Saturday, March 5, 2011

My switch from the 3Gs iPhone to Android (Samsung EPIC on Sprint)

I just got my first android phone, the Samsung EPIC 4G through Sprint. There are many reasons why I chose this specific Android phone but here were a few of my requirements:
  • Physical keyboard (although I am also very impressed with Swype)
  • Front facing camera which will allow for video conferencing
  • At least a 1Ghz processor (The GPU helps out a lot as well)
  • AMOLED screen (Not technically a requirement but if you have ever seen it you will understand)
  • Android OS 2.2 (Froyo) -- Sprint actually just retracted this update but it should be back soon.
  • Faster network (4G)
  • Stop paying any more Apple taxes
Some may wonder why I didn't go with the new iphone. Well, I wanted a physical keyboard and I wanted the ability to create scripts on my phone so that I could get my phone to do exactly what I wanted it to do. Sprint seems to be a much better user experience so far as well, with or without 4G. As it turns out my wife was already on Sprint so our cash flow will also be much improved ($0.20 per text? c'mon AT&T).

I was tempted to wait for this summer as to let my contract with AT&T lapse. There will certainly be newer phones introduced by then as well, but I figured life is too short. Also the fees for ending the contract were not that bad and Sprint had some pretty good incentives that more than made up for it.

Is there anything I will miss about my iPhone? Honestly I don't think so. Some may miss iTunes but I never really got into iTunes that much anyway. I almost always stream my music (Slacker) anyway so the network is much more important to me.

Upside surprises

  • The network just seems much much snappier than AT&T even when I am on 3G.
  • The screen is amazing when I set it next to my old phone the iPhone seems downright dull. When I look at my Picasa pictures on the EPIC using there "gallery" app it is like looking at the pictures for the first time. I have never seen my pictures looking so good!
  • Integration with all the Google tools is excellent.
  • Swype virtual keyboard is much more usable than I ever thought it could be. It makes me question my requirement for a physical keyboard it is that good. If you are not planning to write scripts on your phone you may really not need the physical keyboard, maybe.
Downside surprises

  • The keyboard keys are a little bit too flush. I wish everyone that made physical keyboards would use the raised keys like on Blackberry's. I find myself looking at the keys a bit too much trying to find where my fingers are exactly. I was thinking about adding a dot of super glue to all the keys so that I could really feel them but I am not sure there is enough clearance.
  • I wish the four buttons at the bottom of the phone were physical keys as well so I wouldn't have to look at them to push them.
  • I find it a bit frustrating to get help with things. For instance one of the reasons I got the phone was so that I could send certain incoming calls directly to voice mail (you know who you are, jk :). If you search the intertubes you can find lots of people talking about it, but it seems like my phone does not have the option. I am not sure if it is the Android OS 2.1 or Sprints front end or what but the slight differences are a bit frustrating. On the other hand I know that eventually I will get it working where as with the iPhone I would never be able to fix it because of the closed nature of the phone.
My following posts will describe in more details my attempts to script up my phone.


  1. FYI: Qik, is a video chatting app that comes with the EPIC. I believe it is supposed to be able to do phone to phone or phone to PC. I have not had time to test it out yet.