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Samsung Epic 4G vs. HTC EVO 4G

The first 4G phone in the United States finally has some competition. On August 31, Samsung’s Epic 4G arrives on Sprint, ending the EVO 4G’s nearly three-month run as the big man on campus. But is it actually a better choice? We stacked both superphones side by side to see which rules the 4G airwaves.

Processor

Winner: Samsung Epic 4G

When it comes to power, neither phone is a slouch, but minor differences do manifest a marked gap between them. Samsung uses a 1GHz Hummingbird chip that shares a bloodline with the one used in the iPhone 4, while the EVO 4G uses a 1GHz Snapdragon processor. Which wins out when hummingbirds and dragons go to battle? The runty little bird powering the Epic. Check out AndroidCentral’s benchmark of the EVO 4G and Samsung Captivate (which has almost identical specs to the Epic 4G, but comes on AT&T) side by side. It averaged 55.1 fps to 42.9 fps in a gaming test, and turned in higher scores in the Neocore processing benchmark, as well.

Display

Winner: HTC EVO 4G

What might be the greyest area in our comparison comes down to a matter of preference. With a 4.3-inch LCD screen, the HTC EVO 4G has both immense size and sunlight-resistance in its favor. With a 4.0-inch OLED screen, the Samsung Epic 4G looks like a glittering gem beside its super-sized HTC counterpart… but fades to a dingy bluish gray the moment you bring it out into the sun. Resolution on both models is an identical 800 x 480. While movie fans might prefer the Epic’s brilliant color, we’re awarding this one to the EVO 4G based on practicality.

Camera

Winner: HTC EVO 4G

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Resolution does not make a camera. But in this case, the 8-megapixel camera in the EVO 4G really is a better shot than the 5-megapixel camera in the Epic 4G. Our test shots showed the Epic returning overly dark outdoor shots in comparison to the EVO 4G, even though they come closer to parity indoors. Small a difference as it makes, the EVO 4G also has a two LEDs for its flash, while the Epic gets only one.

Videoconferencing

Winner: HTC EVO 4G

Besides opening the door for faster Web surfing and services, the 4G connectivity has made it possible to make face-to-face videoconference calls without Wi-Fi. Both the EVO 4G and Epic 4G offer front-facing cameras to make it possible, but the EVO 4G once again outstacks the Epic 4G on resolution, offering 1.3 megapixels to its 0.3 megapixels (VGA). That said, it doesn’t pose much of a practical difference, considering bandwidth requirements will crush video quality down to a blotchy mess anyway. We’ll hand this one to HTC for the tech specs – with a bright red asterisk that resolution matters even less than normal here.

Battery Life

Winner: Draw

The EVO 4G taught us that you don’t go fast without burning a little gas to do it. The phone quickly earned a reputation for dismal battery life with heavy 4G use, and not surprisingly, HTC never posted official estimates for it. Funny thing: Neither has Samsung for the Epic 4G. While the manufacturers grin and shrug rather than delivering “official” battery estimates, our unscientific testing yielded about six hours of on and off use on the EVO 4G, and the Epic 4G performed very similarly. No surprise, considering they both use 1500 mAh batteries. Chalk this one up to a draw.