Bitterwallet reviews... the Samsung Galaxy Tab

21 October 2010

The Samsung Galaxy Tab is launching in the UK on November 1st but it is already released in Germany and widely available for sale (both online at stores like Amazon and offline in the German equivalents to Currys/Comet). I've been pretty excited about the launch of what seems to be the first real challenger to the iPad and figured as I was in Germany I would go by MediaMarkt to pick one up.

To make a long review short here's the summation: it's a nice bit of kit but ultimately it's let down by the size, the OS and the price.

The form factor unfortunately doesn't have the svelte appeal of the iPad. The online pictures make it look sleek and slim but the offline reality is that it is a fat looking bit of kit. Technically it is thinner than the iPad (11.98mm vs 13.4mm) but due to the width being substantially narrower it 'fattens' out much quicker resulting in a fairly big visual bulge. The top and bottom edges are square in comparison with the iPad which slowly thickens from all edges tricking you into thinking it is thinner than it is. The result is that when you grasp it in your hands you are feeling a thicker tablet than the iPad even though it is technically thinner at the maximum point.

Bitterwallet - samsung galaxy tab

Other than the fat feeling, the build quality is excellent, solid and robust feeling. It doesn't make you concerned that one wrong twist could result in a crack like the iPad does. The screen quality is fantastic, the colours are rich, photos look fantastic and the camera itself seems decent.

As for Android... well that's the other downfall. The Galaxy Tab is fast, super-responsive and smartly skinned, but, well, it feels like a big Android handset. There is not much of a feeling that you are using a tablet as opposed to an extraordinary large HTC built for big-handed people. In this area I think Apple was smart by throwing in apps like iBooks with a free book - apps that make a tablet feel like something different than a mega-handset.

The real nail in the Galaxy Tab coffin is unfortunately the price. Even when you stack up the good bits it doesn't justify a higher or equal price to the iPad. The initial price of £800 is simply ludicrous for what you're getting here but the Carphone Warehouse £529.99 price is not going to help this fly off the shelves either. If this was priced down to £400, it would be getting closer to the price people are willing to pay for an on-the-go email client, web browser, media player.

The real problem, as Jobsy refers to, the 7" form factor is an awkward size with this OS. It is not small enough to replace a mobile and not quite big enough to feel like a new device category. At a smaller price that isn't an issue as it is a highly capable and rounded device but when there is an element of sticker shock you've got to justify the purchase somehow (usually I do that by explaining away another device).

So in the end I walked out without a Galaxy Tab in hand having talked myself out of purchasing one. Instead I decided to test out the Dell Streak having convinced myself it could replace my mobile and provide most of the Galaxy Tab-let experience.

TOPICS:   Mobile   Gadgets


  • mein c.
    giz it
  • PaulH
    Hang on who's Paul Nikkel?
  • Paul Nikkel EDITOR
  • The B.
    "The Galaxy Tab is fast, super-responsive and smartly skinned, but, well, it feels like a big Android handset." Precisely why no other manufacturer is going with Android 2.2, Google have said that Android 3 (the tablet version) will be out in early December so most decent manufacturers should have Android tablets out next year. Whether it's any good or not remains to be seen.
  • Bob
    fairly big visual bulge
  • Will G.
    Tell us about the Dell Steak then - gwan. I bet it's crap. Tell us. It's crap isn't it?
  • LanceVance
    @ Will The Dell Steak. That come with a peppercorn sauce?
  • Chris
    "So in the end I walked out without a Galaxy Tab in hand having talked myself out of purchasing one." So you wrote a review for a product you only had in your hand for a few minutes?
  • Paul Nikkel EDITOR
    Yep, about 30 minutes. You'll notice all of my criticisms are initial reactions not long detailed thoughts about troubles using email group contact integration blah blah. That's because in the 30 minutes I played with it, having thought I was going in to purchase one, I was sufficiently put off. Don't get me wrong - I love Android and I would like to see an alternative tablet succeed - but this is not going to be the one.
  • bittertraveller
    So it's not really a review but more you went shopping whilst in Germany and needed a way to expense the trip. Brilliant. I'll email in a review from LHR T1 next week and the bill for my flight. Even if you didn't like the product a review posting should at least have taken the product out of the shop. Don't call your posting a review. Twat.
  • Paul Nikkel EDITOR

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