The Samsung Galaxy Tab is not the Apple iPad, but it's still pretty awesome, according to reviewers with the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.
The contest of Apple iPad versus Samsung Galaxy Tab may simply come down to: Are you an Apple person or an Android person?
The New York Times
' David Pogue and the Wall Street Journal
Walter S. Mossberg have each spent some time with the Galaxy Tab, the
first tablet expected to give the iPad-which currently enjoys 95.5 percent of worldwide tablet market share
-some competition. The Galaxy Tab will become available over the next
few days from Verizon Wireless, Sprint and T-Mobile, and arrive closer
to the holiday season from AT&T.
In short, both tech critics liked the Tab. Pogue is the more
smitten-or at least more effusive-while Mossberg, while complimentary,
concluded: "On balance ... I still prefer the iPad."
Starting with the positives, the Galaxy Tab-which features a
7-inch touch display (on the diagonal) versus the iPad's 9.7-inch
display-is light. Just 13 ounces to the iPad's 1.5 pounds. There's
also that display.
"Samsung sweated the details on this thing," wrote Pogue. "The
screen is gorgeous. The touch response is immediate and reliable. The
whole thing is superfast and a pleasure to use."
He also doesn't take issue with the display's size, which is almost
exactly the size of the latest Amazon Kindle. "The Galaxy doesn't feel
like a cramped iPad. It feels like an extra-spacious Android phone,"
he wrote. And while it may be a little awkward to fit in the back
pocket of one's jeans, fit it does.
Then there are things Samsung includes that Apple so notably left out: a camera (or rather, cameras
support for Adobe Flash; multitasking capabilities (though Mossberg
adds that, in fairness, this is coming to the iPad); and an SD memory
Other non-iPad features that are "high points" on the Galaxy Tab,
wrote Pogue, are the ability to dictate text instead of typing, and the
nine home screens one can customize by placing icons and information
windows where you'd like them, versus just in a grid.
Pogue also loved using the Galaxy's 7-inch display to take photos. It's a little weird, he concedes, "but it's also awesome."
Both men, however, had rocky experiences using the Galaxy's Qik
video conferencing software. And each experienced some issues with
Flash, which Mossberg summed up: "While the Tab does play Flash, it
needs work on that score." Both also complained of an early issue that
the iPad likewise trafficked in: Apps designed for Android-running
smartphones either have a big black border or are blown up to the point
of forsaking clarity. Pogue also noted that the Galaxy insists on
pulling up the mobile versions of some Websites, no matter how hard he
encouraged it not to.
Regarding battery life, the Galaxy's might be considered fine-were
it not for the iPad, which excels in this area. Mossberg, using a
particular test involving WiFi and playing back-to-back videos, eked 6
hours and 50 minutes out of the Galaxy Tab, versus 11 hours and 28
minutes on the iPad.
The overriding topic in both reviews, however, is price. The Galaxy
Tab is $600 with cellular capability (like the iPad, you cannot use it
to place cellular calls) but no contract, or $400 with a two-year
contract. Each carrier has specific pricing details that change things
slightly, and Pogue points out that a perk from T-Mobile is that if you
go the $600 route, one can get ??Ã la carte cell service of, say, $10 a
week or $30 a month and not have to pay extra to use the Galaxy as a
WiFi hotspot for other devices.
Still, it's competitively priced against the iPad, which starts at
$499 for a 16GB version with WiFi only and runs up to $829 for a 64GB
version with WiFi and 3G. (The Galaxy comes with 16GB of internal Flash
memory and can support 32GB extra on the SD card; plus, there's no
"I urge Tab buyers to do the math carefully on the overall cost of
the device under various carriers and plans," wrote Mossberg, adding,
in summary, that the Galaxy is "different enough form the iPad, yet
good enough, to give consumers a real choice."
Pogue, again a little more spirited, concluded: "With the Samsung
Galaxy Tab, you're also buying delicious speed and highly refined
hardware. It's just a shame that you're buying all that for $600."