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Samsung Conquer 4G Review

Posted In Featured, Reviews - By Mark Hearn On Wednesday, August 17th, 2011 9:00am PDT With 6 Comments
There’s this saying that “big things come in small packages,” and with above mid-level hardware crammed into a small handset, the Samsung Conquer 4G might just be Sprint’s next big thing. The $100 question (on contract) is, can the little smartphone that could hold its own in the valley of the qHD and Super AMOLED giants? We’ve been going steady with the Conquer 4G as a daily drive and after putting it through its paces we’ve finally reached a conclusion. Head past to break to see if the Conquer 4G conquers the budget friendly competition.

What’s Cool

  • Zippy performance
  • Good front facing camera
  • Near pure Android OS
  • Good battery life

What’s Not so Cool

  • Small display
  • Low-res primary camera
  • Boring design

Look and Feel

The Conquer 4G’s appearance reminded us of a second-generation smartphone. It’s not a clunky awkward mess, but it doesn’t look as refined as the handsets of today. Pretty much what you see is what you get, which just so happens to be a 3.5-inch HVGA display, physical Android menu buttons, Samsung and Sprint branding on the front and more Samsung branding on back in case you missed it the first time. When looking at the Conquer 4G it doesn’t seem that a lot of thought went into its physical design.

 

Once you get the Conquer 4G in your hand, you’ll notice it has a light and somewhat plasticky feel to it. It doesn’t feel cheap by any means, but it is far from luxurious. Old Sammy went against the Android grain and opted for squishy physical buttons all around, including a dedicated camera button. You won’t need large hands to consume the near 4.5-inch tall handset, but if your mitts resemble that of a professional basketball player, the Conquer 4G’s textured backing will remind you what’s in your hands. It may not be the Ferrari of phones, but the Conquer 4G’s economy build quality should be able to stand up to most of the physically demanding smartphone users out there.

 

Software

In what really feels like a bit of curve ball, the Conquer 4G is rocking a near stock build of Gingerbread version 2.3.4. We say near, because it is still fluffed with Sprint bloatware and Sprint ID. Sadly none of these can be removed, at least while things are locked down. However we’re glad to say in spite of the extra software gunk, things flow pretty smoothly. Running an almost pure Google operating system really pushes the Conquer 4G past mid-range status and puts it in the company of some of the more premiere handsets that go for twice the price. We’re not too sure who makes the decision of what ends up with TouchWiz and what ends up with stock Android, but we’d have to say they made a good call on this one.

 

Hardware and Performance

Keeping with our baseball lingo, in regards to hardware Samsung has thrown the Conquer 4G somewhat of a changeup. Normally keeping things in-house with their Hummingbird processors, the Conquer 4G carriers an almost foreign 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. This really caught us off guard, but the phone’s performance doesn’t suffer one bit! After running multiple benchmarks, the Conquer 4G on average scored over 1,100. It won’t be dethroning our PHOTON 4G anytime soon, but considering the Conquer 4G’s price point, this isn’t too shabby.

Though  the Conquer 4G is on par with most of last year’s top handsets, the only thing it true lacks is a large display. Sporting a 3.5-inch HVGA display felt a bit outdated. Images were fairly clear and text was passable, but when placed next to a 4.3-inch qHD or Super AMOLED Plus display, the Conquer 4G’s budget phone roots begin to surface.

Call Quality and Data

If it can’t make a call, why bother? We’re very glad to say that Samsung hit a home run in regards to call clarity. During our random call tests everything was loud and clear on both ends. We’ve yet to experience any choppiness or dropped calls. The wireless radio in the Conquer really performs well and managed to grab a signal where some of the more high-end handsets struggled.

Being Spirnt’s first brand new $100 4G smartphone, we wondered how the Conquer’s data speeds would fair. In typical Sprint fashion the handset scored the usual numbers (4Mbps download and 1Mbps upload), which was acceptable in our location’s coverage area. We always consider connections on a case by case basis, because results depend drastically on your location. It is always good to check out Sprint’s coverage map for your location. The above mentioned numbers validate that the Conquer 4G is on par with the rest of Sprint’s 4G competition and that was our main concern.

