Galaxy Tab – 24hr First Impressions: Nice and Slippery!

Updated on 15 October 2010 by

GalaxyTabUnboxed

Update: Our live review sessions are now available.

As the battery falls to under 20% after the first 24hrs of using the Galaxy Tab it’s time to give you some first impressions of the the final, retail version of the product. Has Samsung bisected the 5-9 inch tablet segment with another ‘must have’ product or is this just a product for rich-kids? Before I write any detail though, I must say one thing – When a product is good it triggers strange thoughts in the mind. “How can I justify this inch is the inner monologue that tells you that you are dealing with a special product and I’m sure that many many people out there will be thinking this very thought after they’ve played with the Tab for a while. Let’s not forget the price of the Tab as we form our first impressions though.

Galaxy Tab supplied by TechDepot. Many thanks for their support.

As with most Android/Google experiences the out of the box experience is good if you’re a Google user. I am and that means just putting in one username and password and letting the device do its stuff. Email, Contacts, Calendar and YouTube were automatically set up. Popping in a (hot swappable) SIM card meant the phone and data connection was up within the first 5 minutes and I didn’t even have to worry about connecting to a WiFi hotspot for the unboxing demonstration. (Video embedded below) That’s how easy it needs to be. Note the lack of ‘connect your PC and download iTunes’ in that!

From the outside the plastics are good, solid, shiny and oh-my-god slippery. I’ve dropped the Tab once already (on carpet, no damage) but I can guarantee this will be an issue. It’s got that special easy-wipe layer of chemicals that the iPad has and although it does wipe clean easily, it slips all over the place. The aftermarket for cases and bumpers will be strong with the Tab.

The Galaxy Tab is a complete Android product. When I say that I mean that it works like an Android phone does. Market is there, cameras work (great, fast camera software BTW Samsung) and it’s stable and fast. The power utilisation is well optimised too. 25hrs the Tab has been on and it’s just coming up to the 10% charge warning. Overnight drain indicated that this will remain active for about 4 days without needing a charger and that, to me, is what ‘Smart’ is all about. If Android and the related apps could lean more towards productivity and true web experiences, this would be a netbook killer of a mini-smartbook. I’m imagining a 10 inch version with a keyboard in 2011. It just has to happen.

The ‘Tab’ comes with the efficient Android 2.2 build and browser and is pre-installed with Flash 10.1. It works quite well too but there are still roadblocks out there. Google Docs is still out of bounds as is my WordPress back end. Hover actions and complex AJAX are a serious issue for Android browsers which means in it’s current state, you can’t really call it the full web experience. Still, I doubt many Tab owners will worry too much about that. It’s not that important in this consumer market.

I’ve mentioned the camera software and it’s just one of the little extras that are dotted all round the Android build. There are a few nice widgets, a music store (Music Hub), DNLA support (AllShare), Divx/MKV/WMV and other codecs built-in and the Samsung Apps market which will bring apps dedicated for the Galaxy Tab. At the moment I see just two apps. One for the German media company N-TV (which crashed twice on me) and the other a remote control application for Samsung TVs. This area of the Tab needs ramping up although if Android 3.0 opens the doors to large-screen apps, maybe Samsung should focus on an upgrade to that.

Other not-so good sides to the Tab.

  • Capacitive control buttons hard to see when the backlight is off.
  • No USB OTG (although this might be enabled with an adaptor)

That’s all I’ve found so far. I’m sure we’ll find more in the live session.

Live Review and Q&A/chat tonight at 2100 CEST (Berlin) – Carrypad.com/live

Galaxy Tab Sample


Image taken with Galaxy Tab rear camera

Camera features and quality seem good. Especially for a 3.2MP cam. Video quality also OK although there seems to be a sound issue. See quick uploaded sample video here.

Other notes:

  • Keyboard in portrait mode – Excellent. Good device weight / size and responsiveness / accuracy.
  • Swype keyboard included
  • Stereo speakers good
  • Screen excellent. Contrast, brightness. Glossy is a downside in some situations
  • Battery life great – I expect about 8hrs in use, 24 hrs duration between charges. This makes an all-day hotspot using the 3G sharing features
  • Screen responsiveness – Good but not iPhone good. You can almost feel the multitasking interrupting the UI experience!
  • Built-in storage – 12Gb available – hot swappable Micro SD
  • Wifi reception good (and very fast to connect)
  • Video files up to 7mbps tested OK. (Various formats)
  • Amazon Kindle looks good but this slippery plastic is quite annoying in this scenario – An important point to note if you’re thinking of this as a long-duration e-book reader.

Speedtest – First test result was very good. (HSPA)

Image set

I haven’t done a proper photo shoot yet but here are some snaps.

Galaxy Tab Photo (1)Galaxy Tab Photo (4)

Galaxy Tab Photo (9)

More in the gallery

That’s it for now. If you ignore the price (it’s totally up to you to work out if this is value-for-money for you. Remember, there’s no comparable products in the market as I write this) then you’ve got a slippery but very stylish and capable consumer tablet. Did I miss anything major? If so, drop a comment in below and we’ll be sure to cover it in the live review.

More information in the Galaxy Tab information page.

LIVE REVIEW – Q&A. Don’t forget to join us tonight, 15th October at 2100 CEST/Berlin on Carrypad.com/live for a live video review. Chat session too!

