One of the most hotly anticipated Android handsets is en-route to the United States.  Announced at Mobile World Congress in February, Samsung's Galaxy S II has taken the market by storm, with five million units sold in 85 short days.  The Epic 4G Touch is Sprint's variant of the popular device, and it'll be available in retail stores on Friday, September 16 for $199.99 with a two-year agreement.

Sprint's Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch (as it's called in full) is an incredible smartphone on a carrier that offers an excellent value proposition, but Sprint's network data issues are becoming increasingly hard to overlook.  Today's mobile devices require data at every turn; whether you're updating the weather, downloading apps, or checking your email, you're using data at every turn.  A poor data experience can make or break your overall taste towards a device, and unfortunately, that's the concern I have with the Epic 4G Touch.  The handset is feature-packed and just as awesome as the international version, but the poor data speeds cripple the experience and will inevitably lead people to wonder "what's wrong with this phone?"

Network issues aside, I've had the Epic 4G Touch (which I jokingly call the "EpTouch" due to the long name) for about 24 hours, and for the time being, it's Sprint's best smartphone.  Here's why:

  • Samsung turned it around big time in the processor department, going from last in most benchmarks to first.  The 1.2 GHz dual-core Exynos processor is a huge improvement over the single-core Hummingbird chip, and like the international version of the Galaxy S II, the Epic 4G Touch is incredibly fast in all tasks.

  • EpTouch's 4.52-inch Super AMOLED Plus display is huge, but boy, is it gorgeous.  The size makes for a big piece of phone and is somewhat awkward to hold in the hand, but it's masked quite well thanks to the svelte 9.6mm thick body.  For whatever reason, the curves of the device aren't working in my favor.  I've dropped the phone or had it slip out of my hand no less than seven times since I've gotten it.
  • Epic 4G Touch ships with Android 2.3.4 and TouchWiz 4.0, which is a night-and-day difference over previous builds of Samsung's UI.  TouchWiz 4.0 is fast, offers improved widgets and custom features, and is up-to-date with competitors like HTC's Sense and Motorola's custom user interface.  They've trimmed a lot of the fat and made it aesthetically appealing.  I didn't care for TouchWiz 3.0, but 4.0 is (at present) my favorite Android skin.
  • Like the international variant, Sprint's Galaxy S II model ships with an 8-megapixel camera.  Still pictures are excellent, but the 1080p video recording could use some work.  Audio quality was pretty distorted and choppy, and while the picture was decent, I've certainly seen better from other 1080p-enabled handsets.

  • To compensate for the large display, Samsung upped the battery to 1,800 mAh, and so far, it has performed well.  With moderate use like calling, text messaging, emailing, browsing the web, and downloading a few apps, I'd say you should be able to make it through most of the day.  LIke other recent Samsung devices, the Epic 4G Touch takes a long time to charge.  If you're like me and live off of the quick 15 minute charges between meetings, events, and the like, you'll want to carry a spare battery.
  • While voice calling has been fine, Sprint's data network performance has been mostly terrible, which pulls away from the overall positive experience with the phone.  In most of my network tests, 3G data speeds have often been slower than dial-up (I'm usually averaging between 0.02 and 0.30 Mbps on the download), and their 4G (WiMAX) coverage has been oddly spotty lately.  As I type this, I'm sitting in uptown Charlotte - literally, the center of the city - and I'm not getting a 4G signal.  It took me 72 seconds this morning to post an update to Twitter, and just over six minutes to download an app.  It's like throwing a Toyota Corolla's engine into a Ferrari; the phone has so many high-end, data centric features that can't be utilized to their maximum.
  • The whole "datagate" ordeal is frustrating, because Sprint is one of my favorite wireless carriers.  They're the underdog; the one that I've always wanted to see succeed.  They've struggled over the years in both churn and customer satisfaction, and they've historically done a great job with trying to turn the negative perception around.  I'm afraid this data thing, if left unchecked, will put a painful blemish on their record.

I've been really impressed with the Galaxy S II since my hands-on time with it a few months ago.  Months after its release, it's still the Android star; the most popular, sought-after Android device since the HTC EVO 4G.  Thanks to the lofty unsubsidized price, I rarely recommended it to buyers.  Now that three of the four US carriers are picking it up and adding their own flavor to it, it's an Android device that's I'd recommend to anyone.  Design preferences are always subjective, but the Epic 4G Touch packs a few extra goodies over the original like a large display, notification light, and a larger battery.  Unfortunately, Sprint's network appears to be going through some serious issues at the moment, so the phone's capabilities are often handicapped by painfully slow data speeds.

