Hands-On: Samsung Replenish
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Apr 20, 2011, 3:58 PM by Eric M. Zeman
Sprint held a small press event this afternoon to show off the new Samsung Replenish, its new "green" Android smartphone. What sets the Replenish apart, aside from its environmentally-friendly build?
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Sprint and Samsung showed off their latest new handset, the Replenish. The Replenish is a bar-style Android 2.2 Froyo smartphone that has a QWERTY keyboard and a 2.8-inch touch screen. What makes it unique is that its is made from recycled/recyclable materials.
Phone Scoop has tested a handful of recycled/recyclable handsets from Samsung in the past. The Replenish is bar far the best of the bunch. The quality of the materials and build is superior to handsets such as the Restore. It felt like any similarly designed and made handset would. There aren't any metal or glass surfaces, but the plastics feel high quality, and that goes a long way toward helping the Replenish avoid that "cheap" feel.
The size and weight are very good. The weight — or lack thereof — makes it a breeze to carry around and use. Though touch screens with full QWERTY keyboards are a rare breed for Android handsets, the Replenish pulls it off. It doesn't feel awkward are too elongated, it doesn't feel too narrow or any of the other pitfalls that may be associated with this form factor.
The screen is amazing in its average-ness. The size is relatively small for a touch device, but it still feels large enough that interacting with on-screen elements, and isn't painful or uncomfortable. Pixel density is OK, as was brightness.
Below the display, there are four physical buttons for the standard Android controls. They are thin dashes, but are still large enough that they are easy to find and use. Travel and feedback of these buttons was very good.
Ah, the keyboard. The keyboard is interesting. It is a fairly small affair, compact. 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 Replenish's hardware is surprisingly good.
As for the user interface, the Replenish runs Android 2.2 with Sprint ID on top of it. Sprint ID gives the Replenish access to ID Packs, which add different themes and applications to the device. Be default, it is loaded with the new Green ID Pack. The Green ID Pack is rife with environmentally-friendly stuff and content. Other than that, it behaves similar to other Sprint ID packs.
In sum, our first impressions of the Replenish are favorable. The device doesn't feel like recycled handsets of the past, and offers a lot to like — the touch screen, the keyboard, Android 2.2, and the ID Packs. It's a smartphone you can feel good about owning.
Samsung offers yet another Earth-friendly handset for the Sprint network, this time in the shape of a monoblock Android QWERTY smartphone. The Replenish should renew your faith in the power of recycled materials.
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