The first 4G phone in the United States finally has some competition. On August 31, Samsung’s Epic 4G arrives on Sprint, ending the EVO 4G’s nearly three-month run as the big man on campus. But is it actually a better choice? We stacked both superphones side by side to see which rules the 4G airwaves.
Processor (Winner: Samsung Epic 4G)
When it comes to power, neither phone is a slouch, but minor differences do manifest a marked gap between them. Samsung uses a 1GHz Hummingbird chip that shares a bloodline with the one used in the iPhone 4, while the EVO 4G uses a 1GHz Snapdragon processor. Which wins out when hummingbirds and dragons go to battle? The runty little bird powering the Epic. Check out AndroidCentral’s benchmark of the EVO 4G and Samsung Captivate (which has almost identical specs to the Epic 4G, but comes on AT&T) side by side. It averaged 55.1 fps to 42.9 fps in a gaming test, and turned in higher scores in the Neocore processing benchmark, as well.
Display (Winner: HTC EVO 4G)
What might be the greyest area in our comparison comes down to a matter of preference. With a 4.3-inch LCD screen, the HTC EVO 4G has both immense size and sunlight-resistance in its favor. With a 4.0-inch OLED screen, the Samsung Epic 4G looks like a glittering gem beside its super-sized HTC counterpart… but fades to a dingy bluish gray the moment you bring it out into the sun. Resolution on both models is an identical 800 x 480. While movie fans might prefer the Epic’s brilliant color, we’re awarding this one to the EVO 4G based on practicality.
Camera (Winner: HTC EVO 4G)
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Resolution does not make a camera. But in this case, the 8-megapixel camera in the EVO 4G really is a better shot than the 5-megapixel camera in the Epic 4G. Our test shots showed the Epic returning overly dark outdoor shots in comparison to the EVO 4G, even though they come closer to parity indoors. Small a difference as it makes, the EVO 4G also has a two LEDs for its flash, while the Epic gets only one.
Keyboard (Winner: Samsung Epic 4G)
Better and better virtual keyboards and more sensitive touch screens have gone a long way in swaying fans of the physical keyboard, but some folks still crave the clack of keys. Samsung obliges with a full physical QWERTY keyboard that slides out horizontally, and it’s even backlit. While the 4.3-inch screen on the EVO 4G translates to one of the least cramped virtual keyboards out there, there’s simply no substitute for the real thing on the Epic 4G.
Overall Winner: HTC EVO 4G
Despite a brilliant screen and a few extra horses from its 1GHz Hummingbird processor, the Epic 4G can’t overcome a number of bests still held by the first 4G phone on the market. It offers superior front and back cameras, a larger screen that remains usable in sunlight, a lower price, and even a few negligible differences like more room to share in Wi-Fi sharing mode. That’s not to even mention extras that go unaccounted for in the categories above, like its handy kickstand for watching video and HDMI output. That said, old-school mobile users who demand a full physical keyboard will find plenty to love in the slide-out model on the Epic 4G, and the dazzling OLED screen will catch plenty of compliments… indoors, anyway. Buyers who fall in love with either one of these compelling features may happily trade in the EVO’s handful of practical advantages for the Epic.