Samsung Galaxy Tab Review
The Samsung Galaxy Tab runs Android 2.2 and is clearly fashioned to be an iPad rival but in a smaller form factor. Measuring 190 x 120 x 12mm, compared to the Apple tablet’s 243 x 190 x 13mm dimensions, it’s about three quarters the size of an iPad. But the obvious trade-off is the 7in screen compared to 10in from Apple.
At 385g, the Samsung Galaxy Tab is around half the weight of the iPad and here we really felt the difference. When using the iPad for anything longer than a few minutes the device started to feel really heavy and is best suited as a lap computer. Whereas we had no problems holding the Tab over long periods to browse the web or input text.
Samsung Galaxy Tab - Operating system:
The Samsung Galaxy Tab runs Android 2.2, offering wireless tethering and Flash support, a big one-up on the iPad. The latest Google mobile OS is certainly speedy, and any task carried out on the Samsung Galaxy Tab runs smoothly and quickly, from screen rotation to browsing to opening and switching between apps.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab features a pull-down menu that you can drag down the screen to open. This includes an update of any new instant messages, emails or Skype chats, and users can also control the Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, sync and brightness settings from the menu.
Samsung Galaxy Tab - Applications:
The Samsung Galaxy Tab comes pre-loaded with a wide selection of apps, many of which will be useful to the business user. There’s a daily news briefing, voice search and ThinkFree Office, a Microsoft Office compatible document viewer that lets users view, save and organise files such as Word and PowerPoint.
The voice search app works pretty well, although it recognised longer phrases better than short terms like ‘V3’. You can search across the web, social sites or Android apps using the voice tool.
Although Samsung isn’t pushing social media with the Samsung Galaxy Tab, unlike devices such as the BlackBerry Torch where all your social feeds can be viewed in one place, it’s a pretty painless process to download and set up your social accounts on the Samsung Galaxy Tab. We used the Skype, Facebook and Twitter apps, and they all worked as expected with speedy updates.
Samsung Galaxy Tab - Web browsing:
Using the web on the Samsung Galaxy Tab is a pleasure. Pages load up quickly and the screen rotates very smoothly depending on whether you want landscape or portrait mode.
The standard Android browser offers a multi-window option, which makes it easy to scroll through any web pages you have open. A slight niggle is that the zoom in and out isn’t quite as smooth as on other touch-screens we’ve used, and is a bit jerky. It also takes longer to reformat to fit the space.
Samsung Galaxy Tab - Touch-screen:
The touch-screen took a bit of getting used to as it’s not quite as sensitive as devices like the iPhone, and so required a firmer push when trying to bring up the virtual keyboard to enter text into a search bar for example
There are two text input methods offered on the Samsung Galaxy Tab, the standard Qwerty layout and Samsung’s Swype method. The keys are a rectangular shape, with the height about twice that of the width, and we found it quite easy to type without making too many mistakes. The width of the device meant it was comfortable to input text while holding the Tab in the hands, without having to place it on a table or lap.
We didn’t get on so well with the Swype method, which lets users write a word by tracing their finger over the letters on the keyboard. We found it fiddly to use as so many of the words and patterns required you to select from several word choises, meaning it was generally quicker to just type out the word in the first place. However, we know that others in the V3 offices are fans of this system, and if you don’t like it you don’t have to enable it.
Samsung Galaxy Tab - Phone capability:
Another area where the Samsung Galaxy Tab beats the iPad is its phone functionality. You can use the Samsung Galaxy Tab as a normal mobile phone, although you either need to use it as a speakerphone or have a headset plugged in. We can’t really see the phone connection as being a big selling point for the Samsung Galaxy Tab. However, calling quality was good.
Samsung Galaxy Tab - Specs:
The Samsung Galaxy Tab features a GPS receiver, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and 3G, accessed via a SIM card slot on the side of the device. It runs a 1GHz Cortex A8 processor, with a PowerVR SGX540 graphics card. For storage there’s 16GB of internal storage and a Micro SDHC slot that offers a further 32GB of RAM. There’s also 2GB of internal phone storage for apps.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab offers video recording and HD video playback. The 1,024 x 600 resolution screen has a widescreen display and media quality is crisp and clear. There is a 1.3-megapixel front- and 3.0-megapixel rear-facing camera. Shots were of good quality and it was easy to share video files and pictures through the on-screen menus.
Samsung Galaxy Tab - Power Performer:
Knowing we'd be able to have a whole bunch of apps running at the same time made us think the Samsung Galaxy Tab's battery life would be short and brutal, like an enraged dwarf. Samsung reckons you'll get around 7 hours of video playback, which is just about the most intensive task you can set the Samsung Galaxy Tab. In the few days we had the Samsung Galaxy Tab in for testing, we didn't notice the battery draining too quickly, despite Samsung telling us that our particular review sample suffered from an abnormally weak battery.
We reckon you'll get a couple of days of normal use out the Samsung Galaxy Tab before it needs a recharge. We want tablets that last for weeks on a single charge, but, nevertheless, the Tab's battery life is far from disappointing.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab is a great device that packs neat hardware and well-integrated software into an appealing little bundle. The iPad is undoubtedly slicker and simpler. If you're looking for a tablet to keep on your coffee table, and let you browse the Web on the sofa, the iPad is king. But, if you're a gentleman or lady about town and want something more nimble yet more feature-packed, the Samsung Galaxy Tab will make a fine companion.