If less is more, then expect the Samsung Galaxy Tab to be getting more attractive soon. Well, its price, anyway. With more tablets heading to store shelves, including an updated Tab, we can assume price cuts for the current device are ahead. Some adventurous users have already installed the new tablet-friendly Android 3.0 (codename Honeycomb) that will up the Tab's game.
If you are interested in tablets, you've probably poked and swiped on an iPad already. Should you consider the Tab? Here are our impressions.
What is this Samsung Galaxy Tab about anyway? It's an Android tablet. It's larger than a phone, but still fairly portable with a 7" screen. Besides that, there's not much separating it from your average Android device, except it can't take calls.
So it's an iPad competitor? Yes and no. While it's certainly gunning for that audience (and launched with a price matching the 3G iPad), it's definitely its own thing. The iPad is designed generally as a lean-back device you lounge around with. The Galaxy Tab is about half the size, and its focus seems to be as a mobile companion of sorts.
Are you telling me this thing is supposed to fit in my pocket? Certainly you'll need to find a jacket pocket or a bag or something to carry it around in. The Galaxy Tab is hefty, but the lifestyle change associated with owning a device like this necessitates some sort of carrying capacity.
What does the Tab do better? We tested the Verizon version (and you get what you pay for on their network), but it's around on most carriers. Oh, and there's a camera if you like that in your devices. That aside, it's a comfortable device to hold in your hand. As much as we love the iPad, you can't help but feel like you're holding a heavy book by the bottom corners when holding that thing. The Galaxy Tab has a nice grip to it, and it feels secure when using it.
You don't hold it vertically, do you? That looks ridiculous. We're with you there. It's perfectly functional in that orientation, but that's probably just to work with small-screen phone apps. You'll want to use it in landscape when you can.
Okay, back to the iPad comparison. You're always dealing with the difference between the App Store and the Android Market, but the difference is a little more pronounced here. Barely anyone is designing apps for the Galaxy Tab's large screen and resolution, so everything feels a little like running iPhone apps in 2X mode. Web browsing is a little nicer here, though, since the Galaxy Tab is the smallest device I know capable of running Flash on pages without serious chugging.
What about the native apps and games? The potential of the device is apparent when you try out some of Gameloft's Tab-optimized games. The screen is nice and spacious, giving you enough to use controls on the sides of the screen and see what you're doing without being too big to hold. This could be a powerful gaming device if the Android community gets its act together and sets standards for power, screen size and other specifications. It's also a nice little video playback device if you want to load it up with entertainment for your next trip.
What if I already have an Android phone? Things are going to seem very familiar. It's a bigger version of your phone, and that's about as far as the design went. You're not going to be wowed by anything like widgets or Google integration, since you have that. Basically, if you're looking for a Tab and have an Android phone, you're in it for the larger screen for videos. That alone's probably not worth the Tab's hefty price tag.
So it's not there yet. But could it be? Absolutely. With support on all carriers, it may get the saturation it needs to start having native apps for more things, and that can work wonders. The surge of other Android-based tablets will help fuel app development. (Just think how far Android phones have come in the last year or so.) It's tough to say whether the ball will get rolling with the Tab, though.