Sprint Epic 4G unboxing & first impressions

Here it is folks, the one you’ve all (Sprint customers) have been waiting for, the Samsung Epic 4G. This is number three out of four of the Samsung’s Galaxy S phones, the other two being the AT&T Captivate and the T-Mobile Vibrant. The fourth US-Galaxy S phone will be the Verizon Fascinate, but not much has been said about the device.

Unlike the Captivate and Vibrant, which are truly the same phone with different shells, the Epic 4G does sport a few features that the others don’t:

  • .3MP (VGA) Front-facing camera
  • Physical keyboard
  • LED Camera flash
  • Status LED
  • Physical button for camera shutter
  • 4G Network connectivity

These are pretty significant features and I wonder why the other Galaxy S phones didn’t receive them. (Well the 4G connectivity part is obvious). But anyway, onto the unboxing.

Like the other two Galaxy S phones, the Epic 4G comes packaged in a very sturdy box:

Once you take the top cover off Sprint’s second 4G device, you’ll be greeted with the phone and a little marketing speak:

The phone itself sits on a box within a box, and that mini-box contains the following documentation:

As you can see you’ve got a Get Started manual in English and Spanish, that runs through setting up your phone. Then you’ve got the Basics Guide, which isn’t very basic at all considering it’s ~180 pages! It should of been called the manual, because that’s what it is. It goes over essentially all of the settings for your Epic 4G and how to do pretty much everything you’d want.

The accessories you get with the Epic 4G are the exact same that you get with the other Galaxy S devices; MicroSD to SD adapater, USB A/C adapter, USB to miniUSB cord and earbuds with extra “buds”:

Well now that you know what comes in the box, let’s take closer look at the phone itself:

As you can see, it’s got the same, beautiful 4in Super AMOLED display as rest of the Galaxy S phones. But it has two major things that the other Galaxy S devices lack. One is the front-facing VGA camera (that can be seen to the right of the Sprint logo. Secondly:

BAM! A physical keyboard. What’s also unique to the Epic 4G, when you turn it to landscape mode, Samsung’s TouchWiz 3 actually rotates as well, something the Captivate and Vibrant don’t do.

So that’s the front of the phone, let’s take gander at the back:

As you can immediately see, not only is the camera centered (as it should be) on the phone, it also sports a LED flash, another difference between it and the other two Galaxy S phones.

Let’s peek at the top of the phone:

Typical Galaxy S again here. You have your little slide-open door that hides the miniUSB connector and next to that, the 3.5mm headphone jack.

Equally non-exciting, let’s look at the bottom:

OMG, it’s the microphone!!!11 Like I said, not very exciting.

Anyway, that’s the top & bottom, let’s see the side shots shall we?

The top-most button, in typical Galaxy S configuration, is the power button. However, below that and unique to the Epic 4G is a button to control the shutter on the camera. Even in just briefly using the device, it’s great to have a physical button to take pictures instead of tapping the screen.

Flipping around to the other side:

Not much to see here, just the (again) default location for the volume up and down buttons. Now let’s slide the phone open and look at the side profiles:

Now to give you an idea of the Epic 4Gs size, let’s compare it to the the AT&T Captivate and the Nexus One:

As you can see, the Epic 4G is a larger than the AT&T Captivate by only a few millimeters (the pic is deceiving). And just for grins, let’s throw the HTC Aria on top of the Epic:

Obviously, the Epic 4G is a decently-sized device. But really in holding it vs my Captivate, it really doesn’t feel much different in terms of heft (it shouldn’t, it’s only about an ounce heavier) and fits in my hand very naturally.

But the bigger issue here is the thickness of the phone. I apologize in advance for the blurry pic, but you can easily see the difference in thickness between the Nexus One, Epic 4G and the AT&T Captivate: (click the pic to make it bigger)

So that’s the hardware. Let’s take a quick look at the installed Sprint “bloatware” apps:

  • Asphalt 5
  • Qik
  • Amazon MP3 store*
  • Sprint Nascar
  • Sprint Football
  • Sprint Hotspot
  • Sprint Navigation
  • Sprint TV
  • Sprint Zone

Now you may be wondering why I put an asterisk next to the Amazon MP3 store. That’s because when I first got the device, it didn’t have it. Then I got a update message:

I’m not 100% sure what exactly the other improvements were, but not much changed in the build number:



As you can see, only the build number changed, so it doesn’t appear that the update effects anything major.

One sad thing about this unboxing and upcoming review is that it doesn’t appear that Milwaukee has any 4G network availability. I’ve looked on Sprint’s coverage map and scanned on the Epic 4G anyway and didn’t find anything. So sadly, I won’t have the ability to comment on the 4G speed. samsung epic 4g

Well that’ll about do it for my unboxing. Keep your eyes peeled within the week to see our full review of the Epic 4G!

  • polo89

    Please tell me that the click sound whenever you choose anything can be turned off.

  • Scott Young

    You can turn down the “System Volume” which sets the volume for touch feedback and power on/off sounds. Turning it all way down effectively turns off the clicking you’re speaking of (and the power on/off sounds), but you can’t individually turn off the click sounds

  • Harvz

    very nice, ps nice stand where did you get it :)

  • Scott Young
  • polo89

    Wow. I can’t believe they would not include a different setting to turn that clicking sound off. But, turning down system sounds is only feedback and power on/off correct? Nothing else turned downed?

  • Scott Young

    Correct, I can’t notice anything else effected

  • polo89

    Thanks a lot! And great review btw (so far). I think I’m sold on the thing and I never touched it. Can’t wait for Aug 31!

  • joseph

    It’s ‘affected’. Not ‘effected’.

  • ari-free

    The period goes before the end quote.

  • teddles

    thanks for the great write up. i cant wait to pick mine up. its a little sad that milwaukee doesn’t have 4g yet. i guess i’ll be able to live without when i’m there next month.

    denver, co

  • Ian

    Another phone from this company… Hope you may have better luck with the updates. Is tradition to this brand to abandon his Android devices only some months old, when still sold in stores.

    Like the Spica. No 3D drivers, no froyo, 800mhz CPU wasted.

  • Scott Young

    I doubt Sprint will let this phone fall to the wayside. As their 2nd 4G phone, they’re going to give it plenty of support and attention

  • Steve

    @4G: You people are forgetting that Sprint customers are going to pay an extra $10 dollars just to use 4G. And the majority of those customers arn’t even going to get 4G. Not that 4G is worth a darn anyway. its slower than T-mobiles HSPA+ but at least those people who live in the sticks dont have to pay extra for something they dont get.

    @ 3MP (VGA) Front-facing: You cant use it unless your in a wifi spot cause 4G isnt fast enough or plentiful enough. so blah

    @ cameraStatus LED: unnecessary battery drain on an otherwise awesome battery.