CNET First Look
CNET's hands-on with the Samsung Galaxy TabSamsung unveiled its Galaxy Tab at the IFA electronics show in Berlin. Here's a look at what the Android-powered tablet has to offer: portability, responsiveness, performance, a nice screen--but several rough patches as well.
-Hi! This is Stephen Shankland. I work at CNET News and this is a first hands on look at the Samsung Galaxy Tab. This is the Android Tablet that Samsung unveils here at IFA electronic show in Berlin. It's a nice Tab, and obviously, it's also a big telephone. You can only buy this through [unk] service company [unk] plan from and you can actually make calls with it. -This is the home screen of the Samsung Galaxy Tab. As you can see, it's got a pretty nice display. It's an LCD display. Samsung took a little flack for not going for AMOLED but they decided cost and power consumption concerns. Maybe we'll see on of this in the future years. Samsung has a lot of display experience. So this is with one of the live backgrounds. They're really rich on this relatively large screen for an Android device. As you can see, you can slide around, see different screens. There are 5 home screens available. Here's the gadget for Facebook. If you want to add a new gadget, you can simply hold down on the screen. It will provide you with some options. We'll put a new widget. Let's say, the daily briefing perhaps. That loads up pretty fast, so that's very convenient. As with all Android devices so far, you have the home screen. Of course, you can also get more options if you click the applications button. This shows you all the applications that are installed. One that I thought showed off the tab screens really nicely was Google Earth. We'll load that up. Takes a minute for it to load. It's a nice little geographic exploration application here. I put in landscape mode. It's got a nice ability to take advantage of the multi-touch interface here. For example, you can change the view. You can zoom in with pinch and rotate by turning 2 fingers, zooming a little bit more. It takes a while for the imagery to upload but it's very nice and you can flick, zoom around. So, it's fairly impressive application on a screen this size with multi-touch interface. When it comes to productivity apps, these tablets are an interesting new option because they burst-- can show a lot more screen real estate for reading e-mail or checking calendars. One thing I like about this tablet is the calendar. Actually, it's in to take a lot more advantage screen real estate so there's some views of that. However, I had to say that the e-mail application left me a little cold. This is the built-in e-mail app that can talk to exchange servers and I think it could use the screen real estate a little bit better if you-- One nice thing about it, if you had it on landscape mode then you can see your e-mail on the left-- you're inbox on the left and your contents on the right. But even when it's vertical, I prefer to be able to see a bit more. This also applies to the Google Mail application which I find-- It has texts that can be a lot smaller. It's nice to have an option for large texts, but it would be very handy to have-- to be able to read more as you go. One of the popular applications here at the IFA Show that's everybody's trying out is NFS: Shift. This is a car racing application from EA as you can see. It takes a little while for it to load. It's one of this drive-around games and it's a work in progress, so some with glitches are unfortunate but not that surprising. Let's start a new race. This doesn't use the most advanced graphics, when it comes to actually rendering all your driving but it's fairly respectable. This one is pretty clear that we're gonna have a lot more Android games heading the market once we had some nice displays that goes to show off. Clearly, I'm not a born car racing aficionado here. Turbo boost. In the crouch. Videos are nice aspect of the Samsung Galaxy Tab. When you launch the video application here, you'll get number of options. This works better in landscape mode obviously. Let's watch one of these videos here. I found generally the video to be fairly high quality. Sometimes, it lags. But mostly even during fast transitions, it tends to play very smoothly. First, the video option on the tab here that's interesting is you can connect it to your T.V. by HDMI. which is [unk]. There's also a YouTube video. Let's go back to the home screen. You can watch any number of online videos if you like. Just load one up here. Let's see what it's like. It loads very faster [unk] and a fairly impressive high quality display for streaming video on a small tablet device. One of the areas that Samsung likes to highlight is the reader application. You can check out news if you like. There are number of pages. The [unk] here in Germany. Some tips broke up. Zoom in. [unk] newspaper. Takes a minute for it to render a nice version. If you go back here, take a look at a [unk]. The book reader seems reasonable sometimes. It seems a lag for me, but that might just be a matter of downloading. We'll take a look at Michael Lewis's, The Big Short. We'll see how it works here. So when you flick to the right, there's no animation so you have to kind of understand that you're changing pages. You can change a number of settings, night versus day mode. Very handy. You can change fonts from serifs to sans-serifs if you prefer and if you, of course, change the font size or want it to be larger or smaller. The tab comes with Swype interface for the keyboard if you like that and I'll show you how that works. Basically, you just slide your fingers over the words so you can type N-O-W for example is it-- it does a good job. T-I-M-E is time. And if you do a little loop, it will do 2 letters like A-L-L or G-O-O-D. So, Swype is fairly useful. Actually, it sounds like a touch type faster with this nice large screen real estate here. It's not so constraint as in mobile phone. So, you know, Swype is kind of a matter of personal preference. It's definitely not as necessary on a device this size as it is on a mobile phone. The built-in browser works pretty well. As you can see, you can click on links and they'll load reasonably fast at least on this Wi-Fi connection. You can [unk] the responsiveness of the scrolling. It's pretty good here. If you follow links depending on the complexity of the page, it can take more while to load but it's generally much better than with a mobile phone. As with Android phones if you double tap, it will zoom in on a particular aspect of the screen. It's also available--Multi-touch is also available so you can use multiple fingers to change the size and single finger to pan around. Of course, Android systems do have a little back button, so you can go back to where you used to be. The tab comes with music club application that's powered by 7 Digital you can see here. With it, you can click on various tracks and see how they sound. You can see here, we get a 1-minute clip. A lot of the songs I've tried were just 30 seconds but it's a nice way to preview and of course then you can buy the songs if you have an account. This one cost 99 pints in the UK. Here's a look at the Android market on the Galaxy Tab. That it's a lot faster than the Android market on most mobile phones I have used. You can look and see what the apps are. It is relatively fast if you're scrolling through this. Of course, it has to download the thumbnails as it goes so that there's always a little bit of lag there and check out the different categories, and the games are relative weakness of Android compared to iOS ecosystem that Apple has help build but things are definitely improving now.