Yesterday we brought you news about the Samsung Galaxy Tab, the first handset from the Korean electronics giant. Today we've had a bit of time to play with it and first impressions are good.
Pick up the tablet and it feels substantial and at 380g it's roughly half the weight of the iPad. Measuring 190x12x12mm it's easy to hold with one hand as you read or browse. A MicroSD slot is positoned in the side for playing back movies and viewing digital photos, and - like the iPad (a phrase we'll be using a lot during this piece) - there's a multicharging point at the bottom.
View our exclusive Samsung Galaxy Tab pictures here
Running Froyo 2.2, the interface is vanilla Android, so instantly recogniseable and just as intuitive to navigate as the Galaxy S or HTC Legend, helped by very effective multitouch. A quick swipe and you're soon flicking through the five homescreens, press down to add widgets or shortcuts as you like
The 7-inch screen 1024x600 pixel screen is bright and sharp, we played back a few You Tube videos without any complaints, although we'd be curious to see whether you can see the screen in bright sunlight.
Multitouch is impressive, although if you're an iPad user you'll have to get used to having less space. Pinch to zoom works well and a quick tap and browser text realigns to fit the space. When type you can also use the Swipe command, where you drag your finger over the keyboard as you type, which is expecially useful if you're typing with one hand. Browsing seemed to be a painless experience and Flash 10.1 is a fantastic addition.
One of the key features Social Hub, lets you sync multple accounts, including Twitter, Facebook, so when you click on a contact you get information from across each application, it's intuitively designed and quick to use. You can choose to have this displayed as a feed on one of the screens showing updates, which is very useful.
Readers Hub integrates books (via Kobi), magazines (via Zinio) and news (via Press Display) a simple tap of the Hub brings up all three, which makes sense for an avid reader. The actual content will vary from country to country. As an eReader, the bookshelf is so it similar to the iPad it's ridiculous, surely you could have thought of something more innovative Samsung?
The 7-inch screen is just the right size for reading though and text is clear, although - again - we'd have liked to try it on a bright sunny day. Subscribe to a magazine and it's downloaded directly when available.
One place the Galaxy Tablet betters the iPad is with the inclusion of a main 3MP camera and secondary 1.3MP front camera. Looking at pictures printed by a Samsung representative and results seemed soft, although the picture was taken under bright flourescent lights and printed at A4 size on regular paper. One thing it did display was how easy it is to connect the Samsung Galaxy Tab via WiFi to a printer and print.
Each of the units Samsung had on display was positoned on it's own Desktop Dock, which chrages and includes an HDMI port so you can connect the Galaxy Tab to a TV and playback 1080 video. Infinitely more useful is the Keyboard dock, if you prefer a solid keyboard.
Our time with the Samsung Galaxy Tab was brief and we weren't able to try everything, but having used the Dell Streak, joojoo and Archos 5 Internet Tablet, this is the closest the tablet has come to rivalling the iPad. With a memory card slot, cameras, video calling and 3G it even betters it, in a far more portable size. Our main reservations so far are based around the apps; at the moment Android can't touch the Apple App Store, so it remains to be seen whether this will be as good for gaming. We'll bring you the full review as soon as we can.
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