Sprint Epic 4G review: The Samsung Galaxy S grows a keyboard

If you put the word "Epic" in the name of your phone, it darn well better be epic. And with the Sprint Epic 4G Android smartphone, that's mostly the case.

The Epic 4G is the latest Samsung's Galaxy S line to be released in the United States, alongside the AT&T Captivate and T-Mobile Vibrant. But the Epic stands out from its cousins in a number of ways. First, there's the addition of a 4G radio, meaning you can take advantage of Sprint's Wimax network for faster data speeds. Then there's the horizontal sliding keyboard, and a camera flash, a front-facing camera, and other bells and whistles. OK, that's a lot of differences.

But the real question is this: Is the Epic 4G epic enough (you're going to have to excuse a few puns here) to unseat the HTC Evo 4G is the phone to beat? We'll find out, after the break.

Shortcuts -- for those who just can't wait

Initial hands-on | KeyboardScreenSoftwareAppsCameraOdds and ends

The initial hands-on

We'd already used the Sprint Epic 4G a couple of times before this review, so we were fairly familiar with it when we did our initial hands-on video.

The Epic 4G keyboard

Let's start with the major distinction between the Epic 4G and its other Galaxy S counterparts: It has a horizontal sliding keyboard, putting it in the same category as the Motorola Droid and Droid 2, myTouch 3G Slide, G1, etc. It's large (it has a 4-inch touchscreen), but not as large as the Motorola Droid X and Evo 4G.

The Sprint Epic 4G and the Motorola Droid 2. Below, the Epic 4G and Touch Pro 2.

The keyboard is more like the G1, myTouch 3G Slide and Touch Pro 2 lines than the Motorola Droid and Droid 2. The keys themselves are large and flat, and they're and they're pretty well spaced. They have a nice click to them and don't feel as soft and rubbery as the Droid 2's.

We're hardly strangers to slider keyboards, but at first glimpse, the Epic's keyboard almost looks intimidating. There are 49 keys in the main section, plus dedicated menu, back, home and search keys, so you don't have to do some sort of weird reach-around for them on the front of the device. Our thumbs are thankful for that. There are up-down-left-right directional arrows for navigating through text and menus, and, of course, gaming.

The letters and numbers on the keys are done in a blocky font. It's very mechanical and Sprint-like, and really not all that friendly, and it makes the Droid keyboards almost look more inviting. The alternate (Fn) keys (how you type symbols and punctuation) are in a horrible shade of yellowish-brown -- almost like Indian curry, actually -- that we've come to expect from Sprint.

Despite the size of the individual keys, the actual useable keyboard space is smaller than on the new Droid 2. Not by a lot, and it's not really bothersome, but it's an interesting fact nonetheless. The slider mechanism is pretty good. It's got a bit of a spring to it. So once you start opening it, it's going to open. It's not as firm as the mechanism on the Droid and Droid 2. There's a bit of play, and I worry that over time, the slight wiggle might increase, from normal use and any sort of playful half opening that we tend to do with these sliders.

Here's our one real problem with the keyboard: There are 30 Fn keys, or keys that take two clicks to get to. Thankfully, the period and comma aren't included. But the @ symbol is. Same for .com (which is still nice to have, even if it takes two clicks to get to). And the question mark. On the bottom left of the keyboard, however, is a dedicated button for emoticons. For smiley faces.

IS IT EPIC? It's really good, but not quite epic, for the reasons noted above.

On-screen keyboards

Epic 4G Swype keyboard

The stock Android 2.1 on-screen keyboard (left) and Swype.

Worthy of mention are the two on-screen keyboards available on the Epic 4G. You've got the stock Android 2.1 keyboard, or you can use Swype, the keyboard that you, well, swipe your finger on.

The Epic 4G itself

Exact dimensions of the Epic 4G are 4.9 inches by 2.54 inches by 0.56 inches, and it weighs 5.46 ounces. If you've never held a Galaxy S-class phone before, you'll be amazed by how light they are. And even with the addition of a full QWERTY keyboard, the Epic 4G is surprisingly light in the hand.

The side bezels of the Sprint Epic 4G

It's not quite as wide as the Evo 4G, nor is it as tall. But it is a little thicker. Fortunately, the corners are all nicely rounded, and the back of the phone is ever so slightly concave, with a little extra thickness at the bottom. The back of the phone is completely taken up by the battery cover, which is a soft-touch plastic. The 5-megapixel camera and LED flash (that's another departure from the other Galaxy S phones in the U.S.) are at the top.

The phone is ringed by a thin strip of chrome-colored plastic, a nice accent. The volume up-down buttons are on the left-hand bezel. The power button is on the right-hand bezel (not on the top, like most smartphones), and there is a physical camera button on the bottom of the right-hand bezel. The 3.5mm headphone jack and microUSB port (with a sliding cover) are on the top.

