byJoanna Stern||June 29th 2010 at 6:05pmJune 29th 2010 6:05 pm
We've seen our fair share of Samsung Galaxy S phones in the past few weeks, but the Sprint Epic 4G version (or the Galaxy S Pro, as we'd previously suspected it would be known) looks like it could take the cake. The phone has all the same specs as the others family members -- including a 1GHz Samsung Hummingbird processor, 5 megapixel cam, a 4-inch Super AMOLED screen, and Android 2.1 -- but it also boasts a front facing camera and a physical keyboard. So, is the new slider as epically amazing as we've been imagining? We got to spend some time with a unit this afternoon, so hit the break for some early impressions and a quick video. %Gallery-96576%
Hardware: The Epic may not have a 4.3-inch screen like the Droid X or EVO, but at 4 inches, it's close -- and for all practical purposes, it appears to be just as large. The slide-out physical keyboard doesn't add as much girth as we expected, though it still adds to the height of the phone. While the curved edges give it a similar look to the Galaxy S we've seen overseas, it has four touch sensitive buttons along the bottom instead of those physical buttons. Oh, and about that physical keyboard, it's pretty glorious -- the keys are slightly raised and there's a bit of space between each of them. We have to admit it looks a bit odd to have a keyboard with such a big screen, but if anything it's a throw back to UMPCs or MIDs.
Screen: The Epic 4G has the same 4-inch Super AMOLED display as the Galaxy S and Captivate. But we aren't letting that diminish our love of it -- every time we see it we are pretty blown away by the crispness. Yet again, we didn't get to test the display in sunlight, but indoors it was seriously bright, albeit glossy. (Oh, and if you missed it, check out our head-to-head between Samsung's Super AMOLED screen and Apple's Retina display.)
Software: The Epic 4G will run Android 2.1 at launch, but Sprint tells us it will be rolling out the 2.2 update not too long after it hits the market. Just like the Captivate, it has the latest version of Samsung's TouchWiz skin, which isn't too distracting and actually polishes up Android a bit. It's also preloaded with Swype and Qik as well as a few Sprint applications -- including the mobile hotspot app, notably. Speaking of Qik, we did confirm that the Epic 4G has a VGA front facing cam, while the one on it's backside will take 5 megapixel shots.
Performance: Unlike the early version of the Captivate that we saw, the Epic 4G's 1GHz Hummingbird CPU was zippy. As you will see in the video, scrolling was super snappy and there was no noticeable lag in opening applications like Amazon's Kindle app or firing up the camcorder. Video playback also looked super smooth. Sprint's still not giving out information on pricing or availability, though we're told the price will be aggressive and the handset will be available before the end of Summer.
On that note, until we get our hands on a review unit, we leave you with a brief, standard def video of what's clearly shaping up to be Sprint's Android phone of the month: