When it comes down to the next big Android thing; Samsung would like to think they are involved in the making of this device, and that is where we get the Galaxy Tab. This new Android Tablet is the latest in technology from the Korean technology company and it brings together some things that are aimed at bringing Apple’s iPad to its knees. For now we shall just start out with a simple review of the tablet, but we shall also do a comparison of the Pad and the Tab, so look out for that as well.
Now for this review
When spending our money comes in question, we have to make sure the software and provided hardware is well worth the money so let’s check what we get out of the Tab’s hardware. The device comes with a very vibrant, bright and responsive 7 inch LCD display rather than the usual SuperAMOLED display Samsung has been parading around on their latest device. In my use, this display is quite nice and watching movies on this is truly a great experience and is actually something I would not mind doing for a long period of time. Now using the screen to text input is a little less comfortable than I would like, using two fingers is a little tough due to the smaller display, but single finger text input is insanely respectable mainly because of the SWYPE keyboard. Other hardware features are the dual camera for video calling (front facing 1.3MP camera) which really does look great while using it for normal pictures but sadly the original function, video calling, is only available to use by means of third party applications. The rear camera is actually quite nice regardless of being a low res 3.2MP camera, the picture taken from it are quite nice and are comparable to some 5MP cameras seen on newer devices.
If those two hardware features don’t make you excited for this device, the 1 GHz processor might. The processor this device has is clocked at speeds we are all too familiar with, but surprisingly performs quite healthily on this device. Typical tasks on this tablet is handled well by the processor and even with multiple tasks running in the back, the device still speeds through web pages and allows you to destroy buildings with Angry birds.
Other standard hardware features include the Wi-Fi, 3G, 16GB or 32GB with an SD card slot. All these things go together to make a great piece of hardware, and while we all know it is a bit over priced (actually a lot since reports show it cost $230 to make one), this is certainly the best tablet in terms of hardware mobility available in the current market and not even the iPad can touch this when it comes to ease of use while on the go.
Now here is where Samsung faced a huge challenge while constructing this new device. While Android is very flexible, the resolution of this tablet is not very common and so for applications to look good on it, it either has to have been built on a flexible resolution platform or better yet the build by them and brought to the tablet as default applications. The contact list, Calendar, and other applications have been modified a bit from the original Android software to something a bit more finger friendly, sleek, and scaled to size.
One of my favorite software that comes with the Tab is its great video player. The quality you experience while watching movies with this device is amazing, and with its 16:9 aspect ratio, the quality is unmatched not even by the iPad.
The note taking software is also very easy to use and allows you to take notes without going through too many problems. The keyboard being SWYPE (that makes text input with two fingers simultaneously nearly impossible) is not the best for serious student that want to use this for taking notes in class -- I tested this while in a board meeting, did not go well. Overall note taking experience is above average compared to most other tablet based devices in its class, but certainly not as easy as the iPad is.
Web browsing on this tablet is also an iffy experience. Sometimes you can be using the smoothest, fastest browser around and enjoying it. While other times you simple do not get such great experience and you are stuck waiting for a page to load or the browser freezes. Now that might be a big problem if you do not know what Android is, but for me, I simple installed a new browser and continued on with my day.
The software that comes with this device is also quite nice. The software you can install capable with this device (mostly free from the market, unlike most other tablets) is even better. I can say at the end of the day, Samsung did have a pretty nice package with their first generation tablet. The experience doesn’t differ much from normal Android device (which can be a turn off for some) but to most that is not a deal breaker.
When it comes down to the device as a whole, this topic of would I recommend it becomes a little hard. My experience with this tablet has been quite nice; I mean it even fits in my pocket. The software I have on it is just about everything I need to be connected while on the go, and the hardware is as such that you really do not need anything else but this device as your one stop shop for a technology enhanced life. But here comes the problem. Being a first generation device, it does have its bugs, one that I noticed just before typing this review up is the it can crash (mine was down for 6 hours due to Home screen Ui Freeze). First gens will always have slight problems that will be fixed in later releases, but for those that do not want to wait the usual 6 months to a 1 years times it takes for Samsung to develop the Galaxy Tab 2; they can certainly feel comfortable getting something like this tablet and upgrading later to the next version.
Would I recommend it…? I would have said Yes when mine is actually functioning correctly; it’s quite pleasant and is the best Android can offer at this time.
Hardware Score: 9/10 – The hardware is great, but not perfect… Processor could at least be 1.2 GHz or dual core; I mean it is almost 2011.
Software Score: 7/10 – While Samsung did bring in a lot of software to this device, there is still going to be some times that the software in the Android market does not scale very nicely like it should.
Overall User Experience: 7/10 – The software did sometimes become really slow and buggy. Also the crashing of my review device is not really helping the scores.
Price Score: 7/10 – Again, Samsung did a little over pricing here when it came to this device. For the same price you could get a 64 GB iPad or a new laptop. I don’t think they put too much thought on that.
I hope this short review helps you decide if you would like to go out and buy this device. Now if you are still hang up on how this stands up against the iPad, don’t worry, our comparison on that will be coming soon.