Samsung Epic 4G vs HTC EVO 4G
Both devices run Android; the HTC EVO has been upgraded to 2.2 while the Epic 4G is still running 2.1 with a promised 2.2 upgrade in the near future. HTC and Samsung have each chosen to run their custom overlay on top of the OS; HTC uses Sense while Samsung relies on their TouchWiz 3.0 interface. Neither phone needs it really.
Born with the HTC Hero, the Sense UI initially served to address some holes in the Android OS while giving it a more polished look. Since then Android has undergone some major overhauls and those holes have been closed by Google. Sense still offers some advantages and the polish is still better than what Google offers for now. For instance, HTC’s smart dialer and People app offer much more than the stock Android experience and their cohesive set of useful widgets offers a uniform look to the phone. Still, it has a significantly larger memory footprint than stock Android and its usefulness is diminished with each Android update.
TouchWiz 3.0, on the other hand, serves to merely tinker with the operating system. Samsung utilizes four static icons at the bottom: Phone, Contacts, Messaging and Applications. These are commonly used items and some users may like it, but Contacts can be accessed from the Phone, so having those two is redundant and something like the Browser would be a bit more useful. This wouldn’t be such a big deal if the user could choose what those icons were, but unlike other TouchWiz devices these cannot be customized on the Epic 4G. Samsung has put some touches on the Contacts, Dialer and Messaging apps but nothing of note. The Samsung widgets offer some functionality, but on the whole you can find a better version of everything in the Market which can’t be said for HTC’s widgets. One thing about TouchWiz 3.0 that we do like is how it transforms the main menu into several pages, rather than a vertically-scrolling list.
Thankfully Android is customizable, so if you don’t want to run either of these overlays you can change things. If you want to be drastic you can root the device and run custom ROMs such as CyanogenMod, which is bone stock Android. For those of us who aren’t as adventurous there are home screen replacements such as LauncherPro and ADW Launcher. While these offer a different, customizable user experience the underlying issues with these overlays is that, at least thus far, it has delayed Android updates since the manufacturer must make their overlay play nicely with the new software. HTC did well and surprised us all by releasing 2.2 for the EVO 4G shortly after launch and Samsung has promised 2.2 soon; hopefully this is a sign that manufactures are committed to getting updates out quicker but the fact remains that updates are still delayed because of this.
Both phones are great for surfing the internet, as they rely on the stock Android browser, which is pretty good. It allows for pinch-to-zoom gestures, as well as double-tap zooming on both phones, but the EVO 4G has the advantage of playing Flash 10.1 content right now, while the Epic 4G is yet to get this ability. We actually found the experience on the EVO 4G to be a bit better, due to its larger screen and TFT technology, which is better for reading text.
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