Samsung S7550 Blue Earth review: Calling Captain Planet
A blue earth it is. We mean there's no need to tell you our home planet is not quite in the pink. So, before you go on reading, you might want to turn off the lights and the telly, and go pick up a wind turbine and a bunch of solar panels at the local DIY. Forget where you put the car keys? Good, get the bike. Samsung says thanks.
OK, now seriously. Maybe it's good to know you're not the only one using recycled paper, composting your garbage and flushing the toilet responsibly. Samsung are perhaps really trying to encourage the effort. The S7550 Blue Earth is a gadget that gives much credence to the likely growth of eco-friendly products and technology.
The Samsung Blue Earth is a solar powered, eco-friendly phone that promotes green thinking. It's made of recycled water bottles, has an ultra low standby power DC charger and comes in a reusable box made of recycled paper. The first solar-powered touchscreen has a special "eco mode" to use the display in an energy efficient manner. The accelerometer-based step counter has a new spin to it too. It calculates how much CO2 would have been released if you drove instead of walked.
Another quite appropriate feature is the Eco Day list in the calendar, which gives you all the environment-related dates celebrated around the world. Without the Samsung Blue Earth we'd still be ignorant enough not to know what day is today. OK, not in that sense, but we honestly had no idea that September 16th is the World Ozone Day. So, take a deep breath, congratulate us on our timing and get ready for the Samsung S7550 Blue Earth.
- Solar panel for battery charging
- GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz, GPRS/EDGE class 12, UMTS 900/2100, HSDPA 3.6Mbps
- Commendable build quality
- 3" capacitive TFT touchscreen, WQVGA resolution (240 x 400 pixels)
- 180MB onboard storage, microSD card slot (up to 16GB)
- Wi-Fi, GPS with A-GPS support
- 3.15 megapixel fixed focus camera with smile detection and QVGA @ 30fps video recording
- Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP, USB v.2.0
- Document viewer
- Exchange ActiveSync support
- Smart unlock
- Accelerometer sensor
- FM radio with RDS
- Music recognition service
- 1080 mAh battery
- Could've been slightly thinner
- The screen is poorly visible in the sun
- 3 MP fixed focus camera is outdated
- Grip and handling compromised by the solar panel
- No USB cable in the retail package
The solar panel is enough of a rarity in mobile phones. The Blue Earth is only the second mass production handset to have it, next to another Samsung phone - the entry level E1107 Crest Solar. Samsung E200 ECO in turn, was the company's first device made of environmentally-friendly materials. Eco-friendly telephony is not exclusive Samsung territory though. The Sony Ericsson GreenHeart program, as well as phones like Motorola W233 Renew and Nokia 3110 Evolve, show that major manufacturers are willing to at least explore this market niche.
Yet, the Samsung Blue Earth does look like the most complete and focused product to date. The eco-friendly concept was so far tested on rather marginal handsets - a straight-up remake like the Sony Ericsson C901 GreenHeart or downright basic phones. The Samsung Blue Earth tries to be different and we don't mean the relevant applications and the solar panel only. It's a fully featured phone and a touchscreen at that. That it was made with care for the environment doesn't mean they didn't care about the specs. The S7550 is a midrange phone which has more to offer than some of the recent Samsung bestsellers in the touchscreen category (take the S5230 Star for example). On top of the capacitive screen and TouchWiz, you get 3G, Wi-Fi, GPS and rich media.
Not the least, the Samsung S7550 Blue Earth is committed to its cause and you know that before you even take it out of the box. The retail package is enough of a green statement itself. Let's see.