Samsung Dart Review

Introduction and Design

Now that Samsung has permeated T-Mobile’s lineup with a handful of mid and high-end Android smartphones, they’re naturally going to place their attention on the lower end market to balance things out. Boasting an easy to swallow on-contract price of free, the Samsung Dart is an entry-level Android 2.2 Froyo powered smartphone that packs all the awesome features of the ever expanding mobile platform. Even though it’s new on the scene, it surely needs to excel in many areas in order to relinquish the grasp that the LG Optimus T currently holds in T-Mobile’s lower end smartphone spectrum.

The package contains:

  • Samsung Dart
  • microUSB Cable
  • Wall Charger
  • 2GB microSD card
  • Start Guide
  • Health & Safety and Warranty Guide


Sheesh! There’s absolutely no love given to the Samsung Dart’s design whatsoever with its boring, straightforward, and uninspiring looks. Compounding the issue is the fact that its plastic exterior indeed makes the handset feel extremely cheap – albeit, it does make this compact model feel very lightweight (3.8 oz) in the hand. As much as we can’t stand its conventional design, you really can’t knock on it too much considering that it’s a free smartphone – then again, the standards have been set by the LG Optimus T.

You can compare the Samsung Dart with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

Not surprisingly, the Samsung Dart packs a low quality 3.14” QVGA (240 x 320) LCD display that’s marred by some seriously poor viewing angles, bland looking color production, low brightness output, and prevalent pixelization. Contributing to its distasteful performance even further, is the fact that its display is prone to some serious scratching. And seriously, you’ll need to always look at its display at a straight 90 degree angle in order to clearly see anything on there!

Finding the usual set of Android capacitive buttons beneath its display, we didn’t have many issues with accidentally pressing them. Moreover, the earpiece grill, light, and proximity sensors are all found above the touchscreen.

Luckily, both the volume rocker and dedicated power button are prominently raised from their surroundings to ensure distinguishability when pressed. Likewise, the 3.5mm headset jack, microUSB port, lanyard spot, and spring activated microSD card slot are all conveniently located around its sides.

Flipping it around, its 3.2-megapixel fixed focus camera is highlighted with a chrome trim, while two notches towards the bottom allow tunes to come out of its internal speaker. Moreover, there’s a notch on the bottom edge that allows us to easily yank off the rear plastic cover – thus, giving us access to its 1,200 mAh battery and SIM card slot.

Samsung Dart 360-degrees View:

Interface and Functionality:

Showing its ties to the low-end market, the Samsung Dart is packing a forgettable 600MHz processor that shows off its painfully challenging performance with various basic functions. Specifically, there is a recognizable amount of lag when trying to navigate across its homescreens with a live wallpaper active. However, switching it to a static one makes it tolerable, but there is still some delay with other operations – like moving around the app panel. Even though it’s employing Samsung’s TouchWiz UI on top of Android 2.2 Froyo, which is evident by the dock of icons in the homescreen, it’s actually handicapped in a way versus other TouchWiz devices since it lacks any of the TouchWiz widgets. Nevertheless, we’re still presented with all the personalization aspects of Android.

As a whole, patience is definitely a virtue that you want to keep in mind when attempting to type with its on-screen keyboard. Not only is the layout extremely cramped in portrait, but also its unresponsiveness hinders us from speed typing casually. Naturally, the landscape option is the preferred choice, but considering that it fails to keep up with our pace, it essentially proves to be a challenging experience. If the Samsung keyboard isn’t your thing, you can always opt to use the Swype keyboard instead.

Obviously, the Gmail experience is an enjoyable one since it offers all the features you normally expect to find with any Android smartphone. However, its smaller sized and low quality display makes it difficult to read emails in full fidelity. Besides Gmail, the process of setting up other accounts is a breeze since it only requires your email address and password to automatically set up – though, it might require some additional things for other less popular clients.

Shocking to say the least, the Samsung Dart doesn’t pack on any additional bloatware out of the box, but rather, we only find the usual set of Google ones on board – with the ThinkFree Office app being the only third party app pre-installed.

