Review: Samsung Replenish, the Underwhelming Green Phone
The green phone is making a comeback with Samsung Replenish! But is worth a great deal?
About two years ago when ‘green’ phones like Samsung’s Blue Earth and Sony Ericsson’s GreenHeart started popping out in the market. This year, the green phone returns with Samsung Replenish. However, the first eco-friendly smartphone can be very underwhelming. True to its identity, the Samsung Replenish’s materials are free from Polyvinyl Chloride, Phthalates, Beryllium and Brominated flame retardants. The handset meets the European Union’s Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances Directive, and 34.6% of its casing is made of post-consumer recylced plastic content.
The Samsung Replenish is not ugly by any means, but it’s not the prettiest phone either. With its piano black face and chrome details at the back, the handset looks like a plastic case. The front has a 2.4-inch display and a full QWERTY keyboard, separated by four hardware buttons: Standard Meny, Home, Back and Search. The QVGA screen is decent for using basic apps, reading e-mail and texts, browsing for certain websites, but it’s not ideal for watching videos. The full QWERTY keyboard, on the other hand, is good enough for sending SMS and short emails. However, users with larger hands might have difficulty using the keyboard.
Samsung Replenish runs on Android 2.2 Froyo and loaded with Sprint ID Green Pack. The home screen shows the latest from TreeHugger.com, Earth911 and GreenBiz.com. Flip to the right and you’ll see widget that provides tips from Green America and a link to a carbon footprint calculator app — Green You. On the left of the home screen is a GreenDeals.org widget and a link to EcoEtsy.com and eBay Green. Furthermore, the handset also has a solar-charging battery cover that enables users to charge their phone on the go. Moreover, it will give a visual alert when it is fully charged.
On the downside, Samsung Replenish’s 2-megapixel camera has no flash. As a result, images taken in poorly lit environment is a little fuzzy and dark. It goes the same with taking videos. Outdoor shots have nice colors, but the details are blurry. When it comes to call quality, user can be heard loud and clear on the other end of the line. Oddly, his caller may sound like speaking too close to the speaker.
Bottom line: It takes great but appreciated efforts for Sprint to produce a green phone. However, Samsung Replenish’s mediocre display, low quality camera and buggy performance won’t do the trick. Manufacturers need to find a way on how to make a green phone both eco-friendly and desirable. Nevertheless, Samsung Replenish is inexpensive with its price of $50 and Sprint’s Everything Data plan for only $70 a month. For unlimited text, web and calling, the Samsung Replenish is a good deal with good intentions.