Green, or eco-friendly, cellular phones have been around for at least a year, but most of them use 2004-era technology. The Samsung Reclaim is a true smartphone for the green arena though, essentially acting as a low-grade Propel Pro – and, considering its eco-friendliness, doing a surprisingly decent job. Read on to find out more about its nature-friendly features.
Features & Design
The Samsung Reclaim is a short, stout phone, not unlike the Blackberry Bold or, more accurately, Samsung’s own Propel Pro. The handset measures about four inches by two and a half inches, and the hidden slider QWERTY keyboard makes it sit about a half-inch thick. The Reclaim weighs three and a half ounces, much lighter than expected. The standard phone comes in a forest green, though we’ve seen some limited editions in an electric blue.
On the top, the horizontal two-inch screen takes up most of the front. Right below is a big round crosspad and six buttons: Two context-sensitive buttons, recent call, previous option, go/green and red/stop/power. The grey and white buttons break up the heavy green case.
The left side hosts a headphone jack and the volume controls. The right side has a camera button as well as slots for the microSD card and power plug.
The slider keyboard has a full QWERTY setup with numbers overlaid left of center. The space, shift, symbol and other keys can be found at the bottom, as are email, text and other quick keys.
The hidden QWERTY keyboard has numbers overlaid left of center on the letters and characters on the remaining letters. At the bottom are the space, shift and other keyboard standards. The back has the Samsung logo and the 2.0 MP camera lens.
The Samsung Reclaim is a dual-band CDMA phone (800/1900 MHz), which gives it less compatible areas than a tri- or quad-band phone. Compatible with 3G where available, the Reclaim is on the Sprint network.
Setup & Use
The Samsung Reclaim takes just a minute to setup. The package includes a wall charger, microSD card, two thin instruction booklets and a recycle bag for your previous cell phone.
The main Reclaim screen shows a green meadow and, almost unobtrusively, a series of icons at the bottom. The options are home screen, text and voice messaging, my account, phone personalization, shortcuts, MySpace, Facebook, Sprint GPS, Google Apps, Internet and green tips. Unfortunately, you’re not going to know what everything means simply from the icons alone. A leaf represents green living tips, while a stick figure next to a phone represents your account. The option type flashes a few seconds after it is selected, but the delay feels like a strange hiccup. You flip through by pushing the crosspad left or right and select deeper menu options by pushing up or down.
Like the Propel Pro, the keys are corn-on-the-cob tiny, but responsive and sensitive nonetheless. The Internet chugged along fine with the 3G network, though you shouldn’t expect lightning speed here.
Surprisingly, one of the phone’s strongest aspects is its camera. The ease of use is impressive: Turn the phone horizontally, press the camera button and tap again to shoot. Options include sending photos as an attachment, saving them or even ordering prints. The camcorder mode was less impressive, as the video has a smaller resolution and appears grainier and darker – perhaps because there isn’t a physical flash or lighting on the device.
The Samsung Reclaim has Sprint TV, games and other multimedia, but it doesn’t support music transfer out the box – an additional mini-USB cord is required for that. Until then, original music must be downloaded via Sprint’s own proprietary system.
The phone also has voice-activated dialing, Sprint GPS, Bluetooth and social networks built in.
The Samsung Reclaim is $279.99 MSRP, a little steep for a middle-of-the-road smartphone. That said, Sprint is also providing a pretty steep $180 instant rebate and a $50 mail-in rebate, making the Reclaim a much more attractive $49.99 (with, of course, a two-year commitment). The included microSD card is great, but multimedia lovers will want to factor in a miniUSB cord into the final price. More info is available at http://www.sprint.com.
Made of 80 percent recycled materials, the Samsung Reclaim is a big step up for eco-friendly smartphones, and offers acceptable call quality and added features to boot. Green concerns aside, the Reclaim also works for people interested in a Propel Pro device with less fuss. A steal at $50 with rebate, it’s a bargain, though the phone does come in a bit steep at the $300 standard price.
- Environmentally friendly
- Good 2.0 MP camera
- A solid all-around performer
- Limited multimedia interface
- Tiny keys
- Doesn’t excel in any particular areas