The Samsung Replenish joins Boost Mobile's network as its most affordable Android phone. Originally released for Sprint last spring, Boost's Replenish has Android 2.3 Gingerbread, a portrait QWERTY keyboard to complement its touch screen, and Mobile ID. The eco-conscious set can rest assured that it's made from recycled materials.
Apart from that, it's a basic Android device, and there's plenty to pick on. However, the keyboard and pricing help round out Boost's smartphone portfolio. The handset costs $99.99 off-contract.
Editors' note: Portions of this review were taken from the Sprint version of the Samsung Replenish.
From a distance, the Samsung Replenish looks like a knockoff BlackBerry, with its smallish touch screen topping a vertical QWERTY keyboard. Like its rivals, the Replenish is also black, with silver accents. It's also tall, standing 4.8 inches high by 2.4 inches wide by 0.5 inch thick, and it weighs 4.1 ounces, which feels about right in the hand, although the device felt a tad blocky on the ear.
The Replenish has a 2.8-inch QVGA touch screen with a 240x320-pixel resolution and support for 16 million colors. As low as the resolution is compared with premium and proprietary offerings like Sasmsung's Super AMOLED and HD Super AMOLED screens, it's appropriate for the phone's screen size. Colors and sharpness were decent, and I couldn't complain about brightness, at least when out of direct sunlight. I wish the screen were larger, since 2.8 inches isn't much once you cram in all those application and home-screen icons and attempt to read e-mail or surf the Web.
Below the screen are four hardware buttons that correspond to the menu, home, back, and search. While they're long and narrow, I didn't have any trouble using them. Beneath them is the four-row QWERTY keyboard with buttons that are rounded, raised above the surface, and backlit. Although I could type quickly and accurately, the keyboard felt a little cramped, and keys weren't as responsive or grippy as I've seen on other keyboards. While most Replenish owners shouldn't have a problem, I know that Samsung can do, and has done, better.
The Replenish has a volume rocker on the left spine, and a voice command button and camera shutter button on the right. The Micro-USB charging port is at the bottom, and the power button and 3.5mm headset jack are on top. Some of the buttons feel like cheap plastic, but since it's such an affordable handset, I can't complain too much that the components don't feel premium. The 2-megapixel camera is on the phone's back, and there's a microSD card slot behind the back cover. The Replenish supports up to a 32GB memory card, and comes with a 2GB starter card.
The Replenish runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread with Mobile ID, a variant on Sprint's attempt to diversify its Android offerings by creating a gallery of third-party ID packs filled with wallpaper, widgets, shortcuts, apps, and so on. In my initial review of Sprint ID, it struck me as meddlesome bloatware, since you have to download an ID Pack in its entirety before you can individually strip out unwanted elements. Mobile ID is less obtrusive than it was before, but if you use it, it still has a noticeable presence on the Replenish.
Keep in mind that installing ID packs is purely optional, and you can continue to customize the Replenish's five home screens instead using the generic setup.
As with other Android Gingerbread phones, the Replenish supports Bluetooth, GPS, Wi-Fi, and an integrated e-mail and message inbox for multiple POP, IMAP, and Exchange accounts and Twitter and Facebook. The Replenish also has Google Maps with turn-by-turn voice navigation, the Android Market storefront, the standard music player, YouTube, Google Places, and Google Talk for chatting. There are typical organizer apps like a clock, calculator, and calendar. Other preloaded apps include Boost Zone and ThinkFree office. Boost's Replenish is refreshingly free of the boatload of third-party apps you often find with contract carriers.