Samsung Galaxy Core LTE could get you 4G powers without breaking the bank

/ Updated: February 26, 2014 11:53 AM PST

BARCELONA, Spain -- 4G phones needn't be expensive, as Samsung's latest mobile aims to prove. The Core LTE is a decidedly midrange mobile, that also offers -- as the name implies -- LTE powers. We got to grips with the Core LTE, which is out in the UK in the next few months, at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, so read on for our first impressions ahead of the full review.

Midrange, but attractively small
The Core LTE has a screen that's only 4.5 inches on the diagonal. That's bigger than any iPhone has ever been, but compared to most of Samsung's mobiles, it's positively tiny.

That could make the Core LTE a good choice for anyone who's not too fond of the massive mobiles that have become so fashionable over the last few years. If you prefer something that fits neatly into your pocket and doesn't stretch your thumbs, a phone of this size could be right up your alley.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Core LTE feels well put together, despite the fact that it'll probably be quite cheap when it goes on sale. I didn't notice any untoward creaking or flex during my hands-on time, and build quality appeared to be pretty high, at least at first blush.

Around the back of this oval-shaped smartphone, you'll find a 5-megapixel camera. That's not a very high sensor resolution in this day and age, but it should serve for simple shots on a night out, or the odd snap of your pet doing something hilarious.

The Core LTE is running Android version 4.2.2, also known as Jelly Bean. That's not the very latest version, but it's still a very advanced interface that'll offer plenty of apps and extra Samsung software.

4G prowess
As the name suggests, the Core LTE's superpower is its ability to hook onto 4G networks. This'll get you significantly faster browsing and data downloads when you're using your mobile out-and-about.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Network operators can charge a premium for access to 4G, so a cheaper 4G phone could be a way of spreading that cost. That said, there are plenty of other 4G-capable phones out there, so shop around before splashing your cash. With its smaller display, the Core LTE isn't the best phone around for enjoying a spot of Netflix, for instance, and if video streaming is what you primarily want 4G for, you might be better off with another mobile.

Outlook
The Core LTE doesn't rock our socks off, but it's possible that if the price is right, this could be a great way of getting a 4G-capable phone without breaking the bank. Stay tuned for the full review

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Samsung Galaxy Core LTE

Part Number: Galaxy Core-LTE
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Quick Specifications See All

  • Diagonal Size 4.5 in