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printed July 23, 2014
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Review: Sanyo Taho

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Ruggedized clamshells are never subtle phones. Quite often, they're monstrous blocks of hardened plastic and rubber. The Taho follows in that vein. For its blocky shape, it still manages to pack in a modern design with a curved watch face on the outer surface (seriously, it looks like a wrist watch draped across the phone). There's nothing feminine about this phone; the Taho is all masculinity and machismo. The Taho has plenty of right angles forming its edges and sides, which amplify the brick effect. It's a thick phone, not too heavy, but tough to wrap your hand all the way around. It's just a hair under one inch thick. It will not be comfortable to pocket in a pair of tight jeans. No, the Taho wants a holster, hombre, and badly.


One thing that surprised me was how loose the clamshell was. When closed, there was way too much side-to-side play between the two halves of the phone. The hinge didn't feel solid at all. It was rock solid once open, though, due to high shoulders that hug the hinge.

The microUSB port is situated on the left edge of the Taho, and is covered by a sturdy rubber hatch. The hatch seals snugly so the Taho can be submerged without danger. The volume toggle is below the hatch, and it protrudes nicely from the side of the phone. The button works well, though it might be difficult to use when wearing gloves because it is a bit on the small side. The function key is below it. It has the same nice feel, and is easier to find with gloves on. The 2.5mm headset jack is on the right side of the Taho. It, too, is protected by a sturdy hatch, which seals tight when pushed back into place.

The buttons making up the Taho's keypad are fairly large and well spaced, but, again, it's hard to find the right buttons with gloves on. The keys have a rubber feel to them, and good travel and feedback. The navigation cluster centers around a large d-pad, with a golf-ball-dimpled center button. The d-pad feels great to use when navigating menus and options across the screen. The soft keys and send/end keys are a good size and shape, but the camera and back keys are a bit on the small side. Sanyo also tossed in a dedicated speakerphone key for good measure.

In order to achieve its mil-spec rating, the Taho's battery cover needs to be water tight. There's a large switch positioned close to the bottom of the battery cover. Slide it over to unlock the cover. Only then will you be able to pry it off. Unfortunately, you'll also have to remove the battery itself if you want to get at the microSD card slot, which is hidden beneath.

The Taho doesn't break any new ground in terms of design or ruggedization, instead it treads the same well-worn path.

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