Samsung Galaxy Tab Second Look Review: Apps and Features

by Jamison Cush Reads (68,132)
Editor's Rating
7.00

TG Ratings Breakdown

    • Software & Support
    • 7
    • Upgrade Capabilities
    • 7
    • Usability
    • 7
    • Design
    • 7
    • Performance
    • 7
    • Features
    • 7
    • Price/Value Rating
    • 7
    • Total Score:
    • 7.00
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Overview

  • Pros

    Compact size

    Great media streaming

    Video chat

  • Cons

    Most apps don't fill display

    No Hulu or Netflix for Android

    Overly plastic body (base model)

Quick Take

The Galaxy Tab proves Android can work on a tablet. First, it has to get over its quirks.


We had some very nice things to say about the Samsung Galaxy Tab during our first review of the Android tablet. In particular, we loved its speed, effective multi-tasking and the mobility that comes with a seven-inch screen. Unlike the iPad, users can comfortably hold the Android-powered Galaxy Tab with one hand.Samsung Galaxy Tab

Ultimately, we gave the device four stars, and early adopters must have agreed with our conclusion, considering Samsung has shipped one million units just weeks after its US launch, and a month since its European debut.

With the holidays approaching, we thought this would be a good time to revisit the Galaxy Tab and review some of its features and key apps, especially the ones the carriers are promoting, including video conferencing, media streaming, and the Android operating system.

Those looking for a general review of the Samsung Galaxy Tab, including detailed comments on its design and browser experience, should check out our full Tab review. Just be sure to navigate back here for a detailed look at the Galaxy Tab’s features.

Samsung Galaxy Tab Specs

  • Screen: 7 inches
  • Resolution: 1024 x 600 
  • Operating System: Android 2.2
  • Processor: 1GHz Cortex A8 
  • Graphics: PowerVR SGX 540
  • RAM: 512MB
  • Storage: 2GB on board
  • Storage Expansion: microSD  (16GB card pre-installed, supports up to 32GB)
  • Connectivity: 3G, Bluetooth 3.0, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • Networks: Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, US Cellular
  • Camera: 1.3 megapixels (MP) front facing, 3MP rear camera
  • Weight: .84 lbs
  • Dimensions: 7.48 x 4.74 x 0.47 inches (WHD)
  • Cost: $400 with two year agreement, $600-$650 without, carrier dependent

Android 2.2 Froyo

By now, the world knows that Android 2.2 is a smartphone OS that was not meant for large tablets. For the Samsung Galaxy Tab, that’s manifested through a handful of minor quirks.

Right off, I should reiterate the point made in our previous review that Android on the Tab is superb. It’s very similar to the Android smartphone experience that users seemingly love, and the added screen real estate makes navigation much less claustrophobic (a personal complaint about Android on a smartphopne). However, the apps present the main problem.

A handful of apps do not support the Tab’s 1024 x 600 screen resolution and will run at their maximum resolution centered on the display, framed by black space. And while they may look good on a 4.3 or 3.5-inch screen, they look lousy on the seven-inch Tab. It’s mainly cosmetic, but comparing a game like Robo Defense that sports the frame to the gorgeous and colorful Angry Birds that fills the display is like comparing standard definition to high definition.

There is also an issue with the screen orientation. Simply put, the g-sensor is sluggish and gets confused easily. Too often, it orientates the screen horizontally when the Tab is vertical, and vice versa, particularly when you hold the Galaxy Tab at an angle. I’ve seen the same issue with the popular Droid and Samsung smartphones, which leads me to believe it’s an Android thing. It’s just much more pronounced on the larger Galaxy Tab.


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