on September 10, 2010
Swype set the world record for text messaging speed. Swype only makes the phone that much sweeter. It comes as the default on-screen keyboard. I chose this as my next android phone because the idea of only being able to clumsily input text on an on-screen keyboard like on all the other new Android device scared me. I am a QWERTY kind of guy.
However, Swype has an extremely accurate algorithm. I find myself responding to text messages in 2 seconds as opposed to 15! It even adds emails and names from your contacts to its dictionary so that you can swype your complicated email! Whenever I know the words I am going to type are in the dictionary, I just Swype it. Its amazingly fast and almost never fails! If I need to type a password which is full of symbols, I pull out the QWERTY. Its godlike.
It really is the phone for the power-user. I spend all day using this phone. (I can't help it; its fast, responsive, intuitive, and beautiful.) I am astounded each time I check the battery, sure that it must be approaching the end of its life, and each time I am relieved to know that I can continue multitasking away.
The screen is simply breathtaking. The phone comes with several vivid backgrounds to show off the beautiful display. The technology is baffling. You can even use the back of your fingernail on the touchscreen just as easily as you can with your finger. That is how close the capacitor is to the screen. It is also why this phone is also incredibly light. I still can't help but appreciate how vivid the colors appear on the screen. I put the screen on the lowest brightness setting, and the vividness of the colors give the illusion that the screen really isn't dim at all -- which means you can increase your battery life without decreasing your experience.
It truly is epic: The Android ROM that comes on the phone is modified. Generally I like vanilla Android. And yet everything they changed is an improvement! When you hold down the home button, you not only get your recently opened applications, but a button right there for a Task Manager! You can end all applications as fast and as easily as you can reopen them, and multi-task. Its amazingly intuitive. That's not all, my dear power users, for they even included a file manager right out of the box. I was about to go get the essentials from the Android Market and was shocked to see it included. It really shows how much thought was put into making this phone the perfect match for any tech-savvy Android user.
They also changed the skin, and the application drawer. I personally didn't like the application drawer at all, coming from vanilla Android. It was cartoonish and didn't seem to fit. However, it is easy to change it back to the vanilla Android app drawer, and I recommend that every EPIC 4G owner at least try out the original app drawer -- Not only does it look better, but its slides in and out 3x times faster than the TouchWiz app drawer.
Here is how to change to the default app drawer:
1. Press Menu (from home screen) -> Settings -> Applications -> Manage Applications.
2. Press Menu -> Filter -> All
3. Scroll down and find "TwLauncher", and click on it. (Trust me its there)
4. Click "Clear Defaults" on the TwLauncher detail page.
5. Press the HOME touchkey on the phone. (It'll ask you if you want to use TouchWiz, or the default one. We want default)
6. Check "Set as default" if you don't want to be asked each time you press home AND
7. Select "Home" (the first choice)
Now you will have the default Android app drawer, which is much faster. IMHO it looks much better too. The rest of the skin looks great. They changed the dull flat grey with a vibrant blue. They changed the indeterminate progress bars to look like rays of the sun instead of a spinning wheel. Everything about the phone is beautiful.
All in all I feel like this phone is a masterpiece of intuitive design. The excellent Swype algorithm as well as the qwerty keyboard, and the layout of all the buttons on the phone seem to have been carefully tinkered with to perfection. Everything about both the hardware design, and the software additions seem to have been designed by engineers who were making a phone that they themselves wanted to use. It feels like a labor of love, and I can sense it each and every time I use the device.
-- Post Review:
I originally received an EPIC 4G from Best Buy on release day, and my friend got his from Sprint. I told him my battery life was terrible. He said his lasted the whole day. I was wondering what kind of phone he must have had before to say that he was getting good battery life, because my phone was dying in around 4 hours! When we met up at work, I noticed his phone was a lot cooler than mine! Mine was blazing hot. We checked the battery statistics on both of our phones and they seemed to be identical. We switched out our batteries. When I put his battery in my phone, for about 2 minutes, and he put it back in his phone, his phone reported that the battery had depleted 15% !!! That means my phone was sucking the life out of his battery as well as my own, so we deduced the problem must be with my phone, because we kept all other variables the same. That same day I went and traded it in for another one, and lo and behold, my battery in the new device lasted me the whole day.
