Samsung Galaxy Tab: Initial Impressions


Staff member
Dec 15, 2009

(This is a guest post by Dave D. from the original article can be found at this link.)

While not yet having the luxury of handling one of these tasty morsels, I (like many) have been scouring the web for every spec and minute detail. Boy is it a beaut. While a few details remain unknown, such as availability and pricing in the states, many questions have now been answered. Let’s take a look and see where Samsung really hit the nail on the head, and where the mark may have been missed.
What We Know

  • Android 2.2 running TouchWiz 3.0
  • 7-inch TFT LCD with 1024 x 600 resolution (WSVGA)
  • Weighs 380 grams
  • 1GHz Cortex A8 processor
  • 16GB or 32GB internal storage
  • microSD expansion for up to 32GB additional storage
  • Front-facing 1.3 megapixel camera and rear 3 megapixel camera with flash
  • 4,000mAh battery
  • 3G data / voice (there’s a speakerphone and Bluetooth for phone calls, but no earpiece)
  • 5GHz dual-band 802.11n WiFi
  • Standard back color is white, carriers might offer different colors
  • Full HD video playback
  • There’s a 30-pin dock connector on the bottom
The Good

  • Hands down this thing looks pretty slick. At approximately 4.7 inches wide, the user is greeted with a comfortable one-handed experience, and typing isn’t a stretch for your thumbs. And what is this I spy? True multi-touch keyboard? Amen, brother.
  • Along with the smaller size comes reasonable weight. The Galaxy Tab tips the scales at a mere 380 grams. That’s about the same as two droids stacked on top of each other, or an iPad broken in half. Reports have echoed a solid but lightweight construction.
  • Custom software can be found in various places, such as the custom calendar and email application we saw in the preview. After some review they look pretty useful and offer some additional functionality that the included Google package does not. For those that use more than just Gmail, the unified inbox is a welcome sight.
  • Let’s be honest – there are two main uses for a tablet device: web surfing and playing videos. In addition to a great webkit browser, the Galaxy Tab makes playing videos a snap. While native DIVX support has been lacking in previous Android devices, our friends at Sammy have finally given us not only DIVX support, but also support for just about every common video codec under the sun.
The Not So Good

  • I was secretly hoping for some sort of dual core powerhouse with the introduction of the Galaxy Tab. Yes, battery life is an issue and a faster processor does not always translate into a snappy experience (e.g., Droid 2), but I am trying to look forward. The current crop of applications offered in the market is geared towards smaller phones with less complex interfaces. As more tablet specific applications begin to emerge, processor demands will likely increase.
  • At seven hours of video battery life, the Galaxy Tab is no slouch. Yet, I’m left wishing the life were a little longer. The iPad was announced with an astounding estimated ten hours, and most tests found it was more. The reality of battery life is that most of us will get nervous around 50% and panic around 30%, which means most users will begin looking to plug in after 4-5 hours. Still enough for a long drive or plane ride, but that’s only assuming a full charge at the beginning and easy access to an outlet right after.
  • Although not 100% confirmed, it looks as if a Wi-Fi only model is not in the cards, which might be attributed to Samsung’s push for the “mobile” aspect of the experience. There seems to be a market for WiFi only devices; therefore it would be nice to see expanded consumer options. From this writers experience, many people that have purchased the iPad with 3G do not even use the service after one month.
  • While the US numbers are unknown, leaks of European pricing[1] have been accompanied with some sticker shock. At €699 and €799 ($897 and $1,025) for the 16 GB and 32 GB versions respectively, it will cost a pretty penny to own one of these bad boys. While US versions will most likely cheaper, I would not be surprised if prices turn out to be higher than the iPad. I’ve got a hunch that Samsung’s strategy might be to offer a choice between a high off-contract price and a subsidized price much lower than the iPad. As I’ve mentioned before, the typical American consumer would rather have a lower sticker price and pay for a contract.
With most of the hardware specs out in the open, the real test will come in the future. Will developers accept the challenge and create great content and experiences tailored for tablets? My rose-tinted view of the future shows all signs pointing to “yes”. The Android community has proven that it’s not so much about an easy way to make a dollar as it is helping the ecosystem grow. While I still have not been convinced of the need for a tablet, I think my fellow Android brethren will not have such a hard time deciding.
[1] Boy Genius Report

-- Don't forget to check out Android Tablet Forum - our sister site dedicated to all Android Tablets.



Senior Member
Aug 4, 2010
$199 for the Cellphone version, going to be a lot more for the tablet version. To bad on pricing. Samsung needs to rethink pricing in todays market place.


Sep 10, 2010
I certainly think that Samsung need to revise their plans regarding a WiFi only version. I for one, any many more if other forums are anything to go by, only want WiFi connectivity. The surge in cheap far eastern Droid tabs, although not very good at the moment, are certainly going to improve over the next 12 months considerably. A lot of these are WiFi only or at the least do not contain embedded 3G and require a dongle. And of course there is the price of these devices. So it all boils down to what the consumers actually wants and what they are willing to pay. If Samsung pitched their pricing below the iPad then I think Mr. Jobbs may need to get his thinking cap on. If they don't, I think he is safe in his ivory tower - for now at least.