Hands on with the Samsung Epic 4G for Sprint
Aug 31, 2010 7:39 PM –
With 4G becoming the next big thing, Sprint is now adding to it’s line up the Samsung Epic 4G. All the major U.S. cellular providers are releasing their own personal version of the Samsung Galaxy S. They all are somewhat similar, but here comes Sprint, not only providing 4G but also with a physical keyboard. Launching today, the Epic 4G might be just what you’re looking for…maybe…
- Network Type: CDMA Dual Band
- Data: 1xEV-DO rev. A / WiMax
- Processor: Cortex A8 Hummingbird 1GHz
- Color: Black
- OS: Android 2.1 (2.2 expected this quarter)
After playing with the Epic’s cousin the EVO and it’s brother the Captivate (AT&T’s take on the Galaxy S) I had some idea of what to expect when I got my hands on the Epic. However, overall I wasn’t as blown away as I thought I would be. I still have some issues with the Samsung UI. It feels like they were staring at iPhones too long and came up with a non-Apple version of the same thing.
The phone itself is….nice. I found myself using the onscreen Swype Keyboard more than the physical one. The physical keyboard however is nice compared to some others. It has generous spacing between keys so you don’t slam 5 buttons at once and there’s enough travel that you know you’ve hit something.
- Dimensions: 4.9″ x 2.54″ x 0.56″
- Weight 5.46 oz.
I always expect a phone with a physical keyboard to be extremely bulky, uncomfortable to hold, and all around clunky physically. I guess the Motorola Droid left a bad taste in my mouth. However, the Samsung Epic 4G doesn’t feel that way at all. It’s rounded corners and slightly curved back sit nicely in your hand both horizontally and vertically and it doesn’t feel nearly as heavy as I would expect. However, when I took off the back cover to put in the battery I noticed that may be due to the very flimsy plastic that is used for the case. I don’t know about the whole phone entirely, but the back cover is thin enough that it almost folds.
- Resolution: 480 x 800 pixels
- Type: 16 77 216 colors, Super AMOLED
- Physical Size: 4”in Screen
- Touch Screen: Capacitive, Multitouch
The first thing I must say is that Gorilla Glass should be used for all portable device screens. I love the idea that, yes you should always be careful with your devices, but to know in the back of your head that the screen is almost completely resistant to scratches bring great piece of mind. That is something I love with this phone!
The whole display actually is very nice. It’s clear, shows great color, and is easy to read. The back light is bright but not so bright it’s blinding and the screen can be easily read in bright sunlight. Videos looked pretty good and pictures were never washed out looking.
- Headset: 3.5 mm Stereo Headset Jack
This is one aspect of the phone that annoyed me. During calls with both the standard ear-piece and speaker it crackled. It only crackled when it was all the way up, but I found that unless I was in an area with almost no ambient noise, I had to have it all the way up to hear people. I found myself grabbing another phone when I knew I would be talking a while and it wasn’t dead silent.
This happened with music too so I feel like the speaker is just underpowered. However, using my wired and wireless headsets the sound was loud and clear for audio.
- Internal Memory: 512 MB RAM / 512MB ROM
- Card Slot: microSD (16 GB included) / microSDHC
Yes, this phone is running 2.1 so 512 MB of internal memory for apps can fill up quick. However, the 2.2 Froyo update is coming relatively soon (or so they say) so that issue should be solved pretty quickly. The 16 GB card that comes with the phone is more than enough for what you want on there! Of course, that’s what we said when computers had 500 MB hard drives.
- Bluetooth : 2.1, Stereo Bluetooth
- Wi-Fi: 802.11b/g/n
- Internet: Android Browser, HTML
- USB: Standard microUSB for data and charging
YAY! A phone with Wireless-N built in! Thank you! Most of the phones out there seem stuck with G, which is fine since that’s what 90% of wireless networks are, but just knowing that you can grab that newer faster, stronger, and better range network is wonderful.
My Bluetooth devices, my 2 headsets and printer, synced easily. The sound quality was very good. However, I didn’t like that I couldn’t get notification sounds through the Bluetooth.
- 5 MP Resolution
- Video: 1280 x 720 (720pHD)
- Camera Features: Flash LED Auto Focus, Smile Detection, Digital Zoom, Multi-Shot, Effects, Self-Timer, Panorama, ISO Control
For a 5 MP camera, it does very well. I love the panoramic pictures I could take and the video was very clear. The audio, again, did sound muffled on the phone, but when transfered to my computer, sounded okay, comparable to a video shot with your digital camera.
It does have a front facing camera, which is great for video conferencing. The settings to turn that camera on were in a strange place that took me about 10 minutes to find (Camera >> Shooting Mode >> Self shot). I just expected it to be a single button click away. But some crafty developer will just create an app for that (Oh, I’ll take 40% cut on that idea).
- Phone Book: Size depends on system memory; Ring ID, Picture ID, Search by first and last name, Multiple Numbers per contact, Caller groups
- Included Programs: Alarm, Calendar, Calculator