Posts Tagged ‘Sprint’

Cross-Carrier Samsung Comparison

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

Last night I got my hands on the Samsung Galaxy S phone from T-Mobile, AT&T, and Sprint, known respectively as the Vibrant, Captivate, and Epic 4G. I wanted to see what each one looked like up close and personal, and to see if there were obvious differences between the devices. I went into the testing with a preconceived notion, expecting to find the Epic 4G to be the best of the litter. It turned out I was in for a surprise.

I started with the Epic 4G. The first thing I went for was the QWERTY keyboard. I am a fan of slide-out keyboards, and that is a large part of the reason I expected the Epic 4G to be my favorite Galaxy S phone. The keys are chicklet style, and are set pretty far apart. I found that it was not possible to type with my thumbs without moving my hands to reach the middle keys. It felt like I was trying to type on something the size of a PSP Go. After typing a few search queries and sample text messages it became clear that I wouldn’t be able to get a lot of typing done with the keyboard. I moved on to the touch screen and had a little more luck.

My first impression of the UI was that of a blend between a Symbian and an iPhone. It had the graphics of an iPhone with the layout of a Symbian phone. I was pretty disappointed in the icons. There are 7 home screen options, which I found refreshing after the 3 screens on the Xperia X10. While more screens means more chances to kill a battery, I still like keeping my options open. I was able to navigate through the screens pretty well, but the icons remained an eye-sore throughout my testing.

I next moved on to the Vibrant at T-Mobile. The screen looked the way I expected from the Epic 4G test. I found the typing to be much more conducive to productivity with the touchscreen QWERTY. The phone didn’t feel significantly lighter than the Epic 4G, though it was a bit thinner. Even though the UI was the same, I found I could get around easier on the Vibrant.

The last phone I tried was the Captivate. This was virtually identical to the Vibrant. I also found it much easier to type on this phone. I wouldn’t have thought that a touch-screen QWERTY would consistently outdo a slide-out QWERTY, but Samsung managed to pull it off on the Galaxy S lineup.

The default wallpaper on each of the phones I tried was set to a live wallpaper, a feature which is really fun to look at but can contribute to multiple recharges per day. I checked out some of the pre-loaded apps, and overall the phone looked easy enough to use. With the exception of its main handicap, the 5MP camera, these phones are particularly nice. If you want something that resembles an iPhone UI without actually buying an iPhone, the Galaxy S can be the phone for you.

I really expected the Epic 4G to be my favorite Galaxy S. I think if I had to buy a Samsung, I would probably go with the Captivate, even though it is on AT&T. My second choice would the Vibrant. It looks like the Fascinate will fair about as well as these phones, but we’ll be able to find out soon enough. With the Epic 4G keyboard being way too big, I don’t think I could use it well enough to justify the price. If you have long fingers or large hands you may have better luck.

Have you tried any of the Galaxy S phones? What are your impressions? Let me know in the comments.

Samsung Epic 4G Now Available

Monday, August 30th, 2010

The Samsung Epic 4G is now on sale at Sprint. It joins the Captivate and Vibrant in the Galaxy S lineup.

Here are the specs:

  • Android 2.1
  • 4″ Super AMOLED touchscreen
  • 1 GHz processor
  • Slide-out QWERTY keyboard, plus virtual keyboard with Swype
  • Dual-mode 3G/4G device
  • WiFi – 802.11 b/g/n
  • Dual cameras, 5MP main camera plus VGA front-facing camera
  • Mobile Hotspot capable
  • Combined IM, MMS and SMS messaging
  • Integrated contacts from multiple sources
  • Linked Contacts and Layered Calendar
  • Chat-style messaging
  • Sprint TV
  • GPS Navigation
  • Bluetooth
  • Memory Expandable to 32GB

With the slideout QWERTY, this is easily my favorite of the Galaxy S lineup. Add the 4G capabilities and Sprint pulled off a nice little package. The device certainly has a lot of perks, but is stuck with a 5MP camera. One would think a stunning display and a large resolution camera go hand in hand, but evidently not. The iPhone 4, Galaxy S, and a number of other impressive phones are hindered by an inadequate camera.

If I were a Sprint fan I’d definitely take a look at the Epic 4G. If you live on the West Coast, you already have access to the web store, though it officially goes on sale tomorrow. You can pick up the Epic 4G for $250 after $150 instant rebate and $100 mail-in rebate plus a 2-year contract. If you are patient though you can get it on Wirefly or Amazon for less. I’d look for it on sale in these alternative locations to make sure you get the best deal possible.

Samsung Epic 4G Coming to Sprint August 31

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

@SamsungTweets tweeted last night that the Epic 4G will be available on Sprint on August 31. Sprint has confirmed it as well.

Here are the specs:

  • Android 2.1
  • Samsung 1GHz Cortex A8 Hummingbird Application Processor
  • 4″ Super AMOLED capacitive display
  • Dual cameras: 5-megapixel camera/camcorder with autofocus, Power LED flash and 3x digital zoom for HD (720p) recording, plus a front-facing VGA camera
  • 3G/4G capability
  • 3G/4G Mobile Hotspot capability — supports up to 5 Wi-Fi devices
  • Slide-out QWERTY and virtual Swype keyboards
  • Digital compass, proximity sensor, light sensor and GPS Navigation
  • Memory: 16GB microSD card included; expandable to 32 GB
  • Built-in Wi-Fi: 802.11 b/g/n
  • Six-axis motion sensor for gaming

The Epic 4G is pretty packed with features, and more are on the way. It will feature Samsung’s AllShare service which enables sharing of various types of media to DLNA home appliances including televisions, digital cameras and printers. The Samsung Media Hub will feature a video and literary resource at some point. This feature is currently listed as “coming soon.” The Epic 4G will feature video chat and live video sharing via the Qik video app.

As a Galaxy S phone, it features a lot of the same stuff as the phones from AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile. What makes the Epic 4G stand out is the slideout QWERTY keyboard and the 4G connection. This should make for a pretty nice phone, especially with the hub capabilities.

You can pick up the Epic 4G for $250 with a two-year contract and after the $100 mail-in rebate. It also requires a Premium Data plan. Of all the Galaxy S phones, this is probably the one to get. This of course may not be an option depending on who your mobile carrier is, though. If you are a Sprint customer and a Samsung fan, you caught a lucky break. Other Samsung fans should be content with the nearly identical alternatives on their respective networks. It will be interesting to see how well this cross-carrier phone does, especially in a world of exclusives among the other brands.