Times are tough, but here is a pair of recession-busting phones long on features and short on cost to buy and operate from Kyocera and their Sanyo brand.

The Sanyo SCP-2700 for Sprint makes messaging easy and affordable at just $30. Sprint’s Everything Messaging plan offers 450 anytime talk minutes, unlimited mobile-to-mobile minutes, plus unlimited text, picture and video messaging – all for just $50 per month.  I don’t find this much for the same or less from other carriers!  For messaging-centric users, it’s quite a good deal!  It is available in Deep Blue or Impulsive Pink (both shown below).

 

  

The stylish device has a full QWERTY keyboard with threaded text messaging, a dedicated “emoticon” button (seen above on the bottom row of keys, second from right), Sprint Mobile email plus Sprint Navigation, Family Locator (allows families to locate their loved ones) and the Social Zone application (one-button access to Photobucket, MySpace and more to post mobile pics and updates from anywhere) with Geo-tracking (optional services with data plans).

The 1.3 megapixel camera is just fine for capturing life and posting it online or sending in messages.  The generous 2.2-inch screen is perfect for showing picture mail.  The handset also supports PictBridge with an optional USB cable for printing directly to PictBridge-enabled color printers.

Bluetooth is on board for a variety of duties, all seen through the link above.  Speakerphone is also present.  It also features voice dialing!

There is even push email for not only your Yahoo/AOL/ Gmail and others, but also for POP3/IMAP accounts. If you have no idea what these are, you are probably not involved, so don’t sweat it!

Parents will appreciate the capability to restrict incoming and outgoing calls to those on the Contacts list.  Data services may be locked or unlocked.  Three “special” numbers can be enabled that are always available.  The Contacts list can be locked, as can the camera and any pictures saved to the phone.

There are numerous other features on this inexpensive handset.  You WILL be surprised by all of which this phone is capable.

In my tests I had to constantly remind myself that this is an inexpensive phone with a very reasonable messaging plan as shown above!  Of course, plans that also include email and Internet are at additional cost. However, most young people are heavy on messaging and do little speaking so the unlimited $50 plan covering just what they need should prove to be welcome relief.

The keyboard is easy to navigate.  The rounded keys are sized and shaped for easy and accurate input. No problems here for me, though users with stump-like digits may not have such an easy time.  I like the dedicated TEXT button that takes users directly to where text messaging commences. If you’ve ever messaged with a standard phone and then switch to one that has a QWERTY keyboard, you’ll never want be without that keyboard!

Navigating the settings and controls is easy, typical of my customary Sprint experiences.  As I have traveled about with Sprint handsets, I have found coverage to be present in any locale I’ve visited, but, as they say, your experience may vary.

I found the speakerphone’s volume to be more than adequate for all but the noisiest surroundings when speakerphone use would not be the choice.

This handset is capable of being subscribed for Sprint’s Wireless Backup service for a charge of $2 per month, plus tax.  Here is what I learned.  “Save a copy of the Contact List from some wireless phones. If your phone is lost, stolen, damaged or replaced, you can restore your Contact List using Wireless Backup. You can edit your contact information from the Wireless Backup Website and Sprint will update your phone automatically.”  Nice!  This can certainly prevent disaster.

Talk time is listed at up to 4.8 hours, which should be plenty for most users who are more likely to send text messages than to talk.

In short, using the SCP-2700 proved to be a very pleasant surprise, indeed!  Get more information about the SCP-2700 at www.kyocera-wireless.com or at www.sprint.com or call 1-800-349-4188.

Now, on to the second interesting messaging phone for thrifty gift givers at this Dads ‘n Grads time.  The $100 Kyocera X-tc for Virgin Mobile is a slider messaging phone with full keyboard, Bluetooth, 1.3-megapixel camera for $100.  This one costs bit more up front, but this one is “pay as you go” with service and NO contract!

 

The X-tc, too, is no slouch when it comes to features and performance.  Features include stereo Bluetooth wireless, media player, microSD compatible, 1.3 megapixel camera, bright color screen, text messaging, mobile email, mobile Web, speakerphone and voice dialing. Battery life is rated at 250 minutes talk and 200 hours standby.

Beyond performance, the Kyocera X-tc for Virgin mobile is perfect for the user on a tight budget because plans can be tailored month to month from as low as $20 every 90 days and up. For example, $20 gets a 200 anytime minute plan with roll forward of unused minutes.  Add as little as $5 monthly for up to 200 messages.  I see there are $15 monthly plans that feature 1000 text, picture, IM, email of video messages with talk minutes charged at 10 cents per.

Another benefit I see is that Virgin subscribers may send text messages from the Web for free.  The recipient sees the reply-to address as the users Virgin Mobile phone number.  That can cut down on monthly mobile expenses for anyone who sits at a computer for substantial periods.

Using the X-tc proved pleasant, as well. The handset feels good in my hand and I like the QWERTY keyboard.  This handset, too, was easy to configure and the menus are easy to navigate.  Calls were clear and did not drop in my tests.  Though I did not yet have the opportunity to compare coverage or detect differences between the X-tc and the SCP-2700, performance should be about equal as both are on the Sprint network.

More information about the Kyocera X-tc for Virgin Mobile is at www.kyocera-wireless.com or www.virginmobileusa.com, or call 1-800-349-4188.

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