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Samsung Epic 4G Review

Samsung Epic 4G

Posted: , posted by Brian K.

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Interface:

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

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Samsung Epic 4G

Samsung Epic 4G

OS: Android 2.3 2.2 2.1
view full specs
PhoneArena rating:
9.5Excellent
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
0.5 GB 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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