BGR’s first impressions of Samsung Galaxy Tab: 7-inch screen too small, we’d go with iPad instead

“Sprint and Samsung shot us over a Galaxy Tab and, after several days of fiddling, we have our first impressions to report back,” Jonathan S. Geller reports for BGR.

“Let’s get to the most obvious thing — size! Apple’s CEO — who will remain nameless — publicly stated that a 7-inch screen was too small for a tablet, and after using the Tab, we tend to agree. Just using the device for the last few days proved to be very difficult from a size perspective,” Geller reports. “Seven inches of display on a tablet, for us, feels pretty odd and makes using the device pretty uncomfortable. It’s a very weird in-between feeling; we can’t decide it feels like a smartphone that is too big or a tablet that is too small.”

“Browsing the web with Flash on (enabled by default) proved to be a pretty frustrating experience. Scrolling was jittery, slow, and sometimes pages just wouldn’t even finish loading,” Geller reports. “However, once we changed the browser’s plug-ins setting to on demand (think Click2Flash), the browser popped to life.”

MacDailyNews Take: Steve Jobs vindicated yet again.

Geller continues, “When holding the device in the landscape orientation, one of our fingers covers the ambient light sensor and dims the display to the point that we can’t use the device. It’s borderline slippery to hold at times, the screen’s quality — while vibrant and vivid — is pretty poor resolution-wise… There really isn’t a scenario where we think we’d carry the Samsung tablet over Apple’s tablet; speaking strictly from a size point of view. Both aren’t fitting in your pocket, both would fit in your laptop bag or backpack, and so on.”

Full article and photo gallery here.

MacDailyNews Take: Not to mention that there are already 40,000 iPad apps in the App Store. How many are exist that are designed for Samsung’s 7-inch Mini Me-Too?

One naturally thinks that a 7-inch screen would offer 70% of the benefits of a 10-inch screen. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. The screen measurements are diagonal, so that a 7-inch screen is only 45% as large as iPad’s 10-inch screen. You heard me right: Just 45% as large. If you take an iPad an hold it upright in portrait view and draw an imaginary horizontal line halfway down the screen, the screens on these 7-inch tablets are a bit smaller than the bottom half of the ipad’s display. This size isn’t sufficient to create great tablet apps in our opinion. While one could increase the resolution of the display to make up for some of the difference, it is meaningless unless your tablet also includes sandpaper, so that the user can sand down their fingers to around one quarter of their present size. Apple has done extensive user testing on tough interfaces over many years and we really understand this stuff. There are clear limits of how close you can physically place elements on a touchscreen before users cannot reliably tap, flick, or pinch them. This is one of the key reasons we think the 10-inch screen size is the minimum size required to create great tablet apps… Even Google is telling the tablet manufacturers no tot use their current release, Froyo, for tablets and to wait for a special tablet release next year. What does it mean when your software supplier says not to use their software and what does it mean when you ignore them and use it anyway?Steve Jobs, October 18, 2010

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Joe W.” for the heads up.]


  1. And Samsung is stuffing their channels with a million of these things. It’ll be very interesting to see how many actually buy one at the retail level. Most likely, a lot of the Samsung sales people selling refrigerators and laundry machines will get one at an employee discount.

  2. The main problem with a tablet that is 45% smaller than the iPad is in surfing the web. Normal web sites are not designed for small devices. Sometimes, even on the iPad, it is hard to click on a desired choice, especially if several choices are grouped tightly together. Steve Jobs said that users of the 7″ tablets would have to sand paper their fingers to smaller dimensions in order to use these devices comfortably. He was being facetious, but he was trying to make a point, a point that I think from my daily experience with the iPad is legitimate.

    Another issue in the BGR relates to portability. When I bought my first iPad on April 3rd, I thought I would take the iPad almost everywhere. This has not been the case outside my home. Unless I am going to a doctor’s appointment where I am probably going to wait for some time, I mainly still rely on my iPhone when outside my home. Now inside my home, that is a different matter. I now use the iPad more than my MacBook Pro for most of my web surfing, emails, etc. because I tend to carry the iPad and use it around the house. And I agree with BGR that I would probably not carry the Tab more places outside my home than I would my iPad.

  3. I don’t think Samsung or anyone else can afford to bet on selling 10s of millions of their johnny-come-lately slate devices. That’s why any iPad competition will be a long time coming. They simply don’t have the manufacturing/component/supply chain issues solved like Apple, especially because Apple is sharing major components/development/OS/apps/ecosystem between four product lines–iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Apple TV.

  4. Was there any doubt that this was going to suck.

    Once google even gets Honeycomb (the supposed tablet optimized os) samsung and friends will have done the damage for android tablets. And to make things worse for them but great for us is that apple should be deploying iPad 2 around the same time.

  5. This is also what happens with “me too” products. They rush something out to market with no real RnD and fall flat not their face. It’s taken android 3 years to even come out with legitimate phone that can try to rival iPhone and they are still a year behind in the software.

    I like to see good competition. It makes prices come down. But I hate seeing decent companies like samsung just sell shit like this. It’s like Sony with laptops shit. Then again any windows laptop or pc is shit.

  6. The existing 3.5″ screen size is already pushing the boundaries of size, and only thanks to the practically non-existent bezel is it still reasonably usable. Anything bigger than 3.5″ looks and feels like brick, especially when making phone calls.

    I would be very surprised if Apple ever decided to go beyond the existing physical dimensions of the iPhone (and iPod touch). Perhaps smaller. Bigger? Not likely.

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