Galaxy Tab hands-on

This hands-on marks the second time we have gotten the chance to play with the Samsung Galaxy Tab here at Android Central.  Dieter Bohn got to play with it first when it was announced at IFA. I had the chance to mess around with it last night at Samsung's media event in New York City at the Time Warner Center. Click on after the break to hear impressions and watch me put finger prints all over the prototype.

YouTube link for mobile viewing

The Galaxy Tab felt solid. It wasn't too weighty, and it wasn't too light. To put it in perspective, Omar Khan from Samsung stated "it weighs about the same as a 12-ounce soda can."

The next thing I noticed after the first few seconds of holding it was the texture of the device. The tablet sports a glossy finish, that sits comfortably in your hand. Though, the smoothness was a nice feature, the thickness was not. It seemed a bit thicker than what you would come expect from a seven inch display. Again, the weight wasn't perfect, but I could definitely see myself putting this in my coat pocket and not notice it weighing me down.

On to the screen and the UI. The screen is beautiful, there is no doubt about it. The 1024 x 600 display responded to every gesture I made on the device. Muti-touch when pinching to zoom was what we have all come to suspect at this point. I feel like anything smartphone or tablet device that doesn't have these capabilities at this point, is behind. Moving on to TouchWiz. It's there, folks, and it's really not that bad. It seemed a bit modified also, all the app icons seemed like they were scaled properly for a tablet device. Not to small nor not to big. The tablet I played with only had two panels filled with apps. I'm assuming with the 1GHz processor, you shouldn't be limited to just two panels. 

Luckily enough, Samsung had set up video chat. When Dieter first played with the Galaxy Tab a few weeks ago, the video chat option wasn't there. Just like the Evo 4G and the Epic 4G, the tablet had Qik installed on the device. With the 1.3 MP front-facing camera, the image quality was decent. The video seemed a bit blocky and clunky, though, there didn't seem to be any lag. Mind you, we were running on WiFi from the same access point; mileage will vary. Also during the briefing, Samsung announced that video chat could only be used over WiFi. This was a pretty disapointing announcement, as I was hoping they would take a stab at Apple's FaceTime. Additionally, 4G capabilities will not be available on any of the carriers tablets. Come on Samsung, the Epic 4G has it!

During the presentation, Samsung had an exec from Adobe magically "Flash" on stage. Well, no -- he just walked on stage. Anyway, he showed the wonders of Flash 10.1 running on the Galaxy Tab. To push the device and really show its ability to run Flash, the exec from Adobe loaded up J.K. Rowling's website. The author of the beloved Harry Potter series, sports a very heavy Flash based website. As you'll see in video, the site loads a quite rapidily. Unfortunately, when I demoed the site, the tablet's auto rotation was locked. I was only able to view it in portrait mode. Even though I was restricted to portrait mode, the flashy site responded to all my interactions. Take a look for yourself, even on desktop or laptop machine, the Flash heavy site is pretty intricate:

I wasn't wowed by the device -- and you might not be, either. Though it didn't help that Samsung showed off the international version of the Galaxy Tab, and none of the carrier-specific versions it had just announced. If Samsung really wants to hit hard with this device -- especially on all the carriers -- it will need to work with the carriers to provide a mass market price. And if it wants Media Hub to be a success, it will need to definitely make that entry price a good one.


Reader comments

Samsung Media Event: Hands-on with the Galaxy Tab [video]


I really Need to get my hands on this to to see If I can really use it....

Most important thing BATTERY LIFE!... But then again CES is in January... And I'm waiting on HTC AND MOTO to spit out some Gingerbread Love in the Tablet space

Battery life isn't THAT important for a device that is too big for routine carry. If you can get from the fridge to the couch and back again its probably ok.

I like this size, you could carry it to class or meetings or in the car without a hassle, but as a phone replacement that you carry everywhere its too big, and will never be far from an outlet.

