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[nextpage title=”Introduction”]

In recent months the world market has been stocked with different types of tablets and competition among the best of them promises to be fierce. Therefore we chose to review the Samsung Galaxy Tab, which has everything needed to win the preference of many customers.The Samsung Galaxy Tab was released in November 2010. It runs Google Android 2.2 (Froyo) operating system.Galaxy Tab comes in a white cardboard box. Inside the box, beyond the tablet, we find a USB cable and adapters for the wall charger.

Figure 1: The packaging of the Galaxy TabFigure 1: The packaging of the Galaxy Tab

Figure 2: What's in the boxFigure 2: What’s in the box

[nextpage title=”The Samsung Galaxy Tab”]

The Samsung Galaxy Tab summarizes what Android phones have brought since their inception: a device with a large screen, which does a good job surfing the Internet, provides entertainment through games and multimedia, and serves as a means of communication.Galaxy Tab is thin, lightweight and comfortable to hold with one hand—it is perfectly sized to be to be carried in a coat pocket or purse. Its 7-inch TFT 1024 x 600 screen is bright and has little reflection. Text and icons are displayed clearly. Its body is made of plastic and looks fragile, but it isn’t. Due to its plastic body, it is very lightweight: only 0.84 lbs (380 g) in 4.76 x 7.48 x 0.47 inches (188 x 120 x 11 mm).The U.S. version, unlike some European and South American models, does not have support to cell phone or digital TV. The Galaxy Tab uses a 1.0 GHz processor and its interface is typical of the Android 2.2 with some adjustments.In the front of the unit, below the screen, there are four touch sensitive buttons (capacitive keys)—menu, home, back and search.

Figure 3: The front of the Galaxy TabFigure 3: The front of the Galaxy Tab

Figure 4: ButtonsFigure 4: Buttons

The home screen is locked. To unlock it, you need to touch the lock icon and drag it to the left with your finger. This locking of the home screen can be customized by adding password protection, PIN or draw pattern.

Figure 5: Galaxy Tab home screen lockedFigure 5: Galaxy Tab home screen locked

After the screen is unlocked, we have access to the five initial screens that can be filled with application icons for quick access.

Figure 6: Galaxy Tab home screenFigure 6: Galaxy Tab home screen

[nextpage title=”The Samsung Galaxy Tab (Cont’d)”]

As with most phones with Android, we can move an application to the screen by tapping on its icon and holding it down. The device immediately leads to the home screen, bringing together the chosen icon.The device is multitask, and we get to the task manager by touching and holding the home key, where we can see the applications that are running and can quickly switch from one active application to another.At the top of the unit we find the entry for 3.5 mm headphones.The power button (which also locks the device and wakes it up to be used again) is on the right side, just above the volume control. A little further down, still on the right side, we find two slots, one for the SIM card and the other for the microSD expansion.Alone on the left side is the microphone. The speakers of the device are located at the bottom, along with the power connector, which also serves as a slot for accessories (external speakers, physical keyboard, etc.).

Figure 7: Side views of the Galaxy TabFigure 7: Side views of the Galaxy Tab

The bottom provides the charger slot, which can be connected to the computer’s USB port (for charging or data communication) or directly to the electric outlet via adapter (included). There is a small microphone to the left.On the back, we have a 3.2-megapixel camera with LED flash. The camera is reasonably within its limitations and its software does not take long to load. Besides taking pictures, the camera records video at 30 frames per second.

Figure 8: The back of the Galaxy TabFigure 8: The back of the Galaxy Tab

The 1.3-megapixel front camera on top of the screen allows you to take pictures of yourself and use the video chat application.The device uses a capacitive TFT screen, 1.2GHz ARM Cortex A8 processor, PowerVR SGX540 graphics accelerator and 16 GB of internal memory, with a slot for microSD expansion up to 32GB. It supports all 3G HSDPA bands and has support to Wii-Fi b/g/n, GPS and Bluetooth 3.0.The Samsung Galaxy Tab, with its sharp screen and compact size, has everything to get those who are looking for a tablet to buy.

