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Review: Samsung Epic 4G

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Menus Calls / Contacts Messaging  

For messaging and social networking, the Samsung Epic 4G doesn't venture far beyond the standard Android formula. Google services get their own app, everything else is sort of lumped together. The Gmail app looks great, as always, and provides just a bit more functionality than the standard Email app, which lets you also add POP3, IMAP4 and Exchange accounts. Google Talk gets its own app, and that's the only option for instant messaging out of the box, though there are plenty of options, both free and paid, available from the Google App Market.

The basic Messaging app for SMS and MMS messages looks clean and polished. Text and MMS multimedia messages show up in a threaded format so you can view an entire conversation in one stream. Unfortunately, I had a lot of trouble with MMS messages. A few of my outgoing picture messages never went through. Incoming messages had trouble, as well. The phone would not display incoming pictures in line with the threaded conversation, even though outgoing pictures were so displayed. A few times during my test run, when I tapped the download link for incoming pictures, nothing happened. Other times, the camera mistook single images for a slideshow.

For social networking fans, Android comes with some built in sync options for Facebook and Twitter that are supposed to let you synchronize your social network address book with the contact list on your phone. As I mentioned earlier, this didn't work for me, but hopefully this issue will be resolved. The Epic 4G also comes with the official Facebook app installed, but you'll have to download a Twitter app from the App Market. Not a big problem, since there are plenty available for free.

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Otherwise, Samsung also offers a Feeds and Updates widget that retrieves recent updates from Facebook and Twitter. I liked this widget very much. It looks great and it goes beyond the capabilities of many other social widgets I've seen. You can update your own status from the widget, or you can add comments to someone else's update. You can also retweet a twitter message directly from the widget. My only complaint is that the widget is supposed to update on a schedule, but even though I asked it to update every 30 minutes, after 4 hours the widget had not retrieved any new messages from my feeds.


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