It seems that a small number of these are defective. If you are pretty sure your device is to blame, change it for another one!
The Epic is a capable slider phone on the Sprint network. More recent phones have surpassed it in speed, however, so it's of no interest unless you absolutely need the hardware keyboard.
I've had an Epic for about a year. I've used a variety competing Android models and Apple's line of iPhones up to the iPhone 4.
As shipped, the Epic comes with Android 2.3 and Samsung's TouchWiz interface. Android recently jumped from 2.3 to 4.0, though many new phones not from Google are still shipped with 2.3. Each upgrade brings speed and stability improvements. Samsung's upgrade cycle is much, much longer than HTC and others; the Epic will never be updated to 4.0.
TouchWiz is a Samsung 'skin' that adds graphical and usability tweaks to the Android interface. It slows the interface down a bit and makes it look more like an iPhone. You can download an alternate launcher if you don't like it.
The major advantage of an Android phone is Google integration. Coming from a Palm Centro, I exported my contacts to my Google account in vCard format. Within a short time, they automatically downloaded to the Epic. Linking my Facebook account had the same effect. Calendar and GMail operate seamlessly, as do the former's reminder notifications. The effect of all this is to minimize downtime in the event of a broken handset. Switching activations with Sprint and syncing a new Epic took me all of five minutes.
In contrast to the iPhone, the Epic (and any Android phone) is also capable of using a variety of software keyboards. It ships with Swype. Swype lets you trace out the letters of a word instead of tapping them. In use, it's faster than the Epic's hardware keyboard. You can download other keyboards that dynamically change the size of letters, or that provide a pop-up list of words as you type.
Most of the time, you won't bother with the hardware keyboard. It's most useful when you're not typing dictionary words (e.g., passwords), when you want maximum screen area (answering emails, remote desktop, games with key input), and when you want to type something precisely that wouldn't conform to normal grammatical rules (terminal consoles).
Durability is encouraging. The front facade is all Gorilla Glass, which still looks new after a year. There's almost no friction. The rear has a soft-touch plastic cover that's impossible to scratch with a fingernail. The ground, yes. Fingernails, no. Beneath the cover is a 16 GB microSD card that augments 512 MB of user-accessible storage. Heavy video users may still miss the 8GB or 16GB of on-board memory that comes with other phones. 1280x720 video takes about 90 MB per minute.
The keyboard slide mechanism has a strong spring action. The keyboard itself is excellent. The keys have adequate spacing between themselves and the base of the screen and a firm clicking action. The only misstep is the dedicated button for emoticons that should have been an "@" key. Coming from a Centro, I found it a bit large for thumbs. Blackberry users will feel the same; it's too big to lend itself to no-look input. The conventional layout is helpful for typing emails, though, and the direction pad is well-suited to console emulators.
Of the three Epics I've used, one had a problem with the vibrate function. Something on the inside would rattle in a cheap and nasty way. There's also some variance in just how tight the gaps are between the screen and the slider base. One phone had essentially no gap, a second was large enough to be disconcerting, and a third was in the middle. With any phone, but doubly so with sliders, check to verify everything works right while you're still within the 30-day exchange window. If you decide it's unacceptable after that point, you'll receive a refurbished replacement instead of a new one.
I've dropped my phone 5 or 6 times. The back pops off, the battery falls out, and the phone skitters along the ground. Damage is almost nonexistent. Other phones (e.g., the iPhone) will happily crack their screens from the same drop.
The Epic has a moderately fast CPU and a fast GPU. The Evo and the iPhone 4 have slower GPUs. Recent phones with dual-core CPUs will put it to shame, but as a practical matter, the Epic is fast enough. All games I've tried work fine. Trapster is the only app it won't dispatch with aplomb.
Which is not to say the stock interface is as smooth as that on an iPhone. Android isn't quite as optimized, particularly when papered over with a manufacturer skin. Everything is a bit less immediate. Scrolling will hitch ever so slightly in the interface, and more with graphics-heavy webpages. That exceptional responsiveness characteristic of the iPhone 4 and the 3GS prior to iOS updates, Google and Samsung haven't quite mastered.
