In the past year, Android smartphones have increasingly fallen into two distinct camps: large-screen phones with outsized specs and smaller phones with poor performance. The Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G on T-Mobile tries to take a different path, allowing users who aren't looking for the biggest and fastest to still get a phone that has something better than budget-level performance and specs. Based largely on the successful Galaxy S line of phones, Samsung has given it just enough of an update to justify a new release — or so the theory goes.

The question I had going in to a review of the Blaze 4G was simple: why does this phone exist? Its business-like looks make a clear play for BlackBerry converts, its 4-inch screen offers a refreshing alternative to ever-larger Android smartphones, and its $149.99 on-contract price puts it smack in the middle of the Android pack. All of these details are fine for demographers, but the most important detail for an actual end-user is that it is compatible with T-Mobile's 42Mbps HSPA+ network. Did the Blaze 4G ever hit those mythical speeds, and absent that, can it at least justify its own existence? Read on for the full review.