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Samsung Epic 4G Review

Posted: , by Brian K.

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The Samsung Epic 4G runs Android 2.1 for now, but Samsung has confirmed that the entire Galaxy S lineup will be upgraded to 2.2 in the near future. On top of Android runs Samsung’s TouchWiz 3.0 interface. While not a radical overhaul a-la Sense UI, TouchWiz attempts to address some of the shortcomings of the Android operating system by placing four dedicated buttons at the bottom (Phone, Contacts, Messaging and Applications,) adding a few home screens (7, in all,) reorganizing the app drawer (it uses swipeable pages instead of just a strait icon list) and some minor rework on things like the phonebook. TouchWiz also brings along a few custom widgets, including a weather, calendar and finance clock, a social network aggregation widget, a favorite people widget and a pretty useful program monitor widget. While TouchWiz 3.0 is a huge leap ahead from the God awful skin of the Behold II, almost all of it is unnecessary.

The Samsung Epic 4G runs Android 2.1 - Samsung Epic 4G Review
The Samsung Epic 4G runs Android 2.1 - Samsung Epic 4G Review
The Samsung Epic 4G runs Android 2.1 - Samsung Epic 4G Review
The Samsung Epic 4G runs Android 2.1 - Samsung Epic 4G Review

The Samsung Epic 4G runs Android 2.1


Sense was and still is the only custom skin to enhance the user experience for Android, but even it is losing its shine now that Android 2.2 is out. HTC has some very nice applications- such as their contacts and dialer programs- which add significant functionality beyond what stock Android has to offer. TouchWiz does none of this, and the widgets are ignorable at best. The Buddies Now widget, for example, takes up an entire screen but only displays one assigned favorite contact at a time. If the docked applications could be user-assigned then maybe things would be different (they can on other Galaxy S devices) but as it stands we’d recommend switching to LauncherPro or ADW launcher for your homescreen needs. LauncherPro Plus, available via donation, offers a decent replication of some HTC widgets which are all much better than what Samsung has to offer. Samsung seems intent on getting Froyo out to the Galaxy S lineup soon, but we can’t help but think it would have been much easier had they just stuck to a stock interface rather than attempted to tweak it.

*UPDATE (08.30.2010): In our video review (approximately 4:15 in) we mention that the app menu is not alphabetical for downloaded apps, and in fact you can see Latitude, Places and Navigation at the end of the list.  In what we can only assume to be a bug, downloaded apps take their rightful alphabetical place only after rebooting the device.

Samsung Epic 4G Review
Notifications - Samsung Epic 4G Review
Task manager - Samsung Epic 4G Review
The phonebook - Samsung Epic 4G Review
 

Notifications

Task manager

The phonebook


For a bit more in-depth look at the interface see our review of the T-Mobile Vibrant.


Messaging:

The Samsung Epic 4G supports every messaging standard you could want, including SMS, MMS and email. Gmail is of course a stand-alone app that replicates well the web experience. Other email accounts, including POP, IMAP and Exchange are handled by the Email app. In addition to the hardware keyboard, the standard Android on-screen keyboard is available, complete with voice recognition. Swype is also preloaded as the stock on-screen keyboard. For those unfamiliar with it, instead of tapping each letter as you type you simply run your finger from key to key without lifting until you’re done with the word. It definitely takes some getting used to, but was remarkably accurate even when we made some mistakes. The fact that there are different, innovative keyboards available serves to highlight what makes Android such a great platform.

