Here's a phone you can easily take by the pool — or in it. The new Boost Conquest is IP67-rated for water resistance and costs just $129 on Boost Mobile. Starting today (July 29), this LTE-enabled device from Alcatel Onetouch is available with one of the prepaid carrier's affordable data plans.
With its IP67 rating, the Conquest can be submerged in up to one meter (3.2 feet) of water for up to 30 minutes. Unlike other rugged phones, such as the Samsung Galaxy S6 Active ($199 with 2-year plan or $695 upfront), the Conquest is not designed to withstand drops.
During my time with the Conquest, I liked the dotted texture on its back and how sturdy it felt to hold. The phone's 5-megapixel rear and 2-MP front cameras are lackluster compared to the 13-MP/8-MP titans of today, but I liked the selfie I shot with it.
Ports on the Conquest are covered to prevent water and dust from seeping in. That means you'll need to deal with flaps when plugging in headphones or a microUSB cable for charging.
Powered by a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 CPU and with 8GB of storage, the Conquest provides decent performance for the price. Apps launched quickly and pages zipped by smoothly as I played around with the Android 5 Lollipop phone. The Conquest's 5-inch 720p display was bright and colorful, and while its resolution is on the low side, graphics and text looked plenty sharp.
Boost has also announced the Elevate, a $99 Android 5.1 Lollipop smartphone that's LTE-capable. Also made by Alcatel Onetouch, the Elevate carries a 4.5-inch FWVGA display that looked somewhat fuzzy during my time with it, and features the same 5-MP rear and 2-MP front camera setup as on the Conquest. It's also one of the first smartphones on the market to sport Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 210 CPUs for more efficient performance.
The Elevate has similar specs to the 2nd-gen Moto E, which retails at $99 now but has a less sharp selfie camera. To see which is the best budget smartphone, stay tuned for a full review.
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Cherlynn Low is a staff writer at Tom's Guide. When she's not writing about wearables, cameras and smartphones, she's devouring old episodes of Torchwood or The X-Files. Or taking selfies. Follow Cherlynn @cherlynnlow.