Review of The Samsung Galaxy Tab
Over the next few weeks I'm going keep a diary of my reflections on the Samsung Galaxy Tab. I purchased mine the other day from a shop on Tottenham Court Road
in London for £10 more than it was selling for in the major retail stores, however for that price I got a 16GB
card thrown in. I also had a to do with a salesman by the name of Phil in the Eastbourne branch of Curry's / PC World when on asking him to reduce the price of 3 items (2 laptops and the Tab) by £17 he refused. He turned it in to a power battle so I walked out and will not go there for the next year. That's the second time I've had problems there, the last time they agreed to a reduction on a deal for an elderly woman I was buying a PC for and when it came to paying I realised they hadn't included the reduction. I hadn't been lucky in terms of getting the Tab as originally I'd purchased it online from Tesco Direct but it didn't turn up when they said it would, and even though they had the item in the shop they wouldn't give me one.. so i cancelled the order.
I had spent weeks deliberating over whether to get the Ipad or or the Tab, and finally come down to this train of thought: As far as everyone's telling me, the Ipad has a better interface, but it has less hardware functionality and is bigger than the Tab. I already have a good ultraportable laptop so what benefit will i get from the Ipad? A smoother experience, but I want to take what I'm buying out with me and the Ipad will need a case whereas the tab can fit in to my man-bag or a pocket (just). So there was my decision, it came down to where I was going to use it.
So I went out and bought one, probably logic never really saw the light of day, but anyway I was happy! Once I got it set up - which was very easy -, I kind of realised that without an Internet connection it was quite limited, and that coupled with the fact that the Samsung Apps store doesn't work if there's no sim card in the unit led me to get a pay monthly pay as you go sim card from O2 with a data allowance of 500Mb costing £10/month but with no contract. I preferred to have the data limitation compared to the 3 network's 1 Gb allowance at £10/month on a contract. The thing is if you're going to get one of these and you're going to be travelling where the Hot-Spots don't shine then you may really want to consider a sim card with a data allowance.
I'll also list other reviews I thought were good, here's the first
Monday 13th Dec 2010
My initial reaction so far.
This is more than an oversized mobile phone. It's very easy to use, and works well, the screen is very clear, the OS is easy to handle, battery life is good but not startling (about 70% longevity of the Ipad), and some functions really are useful like voice commands on searches or even dictating messages / emails. Video and sound are also very good considering.
As I get to know it better I'll add more to this, but meanwhile I'm enjoying it.
Tuesday 14th Dec 2010
It is the slickness of the Ipad that seems to sway people, and today I had a few moments when using the browser that seemed a bit laggy / jerky, and I`wasn't running any other apps but I was on a page full of graphics.
Skype doesn't allow video call access which seems a pity, maybe there are other apps that will allow it to do so.
I've linked up my google account on it and it's syncing my contact details well, so as I add numbers to my mobile phone they're automatically added to the Tab too.
I reverted to accessing my yahoo mail on the browser as the email app seems slow to sync up or display emails.
The readers hub app works well and viewing magazines was easy.
I found typing somewhat slow compared to using a normal keyboard, plus when entering a comment on the full site version of Facebook in landscape mode the text kept ducking below the keyboard.
The bluetooth function has been very useful for transferring files.
If Apple brings out a 7 inch version, with Flash, standard Bluetooth, and cameras I think they'd have another winner... it's the portability of the Galaxy with a slickness that while not on a par to the Ipad is still pretty immpressive.
It's been a busy day so I haven't had much time with the Tab, however here's the main points that did come to the fore:
By going to the Active Applications App and clicking on the Ram manager I was able to switch off some applications whch weren't shown in the Active Applications list, thus helping to keep the system running faster for longer. (Turn Bluetooth and Wifi off to help do the same)
The next issue is that with the protective "intelligent" leather cover on, the buttons which are close to the edge become very slightly covered up.
Video is a pleasure to watch on this.
Photos aren't very good quality (for this price an 8 megapixel camera would have been more appropriate, but then at least it has got a camera!)
Lastly... emailing attachments, I had more success just using the browser to access my emails, as the apps had some size limitation.
Thursday 16th December 2010
Several discoveries today.
The leather case partly obscures the front facing camera.
The video recorder doesn't allow a choice of resolutions - although an MMS mode caps the size of a clip. This means emailing clips is a problem.
Have installed Skype and Fring so will experiment with voice and video calls soon.
Installed Tubemate which is a great app for downloading YouTube videos (and their soundtracks separately if desired).
My typing is getting faster (about 2 characters per second).
Installed Spotify but when I tried to log in it said I needed to be a Premium member to use the mobile version.
So many Apps... so little time! Type in the word "free" and keep scrolling....
