Samsung Galaxy Tab First Look

Is Samsung's first tablet computer a serious challenger to the iPad? Here's what our experts think.
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Samsung Galaxy Tab
Price: $999 outright or varies with phone plan.

3 stars out of 5

Is it an overgrown smartphone or is it a mini-tablet? It all depends on your perspective, but the 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab is the thin end of the wedge in a fast-growing all-out assault on the Apple iPad, which has successfully established tablets as the new frontier of personal computing, especially with the launch of the iPad 2 in Australia. 

Video: Samsung Galaxy Tab vs Apple iPad

Is the Samsung Galaxy Tab a worthy challenger to the iPad?


The first real iPad competitor to hit the retail shelves in Australia, the Galaxy Tab heralds a coming wave of tablet devices set to swamp the market in the latter half of this year. Around 100 new tablet devices were announced at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January and many of them, like the Galaxy Tab, will use the Android operating system.

The price the Galaxy Tab pays for being an Android pioneer is that it uses a modified version of Android 2.2 designed for smartphones, rather than the eagerly awaited fully tablet-friendly version 3. However, the Galaxy Tab shows huge potential. It has built-in web surfing (with Flash video), email, instant messaging, music player and a productivity apps. It also lets you make voice and video calls. It comes with the Navigon turn-by-turn GPS app free (in-car hardware kit sold separately), readers for eBooks, magazines and newspapers, and of course you can choose from many, but not all, of the thousands of apps from the Android Marketplace and download them directly to the tablet.

At  just 19cm x 12cm and just 12mm thick and weighing just 385grams, the Galaxy Tab is no great burden to carry and use one-handed and very easy to throw in a handbag. It's just two inches larger than Samsung's giant smartphone, the Galaxy S, and smaller than the 9.7inch iPad. The high resolution (1024x600 pixel) multi-touch display is bright and crisp and we found it quite responsive to use.

The Galaxy Tab is versatile, with phone and wireless networking (Wi-Fi), Bluetooth connectivity, a USB port and microSD card slot for expansion. If voice isn't enough, a 3Megapixel (3Mp) rear camera and 1.3MP front camera enable personal video calling. It's early days, but the Galaxy Tab is a very handy all-round device for those that just have to stay ahead of the crowd.



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