Whatâs immediately noticeable about the S750 is its large screen, which totally dominates the front. Itâs an impressive 2.4in diagonally, the largest Iâve ever seen on a mobile phone. It also sports QVGA resolution and 262,144 colours and for looking at pictures and navigating itâs one of the best screens around.
The design is also notable for the fact that thereâs no number pad immediately visible with a central key surrounded by four directional keys and two keys either side sitting underneath the screen. The number pad in fact slides down from underneath the phone when required. However, itâs rather awkward and canât easily be done one handed. It also makes the phone rather thick, and at 108 x 50 x 22 mm and 122g, itâs not the smallest phone in the world. It will definitely make its presence felt in a jeans pocket. The silver finish on the front is smart but the rest of it looks dull and it has a bit of a plasticky feel to it.
Navigation is straightforward. Down the left hand side of the screen are five icons that provide access to the address book, call list, messages, a schedule and a link direct to the Orange World home page, which (theoretically) provides access to the 3G services. Press the menu soft key and you get the usual arrangement of icons to choose from. The interface is functional and speedy but a little on the drab side, with no animations, which is not what youâd expect from a supposedly cutting edge phone.
There are two cameras in the S750, one on the front and one underneath, though the latter only becomes active when you slide out the keys. This is a decent 1.3 Megapixel CMOS chip enabling it to capture still images up to 1,280 x 960 which makes it a bit more worthwhile than most camera phones. The large screen really helps you see the extra detail. The camera boasts a timer, and a flash and a 4x digital zoom as well as some âfunâ special effects such as sepia and negative. The front lens sits in front of a 310k pixel CCD for capturing video up to 176 x 144 at 15 frames per second in 3GP format.
For expansion on the 8MB of built-in memory, the phone sports an SD card, which is useful for video downloads and MP3s. There is a built in media player and you can drag and drop MP3s onto the SD card, but I discovered that you had to format it in the phone first before it would recognise tracks. Even then I could see no way to skip between tracks in the media player so itâs not exactly going to replace an iPod any time soon. The tracks did sound good on the supplied earphones at least. The audio port on the phone is an extra small âmicro-jackâ if you will, so you canât use your own headphones, and while the supplied ones do have a button on the cord, I couldnât get it to do anything. The phone will interrupt your music playing when you receive a call, though you can turn that feature off if you donât want to be disturbed.
The S750 supports Bluetooth but itâs safe to say that itâs the oddest implementation that Iâve ever come across. Unlike the simple on and off setting Iâm used to from Sony Ericsson; you have to put the phone into a âReady to Receiveâ state, which will time out, though this can be adjusted up to 300 minutes. When you make a call you have to connect first and only then transfer the call to your headset, which is a little odd. After trial and error I was able to receive calls in the headset directly, though for some reason I had to press the button on my headset twice. I have a Motorola HS850 and on my T630 I can just flip open the headset and it will connect to the phone and answer the call. This didnât work on the S750 though, forcing me to have the headset on the whole time. I did manage to get it to sync with Outlook over Bluetooth, though the required Intellisync software isnât supplied and has to be downloaded from the Sanyo web site. The phone also support USB transfers but likewise, the necessary cable wasnât supplied.
Once I got used to the unusual layout, the S750 was satisfactory to use a phone. A video call to a mobile on the 3 network went smoothly and both parties could see and hear each other clearly. However, the main thing that people will get a 3G phone for and what Orange is promoting heavily in its expensive TV adverts is being able to download or stream videos from its Orange World homepage. As I mentioned at the start, this proved to be something of a trial. If seeing the words âError, Connection lost to the Serverâ is your idea of a good time, then this is the phone for you. Despite the Orange web page suggesting I was in near an area of solid good coverage, it seemed that my house was situated in a 3G hole. And while the office was apparentely also in a 3G area, it only worked reliably outside. Often 3 bars would appear indicating a 3G signal only for it to drop to two just as the video download started, which proved annoying. This compared unfavourably to the SonyEricsson V800 on Vodafone with which we had no problems getting a signal.
When I could browse Orange World I actually wasnât bowled over by the speed, with pages taking just too long to load. The range of content was pretty good, with the usual mix of news, sport and movies. However, I was disappointed with the quality of the videos, which appeared small on the hi-res screen. You can enlarge them but then they just look very pixelated.
Even receiving calls sometimes proved a problem, with the phoned not ringing for no apparent reason. Orange alerts you to missed calls by sending you a text message and I was baffled to receive these when I supposedly had good coverage. Standby time is quoted as 260 hours, with 170 minutes talk time or 100 minutes of video calls. During testing though I found myself charging it every day.
The Sanyo S750 is available free on Orange right now on any pay monthly contract but though Iâm in the market for a phone, I canât say Iâm tempted. The S750 has some good things going for it, such as a large screen and easy to understand interface but its cumbersome looks and Bluetooth quirks greatly lessen its appeal. But the problems I had with the Orange 3G network were the real deal-breaker leaving the Sanyo S750 well short of the 3G benchmark set by the Sony Ericsson V800.
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