Let’s just get it out of the way: the Samsung Galaxy Tab is the first Android tablet worth anyone’s money. It really is, but whether or not you should spend the money on it is the real question. With a 7-inch screen, 1GHz Hummingbird processor, front and rear cameras, the Galaxy Tab promises a lot, and for the most part delivers.
The Galaxy Tab has one goal alone, and that is to prove that Android 2.2 functions on a tablet despite what Google says. OK, it also has the goal of dethroning the iPad as the go-to tab on the market, but frankly that just isn’t happening. The Galaxy Tab excels as a web viewer and eReader, and media and gaming on the slate work out pretty smoothly. Under low use the battery lasts quite a while, but heavy use will see it drain steadily and surely. The size is just right for portability, but ends up feeling a bit constricted.
While my time with the Galaxy Tab often had me saying “oh, I could really use this,” I found that I hardly ever felt a desire to pick the thing up other than forcing myself to. Perhaps its that I’m not in the habit of having a tablet device in my arsenal of tech, but just maybe it’s because the Tab doesn’t fill the void between the smartphone and laptop as well as it could.
- Size is great for portability, and build quality is as rigid as a Samsung device has ever felt. The hardware is excellent and runs Android 2.2 with TouchWiz smoother than ever.
- Web browsing is a dream with fast page loads and smooth scrolling/zooming. The screen real estate makes enough of a difference that browsing on a smartphone just won’t cut it anymore.
- Front-facing camera opens up two-way video chat, which is a cool feature but depends on how much you would use it.
- There are moment where we definitely feel that Android 2.2 is not for tablets. Some applications are shrunk down and don’t use the full breadth of the screen, the whole thing feels like a big phone without the ability to make calls.
- Not enough done with the interface to differentiate from Samsung’s Galaxy S line of phones. Hopefully future updates will bring Android Honeycomb to round out the tablet.
The Bottom Line:
If you absolutely can’t wait any longer for an Android tablet or have fond stirrings for Samsung’s TouchWiz, by all means you will want the Galaxy Tab. If, on the other hand, you would rather wait for a device that truly captures the essence of Android in tablet form you may be better served waiting it out. It’s a tough call, especially with the high price the Tab is sold at and the carrier subsidies that go along with it.
We recommend it with that caveat, but Samsung has really outdone themselves here.