1. Are you ready for the Galaxy S20? Here is everything we know so far!

How is the Transform compared to Epic 4G?

Discussion in 'Android Devices' started by aaz110, Nov 1, 2010.

  1. aaz110

    aaz110 Member
    Thread Starter

    I know that the Epic 4G is obviously one of Sprint's two high-end Android phones and the Transform is a mid-level Android phone, but please hear me out before scoffing at the comparison. I'm not looking for a comparison of features; I'm more interested in how the build quality of the Epic 4G is compared to the Transform.

    We added another line to my account and got a Samsung Transform for my girlfriend. However, after having the Transform for about a week, we have no choice but to return it. It has a ton of issues. We have a Sprint Airave device to boost reception in our apartment... the Transform won't connect to it automatically (as it's supposed to). The only way to get it to connect to the Airave is to reboot the Transform while the phone is actually physically touching the Airave (I know this sounds crazy...but that's exactly what Sprint Airave customer support told me to do...and that's the only way it's worked so far). Additionally, it always gets about two bars of reception less than my Evo...which isn't good, because there are a lot of parts of our town where my Evo only gets two bars of reception. Additionally, when using the hardware keyboard, it automatically is launching shortcuts as if the "search" button was being pressed. That makes it impossible to type out something with the hardware keyboard. On top of all that, the "touch buttons" (I don't remember what they're actually called) are not very responsive. It often takes multiple presses before it registers.

    So now, we're returning the Transform, but don't know what to get instead. My girlfriend really wanted a hardware keyboard, so that pretty much only leaves the Epic 4G left out of the Android phones on Sprint. After our experience with Samsung on the Transform, I'm a bit worried now about how the build quality will be on the Epic. Has anyone had a lot of experience with both phones? We didn't go for the Epic 4G initially mainly because we thought the Transform would be more than enough for what she needed and it wouldn't be worth the extra $240 over the course of two years with the Epic's $10 a month add-on fee (especially because there's no 4G in our area...and probably won't be anytime soon).

    I know many will say that we must have gotten a bad Transform, and just try a new one...the problem is that the closest Sprint store is 40 miles away. We had to get the phone online...and each time we exchange it, it essentially means almost a week with no phone at all. My girlfriend can barely afford to go a day or two without her phone (she needs it for work) and she certainly can't afford to go a few weeks without one (which may be the case if we swap the Transform with another one, only to find the same problems again).

    Thanks for any replies.

    1. Download the Forums for Android™ app!


  2. Well, if you get the EPIC, you will get 4G coverage, but you will have to pay for the Premium Data charge.
  3. cruiser771

    cruiser771 Well-Known Member

  4. boomerbubba

    boomerbubba Android Enthusiast

    Engadget "reviews" are not worth the paper they aren't printed on. Gushy, glorified unboxings. Shallow investigation. No serious testing.
  5. dan330

    dan330 Extreme Android User

    on a side note....

    if this is a very important phone for her... and can not be without....

    you might want to purchase a backup phone on craigslist.
    anything for less than $50. For when you have issues..

    and she can use .. to send in the Transform for repairs.
  6. aaz110

    aaz110 Member
    Thread Starter

    Thanks for the replies so far. I've been thinking about getting a backup as well. Is it easy to switch a number back and forth from phones on Sprint? I've only been on Sprint since the end of August and she's only been on Sprint about a week now, so we're really not that familiar with their processes yet.

    I'm sending the Transform back first thing tomorrow morning. Right now, I have my fingers crossed and I'm hoping that the Epic will work out well for her. She wasn't all that pleased about paying the $10 a month for a service that we don't really get...but I convinced her that it is worth the premium data charge for a "premium" phone. Plus, even with the $10 extra, it still comes out cheaper than data plans on Verizon or AT&T.

