- Reception and call quality Definitely on par with Apple and Blackberry, a step above HTC, but for my money Motorola still has the strongest internal antenna in the game today.
- Display In a word: gorgeous. Pixel count is not my thing, i look at vividness and saturation, this display is a true "wow" factor.
- Battery life Ironically the largest display Android I've yet to see on a phone has perhaps the best overall battery life out of any size Android phone that I've used.
- Camera Good overall picture in daylight but muddy in mid to low light conditions. Video was very good quality but occasionally choppy with excessive movement.
- Ease of use HTC Sense has been my favorite Android skin the last 2 years but the subtle steps back Samsung made on their interface actually improved their user experience.
- Design and form factor Slab form with a bump at the bottom, while I disapprove of the bump if it was necessary I am glad Samsung chose the bottom of the phone as opposed to the top.
- Portability (size / weight) When first picking up the phone you have to double check that it is not a toy. People complain that the plastic materials make it cheap, i disagree, great feel.
- Media support Thanks to the open-ness of Android the sky is the limit in terms of media playback and consumption. If there is a format chances are Android can play it.
- Durability Plastics are not metals, and it is because of this that the durability is a bit more limited on a product like this. Gorilla Glass display at least!
- Ecosystem (apps, accessories, etc.) While not in the same league as the iPhone line in terms of accessories, Samsung has done a great job of growing the Galaxy brand, apps are there though.
This phone matches and beats Apple's flagship phone in almost all aspects.
I should start with my personal experience with the phone, I have had it since launch and I have dealt with the string of software glitches that have prevented this phone from being perfect. From the "LoS" (Loss of Signal) and random reboot issues one by one each issue was addressed by Samsung and now I feel as if the phone is in its stride.
But I digress, software is only one aspect of this device, lets go over the hardware:
- 4.5 inch Super AMOLED Plus display for perhaps the most vivid display on the market
- 1.2GHz dual-core Samsung Exynos processor
- 16gb of internal storage with an expansion slot capable of holding an additional 32gb
- 1gb of RAM
- 8mp camera with LED Flash capable of shooting 1080p HD video and a front-facing 2mp camera
- 1800mAh user-replaceable Li-Ion battery
This phone is huge, but not too huge. Light, but not too light. When you pick up this phone for the first time you are almost shocked that the screen is on because honestly the lightness of it would make you think that the battery was out. Samsung has been criticized with their Galaxy line of being cheap on materials by not using metals and instead opting for plastic. It is because of the plastic that this phone is ridiculously light and I am actually grateful that they went with plastic instead of metals because the weight would've surely suffered.
Camera with the phone performs very well, pictures come out wonderful and the amount of editing/customization options Samsung has included is more than adequate for those looking to get rid of their stand-alone point-and-shoot. Video was true HD though I found in louder environments I was disappointed by the sound quality, a second back-facing mic would have helped in this aspect.
Signal-wise this phone was mid-range from other smartphones I have used in the past, while there were certain times that I was only seeing one signal bar on the screen I never dropped or missed a call. Data remained stable and fast no matter whether I was on 1 bar or 4 bars. 4G is not available in this area so this was something I was not about to test.
It's a luxury to have a user-replaceable battery and Samsung has recognized this as they have a separate battery/battery-only charger available for sale as an accessory. That being said, the battery on this phone lasts incredibly longer than it's 4.3 or even 4.0 inch screen counterparts. With "normal" use I'm sure you could get a day and a half to 2 days out of one full charge, of course this also depends on your coverage area and settings. For someone like myself that has multiple widgets as well as streams for Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter, ESPN, etc. I am actually able to get through a full business day which is phenomenal for any Android device. As stated before though, I am the exception and not the rule, you will be more than happy with the stock battery if your awareness in app management is even in the novice state.
Another reason the battery is surprisingly amazing in comparison to its competition is because the size is bigger than most other phones out there. The 4.5 inch display sports Samsungs famous Super AMOLED Plus display. While the pixel count is technically not higher than Apples iPhone to the laymen or even advanced user you would be hard pressed to rank this display below Apples Retina Screen display. Pictures come off extremely crisp, videos are extremely vibrant, and games jump out. This is something you will truly need to see for yourself though to get an accurate judgement.
To explain the speed of this phone is difficult because it would almost seem like an Apple tagline by saying "it just works" but, quite frankly, it just works. In the 5 months of consistent use I have yet to see it stutter, think, force close, and not react to a command. This is such a rarity in the fragmented world of Android that Samsung, especially with a 3rd party overlay, should be commended for the fantastic job they have done with this device, it flies. Speaking of 3rd party overlays...
TouchWiz is a multi-generational skin that Samsung has been tacking onto Android for quite a while now and over time they have listen to critics concerns on the overall look and performance. This is by far their best iteration of TouchWiz yet. This is what a skin is supposed to be, complimentary to an already solid looking platform. The widgets included will not be used by all but even I was surprised on how content I was by their default weather, time, and news widgets. I have been very hesitant about Samsung in the past but a phone like this has honestly turned the corner when it comes to my personal opinion.
Android phones, especially high-end ones, are usually eclipsed every 3-4 months by the next big thing. This phone is now going 6 months strong and for good reason, it is fantastic. If you are in the market for a phone that you will have to carry around for the next 2 years or so I have no problem recommending the Epic 4G Touch as it has truly won me over as the best overall Android phone out in the market today.
1 person found this review helpful
Edited comment on Camera
Rated Camera a 4
Updated detailed review