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If you think about it, there aren't many different form factors used for smartphones these days. There's the candy bar touchscreen-only form factor and the slider form factor. I think we're so used to those two that we're skeptical of a phone that uses some other kind. You always wonder if it's going to work as well or be as comfortable to use.

In terms of Android smartphones, the Replenish has a form factor that isn't used very much, though BlackBerry users will feel right at home. Due to the display and the keyboard being crammed onto one panel, they're both a lot smaller than what most people are used to. And let's face it, smaller is not the trend with cellphones today, especially when it comes to the display. So how does the Replenish stack up? Sure, it looks like a great business device, but does the form factor work for a touchscreen Android smartphone?

Design & Features

The design is probably one of my favorite aspects of the phone. So there, all of the suspense I built up in the opening paragraphs is diminished with the first sentence of the review. The hardware design is excellent. It's reminiscent of the professional-looking design Palm and RIM discovered years ago. The display is larger than recent BlackBerry devices but still small by normal standards, 2.8-inches to be exact. I first thought that the display was too small or that Samsung should have used more real estate for the display instead of having an overly thick bezel. However, after much use, I became comfortable with the size and even enjoyed it. It never hurt my eyes or caused any headaches. The display does have a low resolution, 240x320, but this is a mid-range smartphone with an affordable price tag so that's to be expected. Text is pixelated and graphics are rough around the edges.

The device as a whole is slim and light. It measures 4.84-inches tall, 2.36-inches wide, and .45-inches thick. The phone weighs 4.1 ounces. Below the display are four physical buttons for Menu, Home, Back, and Search. The microUSB port is on the bottom of the phone and the camera shutter key as well as the voice command key are both on the right spine of the phone. On the top is the Power/Lock button and the 3.5mm headphone jack. The left spine contains only the volume rocker buttons. The microSD card slot is underneath the battery cover on the left side of the phone which makes it even more frustrating that there isn't a slot for it. I mean, it's already crammed into the side, why not just cut out a slit in the cover? The Replenish ships with a 2GB card and supports up to 32GB of additional memory.

The Replenish is actually an eco-friendly phone. The casing includes 34.6 percent post-consumer recycled plastic and 82 percent of the device is made from recyclable materials. The packaging is also fully recyclable, incorporates 80 percent post-consumer waste material and uses soy inks. The phone ships with a charger that meets the EC Code of Conduct on Energy Efficiency of External Power Supplies and Samsung has also made available an optional solar battery charger (sold separately). A lot of people try to be more environmentally conscious and the Replenish offers some help with that.

Usability & Performance

Though the Replenish ships with stock Android 2.2, it is equipped with Sprint ID. With Sprint ID, you can download "ID Packs" that are based around themes. An Entertainment ID Pack, for example, will include apps like E! Online, TweetCaster, Doodle Jump, and more. After downloading and switching to a new ID, your phone will be transformed with a new wallpaper, homescreen setup, and widgets. Personally, I don't see much use in Sprint ID. Just because I like music apps doesn't mean I want to transform my entire phone in order to access a few apps. The feature may be useful for new users who don't feel like hunting through the Android Market for hours to find new apps. Instead, you can download a few ID Packs and those apps will be in your app drawer, even without opening the ID Pack.

I was fairly impressed with the Replenish's 600 MHz Qualcomm processor. Though it scored pathetically low numbers in the Quadrant Standard test, I haven't experienced much lag in day-to-day tasks. Multitasking is smooth and pinch-to-zoom in the web browser was mostly seamless. Of course, it will take a few seconds to load an app or to switch between apps, but that's to be expected from a phone of this caliber. Overall, performance was smooth.

The physical keyboard is fantastic. It's literally one of the best keyboards I've used, and I can be pretty picky when it comes to physical keyboards. Samsung found a perfect balance in every physical aspect of a keyboard. The keys are plastic, but it's not slippery plastic. The keys are not soft and mushy, but they're not too firm either. Rather, they're easy to press. The keys are somewhat crammed because of the design of the keyboard, but they feature a bubble texture that offers some separation. All in all, it's a great keyboard. If you have larger hands, then it may be too small for you. If you feel comfortable with a BlackBerry, then this keyboard should suit you just fine.

Pictures taken with the Replenish's 2-megapixel camera actually came out better than I expected. Of course, without autofocus capabilities, the overall quality was still lacking, but color saturation was surprisingly decent and the shots were still clearer than what you would expect to get from a camera with such a low megapixel count. That being said, it is still a low-quality camera, but at least you can rely on it to take 'okay' pictures. The camera also captures video with CIF resolution, 352x288 - not useful for much more than an MMS.

