written by: Robert Faustus•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 9/25/2011
The Epic 4G Touch is not just the follow up to the original Epic 4G, it is the entrance of the much anticipated Galaxy S2 into the U.S. market. After such a long wait, does it have what it takes to compete or was it released too late?
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The Galaxy S 2 Arrives on Sprint!
If there has ever been a long anticipated smartphone in the U.S. market, the Samsung Galaxy S2 would be it. Released globally, the Galaxy S2 was a smartphone many users in the U.S. craved but could not attain. It has finally arrived and the first national carrier in the U.S. to release it is Sprint. Dubbed the Samsung Epic 4G Touch, it is the successor to the original Epic 4G, Sprint's version of the original Galaxy S. With the large amount of hype surrounding it, does the Epic 4G Touch do a good enough job as the first among many?
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Design and Display
The Epic 4G Touch is beautifully designed, taking on the now familiar candy bar design with rounded edges. The front is dominated by a 4.52 inch Super AMOLED Plus display, which gives off full and vibrant colors. The screen also has an extremely wide viewing angle, when compared to other smartphones. Along the left edge is the volume rocker, while the right edge contains the power / lock key. The 3.5 mm headphone jack resides on the top edge while the microUSB port resides on the bottom edge. Unfortunately there is no HDMI port but there is an accessory that will allow the Epic 4G Touch to connect to HDTVs.
Rounding out the back is a textured surface with an 8 megapixel camera and LED flash. The textured back does give the smartphone a more luxurious look and feel. The Epic 4G Touch is light, and some may think it feels cheap in the hand. Like the original Samsung Galaxy S, the majority of the smartphone is made with light plastic.
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The Epic 4G Touch is powered by a dual core 1.2 GHz Samsung Exynos processor, which runs Android 2.3 extremely smoothly, even with TouchWiz 4.0 running on top. It truly feels like night and day between the original Epic 4G and the Epic 4G Touch, which is really surprising. It seemed just as speedy if not faster than the G2x which had stock Android installed. The large display is also very good at rendering videos with large viewing angles, which is definitely a plus.
Call quality was decent for both incoming and outgoing calls, though the speaker could have been louder. Data speeds were hit and miss, with the WiMAX connection being blazingly fast in certain areas and disturbingly slow in others. The battery power was fairly impressive, with an increased battery size of 1800 mAh. The Epic 4G was able to last about 2 days before dying after regular usage, based on a 12 hour day, with minimal usage during working hours and more usage outside of the 8 hour work day.
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The smartphone comes preloaded with Android 2.3 and with the latest version of TouchWiz UI, Samsung's proprietary overlay. Samsung has done a fantastic job enhancing the user interface with the latest iteration of TouchWiz. For starters, it comes packed with more widgets than before and these widgets have an ability that will be found on Android 3.1, the ability to be resized. Various Samsung hubs have been removed in favor of one central media hub, used to download movies and videos. Samsung also included Kies Air, which allows the Epic 4G Touch to use wireless connections to sync the smartphone up with PC's and laptops. It still has a lot of bloatware, courtesy of Sprint, but luckily it can be tucked away in a folder, never to be opened again, in the applications listing.
The Epic 4G Touch comes with the physical gesture abilities found on the Galaxy S 2. Flip the smartphone on its face and it will remain silent. It also features tilt zoom, allowing users to zoom in on pictures by placing their fingers on the display and tilting the smartphone. The other physical gesture ability is the panning motion, which allows users to move between home screens quickly when rearranging applications. The lateral movement pushes the screens around which allows for quick and easy rearrangement.
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The 8 megapixel camera on the Epic 4G Touch is definitely a great addition to the already powerful smartphone. The camera application comes with a plethora of options, allowing users to really customize their settings. Pictures came out crisp and sharp, with no distortion and the resolution was on par with any high end digital camera. The only odd part of the pictures is the fact that there is a bit of a sharp contrast when it comes to lights and shadows on the pictures.
The Epic 4G Touch is also able to take HD video at 1080p and it has active focus which is a great addition. It has no hesitation when it starts to record. Overall, loading the camera application, taking pictures, switching to video, recording video, then switching back to pictures is an extremely smooth experience and the pictures and videos come out great to boot.
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The Final Verdict
The Epic 4G Touch was the first entrance of the Galaxy S 2 smartphone into the U.S. market, and it has made quite an impressive impression. It easily ranks in as an 'Excellent' smartphone. The amazingly bright display, extreme responsiveness and fantastic camera make the Epic 4G Touch the smartphone to grab on Sprint's network. The anticipation was justified for the release of this monster of a smartphone in the U.S. At this point, it's up to the marketing to grab consumers' attention, as the smartphone itself can easily hold on to the interest.