A superlative, perhaps the Epic's best feature. It's an 800x480 pixel PenTile AMOLED. Let's break that down in comparison to the iPhone 4 and the Evo.
800x480 - The iPhone is a 960x640. A handful of recent Android phones are 1280x720. The extra resolution is apparent with web pages zoomed out and console programs. Both are readable, but one will look smoother. The advantage disappears elsewhere. Search 'engadget iphone amoled' for a comparison with screenshots.
AMOLED - LCDs use colored elements in front of a uniform, screen-sized backlight. AMOLED screens skip the backlight and use individual colored LEDs.
PenTile - Because blue and red LEDs wear out faster than the green ones, the Epic's screen uses an RGBG subpixel arrangement instead of a standard RGB array. Samsung counts two subpixels for each pixel; everyone else counts three. That's a lot of gibberish to say that small details on the Epic's screen are slightly rougher than on the Evo screen, despite their identical resolutions.
The use of AMOLED has a few implications. First, the good: the contrast ratio is spectacular. Black is a pure, deep black. Viewed head-on, you can't distinguish the screen from the black bezel. The black on an LCD is, by comparison, a dark slate. Color gamut is extremely high. Colors appear much stronger. They aren't necessarily accurate, but they do make every non-AMOLED phone look dull.
Now, the bad: while AMOLED is supposedly capable of 24-bit color (smooth gradients), my Epic shows banding in gradients. It looks like 16-bit color. There is no dithering. The iPhone and others do better with color transitions.
Unlike an LCD, power use is directly proportional to the brightness of the screen. Black images use very little power because the LEDs turn off. White screens use a lot: three times that of the iPhone in absolute wattage terms because thousands of LEDs are less efficient than a single backlight. If you're browsing a lot of light-colored websites, the battery will run down much more quickly than if you were just scrolling through a dark interface. This is not a problem that can be solved with software optimization. Full white for this screen pulls 1.1W. With a 3.7V 1500 mAh battery, that equates to just under 5 hours of use, allotting no power to the rest of the phone. The only way to bump the numbers is to lower the screen brightness. In practice, many apps have inverted color schemes that negate this difference.
Maximum screen brightness is average. LCDs will be brighter, though it hardly matters because outdoor visibility is determined by minimizing reflections, not emitted light, and the Epic is plenty bright indoors. Outdoors, all three phones are bad, but usable.
It isn't stellar. If you're in Airplane mode with the screen off, it'll last days. With network connectivity enabled and data sync with a Google account, it'll sit for maybe fifteen hours with no use at all, depending on how strong the cell signal is in your area. With heavy use, you'll see four hours. With graphical games, even less. 4G is rumored to take a heavy toll on the battery if you're moving.
But there's a lot of room for improvement, particularly in standby time. Everything I'm about to say will void your warranty if Sprint gets wind of it. I've left my own Epic stock for that reason, but if you're willing to get your hands dirty, you can have something much better.
All Android phones ship with a limited set of functions available to the user. Bypassing the restrictions on how you can interact with OS is called rooting. With `root' access, you can change everything, up to and including all of the Android system files. The Epic is, after all, just a handheld computer. Were there a version of Windows for ARM processors, you could conceivably install that on it.
It's useful to think of Android as a collection of components. The Android version (e.g., 2.3) is a package released by Google with applications, system files, and a kernel that all match and work together. This package is distributed in a single file called a ROM. Because Google publishes the Android source code, the Android community can build their own ROM packages with customizations.
The extent of the customization dictates what the modification will be called. If it simply replaces system graphics to give a new look, it's a theme. If it replaces the installed application set and the core system files, which may or may not include a modified kernel, then it's a ROM.
For our purposes, the kernel is a useful focus because, on many Android phones, it governs the clock speed of the CPU. The remaining components of the ROM dictate the appearance and functionality of the Android OS version.
To change these two pieces on a new Epic, the process is like so:
* Restart the phone in Download mode.
* Using ODIN, a simple flashing utility that runs on a Windows computer connected to the Epic with a USB cable, flash a pre-rooted Android 2.2 system image.
