Sprint and RadioShack have had a pretty healthy distribution relationship for the past few years, so it made sense they're making certain phones available exclusively via the nationwide retailer. The Sanyo S1 is one such phone, and no, you can't even get it through Sprint's own online store. The S1 is a pretty basic candy-bar phone, though it does come with instant messaging and Bluetooth. Though we weren't too pleased with the keypad and the call quality, the S1 is still an affordable basic phone for those who want Bluetooth and not much else. It's currently available for $95 with a one-year contract or free with a two-year contract.
The Sanyo S1 looks and feels like a generic candy-bar handset. Wrapped in black, the S1 measures 4.4 inches by 2.0 inches by 0.4 inch and is quite lightweight at 2.5 ounces. It does have a nice matte finish on the back, which allows for a better grip. On the front is a 1.7-inch 65,000-color display, with a decent resolution of 128x160 pixels. The screen quality won't blow anyone away, but images looked fine, and colors didn't seem too washed out. You can adjust the backlight time, the font size, plus the screen's contrast.
Below the screen is the navigation array, which consists of two soft keys, a five-way toggle that doubles as shortcuts to the messaging menu, the calendar, the My Content folder, plus the wireless Web browser. The Talk, Back, and End/Power keys are below that. We're not too thrilled with the keypad overall--the keys felt slippery, and the Back key seemed a little too small for us. That said, the number keypad did have small ridges that make it easy to dial by feel.
Rounding out the phone's exterior are the headset and charger jack on the right spine, and the voice recorder, volume rocker, and voice command key on the left (the voice command key doubles as the speakerphone key). The volume and voice controls felt flush against the surface of the phone and were a little tricky to press.