When it comes to the search for a tablet to rival the iPad, the Samsung Galaxy Tab has been billed as the answer. This tablet runs on the latest version of the Google Android operating system – ever growing in popularity – and has a number of features in its favor. It’s a noticeable upgrade to the latest generation of Galaxy tablet, but is it a true iPad rival?
Key Specs For The Samsung Galaxy Tablet
* Costs between $500-$600
* Released in 2011
* Android 3.1 Honeycomb OS
* 0.3 x 6.9 x 10.1 inches in size
* Weighs 1.2 lb./ 0.54 kg
* 10.1 inch display
* 1280×800 resolution
* 16GB or 32 GB storage options
* NVidia Tegra 2 Dual 1 GHz CPU
* Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity
* Two cameras: 3MP and 2MP
* 10 hour battery life
What’s Great About The Samsung Galaxy Tablet…
Battery Life: With an advertised battery life of 10 hours, the Samsung Galaxy is at the higher end of the scale, and a firm contender to the iPad 2. 10 hours is enough time to keep you occupied through a long plane journey, though activities such as watching movies will deplete the battery faster on any tablet computer.
Cameras: The Galaxy Tab comes with two cameras. The front-facing camera, at 2 megapixels, is designed for chatting via video across the internet. At the back you’ll find a 3-megapixel camera designed for taking photographs or for recording HD quality video. You’ll still want to keep hold of your digital camera for high quality photography, but for a tablet these are good quality cameras that’ll do the jobs you need them to do.
Design: When it comes to size and weight, the Samsung Galaxy is king of the tablet world. Although it’s only slightly lighter than the iPad, it’s a noticeable difference given the fact that you need to lift the devices to use them. It also looks pretty sleek, with a larger screen and a more detailed resolution than the iPad 2.
Storage: There are two storage options available for the Samsung Galaxy Tab: 16GB and 32GB. This will be more than enough for most users, though some may be disappointed that it doesn’t go up as high as 64GB (an option that’s included for the rival iPad).
Samsung Accessories: There are already a huge range of accessories on offer for the Samsung Galaxy Tablet, which has proven to be one of, if not the most, popular of the Android tablets. More buyers mean more scope for accessorizing the device with a wide range of third party offerings.
There are also the official Samsung accessories. The docks are especially notable: it’s important that you can get your hands on a dock if you’re the kind of person who wants to use their tablet to type with ease. Although the on-screen keyboard works well (see the notes below), it’s still far easier to type using physical keys.
Flash Support: Unlike the Galaxy’s biggest rival (the iPad 2), this tablet does support Adobe Flash thanks to the Android operating system. And it performs very well on websites with Flash videos, games or other content.
What’s Not So Great About The Samsung Galaxy Tablet…
The Keyboard: Many users have complained about the built-in keyboard, both on this and older Samsung Galaxy Tablet models. The truth is that it can feel cramped, and slow to respond. This isn’t good news if you’ll need to type a lot, but there is a pretty simple solution. Switch to the Android Keyboard option in your Settings menu and you’ll find the keyboard works a lot more as you’d expect it to.
No SD Slot: Unlike older models of this tablet, the newest Samsung Galaxy Tab doesn’t come with an SD card slot. This means that there’s no option to upgrade your memory in future, and no way of transferring files from a memory card onto the tablet. It also lacks a USB port (though there’s an add-on you can buy for that functionality). Note that these features are also lacking on the Galaxy’s biggest rival: the iPad 2.
No 3G/ 4G Connection: Some users wishing to go with the Samsung technology, but also looking to stay connected via mobile broadband, may be disappointed that this feature isn’t yet available. The good news is that 3G/4G tablets are due to start shipping soon. They’ll have exactly the same specs, just an extra requirement to sign up to a mobile contract (and pay a little extra for the privilege of owning the 3G/4G technology, just like the iPad 2).
Design: The Galaxy doesn’t look bad by any means, but some users have complained of a plasticky feeling. It simply isn’t as sleek as it could be. And looks are important in a world where you’re competing mainly with the likes of Apple.
My Final Thoughts on the Samsung Galaxy Tablet
In answer to the question of whether the Samsung Galaxy is a rival to the iPad, the answer is a mixed one. Its specs certainly don’t blow the iPad out of the water (except where Flash is concerned). Its price is pretty much identical for the storage options available. It’s a well-made tablet that looks good (not quite as sleek as the iPad) and performs well. Whether you opt for the iPad or the Galaxy will depend on whether you prefer Android to Apple’s iOS. What’s clear is that the Galaxy is certainly giving the iPad a run for its money.