[nextpage title=”Display”]Before the release of Galaxy Tab, it was said that its screen would be AMOLED, which is thinner, lighter and offers better viewing in direct sunlight. But Samsung’s tablet came to market with the standard 7-inch TFT LCD screen with 1024 x 600 resolution.The screen is made with the ultra-resistant Gorilla Glass. Its image is bright and very colorful, and its WSVGA resolution (1024×600) provides very clear images, with a density of 192 pixels per inch.A good screen should provide nice viewing in bright light conditions, have prompt response, must be clear and be ble to show bright and dark areas simultaneously. It also must respond quickly and precisely to the touch.The screen is very good indoors. With settings to change brightness, color saturation and contrast, you can customize it to suit various preferences. Videos look great with bright colors.Under direct sunlight, the image gets blurry and fingerprint marks on the screen are highlighted by the reflection of sunshine. The images lose contrast, but nevertheless they are still clearly visible.The good pixel density makes reading books in electronic format a nice experience (but our opinion is that Kindle’s e-Ink screen is the most comfortable for reading e-books).The response time is good, the capacitive screen is extremely sensitive. Selecti
ons, scrolls, and zoom had immediate response to touch.The four-way accelerometer is also sensitive enough for most applications, adjusting the screen quickly when it is turned. Only when using the browser we noticed that it was a bit slower, but nothing that would compromise performance. There is no physical button to turn the accelerometer off, and it is impossible to calibrate the screen to avoid unwanted movements. A solution to block these moves is to use the function to keep the screen in portrait or landscape.[nextpage title=”Operating System”]The Samsung Galaxy Tab comes with the Android 2.2 OS, also known as Froyo. This software was developed for use in smart phones and some menus still refer to the tablet as a phone. The system is intuitive and very easy to use, and has adapted perfectly to the new screen size of 7 inches.Along with Froyo, there is the familiar interface of the Samsung TouchWiz, which works very well in the Galaxy Tab. There is plenty of room for all applications that the user needs and enough space between them to avoid touching the wrong application icon by accident. A large number of applications are being adapted for the 7-inch screen and the user experience is getting better with all that space to use.Still, some applications do not support the Tab’s screen resolution of 1024 x 600. In this case, the application will run at its maximum resolution centered on the screen, with black spaces around it.The screen orientation is sometimes a little slow and confusing, making the screen horizontal when it should be vertical, especially when you hold the Tab Galaxy at an angle.Its processor is 1.0 GHz, but we noticed some slight "delay" when scrolling pages and zooming with our fingers while browsing the Internet. That did not stop us from using the product and it happened on rare occasions, only while browsing the Internet.[nextpage title=”Flash Support and Keyboard”]

We can watch virtually any video content on the web from a browser on the Galaxy Tab due to the Flash support, which is already installed.We watched videos in Flash and the loading completed smoothly. The content was paused, advanced, returned and played again without any problem. Overall, the videos ran well, but Flash makes web surfing slower.The Samsung Galaxy Tab will be preferred by those who are not enthusiastic about other tablets that do not support the Flash format.Galaxy Tab’s virtual keyboard highlights the letters and the device vibrates as we gently press each letter. Typing fast is not an easy task because the keyboard is narrow (due to the size of the screen) and these features help improve typing.There are two text input methods available: Samsung Keypad (default)—an on-screen QWERTY keypad that can be used in both portrait and landscape orientation; and Swype—a new way to enter text on touch screens. Instead of tapping each key, use your finger to trace over each letter of a word.

To correct a word or phrase, we can use a cursor that can be slid to any point in the word or phrase that must be corrected.

[nextpage title=”Connectivity and Multitasking”]The Samsung Galaxy Tab is not available without 3G. If the intention is to carry it everywhere you go, it is better to be connected full-time in order to take full advantage of all features.Besides 3G, the tablet comes equipped with Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n and features Bluetooth 3.0 for file transfer and communication with external devices such as headsets.The web browser loads sites quickly, especially when connected via Wi-Fi. It is easy to synchronize the device with email, regardless of ISP or server type.We can define the Galaxy Tab as a wireless modem for PCs and share our Internet connection via USB cable. Or we can use the tablet as a wireless router and share its 3G Internet connection with five other devices via Wi-Fi functionThe Samsung Galaxy Tab is definitely a multitasking device. We left several applications open at the same time and switched between them without performance loss or crashes.Android 2.2 supports multitasking and so does the Samsung Galaxy Tab. If we press the Home button when using an application, we are led back to the home screen while the application keeps on running in the background.This means we can listen to music while surfing the Internet and checking our emails. That is, we can leave our most frequently used programs open at the same time, without the hassle of loading and closing.On the Home screen find the Task Manager button, where we can see what applications are running at the time, find out how much memory is being used and the percentage of processor. There we can also close applications in use. At the top of the screen there are tabs that let us know the amount of storage space used, the total amount of RAM in use and all applications downloaded. That is, this is a great management tool that shows us what the Tab has been doing.[nextpage title=”Camera”]