* Drop a new ROM, which is a single large ZIP file, with your preferred alterations on the Epic's SD card.
* Reboot the phone and enter ClockWorkMod, a new boot loader part of the pre-rooted image, and `Install' the ZIP file.
The new ROM may have: new wallpapers, sounds, transparency effects, customized program launchers, transparent tethering, different applications, battery optimizations, and so on. Custom kernels may allow the CPU to be overclocked and underclocked more easily. These changes increase the battery life to in excess of 15 hours with moderate use. The user interface reaches iPhone 4 levels of responsiveness.
I've intentionally left out explanatory detail in the steps above. You can find it all on XDA Developers and Android Central, as well as alternative methods for phones with data to be preserved. The entire process takes about ten minutes and absolutely transforms the Epic. Consider: the popular Android distribution called CM9 brings Android 4.0 to the Epic. It runs far better than any previous version, including those offered by Samsung.
While not strictly about this phone, there are a few applications I've found unusually useful or well-executed:
Juice Defender - Automatically disables radios not in use. Also sets a global refresh interval for all programs that use background data. Major improvements in idle battery life.
Screen Filter - This tamps down the minimum screen brightness to improve your eyes and your battery life. It can be enabled as a one-touch widget.
Wifi File Explorer - This lets you browse and change the phone contents over a wifi connection with a browser. See also: SwiFTP (better for bulk changes), Websharing (similar).
Remote Web Desktop - Wifi browser-based desktop environment that lets you do most major phone functions on your computer. See also: LazyDroid.
PrinterShare - Print to any printer over wifi.
Opera Mobile - An excellent mobile browser for Android. UI responsiveness is best-in-class. Also features Opera's in-house page compression enabled.
Torque - Coupled with a $20 OBD-II reader, it gives real-time stats of every output from an ECU.
Andie-Graph - A free TI-82/83/85/86 emulator. Identical to the originals, though you'll have to Google the ROM images for each one you want to use.
EPIC vs. EVO 4G vs. SHIFT:
If you've settled on Sprint, you need to find a Sprint store to try these phones out. They have different strengths, and what you think you want, you may not. Note: this is a legacy comparison. As of early 2012, the Epic 4G Touch is probably the best Sprint phone.
The Evo is thin, blocky, and has an enormous screen. The pocket lump doesn't protrude like an Epic, though you'll definitely see the squarish form factor in skinny jeans. Build quality is high; it feels like a solid object. It's roughly as fast as an Epic. Battery life is equally bad. Screen contrast and color isn't as nice, but text is a bit smoother. The Evo is also capable of HDMI-out, and HTC releases Android updates faster than Samsung.
The Shift I tried was simply bad. The Epic screen has the ideal size; the Shift is too small. It's also molasses slow. The Sprint store demo phone was truly awful, taking literally twice as long as or more than the Epic at everything. Even simple things, like grabbing a GPS signal. Screen contrast is worse than the Evo, and color, slightly so. It looks washed out compared to the Epic. The keyboard has totally decent key response, but the top row is wedged too close to the screen bottom. The rest of the build appears cheap and chintzy. The Shift's lone advantages appear to be HTC's update cycle, a slightly more pocketable size, and better battery life.
Put another way, Sprint's choices are much the same as they were six months ago: Evo or Epic. For my money, the Epic is the best of the lot, and when rooted, it's competitive with or superior to anything available today. Stock to stock, though, a patient buyer would benefit from holding out for three months until the dual-core phones arrive on Sprint.
on February 16, 2011
Please see updates at the end of this review
The pros are it has a gorgeous screen, the Super AMOLED is amazing. It's built in keyboard is well-made and easy to use. It is comfortable. The glass on it is rugged and does not scratch easily. The camera takes much better pictures than you'd expect for a phone. It is a very, Very impressive piece of hardware. Normally it would be the best phone on the market.