IS IT EPIC? Pretty much. It's big, but not too big, surprisingly light for its size and feels darn good in the hand with its rounded edges.

The Epic 4G and 4 inches of Super AMOLED

The business end of the Epic 4G is a 4-inch (diagonal) Super AMOLED touchscreen. It's the same Super AMOLED screen as on the other Galaxy S phones, and it's just as good. Blacks are as black as they've ever been. Colors are as crisp as can be. The resolution is 480 pixels wide by 800 pixels high. That makes for a 216 pixels per inch density. It's lower than that of the iPhone 4, but still about as good as we've seen. Unless you have the phones side by side, you'll never notice.

The Epic 4G's screen also is interesting without even being turned on. Unlike just about any other phone we can think of, the capacitive buttons on the bottom of the screen -- the standard menu-home-back-search buttons -- disappear when the screen is dark. It should be a small thing, but it really does give the Epic 4G a "none more black" feeling to it. (And it really makes the Samsung and Sprint logos stand out.) It's a pretty cool design feature, until they disappear while the screen is still lit, and you're left guessing which button is where. That problem will ease with use, obviously, as you memorize their positions. But it's something to be aware of.

The backlighting on the capacitive buttons turns off automatically.

Pro tip: The backlighting of the buttons on the bottom of the screen is tied to the backlighting of the keyboard, which means it can be changed. By default, it's at 6 seconds. Go to Menu>Settings>Sound & Display>Keyboard timeout to change to 3 or 15 seconds, or to set it to the same as the screen timeout. (Thanks, excalis!)

The earpiece speaker, ambient light sensor and front-facing camera.

The earpiece speaker is just above the Sprint logo. And just to the right of it is a tiny front-facing camera. It shoots at 640x480, or less than the 1.3MP front camera on the Evo 4G. (More on the cameras in a bit.)

All in all, the Epic 4G's screen pretty much is everything you want in a smartphone. We could wish for a higher resolution, sure. But we haven't dinged any other Android smartphones for having 384,000 pixels, and we're not about to start here.

For those who worry about notifications, there's a small light between the ear speaker and the front-facing camera that glows or blinks in several colors, depending on whether you have a missed call, or an e-mail, or if the phone is charging or is finished charging.

IS IT EPIC? Definitely. As much for its perfect size -- large, but not too large -- as the technology behind Super AMOLED.

What's under the hood

The Epic 4G has the same 1GHz "Hummingbird" Samsung processor as the other Galaxy S phones. But unlike the AT&T Captivate and T-Mobile Vibrant, there's no lag, no stutter to be found. In a word (or two or three): It's just fast. And we're not just talking speed during everyday tasks, like tooling around the Android operating system and Samsung's Touchwiz user interface. There's an obvious boost in graphics performance, too, compared to "older" phones like the Nexus One, which was the first of the new generation of Android smartphones.

The Epic 4G has 1GB of ROM for storing apps and such, with 512MB of RAM on which to run them. It comes with a generous 16GB microSD card that can be upgraded to 32GB. It's accessed under the battery cover, is spring-loaded and you can swap it out without having to first remove the battery. Once the Epic 4G is upgraded to Android 2.2 later this year, you'll be able to store apps on the SD card.

The phone is powered by a 1500mAh battery, which is a pretty standard size these days. We got a good day's use out of it with heavy e-mail use, some gameplay and a few phone calls, all with a 3G connection. Start using a 4G connection, and your battery life will go downhill. That's just the way it is. But all in all, we had no concerns about battery life. Your mileage will vary, of course.

And speaking of the battery, the phone will alert you when it's finished charging, so that you can unplug it. That's a nice way to save a little juice, which is great for ol' Mother Earth, and the electric bill.

IS IT EPIC? Definitely. Batter life was adequate, and the Hummingbird processor and graphics speed are as good as you can get on Android at this point. How long will that be the case? We'll just have to see.

The software

Samsung's Touchwiz user interface

The seven Epic 4G home screens.

The Epic 4G launched with Android 2.1-update1, but Samsung has said it will be updated to Android 2.2, otherwise known as "Froyo." And that's an update you're going to want, as you'll gain the ability to move apps to the microSD card, plus a bunch of extra processing power and other bells and whistles. (For more on Android 2.2 features, see our "Froyo Features" section.)

Samsung has customized Android with a user interface it calls "Touchwiz." That used to be a pretty big nonstarter back in the day, but Touchwiz has come a long way. Really. Give it a few days, and you should be just fine with it. For some people, it's a little too colorful. That wouldn't keep us from buying the phone, however.

YouTube link for Mobile Viewing

And if you really find you don't like Touchwiz, you can turn it off and use a more stock Android launcher, but you'll limited to three home screens. The better choice would be to install a third-party launcher.

Sprint Epic 4G lock screen

Sprint Epic 4G lock screen.

The Epic 4G has a different lock screen than its cousins. Slide up to unlock, or slide down if you have a missed message or call to be taken straight to them.

