Samsung Galaxy Tab Review: Taylor's First Impressions

Taylor Martin
 from Concord, NC
Published: November 11, 2010

As many of you know Verizon's much awaited Samsung Galaxy Tab launched today. I was the eager customer waiting (alone) for the doors to open at the local Best Buy so I could get my hands on my very own Tab. This isn't my first tablet purchase, or even my first Android tablet purchase, but it's the only one that I've had absolutely zero regrets about.

Don't get me wrong, I was skeptical at first. $600 for a mostly unknown 7-inch tablet that has a data plan activation requirement at purchase doesn't exactly sit well with anyone. But being a long-time early adopter, I've learned to suck it up and make use of return policies. Needless to say, I've spent about 11 hours with my Galaxy Tab (I'm on my second one due to deal pixels in the display), and I will not be returning it.

After half a day with the Verizon Galaxy Tab, here are some of my thoughts:

  • The price tag is a little steep. Swiping my card for a device that has an unnecessary niche in my life is a tough knot to swallow and hard to justify, but a few hours after having it, I had no regrets.
  • TouchWiz feels a lot better on a tablet form-factor than the 4” devices that run it. It feels less obtrusive and helps cater to your setup needs.
  • The 7-inch form factor is perfect...for me. I've had an iPad for about three months now and I find it too heavy to carry everywhere. The Galaxy Tab is lightweight and about the size of your average soft cover book. It is a very good “mobile” size. It isn't exactly pocketable, but I have been palming it all day like I would be carrying a book around.

  • The Tab comes with Android 2.2 loaded on it, and runs really well. I have yet to experience any lag minus directly after boot-up.
  • Typing on the Galaxy Tab comes natural. It feels about perfect in portrait mode where phones 4.3-inches and below feel a little cramped for my fat thumbs. It also comes with Swype pre-installed that is a little weird on a larger screen. I found that typing with Swype is easier done with your index finger while holding the Tab with the other hand.
  • The camera on the Tab definitely leaves room for improvement. This is the only true negative that I've come across thus far minus the proprietary port. The $600 price tag should constitute a 5 megapixel camera, but it comes with an underwhelming 3.2 megapixel camera. It takes decent photos for on the go, but don't expect much from this department.
  • The front-facing camera has yet to be put to use. I can't make calls via the Skype Mobile app, even over Wi-Fi. Actually, it wouldn't even let me login. The Verizon version of Skype would allow me to make calls via Wi-Fi and chat, but we already knew it wouldn't offer 3G calling.

  • Not everyone is going to want a data plan for their tablet. Personally, I didn't want it, but now that I have it and have gotten over having to pay a little extra ($35/mo) for my 3 GB plan, I wouldn't have it any other way. However, the Tab seems to be a data hog. I used 112 MB in just under 11 hours. I was on it more than I normally would be, and downloading the apps for the first time would skew that amount, but I expected this. I'll be curious to see if 3 GB is enough.
  • So far, I'm impressed with the battery life. Android is known for its lackluster battery life, but the Tab packs a whopping 4000 mAh battery. It's rated for 7 hours of video playback, and I see it meeting every bit of that. Battery life was really my only concern before buying it, but it stood its ground.
  • The 16 GB microSD card is plenty of storage for music and pictures, but if you find it isn't enough it can be upgraded to 32 GB.
  • The display is absolutely gorgeous. It's a 7-inch WSVGA display with 1024 by 600 pixels. Some were worried about it not being a Super AMOLED display and how that would effect the look and feel, but honestly, that's been the least of my worries. The contrast and colors are beautiful and the display is very bright.
  • Web browsing on the Tab is good. It isn't great. I don't blame anything but Flash 10.1 for this. Zooming in and out is a little choppy and pages (the flash parts) are slow to load. After everything finished loading, everything works just fine. Everyone is concerned with a tablet being able to run flash, but I'm not. It just slows things down and isn't ideal for mobile. It has its purposes, but they're mainly useless. I don't need to see any more ads in my browser, especially if they're going to slow everything down and use more data.

Check out Taylor's full Samsung Galaxy Tab review!

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