Samsung Epic 4G Review

Alright, so first has been done, now what? Meet the Samsung Epic 4G, the second WiMAX device in Sprint’s portfolio. It does what the EVO 4G doesn’t, most notably giving the user a hardware keyboard. But surely there is more to a device that demands a $50 premium over what we called the best phone on the market. Indeed there is. There is a positively stunning 4” Super AMOLED display, for starters. It’s not unique to the Epic and the entire Galaxy S lineup features the same panel, but that doesn’t make it any less gorgeous. There is also a 1GHz Hummingbird processor which lets the Epic 4G positively fly. Other key features include Wi-Fi, dual cameras (5 megapixel rear and VGA front,) six-axis motion sensing and, of course, WiMAX 4G. Included in the box you’ll find:

  • AC adapter with USB port
  • microUSB data cable
  • Stereo 3.5mm headphones
  • 16GB microSD memory card


The Samsung Epic 4G is an odd-feeling phone, but once we got used to it we like it. We’ve lauded Samsung for their high quality workmanship in the past, and we’re not saying that the Epic isn’t an example of this, just that it doesn’t necessarily feel like it. The phone feels too light for what it is, almost plasticy. The back door has a nice coat of soft touch paint to it, and the display utilizes top of the line Gorilla Glass, but something just feels off about the Epic 4G.

The build quality is great though, don’t get us wrong. The slide is butter smooth; it offers a good amount of resistance before it gets going, but then the spring assist kicks into place and the work is done for you. There is a very reassuring snap to it, and there is absolutely no play or wiggle in it whatsoever. The battery door employs the peel-off design we’ve not been too crazy about in recent Samsungs, but it fits well and all the seams on the Epic 4G are tight. The top of the phone features the 3.5mm headphone jack and the microUSB port, which has a nifty sliding cover.
The three side buttons (volume rocker to the left, power and camera to the right) are easy to find by feel alone and offer good travel when pressed.

Perhaps it’s just because we’ve gotten used to the EVO 4G by now, but the Epic just doesn’t feel gigantic in our hands. It is slightly smaller in length and width, but a bit chubbier thanks to the QWERTY keyboard. Still, those with petite hands will find the Epic 4G to be larger than they’re used to. Like the EVO, the Samsung Epic 4G is best held in landscape orientation and thanks to the QWERTY the user will be holding it that way more than an EVO user naturally would be.

You can compare the Samsung Epic 4G with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

Of course what is going to draw most users to the Epic 4G is the physical keyboard and the Super AMOLED display. The display is awesome, the keyboard could use some small tweaks but is better than most. Let’s start with the display; the big, beautiful display. We’ve seen the same panel on the Vibrant and Captivate by now, but it's still just as beautiful as ever. At 4” the WVGA display bursts with 16 million rich colors, including stunningly deep blacks. It’s not perfectly readable in direct, bright sunlight but it’s not unreadable either. Often times companies use fancy names to talk up unworthy technology, but the Super qualifier is definitely apt in this case. It is simply stunning for enjoying multimedia. On the other hand, reading small text might prove to be a problem, as it appears a bit dotted.

Along the bottom of the display are the four touch-sensitive action buttons; in order from left to right they are Menu, Home, Back and Search. Unfortunately, the keys disappear when they go dark, which they do by default after a few seconds. Luckily they follow the keyboard backlight setting so if you have it mirror your display this becomes less of an issue.

The keypad is large, the keys are well spaced and they have almost the perfect amount of travel. That said, we’ve yet to type with any real speed because of the feel. The keys aren’t quite slippery, but they would benefit greatly from a touch of gumminess. In part because of the lack of feel and in part because of the sheer size we couldn’t quite let go and just type, we always had to think about it more than we would have liked. We were incredibly accurate though, and we have a feeling that with more time with the phone it would grow on us. It’s not quite Touch Pro 2 or Bold good, but it’s still one of the better keyboards on the market.

It took a bit of getting used to, but we have come to enjoy the design and feel of the Samsung Epic 4G. There are definitely some tweaks we’d make, but on the whole it is as good as anything else out there right now. We prefer the rounded edges to the hard lines of the DROID and the slightly softer DROID 2. Despite the initial light feeling, it is apparent that the Epic has outstanding build quality.

Samsung Epic 4G 360 Degrees View:




Posts: 3131; Member since: Jan 12, 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.

12. rwolf1984

Posts: 536; Member since: Jun 06, 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!!!!

27. DonkeyPunched

Posts: 321; Member since: Jan 10, 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.


Posts: 3131; Member since: Jan 12, 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.


Posts: 3131; Member since: Jan 12, 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.


Posts: 3131; Member since: Jan 12, 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.

5. chaosnightmare

Posts: 182; Member since: May 20, 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

8. bucky

Posts: 3795; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

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

9. chaosnightmare

Posts: 182; Member since: May 20, 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

11. bucky

Posts: 3795; Member since: Sep 30, 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.

16. WKlingbeil

Posts: 215; Member since: Dec 26, 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.

23. distroy3d

Posts: 2; Member since: Oct 27, 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!

6. doitall76

Posts: 17; Member since: Nov 22, 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

10. corps1089

Posts: 492; Member since: Jan 20, 2010

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

7. doitall76

Posts: 17; Member since: Nov 22, 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

28. DonkeyPunched

Posts: 321; Member since: Jan 10, 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.

13. rwolf1984

Posts: 536; Member since: Jun 06, 2009

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

14. Jayv1717 unregistered

played with it for hours..but was pretty eager to get back to the is a beautiful phone, i like it a lot but idk it was lacking something that just made me want my cyanogen evo 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

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

17. WKlingbeil

Posts: 215; Member since: Dec 26, 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.

18. deeoh1084

Posts: 50; Member since: Dec 30, 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

19. WKlingbeil

Posts: 215; Member since: Dec 26, 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.

20. PhoneArena Team

Posts: 258; Member since: Jun 27, 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.

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.

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 Bookmark it and you're set!

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?

26. mr. anderson

Posts: 92; Member since: Apr 16, 2009

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

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.

29. oliver17 unregistered

where can I buy the way I live in Denmark

30. oceababa10 unregistered

where do i get handcent?
Epic 4G
  • Display 4.0" 480 x 800 pixels
  • Camera 5 MP / 0.3 MP VGA front
  • Processor Samsung Exynos 3, Single core, 1000 MHz
  • Battery 1500 mAh(6.00h talk time)

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