Review roundup: Samsung's Galaxy Tab, the iPad's first "real" competitor

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
Initial reviews of the Galaxy Tab, Samsung's answer to Apple's iPad, have been mostly positive, though some reviewers have taken issue with the pricing and stability of the new tablet device.



Samsung launched its Galaxy Tab in the U.S. this week, and four major wireless carriers will eventually carry the device. The 7-inch tablet sports a 1GHz Cortex A8 ARM processor, a 1,024x600-pixel resolution touchscreen and rear- and forward-facing cameras. The device comes with 16GB of storage, expandable to 32GB. The base model of the Tab sells for $600, customers who sign a two-year contract can get the device for $400.



The Wall Street Journal



Walt Mossberg of The Wall Street Journal called the Galaxy Tab the iPad's "first real rival," despite it having some minor usability issues. During tests of the tablet's video calling service, Mossberg experienced problems with the Qik video software, noting that some calls failed to go through, dropped, or dropped audio. According to Mossberg, Qik is "fixing the problems."



Though the Tab is touted partly for its compatibility with Adobe Flash, Mossberg wrote that it "needs work," as it slowed the browser down. "Sometimes they [embedded Flash videos] played and sometimes they didn't," said Mossberg, noting that Flash caused the Tab to crash at one point.



Mossberg also took issue with the lack of tablet specific apps on the Android Market app store. Some of the apps written for phones scaled to tablet size, but others "were surrounded by large black bars."



Using the same battery test as when he reviewed the iPad, Mossberg got 6 hours and 50 minutes of battery life out of the Tab, compared to 11 hours and 28 minutes from the iPad.



The New York Times



In his review for The New York Times, David Pogue called the new tablet "gorgeous and expensive." Pogue found that the device's diminutive size wasn't a significant issue, preferring to think of it as "like an extra-spacious Android phone" rather than a "cramped iPad." According to Pogue, the smaller size has a "huge" payoff, with the Tab weighing 13 ounces compared to the iPad's 1.5 pounds. Pogue enjoyed the portability of the device, noting that users can carry it in a blazer or jeans pocket.



However, Pogue's experience with the device wasn't completely positive. Like Mossberg, Pogue had trouble getting Flash videos to play, especially on the ESPN website.



"As smooth and slick and convenient as the Galaxy is, though, it?s not without its frustrations," wrote Pogue, who found the Android ecosystem "unlimited, chaotic, and more confusing." "The biggest drawback of the Galaxy may be its price: $600," said Pogue. The review also lamented the Galaxy Tab's inability to charge from a laptop USB port.



"So yes, the dawn of the would-be iPad is upon us. But the Android tablet concept represents more than just a lame effort to grab a slice of tablet hype. As with Android phones, it represents an alternative that?s different enough to justify its existence," Pogue concluded.



Wired



Wired reviewer Christopher Null wrote that, as with its smartphones, Samsung "continues to take its cues from Apple," adding that it's "not necessarily a bad thing."



Null appreciated the better portability afforded by the Galaxy Tab's smaller size, remarking that the Tab "feels like a jumbo-sized cellphone." However, Null found that the tablet was "prone to dropping" because of its smaller form factor and slick surface.



"In use, the Galaxy Tab performs well, but is not exemplary," wrote Null. "It feels snappy enough, but longish load times can sometimes be tiresome, and webpages invariably loaded more slowly than the iPad ? sometimes taking twice as long. We also ran into a few issues with apps hanging and the Wi-Fi connection suddenly vanishing without explanation. Reboots solved both issues."



Null had only a few "relatively minor complaints" about the Galaxy Tab, deciding in the end that the device might not compete directly with the iPad. "The Tab ultimately reveals itself not as a competitor to the iPad but as a new class of mobile devices: a minitablet that is designed to go everywhere you do."







More to come



The Galaxy Tab is largely considered the first "real" competitor to the iPad, which launched in April. As such, sales of the Tab will likely stand as a touchstone for the "raft of new devices" scheduled to be released on the heels of the Tab.



Competitors will have significant ground to make up. In the September quarter, the iPad dominated the tablet market with a 95 percent market share.



Research in Motion is set to launch its own 7-inch tablet in early 2011. RIM co-Chief Executive Jim Balsillie told Bloomberg this week that the PlayBook will go on sale for "under" $500. The BlackBerry maker unveiled the tablet, which is aimed at business users, in September.



In October, Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs disparaged the 7-inch form factor, calling it "too small to express the software." Jobs joked that the smaller tablets would need to ship with sandpaper so users can file down their fingers in order to hit smaller targets on the screen.



