capsule review

Samsung Reclaim (Sprint) Cell Phone

At a Glance
  • Samsung Reclaim

    PCWorld Rating

    Good-quality phone smartly balances style and functionality.

The compact Samsung Reclaim is an ecologically conscious smartphone smartphone that successfully balances style, functionality, and usability. Priced at $130 (as of August 7, 2009, with a two-year Sprint contract), the Reclaim is a sharp-looking, affordable alternative to larger units for consumers and professionals alike.

In part composed of corn-based bio-plastics, the Reclaim is 80 percent recyclable. Samsung configures it for quick access to popular social media sites and to environment-related Web content. And the company donates $2 from each sale to the Nature Conservancy's Adopt an Acre program.

When closed, the 3.9-by-2.3-inch unit has a simple, clean interface. A circular rocker button for navigation and a large 'OK' button are surrounded by two soft keys, a voicemail key, a back key, and standard call-start and call-end keys.

The 3.5-ounce phone felt solid and balanced in my hand, even when open. And at just over 0.5 inch thick, it doesn't create too much of a bulge in a shirt pocket. The 2.4-inch, 320-by-pixel display is bright and easy to read, aside from some thin and tiny fonts that a few of the menus use.

You can scroll side-to-side through the function icons at the bottom of the home screen, using the navigation button. As this carousel of icons scrolls past, the menus and information boxes above it change as needed. The carousel permits quick access to most features. You can add your most-used features to a one-touch shortcut menu.

The backlit QWERTY keypad's mostly blue-on-silver lettering is sometimes hard to see in weak lighting. The keys are somewhat cramped and narrow, but even my fat thumbs cranked out e-mail messages and instant messages on it. It even has a dedicated key for a smiley face.

The unit's 2-megapixel camera can record video, but it lacks a flash. When I used it in a dimly lit room, I found the results acceptable, though unimpressive.

Along the phone's left edge are a standard headphone jack and a volume rocker button. Audio quality from the built-in earpiece was good, even in a noisy public setting. On the right, the phone holds a microSD Card slot, a micro USB port, and a dedicated camera button. A nice touch: At the upper right is a loop for attaching a hand strap.

Unfortunately, the Reclaim is thin on extras. If you want to use micro USB, or a hand strap or a wired headset, you'll have to bring your own.

The Reclaim's Web browser sometimes stalled; but given enough time, it rendered most Web pages adequately. The e-mail client, which is easy to configure for major services such as Yahoo and Gmail, pulled down e-mail quickly over Sprint's 3G network.

The phone runs a Java-based operating system and uses Sprint's One-Click interface. It also supports Web access to Microsoft Exchange servers, and has a wizard for configuring corporate e-mail. Leisure-time features include a digital music/video player and links to Sprint TV, Sprint Music, Sprint Radio, and Sprint Movies. Also on-board is Sprint Navigation, which provides turn-by-turn navigation with voice commands.

The Reclaim comes in two colors: ocean blue and earth green.

The Reclaim appeals because of its compact size and energy-efficient design, but other smartphones have wider, more comfortable keypads and better features.

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Good-quality phone smartly balances style and functionality.

    Pros

    • Intuitive function icon carousel
    • Good audio quality

    Cons

    • Small keys on the QWERTY keypad
    • Slow browser
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