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Overall, disappointing


Overall, disappointing

My current opinions on the Epic, presented in order of their significance to me.  I'll be returning the two media docks that I purchased on launch day.  If Sprint provides the GPS fix and the Android 2.2 updated before my 30 day trial period is up, and Samsung addresses the silly 100% charge notification, I may keep the two Epics that I purchased.  On the other hand, the G2 is supposed to be coming out around that same time.  If it means sacrificing a dedicated row for numbers to have a better screen (rumors are that it's likely to be LCD-based), a more reasonably sized phone, and good GPS, I'll likely return these devices and wait for the G2.

Performance: excellent

This device can run Touchdown without noticeably slowing down, which is something my G1 could not do.  Switching between apps is instantaneous.

Screen: poor

The pixel structure in the screen is so obvious that it makes all text look noticeably aliased.  Whereas on other phones you can "zoom out" to fit quite a lot of tiny text on the screen at once in, say, email, or the browser, shrinking the text to a similar size on the Epic makes the text significantly more difficult to read.  Whereas on the iPhone 4, images and movies look stunning due to the invisible pixel structure, images and movies look somewhat "fuzzy" on the Epic.

Some claim that the screen is better outside compared with phones that use LCD screens; I'm not outside enough to have noticed.

The fact that the screen has a 5:3 aspect ratio means that DVD video must be shrunken, slightly, to fit on the screen.  Combined with the fuzziness of the screen this makes for a comparatively poor viewing experience.  On the other hand, the viewing angle is excellent.  I don't watch videos on my phone with other people enough for this to be significant to me.

The screen uses an astounding amount of power.

Keyboard: great

The keyboard is excellent.  The keys are so large that it's hard to hit the wrong key.  It slides open and closed easily.  I really like not having to use a function key to enter numbers.  (In fact, the dedicated row of number keys was one of the principle distinguishing factors for me in my purchase decision.) On the other hand, I don't understand why Samsung chose not to put the @ and ! on the 1 and 2 keys.

GPS: poor

The GPS takes three times as long to acquire a position as my G1, and is five times less precise than my G1 once it has.

Keeping the phone on the nightstand:  Unacceptable

I purchased two of the media docks intending to use one on my nightstand.  There is a bright blue LED on the bottom of the dock that lights up when the phone is connected.  This LED is completely redundant; the notification LED on the front of the phone also lights up when the phone is docked.  This blue LED is too bright to leave on while sleeping; it'll light up the whole room.

Even when this LED is obscured by electrical tape, the phone still can't be used as a bedside clock:  In the middle of the night, a message box will appear on the screen (this is not a standard android notification) and a notification will sound to tell you that the battery is completely charged.  There is no way to disable this message box from appearing.  The message box makes the screen bright enough to light up the room.  Since it takes hours for the phone to get from 99% to 100% charged, this notification is likely to fire between 3 and 5 hours after bed time, assuming the phone is docked about the same time.

When the phone reaches 100% charged, the notification LED on the phone also turns blue, and again is too bright to be on a night stand.

Size:  poor

The phone is needlessly large.  The keyboard on my G1 is as good, if not better than the keyboard on the Epic, and the G1 is significantly more comfortable to operate one-handed.

Front buttons: fair

Even having set the time-out on the capacitive buttons to the same as the screen, they're still dark when I'm looking for them.

Value:  fair

I live and work in an area that shows as completely solid 4g coverage.  This phone is not 4g inside or outside my house, nor most of the time when I'm driving around.  Yet I must pay $10/mo extra just for owning it.  I paid $50 less per month for my G1s on T-Mobile.

Qik video calling:  fair

Works, but the stretched image, and the fact that only one of you can speak at a time reduces video calling to a gimmick.  This is really puzzling:  Video calling is the key reason to include the front-facing camera, and yet the aspect ratio of the screen and the front-facing camera don't match.

Media:  Great

The AllShare app is excellent.  Being able to control Windows Media Player from the phone is amazing.  When I think about switching to the G2, this is the only thing that I feel I will miss.

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