Computerworld reviews Samsung Galaxy Tab: Awkward and substandard; buy an Apple iPad instead

Apple Online Store“Competing with Apple on quality, elegance, and innovation is nearly always a losing battle. By comparison, most products feel awkward and substandard. And so it is with the Samsung Galaxy Tab, a 7-inch, Android 2.2-powered touch-based slate device,” Galen Gruman reports for Computerworld.

“The Galaxy Tab does show some promise, but its flaws far outnumber its positives. Part of that is due to Samsung’s hardware design, and part of the blame goes to the Android 2.2 OS that Google says never was designed for tablets,” Gruman reports. “After using Android 2.2 in a tablet, I understand why Google is telling device makers to wait for a tablet-oriented Android. Samsung should have heeded Google’s warning.”

MacDailyNews Take: 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? …The current crop of 7-inch tablets are going to be DOA. Dead On Arrival. Their manufacturers will learn the painful lesson that their tablets are too small and increase the size next year, thereby abandoning both customers and developers who jumped on the 7-inch bandwagon with an orphaned product. Sounds like lots of fun ahead.Steve Jobs, October 18, 2010

Gruman continues, “The Galaxy Tab’s portability comes at a big price: usability. I had to put on my reading glasses to use the device because text is too small, even after I increased the text size. The screen size also makes it hard to use the Web browser. In vertical orientation, the browser window is impossibly tiny, and in horizontal orientation, only a small strip of a Web page fits. I also found the Galaxy Tab screen’s 16:9 aspect ratio awkward to use for everything except watching movies. In either vertical or horizontal orientation, the display feels too cramped… If you do any amount of typing, such as for notetaking, the on-screen keyboard is too small, even in horizontal orientation.”

MacDailyNews Take: 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.Steve Jobs, October 18, 2010

Gruman continues, “With fewer pixels to push around, you’d think the Galaxy Tab would be a strong performer — but it’s not. There’s a noticeable lag in almost every action, especially in what appears on screen… Samsung’s 1GHz ARM-based Hummingbird just can’t keep up with Apple’s 1GHz ARM-based A4… I also had trouble with Wi-Fi and 3G networks using the Galaxy Tab. Both were sluggish compared to network-related performance on the iPad… There’s a huge difference in quality between the apps available for the iPad and those available for the Galaxy Tab. I installed a bunch of apps available for both devices and in every case found the Android version inferior.”

MacDailyNews Take: This is a nice review so far, huh? (smirk)

Gruman continues, “Many apps on the Galaxy Tab feel crippled or just plain awkward compared to their iPad counterparts because they’ve been blown up to fill the large screen… Samsung erred in its 7-inch widescreen ‘tweener’ display — it’s too small for the Web and rich apps but too big for smartphone apps. Samsung also erred in releasing a device using an operating system that is not tablet-oriented, especially since the operating system’s maker, Google, has warned companies not to use it for such devices. The result of these two decisions is a device that’s neither really a tablet, nor really a pocket computer à la the iPod Touch. Unlike in the Goldilocks story, the size in between is not ‘just right.’ The Galaxy Tab is widely considered to be the best Android tablet available today. That’s absolutely true — which is why if you buy a tablet now, it should unquestioningly be an iPad.”

Oh, there’s much, much more! Read the full review – highly recommended – here.

MacDailyNews Take: It’s so nice to read the unvarnished truth, however rare it may be! Please click over to read Gruman’s full review.

28 Comments

  1. Somebody (MDN) deleted a comment that said :”love my Galaxy tab. Wouln’t trade it for anything” (or something along those lines.

    What was the reason behind deleting such a post?

  2. I unfortunately had to purchase one of these for the company I work at. It is to be used for developing Android apps. We got our iPad 3 weeks ago.. so at least we are developing for all platforms.

    The Dude abides.

  3. The fandroids over at Engaget gave it a glowing review. Gizmodo calls it a “Pocketable Trainwreck.” Go figure. Actually, “Pocketable Trainwreck” is hilarious, I might start reading Gizmodo again. (I’ve been boycotting them since the iPhone 4 prototype fiasco.)

  4. Apple is going to force any company that wants to compete to do truly massive spending to try to keep up.

    Problem is that Apple has a 3 year head start AT LEAST in significant patents for the new tablet regime.

    Also-rans will…walk away with crumbs.

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