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Summary:

Samsung has kick-started the Android tablet space with the Galaxy Tab, the first Android tablet considered to be a genuine competitor to the iPad, due to its hardware configuration and build quality. See how it stacks up against the larger iPad in this video.

Tab v iPad

Samsung has kick-started the Android tablet space with the Galaxy Tab which is being released globally. The Tab considered the first Android tablet that is a genuine competitor to the iPad due to its impressive hardware configuration and build quality. Steve Jobs has stated that 7 inches is too small for a tablet, but that is not my experience having used the Galaxy Tab for a few days. The form factor is highly mobile, and the screen is a good size for dishing up the web.

We previously showed the unboxing of the Galaxy Tab on video, and now we take a tour around the tablet in this new video, showing how a screen just a bit larger than a smartphone’s can offer more utility than even a phone with the largest screen available. In the video you see the Galaxy Tab running several third-party apps that turn the tablet into a great web device, something the integrated 3G in most models is well suited to do. I only used one hand to demonstrate the Tab, something that I cannot do comfortably with the iPad. The Galaxy Tab is also shown side-by-side with the HTC EVO 4G, the Android phone with a 4.3-inch screen. Check out the video and don’t miss our first impressions of the Galaxy Tab.

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  1. Nice review. It looks like a nice sized device that fits the hand a lot better for multi-touch. Hard to use a multi-touch device that’s hard to hold with one hand.

    Only thing I didn’t like seeing was the proprietary charging port. . . thought everyone moved beyond that by now, guess not.

    thanks for a nice review.

  2. Yes, I agree. Very well done review. I would love to see a 9.7″ android device that had wifi, not 3g. I have an wifi ipad now and use it for school. I use Note Taker HD to hand write my notes, coursesmart for my textbooks, and mental case for flashcards. None of which run in android and I haven’t found comparable apps yet for android. Hate that ipad doesn’t have a flash option though and I love android on my EVO so I am open to an android tablet device. For my purposes, 7″ screen is just too small I think and the apps I need don’t run in android yet.
    All that being said, the Galaxy is a nice device and if the use case fits it and you don’t mind signing a data plan contract it looks great.

  3. Hi James,

    I’ve been evaluating the Galaxy Tab from Sprint (white back instead of black). I agree — it’s a very nice unit, with some advantages and disadvantages over the iPad.

    I think Steve Jobs is wrong in trashing the seven inch screen, and he’ll be proven wrong when millions of people begin buying seven-inch Android tablets — especially next year when tablet-optimized Android 3.0 is available and we see many tablet-sized Android applications.

    I found it “amusing” that you kept hitting the wrong “buttons” on your touch screen devices. I have a pet peeve about too many tech journalists/bloggers and manufacturers going crazy for touch everything.

    Touch screens and navigation keys can be a pain.

    It would have been better if the Galaxy Tab had **real** — physical — navigation buttons. Much less chance of them being accidentally touch. I can empathize with accidentally hitting touch screen keys.

    And, with real buttons with painted-on symbols, we wouldn’t have to struggle to see them when the backlight goes off!

  4. It’s sort of funny, about a year ago everybody criticized tablets, then criticized iPads and now we see comparisons to iPads. But, the funniest is how every MFR. is building or designing the tablets to look like iPads; similar UI and physical form. It would be quite something if someone, anyone could just use their imagination to bring something to the market that is different and a significantly better option, not a choice based on features that can be met, ignored, or irrelevant.

    1. Well…you have to admit. When designing rectangles, the options a kind of limited.

  5. I wonder how the Nook Color will compete with these 7″ tablets. Reviews so far seem to be generally positive, but note its limitations as a tablet. Any thoughts on that?

  6. personally i LOVE capacitive buttons. any Android user can tell you that you’ll use the buttons down there constantly, so not having to “click” them everytime makes it alot less wear & tear on the fingertips. i almost never accidentally activate them, but then again i’m not doing video demo’s.

    browser readability on the 7″ 1024 x 600 seems to win over the 4.3″ 800 x 480 on 2 fronts, it can fit more info on the screen & because everything is inherently larger you dont have to pinch zoom in as often.

    the real question is apps though, if they scale up to fit the Galaxy screen does everything just become larger or does more information actually fit? i’m sure it depends on the program, but hopefully with later versions of Android everything will scale properly (not just enlarge).

  7. $599 is competive with the iPad 16GB WiFi + 3G enabled $629. Especially considering you can expand memory up to 48GB with SHDC card, which is something you can’t do with the iPad. It will be interesting to see how many of these get sold through the holiday season compared to iPads.

  8. One of the best reviews of the Tab, exactly how a normal user feels, not like an over enthusiastic tech geek.

    This 7″ wonder seems to have many secrets waiting to be opened and has many areas superior ( light weight, flash & camera ) to the Ipad

  9. Hi James, nice review (thanks!).

    I am wondering whether there is any good/decent inking app for Android that can be used on this size screen.

