A small tablet computer with a big price
There’s no doubt that the Samsung Galaxy Tab is an impressive tablet computer, but given the rather hefty price tag, its shortcomings become big problems. There is much to recommend about the this tablet, but for every good feature, a 'however' looms large.
It has much to recommend it but for every good thing there is to say, a ‘however’ looms large.
For instance, It looked great with a bright and clear screen, but the plasticky body wasn’t particularly pleasant to the touch.
The 7in display is smaller than that of the Apple iPad, its chief rival: side-by-side the Tab looks tiny. Consequently, though, it fits into a jacket pocket and it is much more portable than Apple’s product. It can also double as a rather cumbersome phone – holding it to your ear isn’t a good way to talk but it’s good to be able to make calls and connect to the internet using the 3G mobile networks (it can also connect to wireless networks).
Our major problem is the software. The Galaxy Tab runs version 2.2 of the Android operating system and while it worked well some of the time it consistently came up short. On the good side, the Financial Times reader, available for free but supplied with the device, looked great and worked perfectly, and the email program has been designed well for the screen, with a list of messages down one side and a window to view email on the other.
However, the supplied Samsung Apps don’t do anything useful. For instance the Samsung Games and Samsung Movies turn out to be links to websites where users can download apps.
The Galaxy Tab has full access to the Android Marketplace for the downloading of apps, but there is a big let down: almost all available apps are designed for smartphones, which have far smaller screens. Some of them are scaled up to fit the larger screen and look terrible, while others don’t bother, placing the application in the centre of the screen and surrounding it with a large black border.
The iPod does not support Flash websites but the Tab can. Most such websites displayed well and looked great. Videos also looked good, displaying in high definition without a problem. There is a three-megapixel camera on the back of the Tab that will take still photographs and shoot video, though sadly not in high definition.
Another camera on the front is for video calling but as with the iPad users cannot make video calls in Skype.
Overall, the Android software just isn’t ready, so no matter how excellent the hardware might be (and it is good) it cannot compete with the iPad. When Android apps fully support tablet computers, the Galaxy Tab will be a real contender, but until then it is hugely overpriced, especially when you factor in a mobile contract for internet access.
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A decent tablet but it’s very expensive and has little software that comes close to justifying the price Good points Small; supports Flash; doubles as a phone Bad points Overpriced; Android is poor on tablets; lack of decent software
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