The Samsung Galaxy Tab comes with two built-in cameras: a 3.2-megapixel in the rear, with LED flash, and also a 1.3-megapixel front camera for video conferencing.The 3.2-megapixel camera is reasonable. Taking pictures with the Tab is uncomfortable because of its shape, but it can work as a second camera in emergencies. Do not think of using it as your main camera.The colors seem a little faded, not bright. Areas with sharp contrast (with dark and light spots in the same scene) resulted in poor images.

Figure 9: Photo taken with the TabFigure 9: Photo taken with the Tab

The Tab also records video at 720 x 480 resolution and recording quality options are "good" and "normal" (there is no video recording in high definition). The microphone has good performance, but its location is not good for video recording: one must be careful to not block it with the finger. The result of our testing with videos was average, just as with the photographs.The Galaxy Tab is compatible with various audio and video file formats. The most common (DivX, Xvid, MPEG4, WMV and H.264 for video; and MP3, WAV, eAAC +, AC3, FLAC for audio) are there. There is no direct support for MKV files, but some files in this format can work.The Tab does not video record in HD, but the recordings were good at 720 x 480.The front camera takes 1.3 megapixel photos less sharply, obviously, but it works well for video chat, self-photo or emergency mirror.The camera interface is easy to use and has settings for resolution, white balance, effects, ISO and image quality. The options for shooting mode are: single-shot, panorama, continuous, smile detection and self-image (using the front camera). The scene modes can be set in portrait, landscape, night and sports.

There is also an option to add GPS information to the images.The video function also has a number of options. The video resolution goes up to 720 x 480, which is standard definition quality. We can switch between recording modes to "limit for MMS” (multimedia messaging), which reduces the resolution to 176 x 144.In the settings menu, you can adjust the white balance, apply effects, and select the video quality (only the options "very good" and "normal" are available).We have not tested the video call function due to lack of support from your service provider.

[nextpage title=”Multimedia and Entertainment”]With 16 GB of internal storage and the possibility of adding another 32 GB by using a MicroSD card, the Tab invites us to enjoy its multimedia features.It is very easy to sync movies and music with your computer: just change the USB settings to sync music, connect the tablet to the computer, open Media Player and drag the files to the sync list. That done, just click sync and everything goes to the Tab.The device supports multiple video formats, includin
g DivX, Xvid, MPEG-4, H.263 and H 0.264. The Tab also supports a variety of audio formats, including AAC, OGG, FLAC and AC3. The video application also supports subtitles in SRT format with size adjustment and automatic synchronization.Widescreen movies are shown on the tablet’s 1024 x 600 pixels screen without letterboxing, those black bars above and below an image to maintain the ratio between height and width of the original film.The two speakers at the bottom of the tablet are powerful, but do not replace a set of external speakers if the intention is to hear the sound in a large environment.Users can easily upload content to Facebook, YouTube and Picasa directly from the Galaxy Tab.[nextpage title=”Performance and Battery”]

Most of the time, the Galaxy Tab has taken advantage of its hardware configuration.The 1.0 GHz ARM Cortex A8 processor deals well with the processes running on the tablet, and multimedia content is held flawlessly thanks to the graphics accelerator. We just noticed a certain slowness in browsing the Internet when heavy sites built in Flash are loaded. This slowdown is felt while scrolling and zooming. Luckily, this type of site in Flash is not very common, so we have not seen this drop in performance as a problem to be considered.The 16 GB internal memory is more than enough for initial use. In case more space is needed after some time, the memory can be expanded up to 32 GB with a microSD card. The reading of files stored on the memory card is fast and flawless, even when the files in question are videos. We did not notice any performance difference between using internal memory and memory card.Bearing in mind that we would use multiple applications running simultaneously in the Galaxy Tab made us think that the battery life is short, even ridiculous.Samsung reports that the tablet provides around seven hours of video playback on a single charge (total) of battery, taking into account that video playback is one of the more intensive tasks that can be attributed to the tablet.We watched movies on the Tab and did not notice quick loss of battery power. During playback of long movies (a film which lasts three hours, for example) we could see that the unit heats up a little, but nothing that made it uncomfortable to hold.To make the battery last longer, we reduced the brightness of the screen and disabled Bluetooth, GPS, Wi-Fi and 3G, enabling these features only when necessary. Therefore, we guarantee a full day of tablet use available, without fear of losing power. In fact, we could get two days of non-intense use with this economy.It would be perfect to have a tablet with a battery load that lasted one week under continuous use (!), but battery life on Galaxy Tab is not bad. Just do not forget to take the charger if you are going to spend more than a day away from home.The Galaxy Tab battery cannot be accessed manually. If it loses its charge capacity over time, you will need to hire a service company to replace the battery.

