Review: Sanyo Taho
The Taho's diminutive 2-inch display left me wanting more. It packs in 240 x 320 pixels, which means that text, graphics and icons look pretty good, for such a small screen. There's no screen door effect at all. Brightness is also very good. No need to use a flashlight app; this inner screen easily lit up a dark hallway in my house, making it good for sneaking back in late at night. The one problem is that the text and menus on the Taho are extremely small. The indicators at the top of the screen are so small as to be nearly invisible. I had to position the Taho mere inches from my eyeballs in order to read the signal strength meter and battery life indicator. The screen is readable outdoors, though.
The external display is a monochrome affair that offers only alerts, the time, and basic indicators. It, too, is fairly bright, but it's not quite as easy to read outdoors as the inner display.
Running on Sprint's CDMA network, the Taho performed on par with other Sprint devices tested in the NYC metro region. It held onto two bars in my office, but lost the network completely in my basement. Outdoors, the Taho mostly displayed four bars. In practical terms, the Taho connected all but one of my calls on the first try, and it did drop a small handful, as well. As for data, it was consistently slow. Web pages loaded at a snail's pace, and sometimes timed out, forcing me to reload. The Taho didn't offer the strongest signal performance around, but it was far from awful.
Call quality with the Taho was surprisingly good. I thought most conversations sounded clean and were free of hiss or static. There was a slight "digital" effect present during some (but not all) calls, but it was not intrusive. As for volume, you might think for a moment that Taho is intended for police officers. It could be mounted to a patrol car and used to clear traffic, it's so loud (the flashing blue alert light doesn't hurt, either). This is a seriously loud phone. The default ringer sounds like a space-aged machine gun, and at full volume will blast your ears off. The same goes for the earpiece speaker; in fact, it's too loud. Pushed all the way, the sound distorts and gets all flubby, though set at about 60% it sounds great. The vibrate alert is strong enough to deliver a muscle-relaxing massage, capable of untangling the thorniest of knots.
The Taho's battery does a pretty good job. It easily lasted through two whole days, with some life left to spare the third morning. Turning on the GPS did reduce battery life a bit, but otherwise nothing seemed to phase it. Weekend adventurers can probably count on the Taho to deliver the performance they need when out and about.