Sprint Samsung Epic 4G

The Sprint Epic 4G is the third of the Samsung Galaxy S-class phones to be released in the United States. And it comes with a few additions over its already-released cousins, the AT&T Captivate and T-Mobile Vibrant. Initial thoughts and hands-on video are after the break, folks.

(And we know you have questions, and we'll have answers. Ask 'em in this forum thread, and we'll make you famous.)

For starters, as the name suggests, the Epic 4G can take advantage of Sprint's Wimax (4G) data, if you're in a location that has service. (The rest of the time it rocks 3G just fine.)

Then there's the addition of a sliding horizontal keyboard. The slider mechanism is pretty good, a little more springy than you'll find on the Motorola Droid and Droid 2.

Sprint Samsung Epic 4GThe keys themselves are pretty darn good, and they've crammed five rows of them onto this puppy. Biggest niggle thus far is that you have to use the FN key to get to the @ symbol (or any number of other frequently used keys for that matter) while emoticons -- as in a :) smiley face -- have one-touch access.

The phone itself is as speedy as ever, thanks to its 1GHz Hummingbird processor. The 4-inch Super AMOLED screen is as good as what's on the Vibrant and Captivate -- and it should be, given it's the same screen.

The Epic 4G is launching with Android 2.1 and should get an upgrade to Android 2.2 later this year. Samsung's Touchwiz user interface is on board, though some of the tweaks found on the other Galaxy S phones have been removed. The Daily Briefing widget and app are gone, as are other Samsung customizations like the ability to swap out which apps are docked at the bottom of the screen. (That's a bad change.) On the other hand, save for the usual Sprint apps -- NASCAR, Sprint TV, Sprint Navigation, etc., there's really not a whole lot of bloatware on the Epic, which is good, because it only has 512MB of on-board storage, with about 450MB available to the user.

The phone feels pretty darn good in the hand. Lighter than the Evo 4G, more rounded. We'll give the 5-megapixel camera a proper what-for, but do note that you're going to have to work at it a tad to keep your fingers off the lens while shooting. Qik is pre-installed, so you can get your front-facing chat on.

To boil it down in a sentence: You're going to want this phone when it's available Aug. 31. Period.


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Reader comments

Sprint Epic 4G initial impressions and hands-on video

52 Comments

Are you sure that the bottom dock can not be changed? You change the bottom dock in the Application settings do you not?

Otherwise, great little review! Looking forward to this phone.

Upgrade?!? Wow, I would take the evo any day over the galaxy. The galaxy s is beautiful, but the evo is superior. But, the X rules em all

That's just it. I, like it seems SO MANY others here are coming from a Pre (if HPalm doesn't hurry up their user base will be 0), and think I really want a physical keyboard.

However, my wife has an EVO -- I think I could get used to the virtual keyboard, but maybe with the Epic it is the best of all worlds.

I came from the Pre and was one of it's biggest supporters, but they've left their user base in the dark with nothing new in over a year. I got the EVO but will probably get this one for my wife (she has the crappy moment right now). The thing I do miss the most from my pre is the keyboard. I can type just as fast, but my accuracy sucks. I wouldn't do a virtual keyboard on anything less than a 4" screen.

I'm also coming from a Pre ... well I will be when my upgrade comes around in October. And I think I'm probably going to choose the Evo. That gigantic screen makes it reasonable to browse the normal web - not just the mobile web. Also, I think that virtual keyboards are the future. There's a potential speed advantage to a virtual keyboard in that you don't actually have to depress anything in order to get a keystroke in. The evo would force me to learn virtual keyboarding.

So, for me, I'm leaning Evo.

I thought I would really want this phone as I miss my pre keyboard a little when using my Evo, but I've found I really don't like using my Evo in landscape mode and Swype is pretty good in portrait mode, so my lust for the Epic's physical keyboard has diminished greatly.

Got mine "pre" ordered :) Thanx for the review!

Not sure if you meant the "unintentional" pun there, but I get what you're saying if you are. Got mine pre-ordered as well (at both BB and Sprint, so we'll see which gets here first!)...