Check out the unboxing below, and stay tuned for more on the first US carrier-branded Galaxy S II!

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88 Reactions to this post

"What do you think of the Epic 4G Touch?"

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Marcos Guerrero The phone stand equal to nothing. Beats everything out there but there seems to be a major problem with its energy saving software. Status shows the Android OS going crazy with activity with the phone being simply idle. Sprint and Samsung needs to fix this ASAP. Xda Developer forums has on going thread of the problem.
DeMonte Greene That's a good and nice phone
Bret Reodique It's like the best galaxy s 2 of the different variant of that phone. Really amazing. . The Galaxy S 2 epic 4g is a head over the htc sensation. Nyee. I want to have one,. :'(
David Kfir Borochov would love to see all 3 Galaxy S 2 vs each other when avallbe
Elad Amar is awesome devise
Mark Balcher It is the most advanced phone to date. The super amoled plus technology is breathtaking, and the 4.52" display is great. Much clearer and more vivid than the qHD diplays are. exynos dual core processors are the fastest available. You can't beat Sprint's unlimited data plan either, while other carriers cap you or throttle you if you consume more than 2GB per month. Sprint and Epic FTW!!
Arnold Riley I think I will wait on the White model or IPhone5..
Chad Allen Amazing phone picked it up today and man is this phone awsome in everyway it is blazing fast and by far was worth the wait i remember getting the samsung instinct and samsung has gotten so much better since then!
Shannon Smith i love it! I got it today and I am impressed!
Zach Cline @Lee Get a life fandroid. Go watch your toy story or lion king lol. Fag.
Jason Mason Sprint speeds are messed up in my area right now,no need 2 buy a new phone intil its fixed
Lee Grip Gresham Anybody seen Zach...? Zach Cline....anyone? He wants an iPhone...
T.K. Lu Should I get this phone or should I wait til iPhone 5 coming to Sprint next month (if it is confirmed that iPhone 5 is coming to Sprint).
Mendez Roy I don't know
Rani Hinnawi 4.3" is big enough for me. 4.53" is a little too big, especially with the 480x800 resolution, which is pretty bad (even with the amazing Super AMOLED screen). Personally, I'd rather go with the unlocked UK version so I can use it with different carriers and worldwide. If I had a choice, I would use it with Sprint. For the most part, though, the Epic Touch is amazing despite its flaws (which every phone has). I'd still rather have an HTC, though.
Namkell Kelly I think its probably the best phone out right now. I just don't like touchwiz..if HTC doesn't come out with the EVO 2 by the time a upgrade,ill probably get it...just for the bigger screen
Michael Ngugi M i mean its an artistic combinationof genious.4.52 inches,super thin,dual processor,amazing battery,Led notification light...honestly samsung hav outdone themselves.i mean its th best phone out there...th most powerful,bt screw sprint...
Ashley B. Calloway It's A nice phone to have if anyone is ever interested in getting it
Miguel Sahagun @christopher ask me how many peeps I know that have jailbroken their iphone cuz they think it sucks big time. They're bored of it and want out of thier contract. I've converted 3 to evos while the others have itchy trigger fingers.
Miguel Sahagun It will be in my hands tomorrow!
Jose Jealousonestillenvy Reyes I'm waiting on the metro lg esteem,it's going to rock! let's go metro!
Byktor Urvaes I don't like samsung phones, and this is not different..
Niels Durhuus will it be released outside USA? i sure hope so!!!
Zach Cline @Christopher- The iphone is better than most laggy android devices. Hate to break it to you. And rooting voids your warranty. Not a big deal if you know what you're doing, But for those that don't i wouldn't reccomend it . And there's no reason to flash crappy third party software to this.
Marquis Green It looks like a great phone but they all start out that way in the end they cost too much and never last the 2 yr agreement sprint needs the samsung note I'd gjve that a try
Jerry Henley Had mine on reserve for a week.... Its mine tomorrow !!
Luis Lopez Has anybody watched the CNET Prizefight of the Samsung Galaxy S2 vs the HTC Sensation?
Luciano Ace Escobedo I jizzed my pants o___O
Christopher Bigham Tommrow can not come soon enough..... ill be at sprint before they open to get this glorious phone. And by the way if you don't like your os on an android phone its called roting try it. Wish I could say the same for all of you lame-o's who think the iphone is actually a good phone:( oh well you'll learn soon enough when buy that outdated out of the box piece of crap
