Jun 16 AT 5:38 PM Anthony Domanico 37 Comments

Eco-users complain about solar charging on Samsung Replenish

Update: A few of you have pointed out that the solar charger is a separate accessory, and does not come included with the device. My bad, must have been confused with something I read.


You remember the Samsung Replenish, right? You know, that eco-friendly smartphone that dropped on the Sprint network a few months back? You don’t? Can’t say we blame you, as the Earth-friendly Blackberry look-a-like phone launched with little fanfare as an entry-level Android device.

Well, some people out there did in fact purchase the Replenish and are up in arms about one of the green accessories, a solar charger that allowed users to utilize the sun’s rays to charge their phone without plugging into the wall. At least, that was the theory.

Several users on Sprint’s forums are complaining that the solar charger simply doesn’t work, with a few going as far as to say the charger was actually draining battery from the device instead of charging it. One user reported: “Did a test of the charging system this weekend. Left it out in direct sunlight for about an hour. It got hot but DID NOT CHARGE ANYTHING. I actually lost battery life. Placed it on the dash of my car for an 1 1/2 hour drive and it almost went dead… I don’t know about this… Seems to be a rip-off to me…” You can read a few of the conversation threads here and here.

Though personally I like the idea of solar charging, it’s unfortunate that the Samsung Replenish’s implementation seems to be missing the mark. Are you one of the affected Replenish owners experiencing issues with solar charging? If another device came along with fully-functional solar charging, would you be more inclined to buy? Sound off to these (and more) questions in the comments.

Anthony loves all things technology, from hardware to apps and games. You can connect with him via Google+ or Twitter by clicking one of the fancy doo-dads above.

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  • http://Website Techrocket9

    There are Replenish owners?

  • http://Website billy

    Damn hippies!

  • http://Website +8

    typical Scamsung

  • http://Website charles

    The reason its not charging is because the replenish doesn’t come with the solar charging battery cover. That costs 20-30 bucks as a stand-alone accessory. Get your facts right please. #noobs

    • http://Website shaun

      Lmfao. If that is seriously the reason why they aare not charging (because they don’t even have the solar battery cover) then they should just stick to lan lines. Lmfao noob doesn’t even begin to describe that kind of stupidity

    • http://sprint.com Melissa

      If you go and actually take the time and READ the information in regards to the solar panel battery you’d all know that it takes 18 hours to charge, can’t be in a hot car… not more than 45 degrees celsius (duh… don’t we all know that leaving the phone in the car during extreme heat or cold drains the battery???? I live in sunny Florida, and of course leaving the phone in a hot car will zap the battery quicker than anything, other than taking it to the beach!) It’s an OPTION people… geez… read and educate yourselves so you don’t sound so ignorant!

    • Racheal

      I was under the impression that it came with everything it needed, including the solar-powered back! Was this my fault or false advertising?

      • bobby Joe

        li’l bit of both u should of had a magnifying glass to read the fine print.

    • Racheal

      very misleading!!! I did not see anywhere that you had to purchase back separately when I was purchasing phone. It’s not the only reason why I bought it, but it sure had a huge influence on my decision. CUSTOMERS BE AWARE: YOU HAVE TO PURCHASE THE SOLAR BACK FOR THE PHONE!!

      • gabby

        On sprint.com it evern says under optional accessories that you have to buythe solar back.

    • None

      Charles, get your facts right. The author wrote, “some people out there did in fact purchase the Replenish and are up in arms about one of the green accessories”. Accessories means it was not included, so what is there not to understand?

  • http://Website Dan

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but the #1 cause of poor battery life and battery wear is heat right? Trying to charge your phone on a HOT DASH BOARD IN FULL SUN – will likely destroy your batteries… The charger should be placed on the dash, the phone away from any heat or sun. That should work fine – in theory.

  • http://Website Nick

    Or solar power simply doesn’t do the trick…

  • http://Website Mark

    A Samsung device not working as intended? SHOCKER! Did not see that one coming…

    • http://Website cameron

      Name one that doesn’t.

      • http://Website Tyler

        The Replenish?

  • http://Website PlatinumPlatypus

    Maybe it only charges when the phone’s off, otherwise the drain is faster than the charge?

  • http://Website Bryan

    Or maybe something like this would do the trick: http://www.photonlight.com/solio-classic. Even that takes something like 5-6 hours of sun for a full charge though. But at least with the Solio chargers you can charge up the internal battery in advance so it’s ready when you need it. 5-6 hours isn’t so bad then. I think the lesson to be learned is that solar charging takes patience and is not for everyone.

    • http://Website Bacoon_Hat

      I got a Solio Charger and I love it. It does take awhile to charge but does work as advertised. I bought mine at the Sprint store and it came with 4 or so adapators. Just be sure to read what it includes because on the website you don’t get all of them.

      Btw the best part of the Solio is I can also plug it into the wall and treat it like a separate battery pack if its a rainy day lol. Bought it for Disneyland for my EVO 4G.

  • http://Website Tony

    The phone needs a special back for this to work.. its an extra accessory, not something that just works out of the box.

  • http://Website Scott

    Unless I’m missing something, the dash of your car is NOT direct sunlight. My car has thermal glass and specifically blocks part of the sun’s energy.

    • http://Website Becky


  • http://Website Iris

    This story seems off. According to Sprint’s website, the phone only comes with the AC charger. You have to buy the solar charger back for it if you want to use it. Do these people think the standard back is the solar one?