    I just hope she's happy with the Epic. I think part of the problem is that since this is her first smartphone, all she had to compare the Transform to was my Evo (and my iPhone before that).... From what I've read, the Epic seems like a great phone. I almost picked it myself when I was deciding. For me, it really just came down to that I liked the larger screen on the Evo, and had no need for a physical keyboard. For my girlfriend, the opposite holds true... she really wants a physical keyboard, and she finds my phone difficult to hold comfortably because of its size.
  7. Flaspeneer

    Flaspeneer Well-Known Member

    Search these forums and you'll find people have reported reception issues with the Epic, especially prior to the last firmware upgrade. Sadly, I no longer have the Evo and can't compare the two phones currently. I suggest you bring your own Evo into a Sprint store and try both right there to see for yourself (rather than anecdotally) to see whether the difference is important to you.

    While I haven't had the second problem (unresponsiveness) and love the feel of the Epic's keyboard, I must be honest: The position of the search button on the Epic means it is sometimes triggered while typing unless one is careful not to hit it. I wish there were a third-party app to disable it, since few people want to launch search from the physical keyboard and most of us are far more concerned about losing what we've typed.

    In the meantime, I suggest you let the search be carried out and then return to the previous page. If I try to back out of the search, I lose what I have, whereas if I let the search resolve to the next page, I can go on working.

    Even so: If I had to choose between the Epic and the Evo, I'd still take the Epic because of the keyboard.

    I would, however, take a longing look at the Desire Z and hope it came to Sprint in some form. The screen won't be as incandescent as the Epic's, nor is it as future-proof, but the keyboard, UI and service will probably be more predictable.
  8. Tyrahn

    Tyrahn Member

    The Engadget review for the Transform is hardly "gushy" ...

    Sounds like another Moment to me - I would run away while you still can.

  9. boomerbubba

    boomerbubba Android Enthusiast

    I actually was thinking of the Engadget reviews of the Epic, which totally misinformed potential users by regurgitating Samsung's line that the Epic had no GPS problems. It did and still does.
  10. dan330

    dan330 Extreme Android User

    it is easy to change phones...

    you register online at sprint.. to have and manage your account.
    there you can change the ESN for your account on the fly .. at any time.
  11. daddyd302

    daddyd302 Android Enthusiast

    The only area where the Evo trumps the Epic is on making calls. The Epic struggles at times to make calls and take a few seconds[5-10 seconds] to make them. The Evo makes the call right away.

    The Epic is Superior to all Sprint's phone is every other category, except GPS location and calls, the gps location issue will get fixed with froyo.
  12. dan330

    dan330 Extreme Android User

    that is not fact!

    I hope it does.. when it comes....
  13. boomerbubba

    boomerbubba Android Enthusiast

    There is zero justification for that statement. Froyo is a Google OS. The GPS bugs on the Epic are device-level issues that are Samsung's problem.
  14. hydralisk

    hydralisk Well-Known Member

    My guess is that because the problem wasn't fixed by now (seeing as it's a HUGE problem that has been COMPLETELY denied by Samsung), it is hardware related and Samsung CAN'T fix it. I've given up all hope. This is why I refuse to recommend the Epic to any of my friends switching to android.
  15. boomerbubba

    boomerbubba Android Enthusiast

    I doubt that it is a hardware problem. It is a cache-refresh logic problem in firmware. The GPS hardware used on the Epic, part of a multifunction Qualcomm chipset, is time-tested on lots of devices over a couple of years. Rather, I think this shows sloppy incompetence in Samsung's firmware shop -- in the various Galaxy S phones they managed to foul up two different GPS hardware platforms in two different ways. Also, it shows a cynical disrespect of the customer base, refusing even to acknowledge the firmware bugs, let alone fix them in a timely way.
  16. aaz110

    aaz110 Member
    Thread Starter

    Wow, thanks everyone for all the responses so far.

    I remember reading about the GPS issue back when I was trying to decide between the Evo and the Epic for myself...I didn't realize it hasn't been resolved yet. How widespread is it exactly? Does it affect all Epics, or just a fairly considerable percentage of them?

