Editor's Review of the Galaxy Tab
The Samsung Galaxy Tab may not look as majestic as the iPad, but it's certainly better for shoving in your pocket. It doesn't fail to entertain either, but does it deserve its high-end price tag? We're not convinced.
Design & Build
The most noticeable difference between the Samsung Galaxy Tab and it's Apple rival is its smaller 7 inch TFT LCD display. We were shocked when we first turned the device on to discover a large chunk of what we thought was the screen, was actually dominated by the surrounding black bezel. We were also disappointed at the lack of Samsung's trademark Super AMOLED screen, especially when considering the Tab's hefty price tag.
Nonetheless, this smaller screened device is the perfect alternative for those of you who don't fancy carrying the 9.7 inch iPad about with you. The 1024x600 display managed to render stunningly bright, clear images, although we were shocked to discover that it doesn't cope well outdoors, at all. We thought the Galaxy Tab was supposed to be a compact tablet, that you could use while out and about? Obviously not, as we struggled to see a thing once the Tab was subjected to bright sunlight. Oh dear.
The Galaxy Tab measures in at 120 x 191 x 12mm, only a fraction thinner than the iPad. However, as the Galaxy Tab is crafted entirely from plastic, it's very lightweight at just 380g. It's lack of an aluminum structure doesn't affect the device, as it still manages to feel pretty tough, and we quite liked the stylish appearance of the glossy white back panel, something you can never rely on Apple to provide.
Underneath the display are 4 Android keys, which you would typically find on a smartphone, providing easy access to the devices menu and search functions. We're happy to see Samsung have added capacitive keys to the Tab, which adds to its overall sleek appearance.
OS & Interface
The Samsung Galaxy Tab comes equipped with Android 2.2, a platform designed specifically for smartphones. Google themselves admitted the OS hadn't been optimized for tablet use, so we were pretty surprised at how well it coped.
The Tab sports a pretty standard Android skin, although Samsung have made a couple of tweaks, such as by adding a handy 'app monitor' to the homescreen. You are provided with up to 9 separate homescreens, which you can load up with widgets as you wish. There are some pretty cool widgets pre-installed on the device, including turn-by-turn navigation powered by Google Maps, which looks fantastic on the 7 inch display.
Multitasking is supported too, allowing you to switch between apps at your leisure. We didn't find this as smooth a process as on the iPad though, failing to keep up with Apples smooth transitions and speedy loading times.
As this tablet supports text messaging, we were happy to see a beast of an onscreen keypad on the device. It's particularly easy to use and well laid out, and we were thrilled to see the handset comes with Swype onboard. In general, Android 2.2 certainly does the job, although we're excited to see how Gingerbread compares.
Multimedia & Storage
This is where the Galaxy Tab well and truly defeats its competition, coming equipped with 2 cameras compared to a big fat zero on the iPad.
A 3 megapixel camera with LED flash may not sound all that impressive on paper, but we were shocked to discover it's actually pretty good. The image quality was perfect for uploading straight to Facebook, and the 720p video capture didn't disappoint either.
The 1.3 megapixel camera is designed for video conferencing, which can only be carried out between 2 Galaxy Tab devices. So, unless your best mate also carries a 7 inch slate, it's a bit of a pointless feature, that will hopefully get updated in the near future.
Watching videos on the Galaxy Tab however, is an absolute pleasure. With Flash support onboard, this can be done straight from the web, and the picture quality is fantastic and clear. Samsung are obviously just as confident, providing users with a dedicated Movies app.
Music playback comes courtesy of the Samsung Media Hub, which features a music store and integrated player. It looks like iTunes and works just as well, and can support non-downloadable tracks too.
Although marketed as a tablet, the Galaxy Tab provides users will all the necessary tools for making calls and sending text messages, coming equipped with a standard sized SIM. Although we weren't too keen on holding a 7 inch tablet against our face, we were pleased to note the excellent sound quality of the built-in speakers. Text messaging is a great touch too, and messages are displayed in a conversational style.
The Galaxy Tab is comes equipped with both 3G and WiFi connectivity, although it might have been good to have a cheaper WiFi only option as with the iPad. Streaming and browsing the web is extremely smooth, and the built-in web browser coped well with multi-touch gestures. However, scrolling through pages can be a little bit jumpy, lacking the magic touch of the iPad.
The device currently supports up to 32GB of storage too, which is more than enough storage for all of your files.
Without a doubt, the Samsung Galaxy Tab has its flaws, particularly its lack of AMOLED. Although we're not quite sure its worthy of its hefty price tag, we found ourselves unable to put the device down. It's packed full of features, and can do pretty much everything except washing the dishes.
Samsung Galaxy Tab News
More news from MWC 2012 as a Samsung exec fails to tow the company line, admitting “Honestly, we‚??re not doing very well in the tablet market.” The surprisingly candid remark came from product strategy executive Hankil Yoon, speaking to CNet about Samsung’s efforts against the almighty Apple’s iPad. Five months after Steve Jobs first showed [...]
Samsung has confirmed that its debut Android tablet – the Samsung Galaxy Tab – will be getting the bump to Gingerbread “in the next couple of weeks”. However, it’ll only be available to those who’ve purchased an unlocked Galaxy Tab, so those tied into contracts will probably be made to wait. It sounds like the [...]
Samsung has confirmed that it’ll be bringing Gingerbread to its Galaxy range – including the Galaxy S, Ace, Gio, Fit, Mini and Tab – within the “next few weeks”. Sticking to its promise of faster updates, the Korean manufacturer has revealed that the¬†Android 2.3 upgrade will kick off with the Samsung Galaxy S in the [...]
In what has already been dubbed the “legal battle of the century”, Apple has sued¬†Samsung over the design of its “iPhone imitating” Galaxy handsets. The lawsuit, filed in California on Friday, claims¬†that Samsung’s Galaxy range of smartphones and tablets “slavishly” copy the iPhone and iPad, which reportedly¬†has “violated various Apple patents and trademarks”. Apple refers [...]
Back in January at CES 2011, Samsung promised us a WiFi-only version of its 7-inch Galaxy Tab, and just in time, it’s delivered the goods. Amazon UK is now listing the long-awaited tablet, with a price-tag of £299.00. Labelled as being in stock, the WiFi-only Samsung Galaxy Tab costs just under £300, 100 pounds cheaper [...]
Samsung has teased its impending Galaxy Tab 8.9 with yet more promotional material, ahead of its unveiling on March 22nd. Promised to land at next week’s CITA expo, Samsung has offered a glimpse of its forthcoming tablet through its 30-second teaser. Little is given away, although we clearly spotted its textured white back panel, a [...]
Samsung Galaxy Tab Specifications
190.1mm x 120.5mm x 12mm
Full capacitive touch screen
Type: TFT LCD
Size: 7.0 inches
Resolution: 1024 x 600
Interface: TouchWiz UI
External: microSD up to 32GB
GPS with maps
Up to 7.2 Mbps download speed
Up to 5.76 Mbps upload speed
Wi-Fi: IEEE 802.11 b/g/n
Audio: 3.5mm stereo jack
Data: Standard USB
GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
A2DP for wireless stereo headsets
3.15 megapixel camera
Auto Focus and LED Flash
720p Video Recording
At 30 fps
Front facing camera with video calling
Battery Capacity: 4000 mAh
Talk Time: 420 minutes
Audio supported formats
Playback: MP3, WMA, AAC+
Video supported formats
Playback: MP4, H.263, H.264