Samsung Restore SPH-m570 review: Samsung Restore SPH-m570

Samsung Restore SPH-m570

Nicole Lee

Nicole Lee

Former Editor

Nicole Lee is a senior associate editor for CNET, covering cell phones, Bluetooth headsets, and all things mobile. She's also a fan of comic books, video games, and of course, shiny gadgets.

See full bio
7 min read

CNET editors pick the products and services we write about. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission.

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.


Samsung Restore SPH-m570

The Good

The Samsung Restore is made out of recyclable materials, has a solid slider design, and includes features such as a 2.0-megapixel camera, a music player, a 3.5mm headset jack, and EV-DO Rev. 0.

The Bad

The Samsung Restore's camera doesn't take very good pictures and its call quality needs to be improved.

The Bottom Line

The Samsung Restore is a great eco-friendly option if you want a full-featured multimedia messaging phone on Sprint.

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 Samsung Restore has a 2.4-inch QVGA display on the front.

On the front of the phone is a lovely 2.4-inch QVGA display that supports 262,000 colors and has a 320x240-pixel resolution. We are pleased with the colorful images and the crisp text, and the size of the screen allows for more messages, especially in threaded conversations. You can adjust the brightness and the backlight timer. The menu interface can be arranged in either grid or list view, while the home screen has Sprint's One Click interface along the bottom row (You can read more about One Click in our review of the Samsung Highlight). As part of the phone's eco-friendly theme, the Restore includes quick links to the Planet Green site in the One Click interface.

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.

The Samsung Restore has a slide-out QWERTY keyboard.

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.

You will be able to send and receive POP3 e-mail with the Restore. It supports Web e-mail services like Yahoo and Gmail, but you can also use other POP or IMAP e-mail servers. In fact, you can also sync your work e-mail on here, provided you use Outlook Web Access. The service works quite well, and we like that we can sync our Outlook calendar as well.

The Restore has EV-DO, and so it supports Sprint's broadband services like Sprint Radio, Sprint Movie, and Sprint TV. You also get the Sprint Music Store, where you can purchase and download music directly to the phone. The music player is pretty generic--you get album art, and you're able to create and edit playlists on the fly. You can also set songs on repeat and shuffle modes, and send the music player to the background while you're on other parts of the phone.

The Samsung Restore has a 2.0-megapixel camera plus a self-portrait mirror on the back.

We were hoping for a slightly better camera than on the Reclaim, but unfortunately, the Restore still has the same old 2.0-megapixel camera. Still, it's not that bad. You can take pictures in five resolutions and three quality settings, plus there's a self-timer, 10 fun frames, a digital zoom, five color effects, brightness adjustment, a night mode, center and spot metering, five white balance presets, and four shutter sounds with a silent option. There are even panorama and mosaic shot options. The Restore's photo quality was not as good as we hoped it would be. It's image colors looked decent enough, but there was a little too much noise for our liking. There's also a camcorder, which can record video for either MMS or standard mode.

The Samsung Restore takes average-looking photos.

After you're done with your photos, you're free to upload them to several venues. You can send them to an online Sprint album, MySpace, Photobucket, YouTube, Facebook, or Flickr. You can also send them to someone via Bluetooth or MMS. The Restore only has 61MB of internal memory, so we would recommend using a microSD card for more storage. The phone supports up to 16GB cards.

You can personalize the Restore with graphics and sounds for screensavers, wallpaper, and ringtones. It comes with a few games--demo versions of Bejeweled and Texas HoldEm Poker, plus Diner Dash Flo on the Go-- and you can always get more via the Sprint store.

We tested the Samsung Restore in San Francisco using Sprint's service. Its call quality was decent. We heard our callers clearly with plenty of volume. We also didn't get any interference or distortion. Their voices sounded natural, which is a plus.

On their side, callers said that while they heard us loud and clear, they said our voice sounded quite harsh and machine-like. They also detected a bit of distortion at times. It was worse when we were on speakerphone - they reported more of an echo and a hollow quality to our voice. Similarly, they sounded quite tinny over the speakers.

We enjoyed good EV-DO Rev. 0 speeds for the most part. We didn't manage to get full signal sometimes, but when we did, it worked well. We loaded the CNET mobile page in just 10 seconds, and we didn't get a lot of buffering issues with streaming video. Its audio quality when playing music is average--we would use a headset for better audio quality, especially since the Restore has a 3.5mm headset jack.

The Restore has a rated battery life of 6 hours talk time. It has a tested talk time of 6 hours and 29 minutes. According to FCC radiation tests, the Reclaim has a digital SAR of 0.72 watts per kilogram.


Samsung Restore SPH-m570

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 7Performance 7