Sanyo SCP-4500
By Joachim Bamrud, Fri Jun 15 00:00:00 GMT 2001

Wireless web, voice-activated calling and affordable price have boosted the popularity of this phone.

Wireless web, voice-activated calling and relatively affordable price have boosted the popularity of this phone. But the weight and design pull down the overall rating.

If the Soviet Union had still existed and was producing mobile phones, they would likely have the design and look of the Sanyo SCP-4500. This phone looks more like the Battleship Potamkin than a modern wireless phone. It's way too long (5.31 inches) and weighs too much (5 ounces) for comfort.

But if you're not deterred by such inconveniences, then you'll probably like the phone. To begin with, the price is right. Sprint PCS, which markets the phone in the United States, sells it for $179.99

Second, the user interface functions well. Despite the Soviet-style design, the front features a navigator button, which makes it easy to scroll down, up, left or right. When you're using the wireless Web, this function comes in handy.

Another great asset is the size of the screen, which helps when surfing the web. It typically gives you three lines to read (a plus compared to some other phones, but clearly not as satisfying as the more advanced SCP-5000).

But, it's undoubtedly the voice service that's making this phone popular. You can voice activate calls by just saying the name of the person you're calling (after recording the name and phone number, of course).

You can also get a voice alert of who's calling by using the same system. Instead of hearing the ringing sound, you hear the ringing sound, then for example "Call from Bill." It basically sounds like a company intercom system.

The advantage of this option is that you don't have to see the screen for caller ID to screen calls from people you have recorded in your phone book.

Of course, this is a feature you may or may not want to use. It's not always convenient to have the phone shouting a name rather than just ringing if you're in public, for example. But at least, the phone provides you with the option.

The phone also comes with various ringing sounds (including seven classical tunes) which you can set-up for callers with caller ID, restricted ID or no ID.

You can also record up to 10 memos of 30 seconds each.

The SCP-4500 also comes with a calendar (with alarm to remind you of events), calculator and two games - crab catch (which is also included on the SCP-5000) and Slot Machine. While the former is too slow for our taste, the latter is definitely addictive and a fun time-killer.

Like the SCP-5000, the phone comes with an antenna that can be pulled out for better connection. We tested the SCP-4500 in an area of Miami that had good connection, although we know that other areas have less coverage.

Last, but not least, the phone comes with an impressive battery that boasts up to 4 hours talk time and up to 288 hours standby time.

The combination of this with the voice-activated calling, wireless web and mid-range price, has justly made this phone a popular item.