Samsung Galaxy Tab Review
- 1 Introduction and Design
- 2 Interface, Functionality, Internet and Connectivity
- 3 Camera, Multimedia and Software
- 4 Performance and Conclusion
- Samsung Galaxy Tab specifications
- Samsung Galaxy Tab AT&T specifications
- Samsung Galaxy Tab CDMA specifications
- Samsung Galaxy Tab T-Mobile specifications
These days, the importance of software is beginning to get acknowledged. Customers are becoming aware that bigger is not necessarily better, and shiny doesn't mean functional. In this connection, the Samsung Galaxy Tab has the advantage of running Android 2.2 - a mobile OS that is increasingly popular among consumers for being open and providing a decent alternative to iOS.
Samsung is not leaving you with the stock experience though, as it has customized the OS with its TouchWiz 3.0 UI, also found on the Galaxy S line of phones. You can have up to nine homescreen pages, each capable of hosting a number of widgets. Live Wallpapers are also here, in order to make your visual experience a bit more entertaining. Moving between the different pages and screens is very smooth on the Samsung Galaxy Tab. There's also a kind of a helicopter view (like in HTC Sense) available for the homescreen and main menu, which allows you to quickly jump to a certain page.
We've got to hand it to Samsung for redesigning the core apps of the platform so that they utilize the larger real estate. Starting with the Contacts application, we discover a very nice and relaxing interface by the manufacturer. You have a list of your people on the left, with their info and communication history on the right - all in a single view. There is also an extensive use of tabs that grants you quick access to the rest of the related functionality like the Dialer, Logs, Groups and Favorites.
Naturally, Messaging and Email applications are present as well. Texts are visualized in threaded style, while emails can be viewed either as a list, or as conversations. Both Email and Messages apps have landscape modes, which present you with the list of correspondences on the left, and the content of the selected message on the right. The on-screen QWERTY keyboard is more than usable, but you'll have to get used to it first. More specifically, you'll need to get used to holding the Samsung Galaxy Tab in the right way to feel comfortable when typing, and this goes for both portrait and landscape modes.
The same visual style is also found within the Calendar. Available are traditional Day, Week, Month and List views, with all of them hosting more information under a single screen than the standard smartphone apps. In Month view, the appointments for each day are marked within the respective field, while the area at the bottom of the screen, used to display more info for each day, is significantly larger than on a smartphone, allowing you to see more stuff.
Setting an Alarm is a really simple and straightforward procedure. Once you've settled with a clock style fitting your tastes, You can move on the setting the alarm itself, by choosing a desired time, ringtone, repetition and so on.
Internet and Connectivity:
We are a bit frustrated with the Samsung Galaxy Tab's internet browsing capabilities. Since the tablet is running Android 2.2 Froyo, it supports full Flash Player 10.1, which makes for one truly desktop-grade experience; however, the general performance of the browser is not very good, especially if you're visiting pages that are heavy on Flash elements. Very often there's some severe stuttering going on, while attempting to scroll a page, which really hampers the experience. Otherwise, zooming is done by either double-tap, or multi-touch and works fine for the most part. Still, if you are browsing in landscape mode, you'll rarely feel the need for zooming.
Flash itself is surely a great feature to have, but as it seems it comes at a pretty high price, at least on the Galaxy Tab. Adobe's software is not entirely to blame here though, as the unpleasant stuttering continued even after we disabled the plug-in. Doing so, we managed to improve the performance a bit, but the results were still not buttery smooth. This doesn't mean that the overall browsing experience is not better than that of any smartphone with large screen out there, of course. It's just not stepping up its game hard enough, like the iPad is, in this respect.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab is on the cutting-edge of connectivity, featuring Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, quad-band GSM and tri-band UMTS support (900/1200/2100), in addition to A-GPS and Bluetooth 3.0 for local connection. Similarly to the Apple iPad, the Galaxy Tab is also expected to ship in a Wi-Fi-only form, which should be more affordable, seeing it would be missing the 3G radio and some functionalities.