I didn't experience the best data speeds when using the Replenish with Sprint's 3G network, at least not on a consistent basis. The Replenish uses EV-DO Revision A for 3G data which should offer decent speeds, but the numbers I got in speed tests were around the 300-500kbps mark for downloads. I didn't notice such slow speeds when I was actually using the web browser, but I did notice a lot of inconsistency. The signal strength indicator would jump from two bars to five bars down to three bars in a matter of minutes. These were my results from testing out the phone in the Dallas area of Texas. Speeds and consistency may vary depending on coverage in your area.

The Replenish's included 1600 mAh battery delivered great performance. I managed to get one full 24-hour day plus nine hours on standby and 21 hours with normal use. With these estimates, you should be able to easily make it through a typical 12-hour day with normal to even heavy use.

Conclusion

The Replenish is definitely a great option if you're looking for a mid-range smartphone with a physical keyboard on Sprint or if you're a long-time BlackBerry user trying to make the switch to Android while still staying in familiar territory. The small display and low resolution may bother some, but keep in mind that this worried me too when I first started using the phone and I quickly grew used to it. The keyboard is simply one of the best, making this an excellent mid-range smartphone.

Wrap-Up

What's Good: Excellent physical keyboard; professional-looking design; good processor performance, not much lag; good battery life; eco-friendly.

What's Bad: Cheap, plastic build; mediocre camera; inconsistent data speeds.

The Verdict: The great keyboard is enough to convince me, but the overall performance of the phone is what seals it. For a mid-range phone and for the price, you'll be hard-pressed to find something better on Sprint.


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Comments & discussions  

101 Reactions to this post

"Would you buy a phone based on it being more eco-friendly than another phone?"


