Video Tour: QChat DirectConnect
It really couldn't be easier. On the left side of the Sanyo PRO 200 and PRO 700 is the DirectConnect button. A quick press opens a list of all your recent DirectConnect sessions. From this screen, you can select any of your contacts to contact them, or use the right soft key to pull up an options menu for other action items. With a contact highlighted, the left soft key is a Message/Alert key. Pressing it pulls up a short menu that lets you call, text message or send a VoiceSMS to that contact number.
But who wants to do all that when you can just reach out to that person right away? With a contact number highlighted, pressing and holding the DirectConnect key will automatically open a connection to that number. With repeated tests, opening a connection ranged between 1 and 1.75 seconds, with 1.25 seconds being the average. This is timed from the start of pressing the walkie-talkie button.
Once the connection is open, it behaves just as the iDEN system did. One caller presses and holds their button to speak, while the other listens. As soon as one person has let go of their button, the other can speak. When you press the walkie-talkie button, it takes perhaps 1/4 of a second to open the line on the other phone. There is a slight delay in sending and receiving messages, perhaps 1/2 a second. During a normal phone call that might be an issue, but because of the nature of how DirectConnect conversations take place, this isn't a big deal.
One thing to keep in mind. QChat requires EVDO Rev. A coverage. Sprint's entire EVDO network has been upgraded to Rev. A, but that doesn't mean every single market has EVDO coverage. Some are still limited to 1X networks, and in those regions, QChat DirectConnect will no work. Just something to keep in mind.
In all, though, we were impressed with the service. It performs on par with the old iDEN-based walkie-talkie service. It is fast, simple, and works well.