Support is spotty. The downloadable manual is extensive, but the Index and Table of Contents are poorly done, so you have to slog through it a lot. Help at Sprint Stores is hit or miss. There are a few knowledgeable techs if you can get to them, but the floor people are mostly interested in selling. You'll find one who'll say they are expert on the phone and then go blank on anything more complicated than, "Where's the 'On' button". I had an experience when I first got the phone where I waited for my appointment and got a guy who told me that he was super-knowledgeable on the phone. I asked how to get to Task Manager. He stared at the phone for a while and then said it was an app and I'd have to download it (in fact it's built in) and he didn't have time to show me. He then just turned and walked away, went in the back for a while and then came out ignored me and tried to sell accessories to someone else. The people on the phone are more knowledgeable, but they still have to look a lot up. One wonders if Samsung will even be interested in 2.3 for this phone, let alone any of the later versions.
UPDATE 8/17/2011: Finally got the 2.2 update (a year after 2.2 was out)and have been living with it for a few months before I did another update.
I can report that with the update, the features that were supposed to work out of the box are now working, more or less. This makes the phone more livable. However, a number of applications/functions already working still work but are now more cumbersome than before.
For example, the keyboards now have less flexibility for setting up error correction. Or when you make a phone call, the dialpad disappears unless you press the button to bring it back. Say at the end of your call you want to make another one. The dialpad has disappeared again, all you've got is the "call" "add to contacts" and "message buttons. To make another call you have to select "home" again, then "phone", and then dial your next number. With the browser , you now MUST have a home page, Sprint or not. This means that when you launch the browser, you must either wait for the page to load, or stop the load and then press the bookmarks/history symbol to load the page you really want. You can now only go to your bookmarks by scrolling up to the top of the page, whereas before you could get there by using the menu form anywhere. Auto rotation of the screen still works, but is very slow unless you recalibrate the hardware. This involves setting the phone on a flat surface, launching the calibrator and insuring the calibration spot is centered on the bulls-eye. Pretty much the same as before EXCEPT: the calibration now only works properly if you run it with the phone Face Down! In other words, you have to do it with the phone in a position where You Can't See The Necessary Screen! The way to get around this is run it face down on a table, squat down, and carefully slide it partly over the edge of the able so you can look at part of the screen from below. Sheesh!
The biggest thing, though, is what so many have mentioned: Battery. The life is Extremely short. Example: I turn the phone on in the morning, do a few web searches and reads and the rest of the time make a few cell calls, always remembering to turn off any application (including contacts) or the browser as soon as I finish using it. Otherwise it lasts 6 hours or less, if I'm lucky. This is key: As soon as you finish any app or function, Stop It Immediately. Make sure your home screen shows black and not a picture. Do not have any pictures for your contacts. I really mean this! 4G (that you're paying for whether your area has it or not) is essentially unusable, because if you let it run, the phone will be pretty much dead in ~ 2 1/2 hours. Part of this is how much power this thing consumes, but part is the battery itself. They have a life of about 9 months, at which point they start depleting much faster to the point of ridiculousness, and have to be replaced. So far, Sprint has replaced batteries under the service plan, that isn't mandatory that you buy, but if you don't you don't get much help at all.
Remember, after 30 days, you're stuck with it for 2 years. It remains a great piece of hardware, but given the state of its software/firmware its potential remains unfulfilled. This is my first Samsung phone, there's a good chance it will be my last.
on September 3, 2010
Amazing and still surprised everyday with all of the functions. I went from a 9700 Blackberry to the Epic and I am so impressed with the applications and the quality of the phone. The best part of the phone is the 4G capability. So much faster to connect to the internet. The quality of the camera is equal to a digital camera and the clarity will shock you! It is a bit bigger than I had hoped for, but the overall appearance and functions make it worth the transition. I have only had it for a few days, and I still have not learned half the options this phone offers. I am very pleased with this purchase and look forward to learning the tricks of this wonderful device. Thank you Samsung for such a brilliant idea!
on September 6, 2010
Let me begin by stating that I am new to the smart phone market. I have always gotten one of the cheaper cell phones at the Sprint store. After years of frustration, I decided that it was time to make the move to a new phone. Having experienced only the simplest of web browsing and e-mail features of my old phones, I was expecting big things from the Epic. It did not disappoint.
I will freely admit I chose to buy the Epic on the launch day mainly because everywhere is out of the Evo. I didn't feel I needed to spend the extra 50$. I am still not sure if it is, but 50$ spread out over the life of my Epic isn't really that much of a cost difference.
