An Evo user's thoughts on the Epic...
My immediate first impression: It looks better in person that it does in pictures online. I thought it looked pretty bland when I first saw it online, but in person, it's not bad. It definitely looks better than the Samsung Captivate on AT&T, but I still think that the Vibrant looks the best. Once I picked it up, I was surprised by how light it was. Initially, I was disappointed; I thought for a split-second that it was a dummy model that I was holding. It was noticeably lighter than the Evo. I couldn't, however, decide if this was good or bad. The lack of heft puts the Epic 4G dangerously close to being perceived as "cheap and plastic-y". The phone (as well as the other Galaxy S phones) just didn't feel that solid to me. Especially compared to phones that have some noticeable heft to them, like the Evo and Nexus One. I feel that if it were dropped from waist-high, it would shatter into a million pieces or something.
The lack of heft aside, the phone feels really good in the hand. It's rounded corners fell better than the Evo. But because of the keyboard, the phone is pretty thick. I noticed that trying to use the phone with one hand can be difficult sometimes (and I have fairly large hands), especially when trying to reach things at the top of the screen (like the notification bar).
The screen: I have mixed feelings about Samsung's Super AMOLED screen. When I turned on the screen for the first time, one word popped in my head: OVERRATED (the same word that came to me when seeing the iPhone 4's "retina display" for the first time). I honestly don't see the hype. Yes, if you're looking at a picture / movie, the colors look amazing. But looking at text, on the other hand, is a different story. The main problem that I had with the SAMOLED screen is the "screen door effect". You can see the individual pixels! What's worse, you can see them without even looking hard. They are just there, in your face. I have perfect vision, and I have to put my Evo pretty close to my face in order to make out individual pixels. On the Epic, you can see them everywhere. It's really bad when looking at text on a white background (like on almost every website). You can see the white lines in-between the black of the letters. It's like looking at a mini chess board. Here's a picture so you can get an idea for yourself:
I would rather take a regular AMOLED, TFT LCD, or Retina display any day of SAMOLED
Ahhh, the keyboard. This is the ONLY reason I even considered swapping the Evo for an Epic. In short: it's really good. It's one of the best landscape keyboards I've ever used. The keys are really clicky, and are a nice size. My only complaint is that I wish they were domed more. Because they are flat, my fingers tended to slide over to adjacent keys. I'm sure with time I would be really fast & accurate on it. The only landscape keyboard that's better than this one is the one on the Touch Pro 2. That this is amazing.
I'm not gonna talk too much about the software, since we all know what Android is about. What I will say is that TouchWiz isn't that bad. It's actually better than the skin Motorola has put on the Droid2 and DroidX. It's not as good as Sense UI, but it's definitely better than stock Android. Overall, everything I did on the phone was super fast. Scrolling was smooth, and it didn't lag at all. No complaints.
Minor annoyances: -There is a dedicated smiley button on the keyboard… wtf. It would be much more useful it they put the @ symbol there, instead of it. -For some reason, Samsung likes putting the lock/power button on the right side of the phone. Not a big deal on the other Galaxy S phones, but every time I would lock/unlock the phone, the keyboard would move/open a little.
Final thoughts: It's a really good phone. If I had the choice today to either get a free Epic or a free Evo, I'm about 65% sure I'd take the Evo. If I was a new Sprint customer, there is almost no way to justify taking this phone over the Evo, especially seeing as how it's $50 more… Unless, of course, you abso-freakin-lutely need a physical keyboard.