A few years back, I used the original Samsung Blackjack and loved it. The Epix is the spiritual “Blackjack 3”, retaining the portrait alignment, non-rotating screen above an awesome non-sliding physical keyboard, while stepping up to a modern architecture running WM6.1 Pro. I call the keyboard awesome because the tactile response and guaranteed button activation simply put the keyboard on my non-Samsung smartphones to shame. You really can type without looking or having to worry if it registered a button you had pressed or not.
The Epix is about the same size as the Blackjack with an extended battery installed. Speaking of which, the Epix’s battery is the same model as the extended battery that shipped with the Blackjack… so I’ve already got a spare battery and charger, sweet!
Thanks to user trashcan at XDA forums, Windows Mobile 6.5 made its way to the Samsung Epix. The ROM is based on the 23017 build of Windows Mobile 6.5.
The new OS really makes the Epix shine. Finger scrolling is supported everywhere, largely eliminating the need for the stylus. Every part of he new UI is fluid and responsive on the Epix hardware. The new lock screen is quite nice and the device does not wake up when doing alerts that do not write to the screen, so the needs for S2U2 are largely eliminated.
There is quite a bit of new software included in the build. Least of which, the upcoming Marketplace (think Apple App Store for WinMo) is currently represented by a stub application that opens the web browser to a ‘Coming Soon’ page. The new My Phone software is available in the ROM and works perfectly with the Beta of the service to sync all of the data on the device with the My Phone website. Microsoft Tag is included to read special high capacity color barcode images via the camera and direct the device to an appropriate website or service. It works very quickly and well, I was quite impressed (see the demo in the video). Most usefully, Internet Explorer is updated and now supports finger scrolling, easily zooming in and out, a good full screen display, etc.
Here is a video demonstrating the new user interface and other features of 6.5 on the Epix.