"We think the 7 inch tablets will be dead on arrival, and manufacturers will realize they're too small and abandon them next year. They'll then increase the size, abandoning the customers and developers who bought into the smaller format," Jobs predicted.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 187
    Gizmodo's review is pretty damning, calling the Tab a "...train wreck. The Tab is like a compromise's evil twin, merging the worst of a tablet and the worst of a phone."



    http://gizmodo.com/5686161/samsung-g...le-train-wreck



    Which seems to back up Google's own admission that Android isn't suitable for tablets until version 3 is released:



    http://www.techradar.com/news/phone-...ablets--715550



    Personally, if it was half the price, it would be fairly good value, certainly better than the awful 7" tablets with resistive screens doing the rounds here in Australia like the Telstra T-touch Tab.
  • Reply 2 of 187
    AND, even though the exchange rate is currently $1AU = $1US, it's on sale outright here for $999!!



    http://www.harveynorman.com.au/produ...ung-galaxy-tab
  • Reply 3 of 187
    Given how much grief iOS gets over the lack of flash



    this



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post




    Though the Tab is touted partly for its compatibility with Adobe Flash, Mossberg wrote that it "needs work," as it slowed the browser down. "Sometimes they [embedded Flash videos] played and sometimes they didn't," said Mossberg, noting that Flash caused the Tab to crash at one point.



    kinda hurts.



    It seems more like points in favor of Apple's decision and more proof that Flash is not ready to go Mobile
  • Reply 4 of 187
    foobarfoobar Posts: 103member
    What, wait... so suddenly "just a big phone" has become a positive review meme?!
  • Reply 5 of 187
    BS. The Tab is a quick to the market Android device getting trumped up before the other Android tablets stampede onto the market and show it the door.

    Ipad is in a league all its own.
  • Reply 6 of 187
    The Galaxy isn't an iPad alternative. It should never have been released.



    We need to wait for Android 3.0 before any meaningful comparison can be made.
  • Reply 7 of 187
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by joindup View Post


    AND, even though the exchange rate is currently $1AU = $1US, it's on sale outright here for $999!!



    http://www.harveynorman.com.au/produ...ung-galaxy-tab



    For that price it should come with a baby kangaroo.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFEB1VyvZEA
  • Reply 8 of 187
    gxcadgxcad Posts: 120member
    Can anyone confirm that the Samsung Galaxy Tab now has no "Samsung" logo on the front!? This makes a huge difference for me in the aesthetics of the device! This may seem small, but its a big deal to me!



    If Samsung decided to remove their logo from the front, they get a great BIG thumbs up from me!
  • Reply 9 of 187
    What happened to Google Chromium (or whatever its OS is called)?



    It seems like only yesterday everyone was supposedly clamoring for netbooks and being told that they were the future. And in the midst of it, Google offered Chromium as a lightweight, web-centric (err Google-centric), OS that would be adopted by netbook vendors to replace clunky old MS and its bloated Windows OS.



    But technology has moved so quickly that it feels like netbooks have gone from conception to abortion in a window of time that's has made the Chromium effort seem unneeded. Now that the industry has moved on to tablets, and Google is offering Android 3 rather than Chromium as the OS solution for these tablets, where does that leave their netbook/Chromium effort?



    Is it DoA?
  • Reply 10 of 187
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,217moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by charlituna View Post


    It seems more like points in favor of Apple's decision and more proof that Flash is not ready to go Mobile



    We're still waiting for it to be ready for the desktop.



    It is reassuring (yet again - they've proved it many times in the past) to know that Apple tests the products and assesses the best decision to make and what is disappointing is that Apple-haters always try to latch onto products like the Tab as iPad-killers when they are way lower spec, pricier, worse quality.



    It's actually quite funny to see new 7" tablets being launched with $600-1000 entry price tags when so many people were ready to put down the iPad under the expectation that the entry price would be high and the same people are now baffled as to what the competitors are thinking but still refuse to buy an iPad anyway. Their line of argument now is 'well it's the same price as an iPad but it's a better product'. Sure it is.
  • Reply 11 of 187
    tjwtjw Posts: 216member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by KingKuei View Post


    What happened to Google Chromium (or whatever its OS is called)?



    It seems like only yesterday everyone was supposedly clamoring for netbooks and being told that they were the future. And in the midst of it, Google offered Chromium as a lightweight, web-centric (err Google-centric), OS that would be adopted by netbook vendors to replace clunky old MS and its bloated Windows OS.



    But technology has moved so quickly that it feels like netbooks have gone from conception to abortion in a window of time that's has made the Chromium effort seem unneeded. Now that the industry has moved on to tablets, and Google is offering Android 3 rather than Chromium as the OS solution for these tablets, where does that leave their netbook/Chromium effort?



    Is it DoA?



    To be honest a netbook with good build quality (which is what is rumoured for the first chrome OS google branded netbook available later this month) appeals to me a lot more than an ipad. This is because I am a content producer more than a consumer. Also I find it frustrating and too slow to browse the web on an iPad because of lack of a keyboard. Sure the iPad looks great but for me the novelty wears off too quickly and all it performs really well at is mobile video.



