By January 18, 2011

Samsung Galaxy Tab review

Galaxy-Tab Android tablets are easy to come by. Even your local supermarket will have a selection. At the top of the pricing scale is the Samsung Galaxy Tab. Is it worth the big bucks or is it a branded nightmare?

The ten second review:

  • Device: Samsung Galaxy Tab 7" Android 2.2 Tablet
  • Price: £470.00
  • Summary: High end Android tablet with phone capabilities
  • Best of: Robust Android experience, added value software, light
  • Worst of: Expensive, plastic, proprietary connections
  • Buy it now from: Clove


What’s in the box?

  • Samsung Galaxy Tab
  • Setup guide
  • Introduction booklet
  • Warranty booklet
  • 16gb MicroSD card
  • Usb Cable
  • Power charger
  • Samsung in-ear headphones with built-in mic.

Samsung Galaxy Tab Specifications:

  • ARM Cortex A8 "Hummingbird" 1 GHz
  • 7" 600 x 1024 Capacitive display
  • 512mb ROM
  • 512mb RAM
  • 16gb onboard storage
  • MicroSD – up to 32gb, 16gb included
  • Android 2.2
  • Cameras – 3.2mp rear, 1.3mp front facing
  • Wireless B, G, N
  • 380g


  • Samsung’s Hummingbird processor
  • Gorilla Glass
  • Sturdy
  • Froyo


  • Peripheral prices
  • Single core
  • Speaker location


Looking around the device the Samsung Galaxy Tab has only a 3.5mm on the top.


The left is completely blank.


The bottom has a propriety connector. Used for charging and a couple of proposed add-ons. Unfortunately this is the only expansion port, there is on USB. Samsung haven’t exactly rewarded buyers with cheap add-ons! A charge cable goes for £9.99 and the docks are eye wateringly priced. Two holes for the speakers. Yup the stereo speakers are on the same side. Not exactly the most ideal way to watch a movie.

The right has a power / suspend button, a volume rocker, a door for the microSD slot and another door for a 3g Sim card


The back has smooth white plastic with two holes for the 3.2mp camera and the accompanying flash.



The front as an attractive black bezel and a larger 7" capacitive touchscreen. Hidden in the back is a small hole for the front facing camera and four touch sensitive  soft buttons. Unlike many tablets these are permanent and given the size of the bezel its nice to see it put to use.


The build quality might not be as superb as Apple’s Ipad however it is tough and feels good. I guess since Apple have set a benchmark for tablets the Tab falls below that and the only device that will top the benchmark will be the iPad 2.
A hardware feature that not many take into account is the Gorilla glass used for the touchscreen. There is no mistaking how comforting this is. One can imagine that using other materials would result in many tearful accidents as a lot of Apple’s customer base is experiencing. Great move by Samsung and there shouldn’t be any devices being made without it.

Size wise this tablet is perfect for daily use. A 10" screen is great for home browsing but you really cant take it with you just anywhere. The 7" screen seems to hit the right note and the bezel adds just the right amount distance between the screen and the edge of the device.
Most 7-10" devices are a bit of a stretch when using the keyboard and in landscape the Tab is no exception. It makes for swift finger typing and isn’t subjected to the lag that has been observed in other Android tablets. The portrait thumb board is very comfortable, in fact i am writing this review with it. Combined with the handiness of Google Docs I have become a lot more active with writing thanks to the Tab. No need to sit and wait for the netbook to boot on the train and rush to put it away. Ipad users will know what i am talking about however to sit cradling the tab and clicking away with the thumb board is immensely comfortable and natural.

Cameras here are not the focus of attention. They are merely functional. Whilst you wouldn’t expect too much from the front facing camera the 3.2 on the back is a feature that some are going to want to exploit. The camera seems to be fixed focus rendering it pretty useless in various conditions. The camera also suffers from the dreaded pink spot HTC loves so much.