    I’ve got a solar charged bluetooth speaker in my car. I have never had to use the cigarette lighter charger, and the car is parked in a garage at home, outside when I’m at work, and the car is rarely used on the weekends.

    Is this yet another case of people (gasp!) not reading manuals?

    • http://Website Sandi

      Hi Iris,
      I would like to know more about your solar blue tooth? Can you tell me about it, I would love to have one, where did you get it and will it go with a samsung replenish? Thanks for th info…

  • http://Website Iris

    @Scott – And my solar charged bluetooth is stuck to the inside of my windshield – charges fine through the glass.

  • http://Website Simon Belmont

    I don’t think I’d want to leave my smartphone out in the direct sunlight or on a hot dashboard to give it 1-2% of charge. The handset seems decent, but the solar panel is pointless.

    Solar panel efficiency has always been pretty low. Until they can get it up to something like 80% efficiency you will need big panels and a tiny one on your smartphone will not cut the mustard.

    • http://Website shaun

      Your not charging a car battery there mr. Nicholas tesla. Its rather small…

  • http://Website Joseph

    I am an owner of several smartphones, the replenish being one of them. I also have the solar powered accessory and I haven’t had a problem with mine at all! I hope everyone who doesn’t realizes that ALL smartphones have temperature sensors on them. Typically when temperatures reach too high it will not allow ANYTHING (including the solar trickle charge) to charge the phone until temperatures drop.
    I leave my replenish with solarside up on my dashboard, but I also have my ac on low defrost in order to allow the replenish to stay cool while I’m driving.
    Two other things to note.
    1. The solar accessory is not designed to replace actual charging from ac. It is designed to be a supplement, which basically means it will help your phone drains much slower! I’ve been able to keep my phone at about 85% by the end of the day by keeping it in sunlight for most of the day. When I use is is when the battery gets drained, however the tickle charge, charges just enough to keep the battery from draining when in standby.
    2. APPs and configurations. Its a smartphone, yes its only 600mhz but it eats up juice. The more apps you have that send and receive information on its own will naturally drain battery life. The more email accounts you have and email you send and receive will drain your battery, especially the frequency at which you check for emails. I removed the gmail app(requires a rooted phone) which typically drains the battery. With that said, I do have my replenish optimally configured to use less battery, which I highly suggest any half intelligent smartphone user would do.
    I hope this helps those who are having so much trouble, but again its how you use it and what you know that will get you optimal performance on ANY piece of technology.

  • ranman

    I bought this phone for my 11 year old when his phone crapped out, and it is an amazing entry level device. Considering I got it for 50 bucks with contract, and now they are offering it for free, and it comes loaded with 2.2, I consider it a great device for someone who is not a power user. GREAT phone for kids.

    It being eco friendly was just a bonus. As far as it being solar, had no idea it was even supported.

  • http://sprint.com Replenish User

    I own this phone as well as the solar charger. It DOES work. Anyone having issues with the charging system obviously has NO idea how to utilize their phone properly. The amount of energy created by photovoltaic cells is small to begin with, and with a cell array that’s 3″ x 4″ (approx) you’re not going to be able to charge it faster than the phone can consume (power). Yes it charges. In my estimation, 1 hour in the sun allows 20 minutes of talk time. KEEP IN MIND! If you’re streaming music, facebooking, or have automatic data updates enabled, the solar array just cant keep up. The phone sucks up the power faster than the solar charger can charge. Its physics, pure and simple. It works as intended – supplemental power, NOT a replacement for using a charger. It does get hot from the sun – about as hot as it gets when leaving it on the charger overnight.
    In an emergency situation, it does perform. But you MUST know how to use the technology properly in order to make it so. I take it mountainbiking with me, and I can run a full day, outdoors using GPS and music only, and I don’t have to worry about getting stranded in the woods with a dead phone.
    This article’s somewhat slanted – doesn’t take into account all of the #noobs that don’t know how to read a manual or learn about how their technology is supposed to work.

  • http://Website jastina

    It must be in direct sunlight no obstructions such as windshields

  • http://Website ryan

    Maybe the sun is broke?

    • http://jesusandthemudkip.blogspot.com/ hikaricore

      ^ Someone give this guy a cookie for the best reply ever.

  • Debra Renfro

    I would like to know if the solar powered charger for this phone will charge it under light in the house or at work, does it have to be the sun or can day light be used to charge the phone by means of the charger such as how a solar powered calculator works, if anyone knows please let me know, thank you.

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  • piggy

    I’m testing one of the external solar charters with built in battery.
    I’ve read from many varietys of this concept that many peeps including myself are experiancing battery drain

    Let me explain
    Phone on min drain mode eg airplane mode ect. Plug in solar charger and the phone will lose % every min or so. I’ve tried many diff scenario like precharge the charger in sun out sun…and on 3 diff phones.

    Not quite got it to work yet, from my online searches this is a common and yet to be rectified problem

  • Jo

    I got the replenish when it first came out. I purchased the solar charger at the same time. It has never worked. My battery stayed drained with or without attempting to charge with the solar cover.

    I finally gave up because between the android monopolizing my memory and draining the battery, and the fact that the (i think $49.99) battery didn’t work, the phone was a pain.

    I got a Windows phone. Guess what?

    Think I’m going to reactivate the Replenish.