Samsung Conquer 4G (Sprint) review

Entry-level 4G phones are somewhat commonplace. So does the Conquer still have what it takes?

Samsung Conquer 4G (Sprint)
Samsung Conquer 4G: a phone with a small price tag and a few big features

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Inside you'll find a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, which keeps things moving nice and smooth. The Conquer runs Gingerbread, 2.3.6 to be exact. Sorry, no Ice Cream Sandwich support (and don't expect any, ever). Being a low-end device does have its perks, though.

Because the device is obviously low on theirs list of priorities, Samsung hasn't bothered with the TouchWiz coat of paint.

Samsung Conquer 4G (Sprint)

The end result is a more or less stock Android experience, and a breath of fresh air for fans of Samsung's hardware, but not so much their software. You'll also discover a certain degree of restraint from the carrier as well; there aren't too many apps that you never asked for and which you can't uninstall, like Sprint Zone, Sprint Hotspot, and Sprint Mobile Wallet.

Samsung Conquer 4G (Sprint)

Sprint Zone allows one to manage their account, and also view usage details, plus see when one is available for an upgrade. Sprint Hotspot is, as the name implies, allows one to share the Conquer's 4G signal with other Wi-Fi enabled devices. And Sprint Mobile Wallet is the carrier's own branded NFC payment system. What advantages it offers over the more widely used and accepted Google Wallet has not been made clear.

Samsung Conquer 4G (Sprint)

There's also Sprint ID, which deserves special mention since it's on the home screen app drawer, where it cannot be removed. For those unfamiliar, Sprint's ID Packs are a cluster of applications, wallpaper, ringtones, and other personalizations that are grouped together via themes or categories. Simply put, it acts as a stand-in for a system wide interface overlay that Samsung normally goes for.

It's great in theory, but the reality is a disappointment. The service has been around for more than a year, yet the offerings are both meager and underwhelming. Plus the very notion of being spared the trouble of sifting through Google's app marketplace is not exactly unappealing to most smartphone users. Though certain users, such as the elderly who would indeed find the Play Store overwhelming, ID Packs could come in handy.

Samsung Conquer 4G (Sprint)

Fortunately, one doesn't have to bother with ID Packs if one wishes not to. In the past, establishing a Sprint ID was a necessary step before getting started with a new phone, but not here. As is, one can simply stick with a mostly stock Android experience, with the minor annoyance of an unused icon on the home screen that's never going away.

Otherwise, there's not much to complain about, as it pertains to software. At least the ones that the Conquer is able to run. At this point, most apps found in the marketplace will run on Gingerbread, but given that time and technology always marches forward, specifically at the fast rate in which Android is updated, and especially how Gingerbread honestly is yesterday's news, you will not have access to everything. And that's a problem that will only worsen over time.