Samsung Galaxy Tab review

After having a chance to play with a co-workers Galaxy Tab, as well as a lot of research, I decided to pick up the Samsung Tablet. There are some pro’s and con’s to these compared to an iPad, so I thought I’d lay out some of them from a techie guy’s point of view.

Price:
Same price class if you buy them a’la cart but the Tab can come with a huge carrier discount on a 3 year plan, especially if you sign up for a Samsung Captivate at the same time. The iPad should maintain its value longer than the Tab.
Winner: Galaxy Tab

Form factor:
The iPad and iPad2 are 10.1″ screens, while the Galaxy tab is 7″. That doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it’s actually double the size. Because the Tab has a similar resolution, you can still cram in a bigger page.
Prefer 2 handed browsing, or poor eyesight: iPad
Prefer 1 handed browsing or better storability: Galaxy Tab

Hardware/aftermarket
Hardware build quality on both of these is very similar, though the iPad2 has some nice finishing touches like smart covers. Samsung chose to go with a weird, Apple-esque connector that has limited aftermarket support, and simply won’t enjoy the same level of accessories that the iPad will.
Hardware/aftermarket: iPad

OS:
Basic functionality is similar, though each comes with some of their own unique advantages. iOS has a few advantages in calendaring, browser smoothness, while Android has amazing voice commands, better search throughout, a decent built in turn by turn gps, way better multitasking and more advanced control.
Basic user or too apathetic to care: iPad
Advanced User or Control Freak: Galaxy Tab

Content Creation:
Both of these are frustrating to use to create long or complex content.  Trivial tasks like hyperlinking a URL or copying a picture into a document take longer.  The iPad’s keyboard is bigger, so you’re less likely to hit the wrong key.  The Galaxy Tab has really good voice dictation, but be prepared to curtail some “umms” and pronounce your punctuation.  They’re both better suited to content consumption.

Apps:
Android apps have more flexibility in what they do. Want a live updating news feed on your homepage? No problem! Androids app stores are the wild west: creativity and unique solutions are all over. Unfortunately, so is quality. All the apps that I’ve seen that have iPhone equivalents have been inferior including Skype, Salesforce, Facebook, etc. These guys need to get their act together. iPhone apps have been more strictly quality controlled, but some of those strict controls have hampered the experience. I have the Tomtom gps app for my iPhone, and while it’s pretty good, you can’t send destinations to it from other apps. So you need to crack it open, wait for it to load, wait some more, then use their own slightly convoluted search to find the destination. In the other corner, android apps enable you to choose different programs to handle different pieces of information. It saves a boatload of time on some common tasks.
These are 2 very different approaches on apps, and they’ll appeal to different types of users. Because of the quality of apps, I have to give the nod to iOS, but I’d imagine Android will quickly catch up.

Final, fragmented thoughts:
Voice commands on the Galaxy Tab kick some serious ass.  Swype on the Tab rocks as well.  You don’t often need multitasking, but it sure is nice when you have it and need it.  Basic tasks are better on the iPad, and so are most of the apps.  Contact syncing on the Android worked with EVERYTHING, whereas the iOS was a bit greedy with the contacts.  iOS is user friendly, but it often gets credit where it’s not due. Whenever someone starts explaining as “oh, you just need to..”, it’s almost never intuitive.  These tricks are required to use some functionality on iOS, whereas they’re almost always an optional shortcut on Android.

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