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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Dane74 - Monday, September 6, 2010 - linkMy Epic is fine but the GPS is not, and the fixes out there for the other Galaxies are irrelevant to Epic, which has new, different, and in many ways, worse, GPS problems. Samsung has issued one single recommendation for the poor GPS on Epic: turn on cellular tower location estimates. Some fix!
I am no iPhone fan. i can't stand them or the people who use them. But the GPS problems on the Epic are real. For starters look at the pics posted in this review. They are consistent with what anyone who tests the GPS finds -- the GPS reception hardware itself on Epic is weak. Look at that satellite strength.
Epic's other GPS problem is that frequent resets are required, as Epic does not discard expired GPS assistance data, and does not attempt to get new assistance data, often causing complete inability to get a GPS fix, even when many satellites are in view.
Desslok - Tuesday, September 7, 2010 - link<b><q>I am no iPhone fan. i can't stand them or the people who use them...</b></q>
WOW! Way to be an asshat of epic scale. Just because I have an iPhone you can't stand me? I thought only Apple users were supposed to be such arrogant asses?
medi01 - Tuesday, September 7, 2010 - linkI also can't stand you. In my opinion by agreeing to use hardware with unbelievably draconian restrictions (not being able to copy stuff from my own device? not being able to copy stuff to my own device from more than one source? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?), you are asking form even more crap in the future.
Desslok - Tuesday, September 7, 2010 - linkYet again the users on this site do not understand how most people use their phones and their way is the only way. Like bearxor has said in a later post most people take the phone out of the box and start using it. They don't root it and then start tweaking it.
For what i use my phone for the iPhone works for me, am I saying it is the best phone/OS of all time of course not; it has it flaws. I am also not bashing anyone who uses any other type of phone/OS, It is a freakin phone/OS people it isn't that important.
Medi01-Hate if you want, but the iPhone works for me. Have fun judging others on material things, let me know how that works out for you in the future.
ktwebb - Tuesday, September 7, 2010 - linkI didn't say the GPS problems weren't valid. I just mentioned fixes were available. Multiple "Fixes" Unsatisfactory to ship their phones with broken GPS but that's Samsung. But once again, that's a hit on Samsung, not on the OS.
bearxor - Monday, September 6, 2010 - linkWhy does everyone on sites like this think their way is the only thing people will do. Do you really think a lot of people are going to buy a phone and then root it and then tweak it?
Most people are going to buy the phone, take it out of the box and begin using it. Heck, before switching to an iPhone in 2008, I used a Treo 700wx for two years, the longest I had ever used a WinMo device at a time, because I just got so sick and tired of HTC's crap. I was always having to reset the phone. Switch out ROMs on the phone. I never knew if a phone call was going to come through on a PPC-6600 or PPC-6700. Enough already!
I know that makes me less of a "geek" but I was cooking roms and flashing devices before a lot of people even discovered regular phones with qwerty keyboards on them.
I found this review to be a great example of what I would expect of the phone if I were to march down to a Sprint store, picked one up and started using it right away. That's all I really want from my phone. For it to do the functions that it's advertised to do.
nermie - Tuesday, September 7, 2010 - linkI think you also forget what website we are at. Just last a couple weeks ago there was an article on tuning your memory using a custom made bios. Every article on computer hardware usually covers the intended consumer point of view first, and then gets right into dissecting and tweaking the hardware to squeeze every last drop of performance out of it. Seems like kind of a shame to not at least mention how much faster the phone can be if you do a few things such as overclock the cpu or a file system fix.
erple2 - Tuesday, September 7, 2010 - linkNormally, I'd completely agree with you. However, taking the phone as a complete package, I think that Anand has done a good job in reviewing the <i>phone</i> as you get it, and not post tweaking.
While it may be common to buy a motherboard and CPU then tweak it until you squeeze the maximum amount of power out of it, it's less common to do that with a laptop.
Similarly, not very many people buy a Dell then go into overclocking options with it (since it's not necessarily as easy to do on a Dell than a home-assembled computer).
But I do agree that there's a myriad of things that can be done to the phone after the fact. I'd wager that it's possible Anandtech is coming up with a "Android tweaking" article at some point in the future that goes into some small detail of the things that are available to the end user, and how those can impact performance of the phone to the end user.
ktwebb - Tuesday, September 7, 2010 - linkThat's fair. I've said in multiple posts Samsung blew it releasing this phone before properly QA testing. I think you missed my point however.
dvinnen - Tuesday, September 7, 2010 - linkDon't like the fan boy accusations but he does bring up a point. With the lag fixes it does benchmark a lot faster (Look up One Click Lag Fix on the market, will root your phone and install the lag fix and GPS fix). Have to wonder how it will fly with 2.2