Can the Galaxy Tab replace your Mobile Phone?

By on October 31, 2010
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I decided to ditch my Smartphone for the weekend and use the Tab instead

Remember how when the iPad was announced, hundreds of skeptics branded it as an ‘oversized iPhone’? Well, the same goes for the Galaxy Tab – it looks more like an oversized Galaxy S phone, but unlike the iPad, the Galaxy Tab can actually make and receive phone calls- and it works with a regular sized SIM card. The Tab supports MMS, GPS, 3G, and even video calling as would any regular phone. Now, having played around the with Galaxy Tab for a few days, I decided to run the acid test and ditch my regular phone in favor of the Tab.

I do realize that this has its drawbacks- for one thing, no idiot in their right mind would hold a 7” device up to their ear to make a phone call. In fact, when I told people that the Galaxy Tab could be used as a phone, they instantly held it up to their ear and started laughing. I can easily see the humor in this – why talk about your device having phone capabilities when you know that people already envision a phone as something you can hold up and use.

You need to use a compatible Bluetooth headset or a wired one in order to comfortably make a phone call. If no headset is connected to the Tab, then it defaults to using its in-built speaker to broadcast your conversation to the entire world. While the speaker works well for conference calling, I highly recommend using a headset if you’re going to use the Tab for making phone calls.

The Tab did pair up easily with my Nokia CW-15 Bluetooth car kit, and showed all my contacts without a glitch, which was great. It supports Voice Dialing, but the problem with it is that you still need to tap the screen to confirm the number you want to dial, so it’s not truly hands-free say when you’re driving and need to make an urgent call.

Honestly, the Galaxy Tab is just a pain to carry around as a phone. At the press event, one of the Samsung staff casually mentioned that “You can put it in your pocket” and encouraged me to try and fit the Galaxy Tab into my already ludicrously skinny jeans. Even the video for the Galaxy Tab shows people sliding it effortlessly into their back pockets or their suits. Are these people serious? Are you really going to be walking around with a honking 7 inch device sticking out of your pocket?

Don’t make the assumption that the Tab will replace your phone – it’s probably the most uncomfortable thing to lug around. When I had to nip out for groceries, I couldn’t leave the Tab in car in case I missed a phone call. And I couldn’t put it into the shopping basket in case I put something on top of it. I stupidly weren’t wearing pants that were big enough to hold the Tab, so in the end I had to just tuck the thing under my arm just so I could have two free hands. With a cell phone, you slide it into your pocket and you forget about it. With the Galaxy Tab, you’re always mindful that you’re carrying this great piece of tech, but you don’t have any place to put it.


A former IT & Marketing Manager turned full time Editor, Nick enjoys hurling fireballs and tinkering with the latest gadgets. Follow him on Twitter as @theregos

  • khalid

    kandooras works great

  • khalid

    wear a kandoora.

    • khalid

      the way this website does comments is funny. i lost count the number of times i double commented. bah.

  • alexander

    Nick, reading you talking about those 7 inches did, I have to say, make me laugh…

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  • Nicholas Rego

    @Khalood – Kandooras don’t come in pink :(

    @alexander – I edited out a comment that I had originally put in which was “Is that a Tab in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?”

  • Allan Smith

    Yea I completely agree. It seems far to big to be used as a phone and personally I think Samsung have got this one wrong. The appeal of the Tab is down to the fact that it can rival the iPad as a tablet PC, not because it can rival the iPhone as a phone.

    Iv just had a quick look at the best Galaxy Tab offers and it also seems like Samsung are pricing the Galaxy Tab more as a competitor to the iPhone than the iPad. How can anyone justify paying the extra money for a Galaxy Tab when the phone functionality is rendered useless anyway?

  • elizabeth

    I’m all for not having to carry around multiple devices. From a female perspective, I can easily see putting this in my purse. The productivity is the advantage. Being able to work in the field with the device and occasionally get the phone call or make the call outweigh the need for carrying the cell phone altogether. I’m looking to replace the cell phone altogether, have a productive device in the field for work apps and communicate with the devices phone if necessary. I’m sure that carrying cases are already on the market for the Galaxy Tab, so portability should not be a problem.

