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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dk99 - Tuesday, September 7, 2010 - linkWhy is it so easy to see the pixels on the epic's screen? It seems annoying.
Look at the first picture on the display page on Anand's article.
Anand Lal Shimpi - Tuesday, September 7, 2010 - linkThe camera/lighting plus running the screen at full brightness exaggerates pixel pitch a bit but remember this device has the same resolution as the Nexus One but with a larger screen.
dk99 - Tuesday, September 7, 2010 - linkI had a chance to check out an Epic 4g at the local sprint store and compared it to the Evo screen. The pixels were more easily seen on the Epic and it did bother me, but I guess it may not bother others as much.
Here is a picture from another review site demonstrating the pixels:
Anand, Thank you for a great website.
Aigoo - Tuesday, September 7, 2010 - linkPentile RGBG
pvdw - Tuesday, September 7, 2010 - linkYou mention the problem with jerkiness on Android phones, but I find my Desire is wonderfully smooth. It's almost exactly the same hardware as the Incredible, but with better build quality, and I've found no SMS scrolling problems.
My Desire is unbranded, so there's no junk from operators like Sprint, etc. installed. Maybe this makes a difference?
And I manage to easily get a days worth of business use out of it - remote access, phone calls, web, etc. 30 hrs on lighter use.
I sure would love to have a better gpu, like the Galaxy S, and, more importantly, a screen that I can see in daylight without squinting.
joncat - Tuesday, September 7, 2010 - linkI wouldn't say that the SGX 540 is a waste of hardware today. While there are nowhere near the amount of 3d games that IOS has, there are several high quality titles that run great on the galaxy s. Need for Speed Shift and the Sims 3 HD by EA, NOVA, Sandstorm, Assasin's Creed, Hero of Sparta, Asphalt5, to name a few by Gameloft all run great at native resolution, which can't be said for phones like the EVO and Incredible that run on the Snapdragon SOC.
Mumrik - Tuesday, September 7, 2010 - linkI absolutely love that we're back to using Quake 3 as a GPU performance benchmark.
It stuck around for a long ass time in the first place and now it's back :-D
Mumrik - Tuesday, September 7, 2010 - linkAnand, is there a reason you don't test standby battery life?
It's a pretty essential number...
Even if it prevents you from getting the review up fast, you could always just post the review and add the data later after averaging out 2-3 tests.
SomeAudioGuy - Tuesday, September 7, 2010 - linkOk, so I've had an Epic 4G for about three weeks now. Battery life is completely on par for any other smartphone in this segment.
I did switch my background to a darker one (the tent with star trails), but other than that I've done very little to mod the device. I don't even use ATK or juicedefender, and I use the built in auto backlight setting to manage brightness. I did not use any 4G today.
I pulled the phone off my charger at 7am, it's 4pm now. I streamed two hours of Pandora, made one 30 minute phone call and three 5 minute phone calls. Took three pictures and uploaded them to twitpic, have been using Tuiteur, facebook, and checking email on 4 different gmail accounts (with background sync enabled). Spent five minutes yelping a spot for lunch. Played about 15 minutes worth of games (GalCon Flight Control, and Simple Dice), helped debug a wireless router (which required about 20 minutes of wi-fi use), and just spent the last 5 minutes looking up geocaches in my area.
My battery is at 35%.
I would term my use as "moderate".
There's absolutely nothing wrong with the battery life on the Epic 4G. Nothing at all for a phone this powerful and with a screen this large.
GPS is a pain, but I find if I turn off GPS throughout the day, and turn it back on before I start an app that requires GPS, i get locks fast enough, and I'm usually down to about 3 meters accurate.
Maybe it's just the signal in Anand's area, but I've gotten better battery life with both EVO and Epic, and even though we TECHNICALLY don't get 4G in LA, when you find pockets of 4G access we're currently getting 4+Mbps down.
Lastly if you're going to review a keyboard slider phone, maybe give the phone to someone who isn't quite so lit on iPhones, and likes to use a hardware keyboard? Just a thought? Exactly TWO sentences are spent on what is quite possibly one of the best keyboards on the market today. No small feat considering this is NOT an HTC phone. No mention of the dedicated number row (who really likes pushing a function key)? No comparison to any other hardware keyboards? Really? Nothing?
Dane74 - Wednesday, September 8, 2010 - linknot ot call BS, on your GPS findings butt eh are out of wahck with all the testing using testing applicaitons. There are several serious problems with Epics GPS. And actually a number of them show up becasue of switching the GPS off. Go to XDA, or androidforums and you will see discussions.
Your 3 meters accurate is Epic fooling you since it has already been shown the Epic is cooking those numbers..
Look at the pictures published by anantech, or others. Pictures of side by side comparisons showing nubmer of satellites used by the Epic show the serious problem.