perhaps an attempt to transition RAZR users to a familiar but new device, the Sanyo Katana.
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At first glance, the Sanyo Katana may be mistaken for the RAZR device as they both have a very similar design. While closed the Katana has a large 1 inch, 65,000 color display which provides the time, date and displays incoming calls as well as doubling as a self-portrait camera viewer. The camera is located in the top centre of the device. On the right and left sides of the phone are dedicated buttons, such as the volume rocker and camera control key.
When the phone is flipped open users are greeted by a large QVGA 2.2 inch, 320 x 240 resolution screen which also supports 65,000 colors. The display is slightly glossy in the sun but there are configurable options for the font size, brightness and contrast of the screen. Below the bright display are several buttons; the keypad and navigational controls. The navigational keys are comprised of two soft key buttons and a directional toggle pad. The toggle pad offers 5 different executable tasks once pressed, including the inbox, voice recording and the Web browser. Below these soft keys is another dedicated camera button and a Back button and above them are the Talk and End/Power on and off key with a speakerphone button in the middle. The keypad is a basic T9 board.
Additionally, the Katana also houses two ports for a headset and power adapter. The ports are covered by a rubber sheath to prevent dirt and damage. The Katana is a very lightweight device at just 3.4 ounces and measures 3.9 x 2.0 x 0.6 inches, slightly smaller and lighter than the Motorola RAZR. It is also available in either black, pink, blue or white.
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The Sanyo Katana features a very simple and unique user interface. Its standby screen features a clock, which can be configured to either a digital, analog or world clock display, as well as two shortcut keys that correlate with the softkeys below the display, the time, battery meter and network name.
Entering the main menu requires a tap on the center button of the D-pad or directional button. The main menu features a standard 3x3 icon grid on a grey brushed metal background. The numbers on the keypad correspond to the icons on the grid; for example, pressing the number 3 will activate and open the 3rd or top left icon. Sub-menu's are listed downward and can be activated by the keypad as well.
The Sanyo Katana also allows users to configure the size of font, enable or disable the voice prompt system and much more. Enabling the voice prompt function results in a computerized voice announcing the keys which are pressed when entering a telephone number, record or typing a text message. This feature is especially usable for the visually and hearing impaired.
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The Katana's VGA camera has a nice selection of features including picture modes. The camera functions also allow users to set at least 4 different groups of settings for easy and quick access. The phone also includes several other features including a self-timer, multi shot mode and keyboard shortcuts for quick access of the settings menu. Although the camera menu is packed with great and usable features, the camera itself, at just 1.3 megapixels, takes poor photographs, unless tweaked extensively for an average result.
The Sanyo Katana does not have a media player but plays tracks from the ringtone menu. The phone holds only 5MB of built in memory and has no port for expansions so it may not be a great musical device. It fortunately has a few interesting games preloaded into the system, like Gameloft's Midnight Pool, Namcos' Ms. Pac Man, Forma World Poker Tour and Jamdat Tetris. There is also the ability to purchase and load more games onto the Sanyo Katana through Sprint's website which is accessible from the device.
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The Sanyo Katana operates on an 800 and 1900 Mhz network provided by Sprint and is a dual-band or tri-band device. The phone’s reception is decent in low reception areas but fairs well in most other areas with full signal strength and call connectivity. Voice quality on the Sanyo Katana is loud, crisp and clear without any static or other distortions. The Katana's battery lasts for up to 4 hours while being used and 7 days on standby.
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The Katana is an attractive and lightweight mobile phone which is Sprint's answer to a slim and functional look-a-like to Motorola's flip phone range. The large QVGA screen provides a plethora of colors and the interface offers good usability. Although it may not be the best musical device, the Sanyo Katana offers great call and sound quality coupled with style and comfort. It is a good budget phone.