The Sprint Epic 4G, a Samsung Galaxy S series phone, is being released today. If you haven’t heard of a Galaxy S phone before, you will soon hear more about them. For the U.S. carriers, there are four different variants of the Galaxy S from each of the carriers: Sprint Epic 4G, Verizon Fascinate, T-Mobile Vibrant, and AT&T Captivate.
Since their initial release 45 days ago, there has been over a million units sold in the U.S., and only for the two previously released smartphones: T-Mobile’s Vibrant and AT&T’s Captivate.
If you’re interested in grabbing one of the current leading Android-powered smartphone, and you’re mulling over which device to get from which carrier, have no fear, BillShrink is here to help you. Check out our total cost of ownership and feature comparison graphic below. It’ll help you figure out which cell phone and which cell phone plan may work best for you!
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Because we couldn’t fit everything in the graphics above, Shrinkage readers will just have to make due with my poorly written commentary below. I’ll update this if any new information emerge for the as-of-yet unreleased Samsung Fascinate.
Carrier Cell Phone Plan Notes & Tidbits:
Each of the carriers will offer different features and options for their cell phone plan, the most distinguish of them being Sprint and Verizon, which allows you to have the option of making your Epic 4G or Fascinate into a WiFi hub that supports up to five additional devices. You should note that this feature is not free and will cost you about an additional $30 a month (though if you feel like fiddling with the phones, rooting the phone will give you the same feature for free).
Sprint’s plan also offers unlimited mobile-to-mobile minutes to any wireless carrier, so if you’re going to be using lots of mobile minutes, this is a factor you should consider. Sprint also have earlier weeknight starting time, currently at 7 PM vs. the usual 9 PM.
For this particular comparison, you’ll have to pay an additional $10 a month for 4G data, even if you’re living in an area without 4G coverage. For some people, this may be a deal breaker. You can check for Sprint’s current WiMax coverage rollout here.
For AT&T’s wireless plan, AT&T currently offers a tiered data rate add-on package that you may be familiar with. The tiered data plan is currently 200MB for $15 and 2GB for $25. If you go over your limit, the overage charge is $10 for another 1GB for those in the 2GB plan, and $15 for another 200MB for those in the 200MB plan (yeah real price friendly structure right there).
T-Mobile’s wireless plan may seem no frills and complete, but many new customers will actually be better off if they buy the phone separate from contract at full price, then go with the Even More Plus plan of their choice. As mentioned by Alex in the comments below, the net savings will be a good $180. Of course, the subsidized plan option is for those that may not be able to immediately purchase the Samsung Vibrant at ful cost. We’d like to remind Shrinkage readers that, in the interest of sound financial decisions, saving up the money to buy the Vibrant at full price and going with T-Mobile’s non-contracted plan may be the better choice.
Samsung Galaxy S Variant Notes & Tidbits:
The original Samsung Galaxy S i9000 international version has been selling like hot pancake since its release back in June, 2010 in Singapore, and there’s little surprise that the Galaxy S series of phones have sold over a million units since their recent launch in the U.S.
The Fascinate’s release date is still pending, but word is it’ll be available around October of this year. No doubt Verizon has made arrangement with Motorola in order to avoid the Fascinate cannibalizing Droid X and Droid 2′s sales.
Each of the Galaxy S variants comes equipped with Samsung’s powerful 1Ghz Hummingbird processor, based on the 45nm ARM Cortex A8 architecture (designed jointly with Intrinsity). If this all sounds vaguely familiar, its because the same architecture/core can be found in Apple’s iPad and iPhone 4. Unlike the iPad and iPhone 4, however, the Galaxy S series of phones have a more powerful graphics processing unit with the PowerVR SGX 540.
Variants of the Galaxy S that immediately stands out is the newly released Epic 4G on Sprint. The Epic 4G has a slide-out keyboard, a front-facing camera, and a sightly bigger/thicker footprint than its Galaxy S brothers. Like the Fascinate and as mentioned above, the Epic 4G supports WiFi hub capability of up to five devices. Both these devices have significantly less internal memory than the Vibrant or Captivate, which T-Mobile and AT&T has positioned as a media/entertainment phone, and both these phones offer camera flash while the Vibrant and Captivate does not.
In the entertainment side, T-Mobile’s Vibrant comes included with a 2GB MicroSD card which includes a full-length version of Avatar and The Sims 3 Collector Edition. Other variants are light on extra bonus applications, but that’s not too much of a big deal as you’ll have access to the same Android Market with about 100,000 apps (at time of writing).
All of the phones above are being shipped with Android 2.1 Eclair, with 2.2 Froyo support coming soon. For the variants without a full QWERTY keyboard such as the Epic 4G, you’ll have access to Swype, which is pre-installed on all Galaxy S phones. Swype allows a user to enter a word by sliding a finger from letter to letter on the touchscreen keyboard, lifting only between words. Once you’re used to Swype’s functionality, typing speed on a touchscreen keyboard can increase significantly (though for some people this isn’t a particular strong selling point).
If you’re interested in any of the phones above, we highly recommend you visit any of the retail location just to get a feel for the phone, or bum one from a friend that has already purchased the Vibrant or the Captivate. The Galaxy S series of phones are some of the best Android phones on the market currently, and they are a strong contender to Apple’s iPhone 4.