Summary

Our Score

6/10

User Score

Pros

  • Excellent build quality
  • Small
  • Supports Full HD 1080p playback

Cons

  • Tricky to handle
  • Expensive
  • Narrow viewing angles

Review Price free/subscription

Key Features: 1GHz ARM Cortex A8 CPU ; PowerVR SGX540 graphics; Android 2.2 OS; 380g; 7in screen

Manufacturer: Samsung

Samsung Galaxy Tab

Read our review of the latest 2011 slim Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 - thinner and lighter than the iPad 2!

At times one of the toughest aspects to writing a review is working out which category it should be listed in. The Samsung Galaxy Tab presents a slightly different problem: what category do you file a product that is pretending to be something else...

We'll get into this later because it's key to the scores you see above, but let's get the big picture stuff out of the way first. As many of you will know, the Galaxy Tab is not just Samsung's first Android tablet it is also the tablet widely hyped as being the one with the most potential to trouble Apple's all conquering iPad.

The reason for all this attention is a simple one-two combination of hardware and software. On the hardware front the Galaxy Tab seems to have the full package: tablet essentials like multi-touch support, GPS, WiFi and Bluetooth alongside iPad omissions such as full phone functionality and front and rear cameras plus the horsepower to back it via a 1GHz ARM Cortex A8 CPU and PowerVR SGX540 graphics. The choice of a smaller 7in screen also makes the Tab much smaller and lighter (190.1 x 120.5 x 12mm, 380g) than Apple's 9.7in iPad (242.8 x 189.7 x 13.4mm, 680g - WiFi only, 730 WiFi 3G). Topping it off on the software side is the seemingly unstoppable Google Android. Surely nothing could go wrong?
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Well it doesn't, immediately. First impressions of the Tab are good. The elegant, minimal packaging could have come straight out of Cupertino and the device itself feels well made with no creaks or squeaks (as we've become accustomed to with some rubbish on the market). Sim and microSD card slots are well positioned and volume and power buttons continue the theme of excellent build quality. Even before we switch the Tab on, however, the cracks begin to emerge.

For a start the Tab is slippy in hand. Having removed the front and rear plastic covers I spent time looking for another mystery packing layer, it didn't exist and for a device meant to be carried in one hand it can feel precarious at times. A Kindle 3G it most certainly isn't.
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The second element to set alarm bells ringing is Samsung's choice of a proprietary charger. The logic behind this is to create something sturdy for third party add-ons like keyboards and stands, though in truth it makes a mockery of the slow but steady steps taken by the industry towards a universal charger format.

Worse still, the real problems begin once you switch it on...

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