    The Transform is already on its way back...I probably only have about another day to change the order before they ship out the Epic. For all of you having problems.... if you had to go with Sprint and if had to choose an Android phone (not including the Evo)...would you still choose the Epic out of what's available now? Additionally, would you be happy with it knowing that it costs $240 extra over the course of two years if you didn't (or don't already) get 4G service?
  17. hydralisk

    hydralisk Well-Known Member

    To be honest, the Epic is the ONLY android phone I would want to own right now. Even with all of its flaws.... I could never switch now that I own it. Keep in mind that I also owned an Evo... but I gave it to my fiance.

    - The 4" screen size is perfect for me... and the screen technology is beautiful.
    - The GPU is a freakin monster.
    - The native video codecs make it so I don't need to convert my AVI and MKV files to watch them.
    - I love the keyboard. Whenever I play around with my fiance's EVO to try out different roms and whatnot, I always miss the keyboard.
    - Even with android 2.1, this phone is so fast and smooth... the only thing I want is Flash.
    - Probably has the best camera of any android phone on the market.
  18. boomerbubba

    boomerbubba Android Enthusiast

    First, stop to think about why the behavior would possibly be different among stock units. They all share the same hardware and firmware.

    From all the testing I have done and the reports of controlled testing I have actually seen published in detail, I still believe that all Epics are the same. (Just today I have read an anecdotal report from one user who says he can't replicate the errors, but I am from Missouri on that one.)

    However the Epic's worst GPS bug -- failure to achive satellite lock -- manifests itself or not depending on the usage pattern. So it is true that some users have not experienced the problem. The worst bug is traceable to mishandling of a time-sensitive GPS cache, which can be affected by many external events. It can be worked around pretty reliably by changing some hidden settings and being careful how to start GPS apps, or by frequent reboots -- all of which have the effect of clearing the expired cache data. Many things can affect the cache in the background, which is one thing that makes anecdotal reports unreliable.

    The GPS bugs on the Epic are different from the GPS bugs on its GSM-based Galaxy S cousins. I returned my T-Mobile Vibrant and moved to Sprint because the Epic supposedly had a GPS that was "tested and validated." It turns out that the Epic's GPS bugs are not as bad, because they can be mostly worked around by those who are willing to fiddle. Another bug is easily replicable on every case I have seen published -- the estimated accuracy, which should be calculated dynamically and vary constantly with conditions -- seems to be hard-coded at a bogus figure of 30.0 meters. But the actual accuracy on the ground, once a good satellite lock is achieved, is pretty good.

    One thing is empirically indusputable: No one can claim that all Epics have a GPS that just works out of the box. (Shamefully, neither Sprint nor Samsung acknowledge the GPS bugs as a known issue. If there were differences among units shipped, they might be liable for warranty exchanges, but they refuse to exchange units over GPS complaints.)

    In the context of the Transform, I am curious about whether Samsung implemented the GPS correctly on that platform. The two devices share the same GPS hardware, which is integrated with the CDMA radio on a multifunction chipset from Qualcomm. If the GPS does work reliably on the Transform, perhaps there is hope that Samsung has learned how to write GPS firmware after all and could port the code to the Epic.
  19. daddyd302

    daddyd302 Android Enthusiast

    I could of sworn I read people claiming it was fixed with froyo and they tested it and it was indeed fixed. The only problem is, I don't know where I read it or if it's just made up. People were claiming they were testing a leaked froyo and it worked.
  20. pastafarian

    pastafarian Pâtes avec votre foie

    My wife has the Epic, I have an Evo. The Epic does have occasional problems connecting to the Airave, though I wouldn't call it a deal breaker. My old Moment connected fine while her old Pre had big issues (maybe it's her?). The Evo has no Airave issues at all.

    More to the point, you can't compare "bars" from one phone to another. There's no standardization as to what a "bar" represents nor how often the scale is refreshed. Every manufacturer is free to use whatever scale and refresh rate they want. When everyone was complaining about the whole iPhone antenna gate thing, Apple's "fix' was to change the scale so you saw more bars in a given location.
  21. boomerbubba

    boomerbubba Android Enthusiast

    Sounds like an absolutely baseless rumor.

