The iPad has no camera, so the Tab seemingly has a leg-up for the time being. (Indications are strong both front and rear cameras will be included on the iPad 2, likely due in the early spring.)
But, the Tab is too large and awkward to wield as a snap-and-shoot camera, even with its giant viewfinder. Even when you manage to frame the right shot, the underwhelming 3.2-megapixel imager has a slow shutter, there is no zoom, and doesn’t take good pictures. Outside images and the 480p video are hazy, often bleached and mostly lack color, contrast and detail. All conditions improve slightly on inside shots, but results are still less impressive than from the higher-resolution cameras on Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones.
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Sprint says the Galaxy Tab will run for 13 hours of “active” use, but that number is almost useless since different functions, especially Web surfing via either the 3G network or via Wi-Fi, suck power at different rates. But 13 hours is longer than the 10 hours Apple rates the iPad for video playback.
Unlike a cellphone, which constantly seeks out a cell signal, sucking battery life, the Tab burns its static battery only when you’re actually using a wireless connection. As a result, the Tab can go days between recharges, which means it makes an excellent, long-lived e-reader.
Price will be an important consideration and, quite frankly, the Tab is too expensive. Samsung sets the price at $649 for the version with the 16GB card preinstalled (although each carrier is setting their own prices) – and that’s too high. You’re essentially paying for its portability rather than its functionality. Bottom line: If you already own a smartphone with a screen 3.5 inches or larger, especially a Galaxy smartphone, the Galaxy Tab is redundant. If you’re a BlackBerry owner, wait for the PlayBook for better compatibility. Only owners of older dumb cell phones who regularly wear a suit or other jacket with an inside pocket, or if you wear cargo pants every day, ought to even consider buying a Tab.
- Fits in an inside jacket pocket
- 7-inch screen has perfect aspect ratio for widescreen movies
- Android 2.2 Froyo OS
- Long battery life
- Snappy Web browsing
- Poor 3.2 MP camera with no zoom, HD video recording
- Little Android optimization for larger screen
- No Wi-Fi-only versions available
- Screen washes out at off angles
- Proprietary dock connector instead of microUSB