GPS Issues

Every smartphone has its sets of issues. The iPhone 4 has its antenna problem, the Palm Pre has performance issues, the BlackBerry Torch needs a bit more oomph in the software department, and every Android phone has its own set of strengths/weaknesses. The Epic 4G is no different. In addition to the absolutely horrible battery life, the Epic has a pretty serious GPS issue.

The GPS antenna is not very sensitive and usually has trouble locking onto GPS satellites. This manifests itself in two ways: the phone will take an inordinate amount of time to determine your actual location, and/or it won’t pinpoint your location very accurately.

Sometimes the Epic 4G will lock on perfectly and quickly, but usually it takes several minutes longer than the Nexus One to figure out where you are. Occasionally I even got a ‘location not available’ error while using Google Maps.

Accuracy is also a problem. I don’t think I ever saw horizontal error drop below 30m on the Epic 4G compared to ~3m on the Neuxs One and ~5m on the iPhone 4.


Google Nexus One, 4m error (left) vs. Samsung Epic 4G 30m error (right)

The Epic 4G would usually tell me that my physical location was somewhere down the street while the Nexus One would pin me down at my house. In fact, I got more accurate location tracking when I was connected to a WiFi network.

It’s unclear whether this is purely a software problem or a fundamental antenna design issue ala the iPhone 4. One thing is for sure, if you plan on using GPS location a lot you should avoid the Epic 4G.

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  • Alexo - Thursday, September 9, 2010 - link

    I agree with gvally, this discrepancy between the results should be explained. Reply
  • jasperjones - Monday, September 6, 2010 - link

    Ultimately if you’re trying to give someone a more iOS-like experience on an Android phone, Samsung gets the job done.

    more iOS-like experience? do not want
    Reply
  • dvinnen - Tuesday, September 7, 2010 - link

    Luckly because it is Android and you can do what you like with it there are home screen replacements on the market. I use the open source ADW replacement and got rid of the iOS knock off crap Reply
  • spathotan - Monday, September 6, 2010 - link

    TouchWiz is the sole reason im avoiding these phones. HTC still has the best UI and their devices run good without having to root and use bootloaders.

    The device is a total failure if you have to root it and use hacks/bootloaders to get it to perform "good".
    Reply
  • StealthX32 - Monday, September 6, 2010 - link

    Hey, at least it's easy to root... ;)

    It's 2 steps versus 30 or so that you need to on the EVO 4G.

    That said, I do agree with you; the product should be judged as released.
    Reply
  • Dane74 - Monday, September 6, 2010 - link

    Sprint has excellent warranty. they handle it in store themselves for warrantable problems for free for one year even if you purchase NO protection plan. So rooting it, which voids warranty if detected, carreis some risk of a lost substantial benefit. Reply
  • sprockkets - Monday, September 6, 2010 - link

    That's the problem with Samsung. Motorola's CEO (or someone high up) called them Samesung. They are like the KIA of smartphones, copying Honda.

    That being said, I might check up on the Vibrant. Then again, a more vanilla G2 is just around the corner.
    Reply
  • afkrotch - Monday, September 6, 2010 - link

    Actually, phones like these have been out a while now. Just not in the US. The Galaxy S looks the same most of the other Samsung phones that have been on the Korean market for the past 1-2 years.

    I would have much preferred the Samsung Haptic Pop, than the Galaxy S. Sadly, we'll never see the Haptic Pop in the states. I have the T-Mobile Galaxy S. It feels too much like an iPhone. Only thing I like, the AMOLED screen.
    Reply
  • bearxor - Monday, September 6, 2010 - link

    Sure you haven't been watching too much 30 Rock? In the beginning of Season 3, Will Arnett's character claims that he 'sold the E (in GE) to Samsung. They're Samesung now."

    That's the only place I've heard anything like that.
    Reply
  • bigboxes - Monday, September 6, 2010 - link

    As a Palm Pre user I know the pain of poor battery life. I thought the Super AMOLED display was suppose to improve batter life by almost double over the EVO. What happened? As far as the Pre goes I have mine o/c to 800Mhz and it's very snappy. Add the almost cooperative nature of Palm to the homebrew community means that I can customize my phone to make up for the OS shortcomings. The GPS on the Pre is craptastic as well. Hopefully, Palm will improve on these when they release new models this fall. Reply

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