The 7″ Samsung Galaxy Tab GT-P1000 runs Android 2.2 Froyo, supports Flash 10.1, and with the right apps, can read Word, Excel, and Powerpoint files as well as e-books and pdf, play music, browse the Net, and check your email. Oh, and it’s a phone, too. About the only thing it can’t do, is your laundry.
I had hesitated between an Apple iPad and something Android, leaning more towards the latter, when the question was decided for me by a friend who gifted me this G-Tab last Valentine’s Day (thank you!). My friend, a gadget freak, has one too, and was very pleased with how it’s an all-in-one compact tablet.
This one’s a 16GB, but storage can be upgraded with a micro-SD card.
As a phone it’s unwieldy; use it as one only if you don’t mind putting a thing big as a pocketbook to your ear, and if you spend a lot of time in one place. My friend uses it as a phone, with a Bluetooth headset, but I’m too used to shoving a candybar phone like my Nokia C3 in a pocket or my bra strap so the G-Tab is out for that purpose. The G-Tab can also hold music files, but again, I prefer a separate device for that – a Creative Zen player.
There’s also a front-facing camera and one at the back. It’s hard to take photos using the 3.2 MP back cam – you have to hold up the device, and it’s kind of awkward – but the 1.3 MP front cam is great for self-portraits and video chats.
The apps screen. The screen is LCD touch.
However, the G-Tab is great for everything else you’d use a tablet for. I love how it can read Word, Excel, and Powerpoint documents with ThinkFree Office. I downloaded into it all my classmates’ drafts for our creative writing class and was glad not to have to print out a couple hundred pages and carry them around. I read .azw and .mobi e-books using the Amazon Kindle app, .pdf school and research materials with the Adobe Reader app. Resource conservation + convenience = what’s not to like, right?
The Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress apps are also useful for updating social media accounts and blogs, but I still prefer the functionality of a PC keyboard, though the pop-up virtual keyboard works well enough. For games, the mindless joy of catapulting Angry Birds at evil pigs is priceless.
All the apps I’ve mentioned are for free download at the Android Market.
The home screen of the Kindle app, syncing. It takes quite a while for the app to boot up especially if you’re like me and have nearly two thousand e-book files in there.
The G-Tab ties up with Google to give you easy access to G-mail, though I can also check my other email clients (like Yahoo!) that I’ve registered to the device.
The coolest thing about the G-Tab is its GPS system. It’s linked to Google Maps and shows you as a blue dot on a Google Map that you can zoom into at the street level. Fantastic. You will always know wherever you are, even if you are lost. There’s also Google SkyMap, which adjusts to how you hold the device, tilting the display dizzyingly, and shows you the constellations in the sky at the moment, assuming you could see the stars through haze, city light, and air pollution. But it’s nice to know they’re there.
The Kindle app screen looks great on the Tab. The display can be customized three ways – black text on white background, white on black, and brown on sepia. Brightness can be adjusted with a sliding bar, and font size can be tweaked. Because it’s backlit, it’s great for reading in low- or no-light conditions, but I find it tiring on my eyes after an hour or so. It’s great for use at night, though, and I love the easy page-turn on its touch screen.
Book featured: GJ Meyer’s “The Tudors: The Complete Story of England’s Most Notorious Dynasty” (2010)
Battery life? A full charge lasts me about a day’s normal use – reading e-books for about three hours and some email checking and casual Websurfing using Wifi for a couple of hours. You can save energy by switching off Wifi and Bluetooth when not in use and putting settings on silent.
The 7″ size – a wee bit larger than the 6″ Kindle 3 – and rectangular shape work for me too. I can hold it in one hand for reading, unlike the iPad, whose configuration is best suited for media consumption like Websurfing or watching videos, rather than reading. A couple of things Samsung can fix in the next Tab iteration are the weight and thickness – it’s too fat and heavy, and this is where iPad has them beat, especially now with their release of the lighter and thinner iPad 2.
Overall, I’m happy with the Galaxy Tab, and I look forward to the next-gen edition.
Photos taken with a Nokia C3.