The on-board GPS works very well. We managed to get our location fixed in a matter of two minutes after a cold start. However, if Google Maps Navigation is your choice of navigational software (Google's free turn-by-turn direction solution), you'll need a constant internet connection in order to load the maps. Of course, exploring Google Maps on the Galaxy Tab's 7” screen is much more entertaining and convenient than on a cell phone display, but then again, we doubt someone has assumed the opposite.
1. remixfa (Posts: 13901; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
yea, the ipad had no real optimized apps for it when it launched. apples to apples, the tab destroys the ipad in features and customizability as well as pretty much everything else. In 6 months they will have plenty of tab friendly apps. Tab please!
2. Sean (unregistered)
I had the hardest time finding a quality, protective case for my tab.
check this one out instead. Its the best I have found!
3. Vorais (unregistered)
@remixfa First of all the iPad did have a lot of apps already on the market when it was released in April (~3000 iPad specific applications on launch day and ~5500 within 2 weeks after launch due to the fact that Apple had released developer tools months ahead).
Now, I have a tab and I wish I had gone the route at this time. This is my review:
Well, obviously Google was right when they said 2.2 isn't ready for tablets. I'm wondering if that is the reasoning behind only 7" because anything bigger would really show off the short comings of the OS. I know people say Gingerbread will be released soon, but with Samsung's history (they still haven't released 2.2 for their Galaxy S phones) I don't expect to see that updated for another year or so. I do want to add that the size is great for somethings (e.g. watching videos, shoving in jacket pocket), but not so much for others (e.g. reading publications, surfing net).
Performance is sluggish as well, especially for what it is listed with. It feels like it is running on a 600Mhz processor, not a 1Ghz. Even the touch performance is annoying. During pinch to zoom and scrolling, there a delay between what your fingers do and what the screen is doing. It's definitely not smooth. This is very noticeable when using the browser (even with Flash turned off). It doesn't seem like much at first, but after awhile I start to hate it. Also at times the unit gets hot even though it doesn't seem to be doing much. I have gone through and made sure I'm not running multiple programs as well.
Under use, battery died less than 5 hours from fully charged. Couldn't even last half the trip from Heathrow to JFK.
The cameras are low quality. They are there, but the pictures they take are grainy, washed out, and can't differentiate between light and dark areas. My old Droid1 takes much better photos, and at least that was portable and easier to hold. Also, video chat is very laggy.
Flash is crappy, it can take what seems like forever at times on a wi-fi network to load a page that has flash ads installed. Yeah, I know you can turn flash off, but doesn't that defeat the purpose of advertising how great flash is? Although I am finding that almost all the real flash based video sites are also in HTML5.
Also, you can not charge this through your computer or laptop. It must be plugged into a wall to charge up.
I guess in retro spec I should have waited for a better Android tablet. Not happy with this one. I still give it 3/5 as it really is the best Android tablet out there right now. If you must have one and can't wait, this is the one to get.
6. theOne (unregistered)
Vorais, thanks so much for your input! It really helps reading a review from somebody that actually has the product. I'm currently using an X10i and the things that you mentioned (pinch-zoom and unresponsive touch actions) also are pissing me off on this phone. I was hoping that the Tab would address these issues but if you say they don't then I'm sure as hell not going to blow more cash on an android device that will just let me down.
Thanks again for adding your comment as its given me a much better insight into the Tab as a product that would either keep me captivated or just piss me off - I'm now thinking the latter unfortunately...
17. Sasha (unregistered)
I think u r a pathetic user in each & everything respect u have wrote down the drawbacks of this tab. I'm using it from the very first day when it came in the market until now i don't face any problem with the same so how come u dealt with problems even though u r giving it 3.5. As per mine and most public reviews this really best tablet in the market or u can say the real competitor of Apple. There is no doubt that Apple is one of the best but if u'll browse the tab intently for sure u'll find things which r missing in Apple ipad like u can't insert the sim in ipad and so on. Let's talk about some of ur drawbacks which u have mentioned in ur comment.
