Ahhh, the Samsung Galaxy Tab from T-Mobile. The all-black, Android 2.2 running, first official, 7″ beast of a tablet that has taken the reigns of a movement that no one else was willing or ready to test, yet. We all know that there are other Android tablets on the horizon, running specific tablet operating systems, but that didn’t stop Samsung from wanting to be the first. The GTab has already been met with a mix of responses and we’re here to give our take on a piece of technology, that if anything, should be recognized for being a leader. I guess we’ll see if that’s a good thing or not.
- Screen: This 7″ LCD screen is pretty amazing to look at. Over the first few days of having the device, it quickly became my go-to source to take care of emails, play games and just about anything else I normally use my phone for. Well except make calls of course. Colors are vibrant, it can get ultra-bright if you want it to, and the size just looks and feels right. Sure a 10″ screen might be nice, but this thing really does fit in my pocket. Oh, and you can hold it in one hand without stressing.
- Feel: The device is seriously, the perfect size. While I can’t wait to see the other Android tablet offerings that may come in at 10″, I liked being able to hold this in one hand and get everything done. Flipping between screens, playing games, or doing just about anything felt good on the Tab.
- Back camera: The 3MP camera is actually not too bad. There were times when we felt awkward while snapping photos on this big ol’ device, but they still came out pretty nice. Plus, it gets positive marks for actually including a camera. I still can’t imagine why someone wouldn’t put one on a mobile device. Nice work Samsung.
- Front camera: It may only measure in at 1.3MP, but at least it’s there! The quality while video chatting wasn’t too bad, taking actual pictures with it worked just fine, and again, it’s nice that they included it.
- Video chatting: Who doesn’t love to video chat? I was fortunate enough to have the Verizon and T-Mobile Tabs at the same time, so I had plenty of opportunities to video chat with friends. I can see how this will be the wave of the future and Samsung got in early.
- Gaming: We put out a gaming walk-through video below, but wanted to mention it again. There aren’t too many things better than playing Angry Birds or Reckless Racing on a 7″ screen. Every game we played that would go full screen was purely awesome.
- Hardware: The 1.0GHz processor gets the job done on the Tab. I’ve read stories of significant amounts of lag on the device, but I experienced almost none. The TouchWiz launcher can be a little finicky at times, but if you change launchers you’ll see that it’s not the processor that’s at fault as they all fly. The T-Mobile version also comes with 16GB storage built in and has 512MB of RAM to give you a great experience. I have nothing bad to say about the GTab’s performance.
- Battery life: Amazing. It sports a 4000mAh battery and it pulls every last drop of power out of it to last you a long, long time. After using the Tab every day over the last couple of weeks, I’d say I had to charge it only 4-5 times? Now, I didn’t actually put it through heavy video usage and that would definitely shorten it’s battery life, but I did do plenty of gaming, email checking and IM-ing and never ran into an issue.
- Media Hub: The Media Hub allows you to purchase or rent TV shows and movies on the go. All of them play in super high quality which is quickly noticed on the 7 inches of glory.
- Swype: Using Swype on a 7″ screen is pretty fun. You can write stuff incredibly fast with accuracy when using it on a keyboard this big. A stock keyboard is also available, but you’d be foolish to even look at it.
- Froyo: Samsung obviously loves their Tab more than their Galaxy S phones as this bad boy comes pre-loaded with Android 2.2 while their others sit back on 2.1. Froyo definitely helps it in the performance category, but really adds to the overall user experience. It’s always good to have the newest version of Android, right?
- Pricing: We’ve polled our readers and there weren’t very many that are even considering one after seeing the price points. And from what I’ve heard from sources, the $599 without a contract and $399 with a 2-year contract prices aren’t exactly helping sales numbers. While I can’t say that I know a proper price, I will say that it would be tough for me to fork out $600 for a piece of technology that might be trumped by competitors in 3 months.
- No phone calls: If the Galaxy Tab actually made calls thoguh, I’d have no problem forking out $600 for it, but since it doesn’t, it feels like an extra piece of technology that I have to find room for and that’s not appealing. If it made calls though, “Bye, bye cell phone!” and “Hello GTab!”
- Video chatting apps: Having the ability to video chat is awesome, but the apps right now are unfortunately pretty awful. This T-Mobile version comes with QIK, but other versions like the one from Verizon, don’t, so you have to find alternative apps like Tango (which is spotty at best) or the Yahoo video chat app which isn’t even supported yet. Without the ability to make actual calls, people will be relying on apps like these, so let’s hope they start putting some resources into them in a hurry.
- Shiny casing: The outside of this thing is a fingerprint magnet and it’s slippery as heck. You can’t pick it up for 2 seconds without it looking like a smudgefest on the back and front. A case is highly recommended.
- TouchWiz app drawer: The GTab is almost running stock Android 2.2 aside from a few TouchWiz tweaks here and there. One of them is the app drawer and I’m not a fan. Each new app that’s installed is dropped to the back of your app list which makes no sense. You basically have to rearrange your app drawer each time you download something if you want them in any sort of order. Talk about frustrating.
- Non-removable battery: The battery life might be awesome, but the fact that you can’t take out the battery is something new to Android devices and caused me a few problems. The device actually locked up on me a couple of times and you can’t just do a “battery pull” to get out of it. It would also be nice to have the option to upgrade the battery even further. Not a killer though.
Gaming Demos: (Verizon version)
Benchmarks: (Verizon version)
After having both the Verizon and T-Mobile versions of the Galaxy Tab for 2 weeks now, I’m still torn. Is it worth $599? Is it worth signing a 2-year contract for just to get $200 off? I seriously don’t know my answers to those 2 questions. Is this device the top Android tablet on the market right now and a pleasure to use on a daily basis? Indeed it is. Do I “need” it in order to function now? Not necessarily. It’s hard for me to tell you to run out and buy one knowing that there are Honeycomb tablets on the way, but I do really want everyone to run out and at least play with one for a while to see what the future holds. This is a fantastic device, I’m not saying it isn’t. I guess what I’m really saying, is that Samsung maybe should have waited until a tablet specific OS was ready, so that their wouldn’t be so much apprehension surrounding it. Then again, they wouldn’t have been the only option available for X-mas.