To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

Samsung Galaxy Tab review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £529
inc VAT

The use of Android and Samsung's hardware makes this tablet as good as the iPad, but the relatively high price could be hard to swallow.


7 in 1,024×600 display, 385g, 1GHz Cortex A8, 512MB RAM, 16GB disk, Linux

One of the main points of comparison between the iPad and any would-be-competitor is the quality of the OS, and it has to be said that Android on the Galaxy Tab is at least as good as iOS4. In some ways it’s actually better. The home screen is more customisable, both with application shortcuts and widgets, which the iPad doesn’t have. Dive into the full applications menu and you can customise and reorganise all of your applications in a similar way to moving the icons on an iPad.

As you’d hope, the Galaxy Tab runs Android 2.2 (Froyo), the latest version of the operating system. However, Samsung has optimised it to make it work better on a tablet, rather than smartphone. The tweaks are for the most part minor, so anyone familiar with Android can pick up the Galaxy Tab and start using it straight away.

Samsung Galaxy Tab top

The main changes are that the screen can be shifted from portrait to landscape modes on a wider range of applications and screens, including the home screen. In fact, the tablet can be put in any orientation, including upside down, and the image will rotate to match. This is much more important on a tablet, as you don’t want to keep having to shift orientation when you want to load a different app.

Samsung has also added power controls to the pull-down menu, so you can quickly enable or disable WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS and sync, and adjust the screen’s brightness (there’s also an automatic brightness setting).

Web browsing is better, too, thanks to the updated browser, which puts shortcut buttons for bookmarks, browser windows and forwards and back navigation at the top next to the address bar. Thanks to the 1GHz processor and PowerVR graphics chip, browsing is very slick and the transition from portrait to landscape is silky smooth. As Android 2.2 supports Flash, you can view pretty much any web page using the Galaxy Tab – something that can’t be said for the iPad. If we’re being overly critical, we’d say that scrolling through web pages and zooming in isn’t quite as smooth as on the iPad, but the Galaxy Tab is far from jerky or difficult to use.

It’s this quick processor and graphics chip that makes the Tab a joy to use with Android 2.2. Everything is slick and smooth, from flicking through photos in a gallery to zooming into text. Playing video’s no problem, either, with HD videos from YouTube playing with no judder or skipped frames.

Typing is also incredibly easy, as the comparatively high screen resolution means that there’s plenty of room for the keyboard. Admittedly, you wouldn’t want to type a long document on it, but that’s true of every tablet we’ve used.

Samsung’s done a great job making sure that the Galaxy Tab comes kitted out with a similar range of built-in applications to the iPad. For reading, there’s the Readers’ Hub, which gives you access to News powered by PressDisplay, Books powered by Kobo and Magazines powered by Zinio.

News gives you access to a wide range of newspapers including, in the UK, The Telegraph and Guardian. Magazines gives a similar excellent range of UK titles including Computer Shopper. We like the Books app, too. If you’ve bought any titles from Kobo for your eReader, they’re automatically downloaded to the Galaxy Tab so that you can read them there.

It’s fair to say that reading books on this tablet has all of the benefits and drawbacks of reading on the iPad. The good points are that the screen is bright and displays images well, but the downsides are that the constant backlight can make it a strain to read, while the screen is unreadable outside.

If you don’t want to use Kobo, you can instead use the eBook application and copy over your own titles. The popular ePub format is supported, although you can’t copy over DRM-protected titles as the Galaxy Tab isn’t recognised as an eReader by Adobe Digital Editions.

On top of these, you’ve got access to the full range of applications in the Android Market. There’s a huge variety and Google is rapidly catching up with Apple in terms of the breadth of titles available. We found that all of the applications available would install on the tablet and most take advantage of the screen’s high resolution. However, inevitably there are a few that look a bit blocky and pixelated, such as the Weather & Toggle Widget, which gives you a flip clock and a current weather report.

Pages: 1 2 3

Basic Specifications

ProcessorCortex A8
Processor clock speed1GHz
Maximum memory0.50GB
SoundHD audio
Pointing devicetouchscreen


Viewable size7 in
Native resolution1,024×600
Graphics ProcessorPowerVR SGX540
Graphics/video portsN/A
Graphics MemoryN/A


Total storage capacity16GB
Optical drive typeN/A

Ports and Expansion

Wired network portsN/A
Wireless networking support802.11n, 3G
PC Card slots0
Supported memory cardsMicro SDHC
Other portsProprietary USB connection


Carrying caseNo
Operating systemLinux
Operating system restore optionN/A
Software includedN/A
Optional extrasN/A

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB