I received the Sanyo S1 for free with my cell phone contract, and honestly, I wasn't expecting much. "It's just their low-end free phone, " I thought. "It can't possibly be very good." Luckily, I was in for a pleasant surprise. When the phone arrived, I was shocked by how sleek and stylish it is. It's small and thin, but feels sturdy, and a mix of gloss and matte black finish with a little silver makes this phone visually striking.
Thankfully, function is not forsaken for form. I've had this phone for over a year now, during which it's earned a lot more compliments than I would ever have expected, and on top of that it hasn't caused me any major problems. I'm not the type who throws around his electronics, but a cell phone has got to withstand a lot of wear and tear over time, between regular everyday pocket travel and the occasional dropping of the phone. All things considered, my S1 has survived admirably.
As far as usage goes, the phone is mostly good. As one would expect for such a small phone, battery life is great, requiring a charge perhaps once a week with the phone on all day from morning to night. Texting can be a little annoying -- the keys are fairly small and close together, so you can't be too sloppy with your keystrokes. Also, if you use T9 and start typing too fast, sometimes the phone just can't keep up. This doesn't happen to me very often at all, but if you're an extremely fast texter you may want to consider a different phone. Also, my S1 has placed a few pocket calls to 911 thanks to the phone's keyguard ignoring that sequence of numbers. This quirk is part amusing, part annoying, and yet completely necessary -- in an actual emergency, you would not want to wait two seconds just to deactivate the keyguard before calling 911. In my opinion, this just goes with the territory of "candy bar phones" with external keys, and I don't hold it against the phone.
Feature-wise, the S1 is pretty bare. Calling, texting, Bluetooth, voice memo, simple calendar, alarm clock. A very standard featureset. It doesn't have a camera, so if you care about that, this is not the phone for you. Strangely, while there is a voice memo function, there is no basic notepad. This is a little odd, but I've only wished it had one on a few occasions, so it's not a big deal. The features that the phone has are well-implemented, and it doesn't promise anything grandiose, so my low rating in the "Extra Features" department should not be considered a detriment, just a reminder.
Altogether, this is a very basic phone that knows exactly what it needs to do, and does it well. It doesn't have a camera, offers nothing outside of the typical cell phone features, and the screen is too small for practical web browsing. This is certainly not an iPhone or a Droid, but if you're looking for a basic phone that looks good, gets the job done, and is light in your pocket, the Sanyo S1 is a solid choice.