Samsung Epic 4G Review
Samsung Epic 4G Review

35 Comments
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posted on 20 Oct 2010, 01:55 1

1. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 2892; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)


the cons are really dumb but at least they gave it a score this phone dwarves. im seriously considering selling my droid x and getting this phone.

posted on 27 Aug 2010, 12:19

12. rwolf1984 (Posts: 518; Member since: 06 Jun 2009)


i agree. the phone does not feel cheap or "plasticy"...i played with one for hours yesterday and i loved it. i did not see any of the issues or complaints that ive seen on phone arena or any of the other reviews i've read. it feels really nice and the OS boots up faster than the EVO and its snappier. it has a lot of built in enhancements like a real task manager. Sense is great, but I think Samsung has perfected the Android overlay. Some people dont like it cuz it reminds them of the iPhone and others just arent aware of the features. Samsung really put a lot into this phone to make it quality and battery-efficient. i cant wait to get mine on monday!!!!

posted on 04 Sep 2010, 04:37

27. DonkeyPunched (Posts: 321; Member since: 10 Jan 2010)


I have it and I must say, its well worth the money. I didn't read the full review and just wanted to get to the pros and cons, but two things I noticed about this phone that I've run into a problem with is first, there are some situations where the phone freezes the 4 touch buttons, so I can't press home to get back to the main menu. Instead, I have to shut it off and turn it back on which has actually happened twice today. The other problem is the texting. If you start to text fast, it starts to not render keys. So every 10 keys, 1 key won't be inputed. :\ happened many times when texting my friends. That's about it though. Hope this is helpful to everyone.

posted on 26 Aug 2010, 07:43

2. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 2892; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)


the cons are really dumb but at least they gave it a score this phone dwarves. im seriously considering selling my droid x and getting this phone.

posted on 26 Aug 2010, 07:44

3. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 2892; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)


the cons are really dumb but at least they gave it a score this phone deserves. im seriously considering selling my droid x and getting this phone.

posted on 26 Aug 2010, 07:44

4. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 2892; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)


the cons are really dumb but at least they gave it a score this phone deserves. im seriously considering selling my droid x and getting this phone.

posted on 26 Aug 2010, 11:09

5. chaosnightmare (Posts: 31; Member since: 20 May 2010)


certainly, cons are retard, is like put "lacks physical qwerty keyboard" in the cons of evo or iphone 4, however it'a a good review (unlike the original galaxy s' one) and a good score for the best phone in the market

posted on 26 Aug 2010, 13:09

8. bucky (Posts: 1222; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)


best phone on the market? samsung will forget about it in 2-3 months. Good phone, yes.

posted on 26 Aug 2010, 19:07

9. chaosnightmare (Posts: 31; Member since: 20 May 2010)


well, acordding this site evo was the best phone in the market, this phone is better than evo, so... this is the best phone, it doesn't have serious cons and even with the biased review of the iphone 4, this phone reached the same score. and who cares about samsung, they will bring froyo to this phone, an then there will be a lot of custom firms that, just like in the omnia hd, will be better than the official ones

posted on 27 Aug 2010, 08:33

11. bucky (Posts: 1222; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)


hopefully there will be pleanty of support for it. There isnt any for the captivate/galaxy S right now. Why exactly is an iphone review a biased review? Check the home page of this site...its all android! I have also used the iphone 4 before selling it for a desire and its an absolutely amazing phone-just no customization, thats all.

posted on 28 Aug 2010, 10:48

16. WKlingbeil (Posts: 215; Member since: 26 Dec 2008)


Haha, that is a funny con list, "no kickstand?" How many people actually use that feature on the Evo? It's cool to have, but not cool enough to consider a phone that doesn't have it a con. Not to mention the whole "personalization pack not necessarily needed," well is anything on these phones NEEDED? Also, on the iPhone 4 I don't have any idea how it received a 9.5. It's the same freaking phone, they have innovated nothing since the first one. Nothing on their phone is new, they're just catching up to the rest of the phone manufacturers at this point. They can't even claim the largest screen on the market anymore. It's just a little tweaking on the same phone they've regurgitated 4 times now, and naive Apple fanboys keep eating it.

posted on 30 Aug 2010, 13:34

23. distroy3d (Posts: 2; Member since: 27 Oct 2009)


It's funny how the personalization pack is a con, because if the phone had no personalization pack then they would have listed that as a con, too!