  10. Nicely done review. As for the product, I’m sure it is good. The best part about it, and this is nothing to do with Samsung but rather the operating system, is the screen going blank when switching between portrait and landscape ;) The visual page flip on iPhone is so yesterday ;) Same thing with the scrolling, sure everyone says “scrolling is so smooth” but I have to see one device yet that does not glitch during scrolling. I don’t care for Apple and I don’t care for Samsung but I care about integrity and if something is not 100% as relative to something that is simply state the fact – and this is not directed specifically at James but rather many product reviewers.

    One question that I have for you James: how is the battery life on the Galaxy Tab, obviously it’ got a smaller screen so it should last quite a while but I’d like to know your experience with it since you have the device. Thanks.

  11. Great review, but for me those touch buttons kill it.

    To Nirk (the capacitive button lover) who says capacitive buttons ‘reduce finger tip wear’ I say ‘What are you talking about?’. Fingertip wear hasn’t affected me in 20 years of 1000+ words a day typing… surely this guy has shares in Samsung?

    Conclusion: It looks to me like this form factor has a nice balance of usability and portability but touch buttons next to a touch screen is going to lead to many frustrations down the road. I’ll pass until they release a version with buttons with tactile feedback.

  12. Mobile Tech Manor #107: Apps and Things: Mobile « Friday, November 19, 2010

    [...] Tab. It is possible to use the little tablet for extended periods in the hand, something that is not comfortable with the larger iPad . For this reason alone the Tab has become my e-book reader of choice, as the Kindle app works well [...]

  13. James, thank you for a nice review. How did you get your tab to display the full NY Times website? I am using the Dolphin HD on mine and it takes me to mobile.nytime.com.

    1. Alex – in the settings (or via a Dolphin HD add-on), you can set the browser to act like a desktop and thus “fool” sites as to what device you are using.

  14. borax99 (Alain C.) Friday, November 19, 2010

    Hoo boy! I held a Tab in my hot little hands earlier today. Nice. Thanks for the excellent video James – I have a quick ebook related question. Does the tab allow for sideloading *non* DRM ebooks to the Kindle app (I am thinking specifically of my Baen books, which are in non-DRM mobi and work very well with the Kindle and Kindle for PC app).

  15. Android This Week: TV; Ads Add Up; 1M in 40 Days: Tech News « Saturday, November 20, 2010

    [...] may think there’s no utility in a 7-inch tablet, but hands-on video proves otherwise. Our video of the Tab going head-to-head with the iPad shows the smaller tablet can be easier to use for extended periods, a major use case for a tablet [...]

  16. Video — Angry Birds on Galaxy Tab: Tech News « Saturday, November 20, 2010

    [...] Samsung Galaxy Tab is the first Android tablet to make a serious run at the iPad, and with Angry Birds now on Android the question is how well does the game run on the Tab? The [...]

  17. tried it … it’s not bad but not as intuitive as the iPad … size is nice

    there seemed to be much less interest in it over the weekend on the shops than the iPad … the marketing will hurt it i think, it got stuck in the phone section rather than its own display like apple has in major retail stores

  18. Nice review. You do the qualities of the Galaxy Tab justice. I’ve been using a Verizon Galaxy Tab for almost two weeks, and I’m liking it very much.

  19. One minor note – the dock/charging connector isn’t proprietary. It’s a PDMI connector (PDMI is an open standard). It’s the same connector as the Dell Streak.

  20. what were the apps that were loaded? Didn’t hear the names clearly in the video.

  21. Michael Hunter Friday, December 3, 2010

    The flipped menu and home buttons from my Evo could drive me nuts.

    I read a fair number of books I get in PDF format. The Adobe reader doesn’t keep my place. Do you have a solution? For convergence I really like the Galaxy Tab as a replacement and enhancement of my Kindle + windows slate. But it is a bit heavier and there are things missing like an easy way to maintain place in a pdf.

  22. Which Tablet Is Best? iPad vs. Samsung Galaxy Tab: Apple « Thursday, December 16, 2010

    [...] quite a laptop or netbook. This self-declared Apple fanboy got some serious hands-on time with the Samsung Galaxy Tab, and while I probably won’t be selling my iPad anytime soon, I can seriously see myself [...]

  23. CDMA-Compatible iPad Coming to Verizon: Apple News, Tips and Reviews « Tuesday, January 11, 2011

    [...] version of the iPad, according to Verizon Communications CFO Francis Shammo (via Bloomberg). Users currently have to use a MiFi device to allow iPad’s to connect to Verizon’s network via Wi-Fi. The new version would be [...]

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