You have seven home screens on which to place icons, widgets and shortcuts. You swipe through them horizontally, or you can tap the dots at the top of the screen to hop from one to another.

The home screens haven't been too terribly cluttered with preloaded widgets. You have the Feeds and Updates widget, Sprint TV, icons for Sprint Football, Sprint Navigation (Telenav), NASCAR, Sprint Zone, the Android Market, e-mail, voicemail, calendar, ESPN, CNN, YouTube, and the Buddies Now widget. That sounds like a lot, but it's spread out over five screens, so it's not too bad. There are more Samsung custom widgets that can be added by pressing and holding the touchscreen, then choosing "Samsung widgets."

The four home icons on the Epic 4G cannot be changed.

Touchwiz also plants four icons at the bottom of the home screens. On the Epic 4G, the icons are Phone, Contacts, Messaging and Applications. But unlike on the T-Mobile Vibrant and AT&T Captivate, you can't swap out any of these icons for another. That might not be a big deal for a good number of you. But contacts are slightly redundant because you can get to them through the phone applications. (Sure, it's one extra tap. We'll take that trade.) If you use something other than the stock messaging app for text messages, you're hosed, as well. We're not sure why the option to swap icons was removed, but we sure wish someone would add it back.

IS IT EPIC? We won't go so far as to call Touchwiz "Epic," but it's not bad. Some people will love it. Others will hate it. And that's OK. You can change it.


Sprint Epic 4G launcher

Sprint Epic 4G launcher

All of the apps that are on the Epic 4G at first launch.

The applications launcher is a Touchwiz custom job as well. It's perfectly speedy as you flip through it. You start off with two pages of app, which you move through horizontally. If you prefer, you can change the launcher to a vertical (and still alphabetical) list view by pressing the menu key while in the launcher.

In addition to the apps and widgets listed above, the Epic 4G also has:

  • An alarm clock.
  • Webkit-based browser.
  • Amazon MP3 music store.
  • Asphalt 5 racing game.
  • Facebook.
  • Samsung Media Hub (which won't work until mid-September).
  • A memo app.
  • Sprint Hotspot: Share your phone's data connection with other devices.
  • My Files (a file explorer).
  • Qik (live video streaming and two-way video chat).
  • ThinkFree Office.
  • YouTube

For downloading new applications, there's the Android Market. You also can "sideload" apps, meaning you can download and install them from outside of the Android Market. (ie from other websites and forums.)

IS IT EPIC? Other than the usual Sprint apps and the Asphalt game, we can't really complain about bloat. It's largely a clean device.

The camera(s)

The Sprint Epic 4G brings with it a 5-megapixel camera with autofocus and LED flash on the rear of the phone in the usual place. You can launch the camera application either with the dedicated button on the right-hand bezel, or you can use the camera app icon.

By default, pictures are taken at the full 2560x1920 resolution. But you have a number of options available, including widescreen resolutions, and you can take things all the way down to 800x480 if you want.

Sample images open in full resolution in a new window

The physical camera button is a two-stager. You press it halfway to focus, then continue to snap the picture. The volume buttons zoom in and out. And if you press the power button while in the camera app, it'll lock all of the buttons so you can't do anything. About the only reason we've found that to be useful is while shooting video, so you can't accidentally stop.

The camera software is as easy to use as it's ever been. You have one-touch access to numerous modes and settings, including "Beauty," a nine-shot "continuous" burst, "smile," panorama and others. Added bonus: the Epic 4G has an LED flash, where its cousins on T-Mobile and AT&T don't. (The Verizon Fascinate will have a flash.)

Panoramic picture on the Sprint Epic 4G. Opens in full resolution in a new window.

The front-facing camera allows you to do video chats, just like on the Evo 4G, through a service such as Qik or Fring. (And, hopefully someday, Skype and maybe even Apple's Facetime.) And just like the Evo 4G, the front-facing camera takes pictures in reverse. That's just the way it is.

Video quality is pretty good for a cell phone camera, though you might well end up with the shakes.

IS IT EPIC? You know what? It kinda is. It's "only" 5 megapixels, but it's a good 5 megapixels. Samsung's camera software is pretty darn good, and the shutter is responsive. It might take a couple of clicks to get used to the two-stage shutter button, but that's easy.

Other odds and ends

4G Data: "But, wait! You haven't talked about 4G!" That's right, we haven't. Because like millions of you out there, I don't have 4G where I live. And at this point, we're still considering it more of a novelty than a necessity. That'll change this time next year, we're sure.

GPS: Nary a problem. The Epic 4G locked onto the satellites quickly, held the connection. And showed us pretty much exactly where we were. Just as they're supposed to.

Speakerphone: loud, Loud, LOUD! Just the way we like it. Makes it great for navigation, and a perfect podcast player. Also great for vuvuzela solos.

 OK, so is this thing epic or not?

