Tuesday, April 5, 2011

My Time With A Samsung Galaxy Tab

I have a Motorola Droid phone and have been loving it for over a year so I am very familiar with the Android OS. When I received the Samsung Galaxy Tab for testing I was hoping for something amazing but I see why it is not selling well. Here is my summary of my observations and opinions:

  • SIZE: The tablet is a good size as the seven inch screen gives you enough real estate for browsing and reading without being too large and cumbersome. It is a bit on the heavy side though for carrying around for long periods of time and it is too big for using one handed unless it is resting on a table or in your lap. For reading books, email and news or playing games the screen size was very nice.
  • SPEED: The tablet is faster than by Droid so this was a nice speed boost when surfing or running applications. The extra processor power and memory helped give applications and games (Angry Birds) a much smoother feel. Sadly the timing is bad on this model as there are dual core processor Android phones and tablets that blow it away. Overall though it was fast enough to do everything I wanted and it multitasks very well.
  • SYNCING: Really? I tried to connect the Tab to my Windows 7 computer expecting the standard plug and play experience but was instead forced to download and install a communication program for Samsung devices. Really? Even after installing it I could not get files copied off. I could see them just fine and navigate but it would hang when trying to copy them down. Admittedly these were large WAV files but it shouldn't have mattered. I had to disconnect it and remount multiple times because it would not take the Cancel I kept giving it. There is no reason for this. Plug and Play for SD cards is standard.
  • BATTERY: The Tab held a charge fairly well. I could sit through two hour meetings doing a recording, check emails, surf the web and play games for over 8 hours without the need to recharge. For low activity periods I could go 3 to 4 days without the need to charge. Charging is quick when connected to A/C but is negligent when connected via USB to a PC.
  • APPS: Running apps from the Android Market on the Tab was a decent experience. The increased speed and screen size helped to make the applications much more responsive and easier to see. Some apps were not written or updated to handle the large screen size and resolution though and would just center on the screen. Since I am used to my Droid screen this was not a horrible experience but hopefully developers will get around to improving their apps for all sizes of devices.
Final Thoughts: 
I think the Samsung Galaxy Tab makes a great toy as it is only a larger phone but without the phone calling capabilities. It does have a phone number that is used during activation of the device and can be used for setting up SMS but not for making phone calls. I am sure there are hacks out there for it or will be soon but natively it is a limited communication device. For that reason I could never see owning one as I need a phone, even though that is the thing I use the least on my Droid, I still need the capability. Since the Tab and other tablets are being pawned by cell companies they should include them as phones. I can't see holding it up to my ear regularly but I could definitely see using it as a conference call/speaker phone which is what I generally do anyway. 

I will be trying out the Motorola XOOM next. Hopefully the Honeycomb version of the Android OS will win me over but I do not see the need for having a second device with 95% capability overlap. 

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