Samsung Galaxy Tab review

By on October 27, 2010
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Is it a worthy competitor to the iPad?

Editor's Score
The Verdict:
Although the Galaxy Tab is a good device, it just didn’t live up to my expectations

The Galaxy Tab comes with Swype pre-installed, a software that allows you to quickly type in any application by simply dragging over the letters of the on-screen keyboard instead of tapping the,. In time, you’ll find that this is quite an intuitive way to enter text, and the software can accurately predict most entries and learn new ones.

The one thing I really wanted to test on both these devices was the web experience. With the whole Flash debate running around with Apple, I was interested to see how the Galaxy Tab faired on this ground, as it loudly boasted Flash 10.1 support. Sure enough, the Tab did properly display all of the websites that I visited which had Flash content on it. Sadly though, the unit began to stutter when I tried to play a Flash Tower Defense game, and completely froze up when I launched a fullscreen Flash game.

Even with a 1GHz processor, the Tab wasn’t able to properly handle full-screen Flash, which in all honesty isn’t too much of a hassle for me. If I owned a Tab, I wouldn’t be sitting around trying to play Flash games on it; I would just be poking around the web and doing any heavy surfing on my laptop. Having said that though, I found that the web experience on the iPad was significantly better. Why? Well, since the iPad doesn’t show any Flash, websites load quicker, and zooming and scrolling around is trouble-free. On the websites that I surfed on the Galaxy Tab, scrolling stuttered just a little bit, and zooming in and out wasn’t as instantaneous as it was on the iPad. The bigger screen estate of the iPad also meant that websites were easier on the eyes, whereas on the Tab I found myself often zooming in and out on certain sites to read content.

My next experiment was with the email, and both devices have a beautiful native email application. In landscape view you can view folders and emails on a left pane, with the entire message expanding to fill the right pane. Both devices easily paired with my Exchange server and downloaded all my contacts and emails, and also gave me the option to search my company’s Global Address Book – a feature still missing on my HTC Hero. The only annoyance with my email on the Galaxy Tab was that it would only show the last name of the sender, not the entire person, which I found to be very odd. The other snag was that any emails with embedded images in them showed up as image attachments, while the iPad was able to display HTML emails without any issue.

Music and video were good on both devices, though I found the iPad to win in this department thanks to its larger screen, the iTunes ecosystem and better interface to sort video and music. In fact, because of the iPad’s larger screen, I found the overall viewing experience on the iPad to be better than on the Galaxy Tab. Everything from email to web to even Twitter seemed much brighter and in focus on the iPad that it did on the Tab.

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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

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  • khalid

    about flash, and web browsing being better on ipad for not having flash:

    you can switch flash to on demand, where it does not run flash stuff until you click on it (much like flash blocking browser extensions).

    • Ron Saldanha

      As Khalid stated above flash can be swithed off or even an on demand mode, the 2.2 version benchmarks simply blows any mobile browser out the window at the moment (flash turned off and quite close with it turned on if not beating it that way too!) Further more you actually have an option of like 4+ browsers on an android device, some mimimcing chrome on the PC quite well, xscope brower, dolphine, opera etc. Personal opinion all tablets seem to have 0 ergonomics and at the end most peeps end up buying and aftermarket case/keyboard if anything the future looks more in line with a lenevo lepad the perfect hybrid!

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  • Downhill Dude

    Well, not quite a balanced report.

    Most reviews are by guys who have iPads (our have extensively used one). That’s fine, but the problem is that the reviewers now have preconceived ideas of what you use a tablet for, and therefore what criteria are most important, and how you weight them.

    In most reviews, although the Tab is shown to have more tech in it (cameras, mobile access point, DLNA, BT 3.0,Swype, Flash, etc., ultimately the reviewer decides that the increased size of the iPad screen outweighs every advantage of the Tab. They fail to acknowledge that the increased portability of the Tab lets you take it with you far more often (It fits in the inside pocket of my suit jacket, or the back pocket of my jeans). I’m more likely to use my Tab on the train because I can use it with one hand while I hold the overhead rail with the other. If you’re an ebook reader, it makes more sense, as it is half the weight of the iPad, and you tuck it away in the same space you’d tuck your paperback book.

    Around the house, the iPad would be preferred due to its bigger screen (except for reading books), but for anything outside the house, I’d probably prefer the Tab.

    I think there’s a time and place for both products, but you have to watch your own experience-based biases.

    If you want to beam an HD movie (with 5.1 surround sound) from your tablet, wirelessly, you need the Tab. The iPad can’t do it (yet).

  • Downhill Dude

    …and you can play that movie natively in Divx format, if you want. And with no compression loss.

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