The T-Mobile Vibrant, Sprint Epic 4G and AT&T Captivate.

Compared to the other Samsung Galaxy S phones, the Sprint Epic 4G has a leg up in several departments. There's the keyboard, of course, which is pretty darn good. Not perfect, but above average. The addition of a 4G radio is a big plus. But along with that comes a slightly higher phone bill, and battery usage. (Same is true with the Evo 4G, of course.)

What about the Evo 4G -- Sprint's other top-shelf, 4G phone? It's definitely a very tough choice. The Epic 4G has more of a stock feel to it. And if you have to have a physical keyboard, it's a no-brainer. The Epic 4G also feels faster and more powerful, though the Evo 4G's recent update to Android 2.2 has kept it in the running.

The keyboard and 4G really are icing on the cake -- the creamy, delicious cake that is the Samsung Galaxy S. You've got the combination of a near-perfect-sized screen, the crispness of Super AMOLED technology, plus the speed and power of Samsung's Hummingbird processor. About the only real complaint we have is that it didn't launch with Android 2.2, but we have full confidence that Samsung will be updating in the coming months.

So is the Epic 4G really epic? When all is said and done, in a word, yes.

  • EPIC !!!!!!!!!!!
  • Epic Review!!! Seriously, great job Phil! This is a great device that should have long legs in the fast paced world of smartphones.
  • This phone is EPIC. Can't wait to get 2.2 on it...
  • I absolutely LOVE my Epic 4G!! Most amazing wonderful phone ever!!
  • Nice!
  • the big question is: when does it get froyo? And will Touchwiz be updated then too (ability to swap out the primary shortcuts @ bottom of screen)? This is a great, and very helpful review for all of us debating between the Epic & Evo, but a concern that seems to be littered all over the forums is how responsive and consistent Samsung will be in keeping the Epic 4g on the forefront of android phones. Without knowing that, and judging from Samsung's spotty track record in that department, it seems like reason enough for me to hold off until we see for sure..... and thanks for another comprehensive and awesome review phil!!!
  • You can already swap the dock shortcuts in TouchWiz.
  • All Galaxy S's will get Froyo by the end of September. At least that what Samsung said.
  • Great review Phil, only thing I noticed is that the FFC is VGA 640x480 not the 1.3MP as stated.
  • D'oh. You're right. Updated.
  • That's all well and good, but how about the phone?
    Call quality? How is the ear piece? How are things on the other end of the line?
    How is the reception?
  • The GPS doesn't work!!!!!!! Phil I belive sprint is pulling a fast one on you. I bought the epic yesterday and the GPS doesn't work at all... I just exchanged it for a new one and the GPS in the new one doesn't work either. I the sprint resp told me that it is a known issue... the one thing i notice is that is does work with Sprint Nav app, but no google maps and not with any apps that use the GPS. Its a great phone... but don't expect to you us the GPS...
  • You're holding it wrong. The GPS worked just fine for me. :p
  • Sorry Phil, I returned my phone and got a new one... both don't work... Are you hold it with the $$$$$ sprint and samsung gave you?
  • I tested mine while driving in LA all day yesterday and it was 100% accurate.. even during U-turns and in the canyons near my home. Maybe there is a setting you're not selecting???
  • No this is my second EPIC 4g, I returened the first one cause the GPS didn't work at all... the gps worked for a short while in the second phone... but once I got to certain areas... it completely lost conncection. It worked fine with my EVO and Iphone...
  • I go to many different locations throughout the day for my job and use GPS for each stop - I have yet to have the GPS entirely not work on me in either Sprint Navigation or Google Maps. (during one trip in google maps it became unresponsive - possibly lost signal, after hitting the back key and hitting navigation it continued immediately from my current location without hiccup).
  • i really like that new lock feature compared to the cappy and vibrant. Also that whole soft key back light that is in sync with the screen which is a hand up compared to the previous galaxy S. however is there any gps problem in the epic?
  • Yes it doesn have a GPS problem... Sprint and samsung are trying to cover it up.. Someone needs to file a lawsuit... hello is anyone a lawyer... I smell classaction!
  • I almost wish I waited for this over the evo 4g.
  • Looks very nice :)
  • People seriously the GPS doesn't work! I have the epic... I love the phone.. better then the IPhone and EVO... but the GPS doesn't work! Even sprint will tell you they are waiting for a fix. Check the comments field on the site listed below... every, including me is saying the GPS doesn't work.... you may get signal occasionally, but use it for a day... you will see.. http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2010/08/16/samsung-epic-4g-review-blackberry...
  • As of 2:45pm PST there were only 6 comments on that article you linked to. 3 of the comments have nothing to do with GPS, 3 do. Of the 3 that refer to GPS 1 says the problems are exaggerated (referring to the Captivate) and 2 (including your post) claim problems with GPS on Epic. Here's what I think. I think you are either an EVO or iPhone fanboy who just bought your EVO or iPhone 4, and now your mad because you can't upgrade to the Epic4G. Stop spamming this article with your nonsense. Ridiculous...
