Samsung Galaxy Tab Review:
I had initially written a review based on what I had seen of the Galaxy tab in a shop, but when one of my housemates threw (yes, threw) a parcel at me containing a brand new Galaxy Tab I thought I should re-write it now that I’ve had a chance to play with it properly.
A Sceptical Preamble:
I’d always been a bit of sceptic when it came to tablets. I always thought of them as being thought up of a way to offload all of the odd sized screens created for digital photograph frames. I also thought that I’d much rather read a novel in a book... or if I wanted to browse the internet I would use my laptop... or if I wanted to watch a film, I’d use my television. I would still much rather do all of those things on the technologies (if a book counts as a technology!), but sometimes, this just isn’t possible.
These days we are so busy, travelling from one thing to the next and we rarely get to enjoy those entertainments and luxuries because we’re rarely there to be able to. Now this is where I do understand tablets, especially the Galaxy Tab. It allows us to capitalise on that ‘in-between time’; the dreary dredge of commuting and the limbo of waiting. It’s very slim, extremely highly portable, it’s got heaps of features and ... well ... it’s converted me!
From the moment it came out of the box I’ve not been able to put it down, and I know already that it’s going to be a piece of tech I’ll always be carrying around.
Battle of The Galaxies:
Everyone seems to be comparing the Galaxy Tab to the iPad, which makes sense as they’re the two biggest Tablet competitors on the market. I understand why they’re being compared but they seem so different to me that I think they’re best judged on their own! In my mind they’re designed for different purposes, the iPad for sofa-ness and the Tab for out-and-about-ness. You might as well be comparing the Galaxy Tab to other Galaxies currently dominating the market.
Ok, so they both look very appetising. I’d probably choose to eat the one on the left though. Jokes aside (and I must apologise, that was pretty bad: just be glad I didn't do a Milkyway one too!)... I do mean it.
The Tab runs on the ever-more popular Android (Froyo/2.2) Operating system which has been skilfully skinned by Samsung with their TouchWiz UI. It runs on the powerful 1Ghz ARM Cortex A8 processor with 512Mb RAM which allows you to do more than you need it to on this nippy bit of kit. Multitasking isn’t going to be a problem and if you ever find the need to run ten applications at the same time then it’s not going to be a problem! The transitions between screens are slick and seamless and well... it’s all rather wonderful! The connectivity has everything you’d expect from a portable device these days and the DLNA certification means that you’re not going to have any problems sharing your photographs with others!
A Flashy Piece of Tech:
I don’t really understand why it’s taken so long for portable technology to sort out Flash, but I’m so glad that it’s here now. Having flash on here means that you don’t have to go through a YouTube App to see youtube videos or the MyPlayer App to watch BBCiPlayer videos: the content just works! Of course, almost every horrible add-banner is flash, so you get all of them too. In the long run this is going to eat into your bandwidth. I don’t like this because it means that you're paying extra money to be be advertised at... but for now I’ll just have to grin and bear it until someone comes up with a decent add-blocker for the Tab. Sometimes lots of flash content can get a tiny bit laggy, as you can see in the video below. However it’s early days (and this could just be because I was running 14 other things in the background) and thinking about it, that’s probably the only bad thing I have to say about the Tab, and I’m not sure it’s a problem at all! Pretty good stuff really!
Videos and Screens:
Videos and Screens:
The TFT-LCD screen boasts a 600 x 1024 resolution which is more than ample for something this size. Unless you have telescopic vision or you’re pressing your nose to the screen, you’re not going to see any pixels. It makes the whole Tab experience fantastic and watching videos is particularly excellent.
First of all is the size. At 190.1 x 120.45 x 11.98 mm it’s just right to fit into the hand so you can feasibly walk around whilst using it. It’s also just the right size for watching videos on the go it’s not too big and not too small. It’s also very generous with 16Gb of internal memory which can be upgradable with a Micro-SD slot, so you can put a lot of content on there! More good news for video lovers is that the Tab isn’t strict with video codecs and lets you play HD DivX files. So you can put your own content on there without spending ages converting everything into a specific format. Hurrah!
The Galaxy Tab comes preloaded with a couple of games such as Nova. Nova is a first person shooter game and really demonstrates how cool this bit of kit is. It makes use of the G-sensor so that you can look around the three dimensional virtual word simply by moving the TAB left and right. This quasi-augmented-reality feature gets you really involved in the game and it genuinely makes you jump when enemies sneak up behind you! The game Nova has been around for a while now, but this added dimension to game play really shows off the Tab’s potential! If that didn’t make sense, I’ve tried to make a video to demonstrate: sorry if it makes things more confusing!
Samsung has loads of other 3D games ready and waiting for the tab and you can try them all before you buy. The combination of the Android Market and Samsung’s own app store means that you are not ever going to run out of applications for this phone, and the expandable memory means that you shouldn’t run out of storage space either!
The Tab has two cameras, a pleasant 3MP one on the back with LED Flash and a 1.3MP webcam-like one front for video calling. I don’t see myself using the front camera very much, but it’s nice to have it there in case I ever change my mind. As for the one on the back – it’s great! It’s a bit disconcerting at first, to see the picture you’re taking already fully sized on device you’re taking it with, but the quality is excellent. I’ve taken some rather boring (sorry) pictures of the packaging the Tab came with to demonstrate:
I’ll try and find something more interesting to photo later this week!
I feel as though I’ve rambled enough for now. The Galaxy Tab is a marvellous creation, a perfectly portable pleasure that does not fail to deliver. It is the ultimate portable device; small (and light) enough to carry in one hand yet large enough for you to be able to enjoy high quality entertainment on the move. If you haven’t already, then make sure you go and try one of these out, even if it is simply to appreciate the fact that we are already living in the future!