  • Charlie

    I would have to say that the ability to make a phone call is the #1 benefit of the Galaxy! Why would anyone want to carry two devices?? A tablet that makes phone calls?!?! I’m all in! Cell phones, next to your ear it’s bad for your brain, in your pocket it’s a sperm count drain. The fact that in does not fit in your pocket just raised your sperm count!! Get with it folks, browsing the web on a 2.5″-3″ screen is ridiculous!

    • Abbas Jaffar Ali

      I agree, 2.5″-3″ screens are a bit too small for browsing. Using the iPhone or Galaxy S with their 3.5″ and 4″ screens is definitely better. Even better is the Galaxy Tab with 7″ but not quite as good as the iPad with its 9.7″ screen.

  • hal9000

    I am glad you tried this out and i found your review via google.
    I have a Dell Streak and was wondering if this was possible.It looks like the extra 2 inches is the deal breaker though, as mad as the idea is I thought it might have been a go-oe.

  • LHArch

    Personally, I fully intend to embrace this concept as the tablets get fully adapted to easy telephone capacity. I will likely try to find a courier bag design – that will allow me to throw this over my shoulder, wherever I go. A almost full-size computer, and telephone at my fingertips at all times! Yahoo! Knew it would happen. Next best thing, will be a version that can be strapped to your arm – sort of like the module seen on the Predator movies…pops open…tap some buttons….etc. Sci-fi….we’re getting there! Thank you for your article…it helped me know that this was closer than I had imagined! Now, just gotta wait till it gets all the bells and whistles I want!

    • Rajur

      Its high time the tech companies realize that like Lennon said “All we need is love”, its “all we need is phone”

  • Achum4chum

    Personally, I have never known what to do with my cell phone anyway. I don’t like holding it to my ear so this sounds just great to me. With a case, it will fit nicely in my purse!

  • Anonymous

    How did you get it to work for phone calls? I’ve had the Galaxy for 2 days now and ca’t find any function for dialing or accepting calls. when I tried to call it from my cell phone, I got a message that the person I was dialing was not available or was outside the calling area.

    • Leland Robinson

      If you have one tied to a carrier in the US(you bought it from them) you won’t be able to place calls. You will have to install firmware from the EU version to do so…

  • Evde2009

    The Galaxy Tab is just a regular cell phone if not tweeked by a North American provider. Beside ripping off people they also like to regulate the things you do in a more cappy way as the ussr did in the past.
    If you tool-up your self a little, it’s a very practical allround tool
    I use SKYPE, with my Skype Phone number of course for all my international calls and my Canadian Cell phone plan and number for most of the time receiving calls and sending text messages. (not a Canadian SKYPE number but who cares, right)
    How to go from here? Listen to Leland Robinson and get rid of the North American Firmware, download the UK free cell phone firmware.
    Good luck


  • Fashionnena823

    If you’re a girl, it’s not much of a hassle as you can put it in your purse :)

  • Johnnie

    Couldn’t disagree more.

    I don’t want a tablet AND a phone… carrying 2 devices is the real ludicrous option here. I can’t carry an Ipad and a phone everywhere, but I can carry a tab everywhere. While it was a tight fit, it worked in my pockets. It kinda sounds like you were complaining you had no-where to put the phone, when what you really meant was that you had a place (your back pocket) that you didn’t want to use because of style concerns. Surely you’re not going to blame the tab for that? If I had to choose between my back pocket and under the arm, it would be the back pocket every time… but that’s my personal choice. Honestly, I’d probably just start wearing pants with the cargo pocket on the leg more often if I had one though.

    I’m very frustrated that the phone equipment was disabled in the US, and basically the first company to viably provide a true crossover device on the Verizon network gets my money.

  • 3D glasses

    It is much better than a mobile phone in all aspects except one. Making phone calls :)

  • 3D glasses

    It is much better than a mobile phone in all aspects except one. Making phone calls :)

  • Perfecto Ong Bautista

    What’s the talk time? Standby time? Please let us know.

  • David5372

    Great Points! Thanks for input; I was thinking the same thing — now, to go back to the coffee bar and re-think….

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