Reviewed by malikona (Previously owned)
I've had the iPad (first gen) since it was released, and I use it almost daily, so it will be my basis for comparison in this review. I got a Galaxy Tab (Verizon) off-contract, refurbished from Woot.com for $200 in November, 2011. The display was very nice, and certainly matched the iPad in terms of resolution. It could get very bright, but if you let Android control brightness it took every opportunity to dim itself to where it was almost unreadable (presumably to save battery).
I also have the new Galaxy Nexus, and while the phone's display is extremely bright, if you set it to auto-control brightness, it is always dimmed to literally 30% or less. As both an iPad & iPhone owner for years, I can say that those devices have superior displays because of software alone - the auto-adjust on iOS makes the screen MORE visible in different ambient light, not less. Hardware-wise though, the Tab appeared to have a very good (if not great) screen, much like the iPad.
The device itself was surprisingly handsome and comfortable to hold. While the plastic frame didn't feel as great as the slick, cold aluminum of the iPad (which I always have in a case anyway), Samsung did a good job making the Tab feel solid and robust in-hand. It had a nice textured back (although with a slight convex shape, like the iPad, that I dislike) and a solid, well-finished bezel. The form-factor is great - while I prefer the 9"+ of the iPad when it's on my desk displaying PDF files or books (which is mostly what I use it for), I would rather carry this device around the house or pull it out on a train. I found it to be a poor PDF viewer for the same reason (plus no Goodreader - which I really can't live without), but for casual web browsing & e-mail it was fantastic.
The OS - 2.3.x Gingerbread - was my first exposure to Android after several years of iOS. I found the software to be responsive, if not intuitive, and versatile. I like the geek-centric aspects of the OS, but as is often noted it did lack the 'fit and finish' of iOS. That wouldn't dissuade me from using it necessarily, but it has to make up for that elsewhere, and in versatility and pure geek joy it was basically a wash. Same is true for my Galaxy Nexus vs iPhone 4. I actually think the Tab ran 2.3.x a little smoother than the Nexus runs 4.0.2.
Out of words, so to wrap: worth $199, but returned it to save for the iPad 3 w/Retina Display (& Goodreader!).
- Design 8
- Display 8
- Camera(s) 7
- Performance 8
- Software 7
- Ecosystem 6