Fast recharge would be more important than super long battery life.

I agree about waiting for HTC, especially if they are teaming up with Google. Sammy is nice and all that, but I'd rather have a Google tab.

For people that commute other than by car daily the battery life is probably going to be important. I live in London and take the train to and from work and most the time spend that listening to music and surfing the web on my phone and if I didnt have an extended battery on my Desire it would never make it to and from work without a charge with my heavy use. They have gone with a huge battery which I like and wish other manufacturers would go with more.

Torn between this and waiting for HTC to come out with something and it's either going to be Gingerbread or Chrome so no real idea of when that will come, probably Q1 and not sure I can wait till then.

Well your phone has to do duty as a phone all day too.

If this is just a commuter, and lunch break device 4 hours would be sufficient, no?

The Battery is 4,000 mAh Battery. No hints given about how long that lasts, but the only thing different between it and a Galaxy phone is screen size.

O_o Umm yes it is. Unless you want to be constantly charging the thing, always carrying around a power brick, and always needing to be aware of the nearest outlet when you least expect it you damn well need to worry about battery life. IMHO the absolute minimum these things should be getting is 6 hours. Anything below that and you could easily find yourself going to, say a coffee shop with your friends at the end of the day, pulling it out to do some surfing and find within a half hour you need to plug in somewhere. Optimal is about 8 hours. That usually lets you get through a day with on again, off again use. And preferable is 12 hours but that is unrealistic at this point.

I want the wifi only version so I can connect to my Nexus One via wifi hotspot and run google maps/nav on the Galaxy Tab for FREE!!! :)

I wish the folks making these hands on videos would stop dicking around with taylor swift apps and show us google maps and google navigation running on the tablet.

Okay don't get me wrong, i love this site. I check it on a daily basis. But the reporter doing the hands on video is wayyy to unprofessional to do a hands on. He could've cleaned up the device before he started filming. He should've got a better shot because i can't even see the screen with the glare. And finally his hands on was horrible. He says the word "um" atleast a hundred times. He doesn't even know what he's doing with the device.

Oh come on.

You fight your way up to a demo model at a crowded event after waiting in line patiently. Now you got 5 minutes of hands on with people impatiently waiting behind you?

He never saw one of these before that hour, because ITS BRAND NEW JUST ANNOUNCED - STILL NOT FOR SALE, and you expect him to have experience, a well planned patter, a script, and professional lighting?

What part of LIVE EVENT do you not understand?

Yah, lets see how well you do with a dozen people behind you and a manufacturer rep that gives you probably 5 minutes with the thing. There is no prep here, there is no one else to hold the camera while you do your thing, and I'm guessing there was no lead time with the rep to ask questions and get a feel for the device before you got to the front of the line to do your thing. Gah. Armchair reporting expert at its finest...sorry I meant dumbest.

Are you sure that landscape wasn't working? Did you slide the notification bar down and have a look if the rotation lock was on?

Looks nice might pick one up for the wife but this one is not for me and about the screen being locked in portrait mode you can hear someone off camera tell him that landscape is disabled so yeah.

Yeah, I would definitely be tempted to pick one up if it were wifi only. I have to say, it seems way more usable to me than an iPad, which is too heavy and too large. A 7" screen makes it just a little bigger than a Kindle, but not so large that it's too awkward to carry on the street. If that demo was sporting 2.2, I gotta say it was damn smooth. It certainly makes me look forward to Froyo on my Vibrant.

The pinch to zoom doesn't seem to work like the stock android browser but more like the iPhone browser. I like the android method where it resizes the text as well

I stopped reading when I got to the part about no 4G. Seriously, I don't care if this thing cooks me breakfast every morning. Without 4G, it does not appeal to me at all. Especially since the video chat doesn't work over 3G.

maybe you could use a hotspot from a different 3g device and use video chat since the tab would be on wifi. My home wifi is barely faster than my 3g