1. For ur information the tablet is upgradeable to Gingerbread which is already available and ur expectations don't worth anything.
2. Regarding Performance let me tell u it is very fast when u touch the icon within no time application will be open (what else u need more) because it is having Cortex Hummimgbird Processor (the best Processor in it's class) so the Performance of the Tab is awesome.
3. May be u r mentally disturb (like work pressure, family problems etc.) definitely u r having problem with ur fingers so that's why u can't Pinch Zoom & Scroll properly.
4. Smoothly I'm browsing on my table without any hitch (did u really bought Samsung Galaxy Tab).
5. For ur 5 point where u said it gets hot may be ur body temperature is less than average so when u hold the tab u r feeling it's getting hot.
6. I have also gone through and made sure I'm running multiple programs as well at the same time.
7. My tab battery lasts 13 hrs on full charge. Ur battery is faulty.
8. Samsung really produces great quality Displays and Camera's also much clearer than any other phone. Ur old android will be having high Mega Pixels came so it is obvious higher Megapixel camera will take better quality photos.
9. For Video Chat u need high speed internet may be u r using 128 kbps so for sure Chat will be laggy.
10. For Flash i can say ur tab is getting old with an internet connection u need some re-freshness instantly.
11. Who said u can't charge the Tab via Laptop or Desk top kindly check ur USB Port.
Last but not the least there can be nothing better in the market for u so don't waste ur time & energy I'll suggest u to go for One Black & White old Phone that can be best option for u. I must say here it's ur foolishness to buy Expansive Gadgets or in simple words u r not worth of good things.
4. applesr4eatingtoo (unregistered)
Breaking Steve Jobs IS Jesus Christ resurrected. I am certain he would tell me that a 7" tablet is too small, it fits in one hand, who wants a tablet that fits in the palm of your hand. I am also certain tha nobody wants Flash or camera's on their tablet that would be sacralige, just ask Steveo. And who in their right mind would want to make video calls from a TABLET.
Actually the whole idea of a tablet is ludicrus, it is just another device. Has Crapple stopped making Laptops? I think not. The iMaxi is simpily a tax that iDiots impose upon themselves. Get with it Samsung there is no Tablet Market, only idiots that worship Steve Jobs and want to give him ALL of their money.
7. Frank the Tank (unregistered)
I have had mine for a month now and I love it.
8. Laokang (unregistered)
The Samsung Tab is definitely an iPad killer. For those of us that resist the limitations imposed by Apple, the Samsung Tab is a relief and joy to behold. While I admit, what Apple allows you to do on their devices is user friendly, the key word is "allows"! I'd rather struggle a bit with an open system and have endless options then to learn what few options are available in 5 minutes and be limited forever. The apps available just keep increasing and improving. With the 3G version, access is easy and everywhere. Even using the Tab as a phone is a pleasure, especially the video calls. I travel a lot for work and have been able to leave the laptop in the office. The Think Free Office app gives me access to all MSN office documents and spreadsheets and even allows me to edit them. Surfing the net is OK and is especially nice on 3G. All in all, the best gadget I've bought in a long time. Kudos to Samsung.
11. gohar (unregistered)
As far as its portability is concerned i don't think it would be a bad investment but kindly tell me will it be a good replacement of my cell phone and does the browsing problem also bothered you???help plz, i really want to buy a good gadget with cell phone ability and smooth browsing as well.