  • Wahtever the motive of the guy, or whatever critique you may have of his hyperbole in describing the degree of Epic's GPS problems, the simple fact is that its GPS performance is well below that of competing models (not iPhone and Evo, but iPhone, EVo, Htc Touch Pro 2, Droid, Droid 2, Blackberries, etc).
    Is the GPS non functional? No. Is it well below average for its segment? Yes.
  • Man I have my EVO that I just deactivated right next to my new EPIC, Im leaning towards the EPIC, especially when 2.2 comes out
  • Well I'm satisfied With my evo and the only difference to me is the keyboard but that's just me...
  • Phil - Epic review....and what a concept to review the devise after you have used it. This is a more than worthy addition to the Android family of phones.
  • the GPS is not a total fail as implied above, but it does have problems. Precision is off, and anyone who cares to do comparative testing with other major smartphones, EVO; HTC's Touch Pro 2 Touch Pro, Palm's Treo Pro, and I hate to say it, iPhone, will see that the GPS on the Epic is substandard for current and recent smartphones. Is it as bad as Samsung Captivate? No. But that is no serious benchmark.
  • I want to add that I think Epic is otherwise a great handset. We were going to get three but got two and one Evo.
    Besides the flawed GPS, other noted shortcomings would be several missing features that are present on other Galaxies but left off, according to sources, due to problems integrating them with the keyboard system. Let's hope Samsung with the gneral Galaxy success has turned a new leaf and will follow up quickly (say by the end of the year) with Froyo, returning the missing features, and better tweaking the GPS.
    It is still a great handset.
  • Does it have a FM Radio like the Evo?
  • Who cares about FM radio (as a feature in the phone)?? For a whopping $1.99, you can get RadioTime...which will have all of your local radio stations (plus thousands of others) available to stream FREE over the internet. It works just fine on 3G, as well as 4G and WiFi. Check it out...you will NEVER miss the physical tuner on the EVO...
  • phones are increasing replacing mp3 players, in fact smartphones began replacing them a a couple of years ago. If you work out in a gym where video programing audio is carried via FM you will notice this shortcoming.
    Let's not downgrade important features others use but you may not. some people could care less about a camera. Phones with wifi problems have shortsighted people on forums saying "who needs wifi" also.
    FM radio isn't important to you (or me), but it is important to a sector and the question was legitimate and your solution is NOT APPLICABLE to the most common use of FM radio in phones.
  • My wife does love her phone. Any piece of technology that has a WAF this high for a hater of tech like her must be doing something right. She didn't even put it down last night. at. all. The only problems she has had so far was the charging cable didn't work correctly and it resent out all of her texts for the last month semi randomly today. Switched the power cable and am hoping the texting issue was just a bad setup by the sprint guy. She also animatedly hates not having a physical button for voice search. She misses her "lady" on the instinct. (Probably because she depended on her 4 different times when the Instinct's screen stopped responding correctly). Missing the extra bit of comfort I guess. I still have yet to get my grubby little paws on it to give it the customization it "needs". I don't know what I'm going to do...
  • At whats under the hood after it says at the bottom 'Is it epic?" it says batter life was ....
  • Phil: Can you run gps test and post a video of it? That would help us a lot in deciding whether to buy this phone or not!
  • He can't. he has a pre release model with different firmware than yours. that is why he also did not notice that the Epics 3G speeds were below the speeds of a Palm 700p.
  • I have an Evo but tried out the Epic. Its a great phone no doubt but the GPS was also a problem on my friends Epic. I will save judgement though. When it upgrades to Froyo like my Evo, when GPS is fixed, and when hopefully Touchwiz gets tweaked with 2.2 (hopefully sometime this month) then I will decide. But anyone so defensive because Evo owners are pointing out a few issues on..cmon now..really? Umm..Jealous? They are valid points or I would have traded in my Evo for an Epic. Maybe still will when 2.2 comes out. But as of this moment an Evo owner isnt jealous of an Epic that needs some tweaking..especially if a physical kb isvnot a game changer for many. For what its worth
    .jealous? That was amazing. My froyo(d) Evo is jealous as well...LMAO...
  • Anyone else note that the swype keyboard has voice input? A port to the evo would be swell...
  • Meh. Doesn't do it for me. Don't like the keyboard - I'd never use it since I love Swype. I'll stick with the EVO and be perfectly happy.
  • Epic vs Evo? Why?! The bottom line is: they both rock, and they both kick the daylights out of iPhone 4! They're so 3008, IP4 is so 2000-late.
  • Happy with the Evo. Had a keyboard with my last phone, didn't use it.
    Work in the medical field, Evo rocks for work or play.
  • Love my EPIC!!!!! AND I'm sending this from my Epic using my QWERTY keyboard! ;-) EPIC WIN!!!!
  • Epic vs Evo? Why?! The bottom line is: they both rock, and they both kick the daylights out of iPhone 4! They're so 3008, IP4 is so 2000-late.