 

Battery Life

Equipped with a 1,500 mAh battery, the Conquer 4G has some of the best battery performance that we’ve seen from a 4G handset to date. You can easily go a day between charges on almost heavy use. If you’re one of the lucky ones, that has a constant 4G connection, the Conquer 4G is ready for a marathon. We’re assuming that the small display plays a role in the Conquer’s excellent juice management, which almost makes us overlook its small stature.

Camera

With the camera being the last at bat in this write up, we’d have to call Samsung’s pitch a screwball. The reason we say this, is because unlike most handsets with dual cameras, the Conquer 4G’s best shooter is in the front. The primary camera is a lowly 3.2-megapixel sensor with a single LED flash. It will be good for Facebook pictures and sharing pictures via MMS, but that’s about it. Samsung took the high road in regards to the Conquer 4G’s 1.3-megapixel front facing camera sensor, which is one of the best we’ve seen on any stage. It appears that Samsung has placed their bets on people using the Conquer 4G for video calls. A good idea in theory, but we’d still like to see a better primary camera sensor.

 

End-Game

When stacked up against mid-level phones the Conquer 4G is almost an obvious choice. Its performance almost outshines them in almost every way, but when placed next to some of the more beastly superphones, it almost looks like it crawled out of the bargain bin. The Conquer 4G’s real competition is the superphones from yesterday. Phones like the HTC EVO 4G and Samsung Epic 4G are on par with the Conquer 4G and are even better in some regards. If you’re able to find one of them at the same price, we’d have to say pass on the Conquer 4G and keep it old school, but if you can’t find a deal to save your life, the Conquer 4G is far from a letdown.

About - Mark is the founding father of SprintFeed. He is a nerd's nerd if ever such a thing existed. His love affair with the Now Network started with the release of the Treo 600 back in 2004 and has been going strong ever since. Highly opinionated and somewhat eccentric he shares his ramblings about his network of choice here at SprintFeed.

Displaying 6 Comments
Have Your Say

  1. Anonymous says:

    Good review. Love that it is almost stock android. Did you try and remove Sprint bloatware? Didn’t Sprint come out and say that moving forward that Sprint phones would ship with bloat but it could be removed by the user as like any other app? I can really see two markets. The introduction to smartphone market. The price is right for that. And also for the business traveler. Personally, when I travel I would love to have a smaller form factor phone to carry in my slacks pocket or suitcoat breast pocket. The EVO works great in jeans, but it makes a suit wearer look trashy when carried in the front pocket. And no way in Hades am I belt clippin! What is off contract price!?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Nice review. It’s nice to see a site reviewing all the phones in a carriers lineup versus just going after the high end models.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The Conquer could have been part of the list of phones before Sprint made the decision to allow the ability to remove bloatware. It can easily be changed with an update too, so it could change down the road.

  4. Sousaking1 says:

    Im a sales associate at radio shack and as of today the epic and the echo are free with NEW contracts. The evo has been free for quite a while so if u want a good phone for a great price stop in at the shack. We will save you on average between 50 and 100 bucks on your phone as compared to carrier stores…just a thought

  5. Damon says:

    The Conquer is a relatively low in price compared to other 4G phones, and can do almost the same things as the others. It should be a popular phone since it can access the 4G network, and isn’t as expensive. One app that I use and that I definitely say to get if you have DISH Network is the DISH Remote Access app. I love this app because it lets me stream live TV and recorded shows from my 922 SlingLoaded receiver to my Galaxy S phone anywhere I am! It is awesome. As a customer and employee of DISH, I have been using the app for a long time and I say to give it a try! It will work wonders on the Conquer!

  6. Damon says:

    The Conquer is a relatively low in price compared to other 4G phones, and can do almost the same things as the others. It should be a popular phone since it can access the 4G network, and isn’t as expensive. One app that I use and that I definitely say to get if you have DISH Network is the DISH Remote Access app. I love this app because it lets me stream live TV and recorded shows from my 922 SlingLoaded receiver to my Galaxy S phone anywhere I am! It is awesome. As a customer and employee of DISH, I have been using the app for a long time and I say to give it a try! It will work wonders on the Conquer!

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