Home' LAPTOP Magazine : February 2011 Contents tabletS
Samsung Galaxy tab $399 (with two -year
Sprint or t-Mobile contract), $599 (with two -year
Verizo n Wireless contract)
The Galaxy Tab is everything the iPad is not. This
Android tablet is more compact, and it features
two cameras (instead of none) and Flash support.
At the same time, Samsung’s slate offers some
welcome iPad-like features, including a store for
downloading movies and TV shows
and a core of apps optimized for
tablet use. At $399 with a two-
year contract, plus a minimum
of $29 per month for 2GB data,
this tablet isn’t cheap. However,
the Tab is easily the best iPad
Weighing 13.5 ounces (com-
pared to 1.5 pounds for the iPad).
It’s lighter than the iPad, but its 7.5
x 4.7 x 0.5 -inch dimensions make
it a tight fit in a jacket pocket. Still,
this slate can slip into a purse.
Though not as jaw-dropping
as the Super AMOLED screens
found on Samsung’s Galaxy S
phones, the Galax y Tab’s 1024
x 600-pixel display is beautiful.
This capacitive panel is bright,
colorful, and boasts wide view-
ing angles. When watching an
episode of 30 Rock downloaded from Samsung’s
Media Hub store, we were floored by the detail.
Because the Galaxy Tab is narrower than the
iPad, we found it much easier to thumb type,
especially in portrait mode. We appreciated the
dedicated .com button. Plus, a handy predictive
text feature suggests words as you type. There is
also a Swype keyboard available.
In terms of performance, the 1-GHz Hummingbird
CPU was pretty snappy. The Tab multitasks fairly
well; with eight apps open, we could quickly jump
to Pandora or Settings by long-pressing the Home
button. However, we did notice some lag in the
browser from time to time.
The Galaxy Tab lets you customize its home
screens using various widgets for everything from
weather to Twitter feeds. But it’s what Samsung
has added to core applications such as Calendar,
Contacts, E -mail, and Messaging that makes this
Android tablet stand out. All these apps have a
split screen view in landscape mode, so you
can see more information at once. In E-mail,
for instance, messages appear on the left and a
preview appears on the right.
We also appreciate what Samsung has done with
the standard Android 2.2 notification bar. When con-
tracted, thebar shows common Androidstaplessuch
as e-mail notifications and battery usage. However,
when pulled down, it reveals quick on/off buttons
for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, sound, an orientation lock,
and a brightness slider.
To test the built-in Flash support, we played
an episode of How I Met Your Mother. The device
warned us that the video wasn’t optimized for
mobile, so we weren’t surprised to see choppiness
To give Tab users an iTunes alternative,
Samsung bundles this tablet with its Media Hub
Store for downloading TV shows
and movies. The selection was
skimpy, but playback started
almost immediately. A recent 30
Rock episode looked gorgeous
on the 7-inch display.
On our 3G speed tests, the
Sprint version of the Galaxy Tab
downloaded various sites at a
decent clip, taking 12 and 15
seconds to load NYTimes.com
and ESPN.com. Scrolling was fast
and pinch-to-zoom worked well.
Though the Galaxy Tab can
access the Android Market, not
all its apps run at full screen,
and even those that do aren’t
optimized for its 1024 x 600-
pixel resolution. By comparison,
the iPad now has 35,000 apps
optimized for its display size.
apps such as Angry Birds, Pandora,
and TweetDeck worked well.
Music sounded nice and loud,
so long as we stayed away from
the harsh-sounding max setting.
If you want to shop for tunes,
your best bet is to download the
Amazon MP3 store.
A shot of a fruit stand we
took with theTab’s 3-mega-
pixel camera exhibited good
color accuracy, but lacked
detail further back in the
shot. Video of traffic whiz-
zing by was a bit blurry but
certainly usable for sharing
on YouTube. There’s also a
front-facing 1.3 -MP camera,
which we tested using the
Qik application. Over Wi-Fi,
the quality was just okay,
and we noticed a fair amount
Using its 3G connection, the
Galaxy Tab turned in a runtime of 6
hours and 50 minutes. That’s pretty
good endurance for a device with a
7 -inch screen, but the iPad lasted 8
hours and 21 minutes.
The Galaxy Tab costs $399 with a two-year
contract on Sprint and T-Mobile. Sprint charges
$24.99 per month for 200MB of data and $39.99
for 5GB, while T-Mobile’s data plans options
include 2GB for $29.99 and 5GB for $59.99.
Both carriers will sell you the tablet without a
contract for $599 with the same data plans.
AT&T and Verizon Wireless only sell contract-free
versions of the Galaxy Tab, costing $599 and
$649, respectively. Verizon’s data plans range
from 1GB ($20) to 5GB ($50), while AT&Ts plans
range from 250MB ($14.99) to 2GB ($25).
We like what Samsung has done to optimize its
built-in apps, but the Galaxy Tab isn’t for everyone.
Those who already own a large smart phone may
not see the needfor toting a device that’s not much
bigger. Nevertheless, once Android app developers
get their tablet acts in gear, the Galaxy Tab will be
much more compelling.
Sleek and solid design
Bright and crisp display with good viewing
Core applications optimized for tablet use
Dual cameras with video calling
Fairly loud speakers
Skimpy tablet app selection
Mail program does not support Google Apps
Samsung’s Media Hub offers
movie and TV show downloads
from MTV Networkds, NBC Univer-
sal, and Paramount.
Laptop | February 2011
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