Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 preview: First look

GSMArena team, 03 June 2011.
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3.15 megapixel camera

A 3.15 megapixel camera capable of doing 720p videos and a 2 megapixel front-facing snapper is what you get with the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9. Given that tablets aren’t the most useful devices for taking snaps it’s probably as much as you are going to need anyway.

The two cameras are mostly there to provide the functionality needed for video-chatting and some augmented reality apps or games and the possibility to snap a label or two as a memory aid comes as a welcome bonus.

The camera interface is an oversized version of what you find on the Galaxy S II with the available settings on the left and the shutter key and the video/stills switch on the right.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9
The camera interface

Here go a few samples to show you the image quality of the Galaxy Tab 8.9 camera. Have in mind that those were captured with a pre-release unit and the final unit will likely be able to produce better snaps.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 3G Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 3G Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 3G Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 3G
Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 camera sample

Unfortunately our Galaxy Tab 8.9 unit had some issues with the video recording so we are unable to provide you with a 720p sample.

First impressions

There we are, about to split ways with the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9. We have no reason to doubt this tablet’s prospects and, if the rest of its development goes according to plan, it might become one of the most successful Samsung devices of the year.

And Samsung is not the only one who will benefit from the Galaxy Tab 8.9 in the long term. The right fit between 10.1” super slabs and 7” minis, this one seems to strike a perfect balance between usability and portability. Is this the birth of a whole new class of tablets? We can’t be certain but it looks like something many makers will be willing to consider. Look at the LG Optimus Pad.

LG Optimus Pad
LG Optimus Pad

Apple will forever be remembered as the company that raised tablets from niche to mainstream, but Samsung should be credited for bringing plenty of innovation to the segment too. Last year it was the 7” Galaxy Tab that almost made some people give serious thought to ditching their smartphone altogether and now we have this little fella to give everyone else an option to consider.

Samsung P1000 Galaxy Tab
Samsung P1000 Galaxy Tab

Then again, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 is still being tested ahead of official launch and there’s a big part of the equation missing. All those words of praise will be easily forgotten if the Android 3.1 Honeycomb update fails to bring the performance boost that we are hoping for. Even the greatest hardware (and the Galaxy Tab 8.9 is pretty good) could be reduced to a useless pile of chips by laggy unfinished software.

Yet the story of Android thus far is assurance enough that this won’t be the case. The droid smartphones came from behind to leapfrog the competition, so there’s no reason to doubt Google’s determination to achieve a similar feat with tablets.

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