Samsung Galaxy Tab Carriers and Video Calls

December 15, 2010 by Jamison Cush Reads (69,023)
Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • 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

Video Calls

The Galaxy Tab’s 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera and video call functionality are two huge features the Android tablet has over the iPad, which has no camera. As mentioned above, the Sprint Tab ships pre-installed with the latest version of the Qik video chat app, but there are plenty of other video chat apps, including Fring and Tango (Skype claims they are working on one for Android as well).

Tango, Qik, Fring, YahooVideo chat on Android still needs work and applications often hiccup with bugs and dropped connections. However, you should have no trouble making a Tab-to-Tab Qik video call over Wi-Fi, provided you are using version Qik version 4.40 or later.

At TabletPCReview, we tried Yahoo Messenger’s new video chat feature — which is still in beta — as it actually enables video chat from the Tab to desktops and laptops. From the Tab, I called TabletPCReview Assistant Editor Grant Hatchimonji over Wi-Fi, who was on his netbook.

On both ends, the Galaxy Tab and the laptop, the video quality was slightly pixilated, but still impressive. The voice quality also sounded tinny and compressed, but otherwise audible and clear — if not always in sync with the video. Otherwise, it was an effective and surprisingly simple experience.

We later tried the same call over Sprint’s 3G connection with no luck connecting.

Voice Calls

European users can use their Galaxy Tab like a really big phone through headphones or a Bluetooth receiver. Unfortunately for American Tab owners, that functionality was disabled.

Still theres hope for really big phone fans. Skype for Android works just fine, and it’s a free download to boot, offering free calls to other Skype contact and inexpensive calls to mobile phones and land lines. Users don’t need headphones or Bluetooth either, as Skype works great with the Tab’s on-board speakers and microphone.

Carrier Differences

While all models sport the same specs, the Galaxy Tab slightly differs by carrier. The base unit is offered by Sprint and US Cellular, sports sheer plastic with a black trim along the screen and white backing. The T-Mobile Galaxy Tab is the same, but all black.

Both the AT&T and Verizon units have a black backing with small rubber bullets adding texture, making it easier to grip and hold. Having tested both, I prefer the textured design.



Verizon Galaxy Tab

Sprint Galaxy Tab

 

There is also a slight difference in the pre-loaded apps. While all ship with the same basic Android and Google apps also found on Android smartphones, there are a few carrier specific programs. We tested out both the Verizon and Sprint Tabs, and the Verizon Tab came pre-loaded with a full golf game and a first-person shooter. Both are great additions and the first-person shooter was surprisingly fun with the touch and tilt controls. The Sprint Tab had an app labeled “Free Games!” that was just a shortcut to the Sprint Gameloft outlet. Point Verizon.

As of December 8, 2010, the Sprint Tab has one up on Verizon’s in video conferencing as Sprint’s comes pre-loaded with the latest version of Qik (4.40), which offers video call functionality. While the app is freely available in the Android Market for Verizon Tab owners to download, it is still limited in a previous version (version 3.765) that does not support video calls, only video messaging. Point Sprint, but it will be a wash once Verizon updates the Qik application. Finally, the Sprint Galaxy Tab also ships with a microSD adapter. The Verizon unit does not.

These are all minor differences. What should sway your decision on which Tab you buy is which offers the most appealing price and data plan, which are outlined below.

Galaxy Tab Price and Data Plans Compared
Prices accurate as of December 8, 2010

Carrier AT&T Sprint T-Mobile Verizon U.S. Cellular
Unsubsidized price $649.99 $599.99 $599.99 $599.99 $599.99
Subsidized price (2-yr. contract) N/A, month-to-month service only $399.99 $399.99 N/A, month-to-month service only $199.99
Instant savings? N/A Yes Includes $50 mail-in rebate card N/A Includes $100 mail-in rebate (Visa debit card)
Plan 1 $14.99/250 MB $29.99/2000 MB $24.99/200 MB $20/1000 MB $14.99/200 MB
Plan 1 $/MB $0.05996/MB $0.014995/MB $0.12495/MB $0.02/MB $0.07495/MB
Plan 2 $25/2000 MB $59.99/5000 MB $39.99/5000 MB $10/each additional GB

$54.99/5000 MB
($.25 per message) 
$74.99/5000 MB (unlimited messaging)

Plan 2 $/MB $0.0125/MB $0.011998/MB $0.007998/MB N/A

$0.010998/MB 
$0.014998/MB 

Activation Fee N/A $36/line $35/line $35/line $30/line


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