The Good: Eco-friendly; good physical QWERTY keyboard, microSD card slot; social-networking apps.
The Bad: Camera placement is bad; low-end specs; 2.5 mm headphone jack.
The Verdict: Bottom line, it doesn’t have the best features, but it works well and will help you sleep better at night knowing you’re helping to save the planet. It may also be a good choice for teenagers or young kids who are getting their first phone.
Sprint and LG are adding to their line of environmentally friendly phones with the LG Remarq, a small device with a full QWERTY keyboard, 1.3MP camera and easy access to all of your favorite social networks. It may not have the top-of-line features you’ll see in other phones, but Sprint is proud of their endeavors to give consumers a few options in the earth-friendly market.
Design & Features
The Remarq’s packaging is entirely recyclable and made from 87 percent post consumer material. The inside tray that holds the phone is made from 100 percent post consumer material. All images and text on the box and in the enclosed documents are printed with soy ink. Basically, the packaging is more earth-loving than a hippy from the 60’s. Inside you’ll find the phone, charger, and warranty info. (The User Manual has been replaced with an online digital copy.
The phone itself is 3.5 inches tall, 2.5 inches wide, .6 inches thick, and weighs 3.8 ounces. It has a very smooth feeling to it. It’s not slippery, but feels very polished. The Remarq has a 2.4-inch screen with a resolution of 320 x 240. The left side contains the headphone jack, volume buttons, and the microSD card slot (expandable up to 16 GB). The right side of the device contains the microUSB charging port and the dedicated camera key. On the front are the usual Talk, End/Power, and Back buttons along with two soft keys and a D-pad with the Menu/OK button in the middle. The phone is a verical slider so the keyboard slides out from the bottom of the phone. The 1.3 megapixel camera is on the back next to the speakerphone grill, and the 900 mAh battery is housed underneath the battery cover.
Usability & Performance
Because the Remarq is a basic featurephone, the UI is pretty familiar and easy to navigate. The Main Menu gives you access to your messages, photos, tools, music, and more. The messaging interface is also pretty basic; however, the keyboard performs excellently. The keys are flatter than the keyboards on most messaging phones that have been released lately and they’re not quite as rubbery, but they’re definitely not too slippery. My fingers didn’t slide all over the keys and the keyboard is small enough so that I didn’t have to stretch very much to get to each letter. The fact that the keyboard is quite small may be a problem for those with hands larger than mine, so if this is the case, I would recommend looking into another device. The Space bar is on it’s own row along with the period, exclamation mark, and question mark keys. There is a dedicated emoticon key and a Text shortcut key that will take you to messaging from the Home Screen, a very handy tool. Other symbols can be used by pressing the Function key. The numerical pad is integrated within the left side of the keyboard.
The Remarq features a 1.3 megapixel camera.Though the quality and features of the camera were fair enough, I couldn’t get over the placement of the camera. It’s located in the standard top left corner of the back of the phone, which wouldn’t seem like a problem, but it turned out to be a huge inconvenience. Whether the phone is closed or open, I had to maneuver my hands for a while before I found a way to keep my finger out of the shot. There are a few good ways to hold it, but none of them are comfortable. They’re pretty awkward, in fact. I guess this isn’t too big of a problem, but it was certainly something I would have to take a while to get used to.
The web browser on the Remarq is pretty standard compared to other featurephones these days. Though Phonedog.com took quite a while to load (about one full minute) it took only about 40 seconds to navigate to YellowPages.com, search for a particular business, and find one near me. The pages may not show up quite right and others may take longer to load, but these things are to be expected from a phone of this caliber.
The phone is also equipped with a music player (keep in mind the 2.5mm headphone jack), Family Locater, apps for MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter, and it supports Bluetooth. Keeping with the “eco-friendly” promise, Sprint has included an Eco Calculater that will help you to calculate how much you’re saving the environment by walking or riding a bike instead of driving your car.
In a word, the LG Remarq is simple. It’s features are basic, but they perform well. The keyboard itself is outstanding. Though the camera isn’t the best and the location presented a problem, it’s still usable. However, Sprint also has other eco-friendly options that may be a better. The Samsung Reclaim features a 2 megapixel camera, a 3.5 mm headphone jack, ships with a better battery, and is free. The only thing that may turn you off is that the Reclaim uses Sprint’s One-Click interface, something a lot of people won’t like. Try them both out, and see which one you prefer. The Remarq is available in dark silver or turquoise. Check it out at your local Sprint store.