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printed September 30, 2014
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Review: Samsung Replenish

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Is It Your Type? Body The Three S's  

The Replenish is the latest "green" handset from Samsung for the Sprint network. Like the Restore and Reclaim before it, the Replenish is made mostly from recycled materials and, at the end of its useful life, can be nearly 100% recycled itself. What does that mean for the end user while owning it?

This phone’s predecessors, the Restore and Reclaim, had terrible quality plastics. They felt as cheap as possible. The Replenish, thankfully, feels much better. Where the Restore and Reclaim felt creaky and loosely assembled, the Replenish has a good, solid feel to it. It is dense, tightly put-together, and, feels like any normal phone would. The plastics aren't the highest quality ever, but they are decidedly decent.

 

Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

The Replenish is a rare QWERTY monoblock Android phone. It has a touch screen and a BlackBerry-style QWERTY keyboard under the display. Thankfully, Samsung avoided making the Replenish too wide. It has a comfortable width for holding in one hand, and the curved back edges let it sit firmly in the palm. The weight is also good. It's not feather-light, but it's hardly a paper weight. I'd call it pocket friendly.

The front of the device strikes a good balance between the screen size and QWERTY keyboard size. Between the display and the keyboard, you'll find four physical buttons for the standard Android controls. They each have good travel and feedback, but you have to be a bit careful about where you place your thumb, as the definition between keys isn't great.

The keyboard is interesting. It is a fairly compact affair. The buttons have a healthy mound shape to them, and while I feel they are perhaps a hair too small, the overall feel of the keyboard is pleasing. The travel and feedback of the keys was excellent. Thankfully, the "@" gets its own key, and the ".com" is an ALT button away. The space bar is perhaps too small; otherwise the keyboard is surprisingly good.

The volume toggle is in its usual spot on the left side of the Replenish. It had an excellent shape, and perfect travel and feedback. On the right side, Samsung has positioned a voice command key near the top and a dedicated camera button closer to the bottom. Both buttons are easy to find and have good travel and feedback. The microUSB port is built into the Replenish's bottom edge, and the 3.5mm headset jack and power/lock key are on top. The power/lock key feels great.

The battery cover will come off with some thumbnail pressure. The microSD card slot can be accessed easily once the battery cover is removed.

For what it is, Samsung did a good job of designing and putting the Replenish together. You'd never be able to guess that it is recycled by looking at it and using it.

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