Pros: Great screen, easy to use, looks cool.
Cons: Keyboard is bulky and not as useful as I thought it'd be
Last December, a year ago - it came time for me to upgrade my HTC Hero. As a Sprint Premier Gold member, I could update my phone annually - and I took advantage of it. Since Sprint is doing away with this program- this month I'm due for another upgrade. Yet, I love my current phone.. my Samsung Epic 4G ... and so I'm faced with upgrade it to the 4G Touch (its slightly larger, and touch only no slide keyboard), or iPhone 4s. While I'm likely to take my upgrade and get a new phone while I can, I have to say I am so extremely content with my Epic 4G that if I wasn't basically forced to take my upgrade by the end of December or lose it - I wouldn't be in any rush to go and make a switch.
About the Samsung Epic 4G
Key Specs - (summarized From Samsung.com website)
Android 2.3 Platform
Super AMOLED Touchscreen
Full Suite of Entertainment On-The-Go
Swype® Text Input Technology
Battery - Up to 6 hours talk time, Standby up to 300 hours
Camera - 5 Megapixel with 4x Zoom
Internal Memory 1GB with option for microSD card expansion
My Samsung Epic Experience
When upgrading my HTC Hero, I opted for the Samsung Epic 4G largely because of 2 things - 1) It has a beautiful display and 2) it had a slide out QWERTY Keyboard. The phone is priced around $500, but no one pays that. I think I paid about $200 after my Sprint Rebate of $150 for my annual upgrade. I see they are currently offering this phone for $99.
I was previously a blackberry user. When I went to android, the hardest thing I struggled with on my HTC Hero was the touchscreen. It frustrated me to no end. I thought that the keyboard would be useful for large amount of email and texts that I send on a daily basis. Though the Epic has a touchscreen, you can also slide out the keyboard (which is in the landscape position - side slider) and type away. In all honesty, after a year of use I find that I don't use the keyboard as much as I anticipated and isn't a must have for me. It also adds some bulk to the phone both in size and weight. The newer Samsung Epic is Touch only and much slimmer - and I have to say it does appeal to me and I really won't miss the keyboard.
The display on the Samsung Epic is gorgeous. It is a super AMOLED 4" display. It is very bright yet not hard on the eyes. I actually have mine set on about medium brightness. I believe the display is a source of battery hog with this phone but dropping the brightness adds to battery life. Still with the amount of time I spend on and using my phone, I charge my phone every night and often have to recharge by mid afternoon. If I'm driving I'll pop it on my car charger or if I'm home I'll put it onto the charger during the day to top it off. Videos, movies and media look amazing on this screen. Unlike my previous phone there are little to no delays loading youtube and various videos. They look and sound great - INDOORS. Outdoors or in very bright lighting the screen can get washed out and hard to see. I found this when I had my phone at the beach over the summer (in a ziploc!). But it gave me all the more reason to put the phone away and just relax.
After 2 years on android, I'd say I'm pretty savvy when it comes to apps and what you can and can't do. I love the integration with my google accounts for email, calendar, and now google music. Because of this, I'm hesistant to move over to the iphone 4s and feel like I have to start over with all my apps! I'm hooked on all the free and low cost android apps you can find in the Android Market.
On the Epic you can store apps either on the onboard memory or on a microSD card. I do both. My phone is loaded with apps for shopping, productivity, social networking, games and more. One of the selling points of the iphone 4s is siri, where you can speak to your phone. I use a free android app Speaktoit Assistant that does essentially the same thing! Apps I use most include facebook, twitter, foursquare, and of course Angry Birds. I also have the Nook app installed so I can read my nook books from my phone when I don't have my nook with me.
The Epic is a 4G phone, though in my area there is only 3G. With sprint even in an area where there isn't 4G service - I have to pay an upcharge fee on top of my already hefty monthly bill - which includes unlimited data & texting. However, for the amount of data & texts I use, it is worth it. My husband has the HTC Evo 4G and has to pay that upcharge as well. I wouldn't mind it if we actually had 4G in our area, but we don't. I have no complaints with my 3G service. I don't experience many dropped calls. Problems I have with no signal have everything to do with the places I frequent (ICE RINKS with lots of cement, etc) and areas with bad cell signal in general..
I like the camera on this phone and use it in lieu of carrying around a separate point and shoot digital camera. It is easy to take pictures and video and share them instantly (to email, text, social media) with just a touch of a button. I like how easy it is to turn off/on the flash and also to use the front facing camera. It is so easy to use that my 6 and 10 year olds use it often (along with various photo effect apps they found in the android market).
I find the Epic to be responsive, fast, and easy to use. The screen is impressive and the apps are a-plenty. The keyboard is useful but not a must-have for me now. The battery life needs help. Occasionally an app, like foursquare, will get locked up trying to find my location and the GPS drains the battery out completely. Likewise, too much Angry Birds, Facebook, or Words with friends will drain the battery fast and actually make the phone heat up a bit.
With these minor complaints, I'll be taking my annual upgrade before the year end. I would say that, after a years use I am pretty darn content with my Epic 4G so much that I'll likely be sticking with the Epic, and getting the newer Epic Touch unless I decide on the iphone 4s... Decisions, decisions!
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