The initial setup does a great job of holding your hand through a step-by-step setup wizard. The setup only requires that you know your TV's manufacturer name, your cable/satellite provider, and your ZIP code. Thankfully, Peel spares us from having to know any more detailed information.
Once it's set up, you can browse shows by category, favorite the shows you like, or prevent shows you'd rather not see on the list from showing up again. Unfortunately, if you don't have cable or satellite TV, the app isn't very useful, as it doesn't sync with over-the-air listings. Also, there's currently no search functionality, but Peel says we may see that in a future update.
Navigating the interface took some getting used to, but was easy enough to pick up; however, we took issue with the method by which your cable TV screen menus are controlled by the interface. Peel went with a swipe interface that requires you to flick the screen in one of four directions in order to highlight different menus. While this method works and after some time could be gotten used to, we would have much preferred more-direct directional controls.
Also, we experienced an issue in which the shows Peel displayed as airing now were not actually airing. We'd see "Basketball Wives" listed as a current show, but when we selected it, we were taken instead to "Why Am I Still Single." Needless to say, this was very disappointing. Peels says that this is a daylight saving time issue and should clear up in a week. This reinforces the idea that Peel's accuracy is very closely dictated by the information cable/satellite providers choose to release.
While Peel is missing some features, it's overall well-implemented, but we're much more excited about the prospects of it integrating streaming services like Netflix and Hulu in the future.
Instead of going with the tried and true Tegra 2, the 7.0 Plus instead uses a dual-core Samsung Exynos 4210 processor. It also has 1GB of RAM and comes in either 16GB or 32GB storage capacities. Bluetooth 3.0 and 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi are included as well.
Rounding out the hardware features are an ambient light sensor, gyroscope, accelerometer, digital compass, and GPS.
The 7.0 Plus's 7-inch screen has a 1,024x600-pixel resolution and uses Samsung's proprietary Plane-Line Switching (PLS) panel technology. The screen delivers sharp text and menus, but the brightness is surprisingly low and doesn't hold up well under sunlight.
|Tested spec||Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus||Samsung Galaxy Tab||T-Mobile SpringBoard||Acer Iconia Tab A100||BlackBerry PlayBook|
|Maximum brightness||214 cd/m2||364 cd/m2||353 cd/m2||227 cd/m2||587 cd/m2|
|Default brightness||50 cd/m2||123 cd/m2||106 cd/m2||96 cd/m2||474 cd/m2|
|Maximum black level||0.17 cd/m2||0.35 cd.m2||0.42 cd/m2||0.27 cd/m2||0.48 cd/m2|
|Default black level||0.04 cd/m2||0.17 cd/m2||0.12 cd/m2||0.11 cd/m2||0.39 cd/m2|
|Default contrast ratio||1,250:1||1,040:1||883:1||840:1||1,215:1|
|Contrast ratio (max brightness)||1,258:1||724:1||840:1||872:1||1,223:1|
Navigating through the TouchWiz interface is just as speedy as on the previous Honeycomb Samsung Tabs, but we did experience freezing, crashing, and hanging frequently in multiple apps.
The picture quality of the rear camera was better than you get from most 7-inch tablets, although still not up to the high standards of the Sony Tablet S or Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9. Video frame rate was smooth when recording video and played 720p without a hitch.
Samsung claims the 7.0 Plus is capable of 1080p playback, but none of the 1080p videos we copied to the tablet (some files wouldn't even copy) was actually playable.
Here are our official CNET Labs-tested battery life results. More tablet testing results can be found here.
|Video battery life (in hours)|
|Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0||7.2|
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus offers a lot for its $400 price: 16GB of RAM ($500 for 32GB), a sharp screen, and a streamlined, minimalist design. Its IR sensor and Peel app turn it into a pretty robust remote control, but its lack of current support for streaming services limits its appeal.
The 7.0 Plus is the best 7-inch Honeycomb tablet available today, so if you're looking for a fully equipped 7-inch tablet, this is the one to get.
Editors' note: This review was updated with CNET Labs' battery life test results.