Unboxing video

16 Comments For This Post

  1. MarcG says:

    Nice, thanks Steve.

    I do feel the need for one, but am so satisfied with my current devices that I am able to resist the pull because of the pricing levels.

    If it were around £400 then I’d have one on order now for ‘testing’ purposes…

  2. Guy says:

    I think you hit the nail on the head with that £400 figure, Samsung could really eat into the ipad’s sales figures with a lower price, £599 is too much, £400 – 450 would turn this from a niche product to a big seller.

  3. turn.self.off says:

    grab some A4 sized pdfs and see how well those work on this, as i suspect people try to do so once it hits market.

  4. floyd says:

    good job

  5. Jay says:

    Can you try testing higher resolution Flash videos?

  6. Andy in Indy says:

    @turn.self.off
    The pdf should display nicely on that screen. I have a 7″ tablet with 800×480 and the pages are readable. At the Galaxy Tab’s resolution, it should have similar quality to a fax machine printout.

  7. Reaper says:

    i would like to know if the applications made for android standard resolution (800*480) work fine on the tab (1024*600).
    do they have bugs or graphics glitch or something ?

    sorry for my english, i’m french

  8. aludal says:

    800×480 is not the standard Android resolution, it’s recommended upper limit for Android 2.x. Every tablet maker ignores it by playing with pixel density parameter of their device. But it works to an extent. Obviously, Samsung should rewrite/customize their Tab FB driver, g2d driver, etc.
    And yes, going beyond specs is opening a wider field for bugs, glitches, and all sorts of snafus, pardon my French. I yet to see HD YouTube playing smooth on Tab.

    However, apart from video, apps as such don’t have any idea what resolution they will be rendered on, so whatever worked fine on 800×480 will work just fine on higher resolution.

  9. Derrick says:

    I would love to know how remote apps like phone my pc and log me in works on this. This will be sweet to use for work when Im out and about.

  10. aludal says:

    The day the toy will be rooted, everything goes into it, lol.
    The price is kinda overboard, even for WiFi-only model. Will be waiting for Chinese ripoff for <$200

  11. harzerpower says:

    Hi Steve,

    sorry, I have to apologize my English, what I did not practise since leaving school in 1966 !! I hope it is understandable for all, what I wrote down here.

    I was looking your live stream and it was so far OK.

    But I am a little disappointed that a lot of questions are not really answered in the chat.

    There were some guys they had also questions and wishes to look for some business apps. Ok sometimes your dialogs were funny with that guy was calling you during the presentation, but it was in my opinion boring.

    What about the ThinkFree Mobile App, what is very important for business users. There were more than one interests to take a look on that, but nothing! :-((

    Sometimes you were talking to much about devices from Archos, but most of viewers were interest in the Galaxy tab and you spent to much time to talk about devices what never can reach the specs of the Galaxy Tab and never will be really competitive because of missing functions.

    I thought, you will give an overall view, but you ignored a lot of wishes from the viewers to look on. I am sorry.

    All in all I did my decision before your live stream to go to the Galaxy Tab and will sell my current Samsung Omnia II GT-i8000. My fingers are to big to use the Omnia with performance and I want take only one device with me to get overall mobility. The Galaxy Tab is the first fill this gap for me. 7″ fits very very good in my hands. Phone calls I did always with my bluetooth headset, also in my car!

    The price is not really high, when you do not compare APPLES with oranges.

    If you buy a cheaper tablet without mobile phone function plus a mobile phone with the functions from the Galaxy Tab, you have to pay much more money for booth. That is not to discuss, like Apples with oranges! :-))

    Kind regards
    Hans

  12. harzerpower says:

    Sorry, I have forgotten some facts.

    Samsung Omnia II GT-i8000 was one year ago 529,00 EUR without contract or plan !!!

    iPhone 4 is current about 800,00 EUR without plan or contract in Germany!!!

    And now compare prices!!

  13. Mahjong says:

    You didn’t mention how inconvenient is the placement of the mic. In the session you demonstrate that making phone calls, videoconference calls and even recording a video one finger can be place easily over the mic while taking the Galaxy Tab with your hands in a natural way.

    Kind of MicGate like the AntennaGate in the iPad. How on earth no one in Samsung did not find this problem while in development stage?

  14. modano says:

    I want one, badly. but i got a dell streak the day it came out and i seriously cant see any reason why i would NEED a galaxy tab.

    i will wait for notionink adam and try to justify that one instead. :)

  15. Flemming J. says:

    Loved the 2 segment video, but was not able to follow the live part. Have one Q though. When connecting via wifi, is it possible to go through proxy. Will use this on the job and we only have acces via proxy connection.
    I too think the price are a bit steep..

  16. Sokonomi says:

    I’m hovering around this tablet since it seems to got everything, however a few things are a bit of a concern to me.

    Does it have wifi shared network folder support? I mean what good is WiFi-N going to do if it doesnt? Id like to be able to access my video library from it, like you can do with the archos 7.

    And another thing, will navigation go completely out the window without an internet connection? Since it seems to be google maps and all, with some fancy navigation tweaks stapled on.

    I’m thinking about opting for the wifi only version, since wherever I go I can find a wifi spot nowadays, and I dont plan to download angry birds while camping somewhere in the sticks. ;) Saves me a whallop of money too.

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