Even before its official launch, the Samsung Galaxy Tab quickly became one of the most talked about gadgets of the year. It was tipped to be the first tablet which put where past manufacturers had gone wrong, right and when Samsung revealed all at the start of September, its strong points were clear. But is the Galaxy Tab worth the hype?
On first impressions, there’s no mistaking the Samsung Galaxy Tab is a tablet through and through with the 7 inch 1024 x 600 TFT display only being joined by four touch sensitive buttons on the front panel. Flip the Tab over and you’ll be greeted by a rather glossy white back plastic cover with the rear camera prominently appearing in the top left hand corner. It may sound a little off putting but it gives the tablet a personality, standing out from a category of devices which tend to go for the more traditional black and silver colour scheme. If you’re not convinced by the back, then the smooth black matte plastic sides may win you over. All of your standard controls are neatly arranged around the Tab with the SIM card and 32GB microSD slots being clearly marked up. It’s a nice touch by the Korean manufacturer but we were a little nervous about using the covers as they felt slightly on the flimsy side.
Samsung definitely got the ‘on-the-go’ aspect of the Tab right as the compact design comfortably fits into one hand. We can imagine that you wouldn’t really want to stick it into your back pocket, especially with that stand out white back panel but it’s small enough to not warrant a bag. Tipping the scales at just 380 grams makes it a joy to carry and we found the Tab’s sturdy build reassuring, especially if you plan to take it on the daily commute.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab is powered by a 1GHz ARM Cortex processor and it shows! It has a double helping of Samsung’s TouchWiz user interface and Android 2.2 (bear in mind that the Tab should be seeing Gingerbread at some point in the future) so anyone who’s familiar with the Galaxy S will have no problem finding their way around. There are five customisable homescreens which the Tab whisks through like a dream and the touchscreen is impressively responsive too.
There are two features in particular that make the Galaxy Tab the first serious iPad competitor and we’ll start off with the camera. One clearly wasn’t enough for Samsung who have put two snappers onto the device – a 3.2 megapixel camera complete with LED flash is on the back, and a 1.3 megapixel video camera makes a very subtle appearance on the front of the tablet. Photography fans may not be best pleased with the end result, as the picture quality is a little dull and not quite as crisp around the edges, but if a simple point-and-shoot experience is enough to keep you happy, then we can’t imagine this will be enough to deter you from a Tab completely. The Galaxy Tab redeems itself with HD video recording capabilities:
The front 1.3 megapixel camera comes into play in the phone function, the second big shout about the Galaxy Tab. You can make voice and video calls on this tablet and Samsung have got around that potentially awkward ‘holding a 7 inch device to your ear’ scenario with a loudspeaker and specially designed headphones to make your conversations a little less ridiculous.
What else can it do?
- Music and movie functions with DLNA connectivity
- 3G with HSDPA and HSUPA, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n and A-GPS
- Access to the Android Market and Samsung Apps
- Social Hub which integrates your texts, emails, IM and calendar.
- ThinkFree Office document editor
- Pre-installed Google Maps Navigation (beta version)
- Android browser with Adobe Flash 10.1 support
If we’re being picky, the display’s sunlight legibility wasn’t great. We struggled to see what we were doing even on a cloudy day so for that, the Galaxy Tab narrowly misses out on full marks.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab has gone where previous tablets haven’t managed to go, which could see it reach the top of its league with no stone left unturned . Its compact yet sturdy design is bound to be a hit with users who want to take it anywhere and everywhere. For that we take our hats off to you, Samsung – may the tablet force be with you!