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printed September 30, 2014
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Review: Samsung Epic 4G Touch

Form Basics Extras Wrap-up Comments  19  

Is It Your Type? Body The Three S's  

Screen

The Epic 4G Touch's monster 4.5-inch Super AMOLED Plus display is excellent. It has the standard 480 x 800 pixel count found on many Android devices with smaller screens. That means pixel density is reduced. I can say that images, text, and other graphics aren't quite as smooth as they could be, but we're talking minimally so. However, the display is bright both indoors and out. The screen size does come in handy when watching video, browsing the web, and perusing Google Maps.

Signal

The Epic 4G Touch includes both WiMax 4G and CDMA 3G radios. First, WiMax.

It took the Epic 4G a *long* time to connect to Sprint's WiMax network in midtown Manhattan. A solid five minutes past after I turned on the WiMax radio before the Epic 4G Touch connected. None of the 4G connections I got in the city were solid, though. They dropped often. Once it did, speeds were wildly inconsistent. I tested in a number of different locations throughout the city. The peak download I saw was 9.3Mbps and the peak upload was 1.49Mbps, both respectable but atypical. Most download speeds averaged just under 4Mbps, while uploads averaged closer to 1.3Mbps.

I also saw the slowest upload speed ever: 40kbps. I could shoot spitballs at Sprint's cell towers faster than that.

The Epic 4G Touch was reasonably good at attaching itself to Sprint's CDMA 3G network whilst in northern New Jersey. It performed about as well as any 3G phone would on Sprint's network. I've seen better, and I've seen worse. The phone didn't drop any calls, but I had trouble connecting a few.

Sound

Phone calls sounded excellent through the Epic 4G Touch's earpiece. Not only were they clear of static and noise, they were also present and warm sounding. The earpiece is also capable of producing painfully loud volumes. This means hearing calls in noisy environments won't be a problem. Ringtones and other alerts can be set so they are loud enough to be heard over most everything in earshot. The speakerphone is also loud, and calls via the speakerphone were clear, though prone to distortion if the volume is cranked too high. The vibrate alert was good.

Battery

I barely made it through an entire day with the Epic 4G Touch under heavy usage. From a full charge, it burned through the entire battery quite consistently at the 16-hour mark (7AM to 11PM). One day, it passed out after just 13 hours, and another it lasted until about 1AM. You're going to have to charge it every night, if not during the day as well, if you use it a lot for activities other than browsing, social networking, and messaging/email.

The one caveat here is that the Epic 4G Touch has extensive power management features. These can be used to control the radios, screen brightness, backlight timer, and so on. More than simple on/off switches, the radios can be set to turn off when not being used, etc. I'd recommend you play with these granular controls over the course of a week to figure out what mixture works best for you.

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