GadgetGuy reviews Samsung’s Galaxy Tab

Call me

Samsung has – and will probably again – point out to you that the Galaxy Tab isn’t just a tablet; it’s also a 3G phone. A very big phone.

So big, in fact, that you won’t be able to comfortably hold it in your hand. Or indeed, hold it any way near your ear without appearing like a pillock. It does, however, make for a brilliant speaker phone, delivering audio at a good volume levels, and clearly to boot. We could see ourselves, for instance, making phone calls and checking emails on the Tab simultaneously, or using it for conversation while making dinner.

What it does wrong

No device is perfect, and the Galaxy Tab has its fair share of faults.

We wish, for one, that the screen wasn’t so glossy. It’s a small gripe, but the reflectiveness really reduces visibility and makes the screen a magnet for smudgy fingerprints.

More significantly, we found that widgets on the home screen often slipped from view when the Tab was held in landscape mode, making it hard to access menu items. The “Swype” finger-motion keyboard also suffered in landcape mode, with the keyboard failing to expand from portrait format to the wider orientation.

Samsung Galaxy Tab dock connector on the top, Apple iPod dock connector on the bottom. So close, it’s scary.

Then there’s the docking port at the bottom, which is used to charge the device and transfer data. Its not the standard microUSB port you’d expect, and which Samsung is using in its phones, but a connector remarkably similar to Apple’s iPod/iPhone/iPad dock.

We expect that many consumers will mistake the connection, and try to dock their Tab with iPod-compatible devices or Apple cables. The risk here is that connectors within the Tab’s port will be broken, rendering the device useless.

Should I buy it

When released on November 8, the Galaxy Tab will sell for $999, which is just $50 shy of the top-spec iPad. The price is probably appropriate for a flagship tablet from the Android camp, and it is as accomplished  – more so, in many ways – than Apple’s market making device.

That extra $50 dollars, though, buys entree into more apps, accessories and kudos than Android currently offers, and it’s that value perception that will be the Tab’s biggest challenge.

If Android is your ecosystem of choice, though, then the Tab is your tablet.