updated 02:15 pm EDT, Mon November 1, 2010
Samsung Galaxy Tab gets first reviews
Samsung's Galaxy Tab has been given its first wave of early reviews and has met with mixed reactions. Most have compliments about the hardware but have warned that Android's known lack of optimization has hurt the interface. One review from the UK's TechRadar liked most of the interface but was very critical of the lack of optimization and a slow, stuttering web browser that it felt left the tablet well behind Apple's iPad.
"The fact is that Samsung has launched a device with a massive identity problem," the site wrote. "Is it a tablet? [...] No we don't think it is one. It's too small and fiddly and lacking in optimisations. Tablets need to distinguish themselves from smartphones by being bigger, better, more powerful, feature rich and interesting. [...] We can't hide our disappointment in the Samsung Galaxy Tab. It had the potential to deliver a serious blow to Apple's iPad sales."
Low-quality cameras and a screen inferior to that of the iPad were also considered problems.
Another analysis of the Galaxy Tab from SlashGear was more forgiving. The site's Chris Davies saw it as better than a smartphone for browsing, media and messaging, but docked it for the high pricing -- as much as £530 ($850) in the UK -- and a relative lack of support from third-party app developers. Similarly, while the Galaxy Tab was often easier to pick up, it was suggested that iOS 4.2 might close some of the feature gap.
A balanced look from Engadget was quick to call it the "best Android tablet on the market" but also argued that Samsung had pushed too far ahead. Ignoring Google's advice had left it without a support network, with no official Google apps nor third-party apps fully ready to use the seven-inch screen. Apple's iPad launch strategy showed better thinking as it queued up developers and a full set of first-party apps well in advance, making even its April launch well-supported.
A better tablet interface may not come to Android until Honeycomb, which may only arrive months after the Galaxy Tab. Samsung had "several chapters" to go before it could fulfill what the Galaxy Tab was promising, the site's Joanna Stern said.
The device is critical for Samsung's entrance into the space and, in the short term, is likely to carry Google's early competition against Apple in tablets. HTC, LG, Motorola and others are all believed to be shipping tablets in early 2011 and have been holding off, purportedly in some cases as they were waiting for Google to deliver a tablet-ready edition of its mobile OS.