9. UncleWalt (unregistered)
I have had the US version of the Tab for about 3 weeks now and keep finding more great uses for the device. Weather, traffic, GPS in the car, YouTube, connection to work e-mail and calendar, Kindle Reader, NYTimes, Wall Street Journal, CNN and lots more. Recently, on a 6 hour flight, I found it easy to hold and read for 1-2 hours at a time. No, it's not perfect, but it is a pretty amazing device overall. Most of my use is at home so the cheapest data plan from T-Mobile will work fine for me. (My one envy is the cell phone usage in Europe. Are you listening, T-Mobile?)
10. manil (unregistered)
the phone with amazing features
12. Isabel (unregistered)
I've had the tab for barely 2 days and I haven't put it down the whole time -- it's great!!!! Yes, it's not perfect, but it sure comes close to it. It just takes a little patience to figure things out, but after that come endless possibilities. I'm having a blast discovering new things my tab can do (with the apps installed) every hour! Definitely one of my better investments.
13. Alex (unregistered)
I have the tab since October 2010. I absolutely love it and now with flash support in the Opera browser, the "sluggish" performance of the browser has been resolved. Think of my Galaxy Tab browser as being faster than Firefox on a quad-core desktop with 6GB RAM. It is instant. When you play flash movies and you scroll, the browser is snappy, only the player lags behind (same as in desktop browsers).
The device is a joy. Plays full HD MKV files out of the box. Has full support for 99.99% of all apps on the Android market. I found a single app, a game, that was not full-screen. That's it. There are also tons of apps that have native support for the tab, with superior interface design to use the entire screen real estate. I currently have 64 apps installed on my tab and 250MB of free RAM during regular use.
The tab is perfect for:
eBook reading, watching TV, watching movies / YouTube, playing 3D and HD games, doodle & drawing, chatting, Facebook, twitter, video-calls, remote controlling YouTube or your computer from your couch, using it as an access point for your friends that don't have a data plan, browsing ANY website, listening to music, torrent downloads, office, email, productivity apps and last but not least the final and best feature of all in my opinion: keeping it in your jacket or back pocket all the time.
I always have my Tab with me! I may not need it when I go shopping or out to the theater, but being able to search the web in under 5 seconds can always come in handy. No other tablet size will have the final feature, which is fairly disappointing.
It is true that I had to tweak my tab to get all the bells and whistles on my desktop, with instant access to email previews, sms previews, weather, music controls, news, calendar, and torrent status. 80% of daily use is literally just a couple of clicks away for me.
If you can be bothered to actually learn how to use a gadget or an advanced device and not treat it like a toaster or a blender that have only basic operating modes, you can benefit from the Galaxy Tab. If not, you will become frustrated because it works the way it was intended to and not the way you intended or imagined it should.
14. Omprakash (unregistered)
Amazing device. It has everything I want in it. The andriod market has tons of apps to download. Sound quality is great. Performance is very good. Able to make calls through blue tooth. Here making phone calls and answering incoming calls are easier than a normal phone. (Only If you have a blue tooth head set). Had a camera problem once. Resetting the device solved the issue. Reading e-books in this device gives a nice experience. Battery performance is okay. T9 on screen keyboard is missing. Video quality is good. But picture is quality is not very impressive in the indoor. Overall I love this deivce.
15. anthony (unregistered)
how about the batt life?
16. Omprakash (unregistered)
I initially was impressed with this tab. Few days later when I turn the brightness of the screen to max and came to know that this tab had back light bleeding issues. It was noticeable when I am working in dark. I got exchanged another tab. That tab had back light bleeding along with dead pixels. And got exchanged with another tab, that tab had two dead pixels. They gave me fourth tab. That tab also had dead pixels. I checked this in the showroom itself. Moral is that quality of the product was reduced for the price drop in India.
18. Sasha (unregistered)
This is really awesome tab it has everything. The real competitor of ipad or u can say an ipad killer. I love this device.
19. santes (unregistered)
Generally, how would u rate the samsung galaxy tab? in terms of its functions
20. hooher tod (unregistered)
Yes there should realize the reader to RSS my feed to RSS commentary, quite simply