Going back and forth between the Epix and Fuze over this last week has me weighing the two against each other, which isn't a very well-matched battle. Not because one blows the other away, but because they are such different devices in terms of form. In terms of function though, you'd probably be doing the exact same things with either one. I love the Touch line, so I was a bit surprised to find Samsung's Epix so much more... usable.
The display isn't as tight as the one on the Fuze, and that initially had me preferring HTC's glossy trophy of a phone. But besides that, I think the Epix is a more well-rounded device. It's also nice to have a QWERTY under your thumbs without sliding anything out or turning the phone sideways in your hands. The Epix feels like it's always ready. That may sound kind of silly; like turning the phone is a hassle, or takes too much time. But it does change the experience.
It's not just the keyboard that's ready to go. Epix has an optical mouse
, and doesn't even come with a stylus. At first this kind of annoyed me because I was using my fingers instead of the mouse. Once I got used to switching between the mouse and my finger for different tasks, it made a lot more sense than drawing a stylus from the underside of a phone.
I love the way the stylus is integrated into the body of HTC's Touch phones. But after using the Epix, a day with the Fuze felt like a bit of a hassle; like I was always dismantling or rearranging it for standard functions. I'm exaggerating for clarity, but the Epix hardware is always ready to go. I don't know how else to say it.
The gunmetal finish and holographic branding look classy but not snobby, whereas the Fuze is status gear. Holding the two in each hand, imagining I had paid for them, I'm scared to leave home with the Fuze. Epix feels more durable. It's lighter and would probably come out of a drop better than the $299 HTC phone. The Epix is $199 after mail-in rebate. You probably know how I feel about that, but the mail-in is here to stay so I'll quit complaining. Both of those prices require contracts.