- Large 4-line scren
- Built-in speakerphone
- Web enabled
- Supports voice-activated dialing
- Up to 170 minutes' digital talk time
The Audiovox CDM-9100 from Sprint PCS has great features at an attractive price. It's currently the only handset from Audiovox that Sprint is offering, although that may change soon. The 9100 has many upper-end features that similarly priced handsets don't offer, and in an attractive package to boot.
The CDM-9100 is a midsize phone, basically rectangular in shape, slightly larger at the screen end. It's 5 inches long, by 2 inches wide, and under 1 inch thick. The plastic case has a smooth feel with a blue finish. The retractable antenna extends fairly far, doubling the length of the phone. Users should be careful when it's extended, as it is easy to snag on objects. The phone works on Sprint PCS' CDMA network, and is a dual-band design, so it will work on the older analog networks in some less-traveled areas. The phone's charger is a travel type, with folding prongs on a square plug. The 9100 also sports a universal headset jack.
A nice advantage of not being an ultratiny phone is that the size allows bigger buttons. The keypad is easy to use one-handed, and each key has a solid click when pressed. The four-way navigation key is easy to use and sped us through the simple menu system. Selecting options and personalizing the phone took very little time, as we set keypad and ringer volumes, and chose from the 15 ringer tones. The phone also has the very handy silent vibrate mode.
The 9100 has a full complement of call-management features, including adjustable timers, ingoing and outgoing call logs, missed-call indicator, caller ID, and voicemail indicator. The phonebook has 100 locations, which is ample for most users. Like all Sprint PCS phones, it supports a mini-Internet browser, which had a quick data throughput after the initial setup. It also supports SMS messaging, for short text messages to other phone users. There's also a predictive text program onboard, which speeds message composition. The screen occupies the upper third of the phone, with a big four-line display and bright backlighting. The backlight stays lit for an adjustable duration, which is handy for some users, especially those who utilize the Internet functions.
This phone also has a built-in speakerphone, handy for sharing a call in a group. The speaker is on the upper backside of the phone, which enhances the sound quality when heard from the front. When the speaker is activated, however, the microphone is muted. If you want to talk to the person on the other end, you need to turn off the speakerphone feature first. The 9100 also supports Sprint's voice-activated dialing feature, great for making calls while on the go. The earpiece had very good output, allowing for use in loud environments.
The phone also features several layers of security, with incoming and outgoing call restriction, optional PIN-required access, and phonebook protection. It can also be used as a modem/fax when connected to a PC with an optional data-cable accessory kit.
The lithium-ion battery has a very respectable capacity, allowing for manufacturer ratings of 170 hours of digital standby time and 170 minutes of digital talk time. Our sample met both of these ratings, with a little extra on the standby time. The lithium-ion battery is very convenient, allowing charging at any level of battery discharge with no impact to its performance.
Overall, the Audiovox CDM-9100 performs well, with a couple extra bells and whistles at a nice price. This combination along with its middle-of-the-road size makes it an attractive phone for many users.
- Large, readable screen
- Simple, straightforward features
- Built-in speakerphone
How We Tested Battery Talk/Standby Time
When reading our reviews, you should view the test results of mobile-phone battery talk time and standby time as relative information only. Many variables, including carrier signal strength at your location, signal consistency (including incoming and outgoing calls), display and ringer settings, and battery charging methods and history, will affect performance. When handset manufacturers and mobile phone carriers list talk-time and standby-time ratings, they usually include disclaimers about variable performance and often refer to the times they publish as maximum times. Some quote expected battery life ranges, and in this case you're probably safe to assume you'll experience at least the minimum rated range. Note that manufacturers of dual-mode digital and analog handsets publish battery-life rates for both digital and analog modes, as analog mode consumes much more power than digital mode.
Our Tests: We tested digital-mode talk and standby times with each phone. Prior to each test, we fully charged the phone's battery according to the manufacturer's directions. To test digital-phone talk time, we turned the phone on, established a digital carrier signal, dialed a number in our test lab, and, when the call rang through, took the receiving phone's handset off the hook. When all went well, we didn't do anything else except record the time when the phone died. In a couple of cases, the phones lost the signal and dropped the calls. If we were right there and could redial, we did so immediately and continued running the test. Otherwise, we halted the test, recharged the battery, and started the test over. Assuming consistent carrier-signal strength, this test should represent best-case talk time. And it's worth noting that several phones' talk-time performance significantly exceeded the manufacturers' ratings.
To test digital-phone standby time, we turned the phone on, established a carrier signal, and left the phone in standby mode. We checked the phone every few hours (for what was often days on end) until the phone finally cut out. Since no outgoing or incoming calls occurred during testing and because the phone was not moved, this method should represent best-case standby time, again assuming consistent carrier signal strength.