Camera and Multimedia:

Forget about it! That’s exactly what comes to mind every time we think about trying to shoot a photo with the Dart’s 3.2-megapixel camera. Actually, you’ll need to keep a firm hand on the phone since it requires you to wait painfully for 3 seconds to completely take a shot. In addition to its overall pixelated looks in almost every lighting condition, its production is littered with bland looking colors, indiscernible details, and an abundance of noise to make you look the other way.

Equally as terrible, the handset’s video recording quality is yet another example of ugliness to the extreme with its maximum capture resolution of 320 x 240 pixels. In testing our tolerance once again, it’s quite clear that the Dart is incapable of shooting fond memories because of its unwillingness to remotely capture some passable videos. Combining its low quality production with its 14 frames per second capture rate, there’s no reason why you should look the other way – again!

Samsung Dart Sample Video:

Using the conventional Android music player as opposed to the TouchWiz one, it’s more than capable of playing our library of songs without any complications. Taking us by surprise, the Dart’s audio quality with its speaker is pretty good with its balanced tones without sounding too sharp at the loudest setting. Additionally, there is a variety of equalizer settings to choose from to fine tune its output.

Even with its QVGA display, we’re able to load a video encoded in MPEG-4 720 x 480 resolution without much fluff. More than capable of playing it smoothly, the experience is decent to say the least, but its small size and low quality display make it difficult to fully enjoy watching videos wholeheartedly.

Gladly, we’re accepting the handset’s inclusion of a 2GB microSD card, which should be more than adequate for this free on-contract smartphone. And of course, you can always replace it with cards up to 32GB in size.

Internet and Connectivity:

Lacking Flash and 4G support, some might still take a liking to web browsing with the Samsung Dart. Well, you’d think that would be the case right? But its slow processor shows off its unresponsiveness once again as it struggles to smoothly execute basic functions; like kinetic scrolling and pinch zooming. In fact, we experience quite a few instances of lag as well to really strain the already handicapped experience.

Being the GSM smartphone it is, international travelers will love the fact that you can place voice phone calls in almost any location across the globe – albeit, it’s enabled for 3G in the US via T-Mobile’s AWS band. As usual, the handset boasts other connectivity features like 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0, and aGPS. Adding to its usefulness, the Dart also features mobile hotspot and Wi-Fi calling out of the box.


More than acceptable to our taste, calling quality with the smartphone is average at best with its earpiece producing clear voices that are free from any background noise and static – though, its volume output is on the neutral side. On the other end of the line, our callers say that our voice is rather sharp in tone, but still audible to make out. Lastly, the speakerphone is lacking in the volume department, while producing some crackly voices.

In high coverage areas, the handset is able to display a good amount of bars while staying at a steady -75 dBm – with no evidence of major fluctuations or dropped calls during our testing in the greater Philadelphia area.

With its paltry sized 1,200 mAh battery, it’s not going to offer a lot of talking time – and in fact, we manage to get 5.5 hours on a single charge. Although it’s not as high versus other smartphones, it beats out the manufacturer’s rating of 4 hours. In terms of normal everyday operation, which mostly consists of texting, emailing, web surfing, and an occasional phone call, we’re able to get 1.5 days before seeing its battery hit the critical level.


When you find any smartphone priced at free with a contract, it’s rather difficult to blatantly find any qualms with it – especially when you don’t need to dish out any money for it. However, after seeing the LG Optimus T setting the bar high for all entry-level Android smartphones after it on T-Mobile’s lineup, we’re extremely disappointed with the Samsung Dart’s offerings and performance. In all honesty, you basically get what you pay for with this one – something that brings the functionality of Android, but lacks the complete and engaging experience to make it tolerable. Honestly, just run and look the other way…and we mean very far!

Software version of the reviewed unit:
Android Version: 2.2.2
Build number: FROYO.UVKE4
Kernel Version: se.infra@sep-36 #1

Samsung Dart Video Review:


  • It’s priced at free with a contract


  • Cheap feeling handset
  • Low quality display
  • Sluggish performance with basic operations
  • Shoots ugly looking photos & videos

PhoneArena Rating:


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