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Samsung Galaxy Tab Active hands-on: Get rugged!

4

Design


There are sturdy tablets, and then there's the Galaxy Tab Active! It introduces a rugged build to the tablet series' familiar look and functionality. The tab's anti-shock cover is said to withstand a 1.2-meter drop and is also water and dust resistant. Rough and rubbery as it is, it's not bad to the touch and the feeling of being able to take the Galaxy Tab Active everywhere without the anxiety of wielding a fragile and expensive piece of technology is very alien, and so comfortable. The rugged covering does add quite a bit of heft and bulk to the device, but this makes it feel all the more solid.

Display


The 8-inch WXGA LCD (1280x800) display looks good, but not strikingly so. It's not an ugly display, however - just not anything remarkable. The colors are pleasing and viewing angles are fine, but the glass is on the reflective side. Otherwise, there's nothing to frown at, or be amazed of - just a good Samsung display, like we said.

Interface


The Galaxy Tab Active runs Samsung's TouchWiz interface on top of Android. While TouchWiz is all too familiar and doesn't need much in the way of explaining, its implementation in the Galaxy Tab Active supports Samsung's new "C-Pen". Installed on top of the tablet's protective cover, it arms professions who may have to wear gloves at work with another choice of input. Samsung knows how to make a stylus work, so we're sure the C-Pen will be a welcome addition. There's also the Smart Tutor app for remote customer support service.

Processor and memory


Samsung outfitted the tablet with a 1.2GHz quad-core processor and 1.5GB of RAM, and there are 16GB of expandable storage space on board. In our hands-on, performance was generally good. We didn't notice any glaring slowdowns or stuttering. Obviously, this tab isn't a spec-sheet buster, but Samsung consciously avoided speedy - and therefore heat-generating - hardware for the device's ruggedized and sealed, water and dust-proof body.

Camera


The Galaxy Tab Active sports a modest configuration of 3.1MP auto-focus main camera with flash, and a 1.2MP front camera. There's little to expect out of these wee snappers, but the addition of flash and auto-focus is very important, as it means your photos will be, at the very least, distinguishable, and will turn out well in fine weather.

Expectations


Samsung's first rugged tablet is built like a tank and meant to perform in very tough conditions for any electronic device. It's a niche offering, mostly targeted towards business professionals on the move and workers in rough conditions. This doesn't mean you won't be satisfied with it if you are after a rugged tab from a brand vendor. Perhaps the possible addition of a sapphire-covered display in the non-too distant future will be the final ingredient to perfect the formula of a rugged tablet.

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Samsung Galaxy Tab Active specs
  • OS Android 4.4 Samsung TouchWiz UI
  • Display 8.0 inches 1280 x 800 pixels
  • Camera 3.1 MP (Single camera) 1.2 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 1.5GB RAM
  • Storage 16GB, microSDXC
  • Battery 4450 mAh
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