I'll miss you Pre! It's been a great 1+ year but it's time to move on to bigger and better tech! The end of the month can't get here any faster!!!

I love how you just have thousands of dollars worth of phones at your disposal, :) but I DONT love how you casually toss the Droid X aside in the video, handle with care!!!

the droid x has a beautiful hump which makes the phone very easy to hold and pull out of your pocket

physical keyboards, however, are ugly

looks like i will be adding a 3rd line, unless Phil, is just gonna give me his,lol. i gotta have this phone.

"you have to use the FN key to get to the @ symbol (or any number of other frequently used keys for that matter) while emoticons -- as in a :) smiley face -- have one-touch access." I find this ridiculously stupid.

The @ is a dumb oversight but it's the only flaw I see on that keyboard. So glad they didn't put the spacebar between the v and b keys. I'm also really fond of touchwiz, it actually has color rather than dull, flat colors mostly seen on Sense.

Eh im not.crazy about touch wiz to start but.i.was. exited to check it out. Not really dazzled.by what i saw not really exited about it anymore. Kinda like a dud. Id.stick with an evo if i had one. Thank goodness. I have my x.

Am I the only one here that read this comment like it was an old style telegram?

"Eh im not (STOP) crazy about touch wiz to start but (STOP) i (STOP) was (STOP) exited to check it out (STOP) Not really dazzled (STOP) by what i saw not really exited about it anymore (STOP) Kinda like a dud (STOP) Id (STOP) stick with an evo if i had one (STOP) Thank goodness (STOP) I have my x (STOP)"

That happens to me all the time on my Evo because the period "button" is right next to the space bar. I will admit it's not the phone, it's the user.

Love to see a vid of Epic vs Pre in terms of Thickness and size. I cant seem to believe the Epic is thinner(based off specs).

Aarhg. I was excited for the social hub, but its not there?
Come on sprint. You better re-add those features in the 2.2 update.

Thanks for the Centro compare--wasn't expecting that. I'm still rockin' the trusty ol' Centro, but have pre-order in for the Epic. Then Sprint will finally get me off my old, cheap plan. My only fear is moving away from Datebk and fast one-handed operation.

This is nice but looking forward to the G2 for T Mobile. This is just a Vibrant with a slide out keyboard. =)

This phone will undoubtedly kick ass. I have the EVO and I don't see enough of an upgrade on this phone to switch it out, but it sure is nice that Sprint is knocking the sox off ATT-MobilVerizon with their awesome selection of Android concoctions!

I was a pre-Pre user, and it took a bit of time to get used to a virtual keyboard, but now I'll never go back. Love the EVO even with it's slight flaws here and there (nothing dealbreaking), but Samsung has made a comeback and I'm happy for that. Now if they could just get Froyo on that thing, it will surely fly!

As much as I thought I'd hate not having a physical KB, now, a few months after my switch from Pre to Evo, I'd find it hard to go back. Granted, I don't seem to type worth a $h!t on the Evo, where I could fly on the Pre, I simply no longer care for the idea of sliding it in and out. (I know...that's what SHE said). Surprised the Epic didn't have FroYo ready to go. Like the size and functionality. May grab one for the boss because she has Evo-Envy.

doesn't seem too appealing to me.. So far the baddest phone on the market is still the EVO. I'm keeping the Evo until EVO II comes out.

I'm a current Pre user and was very excited about this Epic. I even have a pre-order in through Sprint for one. I love my Pre and Web-os is by far the best operating system I have found so with the rumors of a Pre 2 or Palm "Roadrunner" floating around the past few days I have quickly cooled on the Epic. The rumor mill is saying a new web-os phone will hit sometime between now and mid October, that's enough to make me want to wait and see whats coming...

