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Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 Review

Posted: , by John V.

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Camera:

Peeking at the TouchWiz camera interface, we’re easily reminded of a smartphone since it replicates the layout found with Samsung’s previous devices. Not to say that it’s a bad thing, but when there’s just so much room begging to be used properly, we’re expecting something more conducive – though, it’s still more than functional. Aside from that, it boasts a healthy amount of options, shooting modes, and manual settings to appease even the stiffest of photo enthusiasts.

TouchWiz camera interface - Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 Review
TouchWiz camera interface - Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 Review
TouchWiz camera interface - Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 Review
TouchWiz camera interface - Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 Review
TouchWiz camera interface - Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 Review
TouchWiz camera interface - Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 Review
TouchWiz camera interface - Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 Review
TouchWiz camera interface - Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 Review
TouchWiz camera interface - Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 Review
TouchWiz camera interface - Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 Review
TouchWiz camera interface - Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 Review
TouchWiz camera interface - Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 Review

TouchWiz camera interface


For a tablet, we have to give the Samsung GALAXY Tabb 8.9 some props for capturing some average looking photos with its 3.2-mexapixel shooter. To our delight, it’s able to dish up images that pack sharp details and balanced colors that are neutral in tone with outdoor conditions – and for the most part, they’re pleasing to the eye. Conversely, quality takes a dip in low lighting scenarios as they’re muddied by some recognizable levels of graininess. In combating that, its LED flash is powerful enough to cast rays of light to even out its appearance.

Outdoor samples made with the Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 - Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 Review
Outdoor samples made with the Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 - Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 Review
Outdoor samples made with the Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 - Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 Review
Outdoor samples made with the Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 - Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 Review
Outdoor samples made with the Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 - Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 Review
Outdoor samples made with the Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 - Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 Review
Outdoor samples made with the Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 - Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 Review
Outdoor samples made with the Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 - Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 Review
Outdoor samples made with the Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 - Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 Review
Outdoor samples made with the Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 - Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 Review

Outdoor samples made with the Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9


Strong - Darkness with flashIndoor samples - Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 Review
Medium - Darkness with flashIndoor samples - Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 Review
Low light - Darkness with flashIndoor samples - Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 Review

Strong

Medium

Low light

3ft - Darkness with flashIndoor samples - Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 Review
5ft - Darkness with flashIndoor samples - Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 Review
7ft - Darkness with flashIndoor samples - Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 Review

3ft

5ft

7ft

Darkness with flash
Indoor samples


Exhibiting the same overall results with its 720p video capture, we’re mostly content by its average visuals as it’s able to capture things at the smooth rate of 29 frames per second, and record clear sounding audio. However, it’s not all pretty as details are on the soft side of things. Of course, it doesn’t get any better in really poor lighting as its quality is diminished by its noisy looking production. Nevertheless, it’s agreeable enough to accept wholeheartedly without being turned off too much.

Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 Sample Video:



Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 Indoor Sample Video:




Multimedia:

Listening to some of our favorite tunes on the tablet, the TouchWiz music player lacks the visual allure that some other tablets take pride in – like the Sony Tablet S. Instead, its approach is fairly straightforward with albums laid out in a grid-like view and on-screen controls placed in another panel on the right side. Even with its two speakers, they’re good with a lot of strong tones being emitted out of them, but things sound rather shrill and irritating at the loudest volume. However, it’s worth mentioning that it offers a variety of equalizer settings to better enhance its output.

Music player - Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 Review
Music player - Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 Review
Music player - Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 Review
Music player - Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 Review

Music player


The TouchWiz music player - Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 Review
The TouchWiz music player - Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 Review
The TouchWiz music player - Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 Review
The TouchWiz music player - Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 Review

The TouchWiz music player


Experiencing a good amount of lag in various aspects of the tablet already, we’re once again baking in its glory as we head on over to watch high-definition videos on the GALAXY Tab 8.9. Visibly struggling to playback a movie trailer encoded in DivX 1920 x 1080 resolution, it’s undeniably hard to tolerate because of its sluggish movement – albeit, colors and details look eye-catching. Despite its shortcomings, it’s better able to play lower quality videos like those in 720p format.

Watching high-definition videos - Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 Review
Watching high-definition videos - Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 Review
Watching high-definition videos - Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 Review

Watching high-definition videos


Granted that it offers DLNA functionality with the AllShare app, it still requires an optional adapter or docking station to get a hard-wired video-out function. We can complain about its lack of a built-in video-out port, but it would probably compromise its svelte appearance – then again, an adapter that sticks out can easily be a sight for sore eyes too.

As we mentioned already, both the Media and Music Hubs provide a centralized area to purchase content. Meanwhile, it’s packed with the Movie Studio app and Photo Editor app to quickly cut, edit, and beautify our stored content.

AllShare app - Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 Review
Movie Studio app - Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 Review
Photo Editor app - Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 Review
Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 Review

AllShare app

Movie Studio app

Photo Editor app

 

With our 16GB review unit, there is approximately 13.11GB of total storage available to us out of the box. Again, there’s no way of supplementing that capacity – well, that’s unless you purchase either its optional microSD card or USB adaptesr.


Internet and Connectivity:

Interestingly enough, the Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 is able to manhandle web browsing with very little effort, which is surprising  to tell you the truth when it struggles to smoothly navigate its own homescreen. Even with complex pages filled with a lot of Flash content, we’re able to traverse the page with relative ease. From kinetic scrolling to pinch zooming, everything about it appears to be in tip-top shape.

The Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 is able to manhandle web browsing with very little effort - Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 Review
The Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 is able to manhandle web browsing with very little effort - Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 Review
The Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 is able to manhandle web browsing with very little effort - Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 Review
The Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 is able to manhandle web browsing with very little effort - Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 Review

The Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 is able to manhandle web browsing with very little effort


Just like its big brother, the Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 is available in Wi-Fi form initially, but it’s not going to be long before it’s retrofitted with some sort of cellular connectivity. Luckily, it’s able to connect solidly to a nearby wireless hotspot without one instance of dropping the connection – plus, it retains a solid signal strength at all times. In for the ride, we also find other connectivity items like Bluetooth 3.0 and aGPS.

17 Comments
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posted on 30 Sep 2011, 08:48 3

1. bobfreking55 (Posts: 866; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)


A smaller galaxy tab 10.1
7.7 = a smaller 8.9
7 plus = smaller 7.7
note = smaller 7 plus
sgs2 = smaller note

then there's the galaxy players. GALAXY TABLETS EVERYWHERE IN ALL SIZES WTF.

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 08:49

2. superguy (Posts: 271; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)


$30 price difference from the 10.1 and lack of microSD card = FAIL.

One of these days, Android tablet makers will actually put something out that people will want to buy.

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 08:53 2

3. bobfreking55 (Posts: 866; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)


The transformer for me is still the best tablet that has an innovative feature you'd actually want to buy.

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 09:19

4. superguy (Posts: 271; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)


I like the looks of the Transformer and the Xoom. But with updates announced for the Xoom and I'm sure a new Transformer on the horizon, I'm going to wait this out. Most have been out nearly a year anyway at this point.

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 09:30 1

5. varsas (Posts: 11; Member since: 30 Sep 2011)


I am sure that I am not the only one that doesn't want a 10 inch tablet so that is not a FAIL factor. Additionally the iPad is doing just fine without expandable memory so clearly there are people who will still want to buy such devices.

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 10:00 1

6. jacko (unregistered)


One of these days, Apple might actually put something out that people will want to buy.

posted on 05 Oct 2011, 10:25

12. dave (unregistered)


Yeah, because no one wants to buy anything apple!?!

posted on 05 Oct 2011, 17:16

13. Fletch (unregistered)


Well no onewith a brain who has to work hard for their money and actually values what they get for their dollar. The ipad is a giant paper weight that does nothing, costs way too much and comes with the dork apple stigma all apple products carry lol

posted on 01 Nov 2011, 11:23 2

17. hitdog042 (Posts: 5; Member since: 09 Apr 2011)


Wow. Well let me know when honeycomb has good apps. My iPad watches directv. My watchespn is full screen. I can read full electronic newspapers. My old xoom doesn't do any of that. Troll. Android tablets are close to worthless for the price tags.

Heck honeycomb doesn't even do MLB live games.

No thanks. I don't need a geek machine just to say I can hack it. I'd rather have function and apps that actually work in today's world.

I like android. But the tablets are worthless.

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 19:27 1

7. kmrdeva (unregistered)


The review mentioned that the 8.9 does not have a microSD slot for memory expansion, just like its 10.1 cousin. However, I saw the specs for the 8.9 on gsmarena.com, there was mention of the microSD slot. What gives?

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 21:10

8. John.V (Posts: 92; Member since: 27 May 2011)


Definitely no built-in microSD card slot. You can buy an optional adapter that connects through the dock port though.

posted on 01 Oct 2011, 09:19

10. varsas (Posts: 11; Member since: 30 Sep 2011)


The original prototype, like the 10.1, had a microSD card slot; the final production models do not.

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 22:29

9. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 2962; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)


Bring it down to 250 and we got a deal. Otherwise, No thanks.

posted on 06 Oct 2011, 06:06

14. CeeDee (Posts: 2; Member since: 30 Sep 2011)


What does the 8.9 have? The 3G version can act like a phone: attach a bluetooth headset and away you go. The 10.1 -- not so much.

posted on 11 Oct 2011, 15:48

15. TimB (unregistered)


I have a 10.1 which runs about the same as a 8.9 and if you turn on live screens it does slow it down, but then its doing a lot in the back ground. Put a static image as the wall-paper and its really smooth.

I agree that $469 is a bit to much, I was going to buy the 8.9 but then for the extra $30 I went for the 10.1.

Any one who says it should cost $250 is talking out of their a***s. In reality the screen will only be a bit cheaper to make and then you will save a few $ on the smaller battery. So were is the rest of the savings going to come from? Profits?

posted on 21 Oct 2011, 13:00

16. Kev.C.Orme (Posts: 1; Member since: 21 Oct 2011)


Where can I get an Unlocked Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 online ??

posted on 27 Jul 2012, 20:54

19. gregdaniels (Posts: 3; Member since: 27 Jul 2012)


Words cannot express how great this tablet is. I use the GTab for graphic design here in NY, and i've never been more productive. Android allows for all kinds of tweaks to improve functionality, and AT&T's 4g lte is unbelievably fast.

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Display8.9 inches, 1280 x 800 pixels (170 ppi) TFT
Camera3 megapixels
Hardware
Dual core, 1000 MHz
Size9.09 x 6.21 x 0.34 inches
(230.9 x 157.8 x 8.6 mm)
15.98 oz  (453 g)

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