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Charles Shell heck freaking NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Marcus Cadwell I aint no tree hugga!
Taavi Kala nope.avi
Don Kenyon Nope..
Mauka Side Negative!
Shawn Capehart No! I want my phone to drip toxic sludge from the bottom and be powered by uranium-238. It's a freaking phone, not a car or a power plant. If it's made in an environmentally- responsible way, sure I'll pay an extra couple bucks, but I'm never going to look for a phone with a PETA sticker on it. @Demond: sure, by unshaven hippie chicks.
Chad Richter Really?... Eco-friendly phones.. Our society is so retarded. echo friendly stuff is always more expensive than it's "regular" counterparts that it's almost pointless to even get it. And it's usually an inferior product as well. My phone is always with me and an integral part of my day to day activities. If I wanted an expensive, inferior product, I'd buy apple.
Demond Wilson would it get Me laid?
Kojack Sanders I wouldn't at all. I recycle and all,but my phone can be brand new. Sprint tried to sell me that same phone on Thursday when I got my EVO Shift 4G. I think the phone's name is the Reclaim. It does look nice,but didn't play with it though.
Anh-Tuan Le I would, if Steve Jobs tells me that the iPhone is more eco-friendly than the Droids. Although, I just automatically assume as such, given that Apple is an awesome and altruistic company.
Becca Blessing I like the idea!
Fernie Felix Eco-friendly: no. Battery friendly (longer lasting): YES!
Phillip Dill yea if its an android and it competes with the top phones
Samuel Toles As long as it's not a HUGE phone
Ryon Lewis hell no!
Andrew Johnson Lol... Thats funny
Harrison Hughes No I've got a electricity puzzle but its gret
Benjamin Padilla Dumb question. 95% of Phonedog followers want power, not flower...
Adam Rodriguez Hell no. Nature will adapt to everything long after we are gone. Pave the world!!!
Eric Alan Holloway Similar features then sure I would.
Henry Murillo As long as it works as good as my sensation, yes.
Skylor Mitchell Only if it use just as good, if not better than, the Evo Shift; and it has to be my decision if it is better than the Evo Shift.
Tim Fuhrmann Definitely not a reason for me to buy. not a reason to not buy it though.
Charlie Kuroiwa who gives a rats ass of a phone is Eco friendly
Jorge El Maleante Morales Hells to the no!!
Sam Rick Shit no! I'm not a whacko tree hugger.
Taylor Jones Who gives a damn about the environment?
Johnny Makris-munoz If it was high end ...
De Keelen hell no! Lol
Jesse Martinez probably not, unless it had cool features...
Cheri Moushey Roby Geezes, there's always more phones coming out and what the heck are we supposed to do with our current phone, its like buying evo 4g then nexus comes out then 4g iphone whatsoever...there's always something better coming out. How is that supposed to help the eco. Sorry I am just sick of it, I am keeping my phone until it goes out. Tired of trading up and having 3 phones laying around for nothing.
Omar Leon Hmmmmm hell no! I could care less to be honest
Erman Guido How do cellphones harm the planet?
Sunny Patel Nope...
Jim Eakins not only no, but hell no
Jamie Waterman I would buy a phone based on it being a good device that meets my needs. Being eco-friendly is NOT one of my needs in a convergence device.
Lau Nielsen If they both had the same specs, I wouldnt mind paying a bit more for some eco friendly-ness
Deonte Solomon It's doesn't matter to me Idc what it's made outta long as it performs as I want t to
Tom Chavira I wouldn't chose a phone only because it's eco-friendly. If the specs, functionality, etc. are to my liking then sure.
Bryan McLaughlin Nope. I'm not going to purposely buy the environmentally worst phone I can, but I buy a phone based on how good it is at what it's supposed to do.
Nick Arte maybe, cuz my diesel powered phone has been emitting TOO many fume's...the side of my head is permanently black from all the smoke...
Kyle Knight My answer should be, yes. But no. I love my BB Torch, and I know this phone is not eco-friendly, but I'm okay with that. I fucking love this phone!! :)
Sterling Jack NOPE!!! I give a Rats butt!!!
Mark Gittens Ha ha ha ha ha............. NO!
Robert Simmons Dann hippies
Curt Popejoy Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo...
Andrew Johnson No but im sure all the dbags who buy prius's will
Mick de Raad If i see a device which I want really bad, and it's eco friendly, it is defiently a plus. But I would still get the device if it wasent eco friendly.
Gordon Simon The tech specs needs to be number one.
Tafheem Nayeem Not at all
Crystal Hines Same for you, Jeffrey. You don't know individuals, and that is not the whole reason people don't shop there. Walmarts also run out smaller businesses. They are like leeches on the small-town economies. Unethical with their employees and their products.
Jared Jones Only if it were high performance as well!
Crystal Hines @Bill, you don't know individual reasoning, so don't make broad-based assumptions. Not everyone is a hypocrite. If it could make a real difference, I'd do it in a second. It does only take one person to start a revolution. As cliched as that sounds, it is the truth.
Elvin Burgos I will only buy a phone if its made out of ash from burning forest and parts of baby seals
Susie Tracey Not solely based on it no but it might help.
Lou Cue no, I don't really care LOL
Jeffrey Hobbs no, just like I shop at walmart and think the people that say they don't shop there because they sell stuff from china are hilarious
Bryan Dotman Idk if its really going to make a difference, so I'm sticking with my power hungry epic 4g that dies every 4 hours or so
Chris Bailey Fuck no
Bill Moran I would be3 a liar if I said yes, and I think most people that say yes are either lying or are not thinking. Buy a quality product and it will statistically last longer buy some cheap earthfriendly and u have to replace it which kind of defeats the purpose
Lovely Jones No.Only if it had great features!
Hansel Starley If both of them are equal then of course I'll choose the more eco friendly even if it's more costly. I won't however buy an inferiour product.
Kristen Sturgeon If it didn't cost a significan amount more I would.
Vraj Parikh I just got the LG Optimus S last week, and I love it. I didnt pick this phone because the screen is small and has low resolution. LG Optimus has a bigger screen, great touchscreen, and it is fast.
Jeff Alamillo Nah I wouldn't who cares about the earth lol jk xD...but if more high end smartphones came out being eco-friendly, while still keeping great specs, yeah I think I would
Nic Kolas Hell no
Ryan Neukam My mom did, she got the Samsung Reclaim.
Mark Luna It only takes one to make a difference :P
Ben DeYoung Only if the one I'd be buying was more harmful to the earth.
Jim Blizzard No! Im a super user... I don't kiss trees
Jarrett Sosa Fuck noo
Brian D Buckley hahah! not a chance! i will unplug the adapter when i am done charging, that is as far as i will go when it comes top eco friendly PHONES!!! hahah!
Andre Watts No, why would I sacrifice features on my phone when it will make the smallest of differences for the earth, but it will greatly affect my user experience?




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