Being new to these kinds of phones I really wasn't sure if I needed the hard keyboard or not. I will say I used it more in the beginning, but I do still use it. The SWYPE virtual keyboard had me a little intimidated at first, but am texting one-handed with ease now.
One thing I do think the Evo has is better widgets. I just don't like the aesthetic of the samsung widgets. I am sure some of you will/do like them, they just are not for me.
The big issue about these phones has been the battery.
* If you are expecting to leave your phone off the charger for a couple of days and get by. DON'T
* You WILL need to plug it in every night.
(if you talk briefly and turn off WiFi, 4g, GPS and don't go online you might be ok, but face it
we bought these things to do exactly that)
* With moderate mixed usage I make it through the day. I charge it every night. Not a big deal.
* Built in Task Manager is great for killing battery sucking apps.
One feature I love, is the cartoon option for taking photos. It will take pictures in the style of A Scanner Darkly and Waking Life.
on September 5, 2010
I never really got used to the iPhone's virtual keyboard, and I've had my eye on this QWERTY beaut for a while. Although I had to pay to get out of my AT&T contract, I couldn't be happier.
This phone has all the functionality and wow factor of my iPhone 3GS, plus a slide-out physical keyboard and without all the irritating restrictions that Apple places on its devices. I've actually been able to do some serious typing in a text editing app, something I couldn't do on my iPhone when the virtual keyboard took up so much screen real estate. It's been remarkably refreshing to find that when I connect the phone to the computer it simply presents itself as a standard file system - I don't need iTunes or any other proprietary system to load music, photos, or videos onto my phone. Just copy and paste. Speaking of videos, I've been able to play my HD mp4, avi, and mkv files on the phone with no problem whatsoever (although there is a size limit to the files). No conversion was necessary, and the movies look gorgeous on the AMOLED screen. Also, and perhaps most awesome of all, I've been able to install a free NES emulator. I've spent way more time than I'd care to admit playing the original Super Mario Bros. on my new phone. As far as the Sprint service goes, it certainly has not been inferior to AT&T's.
In short, if advanced smartphone functionality and a physical keyboard are important to you, it's hard to see how you could do better right now than this phone.
on April 30, 2011
This review was conducted on an HTC EVO 4G, but when it comes to comparing the 4G/3G service, it's pretty much identical on Sprint's top 3 4G Android phones, so I've included links for each of them. This is more a review about Sprint's 3G/4G service and what you might expect and hoping to alleviate your concerns about all you've read about battery life on the 4G network. My experience is as a user (I've been a 4G user since it first hit the market) but I'm not a technician expert. So my comments apply to the data service for the following devices:
HTC EVO 4G Android Phone (Sprint)
HTC EVO Shift 4G Android Phone (Sprint)
Samsung Epic 4G Android Phone (Sprint)
BEST way of all to save battery life on your 4G phone is
** TURN OFF the 4G service except when you need it. That generally means never turn it on when you are driving around.
** If you happen to be in an area with limited 4G service, TURN IT OFF. Your battery will suck itself dry in a heartbeat trying to get life out of that signal. And I mean QUICKLY. Like from fully charged to less than half-charged in a matter of minutes. Rule: At least one bar steady 4G or turn it off.
** I don't know what's up with Sprint, but OBVIOUSLY they have a 4G capacity problem. Some days I can stay connected to an IP address all day long. Other days (usually early evening) it's like FORGET IT! Sprint drops the connection almost constantly and continuously. I get sick of attempting to reconnect because it takes up to a minute to do so, only to have my connection dropped a few minutes later. Also, Sprint will rotate your IP address CONSTANTLY. Which means programs you are using that depend on a constant IP address will fail when you get switched (HTTPS addresses and some others with password protection access, sometimes streaming channels). Sometimes those websites will suck your battery dry trying to get that connection back. Best: Just restart the website and your 4G service. If it keeps happening, just drop to 3G. You'll be happier.
** Hey, unless you are streaming YouTube or movies, face it, 3G is enough for most applications. 3G on the Sprint network is very stable. 4G is not.
