Samsung may have eclipsed Nokia as the king of the smartphone hill with 56.3 million handsets shipped in Q3 2012, but that number pales in comparison to how many basic phones the Korean manufacturer continues to quietly pump out each year.
Enter the Samsung Array, a Sprint version of the Samsung Montage (aka Samsung SPH-M390) for Virgin Mobile. There's nothing too spectacular about this particular handset, which is clearly aimed at old-school consumers who keep carriers' "talk and text only" packages in business. The initial cost is dirt cheap, only $19.99 with two-year agreement.
Our review model was the Sprint model, but the Array is also available for Boost Mobile, which doesn't require a contract. Same goes for the aforementioned Virgin version, the Samsung Montage.
Consumers who are still opting for "dumb" phones in a smartphone world aren't doing so for nostalgia. They obviously want two things: simplicity and savings. But with plans starting at $49.99 for 450 anytime calling minutes and unlimited texting, plus a two-year commitment to this dated handset, is buying a Samsung Array a smart play with your wallet? Let's find out.
Featuring a 2.4-inch QVGA, 320 x 240 LCD display and a QWERTY slider keyboard, the Samsung Array certainly isn't going to be confused for one of the company's Android smartphones. This Brew-powered handset measures 4.40 x 2.12 x 0.59 inches, and at only 4.1 ounces, it fits nicely in even the smallest of hands.
There's no touchscreen display to be found here – instead, navigation must be done using a row of hardware buttons sandwiched between the screen and the T9 keypad on front.
The Samsung Array is also one of the increasingly rare breeds of phone with a QWERTY slider keyboard, complete with a row of Fn-key numbers across the top. While the keys are just a hair too flush with the surface, they're certainly usable for knocking out SMS or even a short email.
A 3.5mm headphone jack is positioned on the top of the handset, with microSD card slot (capable of holding 32GB of additional storage) and dedicated camera button on the right. A micro-B USB port at bottom is used for charging; a volume rocker and a pair of QWERTY option keys (one left, one right) sit along the left edge.
A hidden LED indicator near the front upper left corner blinks when the handset is trying to get a user's attention, while a mostly unspectacular 2MP camera – sorry, no flash here – is included on back next to the speakerphone.
The Samsung Array can be purchased through Sprint for a mere $19.99 with a two-year commitment (after $50 mail-in rebate via rewards card).