The Samsung Epic 4G ($ 150 with a two-year contract from Sprint) stands out from its Galaxy S siblings for several, reasons. Unlike any of the others, it has a physical, keyboard and a front-facing camera—and it runs on Sprint’s 4G network.
Among the many QWERTY keyboard phones that we have reviewed, the Epic is one of the best. The keys are properly spaced and have a pleasant luckiness to them. If you don’t want to use the physical keyboard, the touchscreen offers even more options: the Touch Wiz keyboard, the Swype keyboard, or the native Android keyboard.
The display is quite responsive, and it’s big enough to type on comfortably. Like the other Galaxy S phones, the Epic 4G sports a 4-inch Super AMOLED display. Samsung’s Super AMOLED technology puts touch sensors on the display itself—instead of on a separate Layer, as in Samsung’s older AMOLED displays— making it the thinnest display technology on the market. The Super AMOLED screen looks fantastic; you really have to see it in person.
Colors burst from the screen, and animations look lively and smooth. The display also works remarkably well in bright outdoor Light, though the phone’s glossy chassis sometimes projects a killer glare.
The Epic 4G, which has finally been updated to Android 2.2 (“Froyo”) from 2.1 (“Eclair”), carries Samsung’s own Touch Wiz 3.0 user interface. Overall, this version of Touch Wiz is a Lot better than the previous iteration, which we saw on phones such as the Samsung Behold II for T-Mobile (a handset that was disappointingly slow and difficult to navigate) and the Samsung Galaxy SL.
Although this version of the overlay is an improvement on its predecessors, we continued to encounter some familiar issues with TouchWiz 3.0. Despite the 1GHz Hummingbird processor, the phone Lagged sLightLy when we used it to flip through menus or to scroll down contact Lists or Web pages. One of the big benefits of the Epic 4G is evident in its name: It’s only the second phone that connects to Sprint’s 4G network.
In our speed tests, Sprint’s 4G WiMax service was indeed fast, but it didn’t provide reliable service. This suggests that Sprint and its WiMax partner Clear wire don’t have a sufficient density of WiMax base stations on the ground.
We’ve tested all of the Galaxy phones, and the Epic 4G is definitely the best—as well as being one of the top Android phones available. Its nicely designed physical keyboard, 4G goodness, and front-facing camera make it hard to beat Samsung Epic 4.
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