** Realize that 4G varies depending on what state you are in. Some 4G places scream service (up to 6MB/sec) others rival a good 3G connection (1.1MB/sec if you are lucky). So find out how FAST the 4G service per second streaming is in your area. (My experience: Boise SCREAMS service, Salt Lake City is usually really good (near 4MB), St. Louis is lucky to see 2 MB on a really good day. Videos online say they are only able to stream a little over 1 MB/sec on 4G. Point is, it varies widely, connections are variable, and test your location if 4G is a deal breaker for you. (Because your battery will DIE in a heartbeat if you don't have access to a good stable 4G connection.)
** When you install apps, don't check the 'auto update' box. Some apps will suck your battery dry with updates every few minutes. Battery killers include anything that uses maps (including GPS programs), Google Earth, Skype -- will run in the background continuously. Basically any program that updates several times a day is probably something you want to evaluate whether or not you really need it on your phone if you care about your battery life.
** Dim your screen to no brighter than you need it for easy reading. There is no real reason to have it on 100% level all the time is there?
** Turn off the screen when you are talking on the phone. If you move the phone to your head, it will auto sense and do this automatically, but if you are using speaker phone, you will have to manually turn it off.
** Only use task killer on very stubborn apps that are obviously causing your system problems. DON'T kill all apps on your task killer, that will SURELY cause errors on your phone in short order. You can kill a specific app by long-pressing on it and it will bring up a kill option for just that app. If you find other apps constantly running when you view task killer, consider uninstalling those programs to save battery life, or setting them to NOT auto update.
** Good programmed 'droid programs will give you the option to kill the program when you are done using it through the menu, or it will pop up a menu asking you if you want to kill the program. Use this feature whenever possible to save battery life.
** Read market reviews to see which programs people complain about for zapping battery life. Reconsider whether or not to download such programs to your phone.
** Nothing quite sucks the battery life like having GPS turned on or using GPS-based programs. BUT, they are useful when you need them. Use your GPS Navigator in 3G mode. IMO, I can't tell the difference and my battery life is a lot longer and the connection a lot more stable. (Save your 4G for multi-apps, wireless sharing, streaming videos or movies).
** DO NOT use 4G on HTTPS websites unless you want to seriously hate your phone. As mentioned, 4G is pretty unstable in its connection generally everywhere. Since most https websites are password secured, you will have to log in over and over and over again and you will hate your phone, so just use the more stable 3G connection.
I use my 4G phone for everything. I think it even serves up toilet paper. And since Skype finally got a 'droid version available for the USA working pretty darn good, I can even understand people talking on my phone now. (Skype connection is pristine, I love it. Walks circles around the Sprint voice quality.)
All in all, a good strong signal and keeping your screen turned off will definitely assure a long battery life.
I generally use a few minutes (almost always <75 minutes) a month and stream something around 5GB a month in data. I usually use my phone data about 6 hours a day (continuous).
Here's some sample speeds I've experienced recently:
STL ON 3G 1.27 MB Download and .47 MB upload. SLC ON 3G 1.47 MB and .30 MB CHICAGO ON 3G: 1.46 MB and .60 MB
STL ON 4G 2.3 MB Download and .28 MB upload. SLC ON 4G 2.98 MB and .65 MB CHICAGO ON 4G .38 MB and .39 MB
As you can see from some samples, there isn't that big of a difference between the two and sometimes 3G is even faster. USUALLY it's been my experience that upload speeds are faster on 3G and these little snippet examples are no exception. (What's up with Chicago? LOL).
Hope this helped in giving you extra talk time for your battery charge.
on January 18, 2011
I have had this phone for 2-3 months now. and there are a lot of things i like about it, the screen is absolutely beautiful, crisp color and bright. the keypad keys are a little far apart but that is no big deal, its very useful and easy to use. it is a fast phone and i only need to restart every so often (i have had phones i needed to restart at least once a day or more). Call quality is good, GPS is a little off but its close enough to not bother me, and the battery life is tons better then i thought. i can comfortably stream Pandora for 6 hours and still have battery life, not much but enough.
my problem with this phone and why i would NOT recommend it to others is Samsung's ability to update their product. There is a major update currently for this phone and it has been reported that it will not happen for several reasons. Mostly $$$$, Samsung wanting $$$$ and carriers not willing to pay.
