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T-Mobile Concord review:

T-Mobile Concord

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T-Mobile Concord
Unfortunately, the Concord ships with Android 2.3 Gingerbread. Josh Miller/CNET

Additional device features include several task-managing apps like an alarm clock, a native Web browser, music player, e-mail client, and navigator, Bluetooth 3.0, a calculator, a calendar, a news-and-weather app, a notepad, a sound recorder, a stopwatch, a video player, a voice dialer, and voice search. Otherwise, the handset is pretty light on the bloatware. The only other apps are Facebook, Slacker Radio, and Docs To Go, a Microsoft Office-esque mobile suite that lets you edit or view Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF, and other files.

Camera and video
The camera features a few photo options. Along with geotagging and a 2x zoom, it also has five white balances, three antibanding options, an exposure range of +1 to -1, two scene modes, six picture sizes, three picture qualities, and five color effects,

There are even fewer options if you want to record video. The only features retained are the same five white balances and colors effects. You can also decide from four video qualities that record anywhere from 30 seconds to 10 minutes.

Photo quality was understandably poor, even in ample lighting. Objects had ill-defined edges and bled together, colors were muted, and photos contained noticeable digital noise. Pictures taken indoors showed similar results -- people appeared grainy, whites were washed out, and dark hues were hard to distinguish.

T-Mobile Concord (outdoor)
Even with ample lighting and a still hand, pictures came out with poor focus. Lynn La/CNET
T-Mobile Concord (indoor)
Indoor shots had even more digital noise and graininess. Lynn La/CNET
T-Mobile Concord (SSI)
In our standard studio shot, colors were muted and a greenish hue overlaid the white background. Josh Miller/CNET

Video didn't fare much better. Feedback lagged noticeably behind my moving of the camera, and there was a small humming sound that played back throughout the recording. Because of the poor focus time, lighting was all over the place. Objects were also pixelated and colors were muted.

I tested the quad-band (850/1700/1900/2100) handset in San Francisco using T-Mobile's network. Signal and call quality were great. While I used the Concord, there were no dropped calls, audio clipping in and out, or any extraneous sounds or buzzing. Volume could be a bit higher, but voices were audible and clear regardless. Speakerphone sounded good as well. Voices came in crisp and clean, though, again, max volume could be louder.

Listen now: T-Mobile Concord call quality sample

Even though it's not the fastest network on the market, T-Mobile's 3G was reliable and consistent. Loading the CNET mobile site took an average of 10 seconds, while loading our full site took 47 seconds. The New York Times full site took shorter on average, clocking in at 26 seconds. ESPN's mobile site took 16 seconds, and its full site loaded in 27 seconds on average. The 18.34MB game of Fruit Ninja took a mere 54 seconds to download and install. Ookla's Speedtest app, showed me an average of 3.92Mbps down and 1.0Mbps up.

During our battery drain tests the battery lasted 9.75 hours. Anecdotally, I still had about a third of battery power left at the end of the day, after I surfed the web, played games, and watched YouTube videos. According to FCC radiation tests, the phone has a digital SAR rating of 1.38W/kg.

Simply put, the T-Mobile Concord won't turn any heads. When considering its meager specs and dated Android OS, it certainly isn't a hot-ticket item. But if you're in the market for something simple, inexpensive, and includes some basic necessary features, this device won't let you down. Aside from its subtly stylish design, the handset performed with solid call quality and respectable 3G speeds. Best of all, it comes with a bargain-basement price with no contract in tow.

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