User Experience and Interface
Certainly one of the key reasons most people are interested in a tablet PC is for the multimedia capabilities—browsing the Web, watching movies, playing games, etc. Tablets will most certainly be used for other key tasks such as checking and responding to emails, viewing pictures, and organizing your life as well.
Browsing the Web on the Galaxy Tab is a joy, particularly since you get a lot more screen real estate to work with in comparison to a smartphone. We found ourselves surfing from site to site without even missing our mouse. When entering text while surfing, the keyboard does consume a fair amount of the screen, particularly in landscape mode, but the overall experience is still very enjoyable. We also appreciated SWYPE while browsing—it makes entering search terms and other text so much faster than with a traditional keyboard.
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While browsing the Web, we often used pinch controls to zoom in and out. We also switched between landscape and portrait modes regularly. The Galaxy Tab was responsive overall, but we did notice that the pinch controls as well as the responsiveness of the accelerometer weren't quite as fluid as we've seen on the iPad. The overall experience was still very usable and even quite enjoyable, but we did notice a very slight hesitation from time to time.
Keep in mind that the Galaxy Tab offers support for Adobe Flash Player 10.1. This means you'll get a desktop-like experience while browsing the web on this tablet. It's a feature that the Apple iPad sorely lacks, and a place where the Galaxy Tab really shines.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab's video player offers multi-codec support without re-encoding. As a result, you'll be able to watch MPEG4, H.263, H.264, and Divx/Xvid files without conversion. Many of the videos we watched automatically switched the screen to landscape mode and locked in this view so even if you accidentally rotate the screen slightly, the video won't rotate. Should you need it, an orientation lock option is available by dragging your finger from the top of the screen downward.
The Galaxy Tab also supports a variety of music formats including FLAC without needing to convert them. You can access your favorite tunes by artist, album, genre, playlist, or all songs. Music can be played through the Galaxy Tab's internal speakers or through the 3.5mm headset jack.
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There are a number of games available for the Android platform, including N.O.V.A., Dungeon Hunter HD, Asphalt 5, and many more. Simply put, we were impressed with the gaming experience on the Galaxy Tab. When gaming, it's certainly nice to have a 7-inch screen compared to the smaller screens found on most of today's smartphones. Thanks to the responsiveness of the Galaxy Tab combined with the 7-inch screen, gaming on the Galaxy Tab is much more enjoyable than playing the same titles on your smartphone. As with the Apple iPad, gaming on the Galaxy Tab is different than the experience you'll get from a standalone gaming device with static buttons such as the PSP or DSi. With a tablet, you'll get more of an interactive experience similar to the Wii. This experience is definitely one that will keep you coming back for more.
Of course, if you invest in a tablet, you'll most likely use it to help organize your life, be productive, and get some work done. The Galaxy Tab comes with your standard set of organizational apps including Contacts, Messaging, Email, Calendar, and more. Thanks in part to the larger screen of the Galaxy Tab in comparison to a smartphone, viewing appointments, reading email, sending messages, and looking up phone numbers was a joy. The Calendar app provides a view that's much like a day planner with Day, Week, Month, and List views. You'll also find many other handy features available on the Galaxy Tab such as an Alarm Clock, Digital Frame, Google Maps, Latitude, a Memo app, Google Talk, and more.
You can check Microsoft Exchange, AOL, Gmail, Windows Live, Yahoo, and other email accounts directly from the Email app found on the Galaxy Tab. The Email app will offer a consolidated view of all email accounts as well as individual views for each account. You can opt to sort by date, sender, read/unread messages, and favorites.
Samsung claims you'll get up to 13 hours of active use time from the Galaxy Tab's 4,000 mAh lithium ion battery. Of course, the longevity of the battery is sure to vary depending on your use of the tablet's wireless capabilities, screen brightness, and many other factors. Overall, we were very impressed with the battery life of the Samsung Galaxy Tab. The tablet lasted for days with moderate use and still had juice to spare.