Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus Review

8
Introduction and Design
Introduction:

Hard to believe it, but it has been only a year since the Samsung Galaxy Tab came knocking on our doors bringing Android into the tablet market. In that short time, we’ve surely seen our fair share of quality products. Even though the original model didn’t quite have a profound impact during its time, namely because of its out of character pricey purchase cost, its siblings in the face of Galaxy Tab 10.1 and 8.9 seemingly fared considerably better. Back for round two, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus reinvigorates the original line with some upgraded hardware and Android’s tablet optimized platform Honeycomb – thus, possibly resulting in better adoption this time around.

The package contains:

  • USB cable
  • Wall Charger
  • Stereo Headphones
  • Guides


Design:

The Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus sticks with the design characteristics established by the Tab 8.9 and 10.1. Although it’s not the sleekest (0.39” thick) of the bunch, it’s still compact enough to hold with one hand, and at the same time, it’s sturdy in build to instill us with some confidence of durability against the elements. Yes, it might appear to be a metallic exterior, but in fact, it’s nothing more than a plastic casing, which contributes to its lightweight figure (12.17 oz).



We’ve been fond of the PLS LCD displays used by Samsung’s recent line of Galaxy Tabs, and rightfully so, we’re feeling a bit of the same way with the 7” 1024 x 600 PLS LCD display being used by this one. The resolution is right there with the rivals as it’s able to produce tolerable and distinguishable details. Naturally, some might be taken back by Samsung’s choice to use a PLS LCD display, especially when the Galaxy Tab 7.7 features an AMOLED panel, but we’re grateful to find its color reproduction to be on the natural and realistic side – as opposed to the overly saturated tones exhibited by AMOLED.


One can easily confuse the tablet to be a super-sized smartphone, namely because of the narrow earpiece and front-facing 2-megapixel sitting above its display when it’s held in portrait.


Along the left side of the device there are a microSD slot, and a SIM card slot if you happen to pick up the cellular enabled version of the tablet.
Another peculiarity is found on the right side, where we have an infrared port, which combines with the Peel Smart Remote app to offer us some light home theater functionality. Finally, Samsung continues to utilize a proprietary charging port for its tablets, which is very similar to that 30-pin connector found with all iOS devices. So, don't think you'll get away with your trusty microUSB cable.


Turning our attention to the rear of the tablet, we’re again seeing it sporting the same 3.2-megapixel auto-focus camera with LED flash used by its siblings.





Interface and Functionality:

On top of Google's futuristic Android 3.2 Honeycomb, Samsung has naturally layered its custom TouchWiz UX user interface. Thinking about it, it actually makes much sense for the company to do so. After all, who would you like your product to appeal to – a relatively small group of geeks, or the much broader mass audience, which doesn't care about robots and stuff, but just wants a quality product to cater to its daily internet communication and multimedia needs. TouchWiz does just that – it makes the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus look like a friendlier tablet, which is here to help, rather than wow.

TouchWiz UX brings some new widgets for you homescreens, but probably one of the most useful functions it adds for your desktop is the ability to resize widgets. It also includes a “Mini Apps” tray for commonly used features such as task manager, calendar, and music player. Not too much added value here with these mini-apps, but as long as their presence doesn't bog down the interface speed, we can live with them. Of course, Samsung's Social Hub, as well as the Samsung Apps store, are also here.


To compete against its contemporaries, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus is modernized thanks to its 1.2GHz dual-core Exynos processor with 1GB of RAM – much like what we see used by Samsung’s line of Galaxy S II smartphones. With that, its performance with most tasks is accompanied with responsive actions – though, there is still some evidence of choppiness when graphically live wallpapers are used. Beyond that, its performance is pretty much in line to what we see out of most Honeycomb tablets.

Due to its smaller footprint, typing messages is undoubtedly a challenge since we’re faced with such a cramped layout with its landscape options – albeit, we do like that it’s very responsive. On the other hand, the portrait ones are considerably easier to handle mainly because our thumbs are able to extend more freely to encompass its entire layout. Finally, we’re given the options of using the stock, Samsung, and Swype keyboards to better fit our needs.



