Review (January 2009)
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 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
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