posted on 26 Aug 2010, 11:25

6. doitall76 (Posts: 17; Member since: 22 Nov 2009)


The next time that you take a sample video, try not to have the music cranked, microphone in the wind, and (maybe I am the only one who finds this wrong) not speeding through the cemetary. I mean REALLY, you used a cemetary for your video sample. Next time use a park or something not so depressing. Otherwise, good review. Doitall76

posted on 26 Aug 2010, 21:26

10. corps1089 (Posts: 492; Member since: 20 Jan 2010)


agreed; +1, agreed; +1, and agreed; +1

posted on 26 Aug 2010, 11:28

7. doitall76 (Posts: 17; Member since: 22 Nov 2009)


I also find that some of the con's are knit-picking, but you do need to list why any particular phone isn't a 10. The Samsung UI, I would agree with. Standard Android can stand on its own, especially (as they pointed out) if it creates delays in rolling out updates. Doitall76

posted on 04 Sep 2010, 04:40

28. DonkeyPunched (Posts: 321; Member since: 10 Jan 2010)


Well, I actually like Samsung's UI, but as Android users should know by now, you can download Launcher Pro for free and completely customize it, either changing it to work just like stock android (actually, it works even better because there is no lag between switching pages) or make up your own stuff. I've been able to install it on my Epic and it works just like it used to on my Nexus.

posted on 27 Aug 2010, 12:20

13. rwolf1984 (Posts: 518; Member since: 06 Jun 2009)


i pre-ordered this phone on monday and i cant wait to pick it up!!!!!

posted on 27 Aug 2010, 14:34

14. Jayv1717 (unregistered)


played with it for hours..but was pretty eager to get back to the evo..it is a beautiful phone, i like it a lot but idk it was lacking something that just made me want my cyanogen evo back..plus people really underestimate the power of the kickstand and the screen on the evo..very useful and i also agree with the personalization pack not being to good...if you played with a evo then you realize that these are nit picky cons but very viable

posted on 27 Aug 2010, 17:12

15. Mtsunami31 (unregistered)


Agree with the Comment in the review regarding the build quality, the Epic feels and looks cheap compared to the Evo, u cant compare Samsungs build quailty to HTC'S thats just my opinion. To be fair its a simple choice between the two do u want a keypad or not, cant go wrong with either phone..........U know the funniest thing when people want to see my Evo or when im going at it with the Iphone guys or Blackberry guys at work its always the Kickstand thats the gamebreaker the simpliest thing impresses people the most

posted on 28 Aug 2010, 10:51

17. WKlingbeil (Posts: 215; Member since: 26 Dec 2008)


It's hard to say the build quality on the Evo is better because the Epic has the gorilla glass. The Evo's screen is so delicate, but the Epic's can take a beating. Aside from the screen though, HTC does have the better build quality, feels sturdier.

posted on 28 Aug 2010, 12:47

18. deeoh1084 (Posts: 48; Member since: 30 Dec 2009)


i'm pretty sure you can make the application menu in alphabetical order and also change the bottom 4 icons just like the vibrant and captivate maybe he doesn't know how to change them?????? (i have samsung vibrant and at first i thought i couldn't change the 4 icons but actually u just have to press the menu key and change the view type to customizable grid view and press menu again to edit and also u can make it into alphabetical grid view by changing the view type to Alphabetical Grid View...) maybe Epic 4G is different?? hope not

posted on 28 Aug 2010, 22:29

19. WKlingbeil (Posts: 215; Member since: 26 Dec 2008)


Well, I rooted my Moment with the Interceptor ROM (which has the same interface as the Epic), and all I had to do was hit menu when I was in the app drawer, select edit, and drag the icons down to the tray. You may have to drag the icons from the tray first, but it should be the same.

