Product Review (January 2009)
Samsung - Epix™ (with AT&T Service)

By Kevin Nakano

Samsung's new Epix (SGH-i907) closely resembles their highly acclaimed BlackJack™ II, so our expectations were high on this new phone. Key differences are the navigation controls and the 2.5-inch TFT color touchscreen found on this new smartphone. The Epix operates with Windows Mobile® 6.1 Professional and features high speed data connectivity and Mobile email. The design also features AT&T Navigator, Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g), Bluetooth® Wireless profiles, a 2.0 megapixel camera (with video capability), and Video Share all packed into an attractive and stylish mobile device with a large 320x320 pixel resolution, 65k color touchscreen display and QWERTY keypad. Unlike my 8830 Blackberry, the Epix has the keys spaced farther apart making it less prone to key entry errors. Those with larger fingers will appreciate the design. The optical mouse is something new and it took some time to get used to, but we like the design. The Epix supports high speed access using tri-band UMTS/HSDPA (850,1900, 2100MHz) GPRS/EDGE (850/900/1800/1900MHz), so users will be able to access high speed 3G networks while traveling abroad as well. The touchscreen is a really great feature of this phone and makes navigating through the menus easy. User can fully customize the screen to their preference. The phone measures a mere 4.6-inches x 2.4-inches x 0.5-inches, and weighs just 4.4 ounces. The battery design has a capacity of 1800 mAh giving users extended talk (up to 7 days) and standby time (up to 14 days). This larger battery design is important for all smartphones that are prone to drawing lots of power.

The back of the Epix has the 2 megapixel camera that can also shoot video. Video is recorded using MPEG4, H.263, and WMV algorithms. The 4x digital zoom helps get you closer to the action while the self-timer give you enough time to join in the photo. A brightness control is also provided. The small speaker provides the ringer sounds, but it is often difficult to hear in real-world settings even at the highest level. Next to the image sensor is a self-portrait mirror. The left side of the phone has the power button and volume rocker, while the right side has the power/headset connector and the microSD slot supporting memories as large as 32GB. Samsung provides a 3.5mm headphone adapter with the phone making it compatible with standard audio equipment. The Epix also includes the AC adapter, USB cable, software CD, and manuals.

The Wi-Fi connection on the Epix lets you take advantage of public or private networks in most places. The good news is not only do you get a fast connection, it also does not eat up any extra minutes of your plan.

The Epix features Bluetooth 2.0 support, so users can pair the device with the latest wireless and stereo Bluetooth headsets. There's additional support for Bluetooth peripherals such as keyboards and printers making it a really powerful interface.

Email is one of the main reasons for getting this phone. The Epix incorporates Microsoft's Direct Push technology that uses Exchange ActiveSync to keep data on a Windows Mobile®–based device synchronized. There is also POP3 and IMAP support along with instant messaging (AIM, Yahoo Messenger, and Windows Live Messenger) capability. The user can set the time interval for pinging the mail servers. The more frequent the Epix checks for mail on the server, the shorter the battery life. Windows Mobile 6.1 allows users to use the Microsoft Office Mobile Suite for editing Word and Excel files, and viewing PowerPoint presentations on the device. This is great for those on the road needing to access these type of files.

The Samsung Epix is a great phone even with its shortcomings. This advanced phone features Windows Mobile 6.1 with quad-band worldwide roaming, speed dialing, three-way calling, conference calling, a speakerphone, and text messaging. The optical mouse worked well and eventually proved to be a nice addition to the design. We actually liked Windows Mobile on this phone and it worked very well. The large 320x320 high resolution screen was easy to read (except in bright sunlight) and the touchscreen was a nice addition to the design. The Epix includes voice-dialing capability not found in the Blackjack II and is something I use all the time especially here in California where we have a hands-free law in place. The phone's address book is only limited by the available memory with each contact entry holding all kinds of data (multiple numbers, e-mail addresses, IM handles, titles, etc.). This information is used when a call is received and can display not only the name of the caller, but a picture as well.

The Samsung Epix is now available from AT&T for $199.99 with a two-year contract and after the mail-in rebate. AT&T's Video Share service is also available for this phone with plans starting at just $4.99 per month. It is one of the most powerful smartphones we have used to date and we enjoyed using it. The look and feel is similar to the Blackjack II, which we considered to be on the top of our list.

- Kevin Nakano

OPPO BDP-103 Blu-ray Player

Review - At a Glance

Samsung - Epix™ Mobile Phone

Technical Specs

  • Weight: 4.4 ounces
  • Dimension: 4.6 x 2.4 x. 0.5 inches
  • Talk Time: Up to 7 hours
  • Standby Time: Up to 14 days
  • Tri-band domestic UMTS/HSDPA - 850/1900/2100 MHz
  • Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE - 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
  • Microsoft Windows® Mobile(TM) 6.1
  • Internal memory storage: 256MB ROM / 150MB RAM
  • Large 2.55" 320x320 65k color LCD screen
  • microSD(TM) expansion slot supports up to 32 GB
  • Bluetooth® v2.0, Stereo, A2DP
  • Batery Capacity: 1800mAh

Note: All talk, data and standby times depend on network configuration
Good mobile messaging support available in the near future

Features & Benefits

  • Microsoft Windows Mobile 6 standard — stay connected with calendar, email, to-do list and more
  • Tri-band HSDPA/quad-band EDGE world phone — work from virtually anywhere at 3G speeds including Japan and South Korea**
  • Large 2.55" 65K TFT display screen — enjoy easier reading with the large display
  • Integrated GPS — find your next destination quickly with TeleNav Maps or TeleNav GPS Navigator™
  • Wireless email support for Microsoft Direct Push, Good® Mobile Messaging and Xpress Mail
  • Microsoft Office Mobile® — access Word®, Excel®, or view PowerPoint® files
  • 2.0 megapixel camera and video recorder — capture and share great moments
  • Stereo Bluetooth® 2.0 connectivity — experience true hands-free communication
  • Embedded Mobile Instant Messenger supporting Yahoo!®, AOL®, and Windows Live™
  • AT&T Video & AT&T Music — stream music and video in real time
  • Video Share Calling — talk on the phone and share live video instantly
  • Embedded RSS Reader Client — customize news feeds direct to your device
  • QWERTY keyboard with front jog wheel

Epix User's Manual

Source: AT&T Loan
MSRP: $199.99 with 2-Year AT&T Contract and Rebate

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