Chris Sanchez Its gay and worthless
Luis Lopez @Zach Cline: Dude, calm down. Its just a phone haha. The post asked us what we thought of it didn't it? Loser.
Kevin Joel Its truly epic.
Zach Cline @Luis- Yeah you are.
Angel Miguel Peguero phone of the year look at this dumbass talking about the iphone 5 haha doesnt even know what it has
Luis Lopez Garbage.
Chris Baldwin I wish the slang use of the word "epic" would go away.
Dominique House Waiting to see if the Nexus Prime will come to all major carriers. If not Imma back track and snatch up the Epic touch if I can bring myself to part with my Nexus S 4G.
Christopher R Wofford I'm getting one when Sprint hires me
Yegor Victor Vasilenko What do I think??? I'm thinking about the iPhone 5 duh!!:D
Andrew Veale Like Michael said, Samsung sucks balls with updates. I have the Epic and I'm not sure I want to get an extension on a phone that will be obsolete (OS version wise) next month or two.
Lionel Wright I think it's amazing! I'm gonna go buy 1 probably in a few weeks. SPRINT FTW!!
Leandro Arce I love the Phone, is a beast!!
Damien Brooks Everything Samsung, NEEDS TO DIE!!!!!!!!
Jordan Acosta @ Jordan Polonia Yeah have hdmi port
Luis Alberto Alaniz it looks really cool. digging the 4.5+ super amoled plus screen
StickyFace UpTown Clark the best phone ever made this year so far
Xiomara-Rosa Fernandez Isn't tht phone also known as the galaxy??? Cuz usually the galaxy phones get the updates first... thts a google phone...I was always upset with samsung receivin updates late or none at all...but if this is the galaxy II then thts a google phone and samsung picked it up...don't matter about the old samsung system...cuz once its a galaxy phone its all good
Dominic Dejesus I should have waited instead of getting the kyocera echo
Ed Plnia i have the option to get one tomorrow but the now network is the worse right now, so why should i spend money upgrading when the service suck? plus this phone don't have HDMI port
Alex Englehart Some sprints are selling them today, call them and ask if you can buy one today.
Jordan Acosta Great phone the best,i going to do the upgrade tomorrow...
Robert Skeen Don't think about it.Just got the Bionic.
Mark Fisher Jr. Looks better than the oringinal.
Fan OfDreaming N I'm gonna buy it on Amazon!!! It's cheap enough 4 me there!!
Fan OfDreaming Luv it :)
Michael Johnson While I am a fan of it spec wise, being burned and waiting rediculously long for updates has left a bad taste in my mouth from Samsung. Even now the Epic 4G STILL does not have an official GB update. While shitty phones like the Optimus and Echo are updated left and right. So I'll be waiting patiently and see if they fumble again.
Janelle Jae Hunter Getting it tomorrow!
Larry Dj Ill Clayton I'm actually stuck between the EVO 3D, E Touch or the Sprint iPhone...
Abdullah Qaraeen the name says it... EPIC ! :)
Jordan Acosta I have the epic 4G i going to do the upgrade tomorrow for tha phone...
Luis Montoya 1.5 ghz on tmobile? super great, though i would preffer the note
Jordan Acosta The best in the market right now.....
Larry Dj Ill Clayton It's a good phone but the main question is will it get updates... That might be the only flaw keeping it from greatness
Darwin W. Torres :( I want it! !!! but can't afford it!
Antonio Pagan Getting it tomorrow
Jaz Lasa @Marcus goodluck with that. I cannot wait til tomorrow morning
Mel Elvin dont know not rich enough to buy 1.
Christopher Wesley I want one. My EVO 3D needs a replacement.
Angel Vazquez I wish I could get it
Marcus NinersEmpire Dnt care waiting on another evo Fone big big brother lol wit a slide out keyboard
Sam Rick Hott!
Johnny Cababe I think it's the shizzz!!!
Josh Therezo It blows my Epic 4G out of the water, although I'm going to miss my keyboard when I upgrade! :(
Jeremy Schneider Impatiently waiting to be eligible for my upgrade.
Eric Mitchell Preordered mine last night! Can't wait until it's in my hands!
Nygee Gant I NEED that.. why you may ask? well, because children are dying... probably
Leon Brandy Will it get updates!?
Mark Balcher Wow. Just, wow. I am so psyched for this phone, I am still using my Epic 4G, but cant wait for that kind of speed and extra RAM. oh Yea!
Kitty Foxie I think I want one
Paulo Pingol my dream phne
Clary Dsilva it Sucks ?
Melissa Cruz-Guzmán I would like to have one!!!

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