  • I actually work for Sprint as a Tech and on Tuesday (LaunchDay) I was demo'ing and training customers on the phone all day, showing them 720p video clips, camera and panoramic shots, how gmail syncs my mail and contacts, and doing EVO/EPIC side by side Quadrant benchmarks. I was doing this from 7:30am to 8:15pm on a single charge(on 4G in Dallas). At 8pm it was prompting me to charge with 15% battery remaining. I WAS VERY IMPRESSED! I own an htc EVO and I really like it and am very satisfied with it. Would I trade it in for an Epic? idk. I wouldn't use the keyboard except for gaming... And the latest version of Swype is great! BUT what I wouldn't do to put that Super AMOLED 50,000:1 contrast ratio screen on my EVO!
  • I have had the EVO for 2 Months already and I am completely satisfied with it, I once had the iPhone which back in the days was the most wonderful phone but not anymore, anyway I bought the Epic yesterday for my wife, so far I think the phone is really great but personally I don't like it compared to the EVO, firstable I don't like physical keyboards at all then I thought the built was not as crafty as the EVO also the look of the phone it self well you can't even compare, they are two completely different looking phones. I would recommend the epic to anyone who really needs a physical keyboard or plays a lot of games with their phone, if so then epic is your choice. Everybody has their own opinion about phones I simply happen to like the EVO more than the epic, that I knew even before the epic came out, although I have to say this is the first phone with a physical keyboard I would own with no problems, if there was no EVO I would be more than happy with this phone, all in all the EVO is my choice this does not mean the EVO is better than the epic in the contrary the epic is better than the EVO in every way and I know it I just think the EVO is a nicer, sleeker looking phone and that is my choice. Anybody could sell their EVOs and buy an epic if that was their choice, they just have to pay 50 bucks more, sell your EVO on the auction site if that is what you need to be happier in life, nobody is bounded to an specific handset if so you decide to part with your current device, anyway the EVO is more than what I need so I am happy for now. I asked my wife as a joke if she was willing to exchange her epic for my EVO and she said no way are you crazy.
  • Picked up my Epic yesterday. Overall it's an impressive phone, snappy, awesome display, nice form.. with a couple small annoyances. Pretty sure it has 512 MB ROM, not 1 GB as stated in the review. I had reservations about this and it's surprising when it's supposed to be a media device. Droid 2 has 8 GB ROM. It does have a 32 GB SD card capacity so I hope it gets Froyo soon and that moving apps to the SD card becomes standard. Still, you have to wonder what the hell they were thinking putting 512 MB ROM on this phone. The keyboard kind of sucks compared to the G1. The keyboard is almost too wide for comfortable use, the keys are hard to differentiate and are borderline wobbly, the space bar is too narrow, and in addition to the aforementioned bad key design choices they put the comma key to the left of the space bar instead of to the right, in between space and period. And the exclamation point is not function-"1" but function-"."... WTF. It also seems to be dropping some of my keystrokes which is really, really annoying. 4G capability was a big sell for me but I'm in SF and who knows when we'll get the service. And it has a front-facing camera but until Skype is available for Android & iPhone it's not very useful to me. If the keyboard continues to disappoint I might return this thing for a Droid 2 or even a G2 if it drops soon.
  • Oh yeah and I don't see an option to uninstall the preloaded Sprint apps like NASCAR and Football, neither of which I will ever, ever use, so they will just sit there tailgating in the parking lot of my 512 MB ROM. Bah!! : )
  • I just got my device yesterday and, coming from a BB, it is a great device. It takes a little getting used-to, but I will give it at least 2 weeks before I even think about going back to my BB. So Far So Good.
  • Can someone confirm whether or not, since this phone has Adobe Flash-if it will play ALL streaming AUDIO content from sites such as http://www.talkstreamlive.com ? I say all, because some of the stream stations at this site stream in mp3-so I'm looking to verify the .flv/flash audio streams that my current phone (Palm Pre) cannot play (at least not until Flash comes out for it 10 years from now) Thanks
  • cool phone but $250 50 bucks to much. Letstalk has it for $199.99 like it should be shame on you Sprint, Best Buy,Radio Shack for over charging
  • I would like to know if anybody thinks its worth $500
  • Well, if you have the money, then anything is worth it if you can justify the expense/price. Though, $250 is a nicer price if you have an upgrade available like I do. xD
  • Don't know if anybody has tried this yet but it is a HUGE plus for me since i hate taking the time to convert all my video files to mp4 from avi. THE EPIC PLAYS AVI FILES!!!!!!!. that is way awesome!!!! Plus i noticed that it also records video in 5.1 surround sound. another cool feature. This phone was definitely worth paying for the full price Can't believe you missed those Phil.
  • N0
  • Can anyone see the build quality of the phone lasting at least a year?
