Review: Samsung SGH-i907 Epix

Samung’s SGH-i907 “Epix” has been one wily and elusive smartphone. Earlier this year Samsung gave the world a peek and a promise that it’d pop up in AT&T stores. Of course, now that it’s hit the streets we’re a tad conflicted. Yeah, there’s a lot to love on this rather fully featured smartphone what with its 3G, WiFi, Bluetooth and host of input methods. But even with those high points, the Epix wasn’t the house-rocking BlackJack-thumping replacement we were hoping for.

The primary offense? A completely unimaginative design. The brickish body sports the usual smartphone touches: volume and power buttons on the left side, microSD and headphone/charging ports on the right side, and a dishwater dull 2.5-inch screen in the middle. Below rests the usual navigation keys, an optical mouse (more on that later) and a cramped QWERTY keyboard. Samsung even covered its bases by giving the hunt-and-peck crowd a fat, telescopic stylus. Amazingly, this 4.5-ounce package felt comfortable enough during regular use, but that’s the extent of its style points. Remember the BlackJack II? That’s pretty much the Epix in a slightly retooled package.

Luckily, what the phone lacks in cool is made up in usability. Though the stylus and QWERTY are nearly unusable rubbish, the optical mouse (think: mini-touchpad) is a high point. Effortlessly zipping across the screen feels a lot like using, well…an optical mouse. In terms of use, this means easily highlighting WinMo’s tiny menu trees, and painlessly clicking itty-bitty hyperlinks. The haptic-enhanced touchscreen isn’t bad either for navigation, but unfortunately the Epix requires more than this combo for survival. At some point — when you’re pounding out an e-mail or lengthy text message — the annoyingly small QWERTY keypad (or stylus/onscreen keyboard) is necessary to get the job done.

However, the Epix excels at nearly every other application we tossed at it. On the processing side, the device allots enough juice to smoothly navigate WinMo. Running a host of MS Office apps (and a round of Bejeweled in the background) didn’t faze our test unit. Even switching between IM clients during data sessions is reasonably free of lag and glitch. The Epix’s phone and MP3 functionality have a similar workhorse quality — both offer excellent audio quality free of frills.

So, here’s the deal: If you’re looking for a stylish multimedia handset, the Epix is likely to bore you to sleep. Even though it’s capable of music and video playback, it’s a device devoted to utility not flashy pants.  However, if you can overlook its foibles (we’re looking at you, stylus and QWERTY keypad) the Epix makes for a solid 9-to-5 communication tool…at least until Samsung updates the BlackJack.

Spread the love