Review Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus by kafaakBlog
As I state clearly in my blog that size does matter, Samsung offer a variety of choices for its tablet screen size. People may think that Galaxy Tab 10.1 or 8.0 is a nice tablet (personally, I like 8.9” screen size), but many will think they are too big to carry arround. Samsung Galaxy Tab 7 (the original one) is said to had been shipped 2 million units, according to Samsung announcement in January (well, that’s the old record, I know. But it’s the latest figure I can find on Google). The popularity of Galaxy Tab 7 is due to the fact that it’s best-fit for many hands and is light weight and thus make it easy to carry arround. Now that the device is in my hands, I will take you a tour to the 2nd Generation of the device many people love.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus at the first look
The design for Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus follow its big brothers 10.1” and 8.9”. I can say that I have the same feeling when I hold them in my hands. It’s just the screen size that is smaller.
Compare to Galaxy Tab 7 Original (I shall call it like this throughout this review), Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus is a little smaller and lighther (193.65 x 122.37 x 9.96 mm 345g vs 190.1 x 120.5 x 12 mm 380g). You can see the different in numbers, but you may not feel much different except for that it’s thinner (as you can see in the images below).
What do we have arround the device?
|Front||Capacitive multi-touch enable (10 points max.) 7” screen with 1024×600 resolution. 2 megapixels front camera. Phone speaker.|
|Back||3 megapixels (what?!?) back camera. LED flash. Nothing more, nothing less.|
|Top||Microphone (for recording video). 3.5mm jack.|
|Bottom||Stereo speakers. 30-pin port for charging and connecting to a computer. Another microphone (for both recording video and phone conversation).|
|Left||SIM Card and MicroSD Card slots.|
|Right||Screen On/Off switch and Volume +/-|
What’s so great of this Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus? It’s Honeycomb tablet, yet it can phone! And unlike when we use Galaxy Tab 7 Original, we do not need to use a headset. We just hold the device up to your ear like a phone.
However, I expect it to have 1280×600 screen resolution and/or Super AMOLED Plus technology. Well, Samsung seems to keep it for the coming Galaxy Tab 7.7.
Hardware and Performance
A quick look at the specification give me the following information:
|Internal Storage||16GB (There is also 32GB model available.)|
|Display||1024×600 WSVGA PLS|
|WiFi||802.11 a/b/g/n Dual-band (2.4/5.0GHz)|
|Other||Bluetooth 3.0 + USB 2.0 Host|
Using Quadrant Advanced and Antutu to measure the performance of the hardware in computation power and Vellamo to measure the performance of the web browser, the result is very impressive.
Based on the scores, I dare say that it can give you a decent 3D gaming and full HD 1080p video playing experiences.
Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus as a phone
My experience when I tried to use it as a phone starts not quite impressive. I had a hard time trying to put in my SIM card into a slot. You need to insert the card deeply into the slot and if you finger nail is as short as I am, you will find it impossible. In the end, I had to use a pen to push the can in. (You need to push it all the way back to the slot until you hear a *click* sound.) … Anyway, that’s a minor disappointment for me and many of you may not have this kind of issue (I have a very short finger nail.)
Now, let’s have a look at the user interface. It’s just like any other Honeycomb tablets except that you can find a phone icon. Samsung is one among not many (if not the only one) brands that can do video call on 3G (i.e. can do video call without using any other software like Skype/Fring/Tango).
The interface for phone pad is similar to other Samsung phones. It’s just a lot bigger. This make it difficult when you want to pick up the incoming call. I tried it with one hand and it’s not quite a success. I’d recommend to use both hands.
In Samsung Galaxy Tab 7 Original, you need to use a headset when you call someone or everyone will hear the conversation (Tab 7 Original’s speakers are pretty loud).
In Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus, you just hold the device up to your ear and talk like it’s a phone. Well, the look may be a little funny for people around you, though.
Although the feature is terrific, the accuracy is terrible. It recognized the word “Samsung” I wrote (well, at least it should be capable of recognizing its company, right). But when I wrote “I want to eat” (sorry for my handwriting, but Samsung Galaxy Note recognized it!), it recognized “Inantirint” (What?!?).
I think the problem is that I use my finger to write. With finger, I can make the letters small like with S Pen in Samsung Galaxy Note. Narrow spaces between words make it hard time of the software to recognize the handwriting.
The Software Part
Unlike other brands, Samsung does some modification to the Honeycomb UI by putting shortcuts at the bottom of the screen. Tapping any of these shortcuts will fire up a mini version of the apps preinstalled in Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus.
Unlike shortcuts to apps, these mini app can run on anywhere, even while you are playing a game.
Instead of pre-installing loads of apps into the device like many other brands, Samsung put in just Samsung Apps, the alternative to Android Market.
The good side is that the device will not be loaded with all the apps that we never want. (Well, take Asphalt 6: Adrenaline for example, people who love racing games may like it pre-installed, but those who don’t like racing games will think of it as a junk that waste their device’s ROM.)
From time to time, Samsung put paid games/apps for free to download on Samsung Apps. But do not expect much of Samsung Apps, most of the apps available there are on Android Market as well. Overall, I’d say most of the apps on Samsung Apps are either useless or not interesting.
Multimedia and Gaming
Plaing full HD 1080p videos on Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus is very smooth. Not surprising for 1.2GHz Dual-core CPU. Again, I feel sorry for having 1024×600 screen resolution .
7-inch screen makes Samsung Galayx Tab 7.0 Plus a perfect portable media player. The stereo speakers is quite loud. I watched the clip “Tweet It” (1080p) while I was watching NCIS and I could hear it well and pretty clear.
Now, for 3D gaming test. The game I choose for the testing is Shadowgun. It’s a game is originally designed for nVidia Tegra 2 chipset. This makes it a perfect game for the test as any games made for Tegra 2 generally have high-detailed 3D graphics. See my video review below.
Camera and Video Recording
Tablet cameras have never been any good. Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus is no exception. The back camera is 3 megapixels and only capable of 720p video recording.
What’s good for Samsung camera app? It has many interesting features such as panorama shooting. But it’s not very useful when the sensor is only 3 megapixels.
Not many brands make Android Smartphone/Tablet with tap-to-focus capability. Samsung is one among them. However, it’s not very useful as it won’t adjust the lighting based on the tapping point, unlike the same feature in HTC phones/tablet and iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch.
It is even worse when do a video recording. Although dual-core CPU makes HD 720p video recording very smooth. In low light, the bright area will be too bright and you just can’t make it dim by tapping at the bright area.
The goal of putting microphones on both sides of the device is to record stereo sound. But that makes it difficult to hold the device when you try to shoot a video. You need to get a good grip onto the device while you have to make sure that your hands won’t block the microphone. That’s a pain!
See the sample of 720p video recorded by Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus below.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus in a paragraph
This is a good upgrade from Samsung Galaxy Tab Original. The design and hardware got a major upgrade. It’s the one among only two brands that offer phone capability for Honeycomb tablet (another one is Huawei MediaPad, but you need to root it and install phone app). This makes Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus a good choice for those who need a real tablet with phone functionality. However, quality of photo/video shooting is your priority when choosing the device, this is not your choice.