I don't know about you, but I can visualize more easily with charts. For anyone liking the same format try this "http://skattertech.com/2010/08/infographic-epic-4g-vs-iphone-4-vs-droid-..."
Now keep in mind that this chart, it turns out, is missing some features of the Epic pointed out by comments. The chart does not show, DLNA, Mirrored video out the 3.5mm jack and a bit more. But it is plain to see that the Epic has not equal on paper with the Iphone 4 and Evo and Droid 2 or X. If you have time, the 18 min. video found on a link in the comments from Sprint Manager is quite compelling if you like the Epic. What's not to like. Oh, and as far as the Samsung Hub with all their network, it is coming on the production Epic phones. So Samsung Allshare fans can run pics and video from their PCs to their home entertainment centers via the Epic even to the point of checking your text messages on your TV set. EVO, nice phone to bad about your TFT 3 generations back screen and what are those nasty rumors about your construction having some issues?

Only 512 internal storage? WTH? Why do the Captivate and Vibrant get 16GB of internal storage, plus 32GB of expansion but this only gets 512? What is Sprint thinking here? Or am I completely misreading the specs on the other phones?

In other news, I got my Captivate ordered this morning from dell. $159 shipped for two (wife unit gets one as well).

I don't know about you, but I can visualize more easily with charts. For anyone liking the same format try this "http://skattertech.com/2010/08/infographic-epic-4g-vs-iphone-4-vs-droid-..."
Now keep in mind that this chart, it turns out, is missing some features of the Epic pointed out by comments. The chart does not show, DLNA, Mirrored video out the 3.5mm jack and a bit more. But it is plain to see that the Epic has not equal on paper with the Iphone 4 and Evo and Droid 2 or X. If you have time, the 18 min. video found on a link in the comments from Sprint Manager is quite compelling if you like the Epic. What's not to like. Oh, and as far as the Samsung Hub with all their network, it is coming on the production Epic phones. So Samsung Allshare fans can run pics and video from their PCs to their home entertainment centers via the Epic even to the point of checking your text messages on your TV set. EVO, nice phone to bad about your TFT 3 generations back screen and what are those nasty rumors about your construction having some issues?

Voice-activated dialing?

Will the Epic have voice-activated dialing or will I need to wait until the Froyo update is released?

After getting shafted from FroYo by both Samsung and Sprint on my Samsung Moment, I'm leary of upgrading from Sprint. It was seriously unfair to EOL the Samsung Moment even though it had a much faster processor than the Hero, Moto Droid, and other Android devices. Samsung has lost my business for sure after screwing Samsung Moment customers. I'll definitely hold back on a Sprint contract until I know for certain that the next phone will be guaranteed future upgrades and I do mean more than two.

I have a Pre and had the Evo for almost the full 30 days. Pre with WebOS is still the easiest phone to get things accomplished efficiently. You can just get things done without many steps. I loved the Evo and I am now hooked on the geeky aspects of Android. I love the choices and the capabilities.

The Evo was great but after a month of trying I just couldn't get proficient with typing on the onscreen keyboard. I tried very hard. I wanted to keep the Evo because I loved the 4.3" screen. The only times that I was able to type reasonably well was when the auto correction was doing some heavy lifting or when I devoted to much focus to precisely hitting the buttons dead center. Nothing beats a physical keyboard...I spent 30 days trying to convince my self otherwise. In the end, because I needed a keyboard and I was underwhelmed by the graphics processor on the Evo I returned my phone. They thought I was crazy at Radio Shack.

I am very much looking forward to the Epic. I need the physical keyboard. The screen is amazing (checked out its brother at Tmobile) and the processor is top notch....

I, too, am a launch day Pre user and I have my Epic preordered. I was so excited for webOS and all of its possibilities, but for Palm to leave its loyal fan base in the dark for so long was an awful move on their part. My past three phones were Palm products, so I feel almost like I am betraying them in a way. But I just need new hardware(no oreo
) and better software. Don't get me wrong, I love the Pre's operating system, most intuitive system I've ever used, but its time to move on.

Maybe when a Pre II or "Roadrunner" or "C40" or whatever comes out, I may be swayed otherwise. But right now, I think I'll be a lot happier come August 31st.