    What leaked Froyo on the Epic are you even talking about? The very existence of such a critter would be huge news if true. And even if there is such a thing, validating the GPS takes serious controlled testing over time -- far more than the drive-by hipshots that masquerade as "testing" in the wild world of leaked ROMs.

    On some other Galaxy S platforms, notably the international I9000 in Europe, Samsung is timing the deployment of some GPS updates coincidental with its rollout of Froyo. That does not mean that GPS update is part of Froyo. Further, the GPS bugs on that platform are entirely different from the GPS bugs on the Epic. The two devices do not even share the same GPS hardware.

    There is no reason to believe that the Epic's GPS bugs have anything to do with Froyo or any other version of Android. The bugs are in Samsung's device-level firmware. So far, Samsung does not even acknowledge that there are such bugs.
  22. dan330

    dan330 Extreme Android User

    i thought i saw .. an announcement a few weeks back.. that Froyo was rolled out to one version of GS in Europe.

    was that not the case? did it affect the GPS?
  23. boomerbubba

    boomerbubba Android Enthusiast

    Yes, there have been announcements about Samsung rolling out an update in Europe based on Froyo. That update also happens to include certain GPS updates for that platform. The updates are not part of Froyo. Froyo is the main part of the update; the GPS updates are another part. Samsung simply chose to bundle those in the European deployment.

    None of this means squat for the Epic. The Epic's GPS hardware is different from the GPS hardware on the European GPS. The GPS firmware is different. And the Epic's GPS bugs are also different.

    For the Epic, Samsung's official position is that Froyo will be deployed in various Galaxy S models in the U.S. sometime before the end of the year. That has nothing to do with the GPS. Officially, there is no GPS fix announced for the Epic, because officially Samsung denies that there is a GPS bug at all! Samsung's claim was that the Epic's GPS was "tested and validated" before the Epic was released Aug 31. Unhappily, GPS bugs remain.
  24. aaz110

    aaz110 Member
    Thread Starter

    I was asking if it affects all Epics mainly because of my experience with the Evo. The Evo hasn't been out that long, but is already on its fourth hardware revision. While on the surface, all Evos may seem the same, many are actually quite different from each other. Early revisions have completely different screens (from different manufacturers) than later revisions...only when you hold an early Evo right next to a more recent one, can you easily notice the difference in screens. Additionally, many Evo's seem to have manufacturing defects with light leakage, screen separation, defective power buttons, or broken charger ports. Many Evo's have these issues, but many do not have any of them (mine included). I simply didn't know if the Epic is still on its original hardware revision, or if newer revisions have come out already.

    In our short time with the Transform, I tried out the GPS a few times. It seemed to work pretty well. It got an accurate fix within seconds and never at any point did it act up. The maps stuttered a little bit...but I attribute that more to the slower processor in the Transform. Of course, we only had it for a few days and I only tried it a handful of times. It's possible that the problem may have manifested itself at some point.

    I'm hoping my girlfriend won't have as many issues connecting to our Airave with the Epic as she did with the Transform. While I agree that each manufacturer uses their own scale, I think in our case it was more issues with reception on the phone itself. Even if the visual scale was different, service should still be relatively the same if both phones got similar reception. In most cases, her Transform showed zero bars of reception, and was unable to make or receive phone calls without it either cutting out often or dropping the call. In those same locations, my Evo could make and receive calls perfectly fine, showing two bars of service.

    Thanks again to everyone for the replies. They just got our return today, so I think they are processing the Epic now to be shipped out. Luckily, if the GPS is the biggest issue, then it may be a non-issue for my girlfriend. Usually the only time when she may need the GPS is while we are traveling together...and in those cases we almost always take my car and we can always use my Evo if there are issues with her Epic's GPS still.
  25. ACEinthehole

    ACEinthehole Member

    Transform sucks, nuff said.

Samsung Epic 4G Forum

The Samsung Epic 4G release date was September 2010. Features and Specs include a 4.0" inch screen, 5MP camera, 512GB RAM, Hummingbird processor, and 1500mAh battery.

September 2010
Release Date

Share This Page