T-Mobile Concord review: T-Mobile Concord

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MSRP: $99.99

T-Mobile Concord

(Part #: CONCORDTMB) Released: Aug 26, 2012
3 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

3 stars 2 user reviews

The Good The T-Mobile ZTE Concord is an inexpensive prepaid device with an attractive design, decent call quality, and respectable 3G speeds.

The Bad The Concord's photo quality is poor, it has a slow processor, and it runs on the dated Android 2.3 Gingerbread.

The Bottom Line The T-Mobile Concord's midrange specs won't turn any heads, but it's a reliable, stylish, and inexpensive handset that doesn't require a contract.

6.7 Overall
  • Design 7.0
  • Features 6.0
  • Performance 7.0

Aimed at first-time smartphone buyers looking for a simple, entry-level Android device, the T-Mobile Concord is a prepaid device manufactured by ZTE.

While it's true that the phone's specs are nothing to write home about -- it sports a meager 3.5-inch screen, a 2-megapixel camera, and an 832MHz processor -- it does have an attractive and unique dark-blue design. Most importantly, however, it offers satisfactory call quality and decent 3G speeds.

For those of you who are commitment-phobes, the Concord is currently available in retail stores including Wal-Mart and Target for $100 without a contract.

Design
The T-Mobile Concord is reminiscent of the ZTE Fury , though it's slightly smaller in size. Measuring at 4.59 inches tall, 2.43 inches wide, and 0.45 inch thick, it's compact and fits easily in the front or back pockets of a pair of jeans. It's lightweight at 4.48 ounces, but it feels hefty and dense in the hand.

Aside from a thin, dark strip of chrome that runs along the edges and top, the device is made from a dark-blue, soft-coated plastic. I'm a fan of this material because it looks and feels more luxurious than plain, glossy plastic. Also, it doesn't trap fingerprints like other glossy surfaces. The back plate also has a subtle but attractive lined pattern running through it that reminds me of wood grain.

T-Mobile Concord (back)
The T-Mobile Concord has an attractive, dark-blue back plate. Josh Miller/CNET

On the left side is a volume rocker, and up top are a 3.5mm headphone jack and a sleep/power button. To the right is a Micro-USB port.

At the top left corner on the back is a 2-megapixel camera with no accompanying LED flash. Two small grid openings for the output speaker are located down below. A small indentation in the bottom center of the handset allows you to remove the backing. It'll take a lot of muscle to pry the plate off, but once it's removed, you can access the microSD card and the 1,500mAh lithium ion battery.

The handset's 3.5-inch touch capacitive touchscreen has a resolution of 320x480 pixels. The display was responsive and snappy. I didn't notice any lag when swiping through the four home screen pages, browsing through the app drawer, or texting. However, the resolution wasn't so hot. Colors gradients were extremely streaky, the edges of text had heavy aliasing, and default images were grainy. Images in HQ YouTube videos looked patchy with poor color range.

Above the display is a small metal accent for the in-ear speaker. An LED is located to the right of that. You can choose to have it blink on and off for notifications. Below the screen are the four usual hot keys (menu, home, back, and search) that unfortunately do not light up when in use.

Features
The Concord is powered by a meager 832MHz processor. Simple tasks, like unlocking the phone or switching from landscape to portrait mode were performed swiftly enough, but more complicated actions like opening the camera, launching games, and transitioning back home felt noticeably laggy.

Unfortunately, the device ships natively with the dated Android 2.3 Gingerbread, and is stocked with your standard number of Google apps, such as Gmail, Plus, Latitude, Maps with Navigation, Messenger, Places, Play Books, Movies, Music, and Store, Search, Talk, and YouTube. There are also three T-Mobile-centric apps: AccountInfo, which lets customers check their account online and billing information; an app for mobile hot-spotting; and T-Mobile Mall for purchasing ringtones, MP3s, and games.

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