Last week, I had an opportunity to spend some minutes with the Samsung Galaxy Tab at Samsung’s Global HQ in Seoul. To be honest, before seeing the Tab in action I was a bit apprehensive about Samsung’s decision to have a 7.0-inch display, which is almost 2 inches shorter (diagonally) than Apple’s iPad. The OlivePad also has a 7.0-inch display and I found that device a bit uncomfortable to use while held in the hand.
The Galaxy Tab, on the other hand, turned out to be quite a pleasing device. Unlike the iPad, which is “something that you use while you are sitting” (words of a Samsung rep, not mine), the Tab is an “on-the-go” device. And it works, really.
Without looking at the tech specs (which I have added at the end, anyway) the Tab is almost the same dimensions as the Amazon Kindle. It is handy, not excessively heavy (so single-handed usage is a go) and a well finished product. Yeah, many of you might cry foul when you see the back of the device (notice how the edges taper off) but in short, it all adds up quite well, something that is missing in the OlivePad and the Spice Mi700.
The Tab is also the first Android-based Internet Tablet that has a 1024×600 pixel display, which means that images and videos appear much sharper than other Android Tablets and even the iPad for that matter. Samsung also has a Media Hub app for the Tab that will enable users to buy movies and TV shows directly from the device. However, we have our reservations whether Media Hub would be made available in India when the device is launched later this year.
On the multimedia front, the Tab can play videos at full HD resolution (1080p) and its 3.2 MP camera can shoot videos at 720p resolution. There is a front facing 1.3 MP camera for video calls too. It comes in two variants – 16 GB and 32 GB of internal memory – and both sport microSD card slots that can accomodate another 32 GB of memory.
Unlike many Android-based Internet Tablets currently available, the Tab runs on Android 2.2 (Froyo) and I am told it will get updated when a new version is released.
The Galaxy Tab is without an iota of doubt the best Android Internet Tablet we have seen so far. However, none of the others really set any new benchmarks and from a competition point of view, I can think of only one device – the iPad. Sure, the Tab has most things going for it – an aesthetically pleasing design, a highly portable form factor and pretty good specifications. What Samsung lacks at the moment are quality apps and services that are universally available. In other words THE APP STORE.
It will be very difficult for Samsung to overcome that hurdle but I’m sure, with its marketing muscle, it should be able to sell at least a million units before the end of this year. I am being conservative here, considering that it is not like the Galaxy S that was launched in 110 countries simultaneously and Internet Tablets still fall in a very niche segment.
Samsung GALAXY Tab (GT-P1000) Product Specifications
Network: 2.5G (GSM/ GPRS/ EDGE) : 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz
3G (HSUPA 5.76Mbps, HSDPA7.2 Mbps) : 900 / 1900 / 2100 MHz
OS: Android 2.2 (Froyo)
Display: 7.0-inch TFT-LCD, WSVGA (1024 x 600)
Processor: Cortex A8 1.0GHz Application Processor with PowerVR SGX540
Camera: 3 MP Camera with Auto Focus and LED Flash, 1.3MP front camera for Video Telephony
Connectivity: 30 pin connector / microSD/ WiFi 802.11n / Bluetooth 3.0
Memory: 16GB / 32GB internal memory, upto 32GB external memory slot
Size: 190.09 x 120.45 x 11.98mm, 380g
Battery: 4,000mAh (7 hour movie play)
Disclosure: My trip was sponsored by Qualcomm.