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Featured Review: Alcatel OneTouch Conquest

September 21, 2015 - Written By Alexander Maxham

Android isn’t all about the latest and greatest specs, or the largest smartphones. Android runs on everything. From the super cheap to the mid-range to the high-end smartphones. Many OEMs are beginning to realize that the mid-range smartphones around $100 are the ones that are selling like hot cakes. Alcatel OneTouch recently partnered with Boost Mobile to bring the Conquest over to the US. The Conquest has a lot of the same specs as the Idol 3 4.7, we just recently reviewed, however there is one big difference here. It’s four letters, IP67. That’s right, this smartphone costs $129 from Boost Mobile (that’s without a contract, seeing as Boost Mobile is prepaid), is IP67 water resistant and dust proof. That’s a pretty big deal when you think about it. So what about the rest of the phone from Alcatel OneTouch? Let’s find out in the full review.

Specs

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The Alcatel OneTouch Conquest for Boost Mobile features a 5-inch 1280×720 resolution display, giving it 294 PPI. It’s also featuring the quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor which is clocked at 1.2GHz, along with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage available internally. However there is a microSD card slot inside the Conquest, giving you the ability to add more storage. All this is powered by a 2500mAh battery inside. We’re looking at a 5MP camera on the back with a 2MP front-facing shooter.

For connectivity, we’re looking at Bluetooth 4.1, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, USB 2.0, GPS, A-GPS, and support for Sprint’s Spark network. Dimensions of the Conquest are 143.3 x 73.3 x 9.2 mm coming in at 140 grams in weight. As far as bands go, this is a Boost Mobile only device, so you won’t be able to roam outside the US with it. But we have CDMA 800/1900MHz, FDD LTE 850 (band 26), 1900 (band 25) MHz, and TDD LTE 2500 (band 41) MHz. Which gives us all the bands for Sprint Spark.

In the Box

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The Alcatel OneTouch Conquest comes in a standard Boost Mobile package, if you’ve been into a Boost Mobile Store, you’ll know exactly what I mean. Inside the box, you get the usual suspects. Including a micro USB cable, wall adapter and some reading material, that lets be honest here, most of us won’t read. The wall adapter is not a Quick Charge adapter and that is because the Alcatel OneTouch Conquest does not support Quick Charge in any fashion, given that it is sporting the Snapdragon 410 and Quick Charge is for the 800-series of Snapdragon chips.

Hardware

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I actually quite like the look and feel of the Conquest. The back almost reminds me of the Nexus 5, because it’s got that soft-touch feel. Which feels really nice on a phone. Not only does it feel nice, but it also adds a bit of grip to the phone that you may not have had otherwise. The back has a nice dot pattern that’s done up in black and gray. It too gives the Conquest a bit of grip, and doesn’t look too bad either. The Conquest fits in the hand quite nicely and isn’t slippery at all. Something that can’t be said about every phone on the market right now. The back of the Conquest is also flush, with the camera not protruding at all, unlike many other smartphones these days. We also have an LED flash below the camera.

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With the Conquest, it’s nice to see that Alcatel OneTouch have put the power button and volume rocker on the right side, making it easy to reach both buttons. In fact, they are both right above where your thumb rests. Making it easy to turn it on or off as well as change the volume on the phone. On the left side, we have the microSD card slot and SIM card slot as well. Up top is the microphone hole as well as the 3.5mm headphone jack which is also covered by a flap similar to the microUSB port at the bottom of the phone. Unlike the Moto G 2015 and Sony’s recent smartphones and tablets, the 3.5mm headphone jack and micro USB port are not water resistant on the Conquest. Which is unfortunate, as it is a bit of an annoyance to deal with these flaps whenever you want to charge your Conquest or listen to music through your headphones.

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Overall, I actually really like the build and design of the Conquest. Although, I’m not sure how I feel about the capacitive buttons that look like Lollipop’s on screen buttons. Especially with the home button being the only one you can see when they are not illuminated. It also means that you get more screen real estate. Which is something that I think we can all approve of.

Display

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We’re looking at a 720p display here on a 5-inch panel – measured diagonally. For the most part, I am okay with a 720p 5-inch display. It’s not quite to the point where you can see pixels, but still looks pretty decent. And it is also not as power hungry as a 1080p or QHD display. It’s a LCD display here so the black levels aren’t quite as deep as what you’d expect from an AMOLED panel you’d find on Samsung and Motorola smartphones. The responsiveness of the display could use some work however. From time to time when I tap on the display it takes a bit to register the tap. But not all the time. That could likely be fixed in a software update. It’s always important to remember what you’re paying for this device, so the display is not going to be up to par with what the Galaxy S6 has.

Performance

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A Snapdragon 410 and 1GB of RAM can only get you so far. I’ve spent a lot of time recently with the Snapdragon 410, in the Moto G 2015 and the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 4.7, both of those devices and the Conquest, are running basically stock Android. So I expected the same experience. And I got it, more or less. There’s slightly less RAM in the Conquest than in the Moto G or the Idol 3 4.7, but as far as multi-tasking goes, it was pretty good. There was an occasional hiccup here and there where the phone would freeze, but I received an OTA shortly after receiving the Conquest, and haven’t had any freezing since. As far as gaming goes, I wouldn’t do too much heavy gaming here. As this is a Snapdragon 410 with just a gigabyte of RAM, so you’re likely not going to get the best experience. You can see the benchmarks below for how well it performed when it comes to gaming.

Alcatel OneTouch does include a microSD card slot here with the Conquest. Which is great seeing as you don’t get a whole lot of storage available out of the box. They note that it supports up to 32GB, but it should accept a 64GB microSD card pretty easily.

