The Samsung Galaxy Tab does exceptionally almost all the tasks it’s meant to do. But for the flawed gallery and the high-latency screen with sub-par viewing angles we are struggling to find an aspect of its performance to criticize. None of those are deal-breakers really.
In many senses we get the feeling that the Galaxy Tab is better designed than the Apple iPad to which it will inevitably be compared. The microSD card slot, the widescreen display ratio and the telephony capabilities (not to mention the regular SIM card support) and to a lesser extent the on-board camera, make perfect sense on a modern-day device and give the Galaxy tab something of an edge.
Of course the iPad strikes back with a slightly higher-res screen with better viewing angles, a much better gallery and a slightly longer battery life but the over-reliance on iTunes brings us back to where we started.
Now we come to the matter of screen size versus portability. Mind you, we are not talking portability in the stick-it-in-your-pocket kind of way. It’s more of an easier to hold with one hand and weighs less so it won’t tire you so quickly kind of deal. It all depends on your personal needs, whichever of the two matters more to you.
And that’s why we believe the two devices can easily coexist on a market where exponential growth is certain to happen over the next few years. No we don’t mean that you should get them both so you have a device of every size, but we do believe they just cater for the needs of different audiences and there will be enough of both groups.
However if you thought that we’d suggest you rush to the shop and grab yourselves a Galaxy Tab, you are wrong. No, not even if you made the size-vs-screen choice in its favor.
The SIM-free pricing of the Tab is way too steep to swallow. 650 euro is the cheapest deal you can currently get and that’s 50 euro more than a 16GB 3G-enabled iPad.
Now as their financial reports suggest, Apple is hardly known for pricing their products reasonably, but the Americans have earned themselves a name as a premium product manufacturer and have a user-base with unprecedented loyalty. Samsung on the other hand is working hard to achieve the first (all it probably needs is a little more time), but is probably years away from securing the second.
So while the iPad can get away with being over-priced, we don’t see how the Galaxy Tab can justify a price tag higher than that of the Apple’s device.
Just think about it – the 7” Froyo-powered Archos tablet will hit the shelves any moment for 250 euro, while the 10.1” version will cost 290 euro. Now those tablets lack 3G radio and proper cameras, the 7” one comes with a lower, WVGA resolution and honestly, Archos is not nearly as big a name as Samsung, but are those things really worth the 400 euro premium? So what if Archos fails to update their current tablets when the next iteration of Android comes around – you can get whatever their latest slate is by then and that would still cost you less than the Galaxy Tab.
Of course, there’s another side to the coin here. Samsung has worked hard to secure deals with virtually all major carriers worldwide and they are offering the Galaxy Tab at a lower subsidized price (some even for free) if you are willing to sign a contract. Now given the fact that you are likely to need a new plan for the Tab anyway if your carrier of choice got it, those are probably no-brainers and you can safely disregard all our remarks about the pricing.
And if you aren’t willing to commit your long-term future, but do want to get your hands on a shiny new Tab, we’d suggest you wait a few months for its price to drop – by a lot.