Sanyo Zio (Sprint) Review: Aaron's First Impressions

Aaron Baker
member from Dallas, TX
Published: October 11, 2010

Sanyo Zio 1

Announced last week at CTIA Enterprise and Applications in San Francisco, the Sanyo Zio (by Kyocera) is one of three new Android devices to come with Sprint's new "Sprint ID" interface pre-installed.  Known for dated devices like the Kyocera 7135, the Zio is the manufacturer's first smartphone in recent memory.  While they wouldn't commit to a specific number, Sanyo confirmed plans to launch additional smartphones in the coming months.

After spending a few days with the Sanyo Zio, here are some first impressions:

  • Design-wise, the chrome accents and black coloring are nice, but keep the device from really standing out.
  • At 3.7 ounces, it's incredibly light, which will come off as cheap to some prospective buyers.  The dimensions are 4.57 inches long by 2.31 inches wide by 0.48 inch thick, so it's on par with other smartphones on the market.  Other features include a 3.5mm headphone jack, microSD card slot (with a 2 GB card), and a microUSB charging port.
  • The Zio offers four capacitive buttons below the screen (the usual home, menu, back, and search), along with physical send and end keys, and a trackball.  Overall, the physical call buttons were a nice touch, but I was surprised to see a trackball.  That's so 2007...right?

  • The Zio sports a 3.5-inch touchscreen, which is right on par for a mid-range device.  Unfortunately, there's a 1-2 second lag when doing anything on the device, be it scrolling through menus, pressing buttons, or dialing.  Simply put, it's incredibly unresponsive, inaccurate, and oddly jumpy.  The Zio is targeted as a mid-range device, so I don't expect blazing fast performance.  That said, it's unresponsive enough to frustrate even the most basic user.  It's so annoying that I'm surprised that it was overlooked.
  • Outside of the Sprint ID customization, it's running a near stock version of Android 2.1, which is nice for those that don't care for custom overlays like Sense, MotoBlur, and TouchWiz.
  • At its core, Sprint ID is yet another overlay to the vanilla Android experience, but it opens opportunities for businesses and other third parties to customize devices to their liking.
  • I've worked with the Zio in the San Francisco and Charlotte markets, and call quality has been good thus far.  Earpiece volume is sufficiently loud, and I haven't dropped any calls to date.  My callers told me I sounded clear, and I had no problem hearing them on my end.  I haven't taken Zio to any Sprint fringe areas just yet.
  • Battery life seems to be decent, but I'll know more as I continue to test the device.  After charging it and putting it through its paces by doing some calling, light text messaging, e-mail, and web browsing, I was able to make it just over a day before the Zio powered down.  On that note, the battery door is hard to remove, and it's very flimsy. 

The Sanyo Zio is available now for $99.99 after rebate.  Check out the pictures below, and stay tuned for the full review!

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