Samsung was one of the first cell phone manufacturers to jump on the eco-friendly bandwagon with the Samsung Blue Earth, which has solar panels on its back, and the Samsung Reclaim, which is partially made out of recycled materials. The Samsung Restore is a successor to the Reclaim, albeit with a slightly different design. It too is made out of recycled materials--up to 27 percent in fact--and if you decide to get rid of it, 77 percent of it recyclable. Also, it's free of hazardous materials such as PVC, uses recycled packaging, and has an Energy Star certified AC adapter.
Aside from those features, the Restore is a pretty normal messaging handset. It has a 2.0-megapixel camera, stereo Bluetooth, a music player, GPS, EV-DO, and, of course, a full QWERTY keyboard. The Restore is available for $49.99 with a new two-year contract.
While it may claim similar eco-friendly properties as the Samsung Reclaim does, the Restore looks a bit more like the Rant. It has a number keypad on the front, but it slides sideways to reveal a full QWERTY keyboard. Despite its recycled ingredients, the Restore feels sturdy, and we like its overall oval shape and curved edges. Measuring 4.6 inches long by 2.1 inches wide by 0.6 inch thick, the Restore is definitely bigger than both the Rant and the Reclaim, but it's still lightweight at 4.32 ounces and easily fits in a pocket or purse.
The navigation array that follows is a bit of departure for Samsung messaging phones. You get the typical two soft keys, the speakerphone key, the back key, and the Send and End/Power keys of course, but instead of a regular toggle, you get a square optical touch-sensitive touch pad similar to the one on the Samsung Moment. This makes navigating the menu a lot quicker and smoother, but it takes a bit of practice to not scroll too far from where you want. Two soft keys are on the left side of the display, for use when the keyboard is open.
The number keypad underneath the navigation array is quite roomy, and we like that the keys are separate from each other and are raised above the surface for quick dialing. The volume rocker is on the left spine while the 3.5mm headset jack and camera key are on the right. The charger jack is on top and the camera lens is on the back. Sitting underneath the camera lens is the self-portrait mirror.
Sliding the display to the right and reveals a full QWERTY keyboard. The display will automatically switch from portrait to landscape mode, and the phone will prompt you if you want to send an e-mail or a text message. The keyboard is spacious enough, and we like that the keys are sufficiently raised for us to text with ease. We also like that there are navigation arrow keys on the keyboard.
The Restore also has a microSD card slot, but you have to remove the battery cover to access it.
The Restore has a 1,000-entry phone book with room in each entry for six numbers, an e-mail address, an instant messaging handle, a URL, a birthday, a street address, a job title and company name, and notes. You can assign callers to groups, pair them with a photo for caller ID, plus one of 20 polyphonic ring tones and melodies. As an option, you can use Sprint's wireless backup service to store your contacts on Sprint's servers.
It has essential features such as a vibrate mode and a speakerphone, plus the usual PIM tools like an alarm clock, a calendar, a calculator, a tip calculator, a world clock, a memo pad, and a voice memo recorder. You will also find stereo Bluetooth, voice command features, USB mass storage, instant messaging, and text and multimedia messaging. The latter supports threaded messaging so you'll be able to see your back-and-forth texts as a conversation. Along with the Restore's pro-environment message, it also comes with an eco calculator that will measure your carbon usage, similar to the one on the LG Remarq.
As with most Sprint messaging phones, the Restore comes with social networking applications like MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter. Since it has GPS, it also offers Sprint Navigation and Family Locator services. Other applications included in the phone include Google services like maps, search, YouTube, and a ScanLife bar-code scanner. Along with the eco-calculator, the Restore also has "green" apps like Green Glossary and Green Guide that offer tips on how to live a more eco-friendly life. You can also do simple multitasking and send certain apps to the background.