Samsung released its original Galaxy S line of smartphones last year around this time, so it only makes sense that the sequel to it, the Galaxy S II, was just starting to be released last week. Only Sprint's variant, the Epic 4G Touch, has made it out of Samsung Town, South Korea, though.
AT&T and T-Mobile variants will be coming later, but while I've got this one in-house, how about you and I read through this review of Samsung's latest and, possibly, greatest smartphone.
There are some absolutely incredible specs to talk about with the Epic 4G Touch. Samsung has packed it with the latest and greatest components. On top of being able to connect to Sprint's 3G and 4G networks, the Epic also has a 1.2GHz Exynos dual-core processor, coupled with a whopping 1GB of RAM. Both of those things help to drive the massive 4.52-inch Super AMOLED Plus display that has a resolution of 480 x 800. It runs Android 2.3 with Samsung's TouchWiz customizations.
As far as cameras go, Samsung's decided to go with a dual camera setup. The one that you'll find on the back is of the 8MP variety, as you can see from the picture up there. On the front, they chose a 2MP shooter, which is relatively high-quality for the secondary camera.
Sprint's network, like I've stated in the past, is probably the best one in the US. It's super-fast and incredibly reliable, not to mention that it is the only network that currently offers truly unlimited plans for its customers. In my tests, phone calls and text messaging went through to the other end of the line without any problems. Calls were crystal clear and beautiful, while text messaging sent within seconds of hitting the send button. It's simply what I've come to expect from Sprint.
Design and Quality
The Epic 4G Touch is a very simple, very elegant smartphone, and thus, very beautiful. Up top and center on the front, you'll find some Samsung branding and the earpiece. To the left of the earpiece are proximity sensors.
Looking a little further to the left on the front, you'll find that aforementioned 2MP front-facing camera. It's nicely situated in that top-left corner to take away any distractions it may impose.
The back is my favorite design move from Verizon. I constantly complain about that slippery, shiny plastic backing, as you know, so it's refreshing to see a nice, textured back for a change. Because of that texture, the device is incredibly grippable, and I've yet to drop it. The only caveat I've found with this texture design is the way it collects dust in the crevices. You can see some of that in the picture.
The left side of the device is pretty straightfoward, as there is only a volume rocker and a lanyard slot. Speaking of that volume rocker, it's very clicky. It's a little stiff, but it helps to combat the problem of accidentally turning your ringer up or down. I'm always for stiffer buttons because of that very issue. Good job, Samsung.
On the right, you'll find the power/sleep/wake button. That's it. For what it's worth, it's as clicky and awesome as the volume rocker.
The top houses the 3.5mm headphone jack. Again, like on all the other sides of this device, there is only one thing to worry about here.
Finally, on the bottom, you'll find the speaker grille and the microUSB port. Unfortunately, here's where I get to complain a little bit about the Epic 4G Touch's connectivity. Where is the miniHDMI port? I would think that with such an impressive spec sheet, someone at Samsung would've mentioned giving it the ability to connect to a HDTV.
What really matters is how pocketable it is, right? Well, see for yourself. that's my iPhone 4 to the right, and the Epic 4G Touch is on the left. The extra thickness of the latter is negligible while you hold it in your hand or even just keep it in your pocket. In fact, when I first took it out of the box, I thought it was thinner than the iPhone because it's so light!
Samsung really impressed me with the incredible dimensions and weight of this device. It packs quite a bit more than most of the competition, and is just about as thin as the current thinnest smartphone. That's not an easy feat for anyone.
The Samsung Epic 4G Touch packs a 4.52-inch, 480 x 800 Super AMOLED Plus display. It's incredibly bright and vivid, and other than being less pixel-dense than the Retina Display, it's a much better display. Viewing angles are pretty wide, although if you get too far, you'll start seeing a bit of a blue tint, which seems to be pretty common among Samsung's displays.
Really, though, being less pixel-dense isn't a big deal at all. In fact, it isn't one at all, because it was still a crystal clear display and I saw absolutely no pixelation.
In terms of touch-responsiveness, the Epic 4G has one of the better response times and accuracy rates than other phones I've tested. I can't say that it's on par with the iPhone, but it's pretty darn close. I only encountered a mistap about once every day.
In my week of using this device, I found it to be the speediest one I've ever used. It gets a Quadrant score of 3144, which is nothing to scoff at. The nimble and quick Exynos dual-core processor inside helps the Epic achieve awesome performance. There wasn't anything that I did that it couldn't handle.
Like I said before, the Epic seems to be a little lacking in the connectivity department. It has 3G and 4G and Bluetooth, sure, but there is no miniHDMI port. There are actually only two ports on the entire device: the 3.5mm headset jack and the microUSB port. Also lacking is DLNA certification, but that is the case with a lot of phones still.
My typical phone use consists of heavy web browsing, email, texting, calling, and playing games. In doing all of those things, I was only able to run down the battery to about 50% after a full 8-hour day. Screen brightness was set on the automatic setting, with WiFi, Bluetooth, and 3G connectivity turned on. I was very impressed with how well the Epic conserved battery life. Android has historically had some pretty poor battery life, so this was an unexpected, wonderful surprise.
Samsung's original Galaxy S line was a killer set of devices. I should know; I had the original Epic 4G. And with the Galaxy S II and the Epic 4G Touch, Samsung has just again proven that they are capable of building the most incredible Android smartphones out there.