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Samsung Galaxy Tab - Android 2.x & Verdict
Hardware quibbles aside, the biggest problem with the Galaxy Tab isn't the Tab itself, it is good old Android. Try as Samsung might, it can't hide the fact Android in its current guise is solely a smartphone operating system. Google hasn't yet laid down the tablet blueprints for developers to follow and there are a paucity of apps. If the Tab is an underwhelming experience is it primarily Google's fault.
Where the blame flips back, however, is Google knows this. In fact this is the reason why it has been publicly telling manufacturers to wait until 'Gingerbread' (Android 3.0) which will specifically evolve Android to address the tablet sector. Most major manufacturers have listened, but Samsung broke ranks determined to get itself an early piece of the tablet market.
Consequently what we are left with is a case of what might have been. After all video playback is powerful with support for Full HD 1080p playback. There is a camera, unlike the iPad, and even if its 3MP shooter produces mediocre results at least the option is there. Likewise you can record video and while its 720 x 480 pixel results don't compare to the latest smartphones again the option is there. We also had good experience with the battery which lasted two full days with moderate use. Just a big Android smartphone? For many this will be more than enough - especially at the right price.
Unfortunately the price isn't right. At a whopping £529.99 unsubsidised and with networks doing little to drop the price on bundled data plans you'll be forking out a huge amount of money. In addition Android 3.0 is just around the corner and while the changes will Google bring could create a truly brilliant product you have to position this against a) hoping Samsung will update it, and b) knowing dedicated Android 3.0 tablets will be rushing onto shop shelves.
The Galaxy Tab is a gamble, pure and simple. For Samsung it has taken a gamble to try and beat its rivals to market with an iPad competitor that is currently a big phone not a tablet. For users it is a gamble knowing real Android 3.0 tablets should arrive in the next few months.
On paper the Galaxy Tab represents a smaller, neater and more open alternative to iPad (itself a flawed device) and we wish it was. In reality it is an uncomfortable phone/tablet hybrid with a sky high price that will likely be eclipsed before Christmas. If you absolutely had your heart set on the Galaxy Tab by all means try one for yourself, but we'd suggest being patient and putting your money away.
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