If you want to pay next to nothing for a 4G smartphone, but want a little something after-all, the Samsung Conquer 4G should be seriously considered.
Compact size is nice
Expected Android experience
Awkward placement of audio jack
Headphones slip out easily
Low screen resolution
Low quality speaker
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The Samsung Conquer 4G (Sprint) made a name of itself last summer by being Sprint's first budget WiMAX 4G device. And considering the low asking price, what it brought to the table was surprisingly competent. Some might even say impressive. But almost 12 months later, entry-level 4G phones are somewhat commonplace. So does the Conquer still have what it takes? Actually, it does.
The first thing one will notice is its size: it's small. Granted, the 4.57" x 2.38" x 0.46" dimensions are on par with iPhone 4S (actually, it's ever so slightly thicker than Apple's handset), but when compared to most 4G Androids today, it's a dwarf among giants. Not only that, but thanks to its all-plastic build, the Conquer is also exceptionally lightweight.
It comes in at just 4.1 ounces, thanks to the aforementioned construction, as well as a relatively small screen and lack of physical keyboard. Does the phone feel cheap then? Far from it; while not rock heavy, the Conquer definitely feels rock solid, and even feels nice to hold, thanks to the textured back.
On the back is where one will find the 3.2 megapixel camera lens and LED flash. Such a low pixel count is hardly impressive these days, but a concession that one must accept with most budget smartphones. The phone's speaker grill is also located nearby. Unfortunately, the audio output is rather poor, and is one of phone's major misses.
The back is removable, and so is the battery. Behind the back is where one will also find the SD card slot. The Conquer comes with a 2GB MicroSD card already loaded, and can support cards that go up to 32GB. Which might be a wise investment, given the paltry amount of internal memory, just 512MB worth of RAM.
Returning to the Conquer's exterior: there's a volume rocker to the left, and dedicated camera shutter button to the right. The latter also activates the camera app once you're inside the phone. The bottom is where one will find the mini USB port for connecting the phone to a PC or AC adapter.
The top has the power button, which both shuts the device on and off, as well as put it to and from asleep, along with the headphone port. Which is the next major red flag for the device. First, because the device is so compact, a very small part of the headphone plug is exposed. The end result is a less than snug fit for any pair of headphones, and will cause them to become loose on a semi-regular basis, at least for anyone who is an active individual.
The placement is also awkward, and this is also where the phone's diminutive size works against it. Because there's not much to hold, it's tricky to both play a game that requires both hands to hold the Conqueror horizontally with headphones attached. Because the port is directly underneath one's palm, something to consider if you rely upon your phone for entertainment while traveling.
Up front is where you'll find the 3.5-inch TFT touchscreen display, with a 320x480 resolution. Again, hardly impressive, especially since almost every smartphone on the market today sports HD. You'll definitely notice pixels, but otherwise, everything looks nice and crisp. Best part is how the screen is easily viewable, even under direct sunlight.
Yet another negative that comes with the Conquer's minute profile is how it makes typing with the on-screen keyboard rather difficult. iPhone users will have no problem, but those who are accustomed to the nice big keys on larger Android handsets will find themselves making plenty of typos early on.
Another thing of note about the front is how the standard set of Android buttons are all physical inputs, which also slightly flares out. Something button mashers will surely enjoy. And near the top is also the 1.3 megapixel front facing camera.