This is a TekGoblin DoubleTake Review of the Samsung Epic 4G from Samsung and Sprint. A DoubleTake Review consists of two reviews from two separate people with different levels of technical knowledge so its gives you the reader a better perspective before purchasing the phone in question.
First review by: Michael Lubert
The Epic is big and beautiful. Using my iPod as a yardstick, the Epic is longer, thicker, and has a bigger screen. It feels like a brick, and I mean that in the best possible way. My first phone was a Nokia brick phone. I dropped it on average once per day, and if I were to go home, dig it out of storage, and plug it in, it would still work. This is the impression I get from the Epic. The phone feels well made, which is a feeling that is hard to come by these days, especially in a phone. The Epic has a slight weight to it, but this is mostly because of the slide-out keyboard. It is far from clunky.
The screen is crystal clear and the colors vibrant. Images look wonderful and webpages display the same as they do on my monitor. The Epic has the goldilocks of touch sensitivity: It’s not so dulled as to require you to pound on it to get a response, yet not so sensitive that you hit three things when you slide off of one. There is a slight delay in recognizing touches, though it is hardly noticeable. Overall, I feel the touch is solid.
The physical keyboard is nice and well lit. My only qualm is that the keys are so smooth it is nearly impossible to avoid slipping onto other keys if you have even moderately sized fingers. I imagine, as with other phones, there is a learning curve until texting is muscle memory.
The qwerty touch screen keyboard is alright, nothing spectacular. However, Samsung has included the Swype feature, which is amazing. You trace a line between the characters in the word you are spelling and it types them, or guesses what you are typing. It’s essentially the 21st century T9.
The phone’s touch buttons, located at the bottom of the front face, turn off before the screen. This leads to the awkward situation in which you must tap on the screen to get them to become responsive. The hold button can be hard to find, and sometimes it is clumsy to press. Because it is located flush with the separation between the screen and keyboard, I often found myself sliding the screen over or accidentally pressing the volume control buttons. The volume buttons suffer from the same problem.
The Epic is among the first to the 4G game. It is too early to say whether Sprint’s 4G is as amazing as it appears now. AT&T’s 3G was brought to its knees by the iPhone. I do not receive a 4G signal here, so my tests were done on 3G. Web pages load nearly as fast as on 802.11g wifi. Running a bandwidth test, I got 1.97 Mbps down and 142 Kbps up for 3G.
Additionally, in the phone’s services menu, you can shut off 4G and only use 3G. Unfortunately, you cannot shut off 3G. As someone who spends a lot of time in buildings where no cellphone gets reception, I would never make more than a few hours without a charger.
Camera (5 Megapixel)
The camera that comes with this phone is as good as or better than pretty much every point and shoot on the market. Had I not invested in a DSLR, I could see this becoming my primary camera. The video is phenomenal as well, and can export directly to YouTube and Facebook. It comes with a barrage of settings and filters so you can fill your quota of cliche arm-length drunk photos.
The selection for Sprint TV is amazing. For the test, I watched a few videos from several channels, including one live feed. The quality is on par with low-def YouTube; on something smaller than a standard monitor, it’s more than fine. The selection of programming is more than adequate, but to me this feels like a niche market, and one mostly centered on sports and other live events; it’s far easier and cheaper to use iTunes to get specific shows you want rather than Sprint TV’s Hulu-esque policy of only offering recent episodes.
- This phone can lock. I have an phone with a lock button that gets bumped and pocket dials 4 days out of the week. I can’t see this phone pocket dialing anyone.
- This phone has a task manager. Like windows. Oh, I left the GPS running? END! You can end pretty much any major feature, which is pretty boss.
- The onscreen keyboard is set in an unfamiliar layout. It’s not something I couldn’t get used to, but it’s not particularly intuitive.
DoubleTake Review by Chester Kominowski
The Samsung Epic is a Galaxy S line phone for the cellular carrier Sprint. Like all the new galaxy line phones its features include; 1 Ghz processor, 4-inch super AMOLED screen, 512 RAM, and 16 Gig internal storage. When first handing the phone you notice the smooth exterior and that unlike the other Galaxy S phones it includes a full QWERTY keyboard. The phone is also loaded up in box with Froyo Android version 2.2. After introducing the Samsung Epic I will move on to the sleek design of the phone itself.
Having a Samsung Captivate (the Galaxy S phone for AT&T), I was extremely excited to see how Samsung would incorporate the keyboard into the design of the phone. I was very pleased with this keyboard more so than the Droid ll, this is mainly due to the fact that it had a separate like dedicated to numbers. Typing on the keyboard itself I made a few errors admittedly, but I feel it would take a little getting used to. After that you could type with lightening speed and accuracy. Another unique feature of the Epic is that like the Galaxy S phones its power/wake button is located on right side of the phone instead of the top. I think this is a nice touch to maintain Samsungs uniqueness.
Next I will talk about the Epic’s interface and how it incorporates Samsung’s software with Froyo. After extensively testing out the phone I liked how well Froyo & Samsung’s software meshed together. The transition between screens seemed very fluid and effortless a definite improvement over the Droid ll, where moving from one home screen to the next was somewhat choppy. The internet loaded very fast and was quite easy to browse. One note worthy addition to Froyo was the addition of a task manager; something I feel has been missing from android for too long!
Finally in conclusion in this review I will sum up the good and bad about the epic. First the good, it clearly has a great design for functionality and style. The new operating system for Froyo was integrated very well with Samsung’s software along with the added bonus’ of flash player and a task manager! The bad side of the phone is minimal but for those who look for a camera above 5 mega pixels would be disappointed to get the Galaxy S line of phones! After all is said and done the Epic is well….EPIC!
TekGoblin Rating: 4/5 Gears
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