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Walmart sells Samsung 4G phone for $30 plus contract, $200 without

Oct 26, 2011 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

T-Mobile announced the Samsung Exhibit II 4G, a 3.7-inch Android 2.3 smartphone selling for just $30 with a two-year contract or $200 without, making it the first no-contract 4G smartphone to be sold at most Walmart stores. Meanwhile, eWEEK reviewed T-Mobile's version of the Samsung Galaxy S II, finding it to be on par with the Sprint and AT&T versions but priced $30 higher.

Network operator T-Mobile USA and Samsung Mobile are offering the latest budget-conscious 4G smartphone option, the Samsung Exhibit II 4G. The handset will be the first no-annual-contract 4G smartphone to be sold at most Walmart stores, available starting Oct. 27.

Without contract, the phone will cost $200. With a two year-contract, it will go for $30 (after a $50 mail-in-rebate card), the carrier adds. After the Walmart debut, the phone will be available nationally Nov. 2 with the same pricing, T-Mobile says.

Samsung Exhibit II 4G

The Exhibit II 4G updates a previously released, 1GHz, 3.5-inch Samsung Exhibit 4G phone offered by T-Mobile. Leaked back in May, the Exhibit 4G now sells for $50 with a new two-year contract.

The new Exhibit II 4G model moves up to a 3.7-inch, 800 x 400 touchscreen, and offers a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, dual cameras, and a 4G HSPA+ radio. In other words, the Exhibit II 4G appears to be a mid-range phone selling for a bargain price.

Offered in a marine blue color, the Exhibit II 4G provides a three-megapixel rear-facing camera, complete with flash and video capture capabilities. A second, front-facing camera is available for video chat, says T-Mobile. Wi-Fi, of course, is also available, but no other technical details were supplied.

Powered by Android 2.3 ("Gingerbread"), the device features a variety of Google's applications and services such as Google Maps and Gmail, plus thousands of others via Android Market. The smartphone also offers access to TV shows and movies through T-Mobile TV in mobile HD and Samsung Media Hub. Additionally, the device enables users to organize personal and business email accounts, as well as sync with Microsoft Exchange and Google calendar and contacts.

The latest announcement represents a continuation of a market strategy implemented earlier this year, when Walmart announced it would launch the Walmart Family Mobile plan powered by T-Mobile. Launched Sept. 20, the monthly post-paid plan offers unlimited talk and text, without a contract or multi-year commitment.

The service is provided by T-Mobile over its nationwide network, and sold exclusively by Walmart in nearly 2,500 stores. Activated accounts come with a free preloaded 100MB WebPak, which provides access to the Internet for every line of service. In addition, the Family Mobile platform offers a selection of handsets from Motorola, Nokia, and Samsung, including several Android phones. Because there are no contracts, customers are able to upgrade their phones anytime by purchasing a new handset — with no fees or contract commitments.

Stated Andrew Morrison, vice president of product management at T-Mobile, "The Samsung Exhibit II 4G is the perfect device for consumers desiring a smartphone with robust 4G entertainment and Web browsing experiences — at a price they can afford."

T-Mobile's Galaxy S II lives up to expectations, says review

After reviewing Sprint's version of the Samsung Galaxy S II — the Galaxy S II, Epic 4G Touch, as well as AT&T's very similar Samsung Galaxy S II, eWEEK's Clint Boulton has now spent a week with the third model available in the U.S., the T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S II. The phone costs $30 more than the other two versions, at $230 with a two-year contract, but it also offers some additional features, notes Boulton in his review.

T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S II

While the AT&T version of the S II hews closely to the original international version, running Android 2.3 on Samsung's dual-core 1.2GHz Exynos processor with a 4.3-inch display, Sprint's Epic 4G Touch bumped that up to a 4.5-inch display.

T-Mobile's Galaxy S II, however, not only moves up to 4.5 inches, but changes the Samsung processor to a presumably faster, dual-core, 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S3. In addition, it advances to the Android 2.3.5 version of Gingerbread, and adds a near field communication (NFC) short-range wireless radio.

In his review, Boulton says he cannot discern a difference in performance compared to the other two models. He does note, however, that in his Fairfield, Connecticut neighborhood, at least, T-Mobile's 4G HSPA+ network did not work as fast as AT&T's network. Boulton also praises the better battery life on the T-Mobile model, thanks in part to the larger 1800mAh battery.

All told, the review finds the phone to be right on par with the other two Galaxy II S models — in other words an excellent deal, even at the $30-higher pricetag.

eWEEK's full review may be found here.

Nathan Eddy is a writer for eWEEK.

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