The Samsung Galaxy Tab, is certainly not a masterpiece, but as a gadget enthusiast I loved playing and using it! It’s handy, portable, almost as portable as a mobile phone, but doesn’t get there. The Galaxy Tab was Samsung’s entry into the tablet arena, something that every big or small gadget company is trying to get in to. When it was launched, it was quite a success, but then there already was the Apple iPad standing on top of a mountain with a bigger display and the Apple brand image. This is a review for the Samsung Galaxy Tab, which I laid my hands on at the CallingAllGeeks Headquarters last week. I did not play with it much, mostly because it doesn’t have that many features and partly because I am well acquainted with the Android OS.
Every other geek/gadget freak wants to get his/her hands on one of the successful tablets available today and show-off/use/play with it. At present there aren’t that many contenders in the market for the same price as the Galaxy Tab, unless you would want to pick something from the HCL or one of those Chinese booths. For a tablet, the Galaxy Tab isn’t all that big in size, it’s got a 7-inch screen and a rather thick body. The design isn’t anything unique either, but it does feel quite strong when held in hand.
Now I’m not going to go on about all it’s features and how they perform and what it can do and so on, because we all know that nobody is going to go through 10 pages of review of something that isn’t so fascinating. Oops, sorry, my bad..the Samsung Galaxy Tab is a wonderful..errrrr…device. I really don’t know what to call it, you can’t call it a tablet because it just isn’t big enough to be called one and you can’t call it a phone because it is quite big to be carried around in your pocket, plus it’s fat! No I’m not speaking bad about the Galaxy Tab, it really is something, fun to play games on, fun to watch movies, is sort of portable(if you carry it in a bag) and has dual cameras unlike the original iPad and can actually be used for video chatting over 3G. Anyways, here is my Samsung galaxy tab review, unbiased and honest:
Galaxy Tab Looks, Design and Form Factor
The Galaxy Tab isn’t a beauty, but from a certain point of view, it does look good. Being just 7-inch in size and having an all-touch interface, it’s not easy to design something that would stand out. But Samsung has done quite a neat job in the design section, giving it a white back panel to make it distinguishable from other tablets. It also has a nice feel, unlike other tablets with cheap plastics. At the front of the Tab, you’ll find four built-in keys that light up when you press the unlock button, you can also tell that they are present when the tablet is not switched on. It’s not the slimmest tablet around too, as it is quite bulky to carry around in your pocket. It is also quite thick at about 0.47 inch, as mentioned before, but that doesn’t really hinder it’s usage and instead feels more sturdy when held. Being just 7.4 x 4.7 inch does have it’s advantages, such as it can be used with just one of your hands and a total weight of about 370 grams is something to be proud about. So overall, the Galaxy Tab will not get you noticed much, but the thickness, weight and the small 7 inch screen certainly makes it a decent tablet or whatever you want to call it.
I would however suggest you to get a casing for the Galaxy Tab, it will come in very handy. Portability, in my opinion is a downer, you’ll have to stuff it in your backpack or get some custom designer jeans with huge pockets!!
Display, Camera and Video
Samsung decided to not use it’s display prowess with the Galaxy Tab, as this lacks Samsung’s SuperAMOLED or any Super display and instead is packed with a normal LCD display. I’m not saying that the display is bad, surprisingly it’s quite good, and the brightness may cause your parents to wake up at night and knock on your door. The screen resolution is a good 1024 x 600 and works really well when watching videos, gaming and viewing photos. The capacitive touchscreen is also very sensitive and works well, but you will have to cup your hands around the tablet to see what you’re seeing when outside in the sun. The display is crisp, even better than the display of the original iPad, which makes it ideal for reading e-books and play games on.
The camera on the Galaxy Tab is, well there are two, the front one is a 1.3 megapixel VGA camera and the back one is a 3.2 megapixel camera with LED flash. The main camera takes good steady shots, but the flash is not that powerful when taking pictures in the dark whereas the front camera barely does the job. Coming to the video shooting part, well, I’d suggest you get a handycam for your adventures, because this is not going to help you very much. Although the video camera shoots at 720 x 480 and the outputs are good, the lack of HD video recording is a let down. If you don’t mind not having HD recording then this should be no problem and thanks to the 16GB of internal memory you can store your videos and pictures and transfer them to your desktop anytime.
Hardware, Performance and Features
Coming to the Hardware, well it’s not too bad as it runs on a 1GHz ARM Cortex A8 processor, which in spite of being fast sometimes hung or made the tablet very sluggish when browsing, installing apps etc. Yes, apps, now that’s something I can tell you I enjoyed! I love the Android operating system, and the Galaxy Tab runs on Android 2.2 Froyo, which even though is quite buggy, gets the job done. Being a blogger, I first checked out all the RSS reader apps, few favourite websites of mine and just some random articles on the stock browser that I found interesting. The stock browser is OK, I mean it does play flash content, but it’s sluggish while scrolling and sometimes while zooming, although this only happens with pages having lots of content. Gaming is not bad either, although I can’t tell you the experience was great, mainly because the games weren’t made for the tablet, they were just made for the mobile phones and have been only scaled to work on the tablet. Graphics is okay, nothing impressive, but the screen clarity makes it look good and yes Angry Birds works perfectly! Thanks to the 512MB of RAM things seem to be just fine. The galaxy tab has Bluetooth version 3.0, which even though being very fast doesn’t come very handy because most of the devices currently available still utilize version 2.0. So overall:
- Gaming: 3.5/5
- Browsing: 4/5 (sluggish sometimes)
- Graphics: 3/5
- Processing: 3.5/5
- Features: 4/5
Practicality, Usage and Pricing
I personally don’t think that the Galaxy Tab is practical! It just doesn’t cut as a fully fledged tablet or a mobile device, it’s stuck somewhere in between. I mean the features are good, the battery life is great (although charging is slow) and you won’t break it if you drop it. But when you pay about $450 with contract or $600 without and get a gadget that has only a 7 inch LCD screen, isn’t portable like it should be then what’s the whole point. I’m not saying I hate the Galaxy Tab, and I’m not saying I love it too. Using the tablet in broad daylight even with full brightness is a pain, because of it’s glossy screen, it’s almost impossible to see what you’re looking at. On the other hand, when inside, the display is just too good, even better than that of the original iPad. You can use the tablet for almost a whole day without having to worry about charging it, that too with Wi-Fi on, GPS on, lots of gaming, browsing and playing around. The one thing that is a let-down is the pricing, it’s just too expensive for a 7-inch tablet with Wi-Fi and optional 3G. Official pricing below:
Samsung Galaxy Tab AT&T: $549 with Contract
Samsung Galaxy Tab Sprint: $199 with New Contract, $429 with existing account
Samsung Galaxy Tab T-Mobile: $249 with New Contract, $499 with existing account
Samsung Galaxy Tab US Cellular: $599 with Contract
Samsung Galaxy Tab Verizon: $199 with New Contract, $499 with existing account
Price in India: Rs. 26000 offer price from LetsBuy, otherwise Rs. 32,920
My Final word, if you really want to get your hands on a tablet and see what it’s like then you can get yourself the Samsung Galaxy Tab. If you’re not in a hurry, then you can probably save some more money and get yourself the upcoming Samsung Galaxy 10.1, which evidently is more of a tablet, being slim and with the 10.1 inch screen. The Android operating system is great, but we all know it’s buggy and from my personal experience crashes a lot. I don’t know about others, but if someone gifted me the Galaxy Tab I would take it, I’d never buy it!!
The Samsung Galaxy Tab is a very good first attempt by Samsung, but not all first attempts go well do they?