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Hands-on review of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1New

Alex Fergusson Architects

First Intro | The Good | The Bad | The Very Very Ugly | The Specs | Summary Summary
Review update: Sun shines cruel light on Galaxy

Samsung Galaxy Tab: The Good

This is only the 2nd tablet that you can easily go out and buy - in a shop. Just in case you were wondering, I'm counting the Apple iPad as the first.

Don't get me wrong, there are lots of other tablets promised. But for the most part they aren't so easy to get, and if you have bought one you'll probably find that you are the only one who has.

Android Platform

The Galaxy Tab also runs the most accomplished and stable version of Android so far - 2.2 (Froyo). It's intuitive and quite easy to use, especially for someone who has experience of an Android phone or an iPhone or iPad. The platform is usable for day-to-day activities like internet browsing or writing this review. Also, the much-feted Flash is actually available and working. And this lets you see Youtube properly, but also, for instance, the graphs inside the Google Finance pages.

In addition it is the first tablet that Google permitted to have proper access to the Android Market. This lets you install all your favourite games, utilities etc.. Other tablets have been able to get at the market, but only after downloading and installing a slightly unofficial copy.

Most of the Apps that I've installed now fill the screen properly and update themselves beautifully either automatically or in batches with no major crashes so far. The Tab has managed to update fifteen Apps in the time it took me to collect a Starbucks coffee refill. In ways like this, Android is beginning to leave Microsoft Windows very far behind.

Samsung have also supplied a few special applications of their own, particularly one for displaying Email which uses the tablet's larger screen nicely to show both a list of Emails and the content of the one you select. This is similar to the Email applications on the iPad and on the more recent Honeycomb release of Android.

Unlike some other tablets, the Tab will also work in any orientation.


The Tab also comes with Swype which has won me over completely. This is a system whereby you slide your finger over the letters that make up each word, and lift your finger off between words. It's not perfect yet, but given time, I'm sure it will become the preferred way of entering text via a touchscreen keyboard.


Another pleasant surprise is the SatNav function. On a couple of earlier Android devices, the GPS functionality was a little ropey with apparent sudden jumps in my location. This problem is now fixed. With Android 2.2, we also now have turn-by-turn navigation and an adequate synthetic voice telling me which road to turn on to. While the attempts at place and road names have sometimes been quite quaint, the directions offered have been very good, with no obvious error in several hundred miles of travelling.

The Rest

On a slightly more mundane note, the Tab's hardware is up to scratch. The processor is generally fast enough, the screen bright enough, the memory and battery seem big enough for normal use. Since people like to try and quantify what the battery lets you do: here goes. It normally lasts for the day. You get around 6 hours of actual use, obviously it's less if you start on a little heavy game or video playing, but for emails and internet reading you should avoid having to recharge.

The build quality is pretty good using very durable plastic. The Tab feels quite heavy in the hand, I suppose, mainly because of the battery. It probably wouldn't fare that well dropped onto a concrete floor, but then neither would most of its competitors.

And lastly, the headphones / hands-free: excellent, and iPhone compatible (but don't quote me on that.)

First Intro | The Good | The Bad | The Very Very Ugly | The Specs | Summary Summary
Review update: Sun shines cruel light on Galaxy

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