Samsung Galaxy Tab Review: Our In-Depth Look at a Revolutionary Android Tablet
Our review finds that the Samsung Galaxy Tab is an impressive device, and in many cases is better than the Apple iPad for business owners and professionals
Is the Samsung Galaxy Tab a smart phone, a tablet computer, an ereader, a GPS unit, a camera, or a videoconferencing device? If this were a multiple choice test, the correct answer to describe the Samsung Galaxy Tab would be all of these – and more. Although this high-quality Samsung device is making headlines as an Android-based competitor to the iPad, there are significant differences that could make the Galaxy Tab a better choice, especially for business users.
Starting with size, the Samsung Galaxy Tab features a 7-inch screen, large enough for more convenient web-browsing and email reading than on a typical smartphone, but is smaller than a tablet pc or laptop. Weighing only 13 ounces, it can fit easily into a briefcase or purse. It’s like carrying a portable office, enabling the user to read and respond to email, browse the web for research, check a personalized calendar for scheduling, use text or instant message with family or co-workers, and keep in touch with those all-important Facebook friends. With 16GB memory and a battery life of approximately 7 hours, the Samsung Galaxy Tab should operate well through a full day of work or play.
The 1024 by 600 resolution on the Galaxy Tab is the highest of any current Android device on the market, giving Samsung a leg up over current Android smartphones. And because the Samsung Galaxy Tab has a full HD video player and a video recorder, it supports videoconferencing and will also allow the user to video chat on the go. There’s also a 3 MP camera for taking still photos, which can then be emailed or sent to others. The Galaxy Tab's camera also has a built-in LED flash to compensate for dim lighting conditions.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab's high resolution, responsive touchscreen with on-screen keyboard, and 7-inch size make the device ideal for watching movies or YouTube videos, surfing the Internet, and playing games. Flash is fully supported. So it isn’t all business – it can provide some fun, too. If you need directions, the Galaxy Tab uses Google Maps navigation, turn by turn voice directions, and text information to get you from here to there.
Although software applications for the Android are not as plentiful as iPhone apps, the Samsung Galaxy Tab comes with many pre-loaded software applications. There’s an application called ThinkFree Office to help with editing documents. A Daily Briefing tells users what’s on the calendar and combines weather, stock headlines, and news snippets. A Feeds and Updates feature keeps MySpace, Twitter, and Facebook at hand and allows changes of status and comments.
Additional Galaxy Tab applications are a remote app for Samsung network-linked TVs, an online video-viewing ap, and ereading applications. eBook is a basic digital program that allows importing of EPUB titles. The more complete Reader Hub offers access to Kobo, news and digital functionality. Nook and Kindle applications are available in the Android Market. The Samsung Galaxy Tab with its high-resolution display can serve well as an ereader.
One possible drawback to the current version of the Samsung Galaxy Tab is the lack of full-fledged voice calling. International versions of the phone feature voice calling, but here in the US, one would need to use Skype or Google Voice. This is easily doable with the included speaker microphone, which plugs into the device, or a Bluetooth headset. Again, the Samsung Galaxy Tab's usefulness for a consumer will depend upon how the device will be used. At the present time, North American models will be restricted to data, SMS/MMS messaging, and VoIP features like Skype or Google Voice, so if voice calls are a major part of one’s business, a separate phone may still be required.
Pricing for the Galaxy Tab varies depending upon the mobile provider and whether or not a contract is in place. For example, the T-Mobile website shows online pricing of $599 prepaid and $399 with a 2-year contract. AT&T is showing a no-commitment price of $649. If this new Samsung device is on your must-have list, you’ll want to check pricing at various providers before purchasing.
While Samsung may not blow Apple away immediately with its newest device, there’s plenty of room for the Galaxy Tab and other tablet PCs. A Forrester study shows that approximately 27 million people in the US intend to purchase a tablet computer in the next year. That’s a lot of dollars, and while Apple currently dominates the market with over 70% of sales, an explosion of Android devices and Android apps will alter the landscape significantly. The Samsung Galaxy Tab offers a significant and highly attractive new product for mobile PC users.