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Samsung Galaxy Tab Review - Android takes on the iPad

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Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Samsung
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Introduction and Hardware Overview

2010
saw the first releases of what can be considered a truely modern tablet
computer. Instead of the old haphazard notebook computers turned tablet
with resistive touch screens, we saw something new. Embedded systems
with with capacitive, multi touch capable displays have invogorated the
market for tablet computers. The forerunner of this new market segment
by far is Apple’s iPad. However, some people are not satisfied with
Apple’s closed platform in iOS, bringing on other competitors, such as
the Samsung Galaxy Tab, with the Android OS.

The
radical difference in the iPad hardware versus the Galaxy Tab is the
adoption of a 7”, 1024 x 600 LCD display instead of a 10” one. In my
experiences, this provides a solution that is much easier to travel with
and carry in many different situations, while not losing any real
usability features of the 10” iPad.


Size comparison with Apple's iPad

Beyond
a bigger screen size, hardware in the Galaxy Tab is extremely similar
to the Samsung Galaxy S series of phones. Both the Galaxy S and Galaxy
Tab feature the Hummingbird processor core, developed by fabless
semiconductor company, Intrinisty. This is an interesting detail, as the
Apple A4 processor, first introduced in the iPad, and the Hummingbird
core were both developed by by the same company, and are similar.
However, since the development of this chip, Apple has purchased
Intrinsity.

The
SoC unit used on the Samsung Galaxy devices consists of a Hummingbird
processor core, based on the ARM Cortex A8 processor, paired with a
PowerVR SGX540 GPU. Both the ARM A8 Core, and the PowerVR GPU are tuned
to give maximum processing and video rendering capability. In
particular, the PowerVR GPU (found in the Hummingbird and TI OMAP SoCs)
greatly outperforms the standard Qualcomm Adreno 200 GPU in our
benchmarks, but more on that to come.



Comparison of the Galaxy Tab to the Droid X, Epic 4G, and Droid Incredible (left to right)

Aesthetically,
the Galaxy Tab has a very minimalistic design. On the front of the
device, all we see is a solid glass screen, with the 4 standard Android
menu buttons represented in a touch sensitive form, and a front facing,
1.3MP camera.

The
back of the Galaxy Tab is a glossy plastic, with a raised design that
resembles a carbon fiber pattern, which actually seems to help grip.
Depending on what provider you purchase it from, the back is either
black or white (Sprint exclusive). Also, here we find a 3MP Camera with
LED flash, to compliment the front facing camera.


A
mic is featured on the left of the device, while the standby button,
microSD slot, and volume rocker are found on the right side.

 





We
also see a headphone jack on top, with a proprietary dock connector on
the bottom of the device used for USB syncing and charging, along with
the external speakers.

 




Overall,
the Galaxy Tab feels solid, and well constructed while not being too
gaudy. The 7” form factor leads to more portability, and expanded
options when carrying it. In such scenarios like the pocket on the
inside of a sport coat or jacket, the Galaxy Tab fits well, where the
10” iPad could not hope to compete.




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