That was fast. Sprint’s announcement and launch of the HTC EVO 4G felt like it was only yesterday, but the company’s second 4G device is finally out of the wraps: the Samsung Epic 4G. I had reported on Sprint’s plans to launch another 4G device “soon,” but I didn’t have any further details at that time. Fortunately, we now know that the phone is a variant of the Samsung Galaxy S, which we previewed at CTIA earlier this year. While we knew Samsung intended to launch the Galaxy S overseas and in the US, the addition of 4G comes as a major surprise. While it’s still a step down in some regards from the EVO 4G, it does sport a better-looking Super AMOLED display and physical keyboard.
Samsung Epic 4G Specs:
- Network: Sprint 3G and 4G
- CPU: Samsung 1GHz Cortex A8 Hummingbird
- Memory: 1GB ROM and 512MB RAM
- Display: 4-inch Capacitive Super AMOLED
- OS: Ships with Android v2.1, Froyo v2.2 soon
- Mobile Hotspot: 5 Devices Max on 3G or 4G
- Camera: 5 Megapixel with Autofocus & LED Flash
- Camcorder: 720p HD Recording
- Video Chat: Front-facing VGA Cam for Qik Calls
- Multimedia: DLNA support, 3.5 mm jack
- Connectivity: WiFi b/g/n and Bluetooth v2.1
- Sensors: Compass, 6-Axis Motion, Proximity, Light
- Storage: 16GB microSD included, supports 32GB
- Dimensions: 4.9 x 2.54 x .56 inches (L x W x D)
- Weight: 5.46 ounces
- Battery: 1500 mAh (Li-on)
Most of the hardware specifications speak for themselves as the Epic 4G is a strong emerging competitor. However, it’s important to note that the hostspot feature handles 3 fewer connections than the EVO 4G. It also sports a front-facing VGA camera like the Apple iPhone 4, both of which are a notch under the EVO’s 1.3 megapixel camera. When it comes down to it, the physical keyboard likely distinguishes the Epic 4G from the EVO more than anything else. But it will be interesting to see whether customers still prefer the waste of space for a physical keyboard especially when new technologies such as Swype are taking off. With Apple’s new revolutionary “Retina Display” setting the standards, it’s also great to see Super AMOLED, a competing technology, featured on the Epic 4G.
Verizon Wireless also announced the Samsung Galaxy S as the Samsung Fascinate and while it’s very similar, there are a few notable differences. The Fascinate lacks 4G support, a front-facing camera, and a keyboard. Hence, features such as video chat will also be unavailable. On the bright side, the Fascinate features an extra 1 GB of internal storage over the Epic 4G. And as always, Verizon Wireless plans to re-brand the operating system with V Cast music, V Cast video, and VZ Navigator.
T-Mobile got in on the action as well. Their Samsung Galaxy iteration is named the Samsung Vibrant. While it also lacks 4G like the Verizon Fascinate, it features T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network. In terms of hardware, the Vibrant, much like the Fascinate, lacks the front-facing camera and physical keyboard that the Epic 4G offers. Humorously, T-Mobile’s press release rather focuses on add-on features such as a pre-downloaded copy of Avatar on the memory card, a pre-installed Amazon Kindle for Android app, and MobiTV streaming. T-Mobile was interestingly the only carrier that announced the July 21st availability date. Unfortunately, pricing isn’t yet available.
The Galaxy S was a great looking phone and while I haven’t tried Sprint’s iteration, the Epic 4G, I’ve got high hopes. While Sprint hasn’t made pricing or availability available yet, I’ll definitely try to get the full scoop and our hands-on this phone as soon as we can. In the meantime, follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook to stay tuned with the latest coverage.