At a closed group reviewer’s workshop today we got to play with the long awaited Galaxy Tab from Samsung. The device features a 7 inch WSVGA (1024x600) capacitive display and runs on Android 2.2 (FroYo). As for the innards, it is built around the Cortex A8 1 GHz processor, features Wi-Fi 802.11n and has 16GB inbuilt memory. The device has a 3G SIM card slot and two cameras - a 3MP autofocus at the back, and a 1.3MP VT camera on the front bezel.
But enough with the specifications; what you'd probably want to know is how the device feels and functions. First off the build quality – the white plastic hard panel back is solid and the device body has that monolithic feel.
It features a proprietary port at the base that helps it dock with a number of accessories such as a keyboard, desktop stand, and even a car holder that would leverage its turn by turn GPS directional functions. It accepts upto 32GB of flash memory via a MicroSD slot at the side.
Within a few minutes of playing with the device, it was pretty evident that statements alluding to it being the true contender to dislodge the Apple iPad's supremacy within this segment, are not entirely false. In fact going forward it is becoming quite evident that we'll see several such media and internet consumption devices being launched by many manufacturers. What will differentiate one tablet from the other would be the UI customisations and the user experience enhancements by way of localised applications. To this end the Galaxy Tab features several apps such as the Reader's Hub that gives users access to “over 2 million ebooks, 3000 magazines, and 1600 newspapers in English and vernacular languages, while Indian users will also get access to 55 Indian newspapers”. We're assuming many of these would be subscription based, since we only saw two newspapers while playing with the device. The other applications include a full-function office suite called ThinkFree Office and MapMyIndia turn based navigation package as a free introductory offer.
The device is being simultaneously launched in three markets around the world and India is for once one of them. Now comes the clincher - the price. The Galaxy Tab is priced at Rs. 38,000! At this price point the Tab is in serious danger of being a niche device - loved by many owned by few.
Screen - The 7 inch screen looks quite striking. The colours are vibrant and the pixels look densely packed.
Touch experience – The whole user experience was fluid. Multitouch works wonderfully and typing is not bad at all. The seven inch form factor we found was ideal when it came to two thumb typing in portrait mode. There were hardly any (negligible) mistaps while navigating or even typing. On a side note, the “swype” feature for typing may work out for some users on smaller screens like the GalaxyS, but on this device it was cumbersome and quite useless.
Sound – The two small speakers at the side were sadly not loud at all.
Camera – The 3MP camera at the back was not very good with the indoor shots we took at the event. The pictures were washed out and had noticeable artifacts. However the video recording (720x480 @30fps) was not bad all. In fact we'd go on to say it was surprisingly good.
Media - The device came with a bundled movie (3 idiots) which was rendered quite well. Scrolling was flawless.
Overall - The 1GHz processor makes everything pretty snappy. So even with a few applications running there wasn’t any noticeable lag. Browsing was a breeze.
Note: This is not a thorough test, but rather a first impressions / hands-on report. Feel free to comment below.