Physical keyboard, 4G connectivity give Epic smartphone an edge
The Samsung Epic 4G wows critics, having been named by CNET as one of the five best cell phones, as well as earned the title of Editors' Choice for Sprint smartphones from PCMag.com. Reviewers are particularly taken with the Epic's slide-out keyboard, which Nicole Lee of CNET describes as "impressive" and Mark Spoonauer of Laptop Magazine terms "one of the most comfortable" he's used. Factor in 4G connectivity and a Super AMOLED screen that Sascha Segan of PCMag.com terms "gorgeous," and you have a smartphone that reviewers say is rivaled only by the Apple iPhone 4 (*Est. $200 for 16GB) in terms of design.
Unlike other members of the Samsung Galaxy X family of smartphones available on Sprint, the Epic 4G is the only one to have a physical QWERTY keyboard. Critics are generally impressed; CNET's Lee calls it "incredibly spacious." It has a "satisfying click" to it when pressing the keys and is a "pleasure to use," Spoonauer says. For those who still want a touch-screen keyboard, several options are available, including the Swype keyboard and the regular Android keyboard.
Multimedia features pack the Epic 4G
At the heart of the Epic 4G is a 1Ghz Hummingbird processor, which SlashGear.com's Vincent Nguyen says is "generally free" of any lag. Designed for multimedia and gaming, it's a "better gaming machine" than the HTC EVO 4G (*Est. $150 with contract) and an "excellent media phone," says PCMag's Segan. Then there's the feature that gives the Epic 4G its name: Sprint's 4G network, also known as the WiMAX network. WiMAX is only available in certain cities, but Segan points out that "when WiMAX worked, it worked." That power drains the battery quickly, hoever, and Segan recommends using 4G only when you "need the extra speed." The Epic also connects to 3G or Wi-Fi networks, and Lee says the phone still "performed well" even at 3G speeds.
The Epic 4G comes with a 5-megapixel camera, front-facing camera and LED flash. Reviewers generally like the phone's camera. Lee says images look "sharp" and colors seem "nice and natural," while Spoonaeur says it takes "detailed and well saturated" pictures -- as long as they're taken in sunlight and the subject isn't moving around. The Epic has 1GB of internal memory and comes with a 16GB microSD card. All of these features make for a big phone, however. Antoine Wright of BrightHand.com says the Epic 4G is "noticeably big phone." Weighing 5.46 ounces and measuring 4.9 inches long by 2.5 inches wide and 0.6 inches thick, the Epic may be a "tight fit in most pockets" according to Lee, but reviewers agree that the extra weight is worth it.
CNET and PCMag.com both give the Epic top awards while Laptop Magazine finds its display tops the HTC EVO. PC World awards the phone 4.5 out of 5 points, and both BrightHand.com and SlashGear.com scrutinize the Epic to see which features work and which don't.
Giving the Epic 4G 4 out of 5 stars, Nicole Lee of CNET conducts a thorough review of its features and performance. She compares it to giants such as the HTC EVO and other members of the Galaxy S family. Lee finds the physical QWERTY keyboard "impressive" and calls the screen a "knockout." Her biggest fault with the phone lies in its required "costly data plan."
Review: Samsung Epic 4G (Sprint), Nicole Lee, Aug. 15, 2010
PCMag.com gives the Epic 4G an Editors' Choice award for smartphones with keyboards on Sprint. Sascha Segan puts the phone through its paces and finds it's the "right choice for power users who like physical buttons."
Review: Samsung Epic 4G (Sprint), Sascha Segan, Aug. 16, 2010
3. Laptop Magazine
Mark Spoonauer loves the Epic 4G's "fantastic" physical keyboard and "jaw-dropping" screen. Comparing it to the HTC EVO as many of his fellow reviewers do, he finds the Epic features a "more impressive display" and "one of the most comfortable physical keyboards we've used on a mobile device."
Review: Samsung Epic 4G (Sprint), Mark Spoonauer, Aug. 16, 2010
4. PC World
Ginny Mies runs the Epic 4G phone through camera and performance tests, comparing it to the HTC EVO. She finds it's a "close call" between the two, but the Epic wins in the multimedia department and is "definitely the best" in terms of the Galaxy S phones.
Review: Samsung Epic 4G, Ginny Mies, Aug. 20, 2010
The Epic 4G has an "excellent screen," "comfortable" slide-out keyboard, and "fast performance," says Antoine Wright. His major complaints about the phone are the "extremely bright" camera flash, the "bit of heat" it puts out when running for long periods of time, and how the speaker phone quality "suffers" at higher volumes. He says the Epic is a "compelling solution" for those who want to upgrade from other Android phones.
Review: Samsung Epic 4G Review, Antoine Wright, Aug. 30, 2010
There's "plenty of strong competition among the smartphone ecosystem," says Vincent Nguyen, who gives the Epic 4G a detailed review, taking into account everything from internal specs to its "eye-catching" display. He concludes it "does everything we could ask of it" and is "likely to be just as popular as it deserves to be."
Review: Sprint Epic 4G Review, Vincent Nguyen, Aug. 15, 2010