One of the toughest challenges I thought I'd have in reviewing the Samsung Galaxy 7.0 Plus Android tablet is its availability relative to Amazon's (NASDAQ:AMZN) Kindle Fire tablet.
Fortunately, I started playing with the Plus last Friday and have left the Kindle Fire, which arrived yesterday morning, relatively untouched. I do want to compare them but not without giving the Plus proper lip service.
Honestly, the device deserves it. The Plus, with its 7-inch, WSVGA (1024 x 600) Plane-to-Line Switching (PLS) LCD weighs only 12.2 ounces and has a metallic gray enclosure. It is the Android tablet Samsung should have launched in 2010 to challenge Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad instead of the awkward, chunky Galaxy Tab 7.
While the original 7-inch Tab only weighed 13.5 ounces, it was a full 0.5 inch thick. But that wasn't the bad part; the original 7 made application access awkward because it ran Android 2.2 Froyo, which is decidedly not fit for consuming applications on the larger tablet form factor, with a 1GHz, single-core processor.
In my tests of the WiFi-only model, applications run beautifully on the Android 3.2 Honeycomb-powered Plus, which has a great, speedy little 1.2 GHz processor. The tablet UI also benefits from Samsung's TouchWiz user interface, which is super-friendly to consumers who enjoy customizable widgets.
The Social Hub application widget, for example, elegantly lets users link their email, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts with the tablet, which renders messages and updates in one consolidated view with headshots associated with contacts' profiles.
Netflix and YouTube played well on the Plus, as did the magazine-reading application Next Issue and Samsung's Media Hub for movies and TV shows.
The Plus has some of the more useful applications I've ever seen preloaded on a Honeycomb tablet, including Google Maps with Navigation turn-by-turn GPS directions, which lets users type or speak their intended destinations into the Plus.