Wanted to watch some video, why haven't Samsung included an integral stand? What I've just tried is pulling the front cover of the case around the back and sliding the little fastening strap in to the loop normally used for securing the cover and that seems to have created a stand... Apparently it's supposed to do that LOL. http://www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/samsung-galaxy-tab-stand-case-black-08160334-pdt.html?srcid=867&xtor=AL-50&istCompanyId=9a35962d-802d-4e67-9721-0a3328ca1f02&istItemId=maqlxma&istBid=t
Another minor problem is that when watching a video In landscape mode the speakers are on one side, which is a bit annoying in terms of stereo effects.
I wish they'd also included the ability to charge the batteries while attached to a PC. Plus the lack of a standard USB connection for flash drives and peripherals is a little annoying.
Here are some links to Accessories and no I'm not affiliated with any of these companies or getting any commission LOL:
TV OUT CABLE
A Cheap Stand
A mini Bluetooth keyboard - I wonder if normal bluetooth keyboards would work with the Tab... I may try one later.
Samsung Galaxy tab Keyboards on Google
13th January 2011
Hi, sorry about the delays but life has its way of getting in the way of plans.
The good thing about having this gap has been that it's allowed me to see where the Galaxy positions itself in my normal life. Firstly I've used it a lot, but mainly when I'm out of the house. When at home I still prefer my ultra-portable laptop, mainly because it's far easier to type with. Both Ipads and Galaxies can't compete in this area. However in the Ipad's defence, I'd say that, when at home, the Ipad would get used more for browsing the Net because the size of the Galaxy requires quite a bit of scrolling. Saying that though, the Galaxy does things which the Ipad doesn't, as far as I know. For instance playing songs from my network shared drives, doing video calls, and taking photos - and then easily bluetoothing and wifing them -. I bought a keyboard for the Galaxy but find I use that more as a docking station for charging and playing music on my Hifi in the bedroom than for typing. Again if you've got a laptop or desktop you're going to choose to use them first probably.
My kids who have Ipod touches were quite scathing that I went for this but when they played with it, they were very impressed at how many free Apps were available. I've noticed a bit of an anti Galaxy Tab campaign going on lately, so hopefully this article will help put that right, you see it's quite simple really, if you're just going to use this at home then it'll be a hard choice but you'll probably go for the Ipad, just because it's slicker and bigger and therefore more practical. But if you want to take this out and about then believe me it's far more than an over sized smart phone, this is where size and slickness become the winning feature for the Galaxy. It's easy to carry, I carry it all the time, it's a joy to browse the web with, or play / use the Apps, especially when sitting waiting in the car, it's practical and fun. the Ipad can't touch it here because the Ipad is too big to carry around conveniently and the Iphone is too small to compete. So there you have it. Ipad for home use, the Galaxy if you're on the move.
Before I end, a few readers sent in queries which I thought I'd address here too:
Firstly someone mentioned the free £200 of media. I've just signed up for it, apparently you get 50 mp3s, 15 films, 5 extra games from Gamesloft and £25 worth of ebooks from the WHSMITHS APP, This offer runs between 8th December 2010 and 28th February 2011. I may feed back on this if it turns out to be a load of rubbish, if you don't hear anything it's probably ok. So far it seems quite genuine.
There's a link to this offer at this page:
Secondly someone asked: "Is there an effective " voice recognition " facility that understands BRITISH English? (Ideally Scottish)?
I can't answer the Scottish bit sorry, but I've found it useful even with a lot of background noise. I've used it in two ways, one to do a Google search - just touch a button, wait for the prompt, speak your desires and a Google search listing appears - I'm not sure if this is processed on board but I think it is. Number two, dictating messages. it actually works quite well.
Thirdly: Someone asked about some disability access software, I couldn't answer it off hand, but he gave me the following link which might be of use http://lifehacker.com/5684573/five-alternative-android-keyboards-to-speed-up-mobile-touch-typing?skyline=true&s=i
Fourthly a question about Android devices possibly sending SMS messages to the wrong number as well / instead of the right one!!! Here is some coverage: "Google said a future fix will be released over-the-air (OTA) for its own Nexus One and Nexus S smart phones, whereas other Android-powered smartphones will just have to wait a little longer until its manufacturers introduces the patch."
http://socialbarrel.com/google-to-resolve-sms-bugs-for-android-smartphones/2283/ "Alternatively you could download Android Handcent SMS from the Android Market - this app seems to be unaffected by the glitch."
So far I haven't had a problem like this.
Well here we are at the end of my sprawling and often rammbling review. Oh by the way I had to eat humble pie the other day and go into that shop, you know, the one I said I'd not be entering again, well I did. fortunately it was to take something back. whilst there I got my Galaxy out and searched my emails for the original receipt. you see every humblepie has a silver lining.
Thanks for reading and please check out my music, it's free to download and you might even like some of it.
You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you'd like a product reviewed please contact me - you would have to supply the product for free (I won't review sex aids though sorry :-D but I know someone who might).