Internet and Connectivity:

Displaying smooth navigational controls, fast page loads, and an unflinching performance in the presence of Flash content, the tablet is undeniably able to manhandle even the most complex web pages out there to no degree. If web browsing is your primary thing, you won’t be disappointed!


With our review unit, it packs the usual crew of connectivity features such as aGPS, Bluetooth 3.0, and 802.11 b/g/n/a Wi-Fi. However, there are variants out there that offer cellular connectivity to broaden its reach.

Camera:

Here we have a 3.2-megapixel auto-focus camera, which is like pretty good resolution for a tablet. It handles macro shots with no problems at all, but for outdoor scenery shots, they suffer from noticeable faint details. Indoors under artificial lighting, things are clearly softened in overall tone, however, its LED flash works perfectly up to 3 feet away. Far from being spectacular, you can probably still get away with a 4” x 6” printout, so it is pretty good.




Likewise, its 720p video recording quality suffers the same fate with its indistinct fine details, bland color reproduction, and heavy digital noise under low lighting. However, it manages to chug along at a smooth 29 frames per second rate and captures mostly clear audio.

Multimedia:

Choice is great, but if we had to pick, we’d stick with using the stock Honeycomb music player over the TouchWiz one – mainly because of its better-looking overall presentation. Yet, we do like that we have access to the player at any time by accessing it within the Mini Apps tray. In terms of audio quality from its two speakers, it’s evidently potent with its output without sounding distorted at the loudest setting.


Loading our test video that’s encoded in H.264 1920 x 1080 resolution, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus doesn’t flinch at any time during its playback. Add to that the rich details and punchy colors that its display is able to pump out, our eyes are naturally treated to a great video watching experience.


Of all the bloatware preloaded on the tablet, the Peel Smart Remote app proves to be the most noteworthy out of the bunch – well, that’s because it’s not something we see on tablets all that much. Essentially, it uses the infrared port on the tablet to blast commands to various home theater devices, which gives us control in things like changing channels. Setup is pretty straightforward, and in no time at all, we find ourselves on the main screen showing us what content is playing at the particular time. Yeah, we have a tendency of losing track of our remotes, but seeing that this is integrated with the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus, we’re more inclined to keep it next to us and in sight.


After all is said and done, we’re presented with only 12.96 GB of free internal storage, which is sufficient in this day and age. Obviously, you can supplement that capacity by throwing in a microSD card into its unoccupied slot.



Performance:

Tucking away a 4,000 mAh battery inside of its body, it’s effective in providing us close to 1.5 days of extensive usage primarily consisting of web surfing, emailing, and the occasional YouTube video watching.

Conclusion:

On the surface, there isn’t a whole lot new to experience on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus that we haven’t seen before – especially when the Galaxy Tab 8.9 and 10.1 offer the same predictable Honeycomb experience. However, we do like the fact that it sports some upgraded hardware over its predecessor, and an infrared port to provide us some light home theater functionality, which is something that’s rarely offered by most of the tablet crew out there.

Above all, pricing is obviously going to be a key factor in whether or not it’ll attract would be buyers, but when you think about the competition, there are other 10.1” Honeycomb tablets that are priced the same or less than this one. Well, it’s not to say that the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus is a bad option, rather, if you have the money to shell out, it’s definitely something worth picking up thanks to its balanced performance and rich feature set. Alternatively, if you take pride in getting more value for the dollar, and something with a larger screen, you can certainly think about the Asus EeePad Transformer, Acer ICONIA TAB A500, or Toshiba Thrive as other options. The competition is hard when it comes to 7” tablets as well – the Kindle Fire is $200 and the Nook Tablet is $250, and although they have rather lower specs sheets and not as much apps, they are way more affordable.

Android Version: 3.2
Kernel Version: 2.6.36-P6210UEKJC-CL567728
Build Number: HTC85B.UEKJC P6210UEKJC

Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus Video Review:





Pros

  • Peel Smart Remote App functionality
  • Solid build
  • Well-rounded performance

Cons

  • Pricey

PhoneArena Rating:

7.0

User Rating:

8.5
2 Reviews

Recommended Stories

Loading Comments...
FCC OKs Cingular\'s purchase of AT&T Wireless