    The netbook market is still growing too and it will continue to. Not everyone, especially those not in the western world, can buy an iPad instead of a netbook.
  • Reply 12 of 187
    tjwtjw Posts: 216member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by charlituna View Post


    Given how much grief iOS gets over the lack of flash



    this







    kinda hurts.



    It seems more like points in favor of Apple's decision and more proof that Flash is not ready to go Mobile



    Here we go again, every topic gets turned into a bloody debate about flash. If flash isn't ready for mobile then please explain why the latest android phones can load a full web page complete with flash faster than the iPhone 4 can without loading the flash.



    This is a problem with the galaxy tab.



    The very fact that the skyfire browser has grossed over a million dollars in its first week is proof that people want to use flash on their mobile devices.
  • Reply 13 of 187
    I played with one a few weeks ago. It's bollocks.
  • Reply 14 of 187
    It looks like a cheap Chinese knock off of an iPad. Can't these fucks at least come up with an original color scheme.
  • Reply 15 of 187
    I disagree with Jobs on the size, I really like the 7" size or at least one that is a bit smaller than the current iPad but this Galaxy Tab is not good enough and it's price is way out of proportion.. its not even worth 200 bucks let alone 600! It is a DoA.



    I do hope though that Apple thinks of something to slim down the iPad line up. If they keep the same screen size, it's fine with me but then the edges need to slim down and the weight definitely needs to come down.
  • Reply 16 of 187
    So if iPad is for users who want something between a phone and a computer, I suppose that makes the Galaxy Tab something which sits between a phone and an iPad. But with a phone.



    Who in their right mind would get this on a 2 year contract? No one is going to use it as their primary mobile phone, therefore the inclusion is pointless. I thought the Dell Streak was too big for a mobile phone, this is ridiculous.



    I saw a Galaxy Tab in a retail store yesterday, so I had a go on it. First thing I tried, of course, was flash video on the BBC News website. It's jumpy, slow and difficult to use. When trying to turn the volume up on the video itself, there was actually no way to do it. I could mute and unmute (after pressing the mute button once to focus on the video, then pressing it again to actually get the button function) but that was about it. Flash just isn't built for touch screens. I mentioned this to a colleague of mine this morning, and he basically said flash which barely works is about as useful as having no flash at all.
  • Reply 17 of 187
    I was recently in my local electronics store and was able to compare the Galaxy Tab and the iPad side by side (the Tab has been out in Europe for a few weeks now). Seriously, there is NO comparison; the iPad runs rings around the Tab. The Tab's 7-inch screen and its ability to play Flash are its two biggest weak spots.



    Every single person I observed comparing the two devices side by side - EVERY SINGLE PERSON - preferred the iPad. Given that the Tab is (here in Germany) €200 more expensive than the iPad it it's base configuration, I believe the Tab is indeed DOA, at least here in Europe.
  • Reply 18 of 187
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lav1daloca View Post


    I disagree with Jobs on the size, I really like the 7" size or at least one that is a bit smaller than the current iPad but this Galaxy Tab is not good enough and it's price is way out of proportion.. its not even worth 200 bucks let alone 600! It is a DoA.



    I do hope though that Apple thinks of something to slim down the iPad line up. If they keep the same screen size, it's fine with me but then the edges need to slim down and the weight definitely needs to come down.



    The next iPad should definitely be lighter. It's a bit over-engineered in terms of the Alu Unibody. They were quite conservative with it. The iPad can take a heck of a beating.
  • Reply 19 of 187
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by charlituna View Post


    Given how much grief iOS gets over the lack of flash ... this ... kinda hurts. It seems more like points in favor of Apple's decision and more proof that Flash is not ready to go Mobile



    I've been trying to make this point for months! Everyone is promising "the full Internet" but (A) what percentage of Android users have 2.2 and (B) what is the *actual* Flash playback and performance they encounter. Just saying "oh, well, it plays Flash" is total nonsense because it is not working at least as well as on a PC or Mac -- even then on the PC or Mac it's not that great.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by KingKuei View Post


    What happened to Google Chromium (or whatever its OS is called)?



    It seems like only yesterday everyone was supposedly clamoring for netbooks and being told that they were the future. And in the midst of it, Google offered Chromium as a lightweight, web-centric (err Google-centric), OS that would be adopted by netbook vendors to replace clunky old MS and its bloated Windows OS.



    But technology has moved so quickly that it feels like netbooks have gone from conception to abortion in a window of time that's has made the Chromium effort seem unneeded. Now that the industry has moved on to tablets, and Google is offering Android 3 rather than Chromium as the OS solution for these tablets, where does that leave their netbook/Chromium effort?



    Is it DoA?



    Another one of Google's INFINITE BETA things bites the dust. But, I do admire their intense R&D. They have some real talent there. Android from nothing to big-time player in just a few years. Important lesson from them though: don't do the hardware yourselves.
  • Reply 20 of 187
    Some people are claiming the Tab isn't an iPad competitor. Ok, I can see that. I'd say the Tab is the first real competitor to the Newton. ha.
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