All other major carriers of Android devices that have the ability to update have done so.
I will avoid Samsung products from here on out.
on September 11, 2010
Rather than give a lengthy review, I'll simply compare the phone to the Evo (which my wife has) and the iPhone 3GS, which we both just dropped.
Pros of Epic 4G Over iPhone 3GS
Gorgeous larger screen (I think it's better looking than the "retinal display" on the iPhone 4)
Data connections are more consistant (streaming works well over 3G, something I never had in Louisville with AT&T)
Swype (an ingenious way of sliding from letter to letter to enter text) and keyboard provide superior data entry options
Signal lock seems better
Contacts more easily sync with Facebook and other cloud options
4G speeds (where available)
Apps are often more quirky and not as restricted as Apple's
Camera is much better with more options.
User accessible memory card.
Can display video, pictures and music over DLNA
Sprint plans are often cheaper for more features.
Cons of Epic 4G Over iPhone 3GS
Battery charging is SLOW when phone is turned on.
Fewer apps available and many are less developed than the iPhone equivalent (Facebook and Evernote are two I find disappointing)
Phone is heavier and less compact
Android updates are up to carrier and manufacturer, so your phone may receive OS later than another android phone.
Phone doesn't have automatic dictionary for non Swype entry.
Pros of Epic 4G over Sprint's HTC Evo
More comfortable form factor
Display is much sharper and more colorful
Swype is preinstalled
Sprint's Touchwiz Android Interface is more like iPhone than the Evo's Sense
Camera has more fun features out of the box and takes better pictures (in my experience)
Camera button on phone itself.
Better graphic processor.
Comes with headphones
Top loading USB port with sliding cover (note: Some hate this, some love it.)
Cons Epic 4G compared to Sprint's HTC Evo
Fewer case options
Battery life seems to be less (YMMV)
Slower to charge
Evo seems more solid since it is one piece
Evo looks more impressive to outsiders
Sense UI from HTC has more widgets and options available and is less locked down than Touchwiz
Runs Android 2.1 and not 2.2.
Overall, I love my Epic 4G. It's a well built phone and I prefer it over the Evo. If you're switching to Sprint, both are great phones to choose from. You may want to wait until the 4G has the bugs worked out since it just came out last week.
UPDATE 1/2/2012 -- Reduced from 4 stars to 1 star.
My wife's Evo has given her no problems besides a lack of storage space (primarily due to clutter of apps she rarely uses).
Me... not so lucky. After months of waiting for Gingerbread 2.2 update (which my wife had forever on her Evo) I was greeted with some new surprises, not the least of which are horrible battery life and a GPS that now refuses to work, even on a clear day. According to the Sprint support sites and many Android phone sites, I am not alone in these problems, nor does there appear to be a simple or permanent fix for most people. I've always bought Samsung products because they appear to offer good value, but recent experiences including this one have made me realize Samsung is great at promoting the new, and terrible about supporting the old. My wife's Evo and my old iPhone 3GS, whatever their faults, worked. The Epic 4G is a great looking phone with horrible software support. Not recommended.
on September 21, 2010
So, after owning the HTC EVO for 3 weeks I switched to this phone for 3 reasons:
1. Physical keyboard.
-You just can't escape the practicality of a physical keyboard, and the EPIC happens to have one of the best keyboards made yet.
2. User Interface.
-Samsung's "touchwhiz" UI is so much more pleasant to use than HTC sense. It has a native task manager, it syncs your photos with picasa, and it works very well with google voice. HTC sense is very cluttered, messy, it has redundant apps and redundant notifications with google voice.
3. The screen.
You get 16 million colors with the EPIC, vs. 65,000 on the EVO. C'mon. This screen will turn heads!
and, finally, I'll add one more reason
4. The Sexy.
Lets be honest, the EVO is a sexy b*tch. I was never sold on pictures of the EPIC. Thats because pictures do not do the phone justice. This phone has sexy to spare! I love the way it looks. It is very elegant.
I was never excited about my EVO. I'm gushingly in Love with my EPIC. Hope this helps. Thanks!