[nextpage title=”Applications and e-Book Reader”]You can download Galaxy Tab applications at the Samsung Store and at the Android Market. The Samsung Store offers applications designed exclusively for Samsung products. So far we have no news of specific applications on the Android Market for Android tablets running 2.2 (Froyo). The next version, known as Honeycomb, runs applications developed specifically for tablets. These applications have a separate area at the Android Market.Android Market users will have quick access to thousands of applications to download, some free, some paid. After you find an app, just press a button to download it and install it automatically. Soon it will appear in the application menu.The Samsung Store is not as organized and easy to handle as the Android Market.Because of its 7-inch screen, the tablet is almost the size of a Kindle (six inches). One who has a Kindle can sync content and bookmarks from their Kindle account with the device. There are options for changing the font size, page color and brightness. Those who do not have a Kindle can open an account at Amazon eBookstore through the Galaxy Tab and buy electronic books.The size of the Tab is good for reading electronic books, but the Kindle’s screen is even more comfortable. The brightness of the Tab affects reading in bright light, while the Kindle’s e-Ink  technology does not have that problem. But when reading a colorful magazine, for example, the Galaxy Tab wins despite its reflection of light.The Kindle for Tab app is very easy to use. We can adjust the font size to a more comfortable level, and just dragging your finger on the screen takes you to the next or previous page.[nextpage title=”Other Features”]"Copy and paste" are part of the Galaxy Tab. As in other Android 2.2, we just need to tap on a word in order to select and copy text from it.Among other features—and there are many!—we highlight the integration of email, which is excellent, satellite navigation using Google Maps, music playback, and applications for various social networks and YouTube.Galaxy Tab is synchronized with Google apps: Gmail, Contacts, Calendar, Gtalk and Maps. Simply access the applications, enter your username and password information to make synchronization possible.About Google Maps: it is comfortable to use Google Maps on the Galaxy Tab because of its screen size, compared to cell phones. Maps are loaded quickly and we had no problems with zooming or scrolling.[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]

The main specifications for the Samsung Galaxy Tab include:

  • Screen: 7-inch TFT
  • Resolution: 1024 x 600
  • Operating System: Android 2.2
  • Processor: 1GHz ARM Cortex A8
  • Graphics: PowerVR SGX 540
  • RAM: 512 MB
  • Storage: 16 GB internal
  • Storage Expansion: microSD (supports up to 32 GB)
  • Battery: 4,000 mAh
  • Connectivity: 3G, Bluetooth 3.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Camera: 1.3 megapixel front-facing, rear VGA 3.2 MP camera
  • Weight: .84 lbs (380 g)
  • Dimensions: 7.48 x 4.74 x 0.47 inches (WHD) / 188 x 120 x 11 mm
  • Price: around USD 400 with two-year agreement, around USD 600 without agreement, but carrier-dependent
  • More information: https://www.samsung.com/

[nextpage title=”Conclusions”]

We had some very good things to say about the Samsung Galaxy Tab during our tests. The tablet from Samsung is fast, the screen is sharp and bright, the device is effective in multitasking and its size is ideal to carry around in pockets and purses.Strong Points

  • Android interface is excellent
  • The screen is bright and colorful
  • It is easy to download and watch videos and listen to music
  • Lots of applications at Android Market
  • It is portable, lightweight, and has comfortable size
  • Flash Support (allows you to watch videos online)
  • Support for multiple file formats
  • Resistant
  • Fast
  • Efficient multitasking
  • Excellent connectivity

Weak Points

  • Some applications do not look good on the screen (Android 2.2 has not been optimized for tablets)
  • Lack of AMOLED screen
  • Average quality camera
  • Heavy sites in Flash format are slow to load
  • Battery not accessible
  • Lacks cell phone support
  • Lacks digital TV support

If Android OS and portability are a priority, then the Samsung Galaxy Tab is the ideal choice.