Bitterwallet reviews... the Samsung Galaxy Tab
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.
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.