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Review: Alcatel Onetouch Conquest for Boost Mobile

Hardware Software Wrap-Up Comments  

Oct 12, 2015, 4:30 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   @phonescooper

Alcatel's Conquest is an inexpensive Android smartphone that handles basic tasks in a waterproof package. This mid-sized handset boasts a solid set of specs, but it doesn't necessarily perform as well as it should. Find out what works and what doesn't in Phone Scoop's full review.

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Is It Your Type?

The Alcatel OneTouch Conquest falls into the middle of Boost Mobile's lineup. It's a low-cost, water-resistant Android phone that includes the essentials but not much more. If you're looking for a basic smartphone, the Conquest may be the ticket for you.

Body

The Conquest is a rather plain handset. It's a black-and-gray slab that follows a conservative approach to design. It could be mistaken for most any Android handset were it not for the patterned rear shell, which is the only unique thing about the Conquest.

The entire front face is solid black. The glass front half of the phone is joined by a soft-touch plastic rear that is colored gray along the edges. It has a dot pattern on the back that gives it just a wee touch of personality. (The Alcatel Go Play is essentially the same phone, but more colorful and for other networks.) The pattern gives the phone some texture that feels good under the thumb.

The phone has a 5-inch screen, which means the footprint of the device is average for a modern handset. It has rounded corners, but is rather blocky overall. The 9.1mm girth feels thicker than it would on a phone with more curves. Even so, I found the Conquest to be light and comfortable to hold and use. It's not the smallest phone ever, but it's no phablet. It fits into pocket well enough, though the somewhat grippy plastic of the rear shell sometimes caught on my jeans pockets.

The materials are of decent quality. The display panel is glass, of course, and is fitted into a plastic frame. The frame forms a protective rim and you can definitely feel it against your fingers. The frame is otherwise smooth and joins the soft-touch plastic seamlessly along the side edges. The phone is put together solidly and doesn't feel cheap at all.

Body  

I like that the display vanishes into the black frame when off. The few design elements on the front are barely visible. There's a slit in the glass for the earpiece speaker and the user-facing camera is positioned next to it. The home button is visible as small circle below the screen. You can see it whether or not the screen is lit up, thanks to a reflective paint job. It's a capacitive button and is flanked by back and app-switcher keys, both of which vanish when not illuminated. All three work without issue. I wish the bezels surrounding the display were thinner.

Alcatel positioned a huge hatch on the left side of the phone. It covers the memory card and SIM card slots. Most people shouldn't have much need to open it, and a large notch makes it easy to pop open. The volume toggle and screen lock button are on the right edge. I found them easily thanks to their good profiles. The buttons have a glossy texture to them, where the rest of the side surface is textured. The travel/feedback was decent, but a bit plasticky.

The headphone jack on top and the USB port on bottom are both covered by rubbery hatches. I don't care for hatches covering these connectors on any phone, and these are particularly annoying. The notches for your fingernail on both are invisible and slight. This makes these oft-used hatches frustrating to find and use.

Like many water-resistant phones, the rear shell is not removable, so neither is the battery. The good news is the Conquest is resistant to water and dust. You can use the phone in the shower or give it a good splashing with no real worries. It can handle a short dunk in the sink or bathtub, and even the pool thanks to its "snorkeling" IPX7 rating.

The Alcatel Conquest is a solid bit of hardware that meets its price point in terms of design, quality, and features.

Screen

The Conquest's 5.0-inch screen is well matched with the resolution of 1280 by 720 pixels. It's definitely sharp enough, all things considered, and I was pleased with the clarity of text and icons. Brightness is solid, though I had to crank it up all the way to really see it outdoors. Viewing angles are decent; there's some brightness drop when the phone is tilted side-to-side, but colors remain accurate. It's a fine screen for this class of device.

Signal

Boost Mobile operates on the Sprint network. The Conquest was able to access the network wherever I took it, and it had no trouble latching onto LTE 4G. In and around New York City the Conquest showed several bars of LTE and it never once dropped down to 3G (CDMA/EVDO). It connected calls on the first dial and didn't miss or drop calls, even when in moving cars. Data speeds were respectable, but not the best I've seen. The Conquest performed on par with other handsets I've tested on Sprint's network in the past six or eight months.

Sound

I was perfectly pleased with the Conquest for phone calls. The earpiece delivered enough volume for calls to be heard in very noisy restaurants and coffee shops, not to mention in the car and at home. You'll have no issues there. Clarity is above average for a Sprint phone. Voices were intelligible and warm, with no distortion or interference.

The speakerphone offers a similar experience. Calls are, for the most part, loud and clear. If you push it all the way you may get some distortion, but otherwise it's quite good.

(All calls conducted via standard cellular networks; HD Voice was not tested, although the Conquest should support it.)

Ringers and alerts were loud enough to hear at home and in the car, but I missed a few calls when out-and-about because the speaker couldn't push sound through my pocket well enough. The vibrate alert is quite good.

Battery

Here's where the shoe drops. The Conquest has a 2,600 mAh battery. Considering the rest of this handset's specs, the battery should be more than enough to push it through an entire day. That's not the case. I found the phone choking out at the 12- to 13-hour mark. That's not good enough. Modern smartphones absolutely need to push through an entire waking day, and the Conquest often left me scrambling for power hours before bedtime.

The Conquest includes the Google's standard Android Lollipop battery saver tool. It scales back screen brightness, background processes, and notifications. It can definitely help push the handset from 8pm to 10pm, when you're running low, but it's not aggressive enough to really give you a lot more power. Unfortunately, you may need to use this feature more often than on other phones.

Battery  

Bluetooth, GPS, NFC, WiFi

The Conquest includes Bluetooth 4.1 with most of the standard profiles. It supports mono and stereo headsets. I found it to be highly capable for voice calls. It worked well through my car's hands-free system, too. The quality of calls via headphones or my car was quite good. Music sounded OK via a good Bluetooth speaker, but since the Conquest lacks the aptX profile, it wasn't quite top quality.

The GPS radio functioned properly, but was noticeably slower to pinpoint me than other phones I've tested on Sprint's network lately. Accuracy was as good as about 25 feet.

The Conquest doesn't have NFC, so don't expect to use this handset for mobile payments or tap-to-pair, etc.

I had no trouble connecting the Conquest to my home WiFi network.

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