The Samsung Conquer 4G is the first budget-priced 4G phone from Sprint. It's an Android 2.3 device with a 3.5-inch HVGA touchscreen display, a 3.2 megapixel camera with flash plus a 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera, and a 1 GHz processor.
It is currently available from Sprint for the bargain price of $100 with a $50 mail-in rebate and a new two-year service contract. It is $400 sans contract.
BUILD & DESIGN
The Conquer uses a design that has become nearly standard for Android devices. It's a slab with a Touchscreen and the usual set of buttons below it. This is not a fancy phone, but that doesn't mean that it's an ugly one either. It's mostly black, with just one silver accent piece wrapping around the sides of the device. The buttons are substantial and easy to see.
The back of the Conquer is entirely textured -- it looks nice and feels great in the hand. Unlike some of the phones I've reviewed recently, I had no problem at all keeping my grip on the Conquer, no matter how sweaty or slippery my palm got (we're going through a heat wave these days).
One of the nicest things about this device is that it's easy to live with. It's smaller than many other modern smartphones and has a smaller display, which means that it's very comfortable to hold. I have relatively small (but not tiny) hands and the Conquer fits nicely in my palm. It works well in a pocket too, and doesn't require me to revert back to cargo pants or make me feel like I have to carry a purse or gear bag just to accommodate a giant phone.
It's also very lightweight, weighing about half as much as the HTC Evo 3D. I won't say that you'll completely forget it's in your pocket, but it comes rather close to that ideal in a good way. It still feels solidly constructed, not like a cheap throwaway device. All of the edges are appropriately rounded and I couldn't feel any rough spots or see any gaps; and the casing doesn't flex at all when the phone is squeezed at any point.
The touchscreen display is perfectly adequate, but it definitely won't blow you away. It's a little smaller than some of the phones I've reviewed recently, measuring 3.5-inches, and it's lower in resolution, at 320 x 480 (HVGA).
Having said that, you shouldn't have any major issues with it unless you're just terribly picky. There are some jaggies if you examine the screen very closely, but overall I'm quite pleased with it. I didn't have any major problems with glare or outside visibility, and colors are bright and vibrant. Your games will look good, your photos will look good, and your videos will look good, and that's what matters in the end.
There's no physical keyboard here, so you'll be tapping out your text messages and email replies on a virtual on-screen keyboard. It works well, though it may seem a little cramped at first due to the Conquer's slightly smaller Touchscreen display. It isn't a major concern at all, and that cramped feeling was gone very quickly after I started using this model full time as my main device.
Other Buttons & Controls
The headphone jack and the power button are on the top edge of the phone, with the volume up and down keys on the left and a dedicated camera button on the lower right edge of the phone. There are also real Menu, Home, Back, and Search buttons on the front of the phone, underneath the display, instead of the virtual buttons that seem to be more common these days.
All of the buttons are appropriately sized and shaped, and easy to find and manipulate. The power button is almost flush with the casing, but still easy to use, while the volume buttons and the camera button stick out much further, meaning that you won't have to fumble for them at all. The buttons on the front are right in between, raised more than the power button but less than the volume and camera buttons. They don't stick out too much and ruin the look of the phone, but they do provide a satisfying amount of tactile feedback when pressed.
One nice little bonus is the fact that while the microSD card slot can only be accessed by removing the back cover of the device, the card slot is not located under the battery. That may not seem like a big deal to you unless you (like me) prefer to take the card out to stick in your laptop to transfer photos and large music files back and forth. Sure, I could dig out the cable every single time, but I prefer to avoid that if possible.
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