Being sick is never fun unless you've got gadgets in hand and loads of uninterrupted time to play with them!
Last week, I did battle with fits of coughing, wheezing and general yuckiness, as well as a butt-kicking inner monologue that screamed: "You are not sick. You have phones to check out and juicy cell news to dish! C'mon, fight it!" Yeah, right. Then I conked out, with meds by my side and gallons of chicken noodle soup at the ready.
On the bright side, I got to snuggle in bed with a hot cup of tea and the shiny new Katana Eclipse X by SANYO.
Sprint's update to the Katana Eclipse, the X, features One Click, which lets users access favorite applications directly from the home screen. Nice. It was easy to send off a quick text or listen to music. Although application shortcuts are nothing new in the cell world, I was glad to see this model join the club. And it was great to see that the cool features from its predecessor made it to the new release. I had fun assigning the phone's different lighting schemes to individual callers. Every time my friend Jennifer called, the LEDs on the front of the clamshell glowed red, making me feel like my captain was calling me back to the Enterprise from an away mission on a distant planet.
Later in the week, I took the phone with me to the doctor's office in Manhattan, and the half-hour wait flew by while I checked e-mail and watched the news, courtesy of Sprint TV. I kept wishing that both the inner 176 x 220 pixel and outer 96 x 96 pixel TFT displays were bigger, so I could actually read the scrolling CNN news ticker, but I was still grateful to have this capability regardless. If I'd driven to my appointment, I would've probably been blown away by the optional GPS service. Sprint Navigation provides visual and spoken turn-by-turn directions with moving maps.
If you're one of the growing legions of pink-phone fans, you'll love that the Eclipse X comes in Hypnotic Pink as well as Nightlife Black. The slim profile fits into a pants pocket or a little date-night handbag. At 3.4 oz., it's extremely lightweight, but for once, this was actually something I was torn about: I certainly didn't want to lug around something heavy, but if I was going to spend $150 on a phone, I'd want it to feel a bit more substantial and not like a toy. (UPDATE: Sprint is now offering the phone for $99.99, with a 2-year service agreement and a $50 mail-in rebate.)
I also kept wishing there was a wider array of applications that I could access directly. Although I appreciated being able to search Google, visit bookmarked websites, and access my call log with One Click, I couldn't add the camera function therewhich is the one feature I tend to fumble with (usually while the photo op passes me by). When I did manage to find and use the 1.3 megapixel camera and video recorder, the phone was challenged by various lighting situations, and with no flash, the resulting images and vids were pretty muddy.
The main feature of any cell is the ability to make phone calls, and I have to admit that this one let me down here as well. Voices came off a little tinny and fuzzy at the same time, and the volume levels either had them shouting at me or so low I couldn't make out what they were saying. The flat, slick buttons made it tough to punch numbers or text friends without visual help (i.e., I had to look at the keypad instead of just using tactile sensation to zen my way through the process).
Overall, the Katana Eclipse X is a nice-looking phone that packs a lot of features into a small package, but there's definitely room for improvement. Not a bad entry-level cell for teens or young adults interested in a multimedia phone, but it doesn't exactly measure up to the price tag.