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Battery life can be a little hit and miss with smartphone operating systems. There can be a rogue app banging away in the background and you will only realise when its too late. The Tab has a generous 4000mAh battery that will see through a day very comfortably if you monitor the settings well. I left Wi-Fi on by accident and by lunch time the battery was down to 30%. A bit severe but then this might have still been at a point when the battery was getting up to speed. I don’t think the battery life is quite a commendable as the Archos 101 however this does have 3g to contend with, a serious battery drainer.
After a few weeks I notice the battery works well if not pushing the device too hard. Playing a game or movie will see the battery life drop for 5-6 hours to 2-3. Quite severe and the processor will keep your fingertips warm!


There are a lot of little addictions that Galaxy users will be aware of. Some of are use to the everyday user and there are some most will likely not touch. Whilst things like the Daily Briefing are handy to have, it’s not terribly flexible, to an extent that you will just ignore it. Allshare was something I found of particular interest as it will allow for a certain amount of streaming and copying options. However, having used an Archos this software it’s just pathetic in comparison. The Email client is very nice however I noticed some stability issues and Push never seemed to happen. The Gmail application was less attractive but far more effective.


Nova HD was one of the more attractive titles in the bundled software. The game plays perfectly smoothly and shows off the platform to an agreeable level. In addition to the Android Marketplace Samsung have bundle three resources for expanding the Tab’s catalogue. The Samsung Apps link contains an even increasing amount of smaller apps and widgets for the Tab, all of which are free of charge. This store seems to be populated by RSS styled readers that are identical in all but content, with a few exceptions for Tourist information apps and a few concept apps. Samsung added Need For Speed Shift, for free, a wonderful act of kindness from Samsung. The games store links to Gameloft with a few HD games you can pay for, and sometimes pay for again. Samsung Movies links to Acetrax and what initially seems like a large movie collection, this is in fact roughly 50 movies and it has not been updated in a good while.


Samsung’s own apps are generally quite nice and look well. Their customisation of the Calendar and Contacts book is welcome. Other bits and pieces are hit and miss. The Task Manager is useful and a no brainer however when it comes to digital content this get a little mixed up.


The Music Hub links to 7 Digital and has a large collection to pick from. However, if you take advantage of the £200 of free stuff offer you will have to redeem your freebies from eMusic and not the native store. Same goes for the eBooks on offer. You will be given £25 to spend with WHSmith and these eBooks will not should in the native eBook reader or Kobo on the Tab, instead you have to read them through WHSmith’s rather wonky app.



The Reader Hub is a nice addiction with plenty to keep you interested. Of course after the limited free trial ends you might find yourself overspending on a nice quantity of content. There are plenty of newspapers, books and magazines to be purchased through here.

Worry not, as the Android marketplace is here in all it’s glory. In order to get some of the apps to work in full screen there is a well documented work-around that will help increase compatibility. It’s not completely full proof and some apps and games will not benefit from it.


Also provided by Samsung, and this extends to most of their devices, is the Kies desktop software. Covering some of the same ground as iTunes without the online market integration Kies seems to strike fear into some users. I personally find it to be quite a pleasant experience if a little disjointed. Some aspects work, some don’t. It depends on what devices you have. The Galaxy Tab online really benefits from the transfer of media and backups for firmware. In some cases the Tab isn’t even listed as a supported device. This seems to cater for the Java based phones in Samsung’s product line and Samsung have cut a corner and forces Tab users to use this when it’s not really fit.




This is very much a product of our times. On the one hand it’s a Tablet PC, on the other it’s an oversized phone. For many an oversized phone is enough to satisfy their needs, much like the Dell Streak. Some rarely use their air time for phone calls and look to their data connection for all their communication needs. If anything, this might be a glimpse of the future were phone calls take place over Bluetooth headsets and a tablet is you main hub to the world.

The Tab is simply a terrific device, robust, clever, attractive and worth looking at if you fancy an Android Tablet and money isn’t an issue. The future is uncertain, Android 2.3 will be hitting the Galaxy line and it will be interesting to see if the hardware lends itself to Android 3.0. In the mean time this is the premier Android Tablet on the market and the level of excellence combined with a constantly falling price tag will suit those just not interested in Apple. Other’s may wish to wait for Google’s Tablet friendly OS, in the meantime Android 2.2 works on a tablet and works well.

Posted by: Gareth

Posted in: Reviews

About the Author:

Seasoned tech blogger. Host of the Tech Addicts podcast.
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