Samsung Array review: A simple and solid feature phone

The Array has a WAP browser, which you means you'll be viewing mobile versions of any Web site you visit. And keep in mind these aren't mobile sites optimized for a smartphone. They're even more stripped down into a simple list of links, no graphics, and barely any photos. Add in the lack of a touch screen and the 3G data speeds, and you get a clunky Internet experience. The toolbar at the bottom of the browser is a nice touch, but that's really the only positive thing I can say. If you absolutely can't live without a social network, the Array does have dedicated links to Facebook and Twitter. Keep in mind, though, that you'll be using the mobile version of both services rather than an optimized app. Likewise, the POP3 e-mail support is browser-based.

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Color accuracy in this shot was decent, but the Array's camera had trouble focusing from a distance. Kent German/CNET

The 2-megapixel camera is there if you need it, but don't count on taking stellar photography. You can downgrade the resolution to 320x240 pixels and adjust a decent set of options including white balance, brightness, color tones, and image quality. The camera also has a digital zoom (except at full resolution), three shutter sounds, a self-timer, and multishot, night, mosaic, and panoramic modes. The Array does not have a flash.

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Without a flash, our standard studio shot was rather dim. There was a fair amount of image noise, as well. Kent German/CNET

I wasn't expecting much from the Array's photo quality, and it didn't surprise me in the least. Photos are fine if you have enough light, and color accuracy can be adequate at times, but the camera failed in most other regards (see the sample shots for more details). This is not a proper camera phone in any regard.

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Shots with direct sunlight were the best, but the Array has trouble distinguishing between light and dark areas. Kent German/CNET

The camcorder has a similar set of editing options. Clips for multimedia messages are capped at 30 seconds, but you can shoot for longer in standard mode. Video quality, as you might expect, is poor.

Performance
I tested the dual-band (CDMA 800/1900) Samsung Array in San Francisco with Sprint service. Call quality is always important, but even more so for basic phones like the Array, since they don't do much else. Fortunately, the handset didn't let me down. I enjoyed great call quality with plenty of volume, no static, and a strong, clear signal. Voices sounded natural and I didn't encounter distortion even at the highest volume levels. On their end, callers said I sounded fine. They could tell that I was using a cell phone, and a couple people reported moderate background noise. On the whole, though, my friends had few complaints. Given that Boost uses Sprint's network, call quality on the prepaid carrier's Array was the same.

Samsung Array call-quality sample Listen now:

The speakerphone also performed well. I had to sit close to the phone and be in a quiet room to be heard, but the experience wasn't unlike most other cell phones. There's more than enough volume here, as well, with only a small amount of distortion when it's all the way up.

The Array has a 480MHz processor (128MB RAM/256MB ROM). Don't let numbers fool you, though, as it keeps the handset running smoothly. The bigger detriment is the 3G data speeds. No I'd never expect LTE on a phone like the Array, but even simple Web pages took a few seconds to open.

Inside is a 1,000mAh battery that promises up to 4 hours of talk time and up to 10.4 days of standby time. During our talk test time, it lasted 5.63 hours. The Array has a digital SAR of 1.09 watts per kilogram.

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