I currently own and use a Samsung Epic 4G for Sprint. I've had it since last September and honestly love it. Though it occasionally has its crazy moments, leaving me swearing up a storm, the majority of the time it just works. When I say it works, I mean it works beautifully. There is nothing better then plugging it into the car and listening to your tunes while the free Google Navigation directs you to your destination. A call will come through and a seamless switch will be made to bluetooth or speaker (with a touch of the screen) and swap right back to the previous business once the call is over. It works the way a smartphone of this time and day should work.
While a lot of credit needs to go to Android for the experience above, the Epic is definitely a factor behind it working so smoothly and efficiently. Before the Epic, I had both an HTC Hero and HTC Evo 4G and while they were good phones, I always felt like they were missing something that truly made them great.
With the Hero, it was simply a device that had outdated components in almost every regard which should have been expected for both either an early Android device/ a mid-tier device all together. The screen was too small, the camera was sub-par at best, and the processor couldn't handle too much. The Evo improved upon all of these fields but still left me wanting more. While the screen, camera, and processor were better, they were no where near the latest technology for that time. To me, HTC skimped out and went the cheap route instead of building a device to the top standards. AMOLED screens were already starting to hit the market, as were OMAP processors as well as the next gen Snapdragon processors. The camera was okay but did not leave me comfortable leaving the point and shoot at home (Well the DSLR but still...). To me the Evo was simply an update from the Hero but not a climb to the next level. I, however, found that with the Epic. It worked and worked damn well. The screen was gorgeous, the camera took shots in conditions my DSLR struggled in (and captured some great videos), and the Hummingbird processor simply chewed through everything I put through it. It is because of this fantastic experience (I will be writing an Epic 4G review soon) that when I move on to my next phone, I am eyeing what Samsung is putting out there, which currently leaves two options.
The Samsung Galaxy S II has been on the scene for a few months now but is still no where to be seen state side. As usual, Americans have to wait in order to get their hands on the phone many are toting as possibly the best handset on the market. Still, we know the GS2 is on the way to each of the carriers but the question of when is still unknown. This is my next recently were sent pictures of the Sprint variant, the Galaxy Within. Like the international GS2, it will carry the 8mp camera, dual core processor, beautiful Super amoled plus screen, and a wide assortment of other features. This is clear successor to and not simply an update (This is reserved for the Epic 4G currently also speculated for Sprint) to an already amazing phone.
While jumping on this phone when it first comes out seems to be an almost obvious choice, another factor introduced itself that messes everything up, the next Google flagship phone. Boy Genius also recently put up tipster giving them information about Google's next flagship phone, the Nexus Prime. The phone will be very similar to the GS2 while having its own advantages. This comes to no surprise since Samsung is thought to be the manufacturer. The article, however, also mentions that Google is working with various manufacturers to create multiple flagship phones, a unique one for each of the carriers. This raises many questions as to who is being plugged in to make these phones and where their final destination will be. A bigger question is when they will be released. Boy Genius says that the phones will come this fall which falls hand in hand with the release of the GS2 phones.
If both the Within and the Prime (the Samsung variant) where to come to Sprint, I feel the Nexus Prime would be the clear winner. It would be the first to receive firmware updates while still having amazing hardware. This makes me think that both will not be released at the same time but that one will come out well ahead of the other or that Sprint, or any other carrier for that matter, would receive a Galaxy S II phone and a different Prime from another manufacturer.
Due to my love of the Epic, I really hope the Samsung Nexus Prime lands in the yellow carrier.