  • I can. I've played with it and I really think it should last at least 2 year contract, or until something new releases that ousts it.
  • I thought the same with my TP2 and was sadly disappointed. Did not last a year. Hope my EPIC will make the 2 year mark, as I am rough on my phones. I did have(and still do) a Verizon Samsung Omnia. The Omnia was rock solid.
  • the is epic is nice and so is the evo.The epic with (display,keyboard)and evo display is bigger not as colorful but nice.Over all Evo is little better than the Epic in so many ways
  • Well, that all depends. I do like both devices, but somehow I like the Epic 4G better than the Evo 4G for these reasons: * Super AMOLED Display * 4" display * 1 GHz Hummingbird (made by Samsung I believe) processor * Capable of really nice gaming * Slide out (spring assisted) physical keyboard * No lag operation (my friend has an Evo 4G and it was sorta laggy to use) ...among other things. I played with the Epic 4G for at least 2 hrs the other day. I can get it for $250 ($350 after a $100 mail in rebate) since I'll be upgrading my Pre that I've had for a year now.
  • Upgraded from a BB to Epic yesterday. So far-I am thinking about taking it back to sprint! How do you download a ringtone and change the notification to a ringtone and not just a "beep"?? I have a paid account with www.funtonia.com and have not had a problem downloading ringtones till now. My husband has the Samsung Instinct HD and downloads ringtones with no problem.
  • SCAM ONLY 340MB OF RAM Sorry but your wrong about the 512mb of ram.Samsung is running a scam and people need to start posting all over the web about it.
    The phone only comes with 340mb of available ram.I know because I own 2(mine and my fiances).They decided to use the other 172mb for a ram disk it seems.Devs are trying to figure out why.I didnt realize this until I got home and used an app that shows available ram.
    There is a few apps you can use to test this.I first noticed it
    when using Memory Booster Lite.Please post this information where ever you can they should not be able to get away with this.
  • 340MB available. Hmmm. I do not see any where in Samsung's literature that says 512MB available RAM.
    How many cut and paste jobs do you plan to do? I searched for your scam and found at least 5 posts that are exactly like this. What is your motive? What would you like Samsung to do? They already state on the EPIC 4G product page: "User Memory
    User Memory
    Portion of system memory in which user processes run. 1GB (not all is usable for customer use/downloads)" What else you got??
    I didn't think so.
  • Step into a sprint store and they will tell you the phone has 512mb of ram and samsung has also stated this sorry to tell you but its documented.Do you work for Samsung seems like you might?
    And yes I have posted this numerous times because im pissed off.People need to start speaking up about these issues and phone companys wont pull this kind of stuff anymore.I owned two evos both with major screen sepertion.You know what htc pulled they claimed its a cosmetic issue and not a valid reason to return the phone.
    And thats what most sprint stores will tell you when you bring the phone in,that you cant return it based on this issues.I wouldnt really call this a cosmetic issue,when in six months you get moisture or dirt in your phone from progressive screen seperation.
    If people dont speak up against companys when they pull shady stuff then the people will get trampled on.And I think the devs at xda know a little more about the phones than you do.Heres a whole forum at xda about how samsung took ram out of the phone to fix their lag mistake.
    And even though they had to do it they and sprint still claim its 512mb.And they are also selling the phones for the original intended price for the phone with 512mb of ram.I may not be so mad if sprint or samsung had been upfront about it.I may have not got the phone. http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=762109 P.S. The lack of memory on the phone also makes it pretty much impossible to put a kernel on your phone like the one that a dev over at xda developed to increase performance dramatically by borrowing memory from the rom and using it as ram.like they did for the other galaxy s phones.
  • I have a TP 2 and the Epic 4g. Does anyone need to see a side by side video comparision of the GPS in action?
  • they have been posted already, the Touch Pro 2, and older touch pro, as well as every smart phone tested, have much better GPS SNR numbers than Epic. Epic also has a documented failure to clear GPS ephemeris cache which is causing problems and is nubmer one now on Sprints internal Epic Bug list. Spritns current workaround is for users to battery pull when experience this condtion
  • they have been posted already, the Touch Pro 2, and older touch pro, as well as every smart phone tested, have much better GPS SNR numbers than Epic. Epic also has a documented failure to clear GPS ephemeris cache which is causing problems and is nubmer one now on Sprints internal Epic Bug list. Spritns current workaround is for users to battery pull when experiencing this condtion
  • Arguing your point would be okay if you knew what you were talking about. http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=762109
  • And heres more proof that i am right a,sprint endorsed website stating in the specs that the phone comes with 1gb rom and 512mb ram.When it infact only comes with 512mb rom and 340mb of ram.:) http://www.letstalk.com/samsung-epic-4g-sprint
