Samsung Galaxy Tab 7 review
|Review: June 2011|
Last updated September 2012
In a nutshell: The Samsung Galaxy Tab 7 is a compact tablet with a 7 inch screen. Running Android 2.2, the Galaxy Tab seems dated when compared with the latest tablets.
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The Samsung Galaxy Tab was the first mainstream Android-powered tablet, launching back in October 2010. The Tab is a relatively small tablet, at least compared with the iPad. It's roughly the size of 4 mobile phones placed in a grid (about the size of a paperback), and weighs in at 380g, which again is about 4 times the weight of a phone. It's too large to hold in one hand, but small enough to fit in a (large) handbag. It's quite slim, at just 12mm, yet feels really strong and well made
Most of the front face of the device is filled by the 7 inch display. 7 inches is big enough for doing a lot of everyday tasks like checking email and facebook, web browsing, watching videos, reading ebooks, etc, although it's smaller than a netbook and can't be recommended for any serious document editing or suchlike. It's a TFT screen, and looks rather dull when placed next to Samsung's Galaxy S3 phone with its Super AMOLED display. The resolution of 600 x 1024 pixels is adequate, with a pixel density equal to that of Amazon's Kindle, but when you know that the Apple iPhone 4S display has 4 times the pixel density, you start to wish for a bit more from the Tab. It's a capacitive screen though, and responds smoothly to the touch.
Being one of the first tablets to use Google's Android operating system, the Galaxy Tab runs runs an old version of Android - 2.2 (Froyo). The latest tablets are now on version 4. The Tab misses out on some new user interface enhancements, but otherwise supports most of the key features and apps available in Android. These now number over 150,000 and many are free to download. We're big fans of Android as an OS for smartphones, and it works just as well as a tablet OS. Moving from an Android smartphone to the Galaxy Tab is like learning to ride a bike without stabilisers - all the controls are the same, but the new-found sense of freedom is exhilarating. That's what having 3 -4 times the screen size does for you. If you've ever found the virtual QWERTY keyboard on your smartphone frustrating to use, you'll appreciate the extra space available for typing on the Galaxy Tab. In landscape mode, the keyboard isn't far off full size, and you can use Swype to enter words without even having to take your fingers off the screen. Samsung have added some customisation to the Android user experience, including four hubs - Music, Media, Readers and Social - which make it easier to access your music, videos, ebooks & newspapers and to use social networks including facebook and twitter.
If you have the 3G version of the Galaxy Tab, you can make voice calls or video calls, using a handsfree Bluetooth headset.
The Tab is well suited to all kinds of messaging, including texts, MMS, instant messaging and email. The email client supports all popular protocols, including Microsoft Exchange & Outlook support. And the larger screen size makes email a much more pleasant activity than on a smartphone. The Social Hub integrates contacts and lets you access all kinds of messaging through a unified inbox. Attachments are handled, and you can not only view documents, but edit them too, including Word, PDF, PowerPoint presentations and spreadsheets.
The Tab comes equipped with two cameras. The main rear-mounted camera isn't the best we've seen in a mobile device by a long way, but it's OK for taking snaps and sticking them on facebook. The camera is only 3 megapixels, but it does have an LED flash and autofocus. We've seen better on mid-range smartphones to be honest. But then again, we've seen a lot worse too. The camera can record video too, and there's a secondary camera that can be used for making video calls.
The Tab is equipped with a music player / media player. Audio quality is good with SoundAlive simulated-3D sound, or 5.1 surround sound through headphones or a HDMI connection.
A GPS receiver is on board. With Google Maps and a 7 inch screen, this is a great tool, and is perfect for navigation on the move. You can now use Google Maps to find location-based information such as local restaurants and travel tips.
The Galaxy Tab is powered by a 1 GHz processor, which is enough to make the user interface responsive and to power the range of apps that people will commonly use, but it's starting to feel outdated now. The latest smartphones have dual-core or even quad-core processors and pack significantly more punch. There's plenty of memory though. The built-in memory is 16GB, and this is expandable to 48GB with the addition of a microSD memory card. There's 592MB of RAM too, which is enough to keep most apps moving along.
When it comes to connectivity, there are two versions of the Galaxy Tab available. The standard version supports Wi-Fi and is 3G-enabled, with HSDPA offering download speeds up to 7.2 Mpbs. The Wi-Fi version has Wi-Fi only, and won't connect to the 3G network. In addition to this, both versions support Bluetooth 3.0, USB 2.0 and TV-Out (via HDMI or analogue connection.) A wireless DNLA connection lets you stream content to a compatible TV or computer.
