Samsung Galaxy Tab Android tablet
Shrunken slate or fat phone?
The Galaxy Tab can record video at 30fps and 720 x 480 pixels, which isn’t bad either, if not quite the full HD shilling. The main problem I had with it may just be an individual glitch, but the Tab occasionally seized up when using the camera, requiring a wait of a few seconds to get going again.
The plastic build isn't exactly a winning feature, given the price
There’s also a 1.3Mp camera on the front for video calling, which works over 3G, and room enough on the screen to show pics of both caller and callee simultaneously. The Android Skype app doesn’t seem to recognise the camera at the moment though, which if on-line user comments are anything to go by, also dogs other messenger apps on this device too.
The music player is standard Android, which is good enough, and it can play back a good range of formats including MP3, AAC, WMA, FLAC and WAV. Mac and Linux users can access the Tab as a mass storage device, but those with a Windows PC can also sync using Samsung’s recent-ish Kies software, which does a good job of arranging your media and other files, or by simple drag and drop. The Music Hub app also offers access to online music from 7digital.
The Tab comes with 16GB of memory on board, which is enough to get going with, and you can add up to 32GB more with a micro SD card – an option that’s certainly not available with the iPad. Battery life was surprisingly good, and with heavy use, I managed a rather long working day out of it. Given Samsung's proprietary interfacing, the lack of a micro USB slot is a bit distressing, however, supplied charging lead has a USB connector at the other end and can be used as an adaptor to link up peripheral keyboards and the like.
The Tab may not quite match the iPad for luxurious ease of use or build quality, but shop around and you'll soon find it for £40 less than Apple's cheapest 3G version. However, it is more expensive than the entry level Wi-Fi-only iPad. Even so, the smaller Galaxy Tab has the capability to function as a phone and a camera, which will no doubt appeal to many. Flash on the browser will also have its fans, as will the add-on memory and the e-book reader functions that work just as well as its rival. Overall, the Galaxy Tab shows potential as an iPad challenger. With an eye on the forthcoming Gingerbread and Honeycomb upgrades, Android enthusiasts are likely to forgive its quirks, as this fondle slab ticks an awful lot of boxes. ®
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