Nov 10

Galaxy Tab: they love it, they love it not…

Samsung may have a way to go before they challenge Apple in its ability to simultaneously evoke extremes in love and hate.

But they’re off to a good start with the Galaxy Tab — which, unlike any non-Apple product I can remember, is doing a good job of splitting the better-known reviewers.

As most probably know by now, the Galaxy Tab (yes, that name will be on the year-end crappy name list) is a 7-inch touchscreen tablet running Android.

Gizmodo was quick to attack, headlining it as “a pocketable train wreck.” They explain, “Typically, the point of a compromise is to bring together the best of both sides. The Tab is like a compromise’s evil twin, merging the worst of a tablet and the worst of a phone.”

Wired would beg to differ. “Requires some retraining … but once you get it, it’s a pleasure to use.”

Engadget jumps right in to gush, “we can confidently say it’s the best Android tablet on the market … the first true competitor to Apple’s iPad.” This, of course, is curious given that Google itself does not recommend the current Android OS for use in tablets.

Despite reports that David Pogue (New York Times) loved the Galaxy Tab, he was actually a straddler. “The whole thing is superfast and a pleasure to use,” he says. But then he pounces on the negatives: poor battery life, few apps optimized for screen size, bad email config and a very high price (it’s more expensive than an iPad that delivers twice the memory, four hours more battery life and bigger screen).

Walt Mossberg (Wall Street Journal) is also in the middle. “iPad now has its first credible competitor …. On balance, however, I still prefer the iPad.”

Time Magazine had a review too, but I quote it here only for comic relief. “If you use the Galaxy Tab in the way Samsung advertises (and you certainly will), what is the point of having a smartphone? Smaller screen, shorter battery life, more expensive plan? The phone becomes expendable.” Call me odd, but I use my phone to make phone calls — which the Galaxy Tab does not do. (Update: Time has now cut this part out of their article.)

It will be interesting to see how the Galaxy Tab sells, especially since Steve Jobs has publicly proclaimed that 7-inch tablets are DOA.

And Steve would never fib, would he.

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  • Why not use iPad/Galaxy to make phone calls? There are plenty of apps that do that. I guess you mean to receive calls which requires something permanently working in the background – it will be interesting to see what is enabled in this area when iOS 4.2 arrives tomorrow..

  • Daniel

    Tom Coady: and you do want to carry an iPad 24 hours with you? And if you wanna private chat, you just cover your face with it? Tablets are not there to make phone calls…

  • Synth

    @Tom Coady

    The European version has the necessary hardware to make phone calls out of the box. The U.S. version does not.

  • The good stuff: Lightweight, Camera works fine.

    The bad stuff:

    – Terrible touchscreen/multitouch, it doesn’t feel your fingers. Everything has to be “pressed” instead of “touched”.

    – Screen is too small to browse standard 960 pixels websites. You need to zoom on certain places to be able to read. Zooming is horrifying experience, since multitouch is not really working. Also while you zooming there is no animation, but scale just jumps by about 10% steps plus during this process page becomes pixelated I guess to help it render the new size. Ugly.

    – Yeah, there is no animation for any movements. You turn the screen around and it won’t be rotating, but will “cut” to the next 90 degrees. Everything jumps around by itself, feels like there is no control over UI.

    – Looks like processor is very slow, takes some time to open anything…

    – It has flash, but looks like it’s more of a negative fact. I tried to watch video from a website that plays perfect even on iPad, but Galaxy Tab had to ask me what application I want to use to watch video and then opened it on whole separate screen. Video supposed to be part of web page though… Weird.

    Overall kind of awkward device – too small to browse the web and yes, too big to be a smartphone. It would make sense if price was around $60 not worth $600.

  • @daniel fair point but you could use a headset. I guess my thought was a leftover from something I was thinking about the iPod touch or something

    @synth hadn’t notice EU galaxy phone HW – so it does GSM? Kinda proves my point, assuming anything about this galaxy is right..

    Also just noticed http://googlevoiceblog.blogspot.com/2010/11/google-voice-for-iphone.html

    Wonder if that works on iPad or touch HW?

  • Steven Johnson

    In Response to Daniel’s…”Tablets are not there to make phone calls…”

    Why would you say that?

    If your going to carry a 7″ inch android tablet with you when you travel, then why would you want to have to carry another device like a 4″ android phone just to make and receive regular voice calls?

    If it makes sense to include it in a 4″ android device, why not just include it in the 7″ device for those people that only want to carry one device.

    Also, I’m not a fan of any type of broadband based calling and as such would only find value in a tablet that offered traditional cellular phone service.

  • I’m not sure I like the whole “it’s a phone” thing. It seems like it’s a good choice for a personal organizer though, especially for someone with a little programming experience.