A device of this power is going to use up battery power rapidly, and we're pleased to report that Samsung have stepped up to the challenge, equipping the Galaxy Tab with a large 4,000 mAh rechargeable battery. You should get a full day's use out of this, and you can save power by turning off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS when not needed, and by using Flight Mode in the case of the 3G version. An optional in-car charger is available.
In conclusion, the Samsung Galaxy Tab is a slimline, compact tablet that still has a lot to offer, even though we're reviewing it two years after its launch. The 7 inch screen is big enough for many activities - emailing, facebooking, surfing the web, playing games, watching videos and reading or editing documents - and is much better than a smartphone at doing these kinds of tasks. The tablet is small enough that you can get it out on the bus without elbowing your neighbour unsociably, so you can actually use it on the move. Some of the specs are looking outdated now, particularly the pixel resolution, processor speed and camera, but it nevertheless does the job that it was built for. Is there a killer app that makes the Galaxy Tab an essential piece of kit? Perhaps not, but it definitely fills a niche, doing all that a smartphone does and doing it a lot better. And it's priced competitively too. Just be sure to compare with the other tablets before you make your choice, and in particular satisfy yourself that you don't need a larger display, or a newer machine with better capabilities.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 7 features include:
- Operating system: Android 2.2 (Froyo)
- Display: 7.0 inch TFT capacitive touchscreen with 600 x 1024 pixels, 16 million colours
- Swype-enabled virtual QWERTY keyboard
- 3 megapixel camera with autofocus and flash
- Video recording, secondary 1.3 megapixel camera for video calling
- Music player
- MP3 ringtones / 64-voice polyphonic ringtones
- Messaging: SMS, MMS, instant messaging (Google Talk), email
- aGPS with Google Maps
- Internet: Web browser with Flash 10.1 support, BBC iPlayer, YouTube
- Voice recognition
- ThinkFree (Document viewer), Calendar, Scheduler, Clock, Worldtime, Alarm, Memo Book
- Mobile Printing
- Offline flight mode
- Processor: 1GHz Cortex A8 Hummingbird
- Memory: 16GB plus microSD memory card slot (up to 32GB supported)
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n), Bluetooth 3.0, USB 2.0, TV Output (HDMI, Composite AV)
- Triband 3G (900 / 1900 / 2100MHz), HSDPA 7.2 Mbps / HSUPA 5.76 Mbps
- Size: 190 x 120 x 12.0 mm
- Weight: 380g
- Battery: 4000 mAh Lithium Ion
- Talktime: 2280 minutes (2G) / 1050 minutes (3G)
- Battery standby: 1660 minutes (2G), 1530 minutes (3G)
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Samsung Galaxy Tab 7 user reviews
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Average rating from 10 reviews:
Reviewed by Mel
on 5th Dec 2014
My son has had this for 2 or more years and its still going strong despite daily use. Never lags, battery beginning to wear down. A real workhorse, worth every penny.
Reviewed by Olutoyin from UK on 24th Feb 2012
My review of the P1000 Tab is four stars. Battery life, processor speed, size and functionality are very good thank God. However after a year it still runs on Android 2.2, camera is moderately functional, there's occasional screen lag and intermittent brightness (maybe that's my fault?) holds it back from true greatness in my opinion. Ipad or Galaxy Tab? IF you afford both then go for it, otherwise the Tab wins as Ipad is far too expensive for what it does!
Reply by Ben from UK on 10th Apr 2012
hmm, not sure that pricing was ever a justified reason to choose this over an ipad. on release this was £399 for the 16GB wifi version (same as the ipad) Screensize, wanting an android tablet, portability & wanting a camera on a tablet would all be good reasons for choice but price was not. That said, I have one & love it but I didn't choose it on price - I chose it for its portability (mainly as an ereader/media player, with added web & email functionality - something it excels at & I don't have to lug it round in a manbag/laptop case like I would have with an ipad).