  • Well, I have used this phone for about 2 weeks now, roughly. I like it .. but my main complaint is battery life. I am waiting for someone to make a case/extension for the phone that offers a larger internal battery. That would be gold. Given that, this would quickly become 'the best phone ever'. The SWYPE feature is incredible .. the reason I loved the phone at first was the sliding keyboard to complement the 4G/Android... and that is great for email. But for regular texting - and I am surprised that I am saying this - the Swype stuff is just simply incredibly excellent. And, like I said, for regular emails when you are thinking-as-you-type (as opposed to Swyping), the sliding keyboard rocks. Just give me a bigger battery!!!! You said that you got a full day out of it. I don't. I get about 8-9 hours out of it, which for me is *not* a full day. Considering roughly 20-30 minutes of talk time after maybe 3 calls a day or so, plus email and general web use, which is 'normal' for someone who works out of their home on a given day. With a larger battery, by only another 900mAh or so I would guess, a 'real' full business day for those of us who work 12-16 hours a day with reasonable use as described, would be *gold*. Hear that accessory makers?! Jump on this!!! Now!!! Please!!!
  • I like that keyboard! Too bad it's not on VZW. I would've jumped ship from the Droid right away.
  • I have had mine for almost 2 weeks its the best phone i have ever had
    !!!!! hands down..... Gps works and i have my own business so its great for all i need to do..... no complants what so ever..
  • Samsung Epic 4G is certainly a great handset. I love the QWERTY keyboard and the touch-screen combination. BTW the phone memory is 512MB - check for yourself here - Samsung Epic 4G Review.
  • @Funtastic..
    my friend..if you have the phone HOLD DOWN THE home key (the one that looks like a house) and something will pop up...touch "task manger">"summary" and it will who you your Random access memory as will as storage.
    mine says!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 325mb! not 512.
    dont believe everything you read.
  • WHEN WILL IT GET FROYO! I'm afraid of buying it and then it not getting froyo for some stupid reason!
  • oh,u can BET YOUR BOTTOM DOLLAR this phone WILL get FROYO and soon...
  • I have had mine for 3 days now. I love the phone. The only flaw I see is the USB. If I connect my phone to my PC, it kills USB performance and causes lockups accessing the files on my phone. Even if I choose "Charge Only" on the phone. I began tranfering picture files from my hero to the epic, and achieved 29meg per second. So I stopped, and began transfering from hero to pc (with only hero connected to pc) and achieved 340meg per second. While the tranfer was taking place, I connected the epic, and speed declined to 34 meg per second. So I unplugged the epic, and speed increased again to 340meg per second. I reconnected the epic and picked "Charge Only", and the speed decreased again. I have had the same results after searching and find the hidden usb drivers for the epic. If I try to access files on my phone from my pc (with or without the usb drivers) speed will gradually decline until my computer locks up. After doing some research, I am not the only one with this issue. Why is this information not in a review on this site?
  • Ha!!! Drain Bamage here.... :/ The speeds of the transfers are not MB, but KB (as in Kilo Byte). However, it is still an issue. I just started from scratch and repeated the test. Same results.
  • ...this is the BEST phone i have EVER OWNED (motorolai930,blackberry8350i,blackberry bold9650,) but im CONCERNED about that SLiDER loosness.We will c what happens as TiME goes on...
  • Every app I've had installed only shows 512MB ROM/325MB RAM. Are they not reading the device correctly? Is there an app that does? The review says it's 1GB ROM/512MB RAM and Samsung's website says it's 16GB ROM/512MB RAM. I'm at a loss.
  • Comment about TouchWiz...
    The Samsung Epic 4G is not running the same TouchWiz as other Galaxy S phones. Vibrant, Fascinate, Captivate, and the rest are all running TouchWiz 3.0, which does not have horizontal home-screen support. In order to have a horizontal homescreen (for use when the keyboard slides out), Samsung had to make the Epic use a heavily modified version of TouchWiz 2.5. It looks like 3.0, but as you've noticed, you can't move the phone/contacts/messaging/applications apps from their places.
    This makes it even more bizarre that a phone running a custom TouchWiz software piece is getting the update to Froyo before any of the standard all-touch phones.
    ...Save the Vibrant. Sigh.
  • The epic is absolutely horrbible….went from evo to epic, back to evo with 2.3. Epics battery life=garbage.
    physical keyboard=garbage
    glitchy as hell, GPS takes 10 minutes to find you, let alone places and events in your area.
    build quality=garbage compared to HTC, but compared to other sliders it’s definitely up to par.
    s.amoled screen, ok, that’s a +, but it’s not nearly as responsive to touch as the evo is, in fact i found myself poking at the screen in order for it to respond, oh and the backlit navigation keys…terrible idea, you’re lucky to hit the one you want in 3 taps because you can’t see them half the time.
    And no HD output
    overall, the epic is an epic failure…the only thing samsung got right was their marketing…
    Evo people, go with the evo.