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printed October 31, 2014
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Review: Samsung M570 Restore

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The Samsung Restore is a sideways slider made from recycled materials. Samsung uses this form factor in a lot of its less-expensive feature phones. The length and width are good, though it's a bit thick for my tastes. It has a medium weight. It isn't too heavy, but you'll know it is in your pocket with the combination of size and weight. The plastics are smooth and a bit slippery. I nearly dropped it a number of times when attempting to open the slider one-handed. The Restore does avoid something that other recycled phones fail at: The Restore's materials don't feel cheap. The overall construction seems to be a level above what we saw in the Reclaim, Samsung's first recycled phone for the U.S. back in summer 2009. All the seams are nice and tight, and it is well manufactured.

The display takes up about 60% of the front face of the Restore. There is a navigation cluster and numeric keypad crammed below the display. There are six buttons in the control cluster, plus an optical trackpad in the center for navigation. The optical trackpad works pretty well, though I found it to be a bit too responsive. It was too easy to overshoot things when navigating on the screen.

There are three buttons on each side of the trackpad. The speakerphone key, send key and soft key are on the left, and the back key, end key and soft key are on the right. All six keys have perfect travel and feedback. The speakerphone key and back key are placed on the outer edges of the Restore, and the send/end and soft keys are stacked next to the trackpad. They are all big enough that they are easy to find and use.

The numeric keypad is wider than it is tall, which means the keys are "dash" shaped. They are big dashes, though. All 12 keys are well defined and have excellent travel and feedback.

The Restore slides open to reveal a full QWERTY keyboard for messaging. The slider mechanism is OK, but not the best I've used. It feels a little stiff, and the spring assistance doesn't kick in until it's nearly all the way open.

The keyboard itself feels great. There are four rows, and the keys have a great shape to them; perfect little domes. They have a soft-touch feel to them, which means your thumbs won't slip from key to key. The travel and feedback of the keys is very good. I wish the top row were reserved strictly for numbers, alas, they are shared with letters. On the bottom row, there are shortcut keys to launch the browser and initiate a text message. There are also "WWW." and ".COM" buttons for quicker URL composing, though they are shared with the question market and period, respectively, which means you have to use the function key to get the www or .com to show up. There are arrow keys for moving the cursor around, a dedicated "@" key, and an emoticon shortcut key.

The volume toggle is on the left side. It works just fine and is easy to find. There is a dedicated camera key on the right side of the phone. I had no problems with it. There is a 3.5mm headset jack on the right side, as well, though it is covered with a hatch. I find hatches to be unnecessary for headset jacks. It was annoying. There is a also a hatch covering the microUSB port on the top for charging. It peels off easily. You have to remove the battery cover (but not the battery) to get at the microSD slot.

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