Benchmarks

We ran AnTuTu and 3D Mark on the Alcatel OneTouch Conquest. With its Snapdragon 410 and 1GB of RAM, it faired about where we expected. AnTuTu Benchmark was v5.7.1, and it tests out the performance of the CPU. Which the Conquest scored a 19559.

While on 3D Mark, it tests the gaming performance of the smartphone and we didn’t have high expectations with the Adreno 306 here. It also scored about where we expected. You can see the full results from both tests down below. Finally we ran Geekbench, which tests out the CPU of the smartphone. On a single core we got a score of 453 and multi-core was 1364. You can see those results down below as well.

Call Quality and Data Speeds

Since this is a Boost Mobile exclusive, we’ve been using the Conquest on Boost Mobile’s network for the past week or so, and it’s performed quite well. In the past we’ve had issues with Sprint’s network in our area, but it was seen some big improvements as of late. Everyone we called said that we sounded great and we didn’t have any dropped calls. When it came to data speeds, we’re looking at speeds above 10Mbps download and 2Mbps upload. Not crazy fast, but enough to get some work done if need be. Of course, that’s going to depend on your area and coverage in that area.

Battery Life

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Here on the Conquest with its 2500mAh battery inside, we’re looking at some pretty decent battery life. We had some amazing standby, where it would last about 3 days on a charge. However, when we’re actually using it, it’s much different. You can see our results above, this was from a normal day of usage. You can also see our test results from PCMark down below, where it scored over 8 hours, for those that want a bit more in-depth details on battery life from the Conquest. Overall, I feel comfortable in saying that this phone can definitely last you a full day, whether you’re on LTE or WiFi, or both.

Software

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Moving onto software, this looks pretty familiar. Alcatel OneTouch have decided to stick to a vanilla Android experience here with the Conquest. Similar to what we’ve seen on both of the Idol 3’s. It’s even closer to stock Android than the Idol 3 was, actually. Even taking away the lockscreen shortcuts that were found on the Idol 3. We’re looking at Android 5.0.2 here, with plenty of Boost Mobile pre-installed apps on board. We’re looking at 1Weather, airG, Amazon, Boost 411, Boost Music, Boost Wallet, Boost Zone, Boost TV, Gadget Guard, Messaging+, Next Radio, and Uber. Normally, pre-installed apps on a device are no issue for me, but with the Conquest only having 8GB of internal storage, every little bit counts. Especially when most apps cannot be installed on the SD card.

The only real differences here on the Conquest compared to Android 5.0.2 that shipped on the Nexus 6, are Boost Mobile and Sprint changes. For example, in the settings there are separate sections for System Updates and activating the device. Which things that we’ve seen on Boost Mobile and Sprint devices for years now. So that’s pretty much expected. The Activation page, you won’t need after you take it out of the box the first time, however. Under the System Updates, you’ll find the popular “Update PRL” that Sprint users have to do every once in a while. We also have the Update Profile, Software and UICC Unlock.

Camera

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The camera on the Conquest looks a lot like what we had in Jelly Bean, surprisingly. Very minimal, and you press the screen and swipe up to get into the settings and switch the cameras. Pretty interesting, to say the least. One aspect of the camera that  I do like however, is the number in the top left-hand corner. That number represents how many pictures you can take based on the storage that’s available on your Conquest. On the right side, there is your flash and camera options for switching between different modes like recording, panorama and scanning a barcode.

For the gallery, it’s also pretty barebones, but it has all the features you’d expect. The default page is showing your albums. Tap on an album and you’ll see all of your images. You can also still long-press and select multiple images, in case you want to delete multiple images. There are also some editing tools available, including adding frames, filters, cropping and so much more. In essence, it looks like the old Gallery app from Google, but with a different icon. So your stock Android experience lives on.

On the back here, we have a 5MP camera along with a 2MP front-facing shooter. So not the best camera in the world, and it definitely shows. Some shots came out pretty good, but others not so much. For instance, there are a few pictures I took indoors, in somewhat good lighting, and you can see loads of noise in the pictures. So the Alcatel OneTouch Conquest isn’t going to outdo the Galaxy S6 Edge+ or LG G4 when it comes to the camera, heck it doesn’t even beat the Idol 3. But other phones in its price range like the Moto E 2015, it competes pretty well.

The Good

  • Battery life is really good here.
  • For a sub-$150 smartphone the display is quite good.
  • Having water-resistance on an inexpensive smartphone like the Alcatel OneTouch Conquest is definitely a good thing.

The Bad

  • We need more RAM here. While I feel that 2GB and even 1.5GB is enough RAM for smartphones these days, 1GB just isn’t enough, and you can see it in the performance.
  • Storage is pretty bad here. Coming with around 4GB of storage out of the box. After installing most – not even all – of my normal apps, I had about 0.57GB of space left.
  • Display could be a bit better. It’s not the worst I’ve seen, but not the best either.

Final Thoughts

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I had a pretty interesting experience with the Alcatel OneTouch Conquest. From time-to-time it would freeze or just be really slow. But for the most part it was quite good. It’s a $129 smartphone for Boost Mobile, so you’re not expecting a whole lot here, and that’s about what you get. However the water-resistance here is pretty impressive. Although, I do wish that Alcatel OneTouch had gone without the flaps over the Micro USB and 3.5mm headphone jack, which we know is possible, as both Motorola and Sony were able to do it in their respective smartphones.

The Alcatel OneTouch Conquest is one of the cheaper smartphones available at Boost Mobile right now, and after using a few of the others they are currently offering, I’d have to suggest the Conquest. It’s still a great phone, and hopefully some software updates will fix up the performance a bit.