Reviewed by Ryan from Wales on 13th Dec 2011
Just an update on my first review - the Tab is as great as ever although i did go a bit over the top when saying i wouldn'd be using mobiles anymore as after a while the size does kick in when your out and about but all the same tablets are fantastic for use at home as i can accsess everything i need from the comfort of my armchair without having to go upstairs to a freezing cold office for my pc Obviously i bought the tab to replace my old SE Xperia X8 hence the choice of a smaller Tab however i wont have to worry about size anymore so i can get tht Ipad 2 or Motorola Xoom when my contract is up
Reviewed by Brian from UK on 24th Oct 2011
I've had my Galaxy Tab for over 7 months and I love it. OK, so it's a little heavy and bulky compared to a phone and it's not great for phoning without a bluetooth earpiece, but that's not what I got it for as my SIM is only prepaid for data. It's got everything I need in a tablet with good portability. It'll fit into a jacket pocket without a cover but I prefer it in a very smart leather case. At home I quite often don't turn on my computer as I can very quickly check my emails on my Tab. It's great for storing my music, photos, videos and PDF files, and the camera works great for photos and videos, though without a zoom facility. Although I haven't really checked it out much, the front camera is useful now that the Skype app allows for video calls, but you'll need WiFi for that. The Google Maps app is excellent with as good (if not better) Sat Nav features as paid for ones and, as the screen is conveniently large, viewing it is a doddle. Battery life is great, especially as I now go with the philosophy of not letting it get too low before putting it on charge unless I'm out for the day. I'm giving it just 4 stars, but only because I can't give a true opinion on texting and calling.
Reviewed by Shweta singh from India on 28th Sep
I think u shudn't buy this tab because its a tab and sim is inserted in it rather than we shoul buy ipad 2 my dad gifted me this tab and i was ver excited but now m not happy with this i wil buy ipad 2 of apple in next week
Reply by Olutoyin from U.K. on 24th
Nonsensical review lad, behave yourself! Please give valid reasons other that simply 'your not happy with it now', as if my father brought me this I would have been chuffed to bits.
Reviewed by matt from uk on 25th Jul 2011
Had the tab for a month now and im really pleased with overall performance...nothing in life is flawless but the pros certainly outweigh the cons with this device. Also this site reviewing the tab 8 months after launch isn't the fairest of reviews in this world of advancing technology. Having said that it performs tasks very well for an on the go device and works really well given the screen size. Granted the unexpected incoming phone call whilst out shopping might cause a moment of a 'dom joly' flashback if you havent paired it up with a bluetooth earpiece...social sites, web browsing, ebay, emails and text messages are fantastic on a 7 inch screen especially with all the android apps now out there. the camera works perfectly well in outdoor conditions and video calling apps are plentiful. Its probably the portability that people question, but businessmen can put it in a filofax style case and it certainly blends in with lifestyle trends and hand bags or man bags take care of the rest...ok so keep the normal mobile for nights out in clubs. didnt want to be too technical on this as if you are viewing reviews you are already savvy with what it can do....so, really good screen, looks pretty slick, phone,email,game,camera,camcorder,movie and music players all in one device...whats no to like.....
Reviewed by usman from Pakistan on 2nd Jul 2011
i was confused between buying an ipad2 and samsung galaxy tab ...and i am happy that i ended up buying tab .. its handy ... ipad's are way to big to carry around...android market is full of apps... you dont have to convert every audio or video to watch like u do have to on ipads... Samsung is on the go... bravo
Reviewed by Ryan from South Wales on 21st Jun
Decided to get a tablet as i wanted to have full internet on the go. Orange recomended the Galaxy Tab over the ipad 2 and what can i say? this device is awsome ive always been a Samsung fan but the Tab really takes things to the next level with the screen being so large the apps really do come to life im so impressed that i will be using Tablets instead of mobiles from now on
Reviewed by Greg from UK on 16th May 2011
Absolutely outstanding tablet computer.
Reviewed by Allison D. Smith from UK on 6th May
I bought my SIM-free Samsung Galaxy Tab for £359.95. I initially put off buying one due to the price and version of the operating system (Froyo) but since it's come down in price and I've had a chance to take a closer look at Froyo, I decided to go ahead, as it does everything I need. I think the features vs. the price make this the best on the market at the moment. I've tried out the phone / texting, camera, Sat-Nav and surfing the web etc. and it all works extremely well and is easy to operate (just don't download 'Angry Birds' or you'll never get anything else done!). Another reason I bought this tablet is that it's a 7 inch one. I tried out both 7 and 10 inch tablets but found the 10 inch ones awkward to hold in one hand whilst trying to operate the screen with the other. Also, try fitting a 10 inch tablet into your handbag or using it as a Sat-Nav! Overall, I'm very impressed with this tablet and would definitely highly recommend it.