Samsung Galaxy S "Epic"

Dude. It's eppppp-ic.

But confusing. Because the Samsung Epic is part of the "Samsung Galaxy S" family of phones. And each "Galaxy S" phone has a different name and slightly different features based on which carrier has it.

Thanks to CNET, I figured out Sprint's "Galaxy S" phone was the "Epic."

Wouldn't it be cool if phones were just numbered? I have the #8 with Sprint. No way! You should upgrade to the #9. Or what about the #4 with Verizon? Nah, I heard AT&T's #7 is good.

Let me preface this by saying my previous phone was the prehistoric Palm Centro. Cute as a button but I had no data plan and the touch screen, while exciting back in 2008, would be considered a postage stamp by today's kickstand bearing evolutionaries.

So ANY smartphone would be an upgrade.

That aside, I still researched, including crowdsourcing my friends on Facebook and Twitter (who mostly recommended the iPhone or some version of a Droid. Only Jeff said the Galaxy S, which I had not heard of) for days to find the BEST phone on the market, for my needs, in this order:

--Fast email and web browsing on a big screen that doesn't require tons of pinching and enlarging. In a different context those things might not be terrible but when it comes to cell phone screens, less is better.

--Texting

--Camera and HD video capabilities, front facing camera would be nice but not not a deal breaker

--Strong network with good service

--Speakerphone

The Epic meets my needs in those categories, and then some.

1. Swyping is bomb. I've seen the online demos and I thought it looked weird and I really didn't understand why it was so much better than just typing with your thumbs or using a slide out keyboard. Oh but it IS. You can use your thumb or pointer finger and it truly is faster than typing. They say 33% faster in the ads. I agree. Hella cool. So cool I've resorted to "Teen Vicky" vernacular when describing it to friends. "Swype is the radness y'all!" 

However, I have seen one iPhone 4 user Jeremy who failed miserably at swyping. I think the caveat is that you have to actually know the QWERTY keyboard so that you can easily swype from one letter to the next without pausing too much in between to find the next letter. It also helps to know what word it is you want to type before you start swyping. It's meant for people who think as fast or faster than they talk. Jeremy.

2. Very easy to use. If you are accustomed to iPads and smart devices in general, the interface is super user friendly. That's the big draw of Apple products and I was happy to see the Epic was equally easy to use.

3. 4G. I don't know if it's super faster than 3G yet, but it didn't make sense to me to get a 3G iPhone when 4G technology and speeds are available and they are "the future." I don't like superfluous upgrading and hassling when it comes to gadgets. Get the most advanced one for the buck.

4. Instant compatibility with Google and Gmail. The transfer of my contacts from Centro to Epic took under a minute and everything is now stored in the cloud. And when you save new contacts, you can choose to store them in the cloud or on the phone. And my personal and work Google calendars both showed up too. Faboosh!

5. Multiple home screens. Yeah baby. You don't have to go scrolling through a bunch of apps a la iPhone to get what you want. One home screen can be dedicated to your direct dial and direct message widgets for your nearest and dearest. Another can have the 16 apps you use the most. Another can have your social media shortcuts. Another can have your Angry Birds and game apps. Another can be dedicated to memos and calendars. Another can have all your camera apps and shortcuts.

SEVEN home screens! Overkill? Maybe. But if you have a lot to organize, the options are super nice. I didn't think this was going to be a big deal but I really like the customization and the ability to put what's important to me where I want it.

6. The screen is brilliant. It's super AMOLED which sounds like an unfortunate blistery medical condition. "Did you see that guy's AMOLED? It was all over his lips!"But the live wallpaper and graphics look so sharp, even when I have my brightness down to save energy.

7. Email access to my Yahoo! account--very simple to set up and easy to read. For some reason the layout of Yahoo! for the Android OS is way better than the Yahoo! layout for my iPad. I can delete multiple items at once and it's much easier to navigate.

8. The Android app marketplace. I think there are 100K+ apps and so far I've found everything I've wanted or needed. Lots of great camera apps.

9. Voice dialing and Google voice are pretty responsive, even for immigrants with accents.

10. Cheapest 4G and data plan on the market. Which is more about Sprint than the Epic but that's a major plus. I have unlimited data, texts, and picture messages, unlimited mobile to mobile, and 1500 shared anytime minutes to landlines. Nights and weekends start at 7PM and my parents have unlimited everything on 3G for 129.99 a month. No other carrier comes close to that price point.

Things that could use improvement:

1. Battery life. I am religious about hitting the back button and going to the task manager to manage my tasks and end everything as soon as I'm done using it but still, the phone has to be charged about every 36 hours or so. That's on par with other smartphones but I think they could all use better batteries.

2. Camera. Still a cell phone camera, even at 5MP. Picture quality doesn't seem to be as crispy as iPhone pics and when you are on low battery, the camera won't launch at all. Camera apps do launch though.

3. Doesn't support Flash player. Only the HTC Evo plays Flash videos, according to the Sprint guy. What the hell??? It's like having an iPhone 4. Hurry up with the 2.2 Froyo software update or whatever it is. Apparently once that software update is released, I will be able to play Flash videos. I don't do it a lot but I really hate going to a website, such as www.nbcbayarea.com and not being able to play the videos. So annoy.

Four days into owning the Samsung Epic and this is what I think. I'm no tech whiz or gadgetista or super user but the Sprint guy said, "You're gonna love this phone" and I have to say, he was right.

Vicky NguyenBloggity, reviews, tech