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Samsung Conquer 4G (Sprint) review: Samsung Conquer 4G (Sprint)

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MSRP: $99.99

The Good The Samsung Conquer 4G is affordable and offers 4G capabilities. The Android 2.3 Gingerbread device also has a next-gen 1GHz Snapdragon processor, a front-facing camera for video calls, and mobile hot-spot capabilities.

The Bad The smartphone has a lower-resolution display. Camera and speakerphone quality could be better.

The Bottom Line Though you sacrifice some higher-end features, the Samsung Conquer 4G gives Sprint customers a solid 4G smartphone at an affordable price.

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7.3 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 8
  • Performance 8

Sprint notes that the Samsung Conquer 4G is its 25th 4G-capable device, but that's not what makes the phone notable. It's notable because it's the carrier's first 4G smartphone to launch at less than $100. True, after taxes and other fees, you'll be paying a little over $100 for the phone, but the $99.99 base price is a pretty nice option compared to the carrier's other 4G devices, which start at $200. Of course, with the budget-friendly price tag comes some trade-offs (e.g., lower-resolution screen, single-core processor), but even so, the Conquer 4G is still a well-stocked Android smartphone and an incredible value. If you're craving 4G speeds but don't want to spend a fortune on a phone, then the Samsung Conquer 4G is the way to go.

Unlike Sprint's other 4G devices, the Samsung Conquer 4G sports a compact and lightweight design at 4.57 inches tall by 2.38 inches wide by 0.46 inch thick and 4.1 ounces. Its size is a nice compromise between the larger touch-screen devices and those that are too small for comfort. It fits comfortably in a pants pocket, and the textured back makes it easy to hold and feel less plasticky.

The Samsung Conquer 4G is smaller than the 4-inch touch-screen devices, but not so small that it's unusable.

On front, there's a 3.5-inch, 320x480 TFT touch screen. Given the cost of the device, it's not a big surprise to see a lower-resolution screen. Pixels are a little more visible on the Conquer's display, so images and text don't look as smooth and colors aren't as vibrant compared to some of the today's super screens. That said, it's still clear and bright enough to view what's on screen.

The 3.5-inch display can feel slightly cramped when viewing Web pages and using the virtual keyboard. However, the phone offers pinch-to-zoom support and a built-in accelerometer, as well as the Swype keyboard, and all felt very responsive. Navigating the phone is a breeze. The Conquer 4G doesn't use Samsung's TouchWiz user interface. Instead, you get a more stock Android experience, with the option to customize the UI using Sprint ID.

Below the display, you get four physical buttons for the menu, home, back, and search functions. A volume rocker resides on the left side, while a camera activation/capture button sits on the right. You'll find the main camera on back, along with a flash, but there's also a 1.3-megapixel camera on front in the upper right-hand corner for video calls.

On back, you'll find the phone's 3.2-megapixel camera and flash.

The Samsung Conquer 4G comes packaged with an AC adapter, a USB cable, a 2GB microSD card, and reference material.

The big draw of the Samsung Conquer 4G is its 4G capabilities. The phone works on Sprint's WiMax network, which, at the time of this writing, covers 71 markets in 28 states. In those areas, customers should enjoy average download speeds of 3Mbps to 6Mbps and simultaneous voice and data. In addition, the smartphone can serve as a 3G/4G mobile hot spot for up to five devices, but note that you have to sign up for a mobile hot-spot plan, which costs $29.99 a month but does not include a data cap.

In addition to 4G, the Conquer also offers Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n), Bluetooth, and GPS capabilities. Voice features include a speakerphone, conference calling, voice dialing, video calling via Qik, and text and multimedia messaging.

The smartphone ships running Android 2.3 Gingerbread and comes with a few extra apps, but it's not completely overloaded with bloatware. Preloaded apps and services include ThinkFree Office, Sprint Mobile Wallet, and Sprint Zone. The Android Market offers more than 250,000 apps for download, and you can save apps to the phone's internal memory (1GB) or to the SD card. Though the Conquer ships with a 2GB card, the expansion slot can accept up to 32GB.

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