Samsung Epic 4G Review: The Fastest Android Phoneby Anand Lal Shimpi on September 6, 2010 5:28 PM EST
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- Epic 4G
The sheer amount of choice you get in the Android smartphone market is overwhelming. Even if you stick within a single manufacturer like HTC, there are several releases to juggle all of which happen in a very short period of time. Below is a list of just the HTC Android phones that have come out in the past 12 months:
Hero, Click, Bravo, Legend, Incredible, Espresso, Supersonic/EVO 4G, Buzz and Liberty.
And that’s just in the past year! Then we’ve got Android phones from Sony Ericsson, Dell, Motorola and LG. You can’t argue that there is a lack of choice in the Android market, but the vast majority of these phones aren’t perfect. In fact, it feels like every subsequent Android phone we touch comes closer to perfecting one aspect of the platform while leaving another neglected.
The EVO 4G brought us a unique form factor, but poor performance and battery life. Dell gave us our first 5-inch Android tabletphone, but coupled with an ancient version of Android it’s just not prime for its 2010 release. And seemingly all Android phones suffer from varying amounts of stuttering when scrolling around app lists or web pages.
It’s easy for a reviewer to get excited about every new Android release, but it must be hell for someone actually looking to buy one of these things.
The good news is we’re getting closer to the perfect Android smartphone. I don’t believe we’re there yet, but every single manufacturer has contributed something to the platform that someone else will eventually copy and wrap into one device.
The latest in the list of attempts at perfection is Samsung with its Galaxy S. And I must say, Samsung’s take on Android is quite possibly the most unique I’ve seen. Unique compared to other Android vendors that is.
Vectors of Innovation
Samsung innovates along three vectors with the Galaxy S. You get a new screen size (4” vs. 3.5/3.7” or 4.3”). The 4” screen size is a near perfect combination of productivity boosting screen area and portability. You get a new screen type with Samsung’s Super AMOLED that really fixes a lot of issues I had with AMOLED displays in the past. To top it all off, Samsung continues to innovate by equipping the Galaxy S with the fastest GPU in any shipping smartphone: the PowerVR SGX 540.
There are four versions of the Galaxy S, one for each of the major US carriers. There’s the Captivate on AT&T, the Vibrant on T-Mobile, the Epic 4G on Sprint and the forthcoming Fascinate on Verizon.
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Ethaniel - Monday, September 6, 2010 - linkI have also noticed that all Android phones out there do some kind of "breakdancing". You think it has something to do with Android, but I think it has something to do with Java. Now, Java devs will probably want to eat my brain after this... but Java sucks. Big time. Making Android's UI based on Java was a bad, bad, really bad move. About four three time slower than C++, it demands more memory... completely inadequate for a mobile environment.
meatless - Monday, September 6, 2010 - linkIt's sad, the prevalence of Java FUD to this day. It's also bad to blame Java (the syntax), as you are unnecessarily conflating the Dalvik VM with desktop VMs such as Sun's.
C++ is fast, sure, but there is a lot more to designing a platform than speed, and the Dalvik VM is more than fast enough. iOS's Obj-C implementation is also not C++ fast, but who complains?
taltamir - Tuesday, September 7, 2010 - link1. both Javas are shit
2. There is more to a platform then speed... but when you are designing a platform starved for processing power and that needs to sip electricity then it makes a huge difference.
Penti - Tuesday, September 7, 2010 - linkMost of the platform are actually C/C++ libraries and programs, where you glue your app in isn't that relevant. You need a framework for any mobile phone platform, but the resources that framework glues into thats where a lot of performance comes from and it's in C/C++. It's better to have an accelerated framework running on a virtual machine then an unaccelerated C++ one. Rendering of menus and such would be slower on the last one. Besides on Symbian it's QT-framework that rules now, not some ultra customized embedded framework. Memory requirements have gone up there too, but capacity have grown even more. Besides nobody wanted to write mobile apps to some badly designed and awkward C++ framework and API. Java syntax was a good choice therefor.
taltamir - Monday, September 13, 2010 - linkthe fact that there are more considerations than just programming language when it comes to power and speed are obvious, as is that you could make a java app thats faster than a C++ app.
Neither make java a good choice.
BTW, I didn't personally comment about the issue of jerkiness, I was going on a tangent as a reply to what meatless said (specifically the socalled "java FUD")
zizagoo - Monday, September 6, 2010 - linkIt's an Android problem. The cause of the "jerkiness" is that unlike iOS/WebOS/WP7, Android doesn't have a gpu accelerated ui. They supposedly did this because the G1 wouldn't support it at the time.
Gingerbread, which is supposedly showcased next month, should fix this.
deputc26 - Monday, September 6, 2010 - linkThankyou! this is exactly it, give the man a medal. I don't know why Anandtech never mentions this. It should be ubiquitous knowledge in the android community.
meatless - Monday, September 6, 2010 - linkAlso, the 3-4X speed difference on non-mobile platforms is greatly exaggerated. I always find http://shootout.alioth.debian.org/ a fun and FUD-free site.
Iksy - Tuesday, September 7, 2010 - linkGreatly exagerated? That site shows a 2.3x speed difference and it's comparring against Sun's fastest most optimizing version against g++. The unoptimized version is over 20x slower, you'll find it near the bottom of the list for compares. I do find it interesting that while they're satisfied with using an open source C (gnu) compiler, they do not include the open source java interpreter. They also do not include the Intel C compiler, even though they easily could and include the Intel Fortran compiler.
In other words, is still in the ball park so say Java is 3-4x slower than the equivalent c++ code.
dvinnen - Tuesday, September 7, 2010 - linkWait, so the Java syntax is what is slowing down Android? Because it doesn't run Java, it runs Dalvik.
I would also like to see evidence that C++ is 4 times faster. Not saying Java is faster but it is fast enough. I say that as a Java developer who doesn't like the language and would rather use slower languages like Python