posted on 29 Aug 2010, 16:42

20. PhoneArena Team (Posts: 238; Member since: 27 Jun 2006)


Unlike the Vibrant and Captivate, the Epic 4G does not allow you to customize the static icons. As for the app menu, it appears that they go to alphabetical after a restart. Perhaps ours is just odd, but when we download a new app it goes at the end of the list instead of the proper place in the menu. Once we restart the phone it is in its proper alphabetical spot. We must not have restarted the phone at the time of publication, but the review will be updated accordingly.

posted on 30 Aug 2010, 01:22

21. FreakyLocz14 (unregistered)


I heard this device cannot view YouTube in HQ. That would suck because I watch lots of YouTube and am in a 4G area so they load quickly on HQ/HD.

posted on 30 Aug 2010, 04:48

22. MobileAllStar (unregistered)


That would be sad if it didn't support HQ YouTube but, it isn't necessary that the actual YouTube app itself support HQ... Any mobile phone can access HQ YouTube within the browser by typingWWW.m.youtube.com. Bookmark it and you're set!

posted on 02 Sep 2010, 02:45

24. panda6978 (unregistered)


I really liked the Evo but hated the on-screen keyboard, so now I'm in love with this phone with it's physical keyboard. But I do not want to go back to a phone that does not have text tones. Does anyone know if you can assign seperate tones to each contact's text messages?

posted on 02 Sep 2010, 20:33

26. mr. anderson (Posts: 92; Member since: 16 Apr 2009)


handcent will let you do that, as well as many other things. its much better than the stock sms app

posted on 02 Sep 2010, 07:57

25. tzpike05 (unregistered)


Just got my epic yesterday. Loving it so far. To answer pandas question, Use handcent sms and you can assign custom ring tones to any contact. also I'm surprised I haven't heard anyone talk about swype. i like it for the most part. Rarely do I need to correct anything.

posted on 08 Sep 2010, 05:15

29. oliver17 (unregistered)


where can I buy the way I live in Denmark

posted on 09 Sep 2010, 09:19

30. oceababa10 (unregistered)


where do i get handcent?

posted on 13 Sep 2010, 07:39

31. funtastic (unregistered)


Certainly one of the best smart phones I've seen.

posted on 08 Nov 2010, 13:59

32. KeepNTouch (unregistered)


I returned this phone because I did not feel it was worth the money. I felt the call quality was garbled at times and that was too much money to spend when I had to constantly repeat myself because others could not hear my voice clearly.

posted on 07 Sep 2011, 20:58

33. TomT (unregistered)


Out of the box the Epic is not able to sync with Outlook. A major flaw. It can sync with a corporate Outlook Exchange Server, but not plain old Outlook on your PC. Yes you can do work arounds with Google apps but most people don't want to fool around with that. My new Windows 7 PC doesn't even recognize it as a connected device.

posted on 10 Oct 2011, 14:51

34. Shannong (unregistered)


This is possibly the worst phone I have EVER had, and I get a new phone almost every year. Just saying....my personal experience. Screw the ratings....this phone sucks. I will shortly explain...freezes up almost daily to where i have to take the battery out to use it and wait 5 min for it to load again. Honestly that is enough to make me hate it.

posted on 19 Sep 2012, 18:22

35. MrPearlyWhite (Posts: 6; Member since: 19 Sep 2012)


I have the phone, and have had since it released. Its still working like a thoroughbred, with the exceptions of me having to get the keyboard replaced once earlier this year. Since I couldnt get ICS on it, I had to root the device and get it. Just like a brand new device to me. Not sure why but if anyone is thinking about getting this device, choose wisely bc there are of course better options out there.

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Samsung Epic 4G

Samsung Epic 4G

OS: Android 2.3 2.2 2.1
view full specs
Display4.0 inches, 480 x 800 pixels (233 ppi) Super AMOLED
Camera5 megapixels
Hardware
Samsung Exynos 3, Single core, 1000 MHz, ARM Cortex-A8 processor
512 MB RAM
Size4.90 x 2.54 x 0.56 inches
(124 x 65 x 14 mm)
5.46 oz  (155 g)
Battery1500 mAh, 6 hours talk time

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