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© St. Petersburg Times, published May 21, 2001

Sanyo 5000 cell phone

MAKER: Sprint

PRICE: $499.99

Sprint and Sanyo Fisher boast that they have the first cell phone with a full-color screen. But the question someone should ask before plunking down $500 for this device: Color for what, since the wireless Web has only black-and-white offerings?

The companies are promoting the idea of a "Photo Caller ID," where a user can download about 20 pictures into the phone and synchronize them with listings stored in the phone. It's easy to download photos from a PC to the phone, but it didn't seem terribly useful to me, even as a gimmick.

Our interest in the color screen faded quickly. Despite the companies' claim that the color makes it easier to read e-mail and menu selections, I found it difficult to see, much less read, anything on the screen on a sunny day. It also devours batteries.

In fact, the emphasis on the color screen overshadows a neat cell phone that is easy to use and has good sound quality. Eventually, a color screen will be handy on a phone. It's time just isn't now.

-- DAVE GUSSOW, Times personal technology editor

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