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printed September 16, 2014
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Review: Samsung Dart

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Screen

In order to get the Dart's price point down, Samsung had to skimp somewhere, and the display is one area the Korean manufacturer cut back. The Dart's display measures 3.1 inches across the diagonal and a positively 2005-era 240 x 320 pixels. The LCD may be capacitive, and for that we are thankful, but the pixels are so few that you can practically count them. The screen door effect is apparent on every screen. This means text, graphics, and icons have pixelated, jagged edges, and everything comes off as somewhat fuzzy. On the brightness scale, it does well. I found it easy to use indoors, and it only failed completely when under bright, sunny skies.

Signal

The Dart performed well for a T-Mobile device in the metropolitan New York City area. In my home, it captured two bars, which is pretty typical. As I traveled around with the Dart to points across New Jersey, it ranged the gamut from zero to five bars. It was connected to T-Mobile's 3G network most of the time, though it dropped to EDGE on plenty of occasions. Practically speaking, the Dart remained connected to T-Mobile's network reliably enough that it didn't drop any calls. It missed one (failed to ring, went straight to voicemail) and I had to re-dial one call (didn't connect on the first attempt). Other than that, I had no problems. Data sessions were uneven in speed, depending on the data connection, but the Dart never got hung up.

Sound

The Dart exhibited good call quality during my tests. It wasn't perfectly clear all the time, but the majority of voice calls were clear enough and weren't interrupted by noise, such as hissing or static. Voices sounded present and warm. The earpiece speaker was a bit on the weak side. The maximum volume setting was a bit weak for moderately noisy environments. For example, I was unable to hear callers over the construction outside my office, though it’s fine in quieter places. Quality of calls through the speakerphone was also good, but the Dart's speakerphone isn't loud enough, either. Ringers and alert tones weren’t quite loud enough. The vibrate alert is plenty strong.

Battery

The Dart performed very well on battery tests. I easily got two full days out of it. Perhaps it is the modest display and/or processor, but even with Gmail syncing constantly and Twitter updating every 30 minutes, the Dart powered through all of it. Most users will find they only need to charge every other day. Only the heaviest users might need to plug it in after